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Category Archives: Vista

I finally found a decent coffee-shop in N. Austin-Primo 360. Glory to the Most High God for this discovery.

Life is going well. I’m so grateful for what God is doing with Help End Local Poverty & Vista Church.

This past week we ran out of chairs at Vista. So many new people are coming and we are starting to see unchurched folks find Jesus. Last night some folks got together and prayed for Zimbabwe, Egypt and S. Africa among other things. We have Com Groups getting together and feeding the homeless and serving the poor. I love it. God is doing something great. We have this organic missional DNA going on and so much of what is happening is not because of some leader but its more the community who simply desires to do something great for God and we (leadership) cheer them on as best as we know how.

Yet Jeff and I feel so messy and clueless. We feel like we let people down and forget to do things and our website needs to be updated and we forgot to call this person back or meet with that person over there. It’s never ending…I feel so inadequate…I’m weak and He is strong 🙂

Another words no man can take credit for what God is doing…I love it.

We have many hurdles to overcome and we are still a small church (130-160). But this time six-months ago we were 70 (ish). Let’s just say Leadership Network won’t be calling anytime soon! But Jeff and I feel like we are finally seeing the vision come alive. So fun. That being said, I feel completely exhausted. I have no energy. I hate it. Very rare do I lack energy. I’m trusting in the Lord that I will “get back to normal” soon.

Until then I will suck down some coffee and push forward enjoying the goodness of God and the fruit of the Kingdom.

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The past few months we’ve hit a grow spurt at Vista. We were running in the high 80’s or low 90’s. The past few weeks we’ve been hitting 120-130. I guess we are not quite “mega” but we are moving forward. Here are some reasons why I think we are moving forward:

  • Simplicity: We are focused on a few things and that is it. Some get mad that we don’t have all the other programs. But for us it’s all about staying focused.
  • Missional: Yes its a buzzword. But we are truly trying to drive this word home. It’s not about Sunday, or numbers…It’s about mission. We want to have an “outward” focus.
  • Worship: When you live in Austin, music is vital to culture. We decided to have great worship every Sunday. That decision has cost us a lot from a budget perspective. But the ROI is well worth it. We now have a balanced team that can focus and our worship is awesome every Sunday.
  • Organization: We’ve tried to keep things simple so we can keep things organized. Jeff and I pretty much suck at this so it’s vital that we keep working on it.
  • Volunteers: We had a few key volunteers step up and really lead some key elements of our church. This has been huge.
  • Creativity: We added some really good creative elements to our gatherings. Sermon bumpers, video testimony’s and we’ve also “darkened” the gym, which has helped tremendously.
  • HELP: This has really gotten folks excited. Is there any way a small church can launch a non-profit that raises missions of dollars for those who are in need. We shall find out.
  • Marketing: We’ve done zero marketing. We just ask people to invite friends.

We are far from perfect, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface on all the possibilities. But it feels good to move forward and see fruit.

So Jeff and I got back from our retreat. Basically we spent 2 days trying to develop a plan for 2008. Which includes our yearly teaching calender, discipleship map, leadership development plan and any other plan one can think of.

A few thoughts:

  • Being portable kinda sucks. Space is always an issue.
  • It’s complex to solve all the moving parts that go into ministry. So many issues and personalities that have to mesh.
  • Money: You have to always figure out the money issue. When do you take a step of faith? Are we being wise. Assessing risk is vital.
  • Gifting: Are we doing what we are gifted to do?
  • Focus is really big for us. How do we have a laser sharp focus?
  • What culture are we creating? Is our culture safe? Is our culture chaotic? Or is our culture one of mission and Spirit led living and planning.
  • Are we having fun? If not then something is just not right.

I guess I could go on..It’s really a never ending list. As I process our vision, strategy, systems etc. I think everything comes back to life-change. We have to see life change. People finding God, marriages being restored, broken relationships being mended…It’s really about transformation. If Austin and the people who live here, those we minister too are not being transformed them something is just not right, mission is not happening.

Therefore, every decision we make is based on the conviction of “will this decision help bring transformation?”

Seems like the weekends go a bit too quickly. I watched a ton of football, went to church, played with my iPhone and hung out w/ some Vista peeps.

College

  • Texas was making me a bit nervous. But they played well in the end.
  • Notre Dame is just bad. It’s going to be a long season. But I think they will get better.
  • Michigan is just horrendous. Speechless.
  •  Oklahoma looks VERY good. Lame.
  • Texas AM/Fresno St game was rad.

NFL

  • My Raiders are just frustrating. Horrible organization.
  • Cowboys looked good. But the Giants were banged up.
  • Either Colts or Patriots are going to win the SB. Maybe SD. NFC has no chance IMHO.

We also had a great day at church. Jeff and Justin Cofield Band rocked the house. Attendance was awesome and we had a TON of folks who were missing. This fall will be a huge season of growth for our church. Get ready Vista.

Tomorrow marks the first day the entire staff is together. Should be fun.

Can’t wait to get in the office this week. So much to do. Can’t wait.

The iPhone is amazing. Man I love it and so does Necole. Not sure why this device got all the criticisms. It’s not perfect, but from a technology point of view-it’s epic.

Time for bed. Shalom

The past few months have seemed like one big blur. It’s Friday night and it seems hard to imagine the week is gone.

Some thoughts:

  • Necole and I both picked up iPhone’s. Basically we pretty much got them for free. I sold my Blackberry tonight. Craigslist rocks.
  • We had a great time with Steven and Amy. Can’t wait to see them in Cape Town in November.
  • Necole heads off to Dallas tomorrow night.
  • Belle is getting huge. I love that pup.
  • I went to a “teddy bear parade” today for Kenzie.
  • ACL is one week from today.
  • I really need a productive week next week.
  • I love the folks at Vista. Such a great community.
  • We had a blast at “Stories From Africa” last night.

Now it’s time to chill out. Girls are in bed, Necole is with friends and I have HD TV. Woo Hoo!

We had another great Sunday. We started a new series: The Art of Rest. Jeff nailed the message-it was really good. Life goes by so darn quickly. How do we rest and enjoy life? How do we create “sustainable” living rhythms? How do we live in freedom and grace? Those are the topics we are trying to hammer out and struggle through. Good stuff!

Summer has finally hit us here in Austin. Can’t wait for fall 🙂

So, this has been one of the best weeks of ministry that I’ve had in a long time. Why you ask? Because I’ve spent time with people and not locked in some office dreaming about ministry or doing some lame to-do list. I suck at that stuff!

I love vision-casting, dreaming, planning, sharing and pouring into people. It’s just so freaking vital that we pastor types spend time pouring into people and helping them on life’s journey.

Sample of my week: I preached Sunday, hung with our Africa missions team last night, met with Com Group leaders today, studied theology with Jeff and Bedwell yesterday morning at Starbucks, meeting with some folks tonight to train them to take over our greeters ministry on Sunday and now I’m getting ready for an outreach that we are doing next Tuesday in E. Austin and I also get to prepare a message to speak next Sunday. I

love it. Rock on!

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In a few weeks I will be speaking on the topic of rhythm at Vista. We are doing a series called “The Art of Rest.”

These past few months Necole and I continue to re-evaluate our rhythm and choice in life. My biggest concern is speaking on the issue of busyness and yet no have some simple solutions to help people improve and align their life with Christ.

So I was thinking of simple ways to have better rhythm and a more holistic life. I think we need to do less, give more, and enjoy the present.

So over the next few days I’m going to do a few blog post on these issues…I would love some feedback.

Today is Monday (duh!). Monday are always unique for ministers. Sunday are the so called “biggest” day of the week. Yesterday went OK at church. We had some sound issues and my message was very average. But it was still a good day and thank God for Hillarie & The Band who did such a sweet job dealing with sound issues and still keeping a spirit of worship flowing.

As service was over we noticed that someone left a cat in her/his crate. Pretty funny if you ask me. Maybe we should change out tagline to Love God…Love People…Love Animals 🙂

Anyhow, I’ve dedicated today to study and minister to myself. So I hit the gym this morning and after lunch I’m going to: 1. Read The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.

2. Listen to a message online.

3. Plan out my week.

4. Read B.I.B.L.E.

And drink a ton of coffee 🙂

The past few months we’ve seen a lot of growth at The Vista. I think we’ve had 75 visitors the past two months. It feels good to have momentum and excitement and to hear the stories of life change. I’m really anticipating a huge fall for us. Therefore I have so many thoughts floating in my mind…I’m not the lead pastor; but I can’t help but think like one.  For instance, we are out of chairs…we need more support volunteers for our set-up and tear down team, kids ministry and greeters. Of course if I start thinking about Community Group’s I will break down and cry! So much work to be done in this area. But-I love it, I love having to learn how to expand and grow. These are good  issues to have.