10 steps to win the “Nice Chairs Battle” at Starbucks

My record time is 5 minutes!starbucks chair

1) Approach w/extreme eye contact
2) Sit at table directly beside nice chairs, and slightly angle your crappy wooden chair toward the nice chairs.
3) Make 1st initial verbal contact. “What’s up?”
4) Partially unpack your stuff and place your bookbag uncomfortably close to the nice chairs.
5) Make several germy sounds. Sniff, Cough, Sneeze, etc…
6) Make several small comments about the weather.
7) Pause for 60 seconds.
8) Begin talking about your favorite coffee blend and ask their favorite.

At this point, the person will vacate the nice chair in fear of being close to an invasive “chatty Cathy”.

9) Quickly move into the nice chair.

Return to step 3 if the second nice chair is occupied. If unoccupied continue to step 10.

10) SPREAD OUT… Claim the second chair with your bookbag, shoes, newspaper, etc… whatever it takes to prevent chair scavengers.

5 Perfect Christmas Gifts For Any Pastor!

There are a lot of people outside of immediate family and friends that we should tip/buy a Christmas present for. Most list include your  hairdresser, the mailman, garbage pick-up, lawn care provider, pet care provider, newspaper deliverer, your child’s teacher, and I’m sure that I missed a few. Unfortunately, you don’t hear many people talk about what you should get your Pastor for Christmas. Since I am a Pastor I thought I would make it easy for all those looking for that perfect gift to give your Pastor this Christmas. You are going to be shocked at the cost, but just think about the investment you are making.

  1. Make the church a priority! Pastors live, breathe, and sacrifice for the church daily. We preach when we are dog sick, emotionally drained, spiritually attacked, and physically exhausted. When we know someone will be at church each week with a “whatever it takes” attitude we want to scream HALLELUJAH from the top of Mt.Everest. Choosing to make church attendance, serving, and tithing a priority is essential for your personal growth, and seeing you grow closer to Jesus is what we live for. Don’t forget that being an active part in the life of the church is completely your responsibility, not your Pastors. It’s not about what you get from the church it’s about what you can give to the Bride of Christ!
  2. Let your kids worship! Pastors, staff, and volunteers go to great lengths to provide a safe, educational, and exciting environments for your kids to experience Jesus in their unique way. We also work hard preparing a sermon that is crafted to be delivered to adults as a single message without major distractions. So, for the love of all things holy think about the spiritual needs of those around you, yourself, and your child by simply letting them go have fun and learn about Jesus. Just because the Pastor keeps preaching does not mean he is not distracted. Don’t rob a message that your kids, other adults, and yourself need to hear. Plus, if you were anything like me as a child I slept, colored, went to the bathroom 4 times, and/or crawled under the pews during the sermon anyway.
  3. Communicate! Never assume your Pastor knows what’s going on in your life. Jesus had 12 disciples and was really close to 3. If Jesus could only keep up with 12 don’t expect your Pastor to keep up with more than that. Your Pastor IS NOT JESUS! He/she has a personal life that probably includes raising children, being a supportive spouse, extended family, friends, and stress relieving hobbies. That doesn’t mean we don’t love you, in fact, we have been given a special heart for our people and love sharing life with you. Communicate and never assume that your Pastor can read your mind or has seen your latest Facebook status. Pastors want to share life with you but can’t if you have not communicated properly.
  4. Follow Through! If you say you’re going to do something then do it with the best of your abilities. Pastors are very passionate about the church, and most have spent sleepless nights and long days contemplating what it will take to accomplish the massive vision God has burned inside of our soul. If a Pastor trust you to fill a leadership position then the Holy Spirit has led him/her to you through devoted time and prayer. They believe in your potential and are willing to invest personal time, care, and resources to see you do great things for the Kingdom. The quickest way to dishonor your Pastor, make him/her look foolish, and break their heart is to abuse the trust they have given you to lead others.
  5. Be Positive! Life is hard on everyone including Pastors. Most people feed off the spiritual and emotional energy of their Pastor without hesitation. Be a person that prays, encourages, and lifts up your Pastor. Don’t assume they are having a great day just because they are smiling. Be the one your Pastor wants to see coming down the hall or calling on the phone. We love people that are positive because many times we are thrown into extremely  negative and draining situations. We need your prayers, encouragement, fun times, and laughs just as much as you need ours.

Well, I guess you thought I was going to mention a specific bible or something real easy for you to purchase… sorry about that. You see those kinds of gifts are easy and don’t cost anything from your heart. The tangible things are nice to get, but what we really want is to see you in love with the church as much as we are. We want to see you reach your full potential through a relationship with Jesus Christ and within His church! Your Pastor wants to tear up beside you when the person you brought to church gives their life to Jesus. We want to stand with you in celebration witnessing as new believers come up from the waters of baptism. We want to step foot with you into a new facility that will reach the community, and break ground together as we plant a new churches because you gave to the Kingdom first!

There are so many “things” you can give your Pastor this Christmas, but the most important is to be what God created you to be within the church.

Pastors, I want to encourage you to share this and add to the list. I want to see what you would add. You never know we all might get several new perfect gifts this year.

PS. A sit-down PacMan/Galaga arcade game is never a bad gift…

pac man

The Preachers Wife

I am not a mushy kinda guy so this post has been on my mind for a very long time.

In 11th grade ,almost 18 years ago, a smoking hot, blonde haired, and blue eyed girl was placed in my life. She was from a big family, had loving parents that ran a local family business, the first born grand daughter, pageant groomed, and could have her pick of the best guy for her future. I was the all-american Christian southern boy, clean cut, polite, a football player, and loved my church. I was also from a very small family, raised by a single mother, and grew up on the mill village. I was defiantly out of my league and I got lucky. Allison and I began dating and immediately the sparks started flying. We were perfect together. Three years went by and life was great until…. “IT” happened.

High School PromI was called to be a minister and give my life to serving God in the local church. I had graduated high school, by the grace of God, and Allison was finishing up her senior year. We had talked about marriage, kids, and growing old together. There was no doubt God had placed us together! Being called to the ministry was a shock especially since I was not a studious person. Allison and I talked about it and I gave her a “no hard feelings” out. I knew this was not what she pictured for us or dreamed of as a little girl practicing for her wedding. She didn’t hesitate a bit. She was 100% ready despite her fears.

This is why I love my wife so much! Not one little girl imagines herself marring a minister. God had commissioned Allison and she didn’t even know it yet. Almost 18 years later there is absolutely no doubt that God knew what I needed in a help mate. Allison is my HERO! She has battled disappointment, hurt, anger, huge amounts of stress, and a complete lifestyle change. al and lance

Bottom line… She didn’t sign up for this but she was created for it. She is a silent giant with a huge heart. When I am broken she comforts. When I am attacked she builds me up. When my faith is weak she lets me share hers. She is a fantastic mother and our 3 girls are deeply in love with her. She allows the church to borrow her husband opting to be a single mother at times. She believes that the mission is greater than our personal preferences. She has sacrificed her childhood dreams for God’s calling upon our family. Behind every great man is a great woman. I may not be “great” but the courage you see in me is because God placed Allison in my life.

You see, if I fail chasing God’s will for my life I have nothing to lose because He loves, she loves me, and my daughters love me. He gave me the perfect partner who’s strength inspires me to be to take risks and leave a Kingdom legacy! You can’t be “great” unless you’re willing to take risks, and you can’t take risks unless you have unfailing support.

I write this post to display how overwhelmingly honored I am that God placed Allison in my life and allows US to lead His people at Potential Church. I could not have made it to this point without her and I can’t move forward without her. She was with be before the journey began and will be with me when our journey ends. I love you Allison! You’re sacrifice, devotion, and strength inspires me to never give up the chase!

Al and Lance

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