Tag Archives: City Church

September Thoughts

It has been more than a month since I have written here.  No excuse other than lack of internet during the evenings!  It’s amazing how dependent we can become on something as simple as internet access!

Random thoughts from the past month:

1.  Moving 30 years of belongings from a 3500 square foot home is daunting.  Little did we realize how many Uhaul trucks and how many days it would actually take.  But it is done!

2.  Moving back to an area you have lived before has its pros and cons.  Not sure which outweigh which yet!

3.  Living a few blocks from the Gulf of Mexico is a plus.  Almost daily walks on beautiful beaches with my bride of 30 years is a huge plus.  The opportunity to take hundreds of photographs is nice.  Sunsets, birds, water, boats, moon rise, etc.

4.  Having full-time employment for the first time in almost two years is nice.  Missed the interaction.  Grateful for the opportunity and enjoy the faith my employer has in me.  Having group health insurance is awesome!  I welcome the opportunity to pay for Cyndi’s simply because it’s group and there are no pre-existing conditions!

5.  Driving through an U.S. Air Force base each day is daunting.  Having F-22 fighter jets fly over as they prepare to land can be both exciting and kinda scary.

6.  Despite what some people would have you believe, there are thousands of people who are unemployed that would like to work.  I see people every day that would rather have a paycheck than receive any type of public assistance – whether that is unemployment compensation, food stamps, social security disability, etc. – they want a job.  Problem – there are not enough jobs for them to have in today’s economy.

7.  I get the opportunity to serve beside some of the best people.  Each Sunday I’m amazed at the dedication and genuine concern for others these people display.  City Church Tallahassee.

8.  Catalyst 2012 will take place in three days and Cyndi and I won’t have the opportunity to be in Atlanta for it this year.  Catalyst 2010 was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve had and was certainly a defining point in our spiritual journey.  Not the event itself, but the opportunity we took advantage of while there.

9.  My wife is amazing!  She is my number one supporter and fan.  30 years ago I married so far out of my class!  Thankful for who she is, what she stands for and what she is willing to do to make our lives better together!

 

 

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Some Random Midweek Thoughts

Although we were in Mexico Beach the past weekend, no photographs were taken!  That may be a first for this family!  Mostly rain during the day but there were some interesting lightning shows at night that would have been great to capture!

Espresso – our current morning drink because we don’t have a regular coffee maker right now.  We first drank espresso in Key West 30 years ago.  Most mornings we’d wake up and walk to the corner laundry which also included a small bodega and get some espresso and warm, buttered cuban bread – breakfast of champions!

City Church celebrates a five-year anniversary this week!  I really didn’t know how young it really was when we became friends with Dean Inserra.  Thankful that our daughter Meghan introduced us to this ministry!  Who would have known that we would devote more than a year and a half to sharing the gospel in Tallahassee with these friends?

Love that we have met some really good friends while spending time in Tallahassee.  Josh and Brandi Hignight are two of those!  Couldn’t have completed Ethan’s move into a different house over the course of eight days without them!  But more than that help, they genuinely understand us and are friends.

All Tide Up is up and running.  Still needs some additions and fine tuning but proud of my kids for making it happen!  Check out there site as you get a chance!

Proud of our friend Ryan Hachenberger also.  His writings at Florida Fowler are good.  Check out what he has to say about some life goals and life!

My wife, Cyndi, is unbelievable!  She has almost packed up our entire house in just a few weeks.  We will have been married 30 years the end of August.  We’ve lived in Inverness for almost 20 years and in this house for 15 years.  You can accumulate a lot of memories and a lot of things over 30 years.  Reducing it to moving boxes can be difficult but she has accomplished that!  Trying to determine where to move it is difficult also.  Sometimes the decisions you make can’t just be made with your heart.

While I do believe God is sovereign and He has a plan, there are times when we just don’t know what to do next!  Curious to see how the next season of our life goes and excited to see where it will be!


Divine Opportunities

For a few years, we spent every Monday afternoon with a group of compassionate people feeding and loving on some friends and neighbors who were less fortunate than we were.  We provided a hot meal, companionship and sometimes a ride to homeless and hungry people in the small town of Hernando in Citrus County.

When we began commuting each week to Tallahassee to serve at City Church on Sundays and lead a community group on Monday evenings, one of our biggest disappointments was not being able to serve those people on Monday afternoons.

Saturday, my wife Cyndi, my daughter Meghan and I stopped for a hamburger on the east side of Tallahassee.  We were hot and dirty from moving Ethan into a house for school that starts in a few weeks.  I had stuffed some cash in my pocket earlier and as we finished eating, I took it out to fold it neatly and put it back in my pocket.  As I did there was a man standing at the counter watching me.  The man was neatly dressed – old, dirty clothes but neatly dressed.  He took his 78 cent hamburger to his table, spread the wrapper out and slowly ate his dinner.

As Cyndi and I looked at each other, we knew that God once again had provided us a divine opportunity.  I walked over to the man and asked him if I could buy him a beverage for his meal.  His eyes lit up and he very graciously told me that would be fine.  I purchased the man a beverage and some more food and placed it in front of him.  He thanked me and smiled and said something to th effect of how nice we were to think of him and hoped that God would bless me.

This man didn’t know that he was my blessing.  I never believe in coincidences.  I believe God has ordained our paths each day.  Some days we refuse to open our eyes and see what He has for us that day.  Other days we are more willing to listen to what He has to say and to see what He has in store for us.

I haven’t had a full-time job in 20 months.  But I have enough to provide something for someone who has nothing.  Because of Jesus.

That interaction caused me to think a lot more about how we view our stuff.  On Sunday, Stuart Owens said in his sermon something to the effect of whether we have $10 or $10 million in our bank account and if we obsess over it, it’s still greed.

I pray that God will always allow me to give back to him and to those He places in my path.


A Few Days Away

ImageI’m looking forward to being away for a few days!  While our purpose away is to visit Cyndi’s mom, I’m sure there will be opportunities like the picture above!

And some time at sunrise and sunset at Mexico Beach.

Time to reflect on our life together and what the future may hold.

Time to brainstorm some business ideas and determine next steps.

Time to vision for our roles at City Church.

Most important, though, will be time together.


Friends Old and New

I have had some really neat conversations with friends over the last few weeks – friends I have known for awhile and friends I have known less than year!

Here are some highlights:

On a recent Sunday afternoon we drove to some friends house for a late lunch.  Our friends opened their home and hearts to us that day in a really neat way.  While our meal was cooking on the grill, we had an opportunity to really get to know each other – learning about each other in ways that can’t happen with a two minute conversation as we walk to our cars.  We spent a few hours that afternoon becoming closer friends.  These friends have a heart and longing for God and for others!

Monday night after our community group, a friend handed me a card.  I didn’t immediately look at it but politely said thank you.  As we were driving home that night, Cyndi opened the note and read it to me.  The encouragement and generosity the card contained was amazing!  We really needed what was in that card!  We have been friends for about six months and it is really neat to see how our brief interactions have blessed each other!  This friend has a heart for God and for others!

Wednesday I skyped with a friend in Cartagena, Colombia.  We met this friend on a trip to Cartagena in August 2011 when he served as a tour guide and interpreter for our group.  We have maintained good communication since our return to Florida and hope to return again in August 2012.  This friend shared how he had been blessed with some good paying tour work in January.  Instead of spending his earnings on something for himself, this friend used most of his money to sponsor a Christian Hip Hop event in some impoverished neighborhoods in Cartagena.  This friend has a heart for God and for others!

Today I had coffee with a group of men – men who I try to meet with every two to three weeks.  All of us range in age from early 50’s to mid 60’s.  Former law enforcement, postal employee, parks and recreation supervisor, small business owner, real estate, mason, advocate for homeless and advocate for anyone in need.  Men from all over the United States and even Europe.  A common denominator among all of us – we love Jesus and have a heart for others – especially those who are having a hard time helping themselves.  My time with these men always inspire me – inspire me to strive to be a closer follower of Christ and inspire me to intentionally look to help others.

What about you?  How did you interact with your friends this week? What did they share with you and what did you share with them?

We can’t live life in a bubble!


Christmas On The Moon 2011

Several times a year we move the venue for our worship gatherings to places that can accommodate more people.  For our Christmas service this past weekend, we moved to The Moon – a local nightclub.  This allows us to share the gospel of Jesus with more than 1,500 people at a time!

Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. around 75 volunteers met at The Moon to begin the cleaning and setup!  Just a few hours earlier there were hundreds of people in the club smoking, dancing and having a great time.  We transform the party scene to a worship scene in a few hours by mopping the floor, wiping every surface and chair and bar stool, vacuuming and doing our best to air it out before people begin arriving a few hours later to worship Jesus!  It’s amazing the teamwork this group of believers demonstrates on that morning.

Around 11:00 a.m. people begin to arrive, music is playing, coffee is shared, smiles and nice conversations abound.  The service begins at 11:30 with a great rendition of “Baby It’s Cold Outside”, followed by more traditional Christmas carols and then a powerful message about why we need Jesus.  There was a standing room only crowd that day – people were standing four deep at the back of the club! At the conclusion of the service an invitation is given – an opportunity for people to acknowledge their need for Christ and to publicly announce their decision to follow Him.  Dozens – yes dozens – of people accepted Christ as their personal savior that day! And that is why we do what we do – not so we’ll feel good about ourselves but to bring a message of hope to others and give them the opportunity to experience what we have in Jesus!

Here’s an example of how God was working Sunday – a young man walked outside to discuss with a counselor his decision to follow Christ.  After talking and praying with the young man, he went back inside, got his friend and brought him outside to talk with a counselor and pray to accept Christ and talk about taking the step of baptism!  How cool is that!?

By the way – the first young man who walked out – this was the first time he had ever heard the gospel in English!

So that’s how my family spent this past Sunday morning!  I can’t wait to see what God has planned for all of us next!

Keep running towards Him!

 

 


Living in Community

Each Monday night, Cyndi and I lead a small group discussion group – a Community Group that delves deeper into the weekly message from Dean Inserra at City Church. As a group we honestly address issues that we face in our daily lives. Issues about faith, forgiveness, holiness, salvation, redemption, sharing our faith, living out our faith and generally what it means to be a real Christ follower.

Last night was another good time with some people who are really committed to Christ. One couple brought a friend – Michele. Michele will leave next week for a two year long mission to Hungary with the International Mission Board. I tend to ask a lot of questions and Michele intrigued me – so you can guess the rest!

Michele will spend her time building relationships with college students and members of the community she will live in. Her goals will be to disciple believers and lead them to a point of facilitating comm;unity groups when she leaves in a few years.

Although Michele will be paid to do this, aren’t each of us as Christ followers charged to dod the exact same thing? Isn’t our primary goal as a follower of Christ to share his love and glory with others? Doesn’t Jesus Christ himself leave us with a charge to go throughout all nations and teach others about Him?

I’m excited for Michele! She is embrking on an adventure that is beyond cool to me! I challenged our group to pray for Michele. I know I will.

As we closed our time together, Michele’s friends asked me to share a little of our story with Michele. While I look at our life and our actions as doing what God has called us to do, others seem to look at it with a different view. When I quit my job and began commuting 200 miles one way each week to facilitate this group and to offer my skill sets and knowledge to City Church, I did what I heard God telling me to do. He was in fact answering a prayer I’ve prayed for a very long time. I’ve begged God to let me be a part of a big movement of His. He is answering that right now! God is working through City Church in Tallahassee in a remarkable way! And I get to be a small part of it!

God has blessed us in so many ways. Last night I was reminded of the people He has surrounded us with and that may be the biggest blessing of all!