a great cafe

We had our first "ladies only" cafe at LifePoint this past weekend and the music was outstanding. We hosted Annie Bethancourt and Paige Aufhammer, two musicians who also happen to be Christians. Each of them writes and sings with an obvious passion for life. Musically, it may have been one of our best cafes yet!

I especially appreciate the fact that they write songs which reflect their faith without becoming sappy or filled with cliches. It's music that takes you from spectator to participant -- in other words, you have to wrestle with what is surfacing in the song. That's not a bad thing!

For music to be authentic, it has to spring from a place that is both personal and shared. It comes from an artist's experience yet it relates to the shared experiences in the audience. It's this common ground that makes music a powerful connector.

This is why I appreciate Christian artists who write songs that connect faith to life without turning people away. Christians and non-Christians alike wrestle with issues of love, redemption, hurt, heartache, and so much more. Some Christian artists think that to gain a broader audience, they must abandon any and all faith-inspired music. That's why I'm encouraged to see a new generation of artists who are effectively bridging both worlds in a way that honors God and finds common ground -- without sacrificing musical quality.

That's about all ...

Annie Bethancourt
Paige Aufhammer


milestones and more

LifePoint began in our living room with a group of folks who had a dream about creating a new church. We have passed several milestones since then: grand opening, our first baptism, and our first anniversary.

We have several milestones still to achieve: becoming financially independent, giving birth to new churches throughout San Diego, and much more! Each milestone, every dream represents an opportunity to watch God at work in our midst.

We are most definitely in the midst of a God-directed growth phase. I have been encouraged by how many of you express confidence in LifePoint by bringing friends along with you. Every person represents untold potential in the hands of God.

To help us increase our impact and influence, we will be introducing several new things over the next few months. In January we will have our first Starting Point meeting, a time to explore how a person becomes a Christ-follower and what it means to follow him at LifePoint.

Later in 2007 we will roll-out even more focused events. LifeLink will seek to help you get involved in a ministry or team based upon your passions and abilities. GroupLink will be an introduction to our LifeGroups.

These spiritual development modules will be offered on a rotating basis. I would love nothing more than having to offer each one every month! That day will soon be upon us!


lefty's chicago-style pizza

Buried in a little hole in North Park is a great pizza joint. My friend, Jim, took me to Lefty's Chicago Style Pizza on 30th, just north of Upas Street. It's small and lively. Cubs souvenirs hang on the wall and the guys who run it are actually from Chicago.

Here's the clincher: they have Pabst Blue Ribbon ... on tap! In fact, only two beers are on tap: PBR and Newcastle. PBR is a definitely a tip-of-the hat to their Midwestern roots.

I didn't see any tax lawyers, but there was definitely an eclectic mix of people. Check it out ... and remember to get the stuffed pizza.

spiritual development plan

I've been working with my coach on creating a "spiritual development plan" for the people who come to LifePoint. In other words, how do we intend to help them mature and become better equipped Christ-followers? To this point, we have focused primarily on how to bring people in -- something a new church has to do. We're now entering a stage where we need to begin thinking and acting more strategically and structurally.

So, I spent most of yesterday brainstorming ideas, looking up relevant Bible verses, and trying to get a feel for the "flow" of things. Tonya chipped in with a name I liked and we're hoping to put it in place before the end of the year.

It will include ...

  • Pizza with the Pastor. This is our way of introducing recent attenders to myself and LifePoint.
  • Starting Point. This will be our basic introduction to Christianity and the LifePoint, story, vision, and values.
  • LifeLink. This will seek to connect people to ministries and teams.
  • GroupLink. This will seek to move people into new and existing LifeGroups.

I really believe this is the next stage we need to put in place. Attracting new people is something we will always do -- now we need a way of connecting, developing, and deploying the people God brings our way.

Stay tuned ... more details to come.

an old observation

Due to my refusal to pump an endless stream of quarters into La Mesa parking meters, I typically park several blocks away from Cosmos and convince myself it's for my health. As I walk up Palm Avenue, I pass a United Methodist Church that has one of those message boards where they post upcoming sermon titles. I had to chuckle a few weeks ago when I saw this one:

"Simplify, Simplify, Simplify."

My first thought was ... wouldn't it have been simpler to just put "Simplify"?


a few more reflections on yesterday

As I reflect on yesterday's worship gathering, two particular things stand out:

  1. The creativity of the people God brings to LifePoint. We are blessed to have an increasing number of talented people willing to use their gifts to serve God.
  2. Many of our regular attenders brought a friend! That's a vote of confidence when a person invites another person to church.

In order to encourage our folks to brings friends, we have always tried to provide a guest-friendly worship experience.

LifePoint is truly a team effort. Not everyone can write a script or play guitar – but everyone can share in the mission of building God’s church. When each of us works together, something special happens.


the reviews are in

The early reviews are in ... and by most accounts, The Not Really All That Early Early Show was a tremendous success. We redesigned our stage as the set of our late-night talk show and ran the entire worship experience like it was a talk show. Our creative team, especially Eric Piepenbrink ("Christian Mann"), did a fantastic job from start to finish.

If you missed the live production, look for the video to be released in the next few weeks. I'm going to try to get a compressed version uploaded to youtube ... a LifePoint first! We'll probably stream parts of it from our website as well.


a gathering of pastors

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a gathering of pastors at Hope International University. For the past several years, pastors from the independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ have met for a day of networking. I was asked to lead a roundtable discussion on how LifePoint is using techology to build our church. It was fun sharing all the different things we've tried ... what has worked and what hasn't.

The featured speaker was Leroy Lawson, a pastor and former President of Hope. I first Leroy back in January of 2005 when he and Russ Blowers were guests at the church planting boot camp Tonya and I attended in Northern California. It was a great opportunity to be around two men whom God has used in tremendous ways.

Leroy spoke yesterday about the need to fight discouragement by eliminating a pastor's tendency to be competitive -- competitive in the sense of comparing one's situation to that of other pastors. He emphasized that we are to be competitive but in terms of working together against a common enemy.

I had the chance of spending a few minutes with Marcus Bigelow, the man who really shaped the original Stadia vision that drew me to planting with them. He is about to resume more day-to-day responsibilities with Stadia West, the region of which LifePoint is a part. I think this will help revitalize an enthusiasm for church planting on the west coast.

Well ... I capped my day with the open mic at Cosmos. It was a good day.


the healing powers of baseball

I'm multitasking -- watching ESPN and working on videos for this Sunday. ESPN just ran a story about how Major League baseball honored those who were hostages in Iran back in the late 70s. It seems that Bud Selig learned that one of the hostages was a lifetime Brewers fan and decided to give him a lifetime pass upon his return. Other owners soon did the same. The ESPN piece chronicled how these passes helped the hostages return to normal lives, even helping restore relationships to children.

It was a great story. Go baseball!

head on commercial

It seems that the manufacturers of Head On have finally recognized how annoying their commercials can be ... the most recent commercial has a guy interrupting the narrator to voice his annoyance with the commercial but praise for the product.

breast cancer awareness month

Buy a t-shirt and support breast cancer research.


the not all that early early show

We've been working on a special creative push for October's teaching series. On October 22 @ 10:30 AM we'll be hosting the one and only production of The Not All That Early Early Show. The entire worship service will be designed around a late-night talk show theme. Christian Mann (Eric Piepenbrink) will be our host for the show. A few things we'll have include ...

  • The music of Justin Gramm and the It's Never Too Early band.
  • The premier of Catherine Piepenbrink's new movie, Communion.
  • Headlines
  • Commercials
  • And yours truly as a special guest. The "sermon" will be delivered in the form of an interview.

We've even created a website just for the show.

And now a few promotional pictures ...


a third endorsement for hannah

The latest person to endorse Hannah's candicacy for recycling commissioner ...

cole sprouse endorses hannah


international day at lifepoint

We had people talking southern, a lady from Austria, a guy from Greece, and a few surfer dudes today at LifePoint.


hannah gets endorsed for reycling commissioner

another good sunday

It is exciting to see the development and maturity of our church community. We are continuing to grow with every week. Last Sunday was a good example.

Jim Osbourne did a fantastic job speaking about the need to have servant hearts. And this was after playing lead guitar during our opening music!

Eric Piepenbrink found our communion audio clip via a recommendation from his dad.

Several people arrived early to set up refreshments, prepare communion, and to get KidPoint ready.

We had a group of people pray for our worship time, for our teacher, and for the people who were coming to LifePoint.

A good number of our guests were there because a LifePoint person brought them along.

What a privilege it is to walk alongside such a great group of people.