Monday, December 29, 2008

Cincy

We made it to Cincy. Only about 7 hours. Gas prices were less than $2 for the first time in forever on one of our trips up here. Traveler's Rest was $1.32 at Murphy's.   I saw $1.75 near Knoxville. It was $1.47 near Lexington. I think here in Cincinnati it was near $1.75. I'm thinking that I am going to load up a bunch of 5 gallon cans of gas from Murphy's and bring them north and sell them for $1.65. I would still make $.30 a gallon unless I had to use it all up to get here to sell it, in which case I would lose money. Nevermind, these Northerners from up here in the north will just have to keep paying higher prices for gas. No offense to all of our Northerners living in the South. No offense to Northerners living in the North either it's just that you're paying too much for gas. Oh yeah and your house prices are way high too.

We're here for a couple of days of hospital stuff and then back to the lower gas prices of South Caroilina.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

11

Isaac turned 11 years old today. He had a party today with some of his friends from school. This was only the second time in his life that he has been able to have a party with his friends because 3 years he was in the hospital during his birthday and the rest of the time he couldn't because he was recovering from either his liver transplant or his bone marrow transplant. The kids had a blast. We took them to the slot car track in Pickens and had pizza and ice cream here at the house. This may have been the happiest I think I have ever seen him just being able to play and feel normal. Overall it has been a great Christmas because for really the first time Isaac was able to go to all our Christmas parties without worrying about his immune system. For me that was the best Christmas gift you could give me......  A healthy son.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Blogging Return

I have been debating whether or not to even have a blog and to be honest the blogging break has been quite nice. It wasn't a priority so it took back seat to tons of other things going on. With that said I'm going to make another go of blogging beginning in the New Year. Regular blogging will resume on January 3rd. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

7 Years

Tomorrow marks seven years since Isaac received his liver transplant. December 9th 2001. It's amazing and overwhelming to think about all he has been through in the last seven years. Isaac is doing good and is in his first full year of public school. We are thankful for what God has shown us through Isaac. We also stop and say a prayer for the family of the 2 year old child that died and in the middle of all their suffering, they chose to give the gift of life. Thank you to all families who make this decision in the midst of your suffering. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Quick Recap

What has been happening the last few weeks. It's been hectically busy. Got a ton of stuff on my mind. Prayers appreciated there.

Things are progressing on the house front. It seems like we show it a couple of times each week. The other house is coming along. I've been doing some painting and stuff on the weekends to get it ready. 

Isaac's Christmas Project is ready to go. We didn't announce it on the internet this year because we did an extremely scaled down version due to the fact that the house is for sale and we didn't have the space to store all of the tons of toys like the previous two years. Next year we will do a big toy drive once again .This year we are giving toys to the day clinic at Greenville Hospital. This is where a lot of cancer and bone marrow transplant kids receive their treatments on a weekly basis.
 A special thanks to Pam and Courtney with the Hendrick Marrow Foundation for all of the boxes of Nascar items for the kids that Pam dropped off this past week. All of these folks have a special place in their hearts for kids and the things they face going through transplants and illnesses. 
If anyone would like to give, we are in need of probably 15-20 more girls toys. Ages range from 1-15.  We are completely covered with toys for little boys.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blog Hiatus

I'm going to be taking a blog break for a couple of weeks. I've got a ton of stuff to think and pray through. It's all good but just need to time away from blogging.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

More Pics From an Over Zealous Mr. Fortner


A Vote for Fortner is a Vote for Ownership

The following picture is not political in nature. We just happened to find a house while out driving the other night that seemed a little over zealous about voting. More pictures may follow in the coming days.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

3 1/2 Hour Voting, Space Invaders, and Money for Gas

I voted. I waited in line from 4:20 p.m. until 7:50 p.m. but I was finally able to cast my vote. No complaints about waiting because regardless of what party you vote for I sincerely believe we live in the greatest country on the face of the Earth. We demonstrate this every 4 years with a bloodless transition of power. Not many countries can accomplish this without riots and civil wars. No complaints from waiting. It was awesome to see everyone involved plus I got to invite several people to church.

One complaint I did have during the process, space invaders. Melissa and I came face to face with a real life space invader. This person was standing extremely close and violated more than 20-30 times our personal space bubble. What's worse is that this person had stinky breathe. It got so bad that Melissa offered me money for gas. That's right she said she would give me $5 if I would just rip one and move said person away just a bit. Rules of line etiquette permit a person stand no closer than 2 feet. Inside that is considered to be personal body area. Please keep this in mind of you're ever in a line such as Carowinds, After Thanksgiving Sale at Best Buy, water and battery give out line after a Hurricane, waiting for the Wee Way people mover at Disney, etc etc. Remember if you're within arm's reach then you're too close.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Amazing Day

Today was awesome. All the way around today was great. Today was the culmination of our 3 week challenge based on the Parable of the Talents. Our folks did an awesome job. So far we're almost at doubling up on what was given out to invest. It was pretty cool watching people drop in their "talents" during the welcome this morning.

The service got a little tense when I told everyone we were gonna let everyone race to the front playing red light/ green light and the first person there got to keep the cash. I was just kidding of course but it was funny watching everyone put their stuff to the side getting ready to race to the front. It would have been the biggest fight in church since some committee went with the green carpet instead of the blue.

Attendance was above average with one of our highest number of first time guests that we've ever had. Today was our highest attendance we have ever had in our kids area. It was slammed. More kids means more families and that is awesome to see. Our kids workers do an awesome job. If you can help out once a month, be sure to check in with Erin and she'd be happy to get you plugged in.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Experts Expertise

Another chapter in the book I've been reading. "Don't hire a dog and then bark yourself". Delegation is about trusting the experts expertise. Part of delegation means the person doing the job must be doing the job. They must fulfill their end of the bargain. You get what you inspect not what you expect.

I hope this helps. It's been good for me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wiped Out but Encouraged

I'm about to crash. It's been a long day. I didn't sleep last night. Gastritis. I am wiped out.

I was encouraged a ton today. There are some folks that just lift you up a notch after talking with them a bit. I've been fortunate to have had several of these type conversations in the last 24 hours.

Yesterday evening, Eddie from Marathon stopped by and we had some great conversations. There are some things that only another pastor can understand. He offered up some good encouragement.

Then today Art from over at Connection Fellowship stopped by and we had some good conversation. Then as Art was leaving, Mike from over at Oak Pointe church came up for a meeting we had scheduled. We talked a ton about church and I was really encouraged by what all we talked and prayed about.

I like being around people like this and it was really cool to see other pastors coming together and praying for each other. Especially considering our churches are all within 15 minutes of each other. A lot of times churches get territorial and rather than encouraging and praying for each other's success they will pray for their failure so that they can enlarge their personal kingdom rather than enlarging God's kingdom.

Tonight I hung around while our Student Ministry was going on. I was encouraged by the energy and effort our guys were putting forth. (Putting forth sounds so Olde Englishe but it was the only words I could think of) The students were jacked up like they had all drank energy drinks. They finished up their series Fear Factor. All of their Bible studies have been based on fears we have. They have been doing some games with it too. Tonight one of the students puked in the main auditorium floor right at the front of the stage. My conclusion was that it must have been an awesome game.

After church I headed to Best Buy at about 8:30 p.m. to pick up Melissa's computer from the Geek Squad. They were formatting it or something.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Prayers

Been praying through a ton of stuff. I appreciate your prayers. Got some meetings this week and ton rolling through this tiny brain of mine so prayers are always appreciated.

Great Book

I have been reading a book I have read before but each time I read it I learn more from it. The book is by Jeffrey J. Fox. It reminds me of reading Proverbs because it has a ton of hands on sayings and ideas. Each chapter has only a couple of pages so it is easy to pick and read a couple of quick pages when you get a chance. I read this chapter this morning entitled "The eagle does not go into the hole for the rat". The chapter talks about how eagles soar and sweep down to get a rat but would never go into a rat hole. On the other hand, snakes, ferrets and weasels would go there in a heartbeat. The point of his chapter is this, whenever someone attacks you personally, gossips about you behind your back, or says nasty stuff about you in an email etc. etc. Always remember to soar and you'll come out on top. You can go into the rat hole any time but you wouldn't be an eagle then would you. Maybe this helps someone.

PS I'm starting a new way I do some of my posts, I'm going to try and post little things like this every couple of days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Not Sure If You Saw It

I'm not sure if you saw it or not last night but Extreme Home Makeover may have been the best show I have watched in years. Mainly because it brought floods of emotion and memories of all Isaac went through. Watching the 10 year old boy, Job on the show was a reminder of how thankful we are to still have Isaac around because for years the outlook wasn't that good. Things are going great now and we're thankful for that. Melissa and I sat and talked about it for about thirty minutes tonight after Isaac had went to bed. If you never have experienced any thing like this then there is no way to explain how much the kids or the parents go through. Last night as I watched that show for the first time I knew there was someone else who understands.

It is easy to be critical and question others but until you have walked in someone else's shoes then you have no clue what they are facing. Next time you start to be questioning or critical, stop and pray for that person because you may not even have a clue. I have been taking this to heart more lately. I have a friend who I was critical of but yet I had never actually stopped and asked, I wonder what they are facing right now. Once I was able to see what they were up against then a lot of what was happening made perfect sense. Just a random thought. Maybe it helps someone.

Today I swapped my normal day off for today in order to get the house ready to sell. Today I disassembled the train layout and Melissa and I cleaned out the train room. That room is huge once the train layout was removed. I believe this will expedite the sale of the house just with this added space. We have moved a ton of boxes of stuff we have packed up out to the garage.

I have already began selling stuff out of the garage on ebay so that we don't have to move it. Next on my list of sale items is going to be the go karts. I have seven go karts that I am selling. 5 are racing karts and 2 are yard karts. If you know anyone looking tp get into racing I will sell the racing karts for $3500 for all and will throw in tons of extra parts. Just one kart is worth almost $3000.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Am Inspired

I haven't watched the show yet but I am inspired just by the previews for tonight. What show am I talking about? Extreme Home Makeover tonight features a child who hasn't been home in 6 years because of medical conditions. We were gone a year and a half but I can't imagine 6 years. Kids like this inspire me because of their will to live.

Have you got skills?

Have you got skills? We're going to be holding audtions for our music areas coming up soon. Evan and his team will be audtioning folks for different areas in our worship. We're looking for drummers, guitarist, keyboarders, cowbell, female vocals, and more. Let me know what you've got. I will post the date and time for audtions coming up soon. We are looking for engaging people to help in worship in the main service, youth service and our children's services as well.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Three Things I'm Praying For

1. Our son- Isaac is doing exceptionally well. My biggest prayer is that he will soon be healthy enough to have his central line removed. For those of you who don't know, he has a double line coming out of his chest for his meds. For his sake, I just want him to feel like he can play like a normal child. He has some limitations with this line and I know it has to weigh on him. He handles it far better than I could but I want him to experience total freedom.

2. Church- Praying for us to impact the area for Christ. Seeing a lot of new faces but still praying that more disconnected people get connected.

3. Our House to Sale.- It's been less than a week on the market and we have two people that have the house on their short list. It would be awesome if one would make an offfer in the next few days that way we could move forward with everything. We've found a house in foreclosure and I'm all about saving money on house payments each month.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Waiting

Waiting isn't fun sometimes. We are currently waiting to hear back from a couple of different people that looked at the house in the last few days. There has been a lot of interest and it has shown three times in just 4 days. We are supposed to hear something today if any of the couples are going to make an offer. That would be awesome but we'll have to wait and see.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cute Little Fat Baby

Tonight we went to IHOP for some waffles. While we're sitting there the waitress walks another family to the booth behind us. She looks at the people's baby and says " that's a cute little fat baby you have". The dad says "did she just say our baby was fat". She sure did. I thought we were going to see some Jerry Springer fight action going on. The episode could be labeled "Cute fat little babies and the IHOP waitress who scars them for life". Oh well, you can't fix stupid.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cautiously Optimistic

The painting is finished at the house after a couple of fast paced evenings of getting the house ready to show. Everything is in good shape. The house officially went on the market yesterday and tomorrow we have a showing. We are cautiously optimistic because our house is in the price range and location of this prospective buyer. We are praying that the house will sell quickly considering the economy we are in right now. I'll update you tomorrow night.

Our Student Ministry went well tonight with another record number of students. Each week students are bringing their friends which is awesome to see. Robbie, Chris and Ryan are doing a great job working with the students. This Sunday should be fun as we are talking about debt. Big props to Drewby, Tyler, Mona, and Cole(lending the Corvette) for a video on Sunday. Sunday will be real practical and really challenging as well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

What's in Your Hand?

How are you doing with what you've got? The three week challenge at StoneBridge is on. How is it coming along? How are you doing with what God has placed in your life?

To one he gave 5 talents, to one he gave 2 talents, to one he gave one talent. You are responsible for what he has given you. How are you doing with it?

One quick prayer request. My gastritis is back. My chest is hurting me something bad.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Is this for real?

A friend sent me this. Enjoy! Did the guy really say that God will zap you? The group's name is Sonseed.

Happy Birthday Times Duex

Today was a special day. My wife celebrated her 35th birthday today. Isaac and I surprised her with her birthday present yesterday. We didn't build her a cake or anything but we did hook her up with her very own Macbook. She deserved it. The past three years she didn't really get to celebrate her birthday because of Isaac being in the hospital and all. She was suprised and we made her some movies from Isaac and I wishing her happy birthday.

The birthday part deux was that of StoneBridge Church. One year ago this week we launched the church and today we celebrated one year. Today's service was awesome. The place was packed. Our kids area had our highest attendance ever and as a church we had our third highest attendance ever. Today we had our most first timers since our launch day last year. Lots of new faces and several new people getting plugged into our home groups.

Tyler and the guys did a great job with the music. We did pull one audible. We were going to launch t-shirts into the audience and then decided that with the audtiorium dark that we would probably end up hitting someone in the eye. So we passed on that one.

This week is exciting and crazy busy as well. Meetings most of the day tomorrow. Message Prep Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday we'll be in Charlotte for a banquet with Jeff Gordon and the folks at the Hendrick Marrow Foundation.

That's all I've got for now.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Tornado

A tornado would best describe my week. Not all bad, but in many ways fast and furious. I haven't felt this much pressure in quite sometime. The good part is usually when the pressure is turned up like this that God is about to do something amazing.

I'm excited about Sunday. I've already heard of several people who are coming to StoneBridge for the first time Sunday on the one year anniversary of our church. I'm jacked up about that.

I can't wait until Wednesday either. Wednesday we are heading up to Charlotte where Isaac is going to meet Jeff Gordon and we are going to be a part of the Jeff Gordon Foundation and Hendrick Marrow Foundation dinner to raise money for the National Marrow Foundation.

Then the next Sunday we are going to do something pretty challenging and very exciting during the service. You must be there to find out.

Keep praying and inviting. Tomorrow is normally my day off but not much of a chance of that happening this week. I am going to sleep late but I still have a couple of more things to get done before Sunday.

Productive Day

Today was the most productive I've had in a few days. I got a lot accomplished and was able to think through a ton of stuff.

Remember to keep inviting people to StoneBridge for our one year anniversary. I have personally spoken with 10 people who will be attending StoneBridge for the first time this Sunday. There are people who will come if we are committed to invite. Sure some will say no but there are tons of people who would if they were simply asked.

I sat in on youth tonight and tonight was messy game night. The games were messy. The kids had a blast. We had parents gagging when their kids were getting in their cars.(If we can make parents gag because of how bad the kids stunk then we know we have done a good thing). Again, tonight we had several more new faces. It's been really cool seeing our kids inviting their friends. Beleieve it or not, our largest group of students is starting to be from Berea area. Who'd of thunk it? The cool thing is we're loking to launch a campus in TR and we are slowly adding kids from the Berea area which is only a couple of miles from TR.

Thanks for your prayers this past week. It has been greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Prayer Request

I have a ton on the plate right now. I have one prayer request. That God would raise up leaders to take the lead in different areas of the church to take and run with it. I have figured out what I can run with and now I am praying for leaders who will run with the rest.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The next two weeks

-I need about an extra 10 hours to get finished all of the stuff I need to do this week.

- I figured it out I need to work smarter this week rather than harder so there might be some things that aren't as important that won't get done.

- This week is huge in the life of our church. This week marks the one year anniversary. This is huge because a large percentage of new church starts fail within the first year. So this is the first milestone at StoneBridge. This week's message should be challenging for us all to move ahead rather than to put it in cruise.

- Next week is slam packed. We start a new series " Breaking the Bank". We have some cool stuff taking place during that series. You'll have to be there to find out about it.

- Isaac, Melissa and I will be in Charlotte on Wednesday and Thursday of next week for a banquet hosted by Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick. It is a fund raiser for the National Marrow Foundation and they have asked Isaac to take part in it. Isaac will be wearing a button up shirt and brown shoes for the first time.(He'll wear pants too.) I have to wear a suit. That is ok though because there is a rumor that I will be wearing a suit on October 12th. I'm not confirming or denying it. You'll have to be there to find out.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Recap

-Tons of new faces in Powdersville today. Always good seeing new faces. Not that it is not good seeing old faces. I generally like old people with old faces.

- It still blows my mind to think that next Sunday is the one year anniversary of our church. I can't wait for October and the new series we'll be kicking off. You don't want to miss the next two weeks. October 12th is going to be challenging and something we have never done before.

- Services today were smooth. We laughed(alright I laughed during the first video when we scared the mess out of everyone. I forgot to watch the audience in Anderson but I remembered to in Powdersville and people jumped. I am laughing right now as I type), we cried and hopefully were challenged and stretched in what our view of greatness is.

- We had a couple of folks from Spartanburg who are a part of a new launch there. They are in the formation stages. I went to lunch with these folks after service and they gave some very valuable feedback.

- Remember, next Sunday we are taking a special offering with 50% going towards missions and 50% going toward paying off our debt. Be praying about what God would have you to give.

- Big props to all of our volunteers who step up each week as servants.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day Off

- Tomorrrow is my day off and I'm excited about hanging out with Melissa and Isaac all day.

- This week has been crazy. Meetings and stuff at church every night this week.

- Tonight is relaxing just chillin watching our all time favorite show Survivor.

- This week at StoneBridge will be powerful. I'm doing something I've never done before. It has involved a lot of prayer this week. I'm not jumping from nothing, drinking nothing, or doing nothing crazy just something challenging. Be there early and bring friends.(I know this is bad English but I am not in English class)

- I would appreciate your prayers in regards to some decisions that need to be made. Pray for wisdom.

- Next week is our one year anniversary of the church. It started with 6 people in a living room and it's amazing to think how far we've come. Next week's message is going to be a challenge for all of us. It will be both campuses at one location.

- Our student ministry team continues to impress me. These guys get the big picture that it is not about the lights, stage, or the music but it is relational. It's about connecting with students in order to connect them with Christ. They get that.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Servants

Man, we have some servant minded people that a part of StoneBridge and this continues to excite me and amaze me especially over the last couple of weeks. This week has been exceedingly encouraging to see several people just this past week volunteering of their time to do whatever it takes to take the church to the next level. From Teena with Volunteers to Danny and Ray with picking up stuff to Drew and Mona painting like the wind and all of our youth staff, a ton has gotten done this week.

Speaking of youth, the guys did an awesome job tonight and we had a record number at youth. Students you don't want to miss out on Messy games next week. Tonight they continued in their series Roots. They focused on accountability. Be there next week at 7:00 p.m. and wear clothes you can throw away.

Sunday should be challenging and unlike anything we've ever done. I believe the services Sunday will be powerful and you don't want to miss. Be there early and bring a friend. 9:15 a.m. in Anderson and 10:55 a.m. in Powdersville.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Busy Day

Today was busy. I just walked in the door after we met with a new home group that is starting up for 20 somethings. We met at Outback tonight which is always a good thing. If you are a 20 something at StoneBridge, I encourage you to get plugged in to this group. If you would like more info just drop me an email at sammy@stonebridgechruch.tv .

This morning was full of logistical stuff that always takes place on Mondays.

This afternoon I met up with Danny and we headed to Anderson for lunch at Mama Penns. I hadn't eaten there in years. It was good as always. We picked up one of our trailers that De Wayne was letting us store at Golf USA (for all your golfing needs) and then headed up to NewSpring. The folks at NewSpring were kind enough to hook us up with some much needed chairs that they weren't going to use anymore. Big thanks to them for being kingdom minded and helping other churches. Thanks to Van for helping us out and the SMT at NewSpring for letting us have them.

In your first year as a new church start, you make do with what you can and anything like this helps. We have been really blessed as far as furniture wise. All of our office furniture, children and youth furniture has been donated. That is huge right there.

Speaking of first year, let me encourage you to continue to invite folks to StoneBridge. We are less than two weeks away from our one year anniversary. This has been exciting and I am still amazed from where we have come at that first core group meeting with 6 people present.

Next month we are going to be having a church work day. We have several painting and little building type projects we will be doing that day. I will post the details later this week.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Recap

- Uncensoredpastor.com has been having some technical difficulties due to my internet connection issues at the house. We are working to resolve these. We will be broadcasting from the office live during the week but for the time being we won't bradcast from the house unless we our internet issues are corrected. Thanks for hanging in there and understanding.

- I am truly blessed. I was thinking about that this evening as I sat listening to Isaac sing in the shower. That was just priceless to see how far he has come in the last 3 years.

- Services today were very smooth all around. The flow of everything went awesome. Touched on a subject that I definately need improvement in. I spoke on taming the tongue and the power of our spoken words.

- I performed an illusion in my message and it went off with without a hitch. I had been practicing my Harry Houdini skills for the last week and it worked. It fit perfect with the point I was making and even some of the folks that I knew would figure it out were left wondering how I put the paper back together. I will perform the trick tomorrow on uncensoredpastor.com at around 11:00 a.m. if you would like to see it again.

- Atmosphere was awesome today. Today we had our highest attendance for a non holiday. The only other time we had an attendance higher than today was back on Mother's Day when a ton of our folks brought their parents to church. Awesome job inviting people. Keep it up. The original message I was speaking on this coming week has changed and the new message I am speaking on Sunday should challenge us all.

- Two weeks from today we celebrate our 1 year anniversary. This is an exciting time in the life of StoneBridge. What is keeping you from being a part.

- Invite invite invite.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two Requests

Ok, I'm asking you to do two quick things today.

1. Send out an email with a link to uncensoredpastor inviting your friends to tune in. This has been a crazy experiment but I believe we will see the rewards of this in the coming days. I've already had some great conversations with people who are going to come check out StoneBridge but I need your help. So send it out today.

2. Invite people. Seriously ask yourself, who is it that I know needs to get plugged into church. Invite that person. Maybe it takes buying their breakfast or lunch to get them there but whatever the case get them there. God is going to do some amazing things. Will you be a part?

You folks are awesome, thanks in advance.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

1000's of web hits

Just on our third day with uncensoredpastor and so far we have had 1000's of web hits and over 35,000 minutes watched so far. Very insane and awesome. Be sure to tell your friends. Send an invite to join us at StoneBridge Church as we continue in our uncensoredpastor series.

You guys are awesome. Sammy

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday Recap

-Kicked off uncensoredpastor. Be sure t check it out and tell some friends.

- Crashing Jericho did and awesome job leading worship yesterday. They are decent at riding go karts. Stick to music and you guys will do fine. I will have some video from the go karts on the uncensoredpastor.com website. You can click on the video on demand button.

- Robbie, Chris, and Ryan are blowing it up. These guys are awesome. They have recently come on board from North Greenville University. Robbie is heading up our Student Ministry, Chris is doing some music and some media and Ryan is our resident actor extraordinaire. His weather report video was too funny. Seriously, if you have a student in the 6th -12th grade, you need to get them there this Wednesday night and tell them to bring some friends. Again, these guys are better at the ministry thing than at riding go karts as well. So stick to what you're good at.

- And finally, I was amazed to learn last night that DeWayne can operate a computer and get on the internet. As Michelle put it, "I didn't realize old people could run a computer" or something to that effect. Ya'll pray for DeWayne, he hasn't had breakfast the last couple of days.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Demolition Derby

Last night, Chris Morgan hooked Isaac, Bryan "Little H Chy", and myself up with tickets to the demolition derby at Greenville Pickens. Seeing people purposefully crash their cars into one another is just flippin cool. Big thanks to Chris for the tix. He also hooked me up with some old racing tires that I'm going to use to line a couple of places around my go kart track to keep people from hitting the fence and hitting my garage.

I probably won't be posting quite as much over the next month but instead you can catch up with me live 24/7 for the next 30 days on our website uncensoredpastor. Click on the link. You can watch what is happening and you can participate in the interactive chat.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Uncensoredpastor.com

Great night at youth tonight. The guys did an awesome job and are really building relationships with our students. Cool to see. I painted my office tonight. It is Cincinnati Bengal Orange. They are my pro team. It looks better than the black that Evan painted his office.

Just a a few days away to uncensoredpastor . This ought to be interesting. Be sure to tune in. We have been testing the system the last couple of days check in and you may just catch us testing it out more. Be sure to continue to tell your friends.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Relaxed and Refreshed

Today was great. The last few weeks have been hectic with every thing at church. We have done several outreach focused events and they have all been good but it has left me extremely busy. This weekend was good though. Dan spoke in Anderson for me and Jim Thompson spoke for me in Powdersville. I went to church and just went too church. That is relaxing and refreshing to me.

I try to step off the stage and let someone else speak about every 7th week or so. This serves as kind of a speaking sabbath. Being a small staff church right now, this helps me to have time to take care of logistical stuff that needs to be done and it gives our folks a chance to hear different speakers that are better than me. In some churches, when the pastor takes a week off, he will bring in some person that will be horrible so that his "people" will appreciate him more. Me personally, I want the best for our church and anytime I have a chance to get a quality speaker I will always go for that. Nothing makes me feel better than having someone speak that does a great job. Besides, I am going to be sitting in the audience too and I don't want to listen to a bad speaker. Dan and Jim both did a great job.

I slept in today for the first time in a couple of weeks, painted some model cars for Isaac, sat in the garage and just talked with Isaac, worked on some go karts, rode some go karts, and went to a cookout at the Browns.

Last night Melissa and I went with Evan and Erin to hang out at a get together at the Cartwright's House. Tom hooked me up with some pyrotechnics that can't be bought locally. Very cool. These folks help in many ways at StoneBridge besides the pyrotechnics. Thanks guys.

Last but not least, remember to check and tell your friends about uncensoredpastor.com beginning this Sunday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

These Guys Rock

Tonight we had a meet and greet for our new youth ministry team. These guys rock. Robbie, Ryan and some help from Chris is going to be an incredible team. These guys are the real deal. They connected with our students tonight. Next week we kick it off full force. Remember the challenge that was issued tonight. It could be a big payday.

We have some awesome adults as well or maybe just adults that give in to peer pressure as Jason Allen took a dive head first into a huge puddle of mud beside Ingles. Hard core is what I am talking about. He is the man. A couple of students have taken joy the last two weeks in deciding to decorate my car for me. Retribution will come at a later day.

Remember September 7th begins uncensoredpastor . We will be live 24/7. Be sure to tell your friends and we'll see you on the web.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sunday Recap

I a day late because it has been a hectic last 3 weeks. Things are now starting to get in a groove.

Yesterday was smooth. We had a lot of new faces yesterday. I spoke on my skinny corn and the parable of the sower.

I'm really jacked about our next three series coming up. I wish I could do them all this coming Sunday. You probably wouldn't like that though because we would be at church for like 15-20 hours.

Next month we begin our new series uncensoredpastor . October 5th is our 1 year anniversary and the rest of October is our Breaking the Bank series. We worked on the November series today creatively and I am amped up. You will laugh, you will cry, but most of all my prayer is that you'll leave unchanged. I won't let any details out right now but it is going to be crazy.

Chris Brank came on board yesterday to help in Powdersville and the guys rocked out. He was playing a keyboard through his mac on stage which is cool. We have several NGU students that will be helping us in several areas. Wednesday night we are having a meet and greet for all youth and parents to meet the college students and get to know them a little better.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Week in Review

Exciting stuff and tremendously encouraging this week.

Some new folks from NGU coming on board. We're going to see several areas go to the next level with this group and probably the coolest thing is that they are going to be the base for what we do in Traveler's Rest.

Crashing Jericho rocked out Wednesday night. These guys are the real deal.

Thursday and Friday is one of the most encouraging conference type things I have ever been to. I have been to conferences and round table discussions across the country but this was the best. Just hearing others hearts for their area, their joys, their struggles, their mistakes. Man, it made me feel normal.

Kid's World Powdersville was today. Awesome time, several new families we were able to connect with. Yes I did go down the inflatable water slide. That thing is huge. I could see all of Powdersville from atop the slide. There was tons of Freeee Ice Cream. I had 5 cherry screwballs throughout the course of the day. The best part is the two gumballs in the bottom. To say I'm a little hyped up is mild. I took over the title of adult champion in the 60 foot inflatable obstacle course. My record was 7-1. My only time losing came when I tried to cheat. Proof that cheaters don't win ......when they get caught. Just ask Joe Gibbs racing teams.

Church tomorrow ought to be awesome. I'm praying for big things and for people to Live Full. Anderson 9:15 a.m. Whitehall. Powdersville 10:55 a.m. Behind SunTrust. Go ahead and bring someone with you.

Gotta run, Isaac and I are about to watch the Bristol race.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hanging out with church planters

I'm in Tennessee hanging out for a couple of days meeting with a several church planters from South Carolina and Ohio discussing strategies in new church plants. Here are some of the guys that are here Ryan Bishop, Art Fulks, Jim Reppart, Ray Brock, Walt Tanner, Dorrien Hinsey, Dino Senesi.

Live in Tennessee

I am live right now in Tennessee waiting for lunch meeting with other church planters from SC an Ohio. The chat room is on the left if you would like to drop a question or just chat.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day Gets Better

Today got started off great with Isaac in school and only got better from there. I have been working on some stuff over the last couple of months with some students from North Greenville University and today we met to finalize some exciting stuff that is taking place in the church. So far we have three guys that will be coming on staff at Stone Bridge as semester missionaries. They will be sponsored and appointed by the Collegiate ministry division of the convention. They will be helping out in the areas of youth, worship and video. We will be introducing these guys on Sunday and will be having a meet and greet night coming up next Wednesday night for all youth and parents. There is the possibility that we will be adding a couple of more girls and guys in the coming weeks as semester missionaries. This is huge because it is going to give our youth area a huge boost and it will take several things off of my plate. I'm jacked up about what God is about to do.

These guys will be the nucleus for what we will be doing in Traveler's Rest as far as planting a campus there. We will begin core group meetings up there on September 9th and meet every Tuesday night for a time of vision, fellowship, and Bible Study. We will continue these meetings until we have a solid core of around 45-50 that are bought in and then we will proceed with a launch there.

Huge Day

Man, today has started off just awesome. Isaac started what will be his first full year in public school. Years back I remember when Isaac was diagnosed with his liver disease and the doctor looking across the table and telling us that he probably wouldn't live to make into the first grade. My prayer then was that I would get to see him walk down the aisle at high school graduation and see him live a normal life.

Then I remember 3 years ago sitting across the table with a group of bone marrow doctors and them telling us that Isaac wasn't healthy enough for a bone marrow transplant. Things were really scary but again my prayer was the same that I would see him walk down the aisle at high school graduation.

I remember 2 years ago, 6 months after his bone marrow transplant and the doctors telling us that it looked that the transplant hadn't took and they were starting plasmapheresis. Again, my prayer was that I would see him walk down the aisle at high school graduation.

Today was a huge step in that direction. Isaac still has his central line coming out of his chest which they still use for IV meds and he stills goes to the hospital once a week for his infusions. With his liver transplant and bone marrow transplant behind him, today was another huge step forward.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Prayers Appreciated

This is a busy week and I would appreciate your prayers. I'll be in Tennessee for a church planting conference on Thursday and Friday. I've got a ton on my plate and on my mind right now. I've got some meetings tomorrow that hopefully will take some off my plate and take a couple of ministry areas to the next level. Remember Crashing Jericho concert is Wednesday Night at 7 p.m. and Kid's World is coming up this Saturday from 1-3:30 p.m.

Creativity Meeting

Creativity Meeting will be live shortly click the play button to get the feed and feel free to join in on the chat room.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Coming Down the Pipe

There are some very cool things headed down the pipe in the next few weeks. This week has been crazy busy. We've been getting our video set up and configured for something cool that I'll let you in on the details about next week. Also, remember Monday we are trying out our first live video creativity meeting. You don't have to be there to join in. Also, future Stone Bridgers are welcome to join in as well. I say future because you may not be with us yet but soon enough you'll come on board and we'll be excited to have you. Basically, anyone is welcome to participate via the chat room.

Tomorrow at 8 a.m. is Freshman move in day at Anderson University. Wednesday Night at 7p.m. is Crashing Jericho in concert. Next Saturday August 23rd is Kid's World from 1-3:30 p.m. In the midst of all of this, I will be in Tennessee at a church planters round table on Thursday and Friday.

Tuesday is a huge day in Isaac's life because he will start his first full year in public school. He is going into the fourth grade. This is the first time with all of his transplants that he will be healthy enough. He was in K5 for a few months before being sick and he finished out the 3rd grade in school. The rest of his years, he has been home bound. He is supposed to be in 5th grade but he spent one whole year in the hospital so we didn't really care if he did school work or not. We wanted our son to be well. AWESOMENESS. God has done some huge things in his life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Video Shoot

We are live testing the system once again. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Success

The trial for the interactive live feed today was a success. We had several hundred hits on the website today. You can check back here live on Thursday from 10-12 and watch a video shoot we do and you will have a chance to particpate in a creativity session for an event coming up in October. Can you say Great Pumpkin? It ought to be a blast. I'm off tomorrow so ther probably won't be a live feed except maybe tomorrow night.

Test

We are conducting a test over the course of today. We are going to be using live video streaming to conduct online creativity sessions with our volunteers. Today we are working the kinks out of this and hopefully next Monday and Tuesday we will be live. For now you can watch a normal day in the life of Stone Bridge. Also we have set up an interactive chat where you can send us your comments and ideas. Look to the left and enter the chat

Monday, August 11, 2008

Update

On Mondays, we evaluate everything from Sunday and I suddenly realized something. Yesterday, we had our second highest number of kids in our Children's Ministry ever. Pretty encouraging stuff considering school doesn't start back for a week and a half. Even more reason to be inviting people to Kid's World on August 23rd in Powdersville from 1-3:30. Freeeeeeeeeeee Ice Creeeeaaaaaamm, Stone Bridge people will understand.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Recap

Today's message was very personal and I did a lot of sharing from my heart. We focused on the book of Ezekiel. The response afterward was very cool. I had several different people pull me aside and tell me that it really hit home. It was encouraging to see people being encouraged in the situations and events that they are facing.

Announcement video went over well. Bands did a great job. I am zapped after a long last two weeks. I'm looking forward to a more normal week this week and hopefully a couple of normal nights at home.

This Saturday, StoneBridge is taking part in freshman move in day at Anderson University from 8-12 a.m. I will be at North Greenville University this Friday with a couple of folks giving out ice cream for their freshman move in.

Next week we swing into full gear with a Crashing Jericho Concert for the youth on July 20th. I will be in Tennessee on the 21st and 22nd meeting with a group of church planters from Ohio. Saturday the 23rd we are having Kid's World Powdersville from 1-3:30 p.m. . A busy couple of weeks and then looking forward to a little rest.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Watching the Olympics and Green Screen

Today was getting ready for Sunday. We have a green screen room now which will help in shooting videos for some of the funny videos we shoot for announcements and message stuff. I shot one today and it makes for some funny announcements.

I'm watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Incredibly creative. I'll have more thoughts on that in the coming days. One quick thing though, speedwalking should not be an Olympic sport. Something I can do when a bad bowel movement hits me in the mall is not what I consider an Olympic sport. One more quick thing, where are all of these countries? Man, I am geographically illiterate.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Worship Leader?

So we may be on the lookout for a new worship leader. Why might you ask? Well our current one called me today to tell me that he was riding a Steer at a Rodeo tonight. I have an image of Evan trying to play guitar with two broken arms after a large hoofed animal decides to slam him into the mud and then proceed with trampling him. Just kidding we aren't getting rid of him......as long as he has one unbroken arm.

Evan and the band are playing at a rodeo in New Mexico. Chasen has gone country. I guess they could start off their set list with a new version of Crazy Beautiful. Instead of the Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh ohhhh , they could start it like this Rooooooo deoooo.

I will post pics of his Steer riding when he sends me one.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Reality Check

There is nothing that will quite bring you down to reality than a walk through Children's Hospital. We have gotten accustomed to the check ups in Cincinnati every 4 months. Many times it can seem mundane, that is until you go up to the 5th floor where the BMT unit is and every time it is like reality slaps you in the face. Today, we passed two BMT kids in the hall on the way back from treatment or surgeries. They are easy to tell because they are wearing their protective masks and are missing their hair. As soon as I saw them, immediately I remembered the eight straight months Isaac spent in his room there and our one and a half years up there. We will probably never forget that time and that is a good thing because it serves as a constant reminder of all we have to be thankful for.

P.S. If you would remember a little boy named Jack Huffman in your prayers. He is from this area and currently going through a bone marrow transplant.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

You're Not Preferred

You're not preferred. What does that mean?

This was the message we got from the assistant manager from the not to be named hotel when we arrived to check into our room that we had booked weeks ago. So apparently if you are not preferred that means when you show up after driving all day from South Carolina to Cincinnati and you go to check into your hotel in Covington,KY that you don't have a room. What did we're not preferred mean to us? It meant that at 9:30 p.m. at night that we had to go riding around looking for a hotel room because Holiday Inn chooses to treat their customers horribly(I could use other words here but I am proud that I did not lose my cool). What did you're not preferred mean to us? It meant that I will file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and that Holiday Inn(which we have used many times on our trips to Cincinnati) will never see any of my money ever again.

Thank goodness for the Hyatt. They were life savers. We tried several hotels before finding the Hyatt which was more than happy to accomodate us at a lower rate than the not to be named hotel.

This got me thinking. The not to be named hotel would rather cater to a "select few" of their "preferred customers" than to reach out to a new customer base. They allow their "prefered customers" to come in at the last minute and bump other people out of their rooms even when they have reservations long in advance. Basically they allow a select few to keep them from attracting a new customer base.

The sad thing is that the same thing happens in the church as well. Many times we will sacrifice reaching new people for Christ all for the sake of keeping the "select few" happy. They may be the big givers or those who run particular ministries in our churches and many times we tip toe around them in order to keep them satisfied. Many times rather than doing the right thing, we do the easy thing at the expense of seeing new people come into our churches and receiving Christ. I am so thankful that StoneBridge doesn't operate that way. You guys are way more better than the not to be named hotel.

P.S. I don't know if that sentence is good grammar or not but you guys are definately the Hyatt all the way.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hope and Cincinnati

This week we continue on in our series Thirst and we'll be dealing with the subject of Hope and Possibilities. If you know someone who is struggling right now or has given up hope, get them there this Sunday. Just a reminder, Jason Patterson will be speaking at youth this Wednesday night and everything kicks off at 6:45 p.m. with pizza and then youth at 7 p.m..

The church office will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Evan is heading off our on tour to New Mexico and I will be heading up to Cincinnati with Melissa and Isaac for a Isaac's check up. Evan and the band will be riding for 23 hours over the next couple of days and we will driving around 1000 miles in the next 36 hours. I think we qualify for some type of frequent driver mileage.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Without a Hitch

Today was awesome. Both services went really well. I must admit I was a little nervous about the Powdersville location based on the fact that today was our first time in the new auditorium. We had just finished up running some of the cables and wires as late as yesterday. And everything went off without a hitch. After the service I had a couple of different people that made the comment about how smooth all of our transitions went.

We got a couple of leads on some possible semi permanent locations in Anderson that we will be following up on. I say semi permanent because part of the vision of Stone Bridge is that we probably will never own a facility but rather lease. Our location in Powdersville is a great example of what can be done in a leased facility.

This past week our volunteers really stepped up and went above and beyond to get things painted and set up for today. This gives use much needed kid's space on Sundays and makes for a great venue for our youth on Wednesdays. The band really stepped up and a lot of folks were back in town as vacations are rapping up. The next three weeks we have several projects and events that will be targeting the community. This is an exciting time in the life of StoneBridge. Remember to invite everyone you come in contact with and watch what is going to happen in the next couple of months.

Here is a pic of the new auditorium.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just a Reminder

Just a reminder to everyone at the StoneBridge Powdersville Campus, we will be meeting at the front side of the building in the new auditorium. Kids check-in will be in the front double doors to the right at the normal location. Everyone is asked to park in the front. Service time in Anderson is 9:15 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. in Powdersville. There have been a lot of volunteers who have put in a ton of effort this week and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. See you there and bring a friend.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sorry No Post

Sorry about no posting this week. It has been crazy. Crazy in a busy and good way. We've been moving into another part of the building which means painting, moving stuff, setting up stuff, and stuff like that. Yesterday, I went with the youth to Carowinds. It was hot and humid. I am wiped out right now. Tomorrow is setting up projector stuff and message run through. Some small tidy up projects and then tomorrow night is rest. I will post pics and tell you more next week when I have rested more than 5 hours.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Recap

  • Keels, Jon and Clay did a great job with worship in Anderson.
  • Derrick D. did the teaching duties in Anderson today.
  • Several first timers in Powdersville today.
  • Kevin Campbell spoke for me in Powdersville and did an awesome job.
  • Reo was incredible leading worship and will be helping us out more in the coming weeks as Evan heads out on tour.
  • Attendance was up despite a large number of our regular folks being out of town on vacations. In a new church start when 8-9 of your core families go on vacation it can be huge. So needless to say I was excited to see attendance up despite such a big group being gone this week.
  • Announcement video went over well. I've never heard people laugh so much over announcements.
  • I had a request from someone to sing some of my Randy Travis songs. I told the guy that if he came back to church I would sing.
  • Painting this week at the new auditorium. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday night. If you can paint, basically anytime on those days or nights is cool.
  • Got invited to go fishing this afternoon down in Antreville.
  • We won. Tripp and I outfished Stan and Scott. 53-49. Tripp caught 35 large mouth bass, I caught 18. Last time I caught 27.
  • Tripp got ready to push out one of the boats and there was a three foot long snake under the boat. I stood in the back of the truck while Tripp, Stan, and Scott tried to shoot it. I used the excuse that I was looking for a can of Off. Really I was just standing in the boat to not be bitten by a huge snake.
  • I learned my fishing style today. It is self proclaimed "Lazy Fishing". It worked. I just cast and let the fluke drop to the bottom and every now and again I reeled and shook the line. I had only caught three before discovering my method. I also learned how to tie the fisherman knot today.
  • I managed to hook my back with one of those three hook hooks. I told Trip to yank it out. He yanked it and it didn't come out. He grossed out. Scott pulled his boat over and took my razor blade knife and cut it out of my back. While he was cutting it out of my back, I got stung by a bee. Holder would have had to use his Epi Pen. It hurt but I didn't say any cuss words. I can't remember if I thought any or not. Don't worry, Scott was like a Boy Scout with his fancy pants first aid kit complete with antiseptic.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Anniversary

Today was our 15th year anniversary. I knew that today was a biggie and I knew I better plan something good. 5 years ago on our 10th anniversary I took Melissa on a 10 stop scavenger hunt where I got her gifts for each of the ten years we had been married. I then made an 11th stop where I gave her a new 1 carat diamond ring.

Today was 15 so I knew I needed to step up my game. So this morning we were off on a mystery trip. I happen to know one of the curators at the Biltmore House in Asheville. My friend from school is the number 2 person in charge up there and I was able to get him to hook me up with a huge favor(which he had to get special permission for). Anyway, we arrived at the Biltmore Gate and parked the car. I had it set up to where as soon as we arrived a carriage pulled up. (The timing was crazy. I had to go in the mens restroom at Biltmore McDonalds to let them know we were near the gate without Melissa hearing me. Men using the restroom seemed to stare a lot as I'm asking the dude if the carriage is ready.)

Anyway, the timing was perfect and we made our way onto the carriage for the 20 minute ride up to the Main House. It was awesome, people were stopping and watching as we pulled up the the front of the house. Jay greeted us at the front and escorted us into the restricted area of the Bachelor's wing near the South Tower. It was the personal lounge of George Vanderbilt before his marriage and in fact was the actual room in which he proposed to his wife. Once in the room, there was a food layout that you would not believe. Melissa and I sat alone in George Vanderbilt's personal lounge and ate at the same table he ate at. Next to where we sat was a chair that was owned by Louis 16th. It was incredible. Melissa was speechless. We dined for about an hour and then we were off to our carriage for a ride over to Lion Crest where the horses are kept. We spent the afternoon on private horseback tour of the grounds. The day ended with a carriage ride back to our car and we rode back into reality. And speaking of reality, none of this story was reality. I did take Melissa to the Biltmore House for our anniversary though. It sounded romantic though and it's the thought that counts anyway.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

15 Years

Wow! Tomorrow will be 15 years since Melissa and I were married. July 24th 1993. I remember talking to a guy I went to college with who had went back to school later in life, and I remember him telling me that he had been married 15 years. I thought, dang he sure is old. That was back when Melissa and I had been married a couple of months. Now I think 15 years is not that long and I don't feel that old. But crap, that guy I went to school with has been married 30 years now and that is really old. I take solace in knowing Melissa and I are newly weds compared to old people. If you're old, I meant no offense by the old people comment. I'm sorry that you are youthfully challenged.

Anyway, Happy Anniversary. I am still amazed that you landed a catch like me. Just kidding, I know I went way over my head.

P.S. If I think about it I may post our wedding video that has me singing two songs to Melissa in our wedding.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Update

This week has been fairly busy with not much time to blog. I worked on a lot of logistical type stuff yesterday and today. I am a creator and idea type person and don't necessarily enjoy the logistical stuff but there are times where that is what I have to do. It's what I do. Shoot! T peezy will get that or T Pizzy as Evan texted him.

Most of the logistical stuff is getting ready for the move to the new auditorium and moving the Children's area to the old auditoirum area and moving the offices to the old Children's area. So a ton of switching around that will be happening in the next week.

Hopefully, we will be getting the ok from the landlord to begin our transition tomorrow. For those who are going to be helping out with painting, sound set up, and moving stuff, I will have a schedule with times that we will doing work. There is only one small type construction project to be done and that involves taking out about 10 feet of wall. Hopefully it won't be too bad. Other than that there are a hundred small things to be taken care of. Also, we are continuing to look for a more permanent location besides the school in Anderson. Pray that doors will open and we will know the place that we are supposed to be.

Also, just a quick invite to all the readers in blog land. Maybe you've been thinking about visiting StoneBridge. What are you waiting for? We'd love to have you stop by and join us. 9:15 a.m. in Anderson at Whitehall Elementary and 10:55 a.m. in Powdersville behind SunTrust. We finish up our "Man on the Run" series this Sunday and begin our new series "Thirst" next week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Recap

- Today was good all around.

- Two of our three worship leaders were off today but the rest of the band members stepped up and we didn't miss a beat. We are starting to develop depth within our Worship area and it is awesome to see all the different people who are playing parts.

- Keels made his debut leading today in Powdersville and did an awesome job.

- Shout out to Dan C for all he does in Anderson. Dan holds it all together and I appreciate all he does.

- Several new faces at both campuses today which was awesome to see.

- Summer can be filled with highs and lows in all areas of the church. Depending on how vacations fall and who's there and who's gone it can vary from week to week. This being our first summer it has been hard to predict but the cool thing is except for one week, we pretty much have remained constant.

- I usually don't talk about money on my blog but today really blew me away. People have asked from time to time what it takes to run a church. For us, our budget is pretty simple considering all that we do. Our monthly budget requirements are around $12,000. That includes rent at two locations, utilities, insurance, office stuff, youth, children, music(never enough music stuff-Just kidding these guys do great with what they have) and salaries. For most churches this doesn't sound like much because most of the churches I have worked at have had $10,000- $20,000 as a weekly budget. Anyway, back to my point. It takes money to reach people. I really believe our people understand this. During the summer it can be tough on churches. The average per person giving across the nation is right around $15 per person. Today our folks really blew me away, our per person giving today was over $50 per person. It was a reminder to me that our folks really get what is happening and really want to see us reach people for Christ. Currently we still have a few thousand dollars to go to retire our debt which will allow us to move forward with more things designed to reach the community for Christ. Thanks for all you folks do and how you hold everything with an open hand allowing God to use you.

- Be sure to check out the church website for upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lost Phone, Day Off, New Watch, New Shirts ,and New Folks

- Lost my phone today in Garden Ridge. Someone picked it up aand turned it in to their office which was nice since I didn't realize it until 3 hours later. We called it and found out where it's new location was and picked it up. Strangers being nice. Really cool.

- I was off today. Hung out with Melissa and Isaac in downtown Greenville just walking around.

- I went in Buckle today and got inspired. They had a watch I wanted but it was $115. No big problem, I went home and made my own that looks better than the one they had for sale. Seeing that one inspired me to make a new white band with blue face watch and the cost was ........free. I used an old watch face, white paint, and an old snake skin belt. That's better than $115.

- I got money for my birthday last week so I bought myself three new shirts at the mall. I hate the mall and only usually make about three pilgrimages a year to it.

- I bought some new folks with the extra money I had left over from my birthday. Just kidding. But I am jacked up about some new folks that are going to be helping out from North Greenville University in the next three weeks or so. This is going to take our youth, media and other areas to the next level. These folks are also going to be heading up the core group for the TR location as we move into the fall.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tons in the Works

This has been a pretty encouraging week with several things in the works. I've had 5-6 excellent meetings with several different people.

In the next month, we are going to some exciting things taking place. I don't won't to let out all the details but we are going to be taking our ministries to the next level. I am praying through several things and would appreciate your prayers when you think about it, pray for wisdom.

Today I had some great conversations with a pastor from Greer, another from Spartanburg which really challenged my thinking.(Save the comments on my thinking or lack of it sometimes).

In general it has been a great week. Looking forward to seeing Keels and the guys leading worship in Powdersville this week for the first time. They will be making their debut in Anderson next week.

Site to check out

This is pretty cool. Check out this post. Turner is quite a bit better writer than her dad and she puts her youth minister B Holda to shame as well.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Do I Miss Youth Ministry?

I was a student minister for 14 years and from time to time I have had people ask if I miss youth ministry. There are many things I dont miss like Lock-Ins(These were invented by Satan himself), overbearing parents, parents who believe their youth can do no wrong, deacons who had never been to a youth service believing they knew how to do your job, committees(basically a group fo people who didn't show up on the night they handed out jobs for the church year and they were assigned to the youth committee), church vans that always seemed to break down 200 miles from the church, and the list could go on and on.

But there are some things that I miss and tonight was one of those moments. I had a meeting up at North Greenville University tonight and I had the privelege of sitting in on a Mission Fuge Worship service with over 900 Middle and High Schoolers who have given up a week of their time to go make a difference in the lives of others. There aren't there simply to relax and chill out at a camp but rather they are there to be servants. They have been out in the community working on houses, doing community projects and more. To be in there and here 900 students singing Mighty to Save was electric.

My meeting went well tonight with a young man who is a Staff Member with Fuge and hopefully will be getting plugged into Stone Bridge in the Fall. I've had several exciting conversations with a dozen or so people in the last couple of days and I can't wait to see what it is that God is about to do.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Something Truly Amazing

I'm watching the Home Run Derby. I don't watch baseball much but was drawn to the story of Josh Hamilton. He was kicked out of baseball for 3 years for drugs. He lost his family, his job and pretty much hope. A couple of years ago he came to know Christ and his life has turned 180 degrees. Right before he got up to bat he shared how God had turned his life completely around. His relationship with his wife is restored and he is once again back in baseball. Then he proceeds to get up and knock the snot out of the ball time and again(28 times in the first round next closest competitor 8). Then they tell the story about the 71 year old batting coach who has poured his life into countless kids over the years and never asked for anything in return.

I'm about to cry. Ok I am crying, Hamilton just walked off the field and was interviewed and he proceeds to tell the story of what God has done in his life once more. Wow! Powerful stuff.

It Works

Many of you have read that I tried my hand at fire breathing via an fireball from a video projector. Anyway, yesterday after church, we decided to plug the projector in to see if it still works. Despite having burn marks from a dust fire or propellent fire (whatever it was that exploded) and being thrown to the ground after it blew up in my face, amazingly it still works. We plugged it in and waited to see what would happen and it worked. Picture came up perfectly on a 2500 lumens projector. It did suffer some type of damage though because one of the fans is making a whining noise. I believe it is the fan that is on the part that exploded which makes sense.

Yesterday my throat was hurting like strep throat but today it is feeling somewhat better. I haven't noticed a difference in my muscle tone despite being on Steroids for two days now. Of course I probably would need to do some type of excercise to see muscle tone. Oh well I guess these roids will go to waste. My lungs feel better only some mucas stuff I've been coughing up from time to time.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm Alive, The Church Hasn't Burned Down and Everything will be Normal Tommorrow

First off, I am back home sitting in my recliner after a minor accident at the church this morning. I'm sure the rumor mill has already started so here is the scoop:

This morning I went up the church at about 7:45 a.m. to go over my message and then I was going to go to Kid's World with our Anderson Campus. I walked in my office and decided to clean the dust out of a used projector we were going to use for the kid's area in a few weeks. I had bought a can of that air spray that you spray into electronics to clean dust out. Not thinking anything about it being plugged in, I was holding the projector and looking into the projector. It was about 4 or 5 inches from my face. I shot a burst of air and it knocked some dust out of the back. I shot a second burst of air and "it happened".

Apparently the dust hit a spark and it ignited in my face. It startled me and I gasped. When I gasped, I inhaled the flame. I jumped up from the ground and ran to the bathroom. I took two big breathes but nothing. I was gasping and could not get any oxygen. I splashed water into my face and mouth not knowing if I was on fire. I took a third breathe and nothing. I looked down at my pocket for my phone and realized it was not there. I ran for the door knowing I needed to get help. I took three or four more breaths trying to breathe but I still couldn't get any oxgen. I ran out the door and began getting lightheaded from no oxygen. I saw some people having a yard sale and headed toward them. As I was about halfway there I got my first little bit of breathe in about a minute or so. I sat down in the parking lot and they called 911. Someone ran over to check to see if there was still a fire and it was out only a strong burning smell.

EMS arrived within two - three minutes and off to GMH we went. They put me on oxygen for about an hour, poked me with needles in all types of places, xrayed me, gave me steroids, let friends and family come in and make fun of me and my bare chestedness, and ripped alot of my arm, hand and chest hair off with all of the things they stuck on me.

Xrays showed no glass in my lungs. One of the people who went to check the building had told the EMS guy that he thought the bulb had exploded and they wanted to be sure I hadn't inhaled glass. In fact, we went by on the way home and looked and the bulb hadn't exploded but rather the dust had ignited.

The Doctor said it had burnt all of my nose hairs so I am good there for a month or so. She said I had scorched the upper bronchiole passages in my lungs and I had scorched the trachial lining in my throat. They gave me some steroids to help it recover and released me to go home. Right now it feels like a bad case of bronchitis mixed with strep throat.

I guess my tryout to be one of the two witnesses that breathed fire in Revelation 11 didn't go so well and maybe next time I will take a page from Bill Clinton and not inhale.

See you at church tomorrow and I find it only appropriate that we're singing Fire Fall Down tomorrow.

P.S. If someone knows of where I can get a good used projector for cheap let me know. I have one I can trade in but I'd be afraid to plug it in.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sequels

I think I've decided that I'm not a big fan of sequels. I watched National Treasure 2 a couple of nights ago. I liked National Treasure 1. National Treasure 2 was pretty much the same movie. They tried to capitalize on past success and it may have made for a profitable movie, but it made for a horrible plot. Seriously, Ed Harris as a bad guy trying to kill them just so he gets credit for an archealogical discovery. Come on, are you kidding me? They should have stuck with the Euro esque bad guy that we see in movies like Die Hard, Clear and Present Danger, etc etc. . America loves the Euro bad guy. Sequels never seem to live up to the hype. But somewhere the producer saw the original as successful so rather than trying to come up with a new story line, they just copy past successes.

The church does the same thing. Years ago someone went to a conference and decided that the way so and so church was doing church was working so maybe they should do a sequel. Rather than relying on the vision God had given them to place new wine in new wineskins, they simply replicated someone elses vision. The result became what we know as the traditional church of today.

The crazy thing is that as many folks are fleeing the traditional church scene to start new churches, the same thing is happening all over again. Guys will go to a conference and see such and such church reaching 2000 people in their first two years and instead of relying on the vision that God has given them for the people in the area God has called them to, they will go back and launch Sequel Church. Then pops up Sequel Church 3, Sequel Church 4-Church of Secrets, and before you know it the same thing has happened all over again.

The question I have is this, what is the Vision God has given you? Not what is the vision God has given Mega Church Conference leader guy but what has God called you to do? Go be original. Otherwise, in twenty years another group will flee the then traditional Faux Hawk Pastor, Multi Site Video Fed, Frappamochachino, Church of Today.

This post is not meant to be offensive to faux hawk wearing preachers. After all, the faux hawk is the new comb over. Also, I believe some churches can do video successfully, but don't do it just because you saw someone else do it and thought it'd be cool. As far as the Frappamochachino comment, I meant that with all the disrepect in the world. It's not Coke.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Who's Sharpening You?

As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. I've read this verse many times and I've understood it but sometimes I not the best at putting it into practice. That leads me to the question, who are you relying on to sharpen you? I've been really focusing on as of late on being sharpened by others. You can't go at it alone and expect to make it in the world.

Speaking of sharpening, today I had lunch with this guy. I walked away from lunch more challenged and encouraged than I have been in quite some time. The folks over at Summit Church in Greenville have a great vision of what God has called them too. As a matter of fact if I wasn't the Pastor at StoneBridge and I lived near the Woodruff Road area, then Summit would be the group of believers in Greenville that I would unite up with. They have an awesome vision for multiplying to reach their circles of accountability.

Today was fairly busy. This morning Melissa and I got checked out by a nurse. We are changing insurance stuff and they always send someone to see if you're healthy. We are. My blood pressure was 90 over 60 with a pulse of 60. I am going to start excercising on my bike again soon. I've been watching the Tour de France and I am getting motivated to ride again.

I worked on message stuff until about 6:30 p.m. and finalized our series for December. I'll give you a hint, it's going to have a space flavor to it. This week we continue in "Man on the Run" as we'll look at running from God.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Man on the Run

Kicked off our new series "Man on the Run" today.

Evan and the guys threw in an extra song before the message today and it was awesome.

Mark, Will, and Anna did an acoustic set in Anderson and the energy there was very cool.

I kind of got the best of both worlds because I got to see our worship set two different ways and both were great.

Kids area was our highest attendance since before school got out.

I think most of our core folks are gettting back in town from vacation because attendance has started coming back up plus a good number of first timers in the last couple of weeks has been awesome.

I felt a freedom in speaking openly and honestly with our folks today. It's hard to describe but it's an amazingly peaceful feeling while you're speaking. I've been praying for that.

Three more weeks in our current auditorium and then we move to the front of the building with a larger auditorium and the old audtiorium becomes youth and kid's space.

Over the next two months we are really investing in kids and youth at both campuses. This Saturday is Kid's World in Anderson and should be a blast.

This afternoon a couple of friends came over and we raced go karts. We had four running at one time until Jason had to get out of his because it caught on fire. Not like a big consuming him in flame fire but the clutch caught on fire because it was worn out. At first I didn't tell Jason it was on fire because I figured if he kept going it would put itself out but the bolts on the seat got hot from the fire and he wanted to get out. I let him. What a true friend I am.

Tripp struggled at first with the swingset turn but by the end of the day he had mastered it. Chuck was able to accomplish something that no one prior today had accomplished. I got up to his bumper for about 10 consecutive laps and couldn't spin him out. Finally on the last lap I was able to turn him enough sideways to get on the outside and he turned me going through the top turn but I kept the throttle down and went on to win the Green White Checkered. He did drive the best of any rookie that has made their way onto the track.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th

I'm just chillin in my recliner. We slept in this morning. Isaac and I didn't get home from the race at Greenville Pickens Speedway until about 11:30 p.m. and got in bed a little after midnight. Last night may have been the best race I've watched all year. Nascar has gotten to where the races can seem boring. Last night at GPS was so not boring. Cars crashing everywhere in the last ten laps. Awesome.

They had what was billed as South Carolina's largest fireworks show following the race. I believe it was more like two guys that had made a trip to the closest fireworks stand and ponied up $500. The fireworks weren't even clearing the treetops. I was waiting for the 1000 pack of firecrackers and people walking around with sparklers. I think the word largest was applied pretty liberally. It is like every restaurant that says "largest burgers in the South" or "voted best pizza in the Southeast". Voted? By who?
I never saw that on my ballot. Senator District 2 ___________ House Representative____________ Mayor______________ Best Pizza in the Southeast________________. Oh yeah, it was on there. It got squeezed between the school referendum and the vote on an additional 1 percent sales tax.

Today, cutting grass, probably blowing stuff up.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ready for Bed

I'm pretty much wiped out right now. This week has been crazy. The last two nights have been late up at the church. Last night working on video stuf and tonight was youth. Tonight was the first time I have spoken to our youth since the opening night back in December. The band did great.

My favorite part was the game in the middle of my message. I had some contestants(suckers) come up and play a game that involved eating cream filled donuts. Only one thing that was different. I took a straw in advance and sucked all of the cream out of the donut and replaced the cream with Tartar sauce. The people eating the donuts thought they were eating cream. They weren't it was the tartar sauce. They gagged and we all laughed. The bad thing is that Jacob had fell for a similar game back when I led youth once before. That time I emptied a vanilla ice cream box and replaced the vanilla ice cream with frozen mayonaise. They gagged then too.

My cell phone broke a few weeks ago and I'm using a relic right now(Seriously, the company it came from doesn't exist anymore but it works.). Next week though I reenter the 21st Century. The new I Phone comes out and wouldn't you know that Apple timed it to coincide with my birthday. I think that may be the only way I'm getting one.

Sunday starts our new series "Man on the Run". Be sure to be there and bring your friends.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Starbucks Closing Stores

I must admit that right now I am in a tremendous panic. I just read that Starbucks is closing 600 stores across the U.S. . I'm kind of worried that I will not be able to find a place to find to spend $5 on a cup of coffee. Just kidding, I never got into the whole coffee thing. Don't get me wrong I'm not making fun of coffee drinkers because I have my addictions as well. Like if the frozen lemonade makers decided to stop selling in our area then I would definateley be up in arms. Not so with coffee because it's just not my thing.

The best coffee out there was not from Starbucks anyway. The best was Maxwell House that I would drink from a saucer at my grandma's house. There was always a pot on the stove. I don't believe she ever completely emptied the pot but rather just kept adding more coffee and water. Kind of like someone who has one of those yeast recipes that they keep in their refrigerator and just keep adding to.

One deep thought for the day....... Saturday I got ready to head up to the church. I gave Isaac a hug and told him I was off to practice my message. Then a thought hit me. I practice my message everyday by the way I live. And guess what? He's watching to see if what I say and what I do match up.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Gastritis and Quote of the Day

According to the doctor, I have a case of Gastritis. Basically, no Mexican or spicy food for until it goes away and no meals after 7 p.m.. It got kicked up after a bad night of eating at Greenville Pickens Speedway chased down by a bag of boiled peanuts at about 10:00 p.m. on Saturday Night. They also said limited caffiene. I will cut back from 14 Cokes a day to about 10. That seems reasonable to me.

I actually ate pretty healthy today with some fruit and rice and healthy crap. I can't tell a difference. I'm probably going to start riding my bike again maybe tomorrow. By next month, I may start riding my bike to the office. I'll see how my discipline to be extra healthy goes. I need some motivation like I talked about in my message on Sunday. Maybe Holder's dad will hook me up with the 10 dollars a mile plan like he did with Bryan and his weight loss.

Here is a great quote that I heard this past week. It can be applied to about any area of life. "Common sense is not quite so common".

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday Recap

- Anderson- 9:15 this morning. Mark said I successfully stepped on everyone's toes in the message today. I started with mine when writing the message. This was tough because God really challenged me while writing this to step up my game. Spoke out of Colossians 3 and Luke 21

- Anderson Kid's World coming up July 12th find out details here .

- Powdersville 10:55 a.m.- We may have had more response after the service today than we have ever had. Several people wanting to get plugged in. Exciting stuff. Painting in the next couple of weeks. Kid's area rocked. Keels plays keyboards. Anything this guy doesn't do? Band did great job.

- Lunch at Subway and then home for about an hour before I went back to church to go over my message for tonight in Laurens.

-Evan rode to Laurens with me to meet up with this guy . You'll have to excuse him for not updating his blog in a while, I believe he may be related to this guy based on the fact that they are both blog lazy.

- Spoke at an area wide youth event with about 7 local churches from Laurens participating at the Laurens YMCA. I spoke on Daniel 3.

- Dropped Evan off at church and proceeded to encounter Noah and the flood on my way home. Oh yeah, the top was off of my Jeep. I was soaked and shivering by the time I walked in the door. It was big fat rain.

- Watching a TV preacher and about to turn the channel. Done. Turned it to QVC. Much better.

Turning the Corner

Today was awesome at Stone Bridge. I was really encouraged by the number of people who came up after the service and wanted to get plugged in more in the life of the church. I felt like today we really turned a corner. Yes there are still a lot of people gone each week on vacation but there were new faces at both places. It's an exciting time in the church because many churches cruise through the summer. Our folks have really stepped up this summer and we have taken each ministry of the church to the next level in the last month.

There are several exciting upcoming events that we specifically geared for families with children and youth. Be sure to check out the church website for more details. I'll update more later but I'm off to study another message for an area wide youth event in Laurens tonight.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Random Thought Thursday

1. I'm off tomorrow. Meeting in Greenville in the A.M. and hanging out with the family in the P.M.

2. I just walked in from getting another Go Kart put together for the backyard track. I didn't have on a watch and looked down at my phone and it was midnight.

3. I came inside.

4. I took a break while working on the go cart and for some reason decided to look at my belly button. Mine is pretty deep. I can't see the bottom of it. For all I know I could just stuff food in there and send it direct to my belly. That would help with all that healthy food that I don't eat because it tastes like dook. I could just shove it in my belly and get healthy.

5. Sunday is busy. Anderson Campus at 8. Powdersville at 10:45. Speaking in Laurens at Area Wide Youth Event at 6 P.M.

6.The jeep gave me back sweat today. It was like 95 degrees which means back sweat every time. Your shirt sticks to your back. Evan rode with me to Greenville. He got major back sweat.

7.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Study Day

Yesterday and today have been a ton of study for upcoming messages. Lots of good stuff God has been showing me in the last few weeks. Tons of exciting things coming up in the next two months at Stone Bridge. Be sure to check out the church site here .

One exciting thing that is not on the church site is coming up in a month when we move to the front auditorium in Powdersville. We are going to be doing some painting coming up in about 4 weeks. We will need probably about 10 people to paint and I'll post some times we are going to be painting as it gets closer.

Today I had lunch with Mike from Oak Pointe. It was cool to see some exciting things that are taking place over in South Greenville. They are considering multi site campuses as well. They are less than a year and a half old and are already seeing lives impacted in the Woodmont area and beyond.

Tomorrow is putting the finishing touches on a message for our youth next Wednesday night and making sure everything is set for Sunday. I've got some video and graphics projects we are working on and hope to finish all of that up tomorrow as well.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A/C is so not overrated

There are many things in life that are overrated, like Starbucks Coffee, clean underwear, North Carolina basketball, John Mayer's music, bathing regularly, etc etc..... Air Conditioning is so not overrated. At bed time last night it was still 84 degrees. It did get quite chilly during the night with temps dropping into the low 80's. Today has been better thanks to our friends at Rackley Heating and Air. They had our a/c fixed and running by about 10 a.m. this morning. Talk about service. Some little computer thingy burned up in the unit and they replaced it and I am relaxing in my recliner tonight. Only difference tonight is that I'm not sticking to the leather. Ahhhhhh A/C.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hot

Yesterday I was talking to Kevin about their move out to San Diego where they will be launching a new church (Elevate San Diego) coming up in January. He was telling me about the area and how they were experiencing record heat with temps in the 90's. Here was the crazy thing, he said a lot of houses out there don't have air conditioning because the temps are usually in the 70's all year. He told me that they didn't have air and I made some kind of comment like yeah I know what you mean. Honestly though, I didn't know what he meant because my a/c was working fine.

Well, today I know what he means. I got to church in Powdersville to discover that our kids area a/c was not working. We got some fans and it was bearable. Then I walk in from church this afternoon and discover that our a/c at our house had went out as well. As I sit here posting this, it is a balmy 85 degrees in my house. So now I feel like I can identify with Kevin and his sufferings in San Diego.

I do find it interesting that today I spoke on becoming all things to all men. To the weak I became like the weak. To those without a/c I became like those without a/c. Remember it's all about engaging people in a way that they can understand.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Yard Sale

Today was our annual family yard sale. This was Isaac's first yard sale where he actually sold his stuff himself. He was funny to see in the negotiating process with people wanting to buy his old toys. He is going to be an awesoem salesman. He sold $96.50 worth of toys today. Per person, he outsold Melissa and I hands down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Skinny Corn

Do you want skinny corn? I can tell you how to grow it from experience. You may say what is skinny corn. Well, skinny corn happens when you fail to weed your garden. Scott Watson stopped by a few weeks ago and told me I needed to weed around my corn. Either through laziness or apathy, I didn't heed his advice and guess what happened? Skinny corn. I have corn stalks that are about 4 ft tall but they are so skinny that they are beginning to fall over because they aren't healthy. The weeds ate up a lot of their nutrients and prevented my corn from being big fatso corn.

I've discovered the same thing is true in my life and the life of the church. If we neglect to weed, then our lives spiritually and the life of our church will never be as healthy as it could be. For the last few weeks I have been doing some weeding in my life personally and we have been seeing some weeding take place in the life of the church. Sometimes it means changing things up and sometimes it means allowing people to walk away. If there are things or people that are sucking the life out of you personally or as a church then you may need to do some weeding. ----Side note- Sometimes people read this blog and read into this, please know I am speaking in general terms. Right now is an incredibly exciting time in the life of our church, our volunteers have been putting in extra effort and really stepping up over the last few weeks and I believe we are going to see some incredible growth as a result of the weeding taking place right now.

And finally, Dino really hit the nail on the head with leadership in his post and what it should look like.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taken for Granted

There are so many things that I take for granted from time to time and usually there are practical things that bring me down to earth. Tonight I was sitting in the living room and Isaac came hopping on one leg through the living room. It was hilarious because he has the coordination of me. He looked rather spastic but I was laughing. Then Melissa reminded me of something, this is the first time in his 10 years of life that he has had the leg strength to try and hop on one foot due to his diseases. 10 years old and the normal stuff I did as a kid are a whole new world to him. Man, I take so much for granted.

Our children's ministry leaders are awesome. Today they were in the office painting in the kids area. This isn't something that they get paid to do but something that they do because they truly desire to see the lives of kids changed. Since the early days of Stone Bridge, this is the only area that I haven't had to be hands on with because Erin and Paige have knocked the ball out of the park. They have took off and ran with this area of ministry and made it their own. The same is happening is Anderson with Tracy and Kim. All of our children's people do an awesome job.

Another thing I've learned is that it is good to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Since the beginning of Stone Bridge, Scott has been one of those guys for me. It's important to have someone that will shoot straight with you when you seek out advice on decisions. I've got a few of these people that I know will be honest and that sure takes a load off when it's time to make big decisions.

Speaking of big decisions, we have some big stuff coming up and I still ask that you pray that I make wise decisions for the church in the coming months.

Tomatoes

So while the rest of the country is fretting over tainted tomatoes, my upside down hanging tomatoe plants have begun producing tons of tomatoes. I'm thinking of setting up a roadside stand once the price of tomatoes reaches $5. Isaac has been a real team player with the tomatoes. He has given up two out of his threee swings on his swingset so that the tomatoes could hang from there.