Friday Night Lights

Ran across a couple of stories that are “close to home” for me. One in my former home of Joplin, MO and another in my current home of Belle Glade, FL. The first is a story of hope from ESPN’s Outside the Lines. It is truly amazing what has happened in Joplin since May 22nd and how the community has been so resilient in the face of adversity.


The second football related video is of a local standout named Kelvin Taylor from here in Belle Glade. Taylor’s father is former NFL running back Fred Taylor that spend the bulk of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kelvin is truly a chip off the old block and an amazing talent…and a great young man as well.

Don’t Punt::Vince Antonucci

Great post by Vince Antonucci, planter of VERVE, a church on the strip in Las Vegas. ?He talks of a High School football coach in Arkansas that has punted only one time in the past two seasons…and is the coach of a state championship this year! There has been LOTS of talk about high profile coaches “going for it” on 4th down and it not working. ?This coach thinks the “numbers” lean toward “going for it” on 4th and “whatever” equals success!

Interesting concept. ?Much like The Dip by Seth Godin. ?The secondary title is “A little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick).”

There are times in our lives when we simply need to “go for it” no matter what! ?I think the most difficult time to continue on is when you feel like giving up.

I love what the back cover of The Dip says:

what is the dip?

It’s the fifth job interview where they never even call you back.

It’s the garage band playing to an empty club in the middle of nowhere.

It’s the seventh time you fall on your butt while learning to snowboard.

It’s the middle of the marathon, when the excitement of the starting gun is a dim memory, and the joy of the finish line is a distant dream.

It’s any rough patch you have to get through before achieving your big goal . . . if in fact you’re chasing the right goal.

What else?

Oh yeah, it’s also the key to your career, your company’s future, and maybe your ultimate happiness.

We are at that place (possibly) at FP Carthage. ?We have been here in Carthage for a couple of years and some of our team is tired and feels like needing a rest. ?Things just aren’t like it was “in the beginning.”

It reminds me of the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980 when the USA Hockey Team beat the Russians in the semifinals of the Olympics to eventually win the gold medal. ?Part of the backstory of the 1980 Olympics is the coach, Herb Brooks, was cut from the USA hockey team that eventually won a gold medal. ?He came back 20 years later and led a group of college players to beat the best hockey team in the world. I love these kinds of movies that bring a group of people together to do amazing things that were though never possible!

I pray that we would “go for it” and “dig deep” and all of those other sports cliches and see amazing things happen in all of our lives. ?Paul said it this way ?in Philippians 3:12-14 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Here’s the trailer for the great movie “Miracle.” ?Enjoy!

Vince Antonucci: Dont Punt.

Google Wave for our leadership team

GoogleWaveI am really excited about getting my “invite” to Google Wave!? Check out the demo video–short version (they had a 1 hour 20 + minute LOOOONNNNGG explanation video as well) to see what it is all about.

Aaron Stockton, Kevin, and myself were doing some brainstorming the other day on Google Docs and love the whole real time experience.? When one person writes a sentence, it shows up on the other two people’s screen—amazing!!? Well, from what I can tell, Google Wave is like Google Docs on steroids!! It is also similar to some of the applications our staff has tried before at like Basecamp. We loved Basecamp, but it was a pay service and we are a ministry.? Any time we can save money on administrative costs, we can use that money in the ministry or for missions–for the Kingdom.? I am looking forward to experimenting and implementing Google Wave with our team.? Now off to look at the LOOONNGG Version.? You can check out the short overview in the meantime!

YouTube – Google Wave Overview.

Sunday Night “Sum Up”–12.13.2009

Each Sunday night I will be summing up the previous week’s events in a “numbered” list, along with the “sum total” of our attendance for the week…even though “I’m not very good with numbers.”

  1. Busy week…goes without saying, I guess.
  2. We got our new Heat Pump installed in our house. Terry did an awesome job and we are so thankful for our people at FPCarthage!!
  3. I am expanding our closet because the air handler is in our closet–on Jenny’s side. ?I am getting there…see pics.
  4. I made these “14 Minute Sawhorses” in about an hour and fifteen minutes…with some expert help from Tucker! They are actually pretty cool…and I used all scraps that were in the shed. ?Most of which were left here by the previous owners–thanks guys!!
  5. I used part of the scrap wood that used to be a really high class shelving unit that we had in our home for the first years of our marriage. ?It was a set of 1 x 12 boards placed on cinder blocks! We carried those boards and blocks around all over the country. ?Classy, I know…but very fiscally responsible!
  6. My mom and dad came down for dinner and Christmas light looking on Monday night. ?Good to have them here!
  7. Had a really good couple of services this morning @FPCarthage!
  8. Man, the band did an awesome job! I had a TON of compliments today on our worship team! Great job, folks!
  9. I am so proud of our Leadership Team!! They did an awesome job today!
  10. Christmas concert was awesome tonight at FP Joplin.
  11. Jenny sang in the choir. ?They did an amazing job!
  12. As Jenny said, “Debbie (Clements) was ‘smooth like butter’ on her solo tonight! ?”I Believe” was amazing! Lots and lots of talented people in the FP family!
  13. Had a great time hanging out with our @FPCarthage folks at Braum’s after the concert.
  14. I think I am coming down with something…my throat is killing me…better get some sleep.
  15. By the way…Our student ministry had 31 students at Fusion tonight! ?Way to GO!!

AmeriCANs: Family’s Mission to Serve – ABC News

Check out the video we showed in the beginning of our service yesterday!? I hope that this begins to make us think of creative ways to show God’s love to others!

AmeriCANs: Family’s Mission to Serve – ABC News.

How to Carve a Pumpkin on an Albino Farm

My buddy Jeff Houghton wrote a hilarious bit on a Springfield legend…and our church photographer and all around great guy, Taylor Orr sent me a picture of his award-winning carved pumpkin! Enjoy a late Halloween post!

Taylor’s Pumpkin…


Do It Yourself Pumpkin Carving – 10 Easy Steps to an all New You!

and Jeff’s spooky spoof…

For Halloween, here is an article I wrote for the satire site, Fair City News. If you?re from out of town, there is a legend regarding a spooky place called the Albino Farm north of Springfield.


Springfield, MO?Legendary spook site, the Albino Farm at Springlawn Farm, has a brand new surprise for the area, a tanning salon. Albi-No-More is set to open this Saturday, the 31st. The so-called Albino Farm has for years been notorious in legend for being haunted, by either an albino ghost caretaker, or an albino ghost family, depending on who is telling you the story.The present day owner of the property, Jerry Overholser, thought it was time for a change. ?I?m plum tired of teenagers sneaking around on the property,? explained Overholser. ?I figured if I can?t get the teenagers out of the albino farm, I?ll get the albino?s out of the albino farm.?Overholser is hoping to begin a different perspective on the property.

Albi-No-More is planned to have four standard beds, one Mystic spray-on tanning room, and one super powered machine designed specifically for modern day albinos called Burnt Toast. The interior is decorated with inspirational before and after pictures, with a picture of an albino on the left and a picture of the same albino glowing red on the right. Albinos, by the way, will get a special punch card for one free tan after enduring nine. At the grand opening they plan to give away Oreos, with the cream licked out to the first 100 customers.
Standing near the newly asphalted parking lot, teenager Troy Spelster, is not in favor of the new plan. ?I?ve had some of my best times on the Albino Farm. Ain?t nothing scary about a copper bronzed ghost chasing you.?
According to Overholser that?s exactly the idea, ?A brand new, well lit steel building with office furniture, a wide variety of oils, and watts and watts of UV rays won?t scare off anybody. Well, unless you?re scared of cancer I suppose.?

I Spilled Miracle Whip on my Vest ? The Mystery Hour.

TRUNK OR TREAT: FP Carthage Style!

We had an awesome turnout, and more importantly, we had a blast at our Trunk or Treat last night! ?We gave out a ton of candy to kids and had a whole lot of people there. ?Here are some pics that Taylor Orr, our photographer, sent me of the event. ?Here are some of my favorites. ?There are more from all three FP Trunk or Treat locations as well at this link…TRUNK OR TREAT BEST.

Book Burning in NC Church

As most of you all know, we are doing a Trunk or Treat as an alternative to Halloween. ?However, this particular church is doing a different kind of alternative event. ?They are burning books! ?Yes, you heard right. Books! ?Specifically (are you ready for this?) Bibles that are “perversions of God’s Word.”

All I can say is, “Wow.” Pretty unbelievable considering all of the issues with the KJV and the reliability of modern translations. ?The problem with this kind of thinking is that it puts into question all of the translations, especially for recent converts who go to a bookstore to look for a Bible to use. ?Many people will call in and ask if we are a KJV only church. ?We are not. ?We use many different modern translations because we believe they communicate better to a modern audience. ?The reason why we use them is so that the Gospel can be communicated clearly to lost people. ?We don’t have to explain what Old Shakespearian English means in order for people to find Christ. ?There are several great, readable translations that we use here. ?Probably the most common versions used around here are: NIV (New International Version); ESV (English Standard Version; NIrV (New International Readers Version–great children’s translation); NASB (New American Standard); NKJV (New King James Version) and of course, there are several KJV (King James Version) floating around. ?The Message, by the way, is a paraphrase, not a translation. ?It is much like the Good News Bible that I grew up with as the only option for a modern english Bible.

We have some family friends who are Bible translators that have for years risen above this kind of stuff. ?They are better people than I am at times. Their heart is to translate the Word of God into a translation that speaks to the heart of the reader. ?Having taken eight semesters of Greek and four of Hebrew, it is an unbelievably difficult task to translate these ancient texts into modern language so that people can read it, hear the Gospel, and respond to Christ’s invitation of salvation.

Moral of the story…keep reading whatever translation you have and I believe that God will speak to you!

What translation do you use and why?

Book Burning.

Amazing Sunday–Pastor Appreciation

I am still in shock from our people at Forest Park Carthage!? They surprized us with a HUGE gift for Pastor Appreciation Month!

We “got a good deal” on our house here in Carthage.? Don’t get me wrong, we are totally blessed and very thankful for everything we have.? However, we moved into the house and it is about 20 years old and everything seems to be breaking.? The house inspector’s report was like a broken record on everything…”make plans for replacement. End of life cycle.” or something like that!

The first thing is/was the wall paper…it is/was everywhere!? There were only two rooms in the whole house that didn’t have any wallpaper in them! Second, the cabinets are getting old and breaking…I am getting pretty good at making repairs to keep them together. The final straw was our air conditioning.? We have a heat pump because we don’t have gas for the furnace.? So…last winter we simply turned on the “furnace” and had outrageous electric bills!? Come to find out, there is a refrigerant leak in the air handler under the house that is causing the unit to run on the electric heat strips 100%–not just to supplement on those below zero nights.? Needless to say, after I learned a little about heat pumps, I knew we were going to need to do something before the winter came again.

Enter our church family at Forest Park Carthage!? Some “little birdies” told some other “little birdies” about our situation and they wanted to bless their pastor and his family.? Boy, did they bless us!? Take a look at this brochure!!? This thing is being put in our house this week!


Absolutely blown away by the gift that our people sacrificed to give to us!? If you look closely on the picture…they gave me the brochure and it says “Paid In Full” across the front! It was a really cool time last night telling the boys about what our church family did for us!? They are really excited and thankful for our church family.? What is really cool is the technology increase in this unit compared to our old unit.? Our old unit is about a 5 or 6 SEER and this one is a 14 SEER.? So even if the old unit was working properly, we still are going to have a substantial energy savings cost.

Thank you doesn’t even cover what we would like to say to our church family!? You all are the best!

Maple Leaf Recap

Another Maple Leaf Festival is in the books here in Carthage. ?Lots and lots of cards handed out in the parade to advertise the Trunk or Treat coming up on Halloween night. ?We also continue to get a lot of thanks from the Duathlon folks for a great job by our volunteers! ?Again, you FPCarthage people rock!!

Here is another example of a great email that Pastor John got this last week…

Yesterday, as Race Coordinator of the Maple Leaf 5k, all my volunteers showed up. Much to my delightful surprise, they were all Forest Park Carthage members. How fun was that to get to know my fellow members just east of us? I think they had a good time, protected the runners, stayed to the end, showed incredible positive attitudes, and exuded pure joy. Hats off to David Stone and his reaching out to the community emphasis!

Glad I could join in them in the mission field. There are truly no mere coincidences in this life.



Taylor Orr took a bunch of pictures of the parade…you can take a look at them here.

Here are some of my favorites! ?A huge THANK YOU to all who helped us out this week of Maple Leaf!!