three c's

I spent several days this past week interviewing potential candidates for two job openings at Blue Haven.

Task number one was to sift through the mountain of resumes we received. After going through the first dozen or so, I half-expected to receive at least one or two from a Rear Admiral or nuclear physicist. And this was my stack of resumes for an entry-level position. Maybe next time I’ll thin out the competition if I put “No Ph.D. required.”

Then came the interviews. I’m probably one of the rare birds who actually likes interviews. I enjoy the give and take, as well as watching how people respond to questions they might not have expected.

When I’m interviewing potential employees, I’m looking for three specific things. The list I’m about to share didn’t originate with me. I first heard this explained by Bill Hybels at a pastor’s conference in Seattle. It made such good sense, that I decided to adopt it as my own approach to selecting leaders -- or hiring people.

Character. Does the person I’m thinking about selecting seem to have good character? Is this a person I could trust? Will they be a person of integrity?

Chemistry. How would I feel about sharing an office with this person for eight or more hours a day? Is there a sense that we would enjoy working together? Do I think they would drive me crazy!

Competence. Do they have the skills to do the job? Do they have an aptitude for learning new things?

They are listed in the exact order of importance. If a person has competent skills but lacks character, I’ll take a pass. If a person has character and is definitely competent, is there enough chemistry to where we could work well together? Generally speaking, competence can be gained through training and coaching; character is not so easily learned at a conference.

What is true in hiring new employees, is also true in selecting ministry leaders or when looking for a husband or wife. Too often people compromise by choosing competence or chemistry over character.

But when you have all three ingredients in good measure ... watch out! You have the makings of a true blessing.


pool slide tips

One of my many opportunities at Blue Haven is to write the content for our email newsletters. Most of the time I wax eloquent about chlorine or some other glamorous topic. But we recently began a push on S.R. Smith swimming pool slides and have stepped up our marketing efforts. So, we dedicated our last email blast to pool slide. To help lighten things up, I offered the following pool slide tips:

Tip #1: Never go down the slide without your toupee securely fastened.

Tip #2: It’s not wise to carry the family cat on your lap. You might enjoy it, but the cat won’t.

Tip #3: All slides are more fun when there’s bluegrass music in the background.


new churches

If you’ve been around LifePoint for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard us refer to other new church efforts that are underway here in San Diego. As a relatively new church ourself, we believe in helping out other new churches as we can.

CityWalk Church began downtown in the spring of 2007. CityWalk’s lead pastor, Steve Denney, has spoken several times here at LifePoint. Back around Christmas time, we had Matthew Blake from CityWalk lead our worship. Steve and his group are tackling a tough job -- starting a new church in urban environment that is both diverse and expensive.

Wave Christian Church started in Chula Vista back in September. Jim Osbourne, who had been our bass player on Sunday mornings, felt the call to start a new church in his hometown. Wave is up and running and reaching people in the Southbay for Jesus.

These are just two examples that LifePoint is personally connected to through our relationships.
These are by no means the only two new church efforts underway. We praise God for all efforts -- by new churches and older existing churches -- to reach our community with the message of Jesus.

This is where church and business are different. Unlike in business where one company views other companies in the same industry as competitors, there is no competition between churches. Well, let me rephrase that -- there should be no competition between churches.

Unfortunately, even church people sometimes view other churches as competition.

Even if every sanctuary in San Diego was filled to capacity this morning, there would not be enough seats available to accomodate San Diego’s population. In other words, we don’t have enough churches to accomodate even half of our population.

We are only in competition if we are competing for people who are already in the habit of going to church. If we are true to our mission of reaching people outside of Jesus and the church, then our “market” is nearly untapped.

That’s why I choose to celebrate any effort to reach new people for Jesus. I can rejoice in knowing that church is a team effort -- and the team is larger than just one church.


the difference a day makes

What a difference a day can make! On opening night at Petco Park, there were over 44,000 fans in attendance and only a few drunk people within five feet of our seats. Several years ago, Tonya and I developed what we call the “5 Foot Rule.” The 5 foot rule simply states that no matter where you sit at a baseball game, you will be within five feet of a drunk person. And with the recent price increases at Petco, getting drunk at a Padres game can be an expensive endeavor.

But that was Monday. Tuesday night was a different story. Twenty-four thousand “fans” somehow disappeared between Monday and Tuesday’s games. While on opening night you had to squeeze and tuck your way down the row to get to the aisle, on Tuesday night we had the entire section to ourselves. It still costed as much to get drunk as the night before, but there were definitely fewer drunks in the crowd.

That’s the difference a day can make. Trends change and what is popular today is out of style tomorrow. There is more buzz to be generated by talking about attending opening night than the second game of a four-game homestand.

Our fickle nature extends beyond baseball to media and relationships. The turnover of self-help titles at Barnes and Nobles used to be measured in years; now it’s measured in months, if not weeks. That’s how quickly trends come and go. If you were to sample best-sellers from the last ten years, you would find a myriad of approaches to fixing your finances, getting healthy, or finding love. A number of “principles” from one year would even contradict “principles” from another year.

One reason I’m drawn to Christianity is because it is a faith rooted in history, not the changing winds of pop culture. Within Christianity there is a thread of orthodoxy that runs longer than a thirty second sound bite or a New York Times best-seller. The way of Jesus has been faithfully followed by pilgrim, prince, and pauper alike for more than 2,000 years.

Modern churches find themselves in an awkward spot. As our culture races from trend to trend, from celebrity to celebrity, there is a temptation to shun anything ancient or historical. No one -- or church -- wants to appear dusty and out-of-touch.

But perhaps what lies at the heart of our culture’s fascination with trends is a desire to find significance and meaning. If so, then who better than the church to offer a real answer ... rooted in 2,000 years of history.


paying taxes

April 15 ... a distant memory at last! The mere mention of the date is enough to make certain people panic. These are usually the same people that are seen on the news driving up to the post office at 11:58 PM to beat the deadline. Of course, now that we have electronic filing, some of those people are now clicking the submit buttom in their pajamas rather than driving out to the post office.

If the Internet shuts down around midnight on April 15, we’ll know it’s because of all the last-minute electronic filers.

April 15 doesn’t strike that much fear in me. In fact, I don’t get all that bothered by the thought of paying taxes. That’s not to say I enjoy how our tax dollars are often misspent -- but I’ll save that rant for the blog.

I realized a number of years ago that what I enjoyed in terms of roads, bridges, emergency services, etc., far outweighed whatever I paid in tax dollars. There are parks I can enjoy, trails I can walk, all available without paying admission. Taxes build roads, fund schools, and provide a quality of life that is the envy of many people throughout the world.

Jesus was once questioned about paying taxes. During his day, Israel was occupied by the Roman army and the Jews were forced to pay taxes to Rome. Many Jews resented paying taxes to a foreign government.

Jesus asked to see one of the coins that was used as currency. “Who’s picture is on it,” he asked. The answer was obvious because it was a portrait of Caesar. Then Jesus added, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”

I don’t begrudge paying taxes any more than I begrudge giving money to the church. Both are a part of my responsibility of being a mature Christ-follower. The difference between paying taxes and giving to the church is this: the IRS will come after you if you don’t pay or pay enough.

God, on the other hand, will not ask for an audit. He won’t garnish your wages or charge a penalty for being late. But the Bible is clear about one thing: God blesses those who give cheerfully and generously to further the work of the Kingdom. Many otherwise mature believers often miss out on God’s full blessing by not becoming consistent givers.

As a pastor, let encourage you to do two things: pay your taxes and make giving to the church a regular habit. You will make the IRS happy and more importantly, you’ll enjoy God’s blessing in a new way!


don't be such a baby

Did you ever have someone say to you, “Don’t be such a baby”? Nine out of ten times they weren’t telling you to stop being so cute and cuddly and irresistible.

It’s more likely they were expressing a frustration that you weren’t acting your age. Hopefully, for most of us, these sort of comments ceased around the time we entered middle school -- or high school for those of you who needed a bit more time.

It’s perfectly acceptable for a nine-month old infant to act like a baby. We expect them to drool a little, spit up, and make stinkies at the most inappropriate times. That’s just what babies do; it’s some sort of inalienable right God has given them.

In the same respect, the Bible refers to those who are new to the faith as “infants in Christ” (see 1 Corinthians 3:1-4). As the apostle Paul writes, he gave them milk to drink because they weren’t ready for solid food.

Though every life begins as infant, the goal is not to stay one forever. What is true physically is also true spiritually. When an unbeliever comes to trust in Jesus, they experience the beauty of being “born again.” Though they may be twenty-five or sixty-five years-old, they are “infants in Christ.”

Thus begins the spiritual process of moving from milk to solid food.

Today’s passage describes the danger in remaining a spiritual infant. As we mature in Christ, we will “no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14).

Those who remain indefinitely on spiritual milk become susceptible to people who peddle candy bars as health food. Sweet to eat and nicely packaged, spiritual candy bars provide a short-term buzz but lack the right stuff to build a healthy life.

The goal of the Spirit-filled life is growth and maturity. It is the life-long process of learning to crawl, then walk, and eventually being able to run. Fortunately for us, the Bible provides a road map.

You can decide today to stop being a baby. You can take the first step, as wobbly as it might be, towards growing up and becoming like Jesus.


supporting the troops

The USO has a long history of proving free entertainment for troops placed around the world. It's important that we support those that support our men and women in uniform.

Support the USO.
Show US troops America still cares.
Give what you can today.


me and da mayor

Today was my volunteer shift working the snack bar at Navajo softball. All the parents on the different teams take turns working two hour shifts to help the league raise money. I was fortunate that my buddy Matt had volunteered for the same two hour shift -- nothing makes moving corn dogs and slushies go any faster than having a friend to pass the time with.

Well, much to our surprise, who comes walking up but the mayor of San Diego -- Jerry Sanders. The mayor shook a few hands and then took a spot inside the snack bar working alongside me. Since he was wearing a long sleeve white dress shirt, I tried to steer the kids away from the chili dogs but it was too much to try and divert them from the slushies. Fortunately, my dexterity didn't fail me and the mayor's shirt survived unscathed.

The mayor even kicked in a few bucks to buy slushies and corn dogs for the kids.

dowhatsright dot org

My friend and fellow San Diego church planter, Steve Denney, is about to launch a movement. Steve has been working to establish a healthy, thriving Christian community in San Diego's bustling downtown area. CityWalk is not your typical church -- it's attempting to engage people in an authentic (dare I say, holistic) kind of way.

Steve is big on connecting our Christian faith to everyday life. He recently started a new blog called "DoWhatsRight." It's about how Christ-followers should simply do what's right in regards to people, faith, and the environment.

To learn more, visit the DoWhatsRight blog.


seasons tickets to the padres

As a Christmas present, the girls and Tonya gave me a small season ticket package to the San Diego Padres. I was able to go online and pick from several of the twenty game packages. Of course, I had to check when the Cubs were coming and picked the package that gave me the most Cub games. You can take the boy out of Illinois but you can't take Illinois out of the boy ...

So far I've already been to two games -- both against the Astros. Since I only have two seats per game, we're not able to take the entire family but it's good for having one-on-one time with the girls. And they even understand foul balls, so I don't have to spend time explaining them!


turbo twisting into your pool

We have a pool slide at our house. It's kind of old-school but it gets the job done but putting you in the water instead of on the concrete. At Blue Haven Pools and Spas Supplies Direct we don't sell old-school pool slides ... we sell the thrill rides! I recently updated several of our product listings (mainly from a company called S.R. Smith) and added a few videos. Here's a link to the Turbo Twister Pool Slide, not your grandpa's pool slide.


anyone up for a trip to mars

As most of you know, I believe in almost all things Google. This little gem appeared just today ...