harnessing the power of photography for good

Catalyst 2009

catalyst, family and lucilles bbq!

last year at catalyst west 2009, i met up with some wonderful people.  dave & dawn kinsman from milwaukee and nick person, from atlanta.  we ended up sitting next to each other in the front row, and spent the next 2 days hanging out while at catalyst.  we had dinner at the end of catalyst at lucilles bbq, great joint!

lucilles bbq 2009: a quick pic.  the food was calling out to us!

nick and his wife are expecting a new addition to their family, so he wasnt able to make it out from atlanta this year.  we missed him and look forward to seeing him soon.

it was certainly a blessing to get to know dave and dawn better.  it didnt seem like it was a whole year since id last seen them.  part of the fun for me was being able to get some fun pics of the 2 of them along with some pics with some folks hanging around catalyst this year.  take a look

dave & dawn, at mariners church, site of catalyst west 2010

dave met some guy named rick who was there to support his wife, kay, who had spoken at catalyst

what was cool about the above pic is that rick had just rolled up to catalyst…he said hi and gave kay a kiss and started saying hi to those who were waiting to talk with his wife.  he shook hands and gave everyone a hug, including me.  what a nice, approachable guy.

with mariah and erwin mcmanus

there was a long line of folks wanting to say hi and have erwin sign books.  daves lovely wife waited in line as dave and i listened to erwin inside.  when we got outside, there she was, second in line.  dave met erwin last year at catalyst and he actually remembered dave.  very cool.

dave & dawn w some dude they met on the street!

what has become a tradition now, dinner at lucilles bbq after catalyst west.  we were short 1 person, but we ate extra for nick : )

rack em!!

hopefully it wont be a whole year before i get to break bread with my friends in milwaukee again.  what a blessing!

Public Passion vs. Private Devotion by Francis Chan

the fine folks at catalyst had this article from francis chan on their site…its worth passing it on…

francis chan.  pastor of cornerstone church

I wonder if the inconsistency in my walk with God has anything to do with the fact that I can lead a “successful” church in America without being in love with Jesus. I’m sure I could blame American church culture, my position, or a busy schedule for my lack of reverent intimacy. The truth, however, is that my sin and hypocrisy is a result of me.

It’s not like I don’t want to. In fact, when I’m deeply in prayer, it’s clear to me that there’s no place I’d rather be. I know that I love God. When I sit and think about Him, I’m filled with intense feelings of adoration. I’m convinced that He means more to me than my wife, kids, or anyone else on the planet. I just forget to love Him.

We can argue that we’re busy doing ministry, which is how we express our love. But if that’s all God wanted, His words to the Ephesians in Revelation 2 would make no sense.

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostle but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.” (NIV)

God recognizes the Ephesian church for their wonderful ministry. Yet He makes it clear in the next verse that they are not loving Him. He tells them, “You have forsaken your first love.

What has always surprised me about that passage is God’s threat to remove them if they don’t start loving Him again. “If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” God tells the hard working, sin hating, doctrine-loving, persecuted church that He doesn’t want them around unless they love Him. He’s never been interested in unloving children. His desire has always been love. It was the great command in the Old Testament and the New (Deut. 6:5, Matt. 22:37). Love was supposed to be the catalyst of all godly action.

When is the last time you came alone before your Father just to enjoy Him? If it has been a while, don’t waste your time reading this article. Get alone and adore Him. Pray that you would no longer merely love Him through your religious actions, but with the passion befitting a person in love.

When I first fell in love with my wife, I never “forgot” to call her or spend time with her. Rarely, if ever, did she get crowded out because I was so “busy.”

Leaders make the greatest hypocrites because of their ability to persuade and deceive. Rarely is there a pastor whose character exceeds his reputation. If I were to ask those closest to you about your relationship with God, what would they say? If I were to ask God the same question, what would He say? If your family, friends, and congregation have better things to say about you than God, it’s because you give them that impression. We do this because we can. God gifted us with an ability to communicate. Too often we use this ability not to convey who we are, but who we want others to think we are.

It’s similar to the church in Sardis, to whom Jesus says, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.” (Rev. 3:1 NIV) Others believed the façade, but Jesus knew the truth. He reminded them that He knew of their spiritual deadness. The hope was that it would jolt them toward true life. God’s desire for all believers, especially leaders, is “life that is truly life.” (I Timothy 6:19 NIV) You’ve all had times, hopefully, when you experienced this “life.” But when you aren’t experiencing it, you fake it. Why? What’s the point in faking it when you can have it?
This article originally appeared in the Catalyst GroupZine Volume 3, Courageous in Calling.

I once heard a Christian leader say, “I refuse to let my public passion exceed my private devotion.” As a leader, have you made that commitment? It could make for some pretty boring sermons.

It burdens me when I think we may have missed it. I ache when I consider how we are missing out. Remember, being obsessed with Jesus is a good thing. Trading the truth for a lie doesn’t benefit you or any person you are leading. This isn’t coming from a writer saying, “You must repent.” It’s coming from a fellow sinful leader saying, “We’re so stupid if we don’t.” You can have genuine intimacy with Almighty God today. Why not?

It is hard to be rejected. I hated it in junior high, and I still hate it today. It didn’t take long to learn how to fit in, in order to avoid the pain of rejection. That ability has stayed with me and begs me to use it. I know how to keep people from rejecting me and leaving the church. I know what words to say and which actions to take to keep people around. But when I do that, I’m no longer leading. I’m being led by the right or wrong desires of the people.

God calls us to give people what they need. Based on His word, regardless of whether they stick around. Jesus led. Few followed, but He kept leading.

Last summer I came to a shocking realization that I had to share with my wife: If Jesus had a church in Simi Valley, mine would be bigger. People would leave His church to attend mine because I call for an easier commitment. I know better how to cater to people’s desires so they stick around. Jesus was never really good at that. He was the one who said, “He who loves father or mother … son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt. 10:37 NIV) I’m much more popular than Jesus.

Having come to that conclusion, I came back to the church with resolve to call people to the same commitment Christ called them to. I knew that people would leave, and they have. I found comfort in that because, “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26 NIV) Over time though, the conviction can fade, and it gets tiresome seeing people leave. There is a constant pull to try to keep people around rather than truly lead the faithful who remain. When my church was started, I used to tell my wife that I didn’t care if we only had ten people, as long as they really loved God and desired to worship Him with all of their hearts. Where is that conviction now?

I sometimes wonder what I would have done if I were the pastor of the church in Laodicea. We’re all familiar with that church in Revelation 3:14-22. It’s the “lukewarm” church that Jesus said He would “spit out” of His mouth. Would I have been strong enough to overcome the prevailing attitude of the entire church? Or would I have eventually been sucked into its flow and fate? I like to think I could have stood alone, but I’m not so sure.

My youth pastor had a saying that I still remember twenty-five years later, “Leaders lead.” It’s what we do. It’s what God has called us to do. Of course there’s sadness when people refuse to follow you, but it’s better than the sadness that would come if you stopped leading. Paul said boldly, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Don’t be led by your people. Lead them. It’s what you were made to do, equipped to do, called to do. It won’t be long before we’ll see that it was all worth it.

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 1:17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.” (NIV)

Revelation 3:21 “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (NIV)

1 Timothy 6:11-12 “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (NIV)

Francis Chan is pastor of Cornerstorne Church in Simi Valley, California. He has authored two books, Crazy Love & Forgotten God. He is also the founder of Eternity Bible College and sits on the board of directors of Children’s Hunger Fund and World Impact. Francis spends much of his time speaking to students around the country, committed to teaching directly from the Bible. His passion is to see the church display a much deeper love for Jesus. Francis lives in California with his wife, Lisa, and their four children.

catalyst friends

its been a week since catalyst finished up, and im still processing all the stuff i heard.  ive been looking over my notes, and sharing nuggets i remember w friends.  one of the biggest blessings that came from my catalyst experience was 3 new friends God blessed me with.   it was thur morning before worship began and i was walking by the front of the stage checking out the scene from the front and looking back at the rest of the rock peeps way in the back.  looking at an empty seat front n center, i asked if it was taken and was told no.  thats where i met dave n dawn kinsman and nick person.   nick is a jr hi pastor from atlanta, and dave n dawn, from minnesota, are starting a new ministry that will be located in milwaukee.   i spent thur n friday getting to know them, and man was i blessed.  after spending the day listening to all the great speakers, we finished the day with dinner at lucilles bbq.  finger lickin good bbq.  when we all parted ways friday night it was like sayinng sayonara to old friends.  im glad God brought me to them on thursday morning, me, dawn, nick and dave at lucilles bbq n smokehouse

Catalyst Westcoast

i think my head is gonna burst! so much knowledge, wisdom and great words of encouragement to press on and run the race for His Kingdom!  what a blessing to be front and center to hear these guys speak.  erwin mcmanus

trip & tyler with team millenium

rick warren being interviewed by andy stanley

craig groeschel

francis chan

perry noble

Catalyst Westcoast 2009

today was a long day……… we ate breakfast and were on the road by 7am-ish,  still not sure why, since first session didnt start til 830am.  no worries.   hillsong united opened up the day with worship, what a treat, learning to really like these folks.   after worship, the speakers began rolling,  lots of good info to make you think….it will take a bit of time to process everything, plus theres a full day tomorrow as well.  lookin forward to it.  we had chick fil a for lunch, freeeee, so it was extra good.  got to spend some time with some new friends from minnesooota.  we finished the day at lucilles smokehouse bbq!

stephen with christian hosoi

joel houston, hillsong united

andy stanley, lead pastor north point community church

ravi zacharias

dc, chick fil a cow, rocio

brian houston,  sr pastor hillsong church

brooke fraser, hillsong united

Catalyst Westcoast at Mariners Church

i got up here without any problems, and no tickets ( i was  goin w the flow of traffic!).  we all met up around 2pm to break into groups, talked about expectations we might have about being here and then went to dinner as a group.  by now im feeling more at ease and am genuinely excited about what God is gonna do.  after dinner we roll up on mariners church… ive heard lots of good stuff about the church, and have had friends who used to go here, but what i heard and what i saw were 2 different things.  i honestly had no idea what i would see…the campus is huge!   they were having a pre-event gathering, for folks to check out the church and get excited for catalyst which officially starts thurs morning.   take a look at some of the pics i took.

skate park!

anybody wanna get dunked?  baptism pool

new chapel they just finished building 4 weeks ago, theyve already had 2 weddings

some of the rock ministry leaders and staff attending catalyst, posing on the pirate ship

indoor gaming area, with double decker basketball courts.

catalyst west coast

headin north to catalyst west coast today.  its being hosted by mariners church in irvine.

there are some speakers im lookin forward to hear from.  and im excited that hillsong united will be doin worship there.  had a great time at the hillsong united concert at the rock last nite.

will attempt to blog while up north.  pray that God shows me what He wants me to see and hear, and that im receptive to whatever it is.  should be fun.