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Archive for December, 2008

the Last Post of 08?

WOW. I don't know the last time that I went 4 days without posting here on WholeHearted. I really feel like I'm in wind-down mode as we approach Christmas and some vacation days. I'm going to take some time to definitely chill with my family (though I'm sure you'll see me on twitter or facebook). This may well be my last post of 2008, so let's make it a GREAT ONE!

  • One Dec 08 This Sunday we'll be having a very special year-end service! It will be a "ONE" Service day. We noticed last year that there were a few days per year where we had a large number of people out of town (The Sunday after Christmas, 4th of July, Labor Day). We looked at the numbers and decided that rather than stretch a thin crowd across 3 services we would just have "ONE" huge service. When we do this…
    • we get to worship with people who attend different times.
    • if we just do "ONE" service we can have an extended service (which means a little more music :))
    • it feels good to worship when the place is packed out!

    This Sunday is "ONE" of those days – be here early and come with your heart prepared to meet with JESUS! And make sure you tell your friends (they may not know…).

  • Paige cd cover  …also this Sunday: In addition to a great year-end message by Pastor Harrell, my friend Paige Strackman will be with us to sing! Those of you who are familiar with Paige know that she is an annointed singer and woman of God. Paige has been a soloist with the world renowned Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and has just released her first solo CD, "Who Can Compare to You?".

  • I am personally preparing for the new year. As 2008 comes to a close I will take some of my morning prayer and prep time to evaluate this year and to detail things that will happen in '09. I don't know about you, but for me, 2009 is a make-or-break year in a lot of ways. There are many things that I have been seeking, praying about/for, and believe that somehow these things will come to fruition in the new year. Wish I could go into detail… honestly, I wish I was at a place where it was possible to go into detail but many of these things are still in the formation of my heart – they can't be spoken (yet). In due time i'm sure that you will read about them here on WholeHearted.

  • It I'm praying for leaders over the next 2 weeks. Are you a hyde park leader and find yourself in some sort of a spiritual funk? Snap out of it!!! Ask the Lord to bring you through and be willing to do whatever He tells you to. It's not gonna be a little thing that will bring you out; for if all that was necessary was a "tweak" you would've done it long ago (loose paraphrase of Craig Groeschel from his book, "it").

  • The song that Rhonda sang Sunday Morning, "Here With Us", is SUCH a powerful, powerful song! During that 1st service I was literally wondering if I was gonna be able to get my composure back after she sang that last verse, "Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem – a baby born to save, to save the souls of man!" and on that screen showed that baby's hand morphing into the image of the nail-scarred hand of Jesus! DANG!

  • Remember these words from the 1st Hyde Park Worship CD song, "Believe"? "I'm not satisfied doing it my own way; I'm not satisfied to do church then walk away; I'm not satisfied there's no love in my life but You; I'm not satisfied living in yesterday's hour; I'm not satisfied to have the form, yet not the power; i'm not satisfied Lord I am crucified in You!" That pretty much sums me up as I finish 2008. We're gonna see some powerful things around here in 2009 – put on your seatbelts.


Our new year's series is titled, "Rooted: Growing a Deeper Faith". It's based on Ephesians 3:16-19, "16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.". Don't you want that? I do. Were gonna share with you soon how we can all turn much of this into reality.

I close this with a video that I saw over on Ed Stetzer's blog (I love Stetzer – in a very manly way of course :)). It's a video with Penn (of the group Penn and Teller) who is an atheist. His words were amazing – I was totally blown away (watched it multiple times) as he recounts a believer sharing Jesus with him. He says,

If you believe that there's a heaven and hell, and people could be going to hell, and you think, 'Well, it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward'… How much do you have to hate somebody not to proselytize?

Read that again: How much do you have to hate somebody not to proselytize?


Thoughts on Being Pursued…

Ultimate_Gift_Title My message this weekend is titled, "The Ultimate Gift". It's based on the story found in Matthew 2:1-12. In my study for this message over the last couple of weeks I had a couple of thoughts that won't make it into Sunday's message but I wanted to share them with you anyway.

The Magi (better known as the Wise Men) were pursuing God. The journey these guys took to Bethlehem was one of pursuing – they were pursuing the newborn King of the Jews. You know, I have spent the majority of my life running from God rather than pursuing Him. I am thankful that before I was open to Him that He continued to pursue me.

As much as I would like to think of myself (TODAY) as the "pursuer", in my honesty I can tell you that I am still the "pursued" for I have not arrived, not even a little. He has revealed His salvation to me, which I have received, but He is daily teaching me (when I'm teachable :)) how to surrender in such a way that He lives through me and manifest Himself through me.

In my daily life God is pursuing me – teaching me and living through me. Some of the ways that He is teaching is…

  • He pursues us through our relationships. I wonder, is He a part of your relationships?
  • He pursues us through our kidz. How are you demonstrating Him to them?
  • He pursues us through our trials. He is always there teaching – am i listening?

Why would our great, perfect God go to such great lengths to connect with someone like me? I don't know that I will ever understand the answer to that question.

Christmas 2008 ad 4X6


What kind of a year was '82 for you? I remember a lot about '82…

  • remember "Ebony and Ivory"
  • …and speaking of Michael Jackson, he released "Thriller" is '82.
  • Epcot Center opens at Disney.
  • Best Picture of '82, Chariots of Fire.
  • Randy Rhodes, guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, was killed in a freak plane crash.
  • Remember the Tylenol scare?
  • Ronnie James Dio leaves Sabbath for a solo career.
  • The Commodore 64 Home Computer was released.

It's Christmas time and there are people in your world who are waiting – what are they waiting for? YOU! I don't know where this group got these stats, but they are intriguing!

Let me know if you are interested in a invite file that you can send by email – I'll send it right to ya!

Anniversary Day – 19 years is the “new” 25

Keyna Have I told you lately how much I love my wife?

Today is my wedding anniversary. Can you believe that I have been married for 19 years?!!!? I don't EVEN look that old, do I? (and you can hold the old jokes… i know what kind of crazy readers I have here on WholeHearted :)). I really can't believe it. You know, they say that 19 years is the "new" 25! Just kidding… nobody said that except me.

Keyna and I really have had a good marriage – probably much better for me than for her (hey, she has to live and put up with me). We married young – the early years were a bit of a strain financially as we were both in college not making much $. Not to mention the fact that every spare dime I had went into my dream of becoming a rock star.

She loved me, endured me, and held out and look what happened: God is still in the miracle working business, amen?

My relationship with Keyna is THE most important earthly relationship I have – she's above the kids (whom I love with every part of me). She's above the church (which I have given the work/serving portion of my life to). She's above everything and anything besides my relationship to God (and luckily, my love for Him only increases my love for her instead of draining it – amazing!).

I'm amazed at the ways that God uses my marriage to teach me about my relationship with Him. Things such as…

  • My reading of the bible is much like the way that my relationship with Keyna is growing. I read the bible to grow deeper in my knowledge of Jesus. Growth in my relationship with Keyna doesn't happen by accident – it's a diligence that I can't be lazy with. Just as scripture teaches me – paying attention to who Keyna is helps my love with her to grow.
  • My prayer life reminds me that I must listen to her. How easy is it to allow your prayer life to become me telling God what I want from Him and then shutting the door of communication? How easy is it for your marriage to become the same? If I want to know God's heart I must listen to Him as He teaches me. In the same way, If I want to know Keyna's heart (and I do!) then I must listen to her as she tells me the particulars of her day. After all, I am interested in knowing what she deals with and particularly, who she is… (even if it is at the most inconvenient time… like during the game… or when I'm… you get the picture :))
  • Quality Time is not more important than Quantity Time. Whoever came up with the phrase that it's not how much time you spend with your family but how good it is was just plain lazy and looking for an excuse to spend less time with those they love. Same with the Lord: if you wanna know God you gotta spend time in His presence. When my love for Him grows a little dim I can usually track it back to inconsistency in my time dedicated to Him.

Here's a tip for us all: In your marriage, turn off the radio and talk to your spouse – turn off the tv and do something WITH your spouse. In your relationship with the Lord, turn off the radio and listen to God. Has it ever occured to you that Satan would rather you listen to christian radio than pray? 

"Thank you, Lord, for 19 wonderful years with the woman of my dreams! I don't know what I've done to deserve a love like this… thank You for blessing me with her. Help me to continue to try to apply these things to my life as I try to love her with the love that You have lavished upon me. May You always be at the center of who Keyna and I are – it's in Your Name that I pray this."

Sunday Nite

It's hard to believe that it's almost Christmas, isn't it? The Christmas Spirit was in full-effect at hyde park today – hope that you were with us.

  • I thought that our services went really well today – I myself felt a little "off" – don't really know what it was (and that's not "code" for anything – I don't know what was wrong with me today). All I can say is that I am so thankful for the people that God has put around me :)
  • Way to go Amy!!! Amy Odum was on MediaShout this morning and rocked the house in Bernie's absence – proud of you girl.
  • How awesome is it to have the technology that we were able to speak with our mission team in Senegal, West Africa?? In all 3 services our congregation had the ability to hear them talk about the mission that they are living in.
  • Continue to pray with the team for their last day in Senegal.
  • Had the opportunity to eat lunch with the young couples Bible Fellowship Group today. Love those guys – we have a great group starting there.
  • …and speaking of groups – next GroupLink will be January 18th! If you're not connected make plans to take the step to get connected to hyde park in a deeper way.
  • …and speaking of "deeper ways", our new series beginning in January is titled, "Rooted: growing a deeper faith". We've got more to tell you about that soon.
  • Hope that you are planning to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering next Sunday. Our mission team is seeing Lottie Moon at work firsthand.
  • Our Kingdom Kidz choir presented "The Flower of the Holy Night" tonite. So proud of them!!! I couldn't take my eyes off the little guy that kinda resembles me :). We have a completely new generation coming up in the choir and they can really sing (especially to be so young).
  • The thing that rocked my world in the kidz concert tonite was the cultural diversity on the stage. The musical had a Mexican/multicultural feel which was really cool (and different). However, when I looked up there it was like, "look at all the different nationalities on that stage!". So proud to be a church that isn't made up of people who look just like me. We've come a long way, hyde park!

Can you believe next weekend is Christmas Services – I CAN'T WAIT!!!! Make sure that you invite your friends to be a part of "The Ultimate Gift" at all 3 services next weekend – may it be a highlight of our Christmas Season. Love ya'll.