2. Coffee and other drinks in the Worship Rooms. This is not merely a "let's not stain the carpet with spills" issue. As a matter of fact, that is not the issue. If that were the case, we would not allow coffee and beverages anywhere. The issue here is do we allow it or not. Does it change the spiritual nature of the service? A few weeks ago, we had everyone get up and walk to communion and I saw people walking to get their communion with a "Highly Caffeinated Chaser" in one arm. I read an interesting post allowing coffee in Worship; which side of the line should we fall on. Either way, it is one of the culture changes we need to decide now and the reason why we chose the direction we did.
3. This last one is a non negotiable that churches have been dealing with for years.
Stewardship in Church Resources
We need to create an environment that empowers and motivates those utilizing our facility to be good stewards of utilities, paper products and other items purchased for meetings/etc. I know there is a way to teach initiative in this area. Whether it is during the week or on Sunday mornings. Saving money is a good thing.
One last note, my brother and his family will be up from NC this week. Looking forward to it. I love spending time with him.
For the last few weeks, I have had some multiple thoughts on cultural changes that we need to initiate brainstorming solutions for.
1. People at Grace tend to carry a late mentality. I am talking members, attenders and even staff. I know this is in part a reflection of how the world is, but how do we change a system that enables people to be late? Furthermore, how much of this is derived from our staff not being timely in their weekly connections with volunteers? We show up late to services, buy tickets late for events and don't end our meetings when we say we are going to end them.
I suppose maybe we need to create fences and draw clearer lines from the top on down. Start everything on time, no matter what. We do this pretty much for services, but what about meetings and volunteer trainings during the week? Do we create a culture where we just wait for everyone to get there? The trick is creating a balance of making the guests feel welcomed and making those who show up to the service late feel as though they are missing something. Apart from guests, as we start a service; are we valuing those that are timely in seats more or are we paying more attention to the late ones? Thoughts?
So Thank You ladies!!!
Please Compliment them if you see them in the hallways.
When I was in the retail industry, we would often discuss about how so many restaurants fail because they keep marketing to and servicing the customers through campaigns and efforts that were successful 5-10 years ago. We knew we did not want to run our business with that mentality. So each year, we would evaluate what initiatives were attracting foot traffic and those that didn't make sense anymore. Then we would immediately cease the poor performing initiatives and drive all of our efforts towards those that were driving sales.
Now that I am in the position of helping to manage operations at Grace, I see that this thought process makes complete sense as we evaluate how we are attracting our guests (those we are trying to reach through our ministry). Over the past few years, we have had to make some drastic changes because our guests have changed. Simple as that. A prime example is the use of technology and the art of communicating with technology.
Any church that constantly evaluates guest attracting processes and responds to the changing needs and desires of their evolving guest base will successfully provide relevant services allowing for optimum attraction and spiritual growth.
What changes has your church had to make?
This passage gave me a good reminder this morning,
1 Thessalonians 5:15-22 (New International Version)
15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not put out the Spirit's fire; 20 do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 Test everything. Hold on to the good. 22 Avoid every kind of evil.
Paul is referring to us not necessarily being thankful for each circumstance, but more for being thankful in the circumstance. Are you joyful and thankful despite no matter what your circumstance is?
We tend to forget some of the blessings we should be thankful for or we spend time focusing on what we don't have ( or what is wrong with possessions and relationships in our lives)
What should you be thankful for that you find it difficult to be thankful for?
- Really appreciative of the team I have to create an amazingly decorated environment at the church. I have no gifts there, but I can string lights...
- After much time in prayer and discussion with Kelly, we have decided to push the pause button on selling the house.. We both felt really unsettled about it.
- Eli turns 5 in a little more than a week and Owen turns 3 in a month. It is really hard to believe. Kelly will be 31 in 2 months. This is really my birthday stretch for those in my family.
- Prices are being increased in the cafe this weekend. Should be a smooth transition. Will be beginning a clearance and Christmas sale in the bookstore the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
- Switch cubicles this week with Danielle. It is opposite of mine, so everything is in the same yet different spot. I go to reach for a drawer that used to be on the right and it is on the left. Getting adjusted just fine though.
- Love Derek's last 2 blogs. I could just sit at his feet and learn all day long. He takes information you already know and helps you really dive into deeper meanings of it.
- Dave cracks me up. His child-like appreciation for the snow has helped my children learn to love it!
For every person in this country to have the right to vote for who they want is amazing. I can't begin to understand the pride that Barrack Obama is feeling....or others for him. He is now President of this great country and anyone who becomes that needs a great amount of respect. I hope he follows his promises of bringing the country together.
He will get my prayers and additional hopes for a better nation. As most anyone is saying, it really is historic. As an American, you have to love that.
Every candidate matters to God.
Every nameless person pegged and targeted by the "key" issues matters to God.
Every person labeled conservative or liberal matters to God.
Every voter. Every American. Every inhabitant of the planet matters to God.
Yesterday I had an awesome experience. I had the opportunity to be on the other side of a baptism yesterday. By "the other side", I mean that I was gifted the opportunity to baptize my friend and former employee Kat. Kat carries an awesome testimony and shows no inhibitions. Being the one baptizing her, I got hit with a heavy reminder. I was reminded of my purpose in this relationship and those like it.
- Where am I insufficient in my own life that others might see me being superficial?
- Am I showing Christ's love to all people all the time?
- How serious am I taking the role God has given the imperfect person I am to humbly impact the lives He has placed in my path?
- Why don't we always utilize people to baptize others the way I was able to baptize Kat? It was a great honor, experience and reminder for me to renew my sense of responsibility to this world and those around me.
My duty is great, as is yours. If we are not radically changing lives (including our own) for the cause of Christ, what is the point of having a church?
- I had a great team of 20 help with planting nearly 40 young evergreens on our property last weekend. They look great and everyone involved did an awesome job. God always brings the right people and the right amount of people together for big projects like this.
- Had another great Dad's Night In last night. It is pretty cool watching some of the fathers in our body brings there children up to church to demonstrate servant leadership to them.
- The cafe is really taking off well. It will almost be a year in December. WE now offer Iced Jamaican Mocha, gourmet flavored hot ciders, and a better hot chocolate. Soon we will be beginning our FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC Blends from around the globe. Including: Kenyan, Sumatra, Ethiopian, and Guatemalan.
- Our bookstore is really beginning to take shape. Working towards new POS signage, better organization, and gearing up for Christmas with inventory buildup and gift certificates.
- Had my first Youth for Christ Board Meeting last Thursday. I am really excited about what Pete is doing and has vision for in Erie.
I am loving it here at Grace and I am honored God is allowing me to be a part of it.
WHAT ARE YOU LOVING ABOUT WHAT GOD IS DOING HERE AT GRACE?
Bedtime Saturday night:
Daddy: Okay boy's, who wants to pray?
Eli: Should we pray for Jesus?
Owen: Hey daddy, why did Jesus die on the tross? (not a typo)
Eli: To take our sins away Owen.
Daddy: Okay, let's pray.
Eli: Dear Lord, thank you for Jesus dying on the cross. Help me and Owen to have fun at school and to be good so we don't go in timeout. And help me to not fall off my bunk bed. (don't worry, we have one with a built in rail - he has not fallen out yet) Amen.
Daddy: Alright boys, get into bed. Mommy and Daddy love you.
Eli: I want to sleep in Owen's bed...(Whiny)
Mommy: No, you guys will never fall asleep.
Daddy: C'mon, let's go, Eli - in your bed.
Eli licks Owen
Owen licks Eli
Eli licks Owen
May I soak in every moment like that....except the licks; well maybe those too.
Decades ago and since then, Congress and the Presidents (every president) kept lowering consumer lending expectations for borrowing. This was for the most part due to pressure from Americans who love spending who vote for them. The rules used to be you needed a 20% down payment in order to get a mortgage. As the bar was continually lowered to include more Americans, we were mortgaging houses we couldn't afford. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac took on that bet and then insured it through, go figure, Lehman Brothers and AIG(the 13th largest business on the NYSE and the largest ins co in the WORLD).
So as Americans, who were probably at the same time - purchasing furniture, etc for that home they now have with "no payment, no interest for 5 years" gimmicks. Well, eventually it caught up with us. First taking down Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as foreclosures piled up. Then, through insuring all these companies on Wall Street, companies like AIG and Lehman Brothers are now falling flat on their face. The "now" CEO of AIG has agreed to pay back 100 million to help out.
So to me, the main problem lies with us the American consumers who love buying things and love buying things we don't have to pay for until it is time to replace them. Sure, shame on the past elected officials of every party for lowering the bar of standards on Wall Street and as to how we can borrow.
McCain can't save the economy, neither can Obama, neither can congress. Well, they can help put the fence around the yard, Americans need to grow and maintain the grass.
If Americans don't become more responsible with their spending habits, we will be in this boat again. Stop buying without having the cash. Go back to the Biblical principles on spending.
"In the house of the wise, there are stores of choices grains and oils. Only a fool consumes all he has." God actually tells us we should have savings! Another interesting line in the book of proverbs says that "The borrower is slave to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7a). In the bible, God never used debt once to bless his people, and many Christians are starting to realize that God has a plan for us which does not involve borrowing money.Of course being in debt is not a salvation issue by any means, but God wants what's best for us and all of us who are Christians would like to follow His ways as best as we can. Many of us believe that getting out of any debts that we may have is the way to go, but how does one accomplish this?There are three areas that need to be addressed. The first is that of having the wrong priorities. God tells us in Proverbs 6 that when you are in debt you should escape it like a gazelle does with a lion. This does not mean you should kind of sort of maybe thinking about paying some bills, it means you should run as fast as you can until you are done with debt. Work very much and very hard until you are out of debt. Spending too much money is another area that God mentions in the bible. He tells us that "only a fool devours all he has." Who would have thought that God is not in favor of us living paycheck to paycheck? We need to quit spending as much money on ourselves so that we have money to pay off debt. The freed-up income will do wonders in helping pay down any liabilities that you might have. God also tells us that we should work. We are told in the New Testament that "The man who does not work does not eat." God wants us to be productive. He wants us to work hard so we can have resources to do his work. The crazy thing is, is that if you follow God's principles when it comes to money, he'll give you a lot more of it. This can never be proven mathematically, but it's true. If God can trust us with the little things, surely He will give us more of His wealth to manage.
Read, listen, and buy in to sound financial advise from people like; Dave Ramsey, Ric Edelman, and the queen of "don't buy it", Suzy Orman.
*disclaimer - Aaron is not perfect at his finances, but at least making better financial decisions than he used to.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The developer of a Dubai skyscraper set to become the world's tallest building says the rising tower now stands at a "new record height" of 2,257 feet.
Emaar Properties says the skyscraper — known as Burj Dubai — now has "more than 160 stories." Its exterior is almost done and work has started on the interior.
The company's Monday statement gave no other details. The silvery steel-and-glass building's final height is a secret.
Last summer, the developer announced the building surpassed Taiwan's Taipei 101 which has dominated the global skyline at 1,667 feet since 2004.
In the four years of construction, Emaar twice postponed the skyscraper's finish, now slated for September 2009.
1. Everyone at the conference were expecting to be meeting in some big church basement when they heard they were going to a workshop hosted at a church. Instead they found a unique and warm environment that was at the completely opposite end of the spectrum of thought.
2. Through God's blessings, we made huge impressions on a community organization and many other community leaders who were also present. People in the community are slowly learning of the unique facility we have and how it can be used in a non-threatening environment for community functions and conferences. Simply stated; this building is more than a place of worship, it is a tool and a vehicle to make people become comfortable to a sometimes uncomfortable environment. All of the attendees today can now walk into Grace on a Sunday morning and have that first bit of awkwardness stripped away.
3. Because of our bold changes to the cafe mission, etc. We were able to "wow" the attendees with better than expected breaks and lunch.
4. Larry networks well.
I love this place! I hope that all who have contributed to what we have here realize our vision, why we do it, why we charge 50 cents for coffee, why the building is laid out like it is, why we made the move, and why it is so valuable to keep making more steps towards the future. Lives are being affected, people are stepping into a church that never have before, and the community is becoming more and more familiar with Grace, God's love, and why we strive to do all things with excellence.
I need some suggestions for new blend varieties and fall/winter products for in the cafe at Grace.
Currently we have:
House, Decaf, Jamaican Me Crazy, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Caramel Nut Biscotti
Iced Jamaican Mocha
French Vanilla Capp, Swiss Mocha, and Latte
teas and etc. any thoughts for something different?
Any food other than the snacks?
Now that the new "jobness" has worn off, I have centered on the following 3 thoughts:
1. Excellence in Everything - With trying to build something from almost the ground up, I am faced with 2 paths daily. Try and do everything that is needed now or focus on doing less with focus and excellence (at least to the best of my ability). How do I get these paths to meet in the middle. What am I doing that I shouldn't even be thinking about right now. I struggle with wanting to solve it all now. This is a constant struggle for me. So the question is - Is there anything that I am doing right now not being done excellently.
2. Organization - In the process of creating and building the Campus Development and Support Teams; Am I doing it in an organized fashion that states clear goals? How am I casting vision to my volunteers for life change through washing windows and repair work?
3. Comfortable - What can I do to make sure I never lapse into "comfortable" mode here. This is a big one that can be laced with complacency. In order to stay ahead of the game, know the needs of the church, and consistently take "unventured" steps into the future. I need to constantly remind myself of staying ahead of the curve and the what do I need to do next mindset. How do I do that?
3 P.S. thoughts-
1. How do I get the grass to look better without paying for even more fertilizer?
2. Trying to be accomplished everyday in a cubicle environment. What systems can I put in place to keep myself in motion without distraction.
3. What is the next up and coming blend of coffee we need to get in the cafe? Any suggestions? Winter Ideas?
I am now the Director of Campus Operations for Grace Church in Erie, PA.
I oversee the management of the Facility, teams to care for the facility, Rentals, excellence, our retail operations (bookstore and cafe), etc. Check this out for more
Here is a recent flyer I sent out (without the graphics, etc)
God has blessed us
with an amazing facility
so we can be
a blessing to others.
(our guests, for example)
Donate Used Equipment
Hand Tools (power drill, • pipe wrench, etc)
Join our Campus Development and Support Team
Interior Design/Decorating Team•
Facility Setup/Tear down•
Serve on Landscaping Work Day
Saturday, July 26•
We will begin one of the first phases of our landscaping plan.
That should give you a rough idea of some of what I do. I love it.
If you know anyone who may be a good fit for the team, please pass this post along.
I found this list on line. The top 7 qualities for a wife to find in a husband. Yet another good reminder for me. How about you, which one could you focus more on? I have inserted my thoughts in Orange. Kelly, I love you dearly and I thank God for you everyday.
7) Handy - Guys, are you handy - what is handy? Handy is when you take action to solve a problem, handy is when you change a light bulb without complaint, handy is when you take out the garbage (your idea, not hers). Wives like for their husbands to be handy - it's not hard, be part of the solution - not the problem. As most of you know, I am not that handy. But this is a different handy. It is easy to put something off until your wife reminds you. I know I have noticed something that has needed done and put off doing it until kelly asked me. I need to be more like her here. She ALWAYS does things around the house without me needing to ask.
6) Provision Oriented - Please don't get excited - this isn't about the husband making all the money. Its an attitude to help your wife fill in gaps. She can't do everything - so help her! Is she busy with the kids - give up 10 minutes of the ballgame and clean dishes, fold laundry, or whatever. You don't even need to be all that big of a help - you just need to show you're trying. Since my job change, I have had more time around the house. The effort I have put forth on #6 has reaped rewards. I know I can increase continued effort here.
5) Humility - Nobody likes an arrogant man - there's no place for it in marriage. Show humility - when you're wrong - admit it and do so with humility. She'll probably be shocked and her reaction might be unpredictable - but inside she'll glow with admiration. This is a tough one for me and probably is for most men. I try to get my last word in all the time.
4) Adaptability - Guys, marriage is an ever changing world and you've got to adapt favorably to those changes or you'll find yourself wondering what you're doing and how you got there. If you look closely at your wife - filtering out years of environmentally induced behavioral changes - you'll see that glowing woman you fell in love with years ago. Let me explain further - my love and feelings toward my wife have not changed since the day we married. However, our relationship has changed as a necessity to those changes around us. Time constraints, needs of children, financial obligations, etc. each require a level of effort that takes time away from our relationship. No longer do we have the luxury of hours to spend alone together. You're success as a husband will largely be dependent on your attitude toward the adaptations required by life. Lastly, don't let the tail wag the dog - don't let your feelings toward life's changes affect feelings toward your wife - leave this to your heart. We notice this one, especially with kids. We do not have endless hours together without interruption like we used to. Not a bad thing, but I need to take the lead on making the small amounts of time alone together count. (On a side note, this year was probably one of my favorite anniversary dinners with my wife. We put together a new grill and had hotdogs, celery sticks, and asparagus on the deck by candlelight with the boys; while they ran around with nets and caught lightning bugs. No expensive trip or dinner this year, just us.....and it was great.
3) Sensitivity - You can forget what you learned in high school - most women aren't looking for a husband who never cries. A sensitive husband perceives the needs of his wife and looks to meet them. Sensitivity toward your wife will open doors of communication and intimacy you never thought possible. Try it, get that chip off your shoulder and show her some sensitivity. She has seen me ball my eyes out. I am good to go on this one.......
2) Faithfulness / Loyalty - Show her you're in it for the long haul (notice I said show her). How can you show someone you're faithful and loyal? Do you follow through with your commitments - however small they might be? Are you honest with your wife? Do you keep her up to date on your activities? Do you include her in your world? She's interested - show her it's not just about you - its about her as well and you'll reap the benefits of her security. I know it is tough after a day at work, etc to come home and take the time to answer questions. I struggle with this, but I need to remind myself that Kel is only asking because she cares and wants to know....especially when there is something clearly on my mind.
1) Good Listener - This might be the biggest challenge for husbands. You see, by nature, men are usually productive oriented and women are usually more relational. Men often make the mistake of trying to solve their wife's "problems". She doesn't want you to solve anything - she wants you to listen (really listen) and show her that you truly are interested in what she says. She wants you to feel what she feels and live what she lives. When you learn to truly listen to your wife and keep your mouth shut - your marriage will blossom. UhOhhhh, I know the minute Kelly sees, "solving their wife's problems", she will think of me. As someone in the management field for so long, I immediately and all the time go into:
"How can I fix this?"
"How can I help her to not feel this way?"
"How can I get her to understand why this is not a problem?"
Can I shut my mouth? I don't know, but I am really going to give it a shot. Because I love her and my wife has truly become my best friend. I love doing life with her.
Any thoughts on your spouse?
Good service means never having to ask for anything.
Customers will forgive mistakes in the kitchen more than mistakes in bad service; Good service can save a bad meal. A good meal cannot save bad service.
The best practice is TO REWARD GREAT AND SUPERIOR SERVICE, LET THE SERVER KNOW, REMEMBER THE SERVERS NAME SO YOU CAN ASK FOR THEM NEXT TIME. That means more to a server than an extra dollar….but give the extra dollar!! Give over and above when it is due, but always tip.
The Lord's Money
(Author: John Piper)
Every day is the Lord's day just like all your money is the Lord's money.
Nevertheless one day in seven is called "the Lord's Day" in a special sense (Revelation 1:10; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:2; Acts 20:7). We set this day aside for a special focus on corporate worship and spiritual refreshment.
Similarly, some of the Lord's money that you manage should be set aside for the Lord's church and his mission in the world.
I write this today because I received $1,500 in the mail last Tuesday from the U. S. Government. It is not my money. It is the Lord's. All of it. I know how much of it I will give to the Lord's church. Noël and I are agreed.
How about you?
1. Spent a few days in North Carolina visiting my brother Steve and his family. Went to the Air Show at Cherry Point and it was a scorcher.
2. Went to Myrtle Beach and spent some time with the kids and Kelly. We stayed in an RV that a great friend allowed us to use. It was the first vacation that just the 4 of us have spent together. It was amazing. I loved it. It was also the first time I have not been called from work during my vacation. THAT is amazing.
The boys loved the ocean....attached are some pics.
Back to the grind. I will update soon with my new job and how things have been going, as well as what projects are on the horizon.