Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

This blog has moved

June 5, 2009

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What’s your stand?

May 12, 2009

lincoln_memorial_lincoln_contrastyI cannot get this out of my head so I guess that I am suppose to talk about it.  While in D.C. I got to see the Lincoln Memorial.  I am a huge fan of Lincoln and think that he had one of the greatest impacts on our country that any president has had.  While walking up the steps to get to the actual memorial I turned around to look out at the beauty and splendor of our nations capital.  I thought about the legacy of Lincoln and how he was willing to stand up against his fellow countrymen because of his “Holy Discontent” for slavery.  He was no longer able to stand the thought of people enslaving one another because of the color of their skin.

When I turned around, I happened to look down at the spot below me.  It was the very spot where Martin Luther King Jr. had stood and made his “I have a dream” speech.  I was in awe.  I was in the very place where one man was willing to say “enough is enough.”

It takes amazing courage to stand up for something, to step out and make a statement.  What is the thing that you want to stand up for that you haven’t made a stand on yet?  The thing that struck me about both of these men is that they were not just going to live for the moment but that they were willing to take a stand and now they live affecting others for a lifetime.

I believe that you and I must make a stand for whatever that thing is in life that you just can’t stand to see happen any longer.  Whether it be children dying of aids in Africa, food for the poor, homelessness in your community, child slavery, prostitution, human trafficing, or people not knowing Jesus, whatever it is, let’s not stay content but let’s become discontent with the situation and make a stand.

For Shayla and I, that stand is for those who are unchurched, uncommitted and undecided of Ft. Lauderdale and help them to become fully devoted followers of Christ.  We are committing our lives to loving and reaching those people.  We are moving this upcoming Friday, May 15th so that we can make our stand for Christ and those who do not yet know him.

What is your stand?

Give Honor to where Honor is due

May 11, 2009

I was in Washington D.C. this past week.  While I was there I got the opportunity to walk around and see some of the sites of the city.  One that really caught my attention was the Washington Monument.

washmonument2I was reminded of how in Old Testament times that when God would do something significant in someones life they would build an altar there at that place to remind them of what took place.  The Washington Monument signifies what our first president George Washington meant to our country.  He was the general of the revolutionary army who led his troops in battle to victory over the British rule of the American people.  So in honor of his courage and leadership they constructed this monument to document and remember his legacy.  So many times we go through life and forget to honor those who have done significant things to help us have the things we have today.

I was thinking of a man who paved the way for me to really learn what ministry was all about.  He saw in me what no one including myself could see at the time, potential.  He was willing to help me work through my past, live in the now and fulfill my future.  He provided opportunities for me to grow immensely as well as allowing me to step out and fail.  I will always be grateful to him for helping me grow into the man I am today.  I am grateful for the being a spiritual son to a great pastor and friend, Randy Bezet of Bayside Community Church in Bradenton, Florida.

I wanted to be able to give honor where honor is due and Randy is definitely a man who deserves a ton of credit for my success in life.  I appreciate his willingness to take a chance on a young kid when everyone else had given up, to step out and believe that greater things were still to come in my life.  Thank you Randy Bezet for helping me to see and realize my potential to plant a church in Ft. Lauderdale and for believing in me.  I will do the thing you told me to do that would be the most honoring thing to you, “I will help build a great church that changes lives in Ft. Lauderdale.”

Who is someone you should honor that has been a part of your life.  Maybe it is a mom, dad, brother, professor, or boss but whoever it is for you I want to challenge you to express your gratitude for their contribution to your life.

Who are you listening to?

May 7, 2009


Have you ever just had one of those “Ah Ha” moments when you are reading your Bible?  I was reading in the Book of Acts today and in chapter 18:9-10 the Lord spoke to Paul:

“Don’t be afraid!  Speak out!  Don’t be silent!  For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.”

I read this verse and was just blown away.  I was having one of those days where I was like “I am so afraid of stepping out and planting this church, is anyone going to want to be a part of this, and are people really open to the gospel of Christ?” Then God shows up.  I find myself so many times listening to my fears instead of listening to my God.

Why do we do that?  We get so caught up in our thoughts that we lose sight of vision and plan that God planted in our heart.  God is continually telling me to not be afraid, see fear is something that is based out of my strength and not God’s power.  I start looking to myself instead of relying on him and thinking this is something I have to do.  Not only do I not have to be afraid but at the same point I have to speak out.  I know that for me it is hard to step up and step out.  God called me to be a voice for my generation so that they can know him.  If I am silent then they miss out.  It says there in the verse that many people belong to him.  I want them all to belong to him but if you and I don’t speak out they will miss out.

What are you listening to, your fears or your God?

Who is this for?

May 5, 2009

I was recently at a conference in North Carolina called All Access.  It was a fantastic conference with a lot of great speakers and pastors.  As the conference was winding down on the last day a pastor named Stovall Weems said something profound that has been messing with me since.  He said:

“Are we leaders who serve or are we servants who get the opportunity to lead?”

This has been a quote that has kept me up at night.  I am constantly asking myself  “Which am I?”.  I know that for me, I find myself being a leader who serves because that is what I am suppose to do.  I want so bad to be a servant of Christ who because of my faithfulness as a servant I am presented the opportunity to lead.  Jesus said it best when he said “The son of man came not to be served but to serve by dying on the cross as a ransom for many.”

  • Why is this such an internal struggle?
  • Why is it so hard to serve instead of lead?
  • Why do I always want the top position?
  • Why do I want to be in charge?

I am continually challenging my motives for these questions today.  I want to be a servant who gets the opportunity to lead because it is not about me but all about HIM.

What about you?

Working on the Inside

April 17, 2009


I was reading the story of Jonah in my quiet time this week and God just showed up and showed me some great insight.  Jonah is this prophet who heard Gods voice, and after hearing Gods voice RAN AWAY.   I don’t know about you but the one thing I am longing for in life is to hear Gods voice to give me direction.  The interesting thing of the story is that the reason he ran was because he did not want to do what God was calling him to do.

I think that you and I are very similar this way.  We so badly want to hear Gods voice if it is what , but if it isn’t we question whether it was really God or just some pizza we ate last night.  I believe that God is calling us to do all kinds of things in life that we don’t want to do that will really help others.  Jonah was called to go to Ninevah and proclaim Gods judgement so the people would repent.  Sounds like a good thing to me, people coming back to God, but I don’t think the point of the story was truly to have Ninevah repent but was really about the condition of Jonah’s heart.  See Jonahs heart had become hardened for people, which is the very heart of God.  So I think in Gods infinite wisdom he called Jonah to move on His behalf so He could do a work from the inside out.

God is in the business of working on the outside circumstances of helping people so He can do an incredible work on the inside of us.

  • What is that thing that God has called you to do that you are running from?
  • Who do you need to help so God can help you?
  • Where do you need to go so God can take you where you need to end up?

Let’s not just want to hear Gods voice but lets run to and not away from what He tells us to do.

How is your FRUIT?

April 10, 2009

I was with an amazing pastor yesterday named Stan Mitchell from Gracepointe Church in Nashville. He said something in our conversation that really rocked me;

“Fruit unused spoils.”
So many times do you and I have gifts and talents that we should be using but because of fear, failure or just laziness we just allow our talents to go to waste. It makes me think of the parable of the talents. The ones who used their talents were given more or they produced more fruit. Then their was the one who did nothing with his talent and what happened to him, he not only didn’t produce any gain but it was taken away. It was spoiled, it was no good so it was lost.

What talent, gift or dream has God given you that you have been doing nothing with? What is the area of life that you need to start investing your time and energy in?

I believe that God is up to something big for Coastal Community Church. I have been in Nashville and Birmingham this past week meeting with pastors and potential donors and am just finding some great favor. I am so excited how God is just opening doors in relationships and finances. Believe God for BIG things and you’ll find that he is up to GREATER THINGS than your big things.

Great News

April 7, 2009

This process of planting a church has been a real stretch of my faith. It was really easy to say “Just believe that God will take care of it” to others, but now I am truly having to live out those words. The thing is that if a word or vision is not from God then in most cases the fear will keep you from moving forward in that direction. I know for me this has been so true. If this vision to start a life-giving church in Ft. Lauderdale was not from God I truly know that I would have quit a while ago. I was reading in Proverbs this morning and it says in verse 17:3

“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”

This is so true, when we start walking out what we think is from God or is from Him through the fires of the process we find out if it something from God or just a good idea. Mark Batterson once said that he would rather have 1 God Idea than 100 good ideas. I believe that if we get a vision from God then when we go through the tests, what is left is a sincere and pure heart for what He wants. See, we live in a world of silver and gold and that is typically what we strive for but more than anything God wants for you and I to find His heart in all matters, so that means that we will go through the fiery trials of life.

Over the past couple of weeks I have personally gotten to experience this with trying to find a location for Coastal Community Church. We thought that we were going to get Monarch High School but it seemed like we were hitting one road block after another. In fact two weeks ago I was sure that there was no way we were going to get that school and every other location that I looked at was not a good fit for a new church. I was pretty discouraged to say the least, but I still believed that God had called us here and that this was a purifying moment of getting rid of fear to totally trust. The next week I got a call from the church that was meeting in the school who was moving out and they said that after I had met with their pastor that they really wanted us to take over their lease on the school and not only that but that they wanted to give us most of their portable equipment because they would no longer be using it. God blew our socks off with all of this news.

So many times God allows us to go through the fire to purify our hearts.

What fire are you going through today?
How is God trying to purify your thoughts and motives through this fire?

Listen, God is up to something BIG in each and every one of our lives. Don’t give up, press on through the fire and see what God will do in your heart and life, He is probably up to GREATER THINGS.

Answer It

March 30, 2009

I was reading today in my quiet time and the Lord really spoke to me so I wanted to share it with you.

Numbers 14:9
“Do not rebel against the Lord, and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. They are only helpless prey to us! They have no protection, but the Lord is with us! Don’t be afraid of them!”

As I was reading this, I thought to myself “How many times are we afraid of the people instead of the Lord and what He has told us to do.” We are afraid of:

  • what they will say
  • what they won’t say
  • what they will do
  • what they won’t do

We get so caught up with the things that we can see that we forget what God has SAID. We miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime because of our fear of man instead of the fear of the Lord. I want to encourage you today to not look at the obstacles of life but the promises of God. Here were the Israelites going to check out the land that God had given them but they forgot that and gave into their fears.

What has God promised you? Let’s pursue His promises instead of being led by our fears. Today when our fears coming knocking on the door of our life let’s let our FAITH IN HIS PROMISES ANSWER IT.

Courage for Dreaming

March 24, 2009

As I was driving around Ft. Lauderdale today I had this continuous thought of “What the heck are you doing T.J., are you crazy?” It was an hour of those thoughts that are totally derived out of the fear of the unknown. You know that thing that is the opposite of faith. But then I remembered this quote:

“Don’t fear the unknown, fear not living up to your known potential, talents and gifts. It takes courage to live up to your dreams.”

So many times we fear the unknown instead of fearing not living up to the gifts, talents, abilities and purpose that God has for our lives. We get so hung up on not knowing exactly how it is going to work so we stand around doing nothing, just like the children of Israel when Goliath would come out and challenge them. God had already equipped them and given them the victory but they were to afraid of facing the unknown in battle with Goliath, so they stood around and did nothing. They wasted their time, talent and opportunity to fulfill their potential.

What fear has got you paralyzed at this time, holding you back from moving into the dreams that God has given you? I desire to see each and every one of us not be caged in by the fear of the unknown but for each of us to walk in the freedom to live out our God given gifts, talents and potential. For you and I this is going to take courage. Lets be a courageous people.