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 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.