Friday, February 27, 2009

Joining the Conversation

I am just so excited about our small groups. I have to talk about them a little more today!

The main focus of our small groups is to provide an environment where you can connect with a few people on a deeper level than any other environment can provide.

But one of the other benefits is that it allows a conversation! We have a 'big idea' small group model. What I mean by that is that most of our groups' discussions are based on the message from Sunday. (We are trying to send out ONE big idea a week, which is actually only a part of the ONE big idea for the month!)

So, while my message on Sunday is a very one-way, me tell you type of communication, Small Groups allow us to turn those ideas into a conversation which everyone can be involved in. And that is a BIG DEAL, because our world is craving to be part of a conversation.

Not sure about that? Think about these examples:
--Online streaming of TV often includes a chat interface. CONVERSATION.
--The fastest growing media in the world is 'social media'. Media which allows people to discuss, contribute, and rate products, ideas, and ventures. CONVERSATION.
--Nearly every person has Facebook these days. All Facebook is is a network of friends who can keep up with what their friends are doing and comment, encourage or challenge them. CONVERSATION!

Small groups provide a conversation about our big idea for the week. You should join in on the conversation!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

God @ the Movies

DCCers and friends~

I am considering doing a series this summer dealing with the popular theology and philosophy of four current movies. Of course, probably two will have to be chosen a little closer to that time. But do you have any ideas or thoughts as to some movies to choose and why?

Of course, I am thinking about the now-famed "Slumdog Millionaire".

What do YOU think?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Not for my own vanity"

So, I almost-ashamedly admit that most of the movies I watch are animated and geared for an audience almost 20 years younger than I am! If you don't have kids, you just don't get it!!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was watching "Oliver & Company" with my kids, and my little siblings. In this particular movie, there is a self-absorbed, vain, and fairly annoying dog named Georgette. (Voice by the famed Bette Midler!) As she is going through her process of preparing herself for the day, she said something that struck a chord with me. She claims that all her preparations are "Not for my own vanity, but for humanity!" She desperately tries to convince herself that her self-centered desire to be the prettiest, most amazing dog on the block was for not for her benefit, but for everyone else's.

Anyway, this made me wonder if I do that. Do I ever claim to be doing something in 'ministry' for others, when really it is all about my own selfish desires? I guess the extreme example would be of the tele-preacher who claims great rewards from God if you send him money! Even though my faults are not so extreme, they are no less real, and no less wrong!

God, teach me to examine my motives and thoughts to be sure I am doing the right thing for the right reasons. And give me people to challenge me and my motives lovingly and often! AMEN!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

YAY! for Small Groups

I am continually amazed at what God is doing through the ministry @ DCC. This past weekend we had a gathering of the small group leaders to talk about victories, concerns, plans and goals. It was a great time of sharing, and I was so enthused to hear about the great things happening in our groups.

Angie, who leads our ladies group, said this about our first 8 weeks of small groups:

The ladies in the small group have known each other for many years. However, the study has allowed us to have deeper emotional bonds and more intimate relationships... I love our time spent together.

That is only one of the wins I am hearing and seeing out of our small groups. God is doing great things as we intentionally connect with each other.

DCCers--if you are not involved in a small group, you should be!! You are missing awesome times to connect, discuss, and love on friends! Get involved.

Monday, February 23, 2009

"I just don't have time!"

How much time you got today? Added all up, you have 24 hours. Just like me. Just like Bill Gates. Just like the homeless man on the Baltimore street corner. 24 hours today. 24 hours yesterday. Probably 24 hours tomorrow.

So you have got time. The same amount as everyone else. I guess what makes the difference is how we choose to spend our time! I was, yet again, jack-slapped by the Father through a mentor of mine with this phrase recently: "God gave you the right amount of time to do what He wants you to do. Not what everyone else wants you to do." Ouch. Big ouch! (BTW- I am learning that that 'everyone else' includes me.)

Have you completely submitted your dayplanner, schedule, google calendar and blackberry to the Lordship of Jesus? Yeah, me neither.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Michael Tait and Humility

I went to a concert last night! The tix were second row and FREE, so I went! (Shout out to my bro-in-law, Andrew Widener!) Up first was Bread of Stone, who was basically a teen Christian band who jumped around and was a little crazy. Second was Vota, who was pretty slammin', but relatively unknown. Then Newsboys, the big band, was up third.

I will have to write some other time about my not-usually-positive attitude for Contemporary Christian Music, but I do know a little about it. And the pioneers of this 'genre' (can we say sub-culture) were DC Talk, probably doing their Christian rock/rap in the early 90's. When I was kid, they were awesome!

Anyway, one of the lead musicians with DC Talk, Michael Tait, was standing at the front of the backstage area watching the show. He was jamming with the first two bands, and for a few of Newsboys songs. But what I found most amazing was what happened during intermission.

At the intermission, Michael Tait and one of the guys from Bread of Stone, were standing by the fence that seperated the main area from backstage. And a couple of girls came up for autographs. But they leaned across Michael Tate, and asked for an autograph, FROM THE BREAD OF STONE GUY! WHAT?!?! Don't they realize who they just ignored? Michael Tait and DC Talk blazed the path that made Contemporary Christian Music possible!

But Michael just stepped back, smiled and encouraged the Bread of Stone guy forward. I was impressed with his humility. Hope you are too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Parenting and Hypocrisy

Parenting has brought great joy and depth to my life that I could never have imagined! (I know, you are thinking, "Uh oh! Another sappy 'Daddy Post'!" Not really...) Actually, though, Parenting has served as tool through which God often gives me a smack in face or a kick in the pants! One area is hypocrisy. See if this sounds familiar:

- "Tori, you need to eat your vegetables!" "Daddy, where are you're veggies?" "Uhhh..."
- "Will, go back and take your dirty clothes to the laundry room." (later.. Roseann to me) "Hey honey, it really helps me out if you don't leave your dirty clothes laying all over the bedroom!" "Uhh..err..."
- (to myself) "Billy, you are such an idiot." "Daddy, Will is being an idiot!" "uhh..err..uh oh."
- "William! Pay attention when I am speaking to you!" (later, to Tori) "Uhh...what did you say, darling, I wasn't listening."

Yep. I admit it. I am a big fat hypocrite. (Who gets God's grace anyway!) But I am working on it!

So what about you? What are the biggest lessons God taught you about YOURSELF in parenting?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where's The Faith

I believe one of the most raw and real statements Jesus ever uttered is in Luke 18:8 when He asks, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"

We hear Jesus wondering out loud if there will be people living lives of faith when He breaks through the sky at the last day. This is as relevant and important a question today as it ever has been. And it is personal: Are we living lives of faith?

I think the best way to see what a life of faith looks like, is to see it through the eyes of men and women who have lived them. So, would you join me on a journey this March? Allow me to be your narrator, your tour guide, your storyteller? Allow me to tell you the stories of the faith of men like Joseph and David? Allow me challenge your life with theirs? Allow me to ask the question Jesus asked: Where's the Faith? And allow Him to ask you: Where's your faith? Join me on this journey the first four Sundays in March @ Denton Christian Church!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Info that is Stretching Me

Here is a little update on some books/ebooks and articles/blogs and podcasts and Bibles that are currently stretching my wee little brain:


"Wild Goose Chase" by Mark Batterson
"Vintage Jesus" by Mark Driscoll
"Choosing to Cheat" by Andy Stanley


"Brink: A Social Media Guide From the Edge" by Todd Defren (free download)


"Why You Lose Friends" by Ben Arment (more of a quote than an article)
"Leading with Love" by Ben Arment
"Outcomes of Execution?" by Tony Morgan
Craig Groeschel has been writing articles THIS WEEK on the Next Generation of Leaders (here is the LINK to the second, probably more by now)
"Authenticity" by Seth Godin
Also, "Sprint" by Seth Godin
"We're Not All That" by Carlos Whittaker
"10 Reasons Why Web Ministry Applications and Initiatives Fail" by John @ Church Crunch
(Just for fun) "Hard Drive Disposal with Extreme Prejudice" by Lifehacker
"Determined to Disciple" by Mark Batterson
By the way, I have recently begun following Wall Street Journal's "The Wallet" blog for money-saving tips. Good Stuff.


Andy Stanley's Leadership Podcast
Mark Driscoll's Sermon Series "Trial" (a series through 1 Peter)
Dilbert's Animated Cartoon Podcast (so fun!!)
Dick Staub's "Kindlings Muse" (a discussion of culture, Christ, and some philosophy)


I have been using an online Bible for my personal reading/worship called YouVersion. What I love about this is that there is a "Community" section built into the reader that you can post your thoughts/questions and read others'. Also, they have a TON of translations/paraphrases. My username is "preacherbilly" if you are interested in reading some of my notes on there.

Hope this gives you a few things to check out and read, and let you know a little bit more about what I am reading/thinking about!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The (Upcoming) Death of Starbucks

So, I read a really great article about Starbucks recently. You can check it here.

Here is the basic premise: Starbucks is getting too focused on side issues and not staying committed to it's core! Starbucks is NOT all about making instant coffee packets, but about selling coffee @ retail stores. The result of this loss of focus has led St. Arbucks to cutting thousands of stores and jobs.

There is a danger that the church can too easily fall into this trap too. We lose sight of our core focus, our main mission. It is not to boycott secular organizations for being secular organizations. It is not to be in the tank for a political party. It is not to make "Perfect-Attendance" Christians comfortable. It is ALL ABOUT making Jesus famous through making disciples. When the church loses its focus, it loses everything. Be the mission.

What Success & Failure DON'T Mean!

I saw some live blogging of a talk at a conference recently that has got my brain working on a thought.

Basically, the thought was that SUCCESS at something doesn't necessarily mean God is blessing that! (take Hugh Heffner's success, for example) That is probably not a new thought for most, but maybe the inverse is.

FAILURE doesn't necessarily mean that God is NOT blessing an endeavor. Maybe failing is needed to teach a lesson that needs to be taught. Maybe it was the wrong time.

Here's the catch: We far too often base our self-worth on whether we are succeeding or failing! But that is the wrong litmus test! Our worth is based solely on who we are in God's eyes.

(BTW- Sometimes our definition of success and failure is the problem too!)

Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Monday, February 16, 2009

"Let's Talk!"

A few weeks ago, God really impressed a huge truth I sometimes tend to forget. Of course, He taught me through my children and His word. Here's what happened:

In my morning reading, I read from Psalm 50:3, "Our God comes and will not be silent..." I knew this was significant, but not sure what God was teaching me.

Later that day, I was prompted to think about an remember two significant events in my life. The first was on April 23, 1995. That was the day that I heard loud and clear God's call to give my life to Jesus. The other happened in the summer of 1998, at Delmarva Family Camp. It was there that I heard loud and clear God's call to give my new life in Christ completely in ministry. I spent some time that day remember the unlikely men who God put in my life to use to call me to those two decisions: Billy Teal and Phil Sutton. (As well as my dad who was the one who brought me to the place where I could hear the call. Those men just pushed me over the line.)

Anyway, back to my story. That evening I sat down to feed Elizabeth her baby food. Now, it was a really special night because she looked up at me and brought her two hands together and used sign language to tell me she wanted to more to eat. Now, we had been showing her how to do this, but now she did it, on her own, for the first time. I almost wept, because for the first time in the seven months I have known her, she could tell her daddy exactly what she wanted.

There is a blessed sweetness when children can finally communicate with their parents. I really feel like this day God was bringing me back to the place where I once again realized that God WANTED to have communication with me. Not required, not made me feel guilty so I prayed more, but that He wants to be in touch with me. It was like He was telling me "Keep in touch." wow.

Friday, February 13, 2009

On Purpose! DCC's Mission Pt. 5

Not only do the disciples we are making LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE, but they also SERVE EVERYWHERE! Our love translates into service! Jesus' love did! John 13 describes a scene where Jesus showed “the full extent of His love” by washing His disciples' feet like the lowest of servants! And then he says to serve one another just like that! So @ DCC we want to be people who are serving! Some of our service is among ourselves, like helping in nursery or playing with the praise team. But a lot of service we are gearing up for is all about our community. We desire to be disciples who are not only internally, but externally-focused. We are working on organizing our service into Service Teams which will help us keep organized and on purpose.

Well, I hope that this week's posts have reminded or told you for the first time what we are all about here @ DCC. We are all about pleasing Jesus by making disciples who Love God, Love People, and Serve Everywhere! (Love2serve)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Purpose! DCC's Mission Pt. 4

Not only do the disciples we are making LOVE GOD, but they also LOVE PEOPLE. If you read on in that Mark 12 passage, Jesus says that the second command to love your neighbor. People are relational critters. We need each other! @ DCC we offer opportunities to love on other people through small groups. Our small groups meet in homes throughout the week, and provide the context to share life and achieve growth! We are not just a church that does small groups, small groups are a part of who we are, because we want to be disciples who LOVE PEOPLE!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On Purpose! DCC's Mission Pt. 3

What do the disciples that we are supposed to be making look like? That is an unending question if you list all the details. (Hence the reason we all still have room to grow!) So, let's stick to the general principles, or the overviews. 1st a disciple of Jesus is one who Loves God! Jesus said this in Mark 12:29-30. This means someone who is worshiping, committed and trusting in God. We try to make disciples who Love God @ DCC by offering our Sunday Worship and Celebration Services. Here you have opportunities to worship and commit to God. I am not going to beg you to be 'in church' on Sundays! If you are not there, you are the one missing a great and powerful opportunity to worship and love on God!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On Purpose! DCC's Mission Pt. 2

As we strive to please Jesus, we must ask the question: What pleases Jesus? What mission did He call us to? Matthew 28 states our great mission statement: MAKE DISCIPLES! Yes, there are other commands in those verses, but the main verb to make disciples! So, our central aim to please Jesus, and our mission for accomplishing it is to Make Disciples. But what do disciples look like? Tomorrow, tomorrow!

Monday, February 9, 2009

On Purpose! DCC's Mission Pt. 1

What is central to who Denton Christian Church is is Who Denton Christian Church serves. We believe that Jesus is King of everything, and is Lord, Boss, and CEO of DCC. Therefore, the central aim of everything we do is to Please Jesus. (See 2 Cor 5:9) All of our mission and subsequent programming and processes stem from that one Goal: to please Jesus!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Excerpt from "Wild Goose Chase"

Hey, here is a little excerpt from a book I am reading called, "Wild Goose Chase" by Mark Batterson.

Right now you have no sensation of motion. I'm guessing you're sitting still as you read Wild Goose Chase. But the reality is that you are sitting on a planet that is spinning around its axis at approximately one thousand miles per hour. Planet earth will make one full rotation in the next twenty-four hours. Not only that, but you are also hurtling though space at approximately sixty-seven thousand miles per hour. And you didn't have any big plans for today! Before the day is done, you will have traveled 1.3 million miles in your annual trek around the sun.

Now let me ask you a question. When was the last time you thanked God for keeping us in orbit? I'm guessing never.
Lord, thanks for keeping us in orbit. And I was a little nervous about making the full rotation around our axis today, but You did it again. Most of us don't pray that way. But isn't it a little ironic that we have a hard time believing God for the little stuff while we take the big stuff for granted. Come on, if God can keep the planets in orbit, don't you think He can reorder your life when you feel like it's spinning out of control?
Wild Goose Chase
Mark Batterson

You should definitely read this book. I am so loving it. WARNING: It will challenge you to change EVERYTHING!

Sweet Music Video

Hey, this is just a piece of cool artistic visualness combined with some sweet music! This is called a stop action movie!

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