Nolan’s Paragraph

This kid.

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This kid had to write a paragraph about someone he admired for overcoming adversity…

“The person I admire for overcoming adversity is Michael.  He works hard with his friend Erin to help people decide to know God more.  A fun fact about Erin is that she has a baby named Ruby.  The best part about Michael is that he is my dad”

Aaaand, just like that I get a big push of momentum to work a little harder.  If I can be half the man my son believes me to be I’ll be doing pretty well.  

What’s most important to me, however, is how well Nolan understands the WHY behind the WHAT.  He understands that I’m not working hard for personal gain, but that it’s all about helping others get closer to God.  This kid gets it!  

Oh – Nolan’s favorite part was how he hid the big reveal that “Michael” is his dad.  He was pretty proud of that!

 

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Proximity Church: Celebrating 1st Month

I’m not sure when we stop aging kids by months and start using years, but it’s longer than I think it needs to be.

2 months?  Sure

13 months? Ok

22 months? Fine

Somewhere between 22 months and 25 months it starts getting weird.

“How old is your child?”

“Oh, he’s getting ready to turn 114 months.  We are having a party…his cake is big and has a lot of candles, it’s all VERY expensive”

Proximity Church is turning ONE MONTH!  I don’t know how long I’ll be counting the months, but right now I’m so thankful for this ride I’m celebrating every day.  Every now and then I swing by Cheesecakes by Alex and get a slice, put a candle in it and celebrate another day of Proximity Church!  Any excuse for cheesecake, right!

One month.  WOW!

We are celebrating a lot more than existing for four Sundays…

We are celebrating hard work 

There’s a guy on our team who ran his first marathon last year.  A year and a half ago I’m not sure he had ever run a mile in his life, but one day he made the decision to become a runner (on purpose, he wasn’t being chased or anything).  He ran when he felt like it.  He ran when he didn’t feel like it.  He ran when he was sick, tired, and on vacation.  He ran when there was 2 feet of snow on the ground.  The man had a goal, he worked hard and then ran that marathon and KILLED it!  There’s something really cool about working hard and achieving a goal.

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Our team worked hard!  For over a year our incredible team prayed, gave time and gave financially (many decided to DOUBLE their monthly tithe to make Proximity happen).  This team sacrificed and poured in to see something special happen in Northeast Greensboro.  We celebrate that!

We celebrate that people show up!

Someone smarter than me told me, “We count everything.  We count cars because in every car is a person and every person has a story.  Counting cars is all about valuing the stories of people who are interacting with you”.  Man.  That really got me.

Every week that I see a guest share their Sunday with us I am so humbled and thankful.  Our prayer is that Proximity might be used by God to be a blessing and a benefit to their story.  I believe it will be.  We celebrate that!

We celebrate stories already changed.

Church is not easy for everyone.  It’s not easy for the person who hasn’t been in 20 years.  It’s not easy for the single mother wrangling her kids who are fighting her every step of the way.  It’s not easy for the person who has felt judged, rejected or ignored last time they tried a church.

We have people like that who call Proximity Church home.  We know it’s not easy.  We know that church has, in the past been hard and unappealing.  We CELEBRATE that you are finding your place at Proximity Church!

We celebrate lives changed!

Last week my youngest son decided to follow Jesus.  He’s the most recent of a number of people who have found LIFE in Jesus in the last month!  We began Proximity Church so that people could hear the Gospel and come closer to God.  It’s happening!

We celebrate that!

There’s a long way to go.  People often ask me how everything at Proximity is going right now.  It’s incredible!  Better than I could have dreamed.  It’s not always easy, but it was never supposed to be. It was just supposed to be worth it.

I hope you will join me in celebrating our FIRST MONTH!

It’s only the beginning!

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Asher’s First Communion!

This kid. This kid had a BIG day!

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Today (January 24, 2017) is the day that Asher decided to follow Jesus!

I’m so proud of this kid. He’s adventurous and stubborn in all the best ways. He lights up a room and has just an infectious personality.  I mean look at this picture:

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What a kid.

So this Sunday at Proximity Church we are doing communion. Asher has ALWAYS wanted to take communion, but Kristan and I knew he wasn’t ready. We knew that, although he understood some of the Gospel and believed in God, it really wasn’t a faith of his own quite yet.  It was always hard, but we had him wait.

Today, however, we let him tell us about Jesus. Asher told us about creation. He told us about sin. He told us about Jesus dying so that others could go first. I like that.

We talked to him about how important it is to follow Jesus. It’s important when you are eight.  It’s just as important when you are eighty-eight. There’s no changing your mind. It’s gotta be everything.

He only had one big question: “Does the water have to be cold when I get baptized?”

I told him it does. It’s the only way we can be sure he really wants to do it!

I was already excited for Sunday, but this…this is going to be really special!

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How Movies Taught Me to Get the Most out of Big Moments

Weddings are my favorite!

You don’t always see a big moment coming.  Those life-altering events often sneak up on us and seem pretty mundane at the time.

At the time I had no idea it was one of the biggest days of my life.  At the time, it was just Tuesday.  I was on my way to Western Civ and, on a whim, I decided to skip class and hang out with my roommate who was reading by the fountain on campus.  We hung out for a when a girl he knew walked up and joined us.  Eventually my roommate went to grab lunch.  Hours and two skipped classes later Kristan and I were still sitting on that same patch of grass….talking about life, laughing and each of us sharing old stories with the person we were going to be making new stories with for the rest of our lives.

At the time…it was just a Tuesday.  Who knew?

 

Other moments you see coming a mile away.

Weddings, for example, are the consensus BIG MOMENT.  Countless months and dozens of people all work together to make it as special as possible.

Then, in the blink of an eye it’s over and you stand there thinking, “Did I miss it?”

“It was a blur” is not the memory we want for our big moments.

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF A BIG MOMENT

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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One of my favorite things to do when I perform a wedding ceremony is, right before we begin, I invite the couple to take a breath and look around the room.  It gives them a chance to enjoy the moment and not race through it.

Memento

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Memento is a movie about a guy who has trouble remembering even the most important details.  It’s not enough to just enjoy the moment, but if we don’t actively work to hang onto the experience we will forget even the most special times.

Amelie

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Everyone knows to look for the big moments, but we let thousands of tiny little experiences pass by each day with barely a thought.  How many of our memories are those things that, at the time, seemed so small and insignificant.

Proximity Church will have it’s first service on 1-7-18!

That’s CLOSE!

Just like a wedding or the birth of a child we see it coming.  So we prepare and anticipate and even experience a little nervousness as the day approaches.

Then, on January 8th we are going to wake up and say, “Did I just miss it?”

I want us to enjoy that first Sunday as much as possible!  God is doing something great in Northeast Greensboro, but He’s also doing something great for US!  He invited US to be involved in this journey.  What a shame if we forget to enjoy it!

So…how can we make the most of our launch Sunday?

  1. Stop rushing around, press pause on the details, and look around at the experience itself and people we get to enjoy it with
  2. Intentionally work to remember everything!  The good and the bad will be cherished memories forever
  3. Don’t take anything for granted.  Setting up drape might be the thing we look back on in 20 years with the most fondness!

Yes…a big moment is coming!  We are blessed to see it coming.

Let’s make the most of it!

 


The “Type”

50 days!

Wow.

It’s been a fun ride so far with some amazing travel companions.  God has brought (and is continuing to bring) quite the team together.  People who really want to experience something great & want others to experience it too.

People like Kenneth and Lewanne Norris.

This is a couple that didn’t expect to be starting a church at this stage in their lives.  I know!  They told me so!

“We’ve been in church a long time.  We grew up going to church, but we have NEVER done anything like this before.  It’s so exciting to be a part of what God is doing at Proximity Church!”  – Lewanne Norris

I wonder how many people miss out on the excitement of something like what God is doing at Proximity because they think it’s something that is only for a certain type of person.

In 50 days God’s going to do something special in Northeast Greensboro.  I believe He’s going to use Proximity Church for really great things.

I believe He’s going to use Kenneth and Lewanne for really great things.

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Going Home

We are going home.

This Sunday, at 10:30 AM, our “Launch Team” will meet for the first time at Northeast Guilford Middle School to begin final preparations for our 1st Service on January 7, 2018.

(That’s January 7, 2017!  Click the link here to RSVP!)

Over the last year or so we have met in church basements, backyards and box seats at baseball games.  One of the most necessary qualities of a church planting team is FLEXIBILITY and the ability to go with the flow.  Our folks have it in droves!

That said, I’m ready to go home!

This Sunday everyone will get to see our space for the first time.  They will get to imagine our future and catch a glimpse of what God is going to do.

The most important thing we will do this Sunday is pray.

We thank God for Northeast Guilford Middle School and this Sunday we will spend our time praying for the Administration, teachers and students who are there every day.  We are going to pray that God would allow us to be a blessing to them as they have been a blessing to us.

And we are going to pray for our home…that it would feel like home for every guest that ever gives us the honor of visiting on a Sunday morning.

 

 


EARN HISTORY

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Today is a very big day.

October 31, 2017 could very well be the day that the Houston Astros win their first ever World Series!  It’s not hyperbole to say I’ve waited my entire life for what is the most important game in franchise history.

It’s not just a game…

When Bregman hit that ball into left field yesterday I couldn’t help but jump and scream just like I did when I was seven…and seventeen…and twenty-seven.  I’m a thirty seven year old ADULT and I lose my mind watching the Astros in a way that I can’t even explain.

It’s so much more than a game.  It’s nostalgic.

Every hit, every run scored, every win brings back a memory…

Memories of the Astrodome with my grandfather.  We would walk up to the stadium and pay 6 bucks for the “cheap seats”.  He would tell me about the Colt .45’s while we watched Jose Cruz and Mike Scott from the rainbow seats.  Then, around the 5th inning, he would finally admit that the time was right to go sneak down to the lower level.

Sometimes we wouldn’t go to the game but we would sit and listen on the radio.  If the game ended with a win we would run out into the backyard and look to see if we could catch a glimpse of the fireworks shot off from outside the Dome.

My grandfather LOVED the Astros.  When we would play catch he would call out a players name to prompt me on what he was going to throw.  “Billy Hatcher” meant he was going to throw a pop fly.  “Bill Doran” meant I should prepare to dive because a hard ground ball was coming my way.  His mind was a steel trap of statistics and baseball history.  He could remember the batting averages of players from twenty years earlier as easily as he remembered my grandmothers birthday…maybe better 🙂  When his memory began to fade later in life it was like losing a library.

Then there was my dad.

I wasn’t all that close to my father, but there is nothing that says “father-son” like baseball.

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We had those moments.  I remember him buying me a glove.  I remember him tossing the ball around with me when I was younger.  I remember him getting so frustrated with the Astros that he would have to turn off the TV and walk outside.

Like father, like son I guess.

The last Astros game I saw in person was with my dad.

It’s funny, I think I’ve had more text messages and phone calls come in congratulating me today than I received when Nolan (named after Astro pitcher Nolan Ryan) was born.  Friends are telling me they are rooting for me as if it was me on the mound.

It’s nice.  I appreciate it.

But I haven’t missed Houston as much as I do right now in a long time.  It’s been 20 years and a baseball team has brought back memories in a way that is just silly.  Not baseball memories.  Over the last couple of weeks while the ‘Stros have been in the playoffs I haven’t been thinking about Bagwell’s funny batting stance or Biggio taking off his body armor after every walk.  I’m not reminiscing about Roger Clemens and Roy Oswalt or the time that the Astros NO HIT the Yankees with six pitchers at Yankee stadium.

I’m thinking about my grandfather.  I’m thinking about my dad.  I’m thinking about going to hundreds of Astros games growing up with friends who are sitting around their televisions feeling the same childlike nervousness and anticipation that I’m feeling right now.

Today is a very big day.

Earn History.

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Kristan always jumps.

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Kristan ALWAYS jumps!  The woman has no fear.

Not me.  I’m a coward.

It didn’t start out this way – long before we arrived at our hotel in Negril I had already heard about their “famous” jumping bridge.  I had already pictured myself jumping off countless times.  Then I saw it…and it was HIGH!  It was so high that I was suddenly perfectly calm and relaxed.  Not a bit of fear…

Because I knew right then that I wouldn’t ever step off that bridge!  That anxious feeling one gets when they prepare to jump is avoided entirely when you know you’re not going to take the step.

You don’t actually feel fear until you think about doing something risky.

I’m terrified of church planting.

Can I be honest and admit that?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited and convinced it’s the BEST thing we can do. I believe with all my heart that God is moving and Proximity Church is already doing big things for the Kingdom.

But I live with that anxious feeling in my stomach like I’m about to jump off that bridge.

I never did go off the bridge in Jamaica, but I did jump off some slightly lower cliffs.  Kristan never made fun of me (though she did push me to go a little higher than I wanted to) and she always wanted to jump together.  That made it a lot easier.

Our team is getting ready to jump.

We are excited and anxious and a little bit nervous.

It’s ok to be nervous.  If your faith isn’t calling you into something a little bit uncomfortable and risky then you are probably missing something.  The pattern of Jesus and the disciples, the Holy Spirit, and the teachings of Scripture tell us we aren’t supposed to play it safe.  We are supposed to jump.

Thankfully we aren’t jumping alone!

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Top 3 Ways to Improve Your Reedy Fork Run

Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not a “great” runner.  My time isn’t stellar and my form probably leaves much to be desired.  When I run I look like an 18 year old overfed pug

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This is not a blog about running.  If you want some great tips on running (or picking the right kind of race for you), check my friend Mike’s blog out!  He’s a Reedy Forker as well, but he looks like a gazelle when he runs.

This is a different kind of runner blog…

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF A REEDY FORK RUN

  1. Give HIGH FIVES to joggers going the other way
     

    Let’s make this happen!  Head nods, half-waves and “hey’s” aren’t any fun at all!  We can do better Reedy Fork.  Sure, its a little weird at first but I’ve done it a few times out here and I’ve got to tell you: It’ll get you pumped up!  Every runner from pug to gazelle can use a high five.

    Can we make this happen? 

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  2. Enjoy the Wildlife

    I don’t wear my glasses when I run.  So, this one time I was jogging on Turner Smith and I could barely make out the silhouette of a rock a few yards ahead of me on the sidewalk.  Being the ever so wise runner that I am, I planned accordingly and moved over 2 inches to the left to avoid stepping on the rock.  However, just as I was getting ready to land the rock jumped out under my foot and made a squish sound.

    We have so much wildlife to enjoy on our runs!  More than just squishy frogs.  Each one can add so much to your run!

    Do you need a little pick-me-up when your pace is a tad slow?  We have coyotes howling

    Do you need a calorie boost when your energy wanes?  We have drone ants swarming.

    Do you need a spider web in your face?

     

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    No.  You absolutely don’t ever want a spider web in your face.

  3. Pray/Meditate/Clear your Head

    Life can be stressful.  It’s so easy to get lost in a busyness of job stuff, chore stuff and homework stuff.  Some of us are dealing with even bigger stresses in life – marriages that are struggling, kids that are off-track, bills that are piling up, health issues, emotional struggles…the list can go on and on.

    We can’t avoid it.  We can’t ignore the difficulties of life.

    The beauty of a good run, however, is that you get a little bit of time to compartmentalize all the messy parts and just focus on the run, or on nothing, or on avoiding spider webs.

    Personally, I like to pray when I run.  If I’m not praying for me I pray for the homes along my path.  So, if you live in Reedy Fork, I’ve likely prayed for you.

    Also, and this is a bit off theme – I sometimes catch myself singing.  I listen to music and often forget that people can hear me.

    So there you have it.  Three things to make your Reedy Fork Run just a little bit more enjoyable: High Fives, Wildlife, and Prayer/Meditation.  The most important thing to do, however, if you are going to enjoy a Reedy Fork Run is to just get out there and do it!  We have an incredible neighborhood with nice trails and challenging hills.  Start slow with a couch to 5k and build from there!  You’ll be moving on up from Pug to Gazelle in no time!


Proximity Church Serve Day

I dug me a hole!

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I’m not exactly skilled in the agrarian arts.  That’s an understatement.  I’ve literally never planted a plant.  Nope.  Not one.  Ever.

Then, about two weeks ago, the principal of Northeast Middle School (future meeting place of Proximity Church) shared some ways our church could bless them.  Top of the list was landscaping the front areas of the building.

And my heart sunk.

I don’t know what I expected.  Maybe I was hoping he wanted help with his fantasy football team.

Nevertheless, landscaping it was!  Our team was pretty excited.  We have some workers at Proximity Church!  I told them up front I don’t even know the difference between a shovel and a spade.  I seriously thought they were the same thing (Still do).   So I just showed up and let talented people lead the this thing.  They absolutely killed it!  Such an amazing job by such an amazing group of folks.

One of my greatest dreams for Proximity Church is that, regardless of whether a person ever comes or not, they would WANT us around because we just make their lives and community better.

Thank you Northeast Middle School!  We are so appreciative of all that you do for your students (and how great you’ve been to us already)!  We look forward to a long partnership of making Northeast Greensboro incredible!

Oh…and for the record, I dug me a hole and planted my first tree

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