Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Team of Rivals

Anyone out there like biographies? 

I never really got into them before the last couple of years, but now I think they are my favorite type of books. I love the insight that I glean from the way people handled their trials. Reading biographies - especially from those of earlier generations - always challenge my comfortable, convenient, modern day American way of thinking. 

I'm currently reading a book on Abraham Lincoln called 'Team of Rivals'. I know this is going to paint me as the book nerd I am, but I think about this book alot. I actually can't wait to read it each night before I go to bed. It tells the story of Lincoln's rise to political office, along with the stories of his three chief competitors. The author does a fabulous job of weaving all of their histories together. 

A number of things have stood out to me so far (I'm in Chapter Eight). First, Lincoln was a man of principle and integrity. When he made a promise, he did all in his power to fulfill. Therefore, he was slow to make promises. That should be a lesson for us all. 

Second, Lincoln was decidedly anti-slavery. Politically, he was unwilling to initially call for the abolition of slavery in the south, though he was strongly opposed to the spread of slavery throughout the union. As I read these speeches being given, trumpeting a cry of dignity and equality for the black man, I am caused to marvel at where we are as a nation. There are many policies in which I disagree with President Obama, but it is remarkable that a country so divided in this book could be so united around an African-American. We should celebrate the accomplishment - it truly is amazing. 

Thirdly, Lincoln was an excellent public speaker. He won his early followers through the choicest of words. I love the closing of his inaugural address. He promises to hold and protect all non-slave states from the spread of slavery, without communicating aggression towards those who currently held that view. His closing words were so well penned:

"I am loathe to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet again swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely as they will be, by the better angels of our nature."


Lastly, he was a shrewd politician. He was inexperienced to a degree, but what he lacked in experience he made up for with natural political acumen. Even in the first eight chapters, he navigated very delicate situations with the most unusual sense of balance and composure. And all of this before the Civil War even started. 

There are sure to be more posts from me to come on this amazing man and inspiring book. Press on, Mr. Lincoln! Press on. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

GREAT meeting tonight!

Thank you all for coming out to the meeting tonight! It was wonderful to see you all there, but more to know that your heart beats for the spread of the gospel as much as mine. I am eager to know you all better and to build our lives into yours for the glory of Christ.

Let's be committed to praying for our new church, God's wisdom, and His leading!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Interest Meeting on Sunday Night

Don't forget that we have our last Members Interest Meeting on Sunday night 6pm! You are welcome to come and hear more about what we believe God is calling us to do on this church plant. Even if you've decided to come, plan on coming as I am going to walk through the upcoming schedule for the church plant team. 

This is going to be exciting! 

Friday, January 16, 2009


I went down and signed the contract today for our opening location of Grace Church - The Rio Vista Recreation Center!

God has been abundantly kind to open this door for us. The facility is amazing - its location is central, it puts us right in the middle of the community and the staff have been great to work with. It will be a great home for us to get started in.

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."

That's what I am anxious to see happen in this building, for the glory of God. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009


"....and one day, when we stand in heaven, we'll be clothed in immorality..."

Yeah, I actually said that at the Winter Retreat. Wish I had that one back.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


That's right. I'm a sellout. And never been so proud.

As you all know, I am a committed follower of the Black and Blue Chicago Bears. But on Sunday I will be donning Red and White....because I got a ticket to the Cardinals/Eagles game! Oh how the Lord of providence has shined His face down upon me! I've wanted to go to a game at the stadium - not a bad way to see your first one.

Besides, I have a moral obligation to go....its on the West Side!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Created. Destroyed. Renewed.
Perfectly created in God's image. Relationship with God destroyed through sin. Renewed through faith in Christ.
That's the big picture of the Bible.
And that was the theme of our Singles Retreat this last week in Prescott. God was gracious and kind to us! We had an amazing group of people who served and prayed and asked God to do more than we could ask or think (Eph 3:20). Our prayers were answered.
Sweet times of worship ensued. Great teaching was heard. Conviction was gained. Application arose. And at the end of it all, Christ was glorified and we were renewed. What a great time!
Thanks to all who labored for the sake of the gospel - may God use this time to bring Himself glory and praise.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A short blogging break is required... order for me to finish up preparations for the Singles Winter Retreat. There's still lots to get done! I will jump back on board next week and give an update on what God did while we were up there.

Please pray for us as we go that God's Word would resonate within the hearts of these young men and women! Thanks.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Very Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great time last night counting down the clock and ushering in 2009! Just a few seconds after midnight, I turned to Tara and said, "We're planting a church this year!" It was thrilling and sobering to think about. Next year this time, we'll be recounting stories of God's grace in the opening months of Grace Church.

I'd ask for you to begin praying (if you haven't been). As we enter this new year and new season, let's join together to be praying for the following things:

1. A personal devotion to Jesus Christ that exceeds any you've had previously

2. A committment to know His Word and live by His Word

3. A reliance on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and witness

4. An eagerness to sacrifice your preferences so that the gospel will advance

5. A willingness to periodically fast and pray for God to do amazing things - read this great article

6. Fertile soil in the hearts of people to receive the gospel

7. Favor from God as we start to gather and meet

And even as 2009 begins, God has been showing us favor. I got an email from the Rio Vista Recreational Center stating that they are willing to let us sign a contract for Aug/Sept for the hours I requested! Praise God for this open door - we have an official place to start meeting as a church!

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