a good cafe

We hosted our second Live at the LifePoint Cafe last night and it went really well. We had two great artists -- Carlos Olmeda and The Gooses. Carlos drove down from a concert in San Luis Osbipo to play for us! The Gooses did their usual good job and had everybody laughing right from the start.

We had nearly 50 people in attendance, over half of whom had never been to LifePoint before. Tina did her usual great job with the coffee and all of our LifePoint people were very helpful.

I see our cafes as part of a gradual outreach process. It was interesting to watch people browse around our facility, picking up cards, and looking at the art. There's no hard sell on attending church -- in fact, we're pretty low key about it.

We're building good momentum among a slice of the local music scene. Artists like to be appreciated (and paid!). Our LifePoint are great about interacting with the artists and I believe the artists notice.

Stay tuned for the next one ...


the week in review

It's been a long time between posts -- long for me, maybe not for you.

We are in the midst of a few transitions at LifePoint, several of which have kept me rightfully busy. As a new church community begins to develop and take shape, it is my task to see that we continue to allow God to shape our heart, vision, and values. The first two years will put in place the DNA of a church and it's important that our DNA is healthy and reflects who God wants us to be.

Our girls also began softball practices (yes, that is plural). Hope is playing her first year of organized softball, called "minis" and Hannah is in her second year with the Navajo league. She also played for three years in Georgia as well. Both girls are naturally coordinated -- not sure where that came from. It's a blast to watch them interact with other players and their coaches. It also keeps our cars humming.

And I've been taking the opportunity to sit down with people over coffee and just talk about how things are going. It's amazing how few people get asked about how they are REALLY doing -- not the "how are you doing? question we ask but really don't care to know the answer. Not that I've ever asked that question before ...

Last but not least, Friday night ushered in the weekend complete with three sick people out of a family of four. I'm afraid I'm on the verge of making it four for four.

This has been our week ...


tina gets baptized

This past Sunday night we baptized our first person since starting LifePoint. We first met Tina through an ad on Craigslist advertising a new small group that would be studying the topic of "Simple Spirituality." I remember when she came by the house to pick up the materials and we talked for about thirty minutes. She has been a key part of LifePoint ever since ... and that was back in March of 2005. Now we share more than a common love for great coffee ...


church planting and the dotcom days

As some of you know, I ventured (or strayed) into the dotcom world in the late 90s. It was a heady time when new companies were popping up in dorm rooms, garages, and in coffee shops. Entrepreneurs were getting funded on the basis of scribbling a few notes on a napkin. "Conventional" business world was temporarily suspended in favor of the "new" economy that we were entering.

For part of that time, I was involved in running my own start-up and had a chance to interact and network with other 20/30-year olds who were involved in start-ups. Later I worked for six months at Christianity.com, now on its third owner.

Two things converged to create a chaotic experience:

  • Internet companies were going public and create enormous sums of paper wealth for lots of people. This often happened irregardless of profitability (an "old" economy assumption);
  • As this happened, more and more companies kept getting huge sums of venture capital (also known as "other people's money or OPM).

In my opinion, this changed what I thought was the beauty of the Internet revolution -- a group of people setting out to change the world. These early missionaries bootstrapped and worked long hours because they wanted to make a difference. They believed in their mission.

As the venture capital increased and IPO's created instant millionaires, you saw fewer missionaries and more mercenaries. Here's the basic difference:

  • A missionary does what he does because he feels called to the task and would do it for free.
  • A mercenary is a hired gun who is simply there to make money.

In my opinion, the mercenaries ruined the Internet revolution.

This is why I love to be around other church planters. No one goes into church planting for the money! I believe the assessment tests are designed to select only those people who are a bit nutty and crazy.

And Christ-followers who are attracted to church plants tend to be missionary in nature as well. This is a good bit of the reason why the most evangelistic years of a church's life will be the first ten. A majority of the people are "on mission."

The truth is ... God always expects the church to be missionary in nature, no matter if it's one year old or 100 years old. May God create more missionaries and fewer mercenaries.


monday morning observations

I believe Arlen Spector has dyed his hair for the Judge Alioto hearings. That's really an old observation, but I thought I would share it any way.

We went to Garden Grove on Friday night to spend a few hours with Tonya's cousin and her husband. Their wedding was the first one I ever did ... and they're still married 15 years later! On Saturday we drove to Knotts Berry Farm for breakfast (it was OK) and then to Downtown Disney where we walked around the in rain for about two hours. I could have done that at home for much less money!

On Sunday night I popped into Horizon Park Chapel last night for their 6 PM service. A friend of mine had told me a little bit about the church and a few of the worship leaders there. HPC is a church plant from Horizons in Clairemont Mesa ... and it has the Horizon's feel about it. (It even has the name "Jesus" emblazoned directly behind the band).

Back in the early 90s, Tonya and I worshiped on a regular basis at Horizon's Saturday night service. It was a great experience for both of us.

HPC is a definitely an urban church and had that feel about it. It was an enjoyable night and the pastor went verse by verse through 1 Timothy 4. This teaching style can be traced back to the influences of Calvary Chapel/Chuck Smith. HPC is home to a group known as the Dance Floor Prophets.

I love the part of town they are in and am glad they are doing well.


did an angel just stop by?

Alright ... so I'm sitting in Twiggs working on a communion video for Sunday. In walks a man I've never seen before and he walks straight up to me. Pulling out my earbuds, he simply says, "Life may not seem fair but remember Jesus always loves you." And he turns and walks back out the door. And he's gone just like that.

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2).

some new music

Discovering one new artist almost always leads to a few more. A few weeks ago we watched the movie "Because of Winn Dixie" and one of the artists on the soundtrack was The Be Good Tanyas. Canadian folk. Really good.

When I discover new artists/groups, I usually do the following: Go to Google and try to find shows, festivals, concerts, etc., and see who else they play with. Generally speaking, artists play with artists who are similar in style. Perhaps it's just the hunter in me.

Well, from that five minutes of "work," I found a few more goodies I'd like to share with you. In no particular order, but I do recommend they find their way to you iPod.

Neko Case
Kasey Chambers
Alecia Nugent
My Morning Jacket

Finding new music is like waking up to a great cup of coffee that will never grow cold.



the next "live at the lifepoint cafe" ...

Our next "Live at the LifePoint Cafe" will be January 29 at 7 PM. The LifePoint cafe is a time to fire up the coffee and serve up great music. This night will be no exception.

I'm very pleased to announce our two artists. Carlos Olmeda plays a mix of blues, folk, and Latin -- you have to hear it to believe it. Here's how he describes it: "Acoustic Alternative -Tricultural -Genre Inclusive -Adult Contemporary." See what I mean ...

Our second group is simply known as The Gooses. These four guys pull together an incredibly fun set. In some ways, they remind me of another of my favorite groups ... the Barenaked Ladies. Click here to listen to a sample.

See you there.


the creative arts at lifepoint

From the very beginning of LifePoint -- back in the days when God was still forming his vision in my heart -- a key part of our environment has been the creative arts. As a young church, we've only just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible. As a new community, we have many great opportunities ahead of us.

Catherine Henry and Eric Piepenbrink have agreed to serve as co-coordinators of our creative arts ministry. As I met with our creative arts team last week, I outlined several of our goals and priorities for 2006. One of those was to have a point person who could serve as a catalyst for our creative efforts. Instead of one, God has blessed us with two gifted people!

Catherine and Eric both have extensive backgrounds in both the arts and business. I believe these experiences will allow them to help expand our creative vision. I'm excited about what lies ahead.


a good morning

We had our first Local Artist Showcase for 2006 at LifePoint this morning. Aaron Bowen did a fantastic job at both services -- even getting an encore call at our second gathering. Everyone seemed to really enjoy Aaron's music. It's always fun to have different artists come perform each month.

Why do we do this at LifePoint? Mainly because we feel a responsibility as a church community to build a bridge to the arts community. Throughout much of church history, the arts flowed from within the church community. By and large, that is no longer the case. For whatever reason (and I could name a few), the church began resisting the arts back in the 19th and 20th centuries.

I believe that our God is a creative God and we are made in his image. This means it should only be natural for the church to be a creative place. If we are not creating and innovating, then we are not fully allowing ourselves to be made in the image of God.


another reason to love google

Here's another reason why I love Google:


next local artist showcase

Each month at LifePoint we feature a different local artist as a way of connecting with the local arts scene. On January 8 we will have Aaron Bowen and he will play a couple of songs at both gatherings. You'll enjoy it.

coffee faux paus

I committed a coffee drinker's faux paus on Saturday ... I let my supply run out. I used the last of the beans on Saturday night and had no beans left for Sunday. After coming to this sad realization, I began scrounging around the pantry hoping to find a stray packet of anything resembling coffee. No such luck. So I committed the coffee drinker's second greatest sin and fixed tea. First cup: Cinnamon Stick. Basically tasted like water with a hint of cinnamon. Second cup: Green Tea. Nothing to shout out about.

You might be wondering ... what is the coffee drinker's ultimate sin? Drinking cold coffee, of course.