survival instincts

As the youngest of five boys, I learned certain survival instincts early in life. It didn’t take long to figure out that not only was I eight years younger but I weighed about 100 pounds less than my next oldest brother. From there, the ratios only widened and were not to my advantage.

For a while, one of my survival tactics included being able to run places the others couldn’t fit. Places like behind couches and under beds. Unfortunately (for me), I eventually outgrew that one myself.

As a result, I have said “uncle” more than one person ought to have to.

Not only do we develop survival tactics to survive older brothers, we develop survival tactics to survive in relationships. Not all survival tactics are bad. If you anticipate getting shipwrecked, it’s wise to pack a few supplies.

But sometimes our survival tactics actually work against having a healthy relationship. Perhaps you trusted a confidant only to have that trust violated. As a survival tactic in future relationships, you decide it’s better to clam up than to share your feelings. That’s not always healthy.

God cares about our relationships because he designed us to need each other. We were made for friendship. The Bible has much to say about how to develop healthy relationships.

I’ll share more as the month goes on. Just don’t make me say “uncle” and we’ll be alright.

upcoming one year anniversary

LifePoint is turning one-year-old on September 10 and we’re going to celebrate! It won’t exactly be a wild party, but there will be free food and desserts.

LifePoint Christian Community began with seven adults and two children who met in a home. Following six months of preparation, we held our first public worship gathering on September 11, 2005.

We want to celebrate how God has blessed the birth and growth of our church community. LifePoint is a testimony to God’s faithfulness. And we want you to be a part of the celebration!


upcoming service opportunity

On September 23, LifePoint will be joining Volunteer San Diego and the San Diego Park and Recreation Department to help preserve the nesting sites of the endangered California Least Tern. We’ll meet at North Fiesta Island in Mission Bay Park! There will also be opportunities for children ages 5-13.

why i love local music

We had another great LifePoint Cafe last night with two local artists -- Michael Tiernan and Nathan Welden. One of the key values at LifePoint is that we want to actively support the local arts scene. We believe God is a creative God and that the church should look for ways of encouraging the arts.

For too long, there has been an antagonistic relationship between the "church" and the arts. There was a sense that art was too emotional or expressive or even human. Rather than embracing the arts as a way of communicating truth, the church resisted the arts. In some cases, churches even eliminated the arts altogether. At LifePoint, we want to build a bridge between our community of faith and the arts community.

Now ... on to local music. One of my favorite things to do is hit the open mic circuit. Why? Because it's a garden-style variety of music and musicians. You have people playing out for the first time alongside old guys with no thought of "making it big." You also have musicians who ought to make it big.

The level of talent is strong in San Diego. There are phenomenal guitar players, great writers, talented vocalists. Many of them have strong spiritual underpinnings though their music wouldn't be classified as "Christian" by them or anyone else. And that's OK. I would much rather have good music with a strong positive theme than shabby music about cutting off your sister's big toe (I admit that's a bit drastic and was totally made up -- but there probably is a song out there about cutting off your sister's big toe).*

If I started to list all the artists I've heard and been impressed with, I would definitely overlook some who deserved to be mentioned.

Why should we support the local music scene? For one, it's good. For another, it's often free! I also feel like it's similar to supporting an up-and-coming athlete and providing valuable encouragement. The level of contact and friendship you have with a local musician is unlike anything that's possible when they do make it big.

And you can look back and tell your children ... I knew that guy when he was playing at Twiggs for free!

* Note: There is a Steve Poltz about cutting off big toes but the toe cutter is a Hitchhiker Joe and he cuts off your big toe, not your sister's big toe.


which king do you follow

This is a new design I came up with late Saturday night. I thought about incorporating several Elvis impersonators and perhaps Don King ... but this is what I settled on. I used a font called "Hammer Keys" to produce the double effect. "Elvis" was filtered in Adobe Photoshop after a bit of cropping and erasing work.

You can actually buy this design on a t-shirt. Click here to find out how.

new mattresses for the girls

We spent this afternoon shopping for new mattresses for Hannah and Hope. We finally settled on mattress sets from Sleep Train in La Mesa. The girls enjoyed shopping for mattresses since they were allowed to hop on and off different beds. The bed frame that Hannah uses is actually the one I grew up on. When I was in early elementary school, I shared a bed with two of my older brothers. With five boys and two parents and only three bedrooms, there was more than a fighting chance that somebody would be sharing a bed. I can speak from personal experience that this bed frame is 100 percent sturdy.


kicking around a few ideas

I've been kicking around a few ideas about what should a LifePoint Christ-follower look like. In other words, after a person has been a part of our spiritual community for a while ... how would they be different? What would they value? Those are the sort of questions I've been kicking around (along with ... how do you get there!).

One thought that has kept creeping up is this: practicing our ABC's. I first heard a pastor from Dallas speak about this regarding his church. He said it was their goal to have every member practice their ABC's.

A stands for "Attend worship." I would hope that anyone who considers LifePoint to be their spiritual home would regularly attend our worship gatherings. It's in worship where we encounter God as a community, tell our stories, and reenergize. From the beginning of the Christian movement, Christ-followers have met for worship on a regular basis.

B stands for "Be in a LifeGroup." We believe that simply attending worship will not produce deep, lasting spiritual change. It's surely a good start but more is needed. We emphasize small, intentional communities of people because that is where friendships are developed and strengthened. So much of Christianity is relational -- just look at all the "one another" passages in the New Testament.

C stands for "Contribute to service." One of our core values at LifePoint is that the spiritual life is not a spectator sport. Christ-followers do not watch from the sidelines but look for ways to get involved. It is when we are serving others that we are most like Jesus.

So ... after a person has been a part of LifePoint for three or six months, I would hope they would be a person who is practicing their spiritual ABC's.

i made a new picture

This will probably show up on a t-shirt soon.


new direct mail campaign starts this week

Our second round of direct mail for LifePoint will hit mailboxes this week. We did our first round before our grand opening last year. We did the design in-house and have been working with Rush Printing to handle the printing and mail services. We will be mailing four different postcards to the same 25,000 households over the next four weeks.

Here are the final proofs (click the thumbnail to see a larger picture):

Card One

Card Two

Card Three

Card Four

the pied piper of capitalism

Have you ever felt like you were in a movie? I had that feeling yesterday as I was walking into the Wal-Mart at Parkway Plaza. As I approached the outside entry, I noticed there were streams of people coming from all directions -- just to get in Wal-Mart. We were all walking in single file and no one was talking. It made me think that Wal-Mart has become the pied piper of capitalism ... only it draws us in, rather than leading us out.


it was festive at cityfest

LifePoint sponsored a booth at CityFest yesterday. Matt Tuggle did a great job helping unload and setup everything ... at the bright and early time of 7:30. After eating a muffin together, I left Matt to bolt over to Mission Valley in time to do a few things before our worship gathering started. After that, Jonathan and I headed back over to CityFest to relieve Matt, Charles, and Cory.

I told Jonathan that working at CityFest revived my days of working at the Heart of Illinois Fair in Peoria. For three summers during high school, I had a job selling t-shirts at the fair. I worked for one of those rolling booths that travelled the fair and festival circuit. We had about 50 or so different iron designs and I learned how to crank out t-shirts as quickly as possible. I also learned how to shout out at people walking by. I wasn't quite as eloquent as the two guys who worked at the lemonade stand next door ... but I did have a larger vocabulary :-)

Anyway, back to CityFest. We created a booth that showed the various sides of LifePoint with the overall theme being, "If going to church was like going to Starbucks ..." We had a chance to interact with a number of people and had 30 people enter a contest to win free Starbucks gift cards. Not too bad for a crowd that wasn't exactly at CityFest looking for a church.

At the end of it all, Jonathan and I broke everything down, loaded up, and headed home. It's Monday afternoon and I'm beginning to recover.

Who knows ... we may hit Octoberfest next!


tomorrow is cityfest

We've been preparing for LifePoint's booth at CityFest for about three weeks. Our creative team has done a great job of designing a low-cost booth that is still very attractive. We are displaying various posters with scenes from around LifePoint. These include our worship gatherings, teaching times, KidPoint, and our LifePoint Cafe. I'm especially pleased that several of our featured artists are allowing us to have their CD's for sale at our booth.

Having a booth at CityFest is part of an intentional strategy of interacting face-to-face with our neighbors. We'll see how this one goes ... and then maybe we'll tackle Octoberfest in La Mesa!


an artist friendly environment

I met this afternoon with one of the musicians who has played at our LifePoint Cafe. She was bringing me a stack of CD's for us to put out at our CityFest booth on August 13. We had a wonderful little visit, catching up on how things are going with her career.

After she left, I reflected on something that has long been a passion of mine -- creating an artist-friendly environment at LifePoint. I would love to see LifePoint become a place where artists are not only welcomed but where they take up residence. A place where they return to draw spiritual strength and support. A place where their creativity is encouraged and challenged to have redemptive value.

I think of what the Belmont Church was in the 1970s and 1980s as artists from the Nashville area began attending. A more recent example would be Mosaic in Los Angeles. Both seemed to foster an environment where the artist felt at home.

I believe it's hard for most churches to create an artist-friendly environment because most churches are not artist-friendly. "Creative arts" in many churches simply means the music they use. It's not a holistic, all-encompassing approach.

As I think through the various churches in San Diego, not many jump out as "artist friendly" churches. Certainly not among artists in their 20s and 30s. The work of many of these same artists have very spiritual undertones. Unfortunately, they don't feel a need to root themselves in a faith community. Or maybe they tried and didn't feel at home.

My hope is that God will use LifePoint to become that kind of faith community. And we're getting there ...

the girls are back in town

Life has returned to normal around the Hensley household. Tonya and the girls flew back into town last Wednesday night and we're are slowly getting readjusted to each other :-) Honestly, it's really good to have the girls (all three) back around.

By the time I arrived to pick them up at the airport, they were already in the baggage claim area. I inched my way forward trying to hide from them. Hope was the first one to spot me and I tried to duck behind a column. She came running at full-speed and jumped right into my arms. We both stood there for about 30 seconds as Tonya and Hannah began looking frantically for Hope. When they finally spotted us, Hannah took off at full speed as well. Fortunately, I was able to brace myself for the collission.

So ... life has resumed a certain pace and little piles are reappearing around the house. Life is good!