Thursday, January 29, 2009

From Guest Blogger Donny Barnes

I need to stop reading the news. It’s making me depressed.

Every day seems to bring new headlines of economic problems, company closures, increasing unemployment, and an uncertain (but pretty pessimistic) future. By now, most of us know someone who has lost a job or has been affected by this economy. Maybe some of us are already in that boat ourselves.

I don’t know if things will get better immediately in 2009. In fact, many analysts are predicting that they won’t. So as followers of Jesus, we have two basic options:
1. We can be paralyzed by fear and self-pity like everyone else, or
2. We can look for opportunities to help and serve others, because there will be plenty of them.

Times like these aren’t fun, but they’re usually better for our spiritual health, and for the Jesus-movement in general. Throughout history, the Church has never done well with prosperity, either on an individual or collective level. And that’s not surprising. It’s always easy to forget God when we’re doing well and everything is going right. But when times get tough, and the material things that we’ve subtly started to worship disappear, we remember that there’s only one true source of life. As we re-learn to rely on God, and as the rest of the world becomes more needy, the Church shines.

I predict that 2009 will give us huge opportunities to tangibly show people what Jesus is all about by helping people in need. I love Philippians 2:3-4, which says to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” I also love II Corinthians 5:20: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.”

I like pairing these verses because it reminds me that there’s a specific reason why we’re supposed to be unselfish, and it’s not because it makes us feel warm and fuzzy. God has given us the privilege and responsibility to be His ambassadors, His witnesses, to a broken world. Despite how broken I am myself, I am tasked with showing Christ’s love to people who might not encounter it otherwise, and that usually requires me to step outside my own circle of convenience.

We only get so many chances to sacrifice for other people. And we should see more than usual over the coming months. Let’s not waste them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hate being sick

Here is where I have been spending way too much time. (the pharmacy). Should be well soon :)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is me today!!!!

This is me trying to complete about 4 weeks of work in two days.
Take a deep breath.....
If my postings seem a little scarce... I will get on track soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today I turned 38, I still feel like I'm in my early 20's (and act a bit younger than that) but it was interesting to watch Barak Obama be elected on my birthday and see the huge change in the way America now looks. My official political party is officially listed as Jaded or skeptical, I feel neither republican or democrat represent my world view. They both have a lot of great things and things I feel are negative. But that goes to show me that it is not about me but about the greater good of the people. I have spent nearly 20 years involved in church leadership and sometimes that can become more political than politics itself. I truly wish that we could find common ground and truly work for the common good of the people in both national plitics as well as the body of Christ. I guess my part is not to be a judge but rather do my part to live a life that shows what it means to be a follower of Christ and to live at peace with all men.
I believe that Gods word had some great things to say about what it means to support our leaders as well as holding them accountable. Romans shares that there is no authority in place that is not allowed by God. I am not brilliant enough to be a judge, but I hope I have enough of a servants heart to support and speak well of those in authority over me.
Looking forward to a great night of Elevate tonight and sharing Gods worked about looking at the well-being of others.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Encouragement vs. Discouragement

Sometimes my humanness gets the best of me and I begin to question myself and my worth. I wish that I was more prone to be perfectly content with the way God made me and that I was perfectly at peace with him in control. But the truth is that I seek to control things and when things don't work out the way I had dreamed I face discouragement.

I think balance is the key to finding a place of peace in this life. I know that I shouldn't take myself to seriously, but I also need to be like Paul as he says in Philippians to press on toward the goal.

That being said, I still find encouragement to be a huge lift, after spending 15 years with teenagers and about 20 working in church related ministries its nice to get a little notion that I am making a difference in the lives of people I encounter.

I got this message today: "Thanks Joel! We are very happy together. Your family is beautiful! We hope to see you guys someday too. Thanks for providing us a strong foundation for living a christian. We will never forget you."

I believe that God doesn't want us to be spiritual superhero's who don't need affirmation, he created us with needs that need to be met. As long as our life goal isn't seeking these needs but rather seeking to connect with God and others, encouragement can be a healthy boost.

So I am going to accept my humanness and the need that I have to be significant, but I will also embrace the Idea that my true worth and significance can only be found in the person of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

swimming in January

Its 75 and sunny today. Awesome!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009 and Transformation

First of all its hard to believe that 1/24th of 2009 in already over. That is nuts. I am really excited about what this year has in store. I was asked today what I wanted to see happen this year at Elevate, and my answer was Transformation. I long to see people move from where they are (or were) to a new place of fulfilling what God had planned for them.

I want to start with me. Over the next few days i want to set up some goals, some tangible things that I can pursue. Not out of guilt or obligation but rather out of a passionate love for God.

Some of the things I would like to transform into this year:

1. An intentional husband and father.
2. Become a passionate reader of God's word
3. Become a spiritual leader (not by name: pastor, but by earning that right in people's lives
4. Become an avid reader
5. Become a saver rather than a spender.
6. Remember people's names that I meet.

I will expound in the days to come on the specifics for each of these. There is no way I can pull this off, I don't have the strength. But God promised that he would provide where I fall short and beyond. Psalm 84 says: What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Elevate Last Night: "What would you do?"

Last night John gave a challenge of "What would you do" if Jesus came to you and asked you to drop everything and follow him. I would like to think that I wouldn't hesitate. The truth is that I have a lot of things that I hold dear and would probably hesitate, my prayer is that I would see how much more amazing God's plan is than the stuff I am holding and be willing to chuck everything and follow him.
The message should be up on itunes by this afternoon. You can grab it on the link to the right or click here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Francis Chan video

One of my favorite speakers to listen to is Francis Chan. He put together a hilarious Video for his wife. If you have never read his book or heard Francis Chan speak check him out at

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Elevate Rocked last night. We had a standing room only crowd and had an powerful time of worship through music and teaching. Tuesday message series is entitled "What would you do" which is looking at what life would look like if we stepped into practicing unconditional faith and trusting God.

Last night we talked about Adam and Eve and contrasted their first decision with King Solomon's decision when God told him He would grant any wish.

We each had a bag of M&M's to remind us of the choices we make.

We are looking forward to an Amazing year in 2009, I pray that the decisions that we make as a leadership team for what happens and where God is leading us would be wise choices rooted in unconditional faith.

God is good and has amazing things in store... Buckle your seat belt

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Elevate is rocking

Its 710 and we are packed out.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy Monday

Today is Monday. I actually don't mind Monday's, I like fresh starts and a chance to do something new. Mondays aren't the same for me because Tuesday is kind of the culmination of my week. I get to spend some time with my boys in the morning, get them of to school and start my day. This week we are starting a new series called what would you do. It is a series based on being great and embracing integrity.
God is an amazing God of fresh starts and what I love about him is that he always takes us right where we are at and allows us to jump on board with him. We don't have to get ourselves into a place where we are more usable, all we have to do is be willing.
Monday to me is like that fresh start, I have the choice of looking back and being frustrated or discouraged for the mistakes I have made and the things I haven't accomplished; or I can jump on board with what God is doing today.
I desire greatness... not for accolades or pats on the back, but because I believe that Jesus created me to be great and to excel at whatever I do with his strength and power.

So the question for you this Monday is what would (or will) you do? Today am taking Pauls challenge from Philippians by forgetting what is behind and to press forward to the goal. The goal is greatness in Christ.

Happpy Monday.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hangin with Jerrod today

Great things ahead for elevate, that's fo sho'