December 15, 2010

The World Wide Norm

hey dudes and dudettes, this site is deleted, if you want to see Norm go here (http://normtumlinson.org/)

September 12, 2010

flatline...

Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me your ears... Well it looks like I am about to give up the ghost again on this blog. I just wish I had the time, but in reality I feel like I just dont have the time to keep up with this blog as well as I would like to. It's hard letting go because I do have fun writing from time to time, but in reality I think my mediocrity is hurting both you and I. Me, because I hate doing something halfway. You, because you don't really get all of me if I am doing this halfway. So this is the last hoorah as I am going to take this thing off of life support. Thanks you few faithful folks!!! I love you and you have a special place in my heart... Cue trumpet playing taps... Peace

August 7, 2010

Top 5 Urban Influencers list...

Check it. I love everything rap and hip hop. So, if you are like me, check out these websites below. They are the deal, and you might learn a little something along the way too!

1. Rapzilla: www.rapzilla.com

Rapzilla is a website dedicated to up and coming urban artists. I love how they spend a lot of time with the hottest cats in the rap game who rep the name of Jesus. If I were you I would be checkin this site at least once a week. I like it because it's simple and they have plenty of legit content!

2. Passion 4 Christ movement: www.p4cm.com

P4CM is a great site for the most real and inspired spoken word! I love listening to what these folk are spitting, because it is both heat and light! They bring the passion and the truth in one sitting! Pastor Justin has a great vision for bringing Christ to the streets and connects artists with the truth of God in a very inspiring way and this site is just one piece of what these guys are doing in LA.

3.Sphere of hip hop: www.sphereofhiphop.com/

SoHH was one of the first places I connected with true hop hippers that were unique, had tru style and loved Jesus all in one spot. These guys have all types of music and if you are into the crazy stuff, they got it here. There are beatsmiths, beat-boxers and urban beatnicks on their playlist. Plus there are forums where you can learn anything from turntablism tips to church discussions.

4.Crossover Church (Tampa, FL): www.crossoverchurch.org

If there is a place that is killin it, Crossover in Tampa would be it. Not only have a personally been there and seen it in action, but I know that Pastor Tommy is the real deal. This dude loves Jesus. These guys are the ones who put out flavorfest (ps. if you love hip hop and jesus... you MUST go to this event) but they are also doing tons of good work in their community as well. 2 Legit to quit mayne!!!

5. Urban Youth Workers Institute: http://uywi.org/

Do you have a deep passion for seeing Christ magnified in the lives of urban students? Are you looking to connect with others that have that same passion? UYMI is a website designed to connect you with resources and help you take your next step in serving those in need. They have trainings and seminars, so check the web and give them a shout!!!


I hope you enjoyed the sites! I got heaps more, but it's way to early in the morning and I gotta get some sleep!!! Peace and God bless!!!

August 5, 2010

I know that I love to jam the hip-hop and rap. But today I want to show you another side of me. I love Fernando Ortega. This guy is my dawg. I think this is a great video and a great song. It was a tribute to Billy Graham's wife when she passed away in 2007. Be careful if you watch this because your eyes might start to leak. ;)

Fernando Ortega - Give Me Jesus from John Schroter on Vimeo.

August 2, 2010

Best be ready son 9.28.10

9.28.2010 Lecrae: Rehab... It's gonna be off the charts gooooooooood!!!

July 19, 2010

July 17, 2010

summer camp prayers

please pray 4 us as we are in PCB! bigStuf camps here we come!!!

Oh my... "Silence is deadly"

July 16, 2010

summer camp is here!

We will be at camp BigStuf all week. Please be in prayer for us as we travel to Panama City Beach. This is going to be a great week for our students, leaders and our ministry. Thanks so much for all your support and prayers! God Bless!

June 26, 2010

Saturday Night Musings

So I should be sleeping because tomorrow is the big day... We will be busy running around, making the magic happen. People will be juiced up and ready to go with coffee in hand and big smiles on their faces. The strings will be tuned and the messages will be prepped. The doughnuts will be fresh and the chairs will all be straight. The lights will be cued and the sound should be perfect. The computers will be buzzing and check-in will work without a hitch.

Sometimes it seems like its a well oiled machine, that doesn't need tuning. It runs in high gear and purrs like a kitten. But the truth is without God we don't have anything. It is all lights, smoke, and posing. Without the Holy Spirit we are just another production, almost like broadway or any local theater troupe. Without hearts that are in humble posture to the Almighty we are just another busy religious parody.

But I know with all of my heart that we are not that machine. The church will rise up tomorrow and in buildings all over central Florida God's name will be lifted up. See, we have been praying and are praying this very moment for God to be the center of our attention. We have put our whole hearts into what you see on Sunday. Not because we want it to be flashy, but because we to give God the best that we have. We do that every day you see. As long as He gives us strength we will push as hard as we can to just reach one lost soul. Because you know what, I was once that person. I still remember my "first" Sunday. And believe it or not, every Sunday is someone's "first" Sunday.

So no matter what you think, or believe, or hate, or love, or disdain about this thing we call "church". Please take a second to remember that it is God's church and Christ is the head of it. Christ loves the church and it really is the hope of the world. So before you cast judgment, or decide to sleep in because it's not worth it, remember that. Remember what is good, lovely, worthy, hopeful, joyful, wonderful about Christ's legacy in the world. Pray for her (the church) and go to your worship gatherings tomorrow with great gladness in your heart. Let's celebrate together what God has done, so we can go out and be the hope of the world 7 days a week.

June 24, 2010

summer dreams...

hey guys. just wanted to tell you that what you are seeing is not a test. I just have the summer/beach vibe going on. So I changed it all up. Hope you like the new look!

i love my vegetables... but this is ridankulous

June 15, 2010

great wisdom- D.A. Carson

"People do not drift toward Holiness...

Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith.

We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated."
----D.A. Carson

Please don't think for one moment, that when you cross the line to be a Christ-follower that the battle is over. In fact, it has just begun. You must realize it is our natural tendency to fall away from Grace. (many times because it's all we have known)

But we must remain diligent, putting on the things of God (Eph 6:10-11) that we can fight the good fight. So put up your dukes today and know that the battle belongs to the Lord!!!

June 14, 2010

mmmmmmm... salt...

Salt. I dont think about it much. I mean, I grew up in the south, which means you salt your food before you even taste it (and butter it). I remember one of the earliest phrases I learned was, "pass the salt". Why??? Because I like me some flavor!

I'm not one of these fitness fanatics that say food is just "fuel". Gas is fuel. Firewood is fuel. Food is my pleasure. That's why I want my food to taste good! In the gospel of Matthew 5:13 it says that WE (as Jesus people) are the salt of the earth.

If you are in Christ, you should have flavor. You flavor the world like salt flavors food. But think about it, you don't put chunks of salt on your plate. That would be weird!?! It would be like saying "Hey pass me the salt, I need to salt my big chunk of salt a little more..." Salt flavors the food. What this means is the food (the world) actually benefits from the salt's presence. It (salt) makes a difference...

You (are the salt) make a difference! If you are in Jesus, realize that he has put you where you are for a reason. You may be disgruntled, because you are in a harsh work situation, or a bad school, or a terrible carpool group, or a sketch neighborhood, etc. etc. But here is the real deal. If we are to live like Jesus, we need to be in these places, because we need to bring the God flavor (love, selflessness, hope...) to these areas. God has called us to be salt in a place that has lost it's true flavor.

Now, I'm not downplaying that it is hard to live in contexts that don't seem to put God first. It is a high calling to take up our cross. But who can snatch us from His loving care? If God is for us who can be against us? If we are in Christ that is the ultimate prize.

Even if we die. He is worth it...

Now, go out and share the flavor!!!

June 9, 2010

Video I have been jamming lately...

Hey family. I have decided to add a new page to the blog. If you look over to the right you will see different menus and one of those is "Read More". I know there are some of you out there that love to see what's new in gospel rap music and I will try my best to update this from week to week (or so). If you look on that menu, you can select, "Video I have been jamming lately" and it will take you to a page with one of my favorite videos that I have been getting crunk on. So definitely check it out and get your jam on!!!

for my boys at Edgewood...

LECRAE:: GO HARD from Adamson.TV on Vimeo.

June 7, 2010

Blondie..

So I did it again. I powered up and went blonde. I had a few people ask me "What the heck?!?!" So I decided to post about it and tell you the many reasons why ;)

It seems like every summer for the last 10 years I have decided to bleach my hair out. I like to do it because it is fun and I love the look on ppls faces. But the real reason I do it is because it reminds me of my love for my wife Kim.

You might be thinking-What?!? are you crazy?- Yes, I am. Let me take you back in the day. I remember in May 2000 I was on my way to Orlando, FL to be a summer missionary. I decided b4 I went to FLA, i was going to bleach my hair. And that's what I did! So when I first met Kim, I had this crazy blonde 'do and she laughed at me (in both a "what a weirdo way" and "hey you are kinda cute way").

If you read some earlier posts, you know that was one of the best summers ever and Kim and I got married a year later. I know it has nothing to do with my hairdo and more to do with God's promises and providence, but I'd like to think I get a little of that swagger back when I bleach my hair.

So it seems like every summer since 2000 I bleach my hair. It takes me back, and Kim and I both like it, so that's all that really matters. I think about how God was (and still is) so active in our lives back in 2000 and every time I bleach my hair out again it reminds me of God's faithfulness. So, if you see the crazy 'do on Sunday, now you know the back story!!!

June 2, 2010

it comes and goes...

If you follow this blog, you know it comes and goes. It sputters and it stalls. Sometimes it runs pretty smoothly and consistently and sometimes... well it just outright stops. But I am trying my best to carve out time in my week to write because:
A.) blogging seems to be more efficient (and cheaper) than skywriting in a prop plane
B.) my writing should give even the greatest cynic hope because if God can still use a mess like me then there is hope for anyone ;)
C.) I think that maybe somewhere, someone will relate to this "God yearning" and think maybe it is worth giving their life to.
D.) I want to be the number 1 hit on google when someone searches..."most average blog ever" LOL

So, all that to say. If you decide to follow along, it should prove to be interesting next few months. We are going through some wonderful growing opportunities here at Grace Fellowship and I know that God is going to really rock us in some major ways coming up, both as a staff and as a church and as individuals. I am currently doing some personal research on the family ministries concept (or "Orange") and am fascinated on knowing more of what it means to partner with parents in the spiritual formation of their students!

PS a few good reads I have found for family ministry-- "Think Orange" by Reggie Joiner and "Family + Church Collaborate" by Michael Chanley... Good places to start!!!

I am so glad you decided to stop by today. Be encouraged and remember that Reading is FUN(damental)!!!!So keep posted and Ill be back sooner or later.... but hopefully sooner!!! LOL

May 25, 2010

Trip Lee- Between Two Worlds - June 22

I am a super-huge fan of Reach Records. One of the artists on this label is Trip Lee. Now if you haven't heard yet, this guy is so legit. I love his rhymes and beats, but better yet I love his heart for Jesus and The ministry. I promise you, if you want to listen to some uplifting and challenging tunes, this will be a great buy--June 22!!! Peace

May 24, 2010

sharing in His suffering

Recently I read a passage from the Bible that I have put up on my white board. It comes from Philippians 3. You can read it HERE.

Like any other scripture I was trying to learn, I wanted God to teach me more about what that means. Wow. Not so smart on my part ;). Here's the dealy. I was expecting hardship, or pain, or drama. But no. I have been learning that one aspect to the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, and being like Christ, is on this side of heaven we will constantly be misunderstood.

You might be like, "Why is that suffering?" But look at it this way. Jesus was misunderstood by almost everyone He came in contact with. People were constantly sifting His "motives", Jesus was constantly under the microscope, Jesus was always being misjudged, misunderstood and especially, misquoted. Could you imagine being 100% completely right/holy (because your... duh! GOD) and people still not believe you? Or believe what you say? Or believe your motives? How frustrating must that have been for Him in many ways?

Now Jesus is God, and also Jesus was perfect, therefore He is blameless no matter what. I say this because even as Christ-followers we are all subject to the fall, so the point Im trying to make is my suffering is not exactly the same as God being misunderstood, but I digress.

Back to the point of the post... Have you ever been misunderstood? Have you ever had words put in your mouth? It hurts. It is heart-wrenching, especially when you care about the people involved. And I think the worst place for this can be in the church. Many times people (I am chief of sinners here) only see something from their limited perspective and are quick to throw up hands (either to fight or to give up). Both sides can actually be misunderstood. This too is part of the problem of the fall.

But I think as a Christian, it's going to be a given in our life to be misunderstood many times. I think this is one of the parts of the "fellowship of the suffering". This side of heaven is NOT perfect. We all fail, and we all fall short. And I guess the bottom line is many people will hold you up to a stringent standard, but not expect that from themselves.

So be it. I learned/am learning a hard lesson about being part of the fellowship of His suffering. So I have to praise Him in both good and bad. I trust that God will work all things to His end and for His glory. But this is a hard fact of life, it might not be on this side that we see that work out. But again, glory be to God.

May 22, 2010

Great is thy faithfulness... PART2

so anyways... back to the story...

So God specifically told me that I needed to go to Orlando. I whined for about a day and finally made the call to cancel my plans to Germany and reroute myself to Orlando for the summer. Well... a quick snag. It was too late to get financed for the trip to Orlando, because it was about two weeks away. (It's a long story, but you have this big process you go thru with IMB/NAMB to get funded for your summer trip as a student... yada yada... long time)

So I think, "well God, looks like this confirms it! I gotta go to Germany!" Boy was I relieved! After all, following God is very rational, because we serve a very rational and practical God. Obviously, there was no way to get to Orlando. Right???

Right. There was no way to pay to get myself to Orlando. But I heard God tell me. "That's where I want you to GO."
Damn. I was cornered. I had a little savings and not much else. Now this is the time where you usually hear... "Then this random check came in the mail for $2000, and God paid for the whole trip, because what God orders, He pays for!!! Glory Halle---"

No... Didn't happen.

If you wouldnt mind going with me to this verse, Matthew 13:44 Did you read it? I'll be here when you get back, just click the link, or pull out your Bible.

I had to empty my pockets to go to Orlando. I had nothing... I went for it, because I KNEW God was telling me to go. Just like you are reading the words on this page God was speaking into my heart so that later (even now 10 years later) HE would receive GLORY. God was preparing a story that would put the spotlight on Him and His son.

So I recall feeling a little sick to my stomach that I had no money left. I paid for my flights and was hoping I could make it the whole summer on what was ultimately a "faith" budget. (When you have nothing it really is a "faith" budget. lol) I still remember boarding the plane and taking the first leg of the flight to ATL. I just couldn't believe I had missed the trip of a lifetime to Germany!!!
* * *

As I write this I realize there is a heck of a WHOLE lot about that summer that went on to change my life, my view of God, and my heart. But one of the biggest things that happened, was that I met my wife. Her story about coming to Orlando, was just about the same. She was reluctant, almost disappointed to be going to Orlando. She thought "Whats in Florida!?!?"

This week 10 years ago I saw my wife for the first time. I still remember seeing her for the first time. I was devastated by her beauty... I had never seen a person more beautiful in my life. I couldn't even start up a decent conversation with her when I first talked to her. It was an EPIC FAIL.

But then God reminds me that it's not my business to worry about making my own way, but to trust HIM. So I knew that since God was a rational, practical and sensible God, that I had a snowball's chance in hell to date this girl. So I needed to get over it. But something in the deep back of my heart trusted God. Obviously since the title of the last two posts is not "how everything is really sucky.." you know that this gorgeous Jesus-follower became my bride. Despite myself, God found a way for Kim to actually see what God sees in me. She loves me. She loves me so hard. We are best friends. And it's all Jesus' fault.

So please don't tell me what God can't do.

I am the son of a Mexican migrant worker who only ever knew toil and poverty. My mother and I were beaten by her first husband. I grew up in a trailer, and lived below the poverty line most of my life. I remember times that there was only beans to eat. But God was with me then...

I grew up with horrible self-esteem problems, and ran to every known thing to quench the pain of this life. I got drunk when I was 13. I wanted to kill myself daily. I was depressed more than any teenager should ever be. I smoked weed and lusted heavily in high school. But God was with me then...

I had a full ride to school, but failed out my first year. I was desperate and lonely. I drank very heavily. I had to work my tail off for the 7 years while going to school. I didn't think I had what it took to make it.But God was with me then... (and I was the first person in my whole family tree to graduate from college.)

God was, is, and will remain faithful. You may not believe in God, especially in His son Jesus. But I ask you, look at my life! Look at what He has done. I am a damned mess, but He has taken this mess and found a way to bring beauty, joy, rightness, goodness, wonder, passion and hope through his son Jesus. I have so many reasons to point to Jesus, because HE IS LIFE!!!

It was my first year in college when I heard Jesus call me. I cried out to Him, and He heard me. Now 15 years later, here I am...

May 21, 2010

Great is thy faithfulness... PART1

You may not know me, but thru this blog. Or you may know me in real life. I'm not sure why you decided to stop by, but I'm glad you did.

Today I want to talk about God's faithfulness. Last night I was thinking about how God has brought my wife and I along on a crazy ride. The funny thing is it hadn't hit me much until last night... Why, maybe because I have been so busy lately? Maybe because God decided to pull back the curtain for a second? I dont know. But in this moment I was overwhelmed by a rush of gratefulness like I have never felt...

I wept out loud. Hard. I made those weird choking sniffle gulping squeaky sounds while crying! It was in that moment that I remembered that 10 years ago this week God moved my life right where it needed to be. So ten years ago I was slated to be a student summer missionary to Germany. I was going to kick it on the beach the whole summer and do "american clubs" (not sure why "american club" would be a good idea, but that's another story) with teens that came to visit the beach. I was STOKED. I love working with teens and I just imagined myself playing the guitar on the beach and chillin all summer with German kids who needed Christ. How SICK is THAT!?!?

Back at home I was working as a janitor at the Baptist Student Center. I would go in late at night/morning and clean, vacuum, sing to myself really loudly ;p. I was cleaning off the desk for the BCM director (who btw is still one of my good friends, he is now @ Rice) and I happened to see this loose page that was actually a plea for male student summer missionaries in Orlando, FL. It really was that a PLEA, because this was for people who wanted to work with children and lame stuff like pool ministry...

Anyways... This is one of the most distinct times I ever sensed God telling me. "THAT's where I want you to go this summer."

WHAT?!? I was not happy. In fact I tried to rationalize that it was just all in my head. Why would GOD tell me that? I was almost on my way overseas (which at the time I was certain was my future). Why the junk would you call me to Orlando???

May 20, 2010

Holler atcha boy!

Hey guys,

Check this out. I just put a formspring page up. What is that? Good question. It's a page where you can ask me any question about anything (within reason obviously., i.e. no dirty bird questions, or psychiatric history... well i actually might answer that one) Anyways, here is the address.

http://www.formspring.me/normtumlinson

Ask me anything(almost)!
What's my hair color of the month?
What's my homewtown?
Who's my favorite existential writer before 1800?


;)> happy questioning. Ill try to answer within the week.

"To-NOT-Do List"

Do you find yourself spinning too many plates? How do you feel at the end of the day? At the end of the week?

At Grace Fellowship, we have been going through a series entitled "balanced". In this series we have learned that many times we have so many "things" in our lives that call out for our attention. Many times we are not really sure why we do all these things, but we do them anyway. A nice little house. Kids on a nice little soccer team. A nice little boy scout troup. A nice little gymnastic class. A nice little science fair. A nice little country club membership. Pretty soon, it goes from "nice little" to "friggin' killing me you evil horrible big" schedule/life.

So STOP it...

God is calling you to Him...

I give you permission to take a few seconds and create a "To (NOT) Do List"
Pause.
Pray.
Think.
Listen.

What is God asking you to let go of?

What I want you to do is write it down. What is the thing that you need to stop doing???

Write it down, and then put a due date by it (when you will STOP doing this):
Is it too many soccer games? STOP...
Too much overtime/sacrificing family time? STOP...
Trying to keep up with the neighbors? STOP...

I'm fighting with several things now in my life that must be given to God. Trust me, it's hard to do. But we need to. Today.

May 17, 2010

Glory to God: Zac's story

A few weeks ago I taught a message that was about "being ready". I wanted to teach that no matter what circumstances you go through, if you make one God decision after another, you will be ready for whatever life brings. I believe this is true with all my heart. Just take one step toward Jesus at a time and He will do the rest.

This video is about a man named Zac, who worked at NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He served in the IT department at this church. A year later he came down with cancer. He passed away yesterday after battling with cancer for the last part of his life. But Im sure everyone that knew him could tell you that he loved and lived for God. He lived well. This is his story.

The Story of Zac Smith from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

April 27, 2010

Out tha box

Sorry i havent posted in a while I have been out tha country and out tha box for a while, but stay tuned for some lessons learned in the D.R. and at Catalyst West Coast!!!

April 11, 2010

please pray for our team in the D. R.

This week we are taking a team down to the Dominican Republic and we certainly would love it if you prayed for us while we were down there. We are going to be exploring some options for Grace Fellowship to connect with on an ongoing basis. Hopefully we will be able to start doing mission trips down there and connect our fellowship with service opportunities and maybe sister congregations down there. Who knows? The sky is the limit! And I am stoked!!!

April 8, 2010

It's not about me...

Working on a song that actually started as a poem. Just wanted to share the lyrics with you, since maybe you might be serving from a place of burden, or be in a place where it seems like you are running dry. I know sometimes I am, but it's not about me in this life, It's about bringing honor to God.

My soul inside is dry, My Saviour
Like a dry deserted land.
How long will I be tried and tested?
How long to be forced to stand?

It's not about me,
my life is not my own
It's not about me,
It's about the Grace that leads me on.

Will you rescue me?
From the pain that burns inside.
But even if you don't in YOU
I will reside.

Because, It's not about me, It's about
the ONE that changes the world.
It's not about me, It's about
the TRUTH that's been revealed.

But, Will you rescue me?
From the pain that burns inside.
But even if you don't in Your Word
I will reside...

Not all the way done yet, but just thought I'd share a little. Maybe Ill post it with music sometime. thanks!

April 6, 2010

join us - April 8th - no shoes!


Tom's Shoes is a fantastic organization with a great mission. Please check out this video and join us on April 8th!

April 5, 2010

Easter Extravaganza!!!

Just wanted to give a shout out to all the volunteers that came through for Easter @gracefellowship! You guys rocked it out and many people took their 1st step toward Christ this past weekend! Everything went so well and it is all you! Way to SERVE teams!!!

April 1, 2010

service @ Easter

Yo! I know I have said it before, but just wanted to let you know there will be no student services on Easter Sunday (4th). Instead we ask that you connect with GraceKIDS/Easter Egg Hunt thru service!

Also adults, we still have heaps of spots available to serve this Easter. Please let me know if you are interested!

March 30, 2010

Norm Tumlinson 2.0

Please bear with me as I am trying out a few different outfits for my blog. I thought I'd give it a little facelift, but there is heaps of stuff that i do not know about html.

I don't even want to think about if I had to code all this jank myself. It is so hard to get good templets for Blogger too! It's like all the dope ones are on Wordpress. But alas I will stick with the free Blogger until I cannot handle it no more! So in the meantime I will tweak and groan.

If you don't like the new skin, just grin and say "it looks greeeeaat," like you used to do with your grandma when she asked you how you liked your crocheted Christmas sweater. Yeah that's right. Lie to me.

After all this work trying to make this blog look halfway presentable I am tempted to go back to writing blogs on spiral bound tablets. Not sure how you'd read it though ;).

I am not a superstar.

I am not a superstar...

I have faults, flaws, pet sins and the like. I am sometimes selfish and self-centered (and redundant). I sometimes forget to pray for kids. I sometimes see a parent coming and quickly duck around a corner to avoid chit-chat because I think they might hold me up from something "more important".

Many times I rant more than I bless. Most days I can't stand Kirk Cameron. I sometimes cheat when I'm playing Uno. I don't replace the toilet paper when it runs out. I get impatient and angry... often. So, if you are looking for a super-star student pastor. I'm not it.

But what I can give is Christ. Despite my best efforts to be an idiot, God has saved me from a life of sin. I am changed and know he can change even the "worst" cases. I know I rolled off a lot of bad attributes about myself earlier, but God really has given me fruits of His spirit and I try to live in those every day. But it is only because of HIS grace and HIS mercy that I do any of this. Because, I am not at all a super-star.

But I believe with a zealot's intensity that Jesus of Nazareth is who He says He is. I believe that He is present and active in your student, in their schools and in Youth cultural in general. I believe we are His people and He has called us (together) to reach students with His good news. I am willing to die upon this hill. But I am not a super-star. I just want to be the "Norm" God created me to be. God is the object of ultimate glory. God's light shines into the deepest of darkness. This is the solid rock I will stand upon. Will you join me?

March 29, 2010

remember...

This is just kind-of an off-the-cuff blog. I try my hardest not to spend too much time editing blogs after I write them because I end up deleting 95% of them. I sometimes get too worried about grammar, punctuation, all that MLA Handbook stuff that I never (er.. I mean.. *blush*) really mastered in freshman 101/102. Or I will worry that the blog is too long or too redundant or too redundant.

Anyways, so here I ramble. The point I am trying to make is that somethings are too important to worry about edit, self-edit. This is one of those things.

Today I was challenged to "remember"...

One of those things to remember in particular is that God blessed me with the most awesome spouse in the world. It is so easy for me to breeze by this sometimes because after almost 9 years of marriage, our life together has become normative. What I mean is it's like always having food in the fridge, or always having a roof over my head. If I'm not careful I start to think those things as normal...

and to some extent I begin to think I even deserve these things.

But then God tells me to "remember"... I am blessed beyond measure! My wife is courageous yet humble, strong yet gentle, meticulous, devoted, passionate, thoughtful, generous, joyful, beautiful, but the most striking thing about her is she loves Jesus.

I used to tell her that I was the "luckiest" guy in the world. She always would reply, "not lucky... blessed." I think that was/is so adorable. But then I started thinking about right she was. I am blessed. Kim is a virtuous woman, who puts her faith in God first. She challenges me to be a better leader, husband, friend and Christian.

I hear the word again "remember..."

See God cares for us deeply. God cares for me and he cares for Kim. God remembers His promise. God sacrificed HIS son, so we might live. I hope and pray that we don't soon forget the magnitude of God-with-us. This holy week I pray very hard that you will remember...

March 24, 2010

ways 2 serve!


Hey my peeps. Easter is right around the corner and since we are not having student services on that day we encourage you to SERVE!!!

There are heaps of spots available from helping out in FarmHouse (GraceKids), helping with the Easter Egg hunts in-between services, helping reset the sanctuary and other spots as well. We have spots available in all services (8:30, 9:15, and 11:00)! You can email me, jason@gogracefellowship or mindi@gogracefellowship for more info!

This is a great opportunity to "influence your world" thru service, ya heard!!!

March 4, 2010

Lights, Camera, ACTION!

Seriously stoked about our new series called, "On the Lot". We are going to be discussing one of my most cherished things in the faith. The Bible.

Wait. I know what you're thinking. The Bible, at church...? Wow you dug deep for that one! But I would venture to say many of us would agree that this is a difficult area to discipline ourselves in. Whether this is your 50th year as a Christ servant or first 5 minutes or even if you don't believe in God, we can all agree that the Bible has been an important book throughout history. But in this series, we will challenge you to go beyond just words, sentences, ink and binding.

We are going to discuss what it means for the scriptures to COME ALIVE in your life.
We want to help your student understand what the heck it means to take the Scriptures in and live them out in 2010.

This week we are starting off in the Psalms and are going to take a fresh look at the "Mt. Everest of Psalms" Psalm 119. So you won't wanna miss it :).>

February 25, 2010

GraceSTUDENTS news! (Jan/Feb)

It has been a great two months to start off this year in GraceSTUDENTS!!! I want to thank you for all your support, care and prayers for our student ministry. I also want to take this time to celebrate with you the victories that have happened in the last two months. We have so much to be thankful for and here are just a few of the things that have happened so far:

SUNDAY MORNING----------------------------------

First of all, we have started the year with two awesome teaching series right off the bat. Our first series was "Rise Up and Go". We challenged students not just to make new year's resolutions but make real, tagible steps to follow Christ in 2010 with everything they have. In February we are going through "Search for Significance", where we break down what the bible says about who we are in Christ. Also in this series we are teaching the value of giving others around us significance through Christ's message as well.

This March we are starting, "On the Lot". "On the Lot" is a series that derives it's title from being on a movie lot. Many movies have a script, but until people actually act it out, we don't see it come to life. In this series we will be teaching about how important the Bible is and how it is not just words on a page, but life, action, and a tangible story of faith!

WORSHIP TEAM--------------------------------------

GraceSTUDENTS now has an official worship team!!! This team is made up of high-schoolers whose desire is to worship and serve through music. We are very proud of the time and effort they are putting into the team and I think they are creating a wonderful environment for the middle school worship service @10:15--(do you want to see them in action? Take the Backstage Tour, which is at the first of each month-email Grace for details)

SUPPORT TO HAITI------------------------------------

Did you know that your students raised over $215 in change to support Haiti Earthquake victims through Churches helping Churches??? In just a little over two weeks your students emptied their change jars and helped GraceSTUDENTS make an impact to Haiti. I am so proud of our students getting involved financially to help a good cause. Great job!!!

SMALL GROUP REPORT------------------------------

We have three Middle School Small groups up and running. Our goal is that each of these small groups do a service project once a semester. One of these groups in particular (Middle School Boys--meets wed nights) actually made over 100 pbj sandwiches for the homeless for one of their service projects this past month. We were able to give these to the coalition for the homeless and they had a great time doing it. Way to serve guys!!! (if you want to know more about small groups please contact us at students@gogracefellowship.com)

WEBSITE------------------------------------------------

GraceSTUDENTS has their own official website now, and if you haven't checked it we encourage you to do so. It is www.gogracestudents.com. On this website you can actually find out about who we are, what we do, current events, 2010 Calendar, forms, and resources. We try to keep this up-to-date so if you ever need forms or want to know about events it should be on our calendar, big thanks to Dave Diaz who has been working diligently on this site!

SUMMER CAMP----------------------------------------

Registration is now closed for our 2010 BigStuf Summer camp, but we are taking 38 teenagers to Panama City this July!!! We are so stoked about taking these students and are looking forward to the life-change that is going to happen on this trip. Please keep this group in your prayers, especially as we draw nearer to this time!!!

February 21, 2010

Killer Prayer Tips: Fo' Real

Our good buddies at igniter media, gots this video for purchase. It makes me laugh out loud. So, watch it... ;)

February 17, 2010

Personal Psalm of Lament

Why? Why do we do it? When faith in Jesus seems absurd? When we have more questions than answers? When everyone that goes their own way seems to triumph.

They have fat wallets, fat jets, fat watches and fat rings. Pleasure shares their bed and Gluttony washes any sorrow from their face. They laugh at us from afar and say, "Where is your god? If he were real why do you toil? I say "grow" and my pile of gold doubles. You see a building and cannot take it. I could buy the building for my dog to sleep in."

It seems as if their hands are almost on any prize that they seek. It is within their grasp. Many are crushed under their heel. They are free to do as they please. They are proud. Men bow down to them, and look in envy.

When I look at our work, is it much to regard? We work all day long. Consumed with the concern for our flock. A flock that disregards and goes its own way, but we run after it. We pursue it. Although it scatters we work to mend our fences. But we are soon divided. We strive between tending the flock and reaping the fields full of grain. Will there be no more to help?

Then I hear the voice of the ONE. It splits my bones and melts me like wax in a fire. I become as a liquid under YOUR rebuke. Why do I doubt YOU? YOU make the sun rise and fall. YOU give the stars their home under YOUR roof. Earth's riches are but a trinket. A small charm on the wrist chain of the least person in YOUR Kingdom. At the sound of YOUR voice the clouds retreat. The earth splits open and bears its interior. It too is afraid of YOUR voice. In the same way as the earth splits open you will crush the wicked. They will be revealed and laid bare before the NAME. Those that cast no regard in YOUR direction will stand and give account.

I bow down and YOUR fire rains down upon my life as a cleansing flood. I trust YOU. YOUR rebuke is better than 10,000 kisses from my lover. YOU will see YOUR work done during this time. At YOUR command YOU bring living water from stone. Nothing is too hard for YOU. So I will praise THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES. In YOUR NAME is hope and YOUR NAME is good. I will praise YOU, because YOU have delivered me from stumbling. YOUR GLORY shines above the earth.

AMEN

February 10, 2010

A good and gentle reminder for today...

Where is the love???

So do you remember a time when your best girl said the dreaded words, "i only like you as a friend"? What a swift kick in the pants that phrase was. I want to know what woman came up with that retort. She is like the person who invented toilet paper, or Cheez Wiz.
She would get a chick Nobel-prize.

I mean, it's pretty much indestructible. When a girl says this it's like what the Royal Flush is to card-playing. You lose.

Seriously woman, you really messed me up. I mean no matter how you retort to this statement, you lose. You either look psycho, whiny, weak or weird. And if you say, "I was feeling the same way," She'll read right through that like a pane of glass my friend. If you felt that way you wouldn't be having this "just a friend" talk. You would be gone. Guys never have this talk. Why? Because we're idiots. We would have never come up with this phrase.

But seriously. What makes us get so mad about this, is that we feel tricked. You feel duped, like an idiot, thinking that this person liked you. You felt that this person was on the same level with you and really all along they were slowly drifting apart. It hurts. But I want you to think about this. In what ways are you "duping" people along the way? Have you put way less into a relationship (not just romantic, but maybe even friendships) than the other person. Do you find yourself barely hearing things they say just so you can talk? I know I do this.

None of us want to feel insignificant. We all struggle with this deep inside. What makes you feel insignificant? Is it the person who says, "i only like you as a friend."? Or are there deeper moments of dissatisfaction and insignificance that you are dealing with now? I'm here to say there is someone who loves you more than a friend. But this person loves you much more than a lover ever could. The bible says that Christ will never leave you or forsake you. And that's the (T)ruth.

February 9, 2010

Story God: @Grace Fellowship

I'm not one to get all overly excited... Okay I am. But, you don't wanna miss Grace Fellowship's new series "Story GOD". It is going to be really, really, really good. I mean, just look at the trailer!!!

Story God: Message Series Trailer from Grace Fellowship on Vimeo.

February 4, 2010

Caption Please


I was reading in @loswhit's blog and alot of times he will have a "caption please" post. So I wanted to try it out. I would like for you to comment a caption for this photo. A few rules; obviously keep it clean. Be creative. You can also put a small story plot if you'd like. So comment away!

February 3, 2010

one of the best...

Here is one of the best messages I have ever heard preached. This message was delivered to seminary students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary this past year. The preachers name is Matt Chandler and he is teaching pastor at the Village. If you have ever aspired to be in the ministry or are currently in the ministry, I implore you to listen. Even if you are not, this message still will stir something in you. If not you're probably dead. ;)

New Series: Search for Significance

We are going to start a new series in GraceSTUDENTS this February called "Search for Significance. Everyday we struggle with our significance in life. Many people feel invisible to those around them. They just want to know that someone cares, that someone notices---that God cares. In this series we will learn about how Christ gives us significance and how He calls us to replicate that love to those around us who might feel invisible.

I attached an older clip, but I still feel that it shows a real-life example of this being lived out in a Christian's life. I know some of you get so tired of hearing about Tim Tebow, but after this clip I hope you will give him kudos for living what he preaches.

February 1, 2010

Lucky # 7

This Sunday our church fellowship is going to be 7 years old!!! We are going to have a crazy awesome party next Sunday, plus you are going to hear some great vision God has given us for the future!!!

So you definitely don't wanna miss out on the festivities next Sunday, because it is going to be sweet!

I am so thankful for our volunteers. Week in and week out you guys give up so much to help make us who we are @Gracefellowship. But especially @GraceSTUDENTS! This weekend is made for you as well. So come JOIN THE PARTY!!!

See you Sunday Feb 7th!

January 29, 2010

"Dawn Rising"

It's been a while since I have taken a crack at a poem, but here it goes....

Dawn rising,
The day stretches out
its arms of sunlight
Breaking into
a new day.
Scattering darkness
Clearing vision
It's easy to see when the sun is shining through.

Hope awakens
Dawn grows taller and wider
The sun burns warmly
Creatures stir
Birds sing
Their creator has given them a
new song
for this day.

Fresh.
Calm.
New.
Peace.

Dawn rising.


January 26, 2010

I'll have some links on the side...

Just thought I'd throw up a quick post about the "Friends and Such" menu on the right hand side of this website. I mean I know it's pretty self explanatory but you might wanna know why stuff is there. So quick an easy, here's the skinny.

Brad Cooper-- This guy is a stud student director @ New Spring church in South Carolina. I love what he says and what they are all about at *Fuse

Church Cruch-- Anything tech-geek and church related can be found here. Whether you are a social medialite or just trying to use technology for the glory of God, this site has lots of good news, info and tips.

Grace Fellowship Orlando/Grace Student Ministry: Doy. It's us ;)

Pastor Steven Furtick-- Seriously, this pastor is wise beyond his years, but has a fresh and insightful way of bringing the gospel to life, lot's of good wisdom, teaching, leadership insights on his blog.

Reach Records-- one of Hip Hop's best up-and-coming record companies. Has (in my opinion) some of the best artists in the rap game.

Restored Students-- nothing like good friends right? This is one of my best friends student ministry page. They are doing great things in West Orange County and I wanted to help him get Jesus' shine on out there.

Viva Pancho Villa-- This is my dog. He has a blog. I know it's sick, but he's a pretty talented writer, when he's not chewing my slippers.

Where it's not-- Trent and Kay Jones, who are good college buddies of mine, are serving as missionaries out in rural Bolivia. They are such awesome and selfless people. Their blog inspires me to be more passionate about Jesus in my neck of the woods and keeps my eyes on international missions. Good Read.

World Vision International-- Kim and I have sponsored children thru this organization and it really is one of the best out there. Take a look at the website and consider it yourself, it is really a great ministry and you can make a huge difference for dollars a day.

Toms Shoes-- I'm just a big fan of this organization and how they have really met a need that sometimes we just forget about. They are solidly committed to their mission and plus they are some pretty cool kicks too.

January 25, 2010

Identity: Lecrae

We got alot of requests on the video/song we played last week in GraceSTUDENTS. It is by an artist by the name of Lecrae. He is connected with a talented bunch of holy hip-hoppers who run with Reach Records. And for any pople out there who hate the idea of Christian rap, you need to repent because these guys are bringing the gospel in each song in a powerful way!!!

video

January 21, 2010

Still #1 on my playlist: POTG Remix

Now if you missed all the buzz about General Larry Platt, then you have been living under a rock. He is this old dude that tried to get on American Idol (see it here) with his great song "Pants on the Ground".

Someone on YouTube picked it up and created this dirty south remix of the song and I like it!!! Teach them youngins right! Get your pants up off the ground, lookin like a fool!

January 20, 2010

GraceSTUDENTS website

Hey my folks!!! If you don't know about the GraceSTUDENTS website, then you need to take some time to hop on over to www.gogracestudents.com and see what Grace Fellowship student ministries are all about.

We have a pretty cool website that we host through Clover and it has frequent updates about what teaching series we are in and all kinds of updates on key events that are happening in our student ministry.

I am pretty happy with the way it looks now, but we are working on even more features that will help you and your parents learn more about what makes us at GraceSTUDENTS tick! So check it out and browse around. Tell me what you think!

January 16, 2010

The wall: How to beat the odds

Did you make any new year's resolutions this year? How are they working out for you? Have you made it so far. I would have to imagine that it is getting pretty hard right now. What do you think?

Most studies show it takes anywhere from 20-30 days to begin a new habit. I have another theory. I don't think there are really a magic number of days, as much as there are a number of walls that we hit.

1. Wall #1. The easy route.
This is when you get your first opportunity to not follow through on your new habit. So you started jogging and now you have a rainy day. Or you have been eating right and now is the day you see that caramel chocolate cream cheesecake on the desert special. I would say people fall 50/50 on this one. It's not a deal breaker if you don't make it past this wall to a new habit, but if you did not succeed this time you will have to jump it soon.

2. Wall#2. Terra Nova Scotia.
This is the wall that you hit right after you have crossed the border into new territory. Let me explain a little further. So you actually went further than you ever have before at achieving your goal. You make it 20+ days on your new workout routine. Or you actually read the first 15 books of the bible on your "read through the bible in a year" plan. You think to yourself, "Wow. I have never been this far before, Maybe I deserve a break?" Au Contraire mon fraire! Don't be fooled! Just because you have been further than you ever have before, doesn't mean you have yet established the habit, . This is the place where you must reaffirm your goals and push through.

3. Wall #3. Exiting the Atmosphere.
This is the wall of walls. This is where you are almost to the point of making a habit with your one final test ahead of you. (This sometimes gets split up into phase 1 and phase 2 but for brevity's sake we'll stay at one wall) This is the wall that rattles you to the core and ends up either in a disaster;reset or a phoenix uprising;rebirth. This is the one that keeps you up at night. You are not sure if you can make this a real habit or just a "phase" in your life. Many people never get over this wall until someone close to them dies, or unless they suffer a life threatening illness (sorry to get all morbid for a second) this is where all hell breaks loose to try to shake you off of your path. But if you hold on with all you got and weather the storm like Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, you will find yourself on the other side with a newly formed habit and a story to tell about.

I just wanted to write this as an encouragement, because I know there are some of you out there that are on the right path and are one wall away from getting the next great thing started in your life. You can do this, trust God, work hard, and move one step at a time!

January 6, 2010

Summer in January!?!


I know its crazy, but it is time to start thinking about summer camp. This year (July 18-22) we have the privilege of heading down (or should I say up) to Panama City for BigStuf 2010. This camp is gonna be luda and we want your student to go!!! More info s soon to come. RSVP and deposit will be due Feb 5 and space is limited!!!

January 5, 2010

New Series: Rise up and go

I cant tell you how excited I am about this new series in GraceSTUDENTS. I am just beside myself with anticipation. I really think that this will be a great way for us to kick off the year in student ministries and I hope for the year to come.

video

January 4, 2010

300... posts that is.

This post marks number 300 for me. It sure has been a long time coming! I just have to say that this past year has been a wild ride, but I have a feeling that this next one is going to be the best (but perhaps the hardest fought) yet. It is at this time I would ask you to continue the adventure with me as we go through this gift of life that God has given us.

I guarantee this year will have many unexpected turns, but we will go through them together. You have a purpose and a place in this world, that is why you are here. So may 2010 be the year that you GO FOR IT! Whatever your hands do, do it with purpose and passion. This is your moment. Right here, Right now. Rise up and go!!!