I’m in Atlana this weekend, with a full schedule. I’m here primarily to speak at RidgeStone Church, pastored by my friend Gary Lamb. I’ve known Gary for about 6 years.
One of my commitments is that I’ll help any church planter. I remember how hard it was for me when I started Palm Valley, and there were a few guys who pastored large churches who helped me out. I want to do the same for others. I’m dreaming of ways Palm Valley can formally equip and encourage church planters in the future, so I’m praying this weekend will help jump start that.
Gary says I’ve helped him with RidgeStone Church, I’m not sure how I’ve helped, but I guess he should buy me dinner this week to say thanks. RidgeStone is 2 years old, and hitting up against 600 in attendance every week. They remind me alot of Palm Valley 4 years ago, so it’s cool to share with Gary our experiences; good, bad, and ugly.
To all my Palm Valley Church family, please know Lori and I will miss being with you this weekend. I know you’ll have an awesome service with Ryan speaking. Please pray for me that God would use me to encourage RidgeStone Church to seize God’s vision for them.
We’ll also be touring a number of churches over weekend, looking for ideas for our own campuse.
I’ll also be meeting with one of the coolest young pastors around, who is flat out getting it done! It will be fun to hang out with this guy, talk leadership and growth, and learn from each other. I’ll blog more about this mystery pastor tomorrow night, because we’re hanging out together tomorrow.
Lori and I flew to Atlanta today, and it was anything but routine. There was some funny moments, and a tense moment. Here were the highlights…
1) Apparently Lori thought she was above the law, and that the new regulations about what you can and can’t take on board don’t really apply to her. As we went through security, we were pulled aside so that they could search Lori’s purse. They proceeded to pull out lipstick, perfume, nail polish, liquid tylenol, a breather, and a few other assorted items. I had a big laugh, but Lori wasn’t too happy about leaving her favorite nail polish. Guess we’ll have to hit the mall tomorrow.
2) In these high alert days, it is not smart to say anything rude or threatening to any official on the plane. About 2 hours into the flight, the stewardess came on the loud speaker and asked if there was anybody on board with a law enforcement or military background. At this point my senses were heightened, and I was ready to take down anyone messing with the plane. I wasn’t alone, there were a bunch of big dudes on the plane looking for anyone acting funny.
Turns out a drunk guy said something either rude or threatening (depends who you ask) to a flight attendant. A police officer on board was summoned to sit with the guy for the rest of the flight. He was arrested in Atlanta, and I’m sure learned a tough life lesson. He deserved it.
This weekend Ryan will be teaching on “Help For Single Parents”. Whether or not you’re a single parent, you don’t want to miss this message. Ryan will be interviewing his mom on stage. She’s an incredible gal who raised Ryan and his two brothers, Adam and Aaron, by herself.
You need to hear her speak. She got the job done! Ryan and Adam are both on staff with us, and Aaron is on staff at another church. This will be an incredible message of hope, faith, and encouragment.
If you know any single parents, make sure you bring them with you this weekend to Palm Valley Church. They’ll thank you!
I’m blown away by what God is doing in the lives of Junior and Senior Hgh School students at PVC. Over the past weeks we’re seeing over 200 students and growing each week. Daniel, our HS Pastor, told me this morning that 6 high schoolers received Christ as their savior last night at a luau. Our youth team is hitting their stride big time right now!
I think the reason there’s such momentum right now is due to a big decision we made about a year and a half ago. We broke the normal youth ministry model, and brought jr & sr high, as well as college, all together as one team.Â We plan the weekend as a team.Â Ryan, Daniel Darius and othersÂ all teach in services on a rotating basis. They develop leaders as a team. They schedule as a team.
This allows us to build a great worship service each weekend, with powerful music and great teaching. Jeremiah leads worship for both services, ensuring excellence across this vital area. It also helps us have a long term plan for students from 6th grade through college.
I’m pumped to see what happens through our student ministries. Hundreds of students are being touched with Christ’s love, and they’re going to make an impact on the world!
Since Day 1 of Palm Valley Church, we’ve had a vision for the maturity ministry, including discipleship through Home Teams, classes, men’s and women’s ministries, other growth opportunities.
One thing that drives me crazy is when people have left our church because we don’t have those things YET. They will leave angry because we don’t have everything we’re going to have right at the moment (even though they’re sure we can’t be a church without them), and they say mean and hurtful things about our church on the way out the door (as if that’s honoring to Christ?).
As we’re rolling out dozens of new discipleship classes, women’s ministry opportunities, men’s opportunities, and other events this fall, I’ve run into a ton of people who now wish they hadn’t left Palm Valley Church, because we now have the ministries we always said we would one day have. They say, “if only I had know you were so close”.
My question to them: Couldn’t you wait? Are we so impatient, self-focused Christians that if a church doesn’t do exactly what we want when we want it done that we can’t wait and let the church develop?
We’reÂ not evenÂ 6 years old as a church. Healthy churches don’t develop overnight, they develop health by focusing on the core of what they’re called to do, and doing it well. They only add ministries when they can be done with excellence, and further the overall vision of the church.
It’s a sympton of what’s ailing the church in America today. Christians want fast-food faith, where they can order up what they want and get it quickly. We think that more knowledge will make us more mature. That’s not true. Application of knowledge makes me more like Christ.
I’m thankful for people who have stayed the course at PVC, and enabled us to grow as God grows us. We’re a healthy church, with a great future ahead of us, because God is developing us one step at a time! Our focus is on Him, not on what people want. I’ve found that God rarely takes me where I want to go, but always takes me where He wants me to go. I also know that I can trust His promises, and that He will always do it at just the right time, His time!
I’m reminded of Habakuk 2:3 (LB)
â€œThese things I plan wonâ€™t happen right away.Â Slowly, steadily, surely the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.Â If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass.Â Just be patient!Â They will not be overdue a single day!â€
So be patient, God’s not done with you, me, or Palm Valley Church yet. Let’s together trust His timing and His work, because of His love. I love being on this journey with the people of Palm Valley Church, it’s a privilege to be with you in this!