Love is a Verb


Valentine’s Day.  A day that you see all the couples you know posting sweet little notifications across social media.  I have seen more pictures of candy, food, babies, and couples spending time in the candle light today than I ever thought I would.  None of that is necessarily a bad thing either.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to show someone how much they mean to you, however, like almost all of the “major holidays” anymore, it seems to have become way too commercial.  It is all about how much money you can spend and the more you spend the more you care about the person you are spending on.

My wife and I got married on February 6, 2010, and when we set that date, knowing how close it was to Valentine’s Day, we made an agreement.  I cannot remember who’s idea it was, and really it doesn’t matter.  We agreed that with our anniversary being only a little over a week before Valentine’s Day, we would basically combine the two celebrations.  Even before we set our wedding date, we did not go out of our way to celebrate the holiday anyway.


Here is the way I look at it.  If I have to go all out one day a year just to prove to my wife that I love her because I have not shown her that love throughout the rest of the year, then I have not been the husband that I should be anyway.  Am I perfect at treating my wife well, and always showing her how much I love and care about her?  Absolutely not.  None of us are.  But again, if I look at it like I can just do something on one day of the year and then not have to worry about it again for another 365 days, I have failed in a big way.

Being a Christ follower is trying to live a life full of love; Love for fellow human beings and also a love for Jesus.  Showing our love to others is all about service.  Jesus says in John 13:13-17; 34, 35;

13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them… 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

We show our love for God by serving our fellow man.  Why?  Because that shows that we are trying to be Christ followers with the way that we live. 

But it can’t be just a one time thing.  Or a once a year thing.  It has to be a lifestyle of service.  Just like I cannot just take one day a year to try to prove my love and care for my wife, we cannot just assume that one act of service is enough to show how much we love Jesus and our fellow man either.  I am not talking about earning the love of Jesus.  That is something that is freely given.  But we should be progressing through our relationship with Jesus in such a way that it produces the works of service in our lives.

If you are a Christ follower, then you should be finding ways to serve God and others in your daily lives.  There is nothing wrong with a big service project like a mission trip, but what are you doing in your neighborhood?  How are you showing what God has done in your lives to those that you are around on a daily basis?  I think we all have room for improvement, and will until the day that we get to see Jesus.  Don’t get down on yourself if you mess up, but let’s all find ways that we can serve one another and show the love of Christ in our lives!


One of the Best Days of My Life!

August 12, 2007.  Nine and a half years ago to the day.  A day that I will never ever forget.  Sure, there are details that get a little blurred with the more time that passes, but I would be hard pressed to find a more important day in my life, at least in regards to my calling in life.  My wedding day would probably be the only other day that I would consider as more important overall, as I got to marry my best friend and the person that has agreed to walk beside me through my calling in life.

What was August 12, 2007?  It was the day that Crossroads Christian Church in Gray, TN ordained me for full-time ministry.  In other words, the leadership of my home church “set me apart” for my calling of ministry.  They had watched me grow up, and even with the mistakes of my youth that they knew about (I had some wild years, even while going to bible college), they saw the calling that God had put on my life.  On top of that, they also saw my commitment to follow God’s calling on my life to go into vocational ministry. 

The summer of 2007, leading to this memorable day in August, was a very impactful time in my life as well.  I had just finished a 3-month internship at Georgetown Church of Christ, and had been able to start correcting some of the mistakes of my youth.  It was also the summer that I met my wife.  In fact, August 11, sometime in the early morning hours was when Kelley and I finally made our feelings known to each other and agreed to start dating.  She was still in Ohio, and I was back home in Tennessee for a week before going back to school in Ohio. 

So leading into my Ordination service, I had also just started a relationship that would prove to be something very important as well.  To say that I was on a “high” would be an understatement.  Crossroads is the church I consider my home, and a place that has helped prepare me for ministry over the years.  For the leadership from Crossroads to see something in me enough to “set me apart” for ministry means more to me than I think I could ever really express through words.

Let me set the scene a little for you.  Most ordination services that I have heard of over the years usually take place on a Sunday evening.  But for some reason, Clint (the Sr. Minister) and everyone else from Crossroads decided that they would hold my ordination during both Sunday morning services that day. 

My best friend (and eventually best man in our wedding) was able to be there that day to lead the worship service.  Nick Tomeo, the professor of youth ministry at Cincinnati Christian University, where I was studying youth ministry, made the five hour drive from Cincinnati to Gray to be a part of the service.  One of my best friends from college drove in from Louisville, KY to  be there as a support to me.  My extended family that all go to different churches around East Tennessee showed up at Crossroads to be a part of the service as well.  Ryan Bader, the last ordained person from that church before me came and spoke as part of the service. 

Clint Andrews and Curtis Booher, mentors and men that I respect highly preached and challenged not only me, but the congregation to run the race of this life with our eyes fixed on Jesus.  And then maybe the most special part of the whole service happened.  The elders of Crossroads surrounded me, and with me on my knees in an act of surrender to God’s call in my life, laid hands on me, confirming my calling, and promising to support me in my efforts to be a servant leader in the Kingdom of God.

After the service was over, my mom, along with the rest of my family, hosted a luncheon in celebration of the day.  To say that I was blown away with all that took place is definitely an understatement.  It was a humbling moment, one that I never want to take for granted.  There is nothing special about me.  That is not why I am writing this.  In fact, I will be the first one to admit that I am a very flawed person, and I do not always feel worthy of the calling that God placed on my life.  But I also absolutely love getting to preach full-time.  There is nothing else I would want to do with my life.  And honestly, I don’t really think that I am qualified to do anything else.


I am humbled by the fact that men that watched me grow up saw enough in me to set me apart for a life of ministry.  But it is also sobering.  Not only do I have a calling from God, I have the support and recognition from other servant leaders that I am set apart for vocational ministry.  What if I fail?  Do I have what it takes?  Am I going to make them look bad?  If I try to do this all on my own power, then the answer to those questions is an emphatic YES!  But that is one of the reasons for an ordination service like this.  It shows that we cannot do ministry on our own.  We have to support each other, but more importantly, we have to rely on God’s power to do what we are called to do. 

That is why this day, nine and a half years ago is so important to me.  It reminds me that I have a support system, even 1,400 miles away from where I am living now.  But it also reminds me that God has called me to this life, and it is through His power that I am able to do what I love. 

A friend of mine in ministry posted a picture of his ordination program the other day on social media, and that is what got me thinking about all of this today.  It is a great reminder of those that have gone before us, but also surround us and support us in our calling.  I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life, even when ministry is tough and beats me up a little.  But more than that, I can’t imagine walking through this calling without the support system that have surrounded me through the years, even when I wasn’t really living the way I should have been. 

What about you?  I would love to hear about a day that you will never forget or about the support system you have in your life.  Don’t think you have a support system or feel like you need more?  Let me know how I can try to support you!


Legacy (11-5-16)

Legacy.  I have been thinking about that term a lot recently.  We all have a legacy of some kind that is passed along through our families, or those that we spend the most amount of time with.  In a lot of ways, we get to help build those legacies and pass them along to the generations that are going to follow us as well.  Just in case you are not with me on the term legacy, defines legacy as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.  There are other definitions as well, but this is the one that I have been thinking long and hard about.

Why?  I am a first generation preacher on my side of the family.  As far as I know, I am the first person to make preaching my career path in my family.  My family, however, has a long legacy of being Christ-followers.  More than that has me thinking about legacy though.  My wife’s grandmother just passed away a few weeks ago.  Last week, we were finally able to travel to Ohio to spend time with her family, and a lot of memories were shared.  It was a very quick trip, but well worth it. 

While we were there, we got to talking about the fact that my wife’s dad, brother, and I have all preached from the same stage at their church in Georgetown, OH.  I new that, but being there and seeing it again, it was a great reminder.  I love that we have all had the opportunity to preach God’s word from that stage.  I was sharing that with my mother-in-law, and that is when the real idea of legacy hit me.  Their side of the family has a lot of preachers.  I already knew that, but she told me that they had been counting.  Including me marrying into the family, and my brother-in-law who is currently in Bible College, we have 20 active preachers in the family.

I was blown away by that number.  That is crazy, but that is awesome.  And my wife’s grandmother is a huge part of that legacy.  Her and her husband helped start a church early in their lives, in their living room.  That church today has thousands of people that attend weekend services.  While I have a legacy of being faithful to Jesus in my side of the family, I married into a legacy of preachers and missionaries as well!

But that is not where I want it to end.  I want to live my life in such a way that I can help build that legacy and pass it to the next generation.  Not to make a name for me, but to exalt the name of Jesus Christ throughout this world.  And I have a challenge for you as well.  Find your legacy.  If you find that you have a legacy that you want to change, do so. 

Hebrews 12:1-3 states, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

You see, we have a legacy of those that went before us.  They set the example of how to live as a Christ follower.  But we also have Jesus himself.  This passage also tells us how to continue that legacy so that we can pass it along to those that follow us.  And when the world makes us lose our focus, just remember, “let us fix our eyes on Jesus”.  What legacy do you want to pass along to the next generation?

Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak

Family Calling

I grew up as an only child, so when my wife and I got married, I not only gained a spouse, but I gained a brother that I had never had before.  Kelley has a brother that is a few years younger than her, and he became my brother.

The family I grew up in is very faithful in being Christ followers, but when I answered God’s call after high school to go into ministry, I am pretty sure I was the first in my family to do so.  I might be wrong, because I do not really know our family’s history past my grandparents on each side, for the most part.  I did not really have a legacy of ministers in my family line, although I never even thought about that because it did not seem strange to me.

Then Kelley and I got married.  Her dad, Kevin, is in ministry, and multiple grandparents, uncles, and cousins on both sides of her family are as well.  I gained a legacy of ministry when our families joined together through our marriage.  The incredible thing to me is that her younger brother is now studying to go into ministry as well. In other words, I now have a younger brother answering the call from God to go into the ministry.

While I was in school for ministry, I did an internship at Kelley’s home church in Georgetown, OH.  That is actually how we met, as she was finishing her time in the youth group while I was there, and we started dating when my internship officialy ended that summer.  While I was there as a student ministry intern, working with the teens mostly, I was given the opportunity to preach in the main adult worship service near the end of my time there.  That was the first time I preached in front of a group of more than 100 people, and I got to do it twice, as there are two services every Sunday.  It is an experience that I will never forget. It is also from this stage that Kelley and I got married as well.  The stage at Georgetown Church of Christ has been a pretty special place in my life.

As I was stating earlier, Korey (Kelley’s brother) is currently working on his ministry degree at Johnson University.  A few months ago, he had the opportunity to preach at Georgetown as well, as part of the requirements for a preaching class he was taking.  Kelley and I were unfortunately unable to attend, as we live in New Mexico, but the church uploads the sermons every week, so we were both able to watch Korey preach.  Sidenote, I love technology!  While I was watching him preach, I was struck with an incredible thought.  I have had the honor and privilege to share the same stage or pulpit with not only Kevin (Kelley’s dad), who is the preaching minister in Georgetown, but now with my brother as well.  That is a very cool realization to make, and it is also very humbling. (I have also gotten to preach from the same stage as some of my biggest mentors in ministry as well, which is pretty awesome as well).

What got me thinking of all of this again is that Korey just preached at Georgetown again this past weekend, and again, I was able to listen to his sermon thanks to technology.  I found out the morning of that he was going to be preaching, and immediately posted something about it on Twitter, offering a prayer of encouragement to Korey, and ended the tweet with the #FamilyCalling.  When I got to listen to his sermon today (Monday), I was so proud of the growth that he is having in his communication skills, and the fact that he is so willing to use his talents for God.  It again got me thinking about the idea of a family calling. I got to marry into a family that has many that have answered the call to ministry.

It is truly a calling as well.  I do not believe that you can be successful in ministry if you make the decision on your own that you want to do it.  As I listened to his sermon today, I was struck by the theme of his message, because it is something that I have been trying to stress in my own ministry as well.  It is the idea that as Christ followers, we have work to do. We have a calling. Our faith in Jesus should lead us to put in some major hard work and dedication for Him.

I will not give away too much of what he had to say, because I am going to provide a link at the end of this for you to go check his message out yourself, but he was preaching on Ephesians 2.  It is a very beautiful and powerful passage from Paul, and Korey nailed the idea from my favorite part of the passage, Ephesians 2:10.  It states, “10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”(NIV)

Other translations use the word masterpiece instead of handiwork. We are God’s masterpiece! And the fact that we are His masterpiece means that we were created for a specific purpose. We have a job to do; bringing glory to God. God has this work in mind for every single one of us.  I mentioned earlier that those of us in ministry have “answered a calling”, that you cannot really be successful in ministry if you have not been called.  What I did not mention then, I want to stress now. While you may not have been called to be in vocational ministry, if you are a Christ follower, you are called into some kind of ministry. It could be anything that you do to bring glory to your Creator, who created you as His masterpiece.

Korey made a statement in the middle of his sermon that was so dead on I just sat here in my office shaking my head in agreement. In fact, I have made very similar statements multiple times to my faith family here in New Mexico.  He said, “Everywhere you go should be your mission field.” Think about that. You should be sharing Jesus and His love everywhere you go. Here is how I have tried to stress that idea here; I had signs made that are now hanging beside every exit door we have in our church building. They simply read, “You are now entering your mission field” and then quote Matthew 28:19-20, which reads, “‘19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.'” 

In other words, we all have a family calling if we are in the family of God. If you claim to be a Christ follower, answer your calling, and get busy in your mission field. It could be in your own back yard, or it could be half way around the world. Where it is does not really matter. What matters is that none of us sit idly by and expect someone else to do it for us. Let us all answer our “family calling”!

Click here to listen to Korey’s message on Vimeo.

Thoughts From a Crosseyed Jesus Freak


I am more convinced than ever that this life that we live is better lived in community, and that community being with fellow Christians.  We call our congregation here in NM a faith family, and that’s because we try to treat each other as family.  That means that we take care of each other.  Do we always get along?  No.  But what family does?

We are a family simply because of our relationship with Jesus.  We, as Christians, are Christ followers, and therefore we are brothers and sisters in Christ.  And because of that bond, we need to help take care of each other, in the good times and the bad.  But our faith family should be more than just the church that we choose to attend.  Our faith family, in all reality, should be anyone who follow Jesus.  Anyone who is a disciple is your brother or sister, and that means we should be trying to help take care of each other even more.

And the events of today that took place in TN around my mom have proven that this is how the Church or  Christ followers should interact with each other.  My mom lives alone, and when you get a phone call from one of her neighbors asking if she is ok, it’s a little unnerving.  But at the same time, that neighbor was helping to take care of and look out for my mom.  I’m 1,400 miles away, and had no idea that something was wrong, but a neighbor, and fellow Christian called because there was an ambulance in my mom’s driveway.

Turns out, my mom had gotten her feet tangled in a heater cord and fallen.  She landed on her left arm and snapped her humerus, but was able to get to her phone and call 911.  She was taken to the hospital and got the treatment that she needed, but the family aspect of being taken care of doesn’t end at my mom’s neighbor calling me.

Some how, a man from her church found out what was going on, and showed up at her house to check on her.  A lady from a Wednesday morning Bible study that she attends was there, along with my aunt making sure the dogs were taken care of and anything else that my mom needed taken care of.

As a minister, I understand the role of checking in on and praying for someone in the hospital.  Well, it turns out the staff of mom’s church is on a staff retreat this week, but the church has stepped in to take care of her.  One of the elder’s almost immediately called me to make sure I knew what was going on.  I don’t even know how he knew.  He told me to keep him updated when I found out what hospital she was being taken to.  I did, and then found out from my aunt that another elder and his wife showed up at the hospital almost at the same time that they arrived.  They stayed with them the whole time, and ended up taking mom home after she was discharged, so that my aunt could go home and pack a bag to stay with my mom.

There have been countless comments and prayers being offered through social media.  The same neighbor that called me initially has already offered to take mom supper at some point this week, and promised to help take care of her since we are so far away.  I tell you all of this to say the following:  That is what being a Christ follower is all about.  Taking care of each other.  We are family.  Yes, there are times we don’t agree, but our bond of being brothers and sisters in Christ should trump those disagreements.  We have other things that we are called to as being Christians, but one thing we have got to remember is that we’ve got each other’s backs; NO MATTER WHAT!  Seeing it in action over the last several hours, even from 1,400 miles away, gives me hope that we can all remember to treat each other with love and respect.  Not being able to be there for my own mom is hard, but knowing that she has a family bigger than just blood makes me so thankful that I get to be a part of this bond of brothers and sisters in Christ.

Sick Of It

Today has been one of the hardest and most draining days that I’ve had since I’ve been in ministry.  I really didn’t have to do anything today either, except watch a family grieve as they said goodbye to a 21 year old kid that died way too young.  I didn’t have to speak at the funeral, but as I set there, watching family members weep uncontrollably at times, and watching this kid’s friends walk up to his casket, I’m just emotionally and spiritually drained.  This kid’s death could have been completely prevented.  It was an accidental overdose, so all of those involved are just heartbroken, thinking what could have been.  I think I met him once or twice in passing, so it’s not that I was emotionally tied to him.  But his aunt and uncle are core members at my church.  And their youngest daughter is the same age.  Watching all of them deal with his death breaks my heart, because there is nothing I can do to take away their pain.  Quite frankly, I’m sick of it!

But it’s not really what you think.  I’m not sick of ministry.  I’m not sick of trying to be there for people as they go through tragedy.  What I’m sick of is sitting back and not doing more to try to introduce people to Jesus that don’t know him.  The kid that died was not a professing Christian to my knowledge.  And now he’s gone.  My heart breaks for the family, but more than that, my heart breaks for his friends.  As I sat in that funeral home this morning, it was amazing to see the different crowds.  You had his family and friends of the family that all sat toward the front.  It was the type of crowd that you would typically see at a funeral.  But then behind the row I was sitting in, there was a crowd of his friends.  I try not to judge by appearances, but it was the type of crowd that you would expect to see at a wild party somewhere.  These are the people that my heart truly breaks for. 

A few of them, before the funeral started, and before the family was actually brought in to the chapel, came up to the casket one at a time.  They stood there looking at their friend with the same blank expression on their faces.  They didn’t understand what was going on.  And who could blame them.  When you’re 21 years old, you think you’re invincible.  All I could think while watching them then, and as they were filing out of the funeral home after the service was I hope and pray that seeing your friend lose his life this young will be a wake-up call.  But not just a wake-up call to get clean and live life sober.  I pray that they see this as a wake-up call that life with a relationship with Jesus is so much better than any other kind of life.

It’s been a wake-up call for me, that’s for sure.  I’m sick of not doing as much as I can to impact the community around me for Jesus.  This world is lost, and seems to be getter further and further from the truth at a rapid pace.  And there is only one thing that can fix that.  Jesus.  He’s the answer.  Addiction takes hold in many forms, and it’s usually an attempt to fill a void in our life.  But there is only one thing that can actually fill that void.  John 10:10 reads, “10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Those of us that have found Jesus and have a relationship with Him have got to stop keeping Him to ourselves.  This world depends on it.  This world desperately needs Jesus, and we are called to help make the introduction.  I wrote a couple of weeks ago about being unashamed of the gospel (read that here).  In other words, we need to live out our faith, and we need to be sharing it with those that we are able to build relationships with.  If watching this family mourn the loss of a 21 year old kid has taught me one thing, it’s that the stakes are even higher than we could imagine.  We’ve got to start sharing Christ with those that don’t know Him, because you never know how much time someone has.

Romans 1:16, 17 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

Bible in 90 Days Reflections (Day 26)

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for theLord is about to pass by.”   Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (I Kings 19:11-13 NIV).

As I was reading through our reading plan today, this is the passage that stuck out the most to me.  It seems to be very relevant to us today.  With all the technology and busyness that we have in every part of our lives, it’s no wonder that we sometimes have a very hard time seeing or hearing from God.  And it makes even more sense, thinking through this passage, that those that don’t know or believe in God have an even harder time.  Christians tend to get asked very regularly, “How can you believe in God with all the evil in the world”.  I think this leads often to the question, “How can you know God is real, because I’ve never seen or heard Him.”

This passage from Elijah’s life sheds some light on this for us.  If Elijah, who was a prophet of God, someone who regularly heard from God, was not able to hear Him in the strong wind, earthquake, and a raging fire, I think that shows us that it’s going to be hard for us to hear Him as well, unless we are able to really listen, and find His voice in the stillness and quiet.  That’s why so many have a hard time finding God.  They don’t quiet themselves down, slow down, and truly listen.  They think we can just keep doing what we are doing and that God will speak louder and louder until we hear Him.  That happens sometimes, but more often than not, it is only when we quieten our lives, minds, hearts, and truly seek Him that we find Him in the gentle whisper in our lives.

I’m not sure how our community of Carlsbad will react, but I have a feeling that many will be asking some of the questions above with the loss of a 9 yr. old boy from our community to a tragic accident.  I couldn’t help but think of this family as I read and prayed today.  My prayer is that God’s comfort will find this family.  That in the midst of their pain and loss, that they are able to seek out God.  Our God is a God who’s peace surpasses all understanding, and that is what I truly pray for this family.  May we all find ways to quieten our own lives, step away from the busyness, and seek God’s voice in the stillness.

God Bless,


Outreach (January 2015 Newsletter Article)

So, we are in a new year. It’s almost unbelievable that 2015 is already here. Whether you missed the last Sunday of 2014 at Central or not, I want to recap a little about our year in 2014 and highlight a couple of things we are looking forward to in 2015, one of which we did not talk about last Sunday. I love the new year. It’s a great time to start something new, and build on what happened over the past year. Or it can be a time for a fresh start, forgetting what happened in the past year. But I don’t want to forget what happened in 2014. There was some struggle and hardship, but there has been a lot of good that has come out of all of it as well. Kelley and I got to meet our new faith family and get welcomed to a new church better than we could have ever imagined. Thank you for that Central! We are here for the long haul and look forward to working with you to reach the community in Carlsbad for years to come!

We talked publicly about some of the plans we have for Central in the coming year last Sunday, and I want to recap some of them, and let you in on another. We want to focus on spiritual maturity in the year to come, and plan to do this a number of ways. This includes an emphasis on Bible study, in fact starting January 1 many of us are attempting to read through the Bible in 90 days. We also want to emphasize our Sunday school and Bible study programs. Our sermon series for the year will be concentrated around the idea of spiritual maturity. And we also announced that in the fall of 2015, we will be launching a church wide small group program. We are excited about all of this, and we feel that God has His hand in all of these plans.

Along with spiritual maturity, we want to focus on outreach to our community, specifically to those that are not attending church somewhere. This is what I want to draw your attention to now. I had it in the announcements of the last newsletter, but wanted to highlight it in my article this month. Valarie Waddle is in the process of beginning a stay at home moms group for moms in our community. This will be a group designed around encouragement for moms but it’s also going to serve as a potential outreach for Central Christian Church to our community. We don’t have many stay at home moms in out church right now, so many of these moms that Valarie will be reaching will be unchurched moms. What better way to reach out than providing a support group with other moms. We want to support Valarie in this effort, whether we see any actual growth in our attendance on Sundays or not. This is where you come in. First, we ask for your prayer for this effort, but also, if you know of any stay at home moms in the community, let Valarie or myself know, so that we can reach out to them. Let’s start reaching our community for Christ, one person at a time.

          Because of Him, Kraig B.

What dcTalk taught me about reaching others

When I was growing up during the early to mid 90’s, I was introduced to a music group called dcTalk.  At the time, I didn’t realize that there was such a thing as Christian music outside of what you would sing in church on Sunday mornings.  I was more of a country music fan at the time, but the first time my cousin Josh let me listen the Free At Last album by dcTalk, I was hooked.  They quickly became my favorite group, and honestly they still are to this day, even though the three members of the group have all moved on to other Christian groups now.

My first concert that I ever went to was dcTalk’s Jesus Freak tour, with dcTalk headlining, and a little group opening called Audio Adrenaline.  I was blessed enough to be able to see them in concert one other time, on the Supernatural tour.  I can’t remember all the groups with them on this tour, but The W’s with their one hit, The Devil is Bad were there.  dcTalk’s music influenced much of my life, and it changed the face of Christian music, which has allowed for bands playing just about any style of music with a Christian theme to be possible.

Arguably, dcTalk’s biggest hit, although they have many, would be Jesus Freak.  The chorus of the song, if you haven’t heard it before, goes something like this;

“What will people think
When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it’s true
I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain’t no disguising the truth”

If I was forced to pick my all-time favorite song, I think I would have to go with this one.  There are other songs that come close, but it makes me want to live my life like a Jesus Freak.  In fact, part of my blog name comes from this song.  I have told my wife on countless occasions, in all seriousness, that I want this song played at my funeral, because I hope that I have lived my life as a Jesus Freak, living completely sold out for Him!  We had a live band play our prelude, entrance, and exit music for our wedding.  My groomsmen and I walked into my wedding with Jesus Freak being played.  To say that this is an important song to me would be a huge understatement.  And there is a lot we can learn from the song as well.

Over the first couple of weeks of November 2014, Kelley and I have had the opportunity to attend two separate Christian concerts.  We saw 7eventh Time DownFamily Force Five, and The Newsboys here in Carlsbad, NM.  Then we went to the opening night of WinterJam in Rio Rancho, NM.  I bring this up because dcTalk hasn’t been together since the late 90’s or 2000, and Jesus Freak is now close to 20 years old.  But during both of these concerts, Jesus Freak was played.  Granted The Newsboys lead singer is Michael Tait, one of the members of dcTalk, but it still shows the influence we can have if we are able to present the message of living sold out for Christ in a way that truly changes the way people see it.

I’m not saying that we need to change our message.  The message of Christianity and what it means to this world is the best message anyone can ever receive.  The message of the cross, and the grace that God shows us through the cross is the best story that has ever been told.  And the best part is that it is completely true!  But we have to find ways to tell this story in such a way that we can bring in the masses.  dcTalk changed the course of Christian music by being willing to push the envelope.  They found new ways to present a 2,000 year old message, without watering down or changing the message itself.  And because of the way they did it, 20 to 30 years later, their form of the message is still being used to try and tell the greatest story ever told!

May we learn from them, and may we be able to reach the world with the most important story that they will ever here.

I Love My Church

I’ve been the preacher at Central Christian Church for just over two months now, and there is only one thing that I can really say at this point…I LOVE MY CHURCH!  Over these first two months, we have started getting to know one another, as well as started really looking at where we want to go as we try to impact the community of Carlsbad, NM.  In other words, we have started the vision process of seeing where we are and where we want to go.  Things are already starting to pick up momentum, and I am extremely excited about where we seem to be headed.  One of the first things I wanted to capitalize on was the feel of family.  I introduced the idea of our congregation thinking of itself as our “faith family”  This wasn’t an idea that I had come up with.  Our church in TN called itself a faith family, but I felt that we could adopt that and see immediate benefits from that.  Man, have I not been disappointed.

During some of our vision presentations during our recent sermon series on the life of Joseph, I taught on and described what it meant to be a family in respect to our congregation.  Basically, there were four things that were stressed.  1.  We Take Care of Our Own, 2.  We Don’t Fight, 3.  There Should Be a Culture of Mentorships/Apprenticeships, and 4.  All Are Welcome.  After presenting these ideas in a sermon a couple of weeks ago, I have been able to see some of these coming to life.  Over the last couple of weeks, I have heard and seen people in our congregation refer to our church as our “faith family”.  People are starting to buy in, and I love that we look at each other as family.

The best indication that people are buying in to some of these ideas actually took place today.  A family from our congregation had their car break down about three blocks from the church on their way to Sunday School this morning.  The word got out that this had happened, and another family offered to try and tow their vehicle for them, back to their house.  After church was over, while my wife and I were having lunch together, I got a text that just brought a huge smile to my face.  Not only did this guy go to help a member of his “faith family” by towing their car, he actually took the time to see if he could figure out what was wrong with the car.  And he was able to not only figure out what was wrong, but he was also able to fix the car at no cost and get this family back on the road.  WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN!

Did I say that I LOVE MY CHURCH?!