Oct 302007

I had an unusually blessed opportunity to spend some time with Andy Stanley yesterday while at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw.  My former pastor, Mike Linch, invited us over to sit in on their staff meeting that Andy had graciously agreed to come lead.  I appreciate Andy’s ministry so much and have been greatly influenced by his ministry over the years. 

First, let me gloat just a bit for the privilege I had to be a part of this and to spend some time talking with Andy in a personal setting.  I would love it if someone would make sure that this was passed on to Tony Morgan at Newspring Church in Anderson due to the fact that he has enjoyed gloating over getting a hug from Andy and having his picture taken with him.  Tony titled a now well-known blog entry “This is not Andy Stanley’s Blog” and increased the number of his blog hits as a result.  If by chance I get an increased number of blog hits as a result, it is totally unintentional.  Of course, one of my goals is to personally meet Tony and Perry and hope to do that this coming March at Unleash 08.  I hope to get my picture made with both of them as well.

But more importantly, back to what I learned that applies to reaching disconnected and unconvinced people.  Andy shared several random thoughts and quotes he has collected recently and over the years and offered commentary on these thoughts and how they have applied to him and Northpoint Community Church.  Here goes:

  • When your memories exceed your dreams your end is near.
  • There is a danger when you have accomplished a lot of things and your focus is on the past rather than future dreams.  It is dangerous being an expert on the past.  You must gain clarity around future dreams.  Success breeds complacency and complacency breeds failure. 
  • The next generation product almost never comes from the previous generation:  Act early, develop a totally new product, and give the product a new name–Act Boldly.
  • To reach people that haven’t been reached we will need to do things that haven’t been done.  Question: What are the barriers and boundaries of what we’re doing?
  • What do I believe is impossible to do in my field, but if it could be done, would fundamentally change my business?
  • If you brought in fresh eyes, had nothing to lose and had young leadership, what would they do to multiply your business?  Then why aren’t you doing it?
  • If I had someone give me all of the current assets I have for my organization and the yearly income, would I utilized it the same way that I am currently operating?  If not, why am I doing it this way and why don’t I make the necessary changes?

Monday was extremely valuable and encouraging!  Thank you Andy, Mike Linch, and NorthStar for allowing The Grove to be a part! 

Check out the pics.  Note the tall, rather hairy guy with me.  He is another hero of mine and my wife.  I met Donald Wise years ago at a camp called IMPACT and have been friends with him ever since.  Donald knew my wife Jill before I ever met her.  The fact that Jill married me is still the only reason that Donald is my friend and the only reason he has any respect for me.  He and his wife Sandy are awesome and they have an awesome family.  Donald has joined the staff at Northpoint to help launch their new Strategic Partner sites across the country.

Grove and Andy Stanley

Donald Wise

 Posted by at 6:51 pm
Oct 302007

The end of last week brought a much needed time of R & R for me and Jill.  We dropped the kids off with some of our best friends Phillip and Marjorie Kesler and Rebecca Avra for a few days and we took off to the Blueberry Inn nestled in the North Georgia Mountains between Cleveland and Dahlonega. 

We were able to visit our friend Natalie Flake at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland.  You can read Natalie’s powerful story here.

We visited our friends Seth and Leslie Wallace.  Leslie continues to battle cancer and is doing great.  Click on their names to follow their story through their blogs.

We stopped and took a walk on the campus of my alma mater, North Georgia College.  I looked for my favorite professor Marc Gilbert, but I couldn’t find him.

My favorite part of the getaway was the opportunity to take walks with my bride and best friend and have some uninterrupted conversations. 

Check out these pics from our trip:

Russ and Jill

Russ and Jill on the Appalachian Trail

Blueberry Inn view

The view from our B & B

Jill on the Trail

Jill on the Appalachian Trail

 Posted by at 8:19 am
Oct 282007

This morning was an incredible gathering!  David and the Band did an incredible job.  Thank you guys.  If was our final week of the SHADOWS series and our desire was to end it with a very clear communication of the gospel of Jesus. 

  • We had a number of people that responded to Jesus for the first time with their lives.  It was absolutely awesome and reminds me of why we should be doing what we are doing. 
  • My wife and I came back from a time of ‘getaway’ with one another in the North GA Mtns.  We had a blast.  I will share a little more in detail with pictures of our trip.  I am refreshed and ready to go. 
  • I am sitting here watching the Red Sox potentially defeat the Rockies in 4 games for the World Series Title.  I hope that the Rockies make a game of and they won’t have to end in four games but rather take the series to at least 6 games!
  • Speaking of “making a game of it”!  Did the Georgia DAWGS make a game of it or what against Florida?!  They took it toooo the gators and didn’t let up one bit.  Mild mannered Coach Richt displayed a side of him that we haven’t see much.   All I can say is “It is about time!” and lets make this become a streak to our favor.
  • My community group was back in full swing tonight and we had a blast!  We always eat the best food!  Thank you guys for bringing your best food.  We discussed the LAW and how the LAW  reveals and communicates the character of God.  The Law was a confirmation of a relationship with God rather than a condition of a relationship with God. (Starting Point) 
  • Tomorrow will be an incredible opportunity.  I am driving Craig and Nathan over to NorthStar and their staff meeting to sit in with those guys while Andy Stanley does some staff training.  WOW!  What an opportunity to spend some time with Andy Stanley! 
  • I have a busy week with meetings and much organizational and administrative tasks. 
  • I have the privilege of going to George Walton Academy this coming Wednesday to meet with Sharon Shackleford’s class.  I will be sharing about my trip to Israel two years ago and how we can have conversations of a spiritual nature with people from other faith journeys.
  • I love my church.  It is a challenge and we have a lot of decisions to make for the future, but it is much more exciting than what I ever imagined it to be.

This week should be a week of reflection for us all.  Do we have people close enough to us that simply need Jesus?  If not, then move wherever you need to be in order to be around some people that simply need to meet Jesus.  What else is there?

 Posted by at 11:15 pm
Oct 252007

You have to check out this post by Perry Noble!

We have too many “consumers” in church that simply want to go “deep”.  Wouldn’t it be incredible for followers of Jesus to become “self-feeders” and simply choose their church or faith community based upon where they are led to serve, join forces to reach disconnected people, and utilize their gifts and resources?  Now THAT would be “DEEP”!

 Posted by at 7:33 pm