life beyond the well…


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Updates: Higher Definition Church

So, the last time I really talked about Higher Definition Church, was in this post, when we were 5 days away from launch…and that was 7 or 8 weeks ago.

We launched!

It was awesome.

Seriously, we successfully launched the church on March 15, 2015, and have been moving forward since.  Preacherman and I are so excited about how God is working in us and through us.  Every Sunday since launch, we have had people accept Jesus or rededicate their life to Him.  To God be the glory for things He has done.

A couple of things- you can access the podcasts to each of the messages through Preacherman’s website.  I encourage you to check it out, and share with others.  Because I love you so much, I’ve linked the messages below.  They’re good. For real, for real.

And- would you pray for us? It is our true desire to leave a footprint for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.  Pray for God’s guidance, for people to join us in this endeavor, for our families, for the families of those who have already partnered with us.  Pray for the city of Jacksonville- that hearts will continue to be open and receptive to the work that we have been led to do here.

Finally- connect with us! You can catch us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

I am so grateful for your love, encouragement, and support…and when you’re in Jacksonville, I look forward to you joining us at church!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


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The Danger in Disconnection

The other night, I was fixing dinner and I heard the timer “ding” on our George Foreman grill.  Excited that the grill had “preheated”, I went and placed the salmon burgers on the grill, but I was a little concerned that nothing seemed to be happening.  Under closer inspection, I discovered that the power cord was disconnected from the outlet.

While I chuckled at my dinner mistake, I later began to reflect on the danger in disconnection.  You see, there have been times in my life, where I’ve been disconnected from my power source.  I’ve been far from God, not really close to people who were trying to live a way that pleased God, and I was just doing my own thing.  Go to work. Do school work. Hang out with friends. Repeat.

But there was a point that I realized that something wasn’t right.  While I was going through the motions, I didn’t feel any real sense of purpose.  To go back to my cooking scenario, I was on the grill, but nothing was happening.  I wasn’t being prepared for the point of completion.

As believers, our ultimate source of power is God.  He is our strength and our hope.  And when we get disconnected from Him and His people, we began to lose a sense of who we are and what our real purpose is in life. We begin to handle things in our own strength, instead of trusting and depending on Him.  And then, when we don’t get the results we desire because WE didn’t do things the right way- we blame God.

I can’t blame the power source because the grill was disconnected.  It was my responsibility to make sure the grill was connected so that the food could be cooked–to completion.  In the same way, it is our responsibility to ensure that we remain connected to God so that He can work in us to completion.

I encourage you to do what it takes to stay connected.  Dedicate time in your schedule to reading the word, to spending time with Him in prayer and worship.  Don’t let the things of this world distract you to a point of disconnection.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 


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5 Days Away…

…from the launch of

HD LOGO BLUE LONG

Wow.

To God be the glory.

We are so excited.  Please partner with us in prayer this week as we prepare for the launch.  We are believing God for an awesome worship experience; that lives will be touched and changed and we will begin to have an impact for the Kingdom in Jacksonville.

Until next time…

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!

 


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Giving Tuesday: Higher Definition Church

As we round out this “weekend” of shopping and spending (Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday), we arrive on “Giving Tuesday” which is a global celebration of giving back.

On this “Giving Tuesday”, I ask that you consider donating to Higher Definition Church, the church plant that Preacherman and I, with our team, will launch in March 2015.  Your generous donation will help us to impact lives for the Kingdom of God across the city of Jacksonville, as we teach that there is no greater definition that one can have than being a child of God.

You may donate online here.  We are so excited about how God is working and the lives that will be changed as a result of His work in us and through us.

Peace and Blessings!


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The False Report

As I mentioned, Preacherman had been having some undiagnosed difficulties with his car.  Though we had our suspicions on the issue, and trying different potential solutions, we eventually needed to call in some reinforcements.

So, after a particularly challenging situation, we called in some reinforcements (in this case, AAA) and solicited their help on resolving the issue.  And after they provided their report to us, we began to take the appropriate action.  Imagine our surprise (and frustration) when we realized that we had been given a misdiagnosis and a false report.

What we thought was a major issue, really was just a minor hiccup that, with the appropriate knowledge, we could have resolved for ourselves; saving us a significant amount of time and money.  It’s so incredibly frustrating to be in that position, knowing that charting your course of action based on incorrect information has resulted in unnecessary expenditure of time and money; neither of which you can recover.

In this situation, there wasn’t much more that we could have done to avoid the false report.  But every situation isn’t like that.  Oftentimes, we are fed information from a variety of sources, and we have the opportunity to choose what we believe and on which information we will base our decisions.  As believers, our decisions should be rooted in our faith in God and our trust in His word.  We should be seeking to make decisions based off of HIS report and not that which we see around us.  We must guard our hearts and our minds and seek Him daily for the clarity we need to proceed in boldness with faith.

“Whose report will you believe? We shall believe the report of the Lord.” 

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


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Book Review: The God-First Life

Every now and then, I read a book and it’s just like “Wow”.  That’s the feeling I had after completing Stovall Weems’ latest book “The God-First Life.”

I have been all too guilty of putting things, desires, and aspirations in a higher place than God, hoping that because God loves me, He will bless those things, desires, and aspirations.  In his book, Weems breaks down that logic with biblical truths, focusing on this verse:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

The book addresses important concepts that are sometimes overlooked as well, such as the value of having a strong community around you, understanding your place in God’s family, and how to gain freedom from your past so that you can move forward.

I loved that this book was not overly complicated or heavily weighted with theological ideas.  Not to say that those are bad, but sometimes what I need most is a simple reminder of what is most important.  As I transition into a new season, and become even more busy with church-planting activities, my job, and my dissertation, I can see myself referring back to the simple truths that Weems presents in this book.

I would recommend this for those who are looking to deepen their relationship with Christ in a simple, non-complicated way.  Though I received this book for free, I have already purchased two additional copies to gift to others because I believe that the message is important and timely.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.


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One Step Closer: Higher Definition Church

I’ve been waiting all year to write this post, and I’m so excited to finally do so!

Last July, under the direction of God, Preacherman and I packed our belongings and moved to Jacksonville, Florida to fully the pursue the calling that He has given us: planting a church.

Since we’ve been here, we’ve been working and wrestling, praying and believing, and slowly making progress towards that goal.  While we are still a ways out from our launch date in 2015, we have our website set up!

This morning, Preacherman shared these thoughts on his blog, which explain the essence of Higher Definition Church:

If there is anything on earth that I want to be remembered for, it is that I did my best to show people the truth of who God is and the truth of who they are in Him. With that mind, within the next year, I’ll be leading a team in the launch of Higher Definition Church, here in Jacksonville, Florida! I’ve been told that sharing your vision is a way to make you accountable for it, so here I sit, typing away at the computer in my home, sharing with you that God has sold me on a vision to live a life based on a higher definition…God’s design for our lives.

God allowed me to try and live a life in which I prided myself in my accomplishments, economic status, relationships, organizational affiliations, and many other things. He allowed me to do so in a way that showed me that everything in life that we think makes us who we are is insufficient and unnecessary. He showed me that when all those things failed to provide me with enough validation or foundation in life, that He was still there, and He was more than enough!

So, God’s plan for my life is to share that message…to share that embracing how God defines us is the most fulfilling choice a person can make. But I can’t stop there; the mission is to teach the truth, develop people’s understanding and application of it, and release them to do the same. In other words, “be fruitful and multiply”. That is exactly what I intend to do, with God as my strength and my witness. Higher Definition Church will be used to bring life to the First Coast and beyond.

Please check out www.hdjax.com to learn more about the vision and how you can help!  We appreciate your prayers and support!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


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I Wish Someone Had Sold Me on Jesus

I grew up in church.  We faithfully attended Sunday School and church, and it wasn’t until I went away to school that my church attendance waned.

I served in church- from a young age. Youth choir, Junior Missionary, Youth Usher Board were among the few areas where I was involved.  I enjoyed it, which is good; but I also didn’t have a choice.  I served because I saw other people serving, and because I was taught that I should serve.

But in all that, which WAS good, I was never completely sold on Jesus.  I had the basic knowledge, meaning I could tell you about John 3:16, and I knew that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that He rose on the 3rd day, but no one really pushed me to understand what that meant.

I was never sold on the gospel- the good news of Jesus Christ. I was never sold on the power of the cross and His resurrection. I was never taught to really understand that I serve a risen Savior.  I was never taught to understand how because of Christ, I didn’t have to live in fear, or shame; that I was redeemed, that I was WORTHY of His love. I was never taught to understand the magnitude of God’s love for me.  And as a result of all of these things that I didn’t understand and that I wasn’t taught, I had a distorted view of church and the gospel.

When I coupled that with the fact that I saw people in church week in (day in) and week out (day out) whose lives never seemed to be changed, I was even more confused. Because, in my mind, if there is a God who loves us, and has this power to change us from the inside out, why is EVERYONE the same?

I wish someone had sold me on Jesus.

I wish someone had sold me on Jesus because then I may have begun to understand that both salvation and sanctification are a process.  I wish someone had sold me on Jesus because then I would understand that serving doesn’t get me salvation; that I can’t work myself to death for a Kingdom that I have not professed to believe in.  If I had been sold on Jesus, I would have been more equipped to demonstrate the love of Him to others. I would have been able to handle the discrepancies that I saw in people–between who they were and where they desired to be–without leaving the church because “people are hypocrites”. I would have understood the need to be gracious and forgiving to others, because Christ has done the same for me.

Here’s my plea: sell people on Jesus.  Tell your testimony- how your life has been changed because of the work that He has done in you and through you.  Church is awesome, and we absolutely need community and accountability to help us grow into who we are called to be…but most of all, we need Jesus.

 


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Weekly Word 2014 Week 11: Deuteronomy 6:5-7

Preacherman and I have been enjoying a wonderful Spring Break week with our little one.  And as usual, the time that we spend with her is going by entirely too fast.  It seems like there are never enough moments being shared, not quite enough memories being made, not enough pictures to hold us over until the next visit.  We view each of these times that we share with our little one as an opportunity to continue to pour into her, pray over her, and continue the process of molding and shaping her- just in person.  She is such a blessing to our lives.

Our time with her has inspired this verse for this week:

“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” –Deuteronomy 6:5-7 (NLT)

While raising a child is a huge responsibility, I’m grateful for the Lord’s wisdom and love to guide us on this journey.

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings!


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Recap: Pastors and Leaders Conference 2014

This past weekend, Preacherman and I had opportunity to attend the 2014 International Pastors and Leadership Conference hosted by Bishop T.D. Jakes in Orlando, Florida.  We loved every minute of it.

Being busy without direction is dangerous because it can lead you to waste time, energy, and resources.  One of the biggest gains from this conference was being able to understand the HOW and the WHY of what we should be doing in regards to our ministry.  Not only that, we left with a clear idea of what we can do right now in our church planting process.  Every night, Preacherman and I found ourselves making to-do lists, reaching out to people, and processing all that we were learning.

A huge highlight for us was being able to connect with people–meeting others on the same journey as us, meeting people who have been in ministry for years, and seeing friends and family.  Our pastor, Andy Thompson presented at the conference on Marriage and Ministry, and did a phenomenal job! His session was engaging and entertaining, but grounded in wisdom and biblical truth.  It is such a blessing to be under the leadership of him and his wife, and we are so appreciative of their love and support of us in this journey.

There really are no words to describe how full we felt after leaving this conference.  Since being back, we’ve been hard at work applying the things that we’ve learned, building relationships, and finally hitting a stride in the church planting process.  Though we are at the beginning of this journey, it’s exciting to see things begin to take off and move in the right direction.

To God be the glory for the things He has done.

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!

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