Sunday, December 30, 2007

Felt Good

So today I didn't speak for the first Sunday in three months and it felt good to have a breather. I was still at church at my normal 7:30 a.m. set up time but today I handed off the speaking duties to my good friend Bryan "Little H chy" Holder(Isaac has given him this nick name). He spoke today and did a great job. Mark our worship pastor and our band also handed off worship leading duties to Justin and our youth band and they did a awesome job as well.

One of our goals at Stone Bridge is to begin to multiply our ministry and the way we do that is through putting others in positions to begin to use their gifts and abilities. This helps us in many ways as we begin to move toward multiple campuses(which I will announce some exciting details within the next week or so).

This Sunday we had roughly 25 percent of our core people out but yet we still had more people than we have averaged in the last few weeks. This morning we had around 15-20 first timers and several more that were back with us after being gone the last couple of weeks for the Christmas holidays.

Next Sunday is going to be exciting with some cool stuff that is going to be happening within the next 3-6 months and beyond.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Awesome Week

This has been an awesome week. We celebrated Christmas and Isaac's birthday at home for the first time in 3 years. I know that Isaac is going to be just like me. This is scary and exciting at the same time. The reason I say this is because while most kids settle for a roller skating birthday party or some other type theme party, Isaac wanted a fireworks party. So fireworks is what he got. Thanks to our friends at Charlie's Fireworks in Pickens for hooking Isaac up. We blew up everything we could get our hands on, including a pair of sparkler bombs that still make me giddy.

Isaac and my nieces were amused as I entertained them as I ran through the yard holding pyrotechnics shooting flaming balls of report into the midnight sky. WARNING!!!! Kids do not try that at home. Fireworks are meant to be placed on the ground and lit. Light fuse and run. And please no emails about how to make a sparkler bomb as I will not be party to someone losing an arm.

In church news this has been one of the most productive weeks that I have had in 10 years. Even with a couple of days off this week I was able to get ahead by four months on my messages. I am currently planned out for the next four months on every message. That includes topics, scripture, video elements, series, graphics and more. I haven't written out each message word for word yet but I do have the main theme and all the elements for each message planned out.

This past week has been some awesome meetings about the coming months. Next week I hope to announce some really cool stuff that is going to be happening in the next 6 months. I will be sharing this first with our church on Sunday the 6th and then I'll put it on the web.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I Feel Old

Today is Isaac's birthday. Today he turns 10 years old. He is no longer a single number but a double number. Happy birthday Isaac. Man that makes me feel old. I can't imagine how old the people that have teenagers or grown kids feel. I guess I take consolation in knowing that I surely don't feel as old as them. Keep your chin up older feeling people than myself. Hey, the retirement center is not that bad, because after all every Tuesday is shopping day at Hamricks.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas and The Latest

We started having Christmas parties last Friday and as of right now we are about halfway through. We have had at least one everyday and all the parties conclude on Thursday. One whole week of parties. So far I have racked up on everything from Outback Gift Cards to 1000 Cow Tails to a real live animal killing blow gun. I haven't killed anything with it yet although I have shot a couple of holes in the extra bedroom wall trying to hit a cardboard box. I just hope that any animals that I try to bring down with this blow gun are larger than a cardboard box, sitting still, and nowhere near our extra bedroom wall.

This past week we were able to drop off the toys from Isaac's Christmas Project to Shriners and Children's Hospital in Greenville. Isaac collected 750 toys which filled more than 56 boxes. We also gave a check to Shriners in the amount of $460 that people had sent to provide toys to kids. I hope to have some video in the next week or so.

Church is going great. For Christmas we had the Lord's Supper which was an awesome experience. We had a couple of people receive Christ last week. For the first couple of months we had a group that had come together to help us get started. They have now returned to their home churches and we are now seeing our people take ownership and see the excitement of making a difference in the community. We have a solid group that has grown larger than our original core group and it's exciting to see what is going to take place in the next few months. I am going to be meeting with some people in the next few weeks as we begin the steps of moving toward our multiple campuses. These will be all live venues not video. I know many are doing video venues but that is not in the vision of our church. Our desire is to develop a church of community that impacts the community. As we grow we will continue to open more campuses. One of the biggest compliments that we have gotten is the atmosphere of community. Our goal is to continue to keep that atmosphere as we grow.

The next few weeks will be huge as we will be making big decisions that will have an impact on the church for years to come. It is exciting and i can't wait to see what is going to take place.

I hope everyone has a great an enjoyable Christmas season. I'm off to steal the cookies and Coke that Isaac left for Santa.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Video

After a long wait, Isaac's Christmas Video has made it to youtube. This is the video from last year's delivery. This year we will be delivering gifts on Thursday of this week. Feel free to email the link to your friends and family during the Christmas season.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Back Home

Man what a whirlwind. We arrived in Cincy late Tuesday after a full day of driving. We were up at 6:45 a.m. and off to the hospital. Traffic was crazy because of the rain and it took 45 minutes to make the 15 minute drive over to the hospital from our hotel. We went from test to test with our biggest break in between tests being only 20 minutes or so. After about 13 hours of tests we walked out of the hospital at 8:00 p.m. We stopped and got dinner and then back to the hotel to bed. We slept in and then headed for home. We arrived back home late last night.

We haven't heard the results from the MRI yet. We will probably hear something next week.

I am using the video of Isaac's Christmas Project in our service this Sunday. Our church as well as other are participating in the project this year. We will be delivering gifts this week to the hospitals and the gift cards to AIM.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Cincy

Has it been a year? It is hard to believe that this time last year we were preparing to move back to South Carolina. A year ago yesterday we had a U Haul full of toys heading to the Children's Hospital. It seems like yesterday. I am using his video in my message this Sunday.

Next week we will be delivering toys to Shriner's Hospital and Greenville Memorial Hospital in Greenville. Our church is also taking part in this and once again there are tons of toys to deliver. Toys are continuing to arrive. This is the highlight of our year. Seeing kids excited about something when they usually don't feel their best is the most rewarding thing ever.

We have an early morning tomorrow in the hospital. Isaac has a Dexa Scan, Ultrasound, GFR, MRI, labs , and two clinic appointments. Everything starts around 8 a.m. and ends around 8 p.m. Not what you would consider a fun day.

I saw something today that I don't understand. Shoes with velcro. If you are three or your hands are crippled with arthritis these are acceptable. If you are in your mid 40's these are not a fashion statement and neither is the fanny pack you are wearing around the outlet shops in Pigeon Forge.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Is it Fishing?

Today after church I went fishing with my friend Scott. Now I'll admit I went fishing there before and we actually caught some. Today was a different story. This biggest thing on my line today was the little minnows and I didn't even do a good job keeping them on. I flung three off my hook merely trying to cast. Needless to say I didn't get a bite. I didn't feel too bad though because Scott is a fisherman through and through and he didn't catch a thing either. Now if I was him I probably would be down and depressed. That is the thought that kept me happy knowing I didn't catch anything. At least I'm not him.



Today at church I used a video of a guy who goes to StoneBridge. His life story told the message today. It was powerful and I appreciate Robert sharing his story. Mark and the band did a great job. They have really stepped it up in the last few weeks.

This week we head to Cincinnati for Isaac's annual Liver Transplant check up.

Today marks the 6 year anniversary of Isaac's liver transplant. We are eternally grateful that a family thought of us during their time of loss and gave Isaac the gift of life. We encourage everyone to be organ donors and give the gift of life.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I'll be back posting soon

I'll be back posting on a more regular basis in the next few days. The past three weeks have been extremely busy with the opening of our offices and youth building. We have been working hard up there and things are starting to calm down somewhat. We will be gone to Cincinnati this week for Isaac's annual liver check up. Tommorrow will be 6 years since his liver transplant. It is still amazing to think about all that he has been through.

Well, I'm off to run through my message for church tommorrow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Bridge

Tonight we kicked off our Student Ministry in their very own place tonight. Everything went great. There was a buzz in the building tonight. The band did a great job with Justin, Lloyd, Mandy, Michael, and Jason. We had 14 adult volunteers helping out tonight which was amazing. From 3 weeks ago the Student Ministry has more than doubled which is awesome.

I had issued a challenge for students to bring their friends and they held up their end of the deal. In return, I held up my end of the bargain which was to have X Box 360, an air hockey table identical to the ones in Frankie's fun park, comfortable chairs, and quite possibly the first Student Ministry with its on Chocolate Fountain. And no, the chocolate fountain was not a kid with the runs. We had our own chocolate fountain complete with flowing milk chocolate and fresh strawberries which were completely devoured by the time I made my way over to it.

The chocolate fountain was part of a deal I made with Albert if he brought his friends and he got the word out so I was ready with the chocolate fountain. We consumed around 1 pound of chocolate tonight.

We had students from Palmetto High, Palmetto Middle, Wren High, Wren Middle, TL Hanna, Homeschoolers and McCants. I have been in churches where we only had one or two schools represented so it was cool to see so many schools represented and the areas that our church will have an impact on in reaching students.

A special thanks to all of our volunteers who have worked so hard in getting the building ready for the students.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Update and a Question

It has been an extremely busy the last couple of weeks. So much so that I haven't had much time to post. Here's a quick update on things.

1. Isaac is doing pretty good. His blood counts are better than ever. However, with the cold season coming up we will have to limit where he can go. He still can't be around kids in closed areas.

2. The toy drive is coming along quite nicely. So far we have received around 22 boxes of toys to deliver to the Hospitals. If you would like to be involved you can drop them off or send them to 108 Garlington Court Easley,SC 29642.

3. The youth building and our church offices are open as of this week. We have mostly completed our work on the building and it is going to be awesome for our students and good to finally have an office.

4. The church is coming along very well. I felt that today was probably our best overall service. Their was a ton of energy in the service. The volunteers were on their game and people seemed to really be getting excited about what is happening. We have had some people come and go but as of the last couple of weeks we are starting to see the real core of our people starting to take shape. Everyone on board seems to be really involved and inviting others. Today was really encouraging to see.


Ok now for the question. As of late I have had limited time to devote to this blog and I am going to try and narrow the purpose of this blog to just a couple of things for a while. Here is the cool part, you get to help me decide. So all you have to do is drop me a comment or email @scbushelno@aol.com and let me know why you read this blog. Is it the Isaac updates, is it Stone Bridge Church updates, is it the weird funny stories of my life? You tell me.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving, we are extremely thankful for Isaac's health and not being in the hospital for the first time in three years at Thanksgiving. It still blows our mind to think that Isaac was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of his Bone Marrow Transplant process two years ago this past Thursday. Sometimes it feels like we lost a year and a half somewhere along the way. In the midst of our thankfulness we are also reminded of our friends who have lost their children in their fight with disease in the past year. You all are in our prayers and your children will never be forgotten.

In honor of them and in thankfulness for Isaac's health we are continuing this year with the Christmas Project to provide toys to children who are hospitalized during the Christmas season. This year we are focusing on Shriner's Hospital and Greenville Memorial. So far we have received around 19 boxes of gifts to deliver. If the number of toys exceeds the needs of the local hospitals, we will be making a delivery to Cincinnati Children's Hospital as well. If you would like to donate a new unwrapped toy you can send it to Isaac's Pit Stop Project 108 Garlington Court Easley,SC 29642. We will be accepting gifts up through December 15th. We would like to say a special thanks to Hendrick Motorsports and Motorsports Authentics for the generous gift of toys for the kids.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog Hiatus Part 2 The Remix

I am going to be taking a blog vacation for a time period while I am incarcerated. Just kidding I am not in jail but I am taking a blog break for a while until my life slows down a bit. Last time the blog break lasted two days, this time it could be three.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Today

I'll be honest, the past three of four days were discouraging. Things just kept unravelling and I couldn't figure out what was happening. Anything from equipment to just stuff crazy happening. I really had no idea of what to expect at Church with the way that my yesterday went. I was almost afraid to know what was coming next.

Then Today happened. And I must say that today was our best all around service that our church has had in our 7 weeks of existence. I believe that years from now we will look back and see that we turned a corner on November 18th 2007. The music was clicking, the sound was awesome, our volunteers were excited and it seemed like everything fell into place. It really made everything that had happened this past week all worth it. It was a ton of work but it all turned out good. I finished out the day eating lunch at Outback with all of our Children's Ministry volunteers. This coming week we finish up our Gravity series and then begin our December series "Broadcast".

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pic of Isaac at the Charlotte Hornets Game


Here's The Latest

Here's the latest.....

  • This Bobcat's Game in Charlotte was awesome. Isaac got to go on the court during pregame with all of the players including 7 foot something Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets. Isaac couldn't believe how tall he is. The suite we sat in was incredible. I have sat in the suites at some Clemson games before but this took suites to a whole new level. A special thanks to the Bobcats, Rick Hendrick, and The Jeff Gordon Foundation for putting together an awesome night.
  • We have started painting in the building that will serve as our youth ministry building and our church offices. Things are coming together nicely. We will be working up there on Monday and Tuesday nights next week. A big thanks to everyone who has turned out to help. We are looking for some couches and chairs for the building for our small group areas. Contact me at scbushelno@aol.com if you have one you would like to donate.
  • Isaac's Christmas Project is coming along. We have started receiving gifts already and we will be focusing on providing toys to the hospitals in the Greater Greenville Area. If you would like to donate a new toy or toys to the project, you can drop them off or send them to 108 Garlingon Court Easley,SC 29642. We will be accepting toys through December 14th. The delivery date will be Sunday December 16th.
  • Last night was the first night of meeting for our student ministry. I went and tagged along with our youth group. It was a good start and I'm looking forward to see what happens with the group as they begin to reach their friends.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's Been Busy

It's been crazy busy for the last few weeks and I made a decision that if anything was going to suffer that it would be the blog and not my family or the church. So that's the reason for not many posts lately.

Here's the latest..........
Church was great yesterday. It's cool to see people get plugged in to what they are passionate about. We have some cool things planned for the upcoming months. It will involve us being intentional about reaching the community for Christ.

We begin painting the youth/office space tommorrow night. I got the keys today and it was cool to sit in there and envision what all is going to take place in the church.

I was encouraged today by a phone call that may open some doors for us to partner with some incredible ministries in reaching countries that are closed to Christianity. The coolest part is that the partnership begins with local ministry.

Tonight I was greatly encouraged at our home group.

I'll share some highlights from our trip to the Charlotte Bobcats game tommorrow. Let me just say though that it was amazing.

Friday, November 9, 2007

The Latest in Our World

Here is the latest that is going on with Isaac. Melissa usually provides more details so I just copied her latest post from his website. This week has been extremely busy and I haven't had time to post.
More good news to report….Isaac had a dentist appointment on Monday, this is the first time he has been since 2003 because of the risk of infection. We were anxious to find out how many cavities he had because for almost two years he was ordered by the doctors not to use a toothbrush because the slightest scrap or cut in the gum could cause major infection for him. I did clean his teeth with toothpaste on a toothette, which is basically a small sponge on the end of a stick.

As you can imagine this did not clean very well but we did the best we could. So, the dentist came in to evaluate Isaac’s teeth and she was talking dental words to the dental assistant and I did not understand. When she finished, I asked how bad the damage was. She said, what damage, there are no cavities. Let me repeat, she said he did NOT have any cavities. I literally about fell out in the floor when she said that, I had to ask her to repeat that several times until I grasped the fact. I was and still am amazed about this. This may not seem like a big deal to some of you but it is a huge deal for us, especially Isaac. This just proves, again, how awesome God is and how He has taken care of Isaac. The dentist did say that Isaac may need braces in the future and Isaac lost it! He was so upset! But overall a great visit.

Then Tuesday his homebound teacher came and after that it was Art Lessons. Katherine, a friend of ours has volunteered to give Isaac art lessons once a week. The cool thing about this is she has the lesson plans and the 3rd grade Art book that is being used by the Art teacher at Hunt Meadows, the school that Isaac would be attending if he was in school. This is a fun activity and something for him to look forward to during the week. Thanks Katherine!

Wednesday was home health nurse day for an IV infusion and labs. He did great through the infusion with no blood pressure issues. AND the lab results for his blood counts, for two weeks in a row now, are normal! Platelets are 185 up from 152. I know that I say this everytime but this is the best his platelets have been in over two years!!! His BMT doctor is very pleased with the improving blood counts. Today he had a doctor appointment with his Ped Gastro doc and tomorrow is a follow up with the Ped Hematologists. Full of doctor appointments this week, but it is so nice to be able to do follow ups here at home instead of having to drive back and forth to Cincinnati. We do have to go back to Cinci Dec 12th for lots of tests and clinic visits.

Sunday after church we will be in Charlotte, NC at the Bobcats basketball game. Isaac was invited to this game by the Jeff Gordon Foundation. The tickets are for box seats and there will be a couple of other bone marrow transplant families there. We are supposed to arrive at 5:00 pm in Charlotte. Isaac and the other BMT kids will get to meet the basketball players and stand out on the court with the players during the National Anthem. How cool is this!

And for other news…Isaac will be doing his Christmas Project again this year and it will be taking place here, locally instead of Cincinnati. This project will be called Isaac’s Pit Stop. This project is where Isaac delivers donated gifts to the children in the hospital for Christmas. So, if you would like to donate gifts for the children at the hospital, you can drop off or mail the donations to: 108 Garlington Ct., Easley, SC 29642.Take Care,Melissa

Monday, November 5, 2007

Christmas Project 2

Everyone knows that every good movie has a sequel, so we thought why not have a sequel to Isaac's Christmas Train.

Many of you remember Isaac's Christmas Project from last year that brought toys to hundreds of kids in the hospital. If you missed it click on the label on this page that says Christmas Train Project and read all about it.

This year we have decided to do this project again. Isaac is going to be delivering toys to a couple of different local hospitals and possibly others depending on the response. Isaac remembers what it is like being in the hospital during Christmas time and he wants to help kids that are in the hospital at Christmas time feel a little better by giving them gifts. This year Isaac has called his project Isaac's Pit Stop(he's starting to like racing a lot more now).

Anyway, if you would like to help with the project, we are asking for new unwrapped toys for kids from birth through teenagers. Toys can be mailed or dropped off to 108 Garlington Court Easley,SC 29642.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Sunday Recap

Here's a recap of some thoughts from the last few days:

1. Getting an extra hour of sleep isn't all that it is cracked up to be. I woke up at 5 a.m.

2. Church was good today. We had one person receive Christ that I know of which was awesome. We had around 20 high schoolers and middle schoolers today and several college age students. We've had a lot of first timers in the past few weeks. Word is starting to spread.

3. Tomorrow night is home groups. Our home group looks like it has almost tripled in one week.

4. We had several more people sign up to get plugged in to the Church today.

5. Next Monday we get the keys to our offices and youth building and begin painting and doing some work there.

6. Our youth ministry kicks off 11.14.07. 6:00 at Pizza House bring $3 and then we head over to Velocity.

7. We raced Go Karts this afternoon at the house. Lloyd, BHolda, and myself. Of course when Bryan races something crazy always happens and of course today was no exception. Bryan lost a front tire going into the down hill turn and we still haven't found the tire. It apparently went through the backyard and across the driveway. Last time it was seen it was making it's way down through my neighborhood until it went out of sight. We live on a hill so there is not telling where that tire is right now. I did have another one so we were able to continue racing. It was pretty competitive except for the fact they neither have the amazing driving skills of myself and the way I skillfully dominated every challenge they presented to me. It reminds me of the domination that I once put on a young Adam L. in the man challenge a few years ago.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Volunteer of the Week

The volunteer of the week hails from the great city of Anderson. The first time I met him was when he came to hear me speak at Marathon this summer. Amazingly after hearing me speak he still wanted to be a part of the church start.

Mark Sexton is the volunteer of the week. Mark does several different things for the church. He is one of our worship leaders and does a great job. He also is responsible for all of the banners you see hanging around the church and last week he hooked us up with a 36 foot long 10 foot high backdrop banner that looks awesome.

Mark is a South Carolina fan but he is ok because he always has Clemson stickers for his Clemson friends. Mark will be leading us for the next several weeks in a row in worship. Thanks Mark for all you do.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Guess What I Had For Lunch Today

So guess what I had for lunch today. http://money.aol.com/news/articles/_a/frozen-pizzas-recalled-for-possible/20071101165309990001?ncid=NWS00010000000001 Yes I had Totinos frozen pepperoni pizza at lunch today and then read this article tonight.


Some people have been asking if Isaac is going to be doing his Christmas Project again this year. Be sure to check my blog on Monday for some big news regarding this.

Monday, October 29, 2007

You Asked

Even as a pastor, I have still received the same type of letters and emails as before so I figured that I would go ahead and to continue to answer them in the "You Asked" segment of my blog.

This one again comes from David G. of Easley

Dear Sammy,
With the thought of North Korea and possibly Iran getting Nuclear Bombs, I have begun construction of my very own underground fall out shelter under my home. So far I have poured 58 yards of concrete and used 275 linear feet of re barb. I have modeled my fall out shelter after the one featured on Happy Days episode #45 when Howard Cunningham decides to build a fall out shelter for his family. If you remember the episode then you remember how Richie didn't want to stay because he would miss his friends, Ralph Mouth, Potsy, and the Fonz and Joanie wouldn't stay because Joanie loved Chachi.

Anyway, I think I am nearing completion and getting ready to put the finishing touches on my shelter. I have stored away over 5000 gallons of drinking water in small 16 ounce bottles wrapped in lead.

The question I have is this: I am considering purchasing 15,000 MRE's(Meals Ready to Eat) from Military Surplus and was wondering if you recommended any particular flavor? Any advice would be greatly appreciated and for your help I would allow you to stay for a period of 16 days in my shelter should nuclear Holocaust occur.

Well David, that sure is a generous offer to stay in the shelter for 16 days and very much appreciated but quite frankly the thought of staying in a shelter with someone who seems a little bit too stalkerish really freaks me out. I will help you out with the MRE flavors though.

Just tonight, I was given a vegetarian MRE by my friend Scott Watson at home group.
I must say I was a bit skeptical about the taste. I first tried the crackers which was the best part of the meal. Next was some Pineapple mash looking stuff followed by pound cake. Melissa actually enjoyed the pound cake which was quite moist surprisingly. My favorite part was the mini Tabasco sauce bottle. Finally it was on to the Bean Burrito. I must say I was looking forward to this part but I really never could get over the rubbery outside of the burrito and the moving feeling that took place in my stomach afterwards. I have included some pictures David so that you will know which order to eat them in.

I will say stay away from the Vegetarian MRE or the results inside the shelter could be worse than a nuclear blast. Happy nuclear winter and I hope this answers your questions.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Update

Today was an awesome day. First off, Isaac was moved last night from a regular room at Greenville Memorial into a room in the Pediatric ICU. This afternoon he was released from the hospital straight from ICU to home and as of this afternoon he was sitting in the floor playing with his legos as if the whole weekend in the hospital never happened. We are certainly grateful he is feeling better and very appreciative of all of your prayers.

In other news, church today was great. You could sense the momentum beginning to build. I am excited to see what is coming in the coming weeks. We announced today that we have signed a lease on a building that will serve as our youth area and another part of it will serve as our church offices. We will kick our our student ministry on November 14th at the Velocity building on Highway 153 and then move over to "The Bridge" (our student ministry building) beginning the first week of December. This coming week we begin our new series Gravity and we hope to see you then.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Isaac Update

Isaac is still in Greenville Memorial Hospital. Today was rough with his blood pressure causing him to vomit and hurt. As evening came around he got to feeling a little better. They have started a new blood pressure med and it may take a day or so to get adjusted. Meanwhile he will still be in the hospital until they get it under control. He can't have visitors due to his immune system but your prayers are appreciated.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Honor Roll and Hospital

Isaac got his first report card in two years today and he made straight A's and the Honor Roll at Hunt Meadows. He doesn't get to go to school but the teacher comes to the house and he still has to take tests and all just like the kids that are at school.

Isaac is currently in Greenville Memorial Hospital with some blood pressure issues. His blood pressures today were in the 160s over 120s which is dangerous high so they have increased his meds to help drop that down some. Melissa is staying tonight and hopefully he can come home tomorrow. He still can't have visitors due to his immune system so no visitors please. Just remember him in your prayers. Thanks.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Volunteer of the Week

This week's volunteer of the week is really a staff member at the church but he isn't getting paid. My volunteer of the week is Chasen Callahan. Chasen and Casey were the first two people to come on board with the church. I told him about the new church start. I told him I didn't have any money to pay him, we didn't have a building, and we didn't even have a sound system, so would you like to come on board and be our Worship Leader. Sounds like an offer he couldn't refuse right.

The cool thing is that he jumped in with both feet. Chasen not only heads up our worship, he meets with me on upcoming messages and does our graphic print stuff and most of our video elements that we use in the church.

Another cool thing is that I told Chasen and Casey that we wanted to grow the church. They took this to heart and Casey is with child.(with child sounded like the Bible would say it.) Seriously though they are going to be parents in the next several months.

Chasen also travels a lot as his band is getting ready to release their first album at the start of the new year. Be sure to click on the link that says Chasen on the right side of the blog and check out their page. Be sure to support them by going ahead and pre-ordering their upcoming release.

The cool thing is that even though they are touring, he tries as much as he can to be back in time for church. That is something that you don't see everyday. Thanks Chasen for all you do.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wednesday Update

Here's a quick recap of the week so far. I t has been busy but that is good. Keep Isaac in your prayers. His blood numbers dropped which the Doctors believe is because of a new medicine which they have now discontinued. Hopefully things will return to normal in a few weeks.

In other news, I saw this on the web today and it is pretty funny. These guys have just started as night watchmen in a cemetary.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Pastor

On Mondays, I have decided that I am going to do kind of an update on what is taking place in the church and some of the prep that goes into things. Mondays are always planning and meeting type days. Today was pretty typical of what the last month of Mondays have been like.

7:57 a.m.- Walked into my office and did some personal study. Why 7:57? Well I had to finish eating my Nutter Butter bar for breakfast and it just happened that I finished up at 7:57 a.m. On Mondays I like to get going before 8:00 a.m. . Last week I was in my office at 6:45 a.m.

8:25 a.m. - I try to plan out my week and even into the future weeks as well. Every Monday I spend at least 30 minutes thinking through the entire week and creating my weekly to do list. A check list has always helped me track what I need to get done and in what priority. If I don't write it down, it won't get done and will be forgotten. I pretty much go everywhere with my calendar.

9:00 a.m.- Edited my message on Final Cut Pro and began making DVD copies for all of our Children's Workers. We do this for everyone who helps out in Stepping Stones since they aren't able to be in the service.

10:00 a.m. - Headed out to FBC Pickens to return a Handbell I borrowed for a message illustration. Thanks to Bryan Hester for the help with that.

10:45 a.m. - Left FBC and stopped by and visited a few minutes with my friends at Norris Ford.

11:15 a.m. - Stopped by Staples to pick up a new external hard drive to store our video stuff on and picked up some more office supplies.

Lunchtime- Met with Chasen and Casey to discuss this past Sunday's service and look ahead for the next few weeks. This helps Chasen and I to know where we are going with the messages and music so that the service will flow. We also break down the service to see what we can do better. These meetings are really constructive and not destructive. We realize that we are human and we mess up from time to time. Excellence doesn't mean perfection and we always try to keep that in mind. These meetings last about 2 hours and are all productive.

2:00 p.m.- Stopped by the bank and picked up our deposit receipt for the offerings from yesterday.

2:15 p.m. -Stopped by our bookkeepers house and dropped off some receipts and let them know what checks we would need for the upcoming week. Even though we are a new church, I did not want to have the check book, so one of the first things we looked for was someone else to keep the books so that everything is above board financially.

2:30 p.m. - Met with one of our home group leaders.

3:00 p.m. - Arrived home at the office. Currently, the church office is our extra bedroom but as of today we have signed a lease on 4700 square foot of space in the heart of Powdersville. About 1000 sq ft will serve as our church offices and the rest will serve as our youth ministry building. It is going to be awesome. I am excited for our students. They have been really involved in serving and it will be cool to see them have a place of their own. We will also use the area for band rehearsals as well. Our official move in will be the first of December but we will begin painting and building the stage and stuff in the next couple of weeks. We want parents to know that we are serious about reaching students.

3:00-5:30 p.m. Worked on getting my points ready to drop off at Alpha Printing and sent my message points to our media guy. Went over my message for this Sunday and worked on some upcoming messages.

7:09 p.m. - Met up with Chasen and picked up our graphics stuff for the next series "Gravity" and an upcoming flyer that is going out into the community. Why 7:09? Well that is an inside joke between Chasen and I and I choose not to share it.

Throughout the day my phone stayed glued to my ear which was good because a lot of things are happening and I had a lot of people to talk to about upcoming stuff. Keystones our home groups/ life groups are kicking off all over the area in the next couple of weeks. We have groups kicking off in Anderson, Piedmont, Powdersville, and Easley. This is cool because these groups are the backbone of all we do.

That's about all for today. I am watching Monday Night Football waiting to see of my Fantasy Football team is going to win.

Tuesdays I lock myself in my office all day and write upcoming messages. It usually takes a couple of days for it to all to come together but Tuesday is my main study day for that.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Thoughts

It's about 8 p.m. and I just sat down in my recliner to kick back for a while. Here are some thoughts from today:

1. Things went well at church today with another 15 or so first timers. Our goal is to get them plugged into the life of the church once they have received Christ and not just for them to sit as attenders. Making disciples is our main goal for anyone who walks through our doors.

2. We had two or three things happen today that could have been major problems but I must say that no one freaked out and everything turned out fine. Great job everyone.

3. Next Sunday we are doing something I don't believe I have ever heard of another church doing before. Don't worry, I am not going to be controversial for the sake of controversy, I am not going to jump from atop the catwalk, I will have my clothes on for the entire service, I am not playing any more air guitar or anything like that. It will be all good and a huge step of faith. That is all I am saying about it. You do need to be there because I doubt I will post about it after the fact.

4. This afternoon I took a mini nap and then Lloyd(our sound guy who does a great job) came over and raced go karts. We discovered that these new carts are a whole lot safer as I took a shot from his cart right in the side and it didn't do a thing to the carts. Later on Lloyd managed to find the fence coming out of turn 3. Let's just say that the back tire and rim are no longer functional. I'll try to post pics tomorrow. It was a quick fix with a new tire and rim and we were off racing again.

Well I'm off to check my fantasy football team where I believe I defeated Reggie Smith and took over the top spot in my division from Evan Silver today.

I'll leave you with this quote from Mark G as we rode back from the Clemson game yesterday. In reference to a guy who was playing Satan in a church play his church was doing Mark said the following "you know he sounds just like Satan". I then asked him when was the last time he heard Satan speak and he gave me a dumbfounded look.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Two Random Thoughts

1. Tonight I did something I have never done before and it made me feel Paul Bunyanish. No, I didn't cut down a forest or buy a blue ox named Babe. What I did was compeletly tear down a Briggs and Stratton 5 HP motor and put a new cam shaft into the block. I rebuilt an engine and to my amazement, when I pulled the cord it fired up. It made me feel that I had accomplished something in life.

2. Tonight after working hard in the garage, I came inside and went to get something to drink. And when I went to the fridge, this thought hit me,"Gosh I like Ice makers". Really I do.

That's about all the thoughts my brain can think of right now.

Volunteers of the Week

This week I had someone picked out for volunteer of the week but I decided to use this person in my message Sunday and I didn't want to let the cat out of the bag.

So, having said all of that I have decided to recognize a whole group of volunteers.

Our volunteers of the week are the Stepping Stones volunteers. These are our children's ministry volunteers. Erin Brown, Casey Callahan, Shannon Tucker and Melissa Gibson have headed up the different areas and have knocked the ball out of the park. This past Sunday during the message I heard a loud scream. I knew that they were having a blast and learning too.

A special thanks to Dana Longley for heading up the check in process. Also, a huge thanks for all of our students who are helping out in this area. These students are the back bone of this ministry and they give the children's ministry a boost of teenage energy.

Thanks again for all do.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wild Kingdom

As of late I have begun to feel like my life at home is something akin to Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. Here's the tally of all the creatures that Isaac has living at the house and each of their feeding schedules.

1) Tinkerbell- This is Isaac's cat and she has to be fed and watered once each morning.
2) 5 goldish colored fish and one lazy white catfish(that sits all day on the bottom. I'm still not convinced that he is real because I have as of yet to see him move) They prefer night time feedings of one pinch of food.
3) Several dozen snails. They don't require feeding as long as the fish keep creating green gunk on the inside of the aquarium. They seem to have an acquired taste for the stuff. I'm considering putting a few of them in my shower to take care of the gunk in there.
4) Half a dozen hermit crabs. They must be fed these pellet looking things once a day along with watering their sponge.
5)Toad the Frog- This is Isaac's frog that lives under the porch. Isaac has created him a habitat that he comes and gets water from. He just needs water once every day.
6)Charlotte- Yes about three months ago we adopted a pet spider that lives on the side of the house. I am not allowed to touch her web. I have never seen a spider stay in one location for so long. She is big too, about the size of a nickel. Fortunately I don't have to feed her. She lives quite the high life on small winged creatures who drift unsuspectingly into her gelatinous web of death.
7) Tom the Turtle- This is our latest adoption within the last month or so. Tom lives under our porch and makes his appearance every morning around 8:30 a.m. looking for his two fresh grapes. He only eats two we have sat out three or four before but he only eats two. It is nice to know that our turtle isn't taken by gluttonous behavior.

We have quite and array of creatures and Isaac enjoys them all. I have trouble keeping their names straight. One day though, I'm gonna poke at that catfish just to see if it's real.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Youth Ministry and a Busy Monday

Today was busy but all in a good way. I started off at 8:30 a.m. and didn't finish up working until 9:00 p.m.. There are tons of logistical and administrative things that had to be done today and I got a lot of them knocked out. I had my second staff meeting today. It was just Chase and I again at Nick Henrys in Powdersville. I've heard a lot of positive feedback about yesterday but we still found ways that we can improve.

Things are moving forward with a ton of different things. Keystones(our home group/life groups) are kicking off in the next couple of weeks. Make sure and stop by the info table and get signed up and someone will contact you about the different ones in your area.

In other news, we are officially kicking off our youth ministry in November. We have just worked out a deal where we are going to be meeting to start with and hopefully long term as well. Our youth ministry(grades 6-12) will be meeting at the Velocity building on Highway 153 in Powdersville beginning November 14th at 6:45 p.m. If you travel along Highway 153 you can't miss it. It is the largest building there sitting on the hill. Be sure to check out the info table for more details. It has been cool to see that we already have 10-15 youth already coming. I can't wait to see what happens when we kick this off in a month.

Thats about it for today. I am worn out.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Two Post Day Part 2

Most of you have read about the fact that I sold all of the other go karts I had in order to get something a little safer. With all of the preparation for the church, I haven't really had a chance to ride the go karts in the last three weeks. Today after church, I came home and piddled around in the garage and decided to get the karts out and run them some.

Well, later in the afternoon Bryan Holder came over and we raced some. I was proud of him. He drives better when he feels safe in the cart.(These have 5 point safety harnesses and real helmets)


Anyway, the kart he was driving, I just had installed the seat on it this afternoon. We had been riding about an hour or so when Bryan pulled off to the side. I pulled over to see what was up and he told me his buttocks was burning. He unbuckled and climbed out of the kart.


In my haste to install the seat, I apparently hadn't checked to see the ground clearance on the seat. The seat is made of 1/4 inch thick fiberglass. But during the course of riding for an hour the dirt had made mince meat of that fiberglass seat. The burning sensation that Bryan was experiencing was because the dirt not had not only worn a hole in the fiberglass seat but it had also worn a hole through his insulated camouflage coveralls, his favorite shorts under the cover alls and his boxers underneath his shorts. The burning sensation he was feeling was the dirt rubbing on his bare bottom at 35 miles per hour.


I must be honest and say that I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. As I type this post I am laughing hysterically. I have included some pics of us racing as well as the hole. I have fixed the last pic so that no flesh is seen. Notice the hole in the seat.

Two Post Day - Post 1

Ok so today is turning out to be a two post day. This is the first of the two as I am still working on the second since it just happened a couple of hours ago.

Today at Stone Bridge everything was clicking. I was extremely proud of all of our volunteers and how quickly we were set up and ready to go. You guys are awesome and very much appreciated. Last week we experienced a few glitches along the way but today was silky smooth with everything working like clockwork.

Once again I was blown away by our children's area. They did an amazing job. At one point in the service I heard all the kids yell out. I knew right then that they were having an awesome time while learning as well. Great job.

We had between 20-30 first timers today which is equivalent to roughly 25% of our church which is in it's second week. The next two weeks are going to be awesome culminating with our service on October 28th that you don't want to miss.

Thanks again to all of our volunteers who made it happen today.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Volunteer of the Week

Starting this week, I am beginning a new Friday post that will highlight some of our volunteers involved at Stone Bridge. Each week it takes tons of volunteers to make things happen within the church.

Our "Volunteer of the Week" is Jeff Garrison. Jeff heads up our media at the church. This is something fairly new to him and he is getting the hang of it pretty quickly. This past week was his first time ever using Pro Presenter and he did a great job. He also helps out with shooting videos as he did for an upcoming video this Sunday.

Jeff was one of the first two people that I told that we were going to be launching a new church. I asked him if he would come on board. The coolest thing about that conversation was that he told me straight up that he did not want a job. He told me that he was happy with his job and benefits of that job but he would volunteer with the church and help out as much as he could. This was the coolest thing to hear because after being in ministry for the last 14 years, I was tired of hearing people wanting to help out just so that they could get a job. Seriously, it seems that the latest trend in churches was that you volunteered your way into a job.

Now don't get me wrong, when we start to hire staff at Stone Bridge, we will look from within first but we will also make sure that they are the right person for the job.

I remember Bill Hybels one time talking about people in your church who could be placed in leadership roles but they necessarily didn't want a job. He talked about people who were happy with their current vocation but they simply wanted to be plugged into the life of the church. I knew when Jeff said he didn't want a job that I had found one of the people Bill Hybels had talked about and it was my job to get him plugged in to where he could use his talents and gifts.

Thanks Jeff and thanks to all of our volunteers who make a difference. Next week I will be highlighting another volunteer and I already know who that is. Just a little hint "Shake and Bake".

I hope to see you all at Stone Bridge Sunday. Remember the time this week is 10:00a.m.. See you then.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

New Favorite Site?

Everyone that knows me well, knows that I am a huge ebay fan. So much so that last year after many years of trying, I finally achieved ebay powerseller status. As much as a like ebay though, I also have become a huge fan of http://craigslist.com . Well it seems as though ebay has finally caught on to the popularity of craigslist and they have launched their own nationwide classified ad site. Their new site is http://kijiji.com . It is is swahilli for village which goes along with ebay's theme of being a global trading village. Who knows this could end up being the best of both worlds, part craigslist and part ebay. I may have possibly found a new favorite web site.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mid Week Update

Good news, I just talked to Melissa and Isaac's blood studies are looking even better. They feel like the treatment that is removing the excess iron off of his liver is making some progress so they have decided not to make any changes. They told her that they expect it to take at least another year before his immune system is back up to normal. They return from Cincinnati tomorrow.

It has been work as normal the last two days. This past week God has shown me some really amazing things that are going to be happening at Stone Bridge in the next few weeks. Hold on because it's going to be an awesome ride.

This week we continue in our series "Life in HD" with Part 2 Experiencing Life. Be sure to invite your unchurched friends and family members. Just a reminder, this week the service goes to it's regular time frame of 10:00 a.m..

Tomorrow morning I am meeting up with a group of pastors in Greenville. They are all from new church plants and we are meeting together to share ideas.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Latest

It's been a busy past couple of weeks, so here is the latest:


  • Melissa turned 34 this past Friday. We bought her a cookie cake. She hates cookie cake, but, Isaac and I thoroughly enjoyed her cookie cake.
  • Yesterday we launched Stone Bridge Church. It was really cool to think about what all is going to take place.
  • Today I had my first staff meeting as a pastor. We met at Nick Henry's. It is a restaurant in Powdersville. Be sure and get a piece of cake if you go there.
  • Melissa,Isaac and her mom are heading to Cincinnati tomorrow for Isaac's check up. His liver numbers are still up so pray that they would start to come back down.
  • Tonight Isaac and I worked on his model cars. It's fun getting to do projects with him.
  • I did some brainstorming for our next two series coming up. They both are going to be really cool.
  • And lastly, I recently sold the yard go karts that I had. But, don't worry I am not going without. With the money I made off of those, I have bought something even faster for the back yard speedway. I have purchased a couple of Sprint Car Go Karts and they are bad fast. We now have to wear real helmets. A professor of mine told me that no matter what vocation I had in life that I needed to have a hobby. I tried fishing and that lasted for about 30 minutes until I get antsy. I tried golf but what is the purpose of chasing a little white ball all around someones field. I never tried hunting because I have a hard time killing anything other than the fire ants that we blow up with fireworks and gasoline. So I think that finally I have settled on go karts. They're fast, they're a blast to drive, and where else can you run your friends into your fence in the back yard. Here is a couple of pics of the new ride.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Stone Bridge Church

We kicked off our first service today at Wren High School. The day started early with more than 50 volunteers showing up at 7:45 a.m. to set up. It was awesome to see because our goal was to be set up by around 9:15 a.m. The children's and lobby areas were set up by 8:45 a.m. Set up went really well for our first time ever being in the building. The sound and video were finished up right on time. Everyone had a great attitude and eager to do whatever it took to get everything lined up. I'm excited to see what is going to take place in the coming days.

The service went well with only a few minor technical glitches. Nothing major that can't be worked out. Chasen led worship and the guys did a great job. It took me a couple of minutes to get on track with the message. I woke up at 4 am so I think I was feeling the effects of that plus I was nervous as mess.

We had over a hundred something first timers which was cool. Of course today everyone was a first timer. The children's area was probably my biggest concern going in but it ended up running the smoothest of everything which was awesome. I wasn't worried about the people we had in charge because I had faith in them but rather my fears mainly were that we didn't know what to expect as far as kids. The kids area had a good number of kids and according to one of the parents I talked to, they had a blast. This was cool because kids can have fun and still learn as well.

We had 10 or so youth with several of them serving in the children's area helping with our other adult volunteers. I was quite impressed with how the youth stepped up and played an important part as well.

I just want to say a big thanks to everyone who has put in tons of hours over the last few months as we have prepared for the church to start.

Here are some pics from today. Probably one of the funniest is Scott Watson wearing a green apron. Scott was our Rocket Man today and did a great job. He wore a backpack filled with 2 1/2 liters of coffee and greeted people with coffee as they got our of their car.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

10.07.07

It's finally here. It's about 12 hours away. Today has been busy but mainly just run throughs and such. We did a complete sound and video run through over at Warehouse Church in Easley. A special thanks to those guys for allowing us to come in and set up. Tommorrow is set for an early start. We will be at the school at 7:45 a.m. for set up and then kick off Stone Bridge Church at 10:07 a.m. . I will update with pictures tomorrow. It promises to be fun.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

10.07.07 @ 10:07 A.M.

Only 4 Days to go until our launch at Wren High School. If every person reading this blog brings just one other person, then we will max out the school auditorium on the first Sunday. The cool thing is that the person you bring may be the person whose life is changed forever. See you there Sunday.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Weekend That Was and The Big Week To Come

The past weekend was great. Saturday morning Isaac and I got up early and headed on down to the Jockey Lot. Here is a list of things I discovered at the Jockey Lot: 1. Where are all of those sets of 1989 Upper Deck Baseball cards that people promised would pay for your kids education one day? They would be located all over the Jockey Lot. Seriously, it was like every other vendor had gobs of baseball cards to sell.

2. Who goes to the Jockey Lot to buy underwear? Obviously someone because the one vendor on the corner had thousands of pairs of men's and women's underwear of various colors, shapes, and materials.

3. How many "one of a kinds" are there in the world? It's funny how every vendor bills his merchandise as "one of a kind" even though the guy two spots away has the exact same thing.

4. And last, it appears that the ancient art of Ninjamanship (or whatever the Ninja stuff is called) is making a strong comeback. I don't believe I have ever seen so many pearl handled faux swords in my entire life. With the sheer amount of swords at the Jockey Lot then it leads me to believe that there must be hidden Ninjas living amongst us.

Saturday afternoon I watched Clemson lose, which is neither here nor there. Saturday night, Melissa, Isaac and I headed off to Anderson to see an outdoor concert featuring Mark and Randy's band Loss for Words. These guys are going to be helping out with Stone Bridge. It was a cool set up out in a field. We enjoyed ourselves and the guys did a great job.

That is about it for the weekend. This week is going to be amazing. Today has already started off pretty cool. This morning I spent studying for an upcoming message and then this afternoon we were gone for a video shoot that we are going to be using in a couple of weeks. The rest of the week is slam booked solid. Things are coming together nicely.

People have been asking what they can do for the church. There are two things: 1. Pray for the service and that people would come to Christ. 2. Invite, invite, invite. Remember 10.07.07 @10:07. It's only 6 days away.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rite of Passage

Isaac is almost 10 years old so I decided to go ahead and have a little talk with him and tell him about things that I figure a young man of his age should know about. I sat him down and told him about the birds............ at the Jockey Lot. I told him that the birds at the Jockey Lot are for sale, but no we won't be getting any when we go there Saturday. He has never been to the Jockey Lot before and so I decided to go ahead and tell him what he would experience(If you're not from Anderson, basically the Jockey Lot is the flea market and just happens to be the most famous thing in Anderson.).

In preparations for what he would experience I decided to let him in on some things. I told him that I wasn't in a mood to fight anyone so it would be best if he not point at anyone there. I told him that if someone said the price was $8 it really meant that they wanted $5. I told him that no matter how popular the mullet looks at the Jockey Lot, he is not getting one. I told him that most families are not related before they are married and no mommy isn't my cousin. I told him that cotton candy isn't usually brown.

Yes, Isaac is taking a very special rite of passage as he visits the Jockey Lot Saturday for the very first time. I'm sure we will have some interesting stories when we get back.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Awesomeness

Tonight we combined our four core groups for a time of fellowship and preparation in advance of next Sunday's launch of Stone Bridge Church. This past week might have been the most hectic and busy I have experienced in a long time but tonight made it all worth it. We ended up adding another group of people to our core which stands at 68 for the launch. We had over 40 something volunteers that were able to take part tonight. Just seeing the whole group of people united for one reason made it awesome. Thanks to everyone that made it tonight and everyone who made the food possible.

Next week will be a series of contacts with our core people and then we will be set for our first Sunday. There is still a lot to get in order but everything is starting to fall into place. 10.07.07 @ 10:07a.m. Go ahead and begin inviting everyone you know. Next Sunday promises to be exciting as we look forward to what God is going to do. Awesome things are on the way.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's Official

It's official, I hate shopping. This morning my schedule consisted of working on a message and then I was off shopping for all the stuff for the church. I left the house at 11:30 a.m. and finished up at 9:00 p.m. tonight.

I bought everything from the children's area stuff to our hospitality area to sound. First stop was a local Children's Store then off to Toys R Us, Home Depot, BJ's Wholesale, Target, and then Sam's. I was doing pretty good until I headed down the last row at Sam's and the temptation almost got to me. Yep, the lady that has the free sampling of cracker delights almost lured me in and right at supper time wouldn't you know it. I avoided the cracker temptation delights and made a stop at the house to drop off one load and eat some supper and then I was off again. I made a stop at Lowe's for $300 worth of extension cords and then my final stop of the evening, Walmart.

I unloaded the car again and sorted through the stuff and then I sat in my recliner and crashed. 9 hours of shopping was about 8 1/2 too much for me. I think I'm off to bed.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Two Weeks To Go

It's coming down to the last two weeks before the launch of Stone Bridge Church. This week promises to be the busiest yet. I just got through looking at my schedule and it is pretty much booked up the whole week with meetings and preparation.

We are trying to stay three to four weeks ahead on our services so I will be finishing up the second message of our series "Life in HD" by the middle of this week.

Things are exciting and I am looking forward to what will happen next week. The buzz is out there about the church start and we are geared up to moving forward. The weeks of work will culminate with a cookout with all of the volunteers and we will be doing our training that night as well.

Just a reminder, this Wednesday Night we will be having the cookout at 7:00 p.m. at 243 St. Paul Road Easley,SC 29642. The evening will last a couple of hours. I look forward to seeing everyone there. I will give another update tomorrow.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What a Week

This has been some kind of week. It started this past Sunday with my grandfather's funeral. My cousins and I conducted his funeral service which was touching having several of the grandsons involved in his service. He was larger than life and his laugh will be missed.

The rest of the week has been all work. I have been trying to work my schedule as if we already have office hours. The only difference is that after I take my shower at about 7:30 a.m., it is a short walk into the extra bedroom which serves as my office right now. It saves on gas.

Most days have been filled with meetings and I have spent most nights either meeting with people or working on messages or church stuff.

We met with our key leaders Wednesday night and meet with all of our volunteers this Wednesday. Last night I went to hear Chasen in concert. The guys did a great job and are going to be leading worship for our first service on 10.07.07 @10:07 in the Auditorium at Wren High School.

So with the busy past week, I took it easy today. I watched Clemson run all over NC State and then I went out in the garage and worked on go karts. And speaking of go karts, I have recently sold all of the yard carts that I had and have bought a couple of racing karts with the money I made on the others. And let me say, these carts are bad fast.

Tomorrow I am going to visit another new church start and see what I can learn.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stone Bridge Church

We're just a couple of weeks away and things are moving full speed ahead. Last night we had a meeting with nine of our key leaders in different areas of the church and we did a complete walk through of what a Sunday Morning service will look like. We took an in depth look at everything from parking to ushing to children. It was a great meeting and we can start to see what things will look like on 10.07.07 @ 10:07 a.m. in the Wren High Auditorium.

Just a reminder to all volunteers, we will be having a cookout/volunteer training next Wednesday Night at 243 Saint Paul Road, Easley,SC 29642. We will eat at 7:00 p.m. and then break out into different areas for training and talking through your individual areas. This is going to be an awesome time together and I hope each of you can make it.

In other news, we hope to have our youth area secured within the next couple of weeks. We have been working on this for some time now and it is starting to all come together.

We have received all of our tax information back and have already received our 501 3c non profit status which means we can go ahead and start accepting donations. This is awesome because one of my goals going into this would be that we could be debt free right at the start. It looks as though it will end up costing us $17,000-$20,000 to get started and so far we have received around $7000 in offerings. This cost was for sound system, projectors, screens, computers, children's area items, first month's rental, advertising, web site and more. It has been cool to see God open doors and opportunities.

I will be posting more over the next few weeks. Go ahead and begin inviting friends, neighbors and relatives for what promises to be an exciting time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You Asked Once Again

From time to time I still try to answer some of the more common questions that I receive from this blog. So once again you asked.

David G. writes......

Dear Sammy, I wanted to get your opinion on something that my wife and I have been discussing as of late. We are getting ready to head on vacation and this year we are going to Disney World. I have always been afraid to losing my wallet and keys while riding It's A Small World or sitting in the Michael Jackson 3D movie adventure. So last week I went out and purchased not one but three Male Fanny Packs. I bought one for each outfit that I will be wearing on our 3 day Disney Hopper Pass. My wife says that they look ridiculous. I was wondering your opinion and I wll go with what you advise.

As Always Your Biggest Fan,
David Garrett

P.S. A good friend that I work for was wondering your thoughts on a Male Bikini as well.


Ok here goes....

David, the aforementioned item is not really referred to as a Male Fanny Pack but it is widely known throughout Western Europe as a Manny Pack. It traces it origins back to the former Soviet Bloc of Eastern European Countries. While it is not completely known the exact birthplace of the Manny Pack. It is widely considered to have come from the Northwest Slovakian town of Plaque.

As to your question, you need to ask yourself two things: 1. Are you a Marsupial? 2. Is your son's name Joey or referred to in any way as Joey?

First off Fanny Packs belong on no one. Male or female alike. The only ones who should have fanny packs or manny packs are marsupials of which there are 200 native species in Australia and only one still in existance in the U.S. in the form of the Virginia Opossum. I'm guessing that you are not a marsupial because I know for a fact that you are from Berea and that is a long way from being a Virginia Opossum.

2. I also doubt that you named your son after a character of from Friends.


As for the male bikini your friend inquired about, it too is of European Descent and is commonly referred to as the Mankini. Since it is primarily a form European Swim Wear, I personally believe that it should stay as that, in Europe. If your friend travels abroad then more power to him and his speedo wearing self.

I hope this helps,Sammy

Monday, September 17, 2007

Some Funny Stuff From The Beach

As you are aware, we were at the beach last week. This was Isaac's first vacation in a couple of years and we had a blast. I noticed a couple of things this past week I thought I would share. 1. Why does everyone at the beach feel like suddenly when they arrive at the beach that they have to buy an Indiana Jones hat and some type of shirt with an egregious amount of flowers on it. Seriously, the number of Indiana Jones hats per capita at the beach is way out of whack with the force of all things common and decent. And every time I got in a crowd I felt like I was in a florist with all the flowery shirts walking around. I think there should be a 1 Indiana Jones Hat per 10,000 tourists maximum and maybe a 1 flowery shirt per 5000 tourists max.



While at the beach one afternoon, we ate at a nice restaurant. It was practically empty so we took Isaac to eat there. Isaac has never really gotten to eat at nice restaurants because of his immune system so this was a learning experience for him. At the restaurant, there was a man dressed as a pirate who came up to the table and offered Isaac a balloon. I tipped the balloon pirate and he was on his way. As soon as he walked off Isaac looked at us and said, "What is he raising money for?"



Later on we made a stop by the restroom. The restaurant had a restroom attendant standing at the sink. He had a full array of stuff across the counter: hair gel, toothpaste, mints, hair spray, cologne and more. As we made our way out of the restaurant, Isaac looked at me and said,"Why did that homeless man have all of his stuff spread out across the counter?".

What can I say? We don't get out much.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Faithfulness

Today we had my grandpa's funeral. I learned a lot about my grandpa this week that I had never known before. He was born during the First World War. He spent his teenage years living through the great depression of the late 1920'2 and early 1930's. He and my grandmother were married in 1936. Of all the things I learned about him this past weekend, this is still the most amazing. They were faithful to each other for over 71 years. Some people hope to only live that long but they spent that many years side by side.

The service went well. There is some sadness but we have comfort knowing that he had a relationship with Jesus Christ. I'll blog some more tommorrow and maybe share some highlights from our vacation this past week.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Funeral Arrangements

The funeral arrangements for my grandpa are as follows:

Receiving of friends 12:30-1:30 on Sunday at Thomas McAffee on White Horse Road.

The funeral service will begin at 1:30 p.m. followed by a graveside service at Robinson's in Easley.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Coming Home

Our vacation is ending up tommorrow morning. We had planned on staying until Sunday but we have just received some sad news. My grandfather on my mom's side passed away this afternoon. I stopped and took a moment to thank God for my grandpa and all he meant to our family. I saw him only a few days before we left for vacation. He was in his 90's. He taught us a lot with the way he lived his life. I also thanked God for my three remaining grandparents. I am fortunate that I have had all four of my grandparents up to this point. I will post more as I know more.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Relaxation


Vacation has been incredible so far. Friday, was a trip out to Broadway at the Beach. I'm not big into all the shopping. We ate at Key West Grille and enjoyed the evening there. Saturday we were up and off to Isaac's old favorite place(more on his new favorite place in a moment), Pawley's Island. We all like the large beaches at Pawley's Point and it is a great place for shelling. Saturday Night we went to play putt putt. I was was 1 under par through nine and then blew it to finish 1 over par. It would have been my first under par putt putt round ever but the frog and lilly pad hole got me.

Yesterday was our favorite day in years. We started out going to take a little day trip up to Wilmington,NC to see the battleship up there. Actually, with the tropical depression off the coast I just wanted to get some pictures of that. Anyway, we stopped at the NC Welcome Center. I asked the lady about any interesting stops and she pointed in the direction of Southport which is just below Wilmington. What caught my eye on the map though was Bald Head Island.

I asked about it and she said we couldn't drive but would have to take the ferry and we coldn't take our car. We like adventures and so off we went. We arrived at Indigo Plantation and parked our car and caught the next ferry going out. The ferry leaves every hour and we just made it. The ferry ride was pretty cool. You start out in the bay and then enter the Cape Fear river and then out into the Atlantic Ocean. The island is located a few miles offshore. It is roughly a 20 minute ferry ride over to the Island. Coming into the Island you immediately recognize two homes that were featured on the Travel Channel show Amazing Vacation Homes. You also see the Bald Head Island Lighthouse which is NC's oldest.

Once you debark the ferry you are met with all these guys driving little golf cart tram thingys. (There aren't any cars or trucks allowed on the Island except for public service vehicles). We made our way over to the golf cart rental place and rented a cart for the day. We were going to do the bicycles but thought better since the Island is 14 miles around. We got our golf cart and headed out to the tip of Cape Fear on the pan shoal side.

This was awesome. At the tip of the Island on the Northern side, the surf there is unbelievable. You can't go swimming there because it has a place where the current going south collides with the current going north and what you get is waves crashing into each other. Pretty cool sight as you can see in the picture. We went shelling and picked up tons large conch shells and I found a realy nice pair of Polarized Bolle sunglasses.

We were the only people on the beach for about 500 yards. The people told us that the last three weeks of September that the Island is practically empty. We felt like it was as we drove around on the golf cart. We ran the golf cart until gave out of juice about 8:00 p.m. We had a beautiful red fox run out in front of us as it was getting dark.

We had dinner at Eb and Flo's Steam Bar on the marina and it was very reasonable as far as pricing went. We are already making plans to stay there for vacation next year. The sunset picture was taken by Melissa as the sun was going down on the West side of the Island. I shot a relly cool time lapse with my videon camera of the same sunset.

We headed off the Island around 9:30 p.m.. This was quite adventrous as the waves from the tropical depression had begun to kick up. I'll share that story on 10.07.07 @10:07 at our first service. It fits nicely with my message. Well, Isaac and I just got back from playing putt putt again and I'm off to take a shower.

The Weather is Here Wish You Were Beautiful





Thursday, September 6, 2007

Off to the Beach

We are heading to the beach Friday morning. Isaac's teacher will be here early and he has to take 4 tests and then we are off for vacation.

I probably won't have Internet service and I doubt that I'll post for the next week or so but I should be back in a week or so with some fantastic tales to tell. Maybe I'll catch a gargantuan shark one morning while fishing from the pier. Or, I could possibly find millions in lost coins that surreptitiously washed up on shore from a sunken Spanish Galleon called the "Conquistador". Whatever the case, I will be happy to share my exploits when I return.

Just a quick note to everyone who is going to be volunteering at Stone Bridge. We will be having our volunteer training/cookout on Wednesday September 26th at 7:00 pm. Drop me an email and let me know how many from your family will be attending. This is a night you won't want to miss. This will be a fun night as we will be uniting all four of the Core Groups in one place as we move forward with the new church launch. I will send you directions when I get your email indicating how many will be coming with your family.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

2 More Days

Two more days until we go on vacation and we can't wait. We haven't been on a vacation in more than two years because of everything that Isaac has been through. We are extremely thankful that he is healthy enough to make the trip. We used to take things like vacations and family time for granted, but not anymore. The one thing that his transplants have taught us is that we have to enjoy and appreciate everything and savor every moment. This time last year, he was still in a wheel chair and unable to walk because of his muscle loss from the transplant.

He is getting stronger and gradually getting better. His blood counts are coming up slowly. Of some concern right now is the excess iron on his liver. We ask that everyone would keep that in your prayers. He can be outside but still can't be indoors with large crowds. He is almost able to run which is something he has been wanting to do so bad. He still continues to amaze us.

In other news, www.stonebridgechurch.tv is up and running. Be sure to stop by and check out our church website. Things are still progressing with the church. Be sure to go ahead and begin inviting your friends and family to our first service on 10.07.07 at 10:07 am @ Wren High School.

To everyone who attended our Core Group Meetings, be sure and turn in your volunteer forms as soon as possible. We will be having volunteer training in a couple of weeks. I will post the date and send letters to everyone that I have addresses for.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

24-18

Tonight was an awesome environment for a game. The Tigers pulled out a victory. I got a chance to catch up with some old and new friends. Rumor has it that even Gamecock fans showed up tonight wearing Clemson colors. According to one Evan Silver, it appears that even Mr. Jamie Crumpton(a supposed die hard Carolina fan) showed up at the game with a Clemson shirt on. Could it be because his future in laws are good Christian Clemson fans? Anyway, enjoy the pics.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Reggieisms

Today I headed on over to visit all the folks at Marathon North. I have been to four different churches over the course of the last 4 weeks. I have been trying to visit different places to get ideas of what we need to focus on with the new church start.

I had heard of the mythical Reggieisms. These fore lorn tales of olden days gone by. Well, today I got to experience the aforementioned Reggieisms. These are actual quotes from Reggie in today's message taken completely out of context. I jotted down a few and thought I would share them along with my commentary in parentheses.

1. "If you're here today" (as opposed to being not here and therefore not hearing the preceding statement)

2. "Lies coming from the evil one" (at this point I almost wanted to run put on an old lady dress ala the church lady from Saturday Night Live and proceed to say "could it be.... oh I don't know Saa tan")

3. "Now if you study pornography" (not even gonna touch this one)

4. "How does the evil one do it?" (again with the evil one)

5. "A four year old knows more about a computer than I do" (And he knows that when we reach the age of three we stop referring to Satan as the evil one)

6. "The evil one has a grip" (for those of you keeping track at home that is number 3 for the evil one)

7. "If that don't light ya wood .....................................................somebody help me out. How does that saying go?" (I think it goes, if the evil one don't light your fire)

8. "The evil one is throwing it to you right now" (What does evil one spell backwards? Eno Live. Take out the n and put in an l and an m and what do you have?
True demonic activity, Elmo Live )

No pastors were harmed in the making of this post and Reggie took it all in good nature.

Friday, August 31, 2007

It's Official!

It's official! We have been approved by the Anderson District One School Board to begin our services on October 7th, 2007. This now means that we can begin with our advertising and print stuff. Anderson District One rents out the school to us for one year. After our year is up we have to find another location. We are already looking for our locations for next year when our contract with the school is up. We are thinking a lot about not having just one location but rather two- three locations in the upstate area. We are currently pursuing several different locations in the Easley, Powdersville, Williamston, Piedmont and Anderson areas.

We hope to have at least two locations nailed down by March. That will give us time to prepare for the move. Some people have asked if we will be doing video venues. The answer is no. The whole service will be live and in person. (I know that Sea Coast, North Pointe and others have been using video effectively but it doesn't fit into the vision of what we are trying to do. No offense is intended toward churches doing video but it is just not us.) We will be simply staggering our times to allow some of the staff to travel to the different locations. Our goal is to meet these different communities where they are and make a difference in each of these areas. As we add our third and fourth location, we will add an additional speaker and we will rotate between locations. This way it will not be known as one person's church but rather a church of many people. We will have the same ministries at each location. I shared some of this in the Core Groups this past week and it was really cool to see the reactions of everyone there. There was a buzz about what God is going to do.

We will be one church with 4 locations. It will be cool to see people from different communities coming together as one. This next year is going to be amazing.