No Resolution Yet? It’s not too late!

I have read several great blogs over the last few days that have challenged me in several different ways. The main debate that has been on my mind over the last few days is to make a resolution, or to not make a resolution. In other words, what goals and challenges will I set for myself over the next year. I have asked several people this week to name a few goals that they have set for the next year, and suprisingly almost everyone that I had spoken with had not made any resolutions yet. One blog that I read about yesterday talked about how in the Bible,  Daniel made a resolution at the beginning of his book, and the rest of his story is history. Daniel is known as a faithful follower of the Lord, and it could be traced back to one resolution that he made. You can read that great post HERE. Well, because of that blog and a few others that made it clear that there is not a rule that states that resolutions must be in stone by the time the ball drops at midnight, I have decided to take some time over the next week and really ask God what some of my goals should be for the next year. I already know a few, but I am going to use the next week to write down some specific things to increase my effectiveness in serving the Lord and my family in 2011.

Here are a few things that I already plan to do:

Scripture Memory, both on my own, and with Ron Edmondson on his blog HERE

Blog more often by applying what I read yesterday on these two blogs,  HERE and HERE

Attempt to accomplish 27 credit hours this year on  my graduate work.

FIT Triathlon May 14th

More to come!

What are some of the things that you plan to accomplish this year? Please comment some of them, maybe you will give me more ideas! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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A Few of my Favorite Christmas Songs…

Here are just a few of my favorite Christmas songs! Listen to them and then share some of your favorite songs! These are great! Hope you enjoy!

O Holy Night

One Wintry Night

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Santa Claus is Coming

Santa Claus Tonight

Thanksgiving 2009

Here are many of the things that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving!

These are the people and the things that bring color to my life!

Now I will mention a few specifics…

You don’t have to read them all, but I want to post is somewhere! 🙂

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I am thankful for my  savior, my salvation, my relationship with Jesus, His patience with me, His mercy, His mercy, His mercy, His mercy, His unconditional love, His faithfulness, His provision, His plan, His Word.

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I am thankful for Katie, my wife, her unconditional love, her faithfulness, her patience, her strength, her support, her hard work for our family, her tender heart, her attention to detail. I am thankful for the way she takes care of our home, our son, and our family so well.

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I am thankful for Will, he has not done much to deserve my love but He is a constant reminder that I have not done anything to deserve Gods love. I am thankful for Will because he is a motivator to be the best Dad I can be, Will is a motivator to be the best husband I can be, the best pastor I can be. I am so thankful for how much JOY he brings into my life. I am so thankful for the many lessons that He has taught me. I am so thankful for his hugs and kisses, and his seemingly unconditional love (so far).

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I am thankful for my Mom. The woman who has prayed me into the place that I am now. I am thankful for my Mom’s faithfulness, her strength, her genuine love, her quirkiness, her beautiful voice, her constant support, her everlasting joyous spirit, her servants heart like none other that I have seen.

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I am thankful for my Dad. I am thankful for the memories that I have, growing up with such a cool, strong, tough, and loving father. I am thankful for the leadership lessons, the practical life lessons, the drive for greatness  that he instilled in me. I am thankful for his support through college and into the ministry. I am thankful for the values and solid standards that He held in our home. I am thankful that my Dad made me get a job and made me work for the things that I wanted. I am thankful for a Dad who was really good at a lot of things, and who helped me to be good at some things 🙂 I am thankful for a Dad who worked so hard for my family even when I did not appreciate it, to put me in a school and an environment that would lead me to the place I am today. I am thankful for a Dad who set me up for success in many ways.

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I am thankful for my sister Amanda, and her family, Steve, Stephen James, and Spencer. I am thankful that we are able to spend so much time with them. I am sooooo thankful that they are willing to make the long drive to come and see us as often as they do! I am so thankful for the constant blessing that Steve has been to me personally and to my family. I am so thankful that Amanda was smart enough to marry Steve. I am so thankful for the boys so that Will can have fun memories with his cousins just like I did growing up. I am thankful that Amanda and Steve are such passionate followers of Christ and that they are willing to go to the uttermost parts of the earth to share the one whom I am most thankful for. (see above) 🙂

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I am thankful for my Grandparents. I am thankful for God fearing grandparents that love the Lord and Love me. I am thankful for their faithfulness and their interest in my life. I am thankful for Grandparents that were willing to pay me 4 times the going rate for mowing the lawn, although I DID NOT DESERVE IT. I cannot believe how much they paid me to mow their lawn. (even though I always aimed the blower towards the house and blew all the dust right into the windows) I am thankful for Grandparents that saw the potential in me, and were willing to pay week after week for piano lessons. Thank you! I am thankful for a grandma that cared about me so much that she was even willing to buy the Pro Active Zit Cream for me, when there was no way that I could have afforded that stuff, just so that I could clear up my face. I am thankful for Grandparents that were so patient with me and never ever yelled at me, but  showed me unconditional love and INCREDIBLE PATIENCE.

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I am thankful for Suncoast Baptist Church. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve the people here in Port Charlotte, and North Port. I am so thankful for the many encouragers that God has brought to our church. Men like, Mike DuPriest, Jeff Rexrode, Rick Rzad, Mike West, Chris Parker, Eric Cheske, Chris Reckahn, Carl Motteler and many others. I am thankful for you guys. Women like, Linda Keller, Debbie Desimio, Anne Miller, Terina Rexrode, Annie Jordan, and many many others. I am so thankful for each of you! I am thankful for the teenagers that God allows me to work with each week. I am so thankful for the teenager that really make a youth pastor feel like he is not wasting time. (You know who you are)

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I am thankful for my Pastor, Chip Keller. I am thankful for his humility, his love for Christ, his patience, his Christ-likeness, his gentleness, his self discipline, his mentoring in my life, his diligent study, his wisdom, his knowledge of the Word, his servants heart, his leadership, his openness to do new things, his relevance (even if he wont create a twitter account 🙂 I am thankful that Pastor Chip hired me, I am thankful that He has stood by me. I am thankful to call him my pastor, my mentor, and my friend.

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I am thankful for many things. But if I had to pick just one thing, I would have to say: this year I am most of all, thankful for God’s Grace. I don’t want that to sound cliche so I will be specific. Over the past year I have seen God’s grace more evident in my life than ever. There were so many ways that my life could have ended up so differently, both my bad decisions that I made, and by bad decisions that others made. To see how God protected me, and used me in spite of myself is a direct testament to the Grace of God. I am not going to bust out in song with “Amazing Grace”, I think I have sung that song many times without even thinking about Grace. But today, this thanksgiving, I must thank God for his Grace. God has given me so much. I deserve none of it. I am thankful that He chose me for this life that I live. I don’t know why, but I am reminded to whom much has been given, Much is required.

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Thank you God, for your Grace.

The Best Halloween EVER

ToT%20INFOI am typing this blog on my phone right now, because I am so pumped about this weekend that I don’t even want to wait until tomorrow to post my thoughts about the best weekend I can remember since I have been here at Suncoast Baptist Church.
Saturday, October 31st, we hosted our 4th annual Trunk or Treat event. It was bigger and better than ever. If you are prone to getting bitter when God blesses other people and they share it, you might not want to read this, because God blessed and it was awesome, and I am going to share all about it!

Saturday started at 9:00am. Not the event, but the setup. Pastor Chip was the first one at church on Saturday (and probably the last to leave) and we worked all day setting up bounce houses, running extension cords, testing mics and speakers, setting up the stage, putting up several signs and hooking all of our registration computers up to the wifi network.
By around 3:00 everything was looking good and ready. Our church members began showing up with their trunks as early as 11:00am, but most did not arrive until around 4:00pm. The grills were cooking and the field started getting pretty full between 4:00 and 5:00pm. We had a dedication prayer right around 5:15 and shortly
after that, the crowds arrived!

By 5:30 there were families all over the place, walking around getting candy with their little ones and enjoying small talk with our people. It was great to see how quick the crowds began to form! One change that made this year much better than the past was our registration process. We did two things different from years past. First, we made the registration questionaire as simple as possible. Second, we did all of our registration through an electronic data process. We were able to enter the information onto laptops and they all synced together to make registration more convenient than ever! It also made trunk or treat + alot easier. But I will share more about that in a minute.

Well within the first hour of the event we had several people run out of candy. In fact, in church today Pastor Chip said: “I sat down twice all day, both times were in the van on the way to Sams to buy more candy”. In two trips pastor bought over 150 extra pounds of candy!

We had many exciting events going on throughout the night. Things like bounce houses, obstacle courses, a giant slide, a dunk tank, a hay ride, more candy than you could eat in a lifetime and we even had a martial arts team come out and do two demonstrations! It was great! Just like every year, the time absolutely flew by. One minute it was 5:30, and before I knew it, it was 8:45. Time flys when you are having fun!

As soon as the event was over we were able to tally the registration numbers. Here is what we learned: Over 350 different families registered for the event this year which included over 1600 people. We had over 50 “trunks” set up representing over 200 workers. Those numbers do not count for all of the many cars and people that walked in from the main road without registering. We are pretty confident that there were over 2000 people on our campus during our Trunk or Treat event! God really answered our prayers!

The last hay ride went out around 9:00pm. From 9:00pm-10:00pm our church family worked together to clean the place up. They did a great job getting the place ready for church on Sunday.

In fact, on the inside of our Chrch it looked just as clean as it does every other Sunday, thanks to all of the hard workers that stayed late into the night.

On Sunday we had great services in the morning both in our Bible Fellowship Hour and our Main Worship Service. Attendance was great! There were even a couples visiting our church because of Trunk or Treat just the night before!

But the real fun started as soon as church dismissed. Right after church our Trunk or Treat + plan went into effect. About 13 teenagers and I began going through every familys information that registered and printing up directions to every house on google maps. We ate pizza, printed addresses and organized all of the addresses into packs of 5 houses that were right by each other from 12:00pm – 3:45pm.

perkins logo-standardAt 1:30 I snuck away for 30 minutes to go to Perkins and pick up 125 Pumpkin Pies. We filled the entire church van with pumpkin pie.

By 3:45 we had everything set up and ready to go. We had at least 75 people show up at 3:45 to go pass out pumpkin pies to the closest 125 households that registered for our event. We only did 125 because we had no clue how many people would show up to help and how hard it would be to print out directions for all of those homes. However we were so pleased with all of the help, next year we will definitely get more pies 🙂

Our people delivered pumpkin pies until 6:00 and then they came back to the church for a great time of food and fellowship. We sat around and listened to some testimonies of the people who delivered pies, and we got to hear some great stories about the shock and appreciation of the recipients.

I have wrote way too much, but I am so excited about the great things that God did at Suncoast Baptist Church over the last two days that I could not hold it in! We did lots of work and GOD TRULEY BLESSED IT!

I am so thankful to be a part of a church where we can do such innovative things to reach our community! I am so excited about this Sunday!

This coming Sunday is Anniversary Sunday! It will be a wonderful relaxing follw-up to such a busy weekend! I am excited about sitting around playing volleyball and eating all of that delicious pot luck food!

If you had any great memories or thoughts about Trunk or Treat that you want to share, PLEASE share them by posting on this blog!

If you are still reading… you are amazing! Thanks! and Thank you Suncoast Baptist Church for working so hard this weekend! and most importantly, Thank you LORD for blessing our efforts so abundantly!