Follow me over to…

Hey guys,

So, this really only applies to those of you who are receiving blog updates by email.  I have changed my hosting site and that means that your subscriptions may be a little out of whack.  So do me a favor, head over to and resubscribe.  Or you can feel free to like on facebook and get the updates that way too!

Which ever way you choose to stay connected is cool.  I just don’t want to miss your voice in the conversation!


Materialism- [the small pox of today]

MaterialismIt’s hard for me to look at a Range Rover and not want one. Their lines are smooth, they look Uber comfortable, and I  feel like I can take on a mountain with it and win. The other morning a Range Rover cut me off on my way to a meeting with a good buddy of mine. I felt everything inside of me tense up. Maybe that was because I was running 10 minutes late to my meeting or maybe it was because he had something that I wanted. It was hunter green, and it was new. The windows were tinted out, and the rims were classy. The only thing that my car and his car have in common is the color of the paint. My rims are not so classy, my windows are not so tinted, and I most certainly could not take on a mountain and win.

Welcome to my internal struggle with materialism. Materialism is the virus that grows inside of you convincing your mind that you need more and more and more.  Materialism not only affects your mind, It affects your eyes too.  They begin looking around at the things that you already have and it causes you to see them as old and out dated.  It’s like a set of contact lenses that magnifies every ding, imperfection, tear, or sign that your stuff hasen’t been unwrapped from their cellophane covering in a long time.  

I’m pretty convinced that materialism has been fed to us by the mass market like small pox blankets were to the Native American’s.  The more we watch and believe the commercials, the more we itch with the need to buy the latest and the greatest.  Be careful my friends!  You don’t need to drive what turns you on.  You need to drive what gets you there.  There is a big difference between need and want.  We get those two things mixed up very easily.  That’s part of the game of the materialism virus- it makes it harder to keep your head on straight.  

Richard Foster writes about the materialism virus.  He says this,

This psychosis permeates even our mythology.  The modern hero is the poor boy who purposefully becomes rich rather than the rich boy who voluntarily becomes poor.  Covetousness we call ambition.  Hoarding we call prudence.  Greed we call industry.

It is time to set possessions in their proper place.  It is time to find joy in the abundant gifts that God has given us.  After all Jesus said in Luke 12:15, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  The writer of Hebrews says, “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you'” (Heb. 13:5)

I’m praying that God shows me that it is more about the people around me than the possessions in my home.  I bet I’m not alone in this struggle… Where are you at with it? 


What we can learn from Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’

I can’t help but enjoy this song with it’s driving beat and catchy lyrics.  Plus it helps that it’s on iTunes radio all the time!  After having heard it multiple times, I went online to check out the music video.  I found that this video is a beautiful picture of what the Church should be like.

Here’s 3 things we can learn from Avicii and his song Wake Me Up:

1. Come:

Judgement is a relationship killer.  That is one of the fastest ways to make other people feel uncomfortable.  So, if your goal is to push people away, and keep people from coming to your church, work hard at judging them.  People are longing for a place to fit in and be welcomed.  That is where the Church comes in.  The Church should be the place where everyone no matter who they are, or what they’ve done should be accepted and loved.  I love how in the video the woman rides her horse up onto the bridge and looks out over the modern city with a twinkle in her eye as if to say, “Ah… I think I have found home.”  That’s what it should be like for people who walk into our churches for the first time on a Sunday morning.  Make it so that they are not afraid to come in to your church.  Do whatever it takes to break down that barrier.

2. Connect:

People don’t stay in a place because they have cool lighting and an awesome sound system.  People find themselves getting rooted in an environment because of their connection with other people.  I love the scene where they pile into the back of the truck as they head off.  There is something about the smiles and laughter of the few people together.  They have a relationship there that is looking to meet the needs of this confused and searching traveler.  They bring her right in, invite her to do whatever it is that they were already doing, and head off into the sunset together.  How are you at connecting people with your small group of friends?  That’s the power of relationships- connection.

3. Contribute:

Being a part of something, feels way better than watching something.  (Unless it’s an MMA fight)  When you get involved in an organization, church, or any other club your level of buy in goes way up!  People feel a sense of ownership when they move from sitting on the sidelines to being an active participant.  In this video, you see a whole sea of people who are actively engaged in what is happening on stage.  There are not rows of velvet chairs neatly lined up as if you are in a movie theater observing something.  No, these people are participating in the show, they are as much a part of the experience as the lights and sound waves booming from the stage.  How are you at helping people get plugged in to be apart of your churches service projects, or serving teams?  It’s vital!

Why do all this?  Why go to the trouble of helping people through this three step process?  Because you’ll find that there are people who will echo exactly what the woman said at the end of the video:

Get up!  Pack your things…

Where are we going?

Somewhere we belong…

I love hearing people say, AH… I’ve finally found my church home.  Every person has a story, and every story matters to God!  Let’s work hard to help people find home.


Follow Friday

#followfridayOkay, let’s do a little community development.  Who are you guys listening to and being impacted by out there in the blogging world, twittersphere or in podcast-land?  Let’s do each other a favor and leave a comment about your favorite blog to be reading, person to follow, helpful/fun podcast you’re listening to, or book you are reading.

I’ll go first…

Here is a quick list of some of my favorites:

Blog:  This is Pete Wilson’s blog.  Pete is the lead pastor at Crosspoint Church in Nashville TN.  I love the way that this dude communicates, and writes.  I also love the way that he parents his kids and loves his wife.  Check out his blog.

Pete Wilson

Twitter: J.R. Briggs–  J.R. is a friend of mine, he’s a church planter, author, thinker, question-asker, and an all around godly dude.  He’s a Phillies phan, but I think you can get over that.  He asks some great questions that make you go: Hmm…  Follow him.

Church Planter

Podcast: Stuff You Should Know–  This is a fun little podcast.  These guys Chuck and Josh explain all kinds of things and how they work.  I particularly liked their podcast on cicada’s and my second favorite was their podcast on coffins.  Check it out.


Book: Hazardous: This is an awesome book on the cost of discipleship.  I have read it through once and now I want to go back and read it again!  It’s that good.  Read it.

Derek Cooper

Now, I want to hear your recommendations.  You don’t have to have answers to all four categories, or maybe you have one that I haven’t posted about yet.  Let’s hear them!


Changing Seasons and an Unchanging God

God never changesWhere I live in northeastern New Jersey, the leaves are all starting to change colors. The signs that fall is upon us are so evident. In some ways I really enjoy this. I found that I love the change of the seasons.

I am a summer guy, there is no question about that. I love almost any activity that has to do with the summer except for sweating. So the change from it being 96 degrees out with the humidity being something you can taste to a cool 70° is welcome to me right about now. As you drive around the neighborhoods, more and more pumpkins are showing up on people’s doorsteps and I’m starting to notice more cornstalks popping up around too. That one never really made sense to me, I’m just going to be honest. I get why people put up pumpkins they’re cute and decorative, I’m just not to sure about the cornstalks.

One of the things I love about the changing of the seasons is that it reminds me of what I love about the season before it. Right now I am missing sitting and soaking in the sun on a sandy beach. I am missing hearing the sound of seagulls cackle about my head. In the middle of the summer oddly enough I find myself missing a rainy spring day. And in the dead of winter, I long to be outside in a flannel shirt and a vest. Then in the spring I miss sitting under our favorite blanket on the couch with a cup of hot coffee.  Every season reminds me of the beauty and joy of the season before it.

In the midst of all of this change, I am reminded of one thing that doesn’t change–God.  Whether there are leaves on the trees or leaves on the ground, or they are somewhere in the in between stage, God is still in control.  In fact, God is the one who causes leaves to bud out, grow, and then one day fall to the ground.  God is holding that together right now.

For some of you it isn’t the natural seasons that you’re concerned about. Right now you’re in the midst of changing seasons of life. Some of you have lost a job, gotten a divorce, or found out you have cancer.  Or maybe you’ve recently become a parent, or that precious baby you used to hold in your arms is now breaking free and headed off to college.  These changing seasons can be incredibly difficult.

No matter what season of life you’re in remember that God is one who doesn’t change, even if you do.  I love the words from Lamentations 3:21-23

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

What is one thing you need to hope in God for today?