Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blog Change

The blogging email service I have been using is no longer in service.  If you are currently subscribed to my blog via email please add "" to your safe list.  Future blog updates will come from this address.  My blog won't change, just the email service that sends out automatic emails when I add new content.

If you are reading this and don't have a clue what I'm referring to, you can email me at to be added to the blog email list. Basically, whenever I post new content to my blog you will receive an email letting you know.  Pretty simple!

Thanks to everyone who is reading the posts and following what's happening with our lives and Evident Church.  We appreciate your prayers, support, and encouragement.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I'm conducting an email test.

Monday, December 22, 2008

An Evident Church Christmas!

It's a great feeling to have our first Christmas at Evident! We're not doing any Christmas Eve services or anything like that this year (keeping it simple for now), but we're using the two Sundays surrounding Christmas to celebrate this amazing season.

Sunday, December 21 - Part of the worship experience for the first time at Evident, the Evident Church kids wowed us with special songs and even choreography. Honestly, the kids (and kid's leaders) were amazing - they absolutely stole the show! For the message, we dove into the question "How do you explain the virgin-birth?"

Larry King, when asked if he could interview anyone from all of history who would it be said, "Jesus Christ." "And what would you like to ask Him?" King replied, 'I would ask Him if He was indeed virgin-born. The answer to that question would define history for me.'"

Believe me, there's no reason to be bashful about believing in the virgin-birth. There's plenty of supporting "evidence" and when it comes down to it one can confidently say they believe Jesus was indeed virgin born. And this "sign" sets Jesus apart in human history as THE Christ, the Messiah, the promised one of God.

It's amazing that God left heaven, was willing to enter our sin-filled world (as he does our sin-filled lives), walked among us as we do, die for us, and then went back. It's the gospel!

Sunday, December 28 - We're looking forward to having communion together as a new church for the first time since we launched public worship services.

Thanks for all your support and prayers. God is bringing some great people to be a part of Evident.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Evident Messages Online!

Evident Church media page has been rebuilt!  Now, you can stay up to date with current sermons.  Plus, more to come on the media page like possible podcasting features and more!  Pass these messages on if they can be helpful to anyone.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Easy as Pie

There are a lot of unsung heroes at Evident Church, one of them is Sherrie Kyle (sorry, that's not her picture on the left). Sherrie is one of our silent partners. She has attended Colonial Woods Missionary Church ever since I was a little boy there and has recently taken on a small project for Evident. After hearing us share about the financial needs we had at Evident she started doing what she knows how to do to help. Sherrie started baking pies. Every pie she sold she would give the proceeds to what God was doing at Evident. Only at it a few months, Sherrie has raised more than $800!

Sherrie, we can't thank you enough! What you are doing for Evident and for the Kingdom is just awesome!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Life You Were Meant to Live - Wk1

Sunday we launched a new series "The Life You Were Meant to Live". Here's a quick recap of week 1.

Main Points from Sunday's Message
Genesis 1, 2:4-17
- Life without meaning is empty. Most men lead lives of quiet desperation (Thoreau).
- God "formed" us, special above all creation, no mistakes, no regrets, no oops.
- Then, God gave us physical and moral responsibility. We're accountable to him.
- Simply put, we cannot know who we are apart from knowing who He is.

A few added thoughts from Sunday’s message...
For a bit Sunday, I harped on the idea that our generation (I realize there are several represented and I think this is probably true of all of them) rarely thinks deeply about life. That’s probably not totally true. Many people do think deeply, but their thought lacks guidance. New age thinking would also tell us to think deeply and look inside ourselves (The gospel according to Oprah). The truth is, deep introspection without the guidance of Scripture is dangerous. We cannot find ourselves within ourselves. This merely leads to relativism and hedonism. No, we don’t find ourselves simply by looking within. We find ourselves within the pages of Scripture. It acts as a mirror reveal who we really are (James 1). As I said Sunday, we can only truly know who we are by understanding our creation and our re-creation (second birth). We can only know who we are by knowing who Christ is, and there is no greater more concrete way to know Christ than the pages of God’s Word. So I pray that you think deeply this week, and may your meditation be on the laws and precepts of God as found in His Word.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Heaven Come Down

We did a great new worship song this weekend. It's called Song of Hope (Heaven Come Down) by Robbie Seay Band. It's a great song and it really describes where Evident is at these days. We're getting some great feedback on what we're doing. People in the community are coming and when they do, they are pleasantly surprised at what they get. They're getting a real genuine experience that gives them something substantial in a way that they can understand. And lives are being changed!

Last Sunday night we held our first ever Evident 101, a basic introduction to Evident Church. This first one filled up in two weeks with handfuls of new people wanting to hear more about Evident, ask questions, and get plugged in. Our leaders shared the vision for what God has called us to be and then we opened it up for feedback and questions about who we are. What we heard over and over again was that from kid's ministries to guest services to setup to worship to preaching, people are being impacted by what God is doing. We're hitting our marks, doing what God has called us to do, which is to communicate a deep yet simple message of hope and renewal and salvation through Jesus Christ... AND IT'S WORKING!

I love what God is doing and where he is taking Evident. Things are going well and I don't begin to presume upon God, but I believe that this is something special. And as long as we keep our eyes rightly fixed in Christ I believe God will do amazing things through Evident. I'm believing big!

I want to brag on our team for just a minute. This past Sunday we had an amazingly talented group of young people lead worship for us and they did an awesome job. One of the band members, the drummer, made a four hour drive Sunday morning just to play with the band! After the worship service he found me and wanted to share some of his feedback. He went on to tell me that from beginning to end, top to bottom, he had experienced something amazing that day. He told me how welcomed he felt; he mentioned that he observed people who were excited about what they were doing; he mentioned at one point that he had at least seven people helping him set up his drum kit; he noticed the worship was full of life; and on and on and on he went. He wanted to pass this on to me and just say that what he experienced isn't normal and is truly special. From his perspective this kind of atmosphere is contagious and it wouldn't be long before we were packing the place out, moving walls and setting up more chairs. This is the kind of place God can use.
Team, YOU are doing an amazing job, it is off the charts! God gets any and all credit I know and fully believe that, but it is right to thank him and celebrate what He is doing through you. God has been so good! Awesome guys, KEEP IT UP!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Jesus for President

they say never talk about RELIGION or POLITICS... we’re talking about BOTH...

The war, abortion, the economy, gas prices, unemployment... We’re taking a look at what faith has to do with it. Don’t worry, this isn’t about endorsing a candidate or party... In fact, we’ll probably make fun of how the church has historically addressed politics. It should be fun and even a little controversial!

Oct 19 Jesus: Democrat or Republican?
Oct 26 Jesus: Skeletons in the Closet (what they never told you about Jesus)
Nov 2 Jesus on Hot-Button Issues

Evident Church
P.O. Box 380256
Clinton Twp, MI

Meeting, Sundays, 10am
Seneca Middle School

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Evident Church has Launched!

Hey, it's official, we're running weekly now! It's crazy and I can't tell you all the feelings I'm feeling and we're feeling as a team as we let the Grand Opening sink in and look to next Sunday. We're riding the high of a great Grand Opening! Once again, God was faithful and so many people showed up. The spirit and life was great and we are seriously off to a great start. Grand Opening went great!

From what I can tell at least one more person accepted Christ (and there was no specific call for this!), and this is what we hope will happen! We hope that people will be coming to Christ on a weekly basis just as a natural outflow of Evident Church... and we're seeing that! Altogether we had 189-people at the Grand Opening and once again the kids had a blast and we worshipped God and we communicated about Christ and preached from the Bible in a way that people could understand. It was great and I'm loving where we are right now! It's tough, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but it's great.

We're hoping to push attendance up near 200 as soon as we can (this is important for stability at the level we're hoping to launch). We're also hoping for greater awareness and connection in the community. Pray for Matt our Connections Pastor as he works with his team about outreach. Pray for Tim our Creative Arts Pastor as he works to develop the worship teams. Pray for Rosalie our Kid's Team Leader who is working to recruit volunteers for the kid's areas. Pray for Jeni who handles Guest Services who have the tough and important task of welcoming and connecting with everyone as they check out Evident. And pray for Steve, our Portability Director, looking for drivers and setup/tear-down crew each week. These are real needs and real prayer requests we have. I sense that these first few weeks are critical and your prayers and financial support are critical as well.

Thanks for following what's going on. Praise God for all he's done and is going to do!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Grand Opening!

Words can't express all my thanks to everyone who has supported us and prayed for us so far in this church launch process. I am continually grateful to God, Raelyn (my wife), the pastors and leaders of Evident Church, the LEAD Team churches, and many other partners.

We're praying for an awesome weekend (Grand Opening, September 21, 2008, 10am)! I personally need your prayers more than ever. There is a lot of work to do and there is so much potential in this church and in this community. Pray for strength, pray for protection for me and our team, pray for direction and Godly momentum/influence, pray for God to provide, pray for many people to know and grow in Christ, pray for this to be the beginning of a movement not just the beginning of a new church.

It's time!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Our 3rd Preview Service was great! It was different than all the rest by design but God was there! We talked about that fact that faith should simplify our lives and that Jesus took a very complicated religious scene and boiled it down to just two things... love God completely and love others correctly (Matthew 22:34-40).

And then we talked about how we have been wired to worship. Whether we're raving about the latest movie or the newest phone, or screaming at the TV as our favorite team wins (or looses) the big game (I admit, I was screaming in excitement as Michael Phelps won gold medal #8!) we have been hard wired to worship! We spend billions of dollars every year because we love to heap praise on things that are excellent or praiseworthy.

The problem comes in that we often choose to worship things that don't sustain us. They don't hold our attention for long and it's no surprise because they were never designed to. Only God is able to sustain us fully and completely in worship. And worship isn't music and words, worship is a lifestyle, a focus of attention and affection.

AvaRae is at that age when she realizes when I'm gone and it really bothers her. She balls when I leave to go to work (my home office downstairs)! Then, the stage is set for a great reunion when I come home. She can hear me walking up the stairs and gets really excited! I hit the top of the stairs, get down on her level, and she comes running (as fast as a 14-month old can). I'm looking forward to this amazing embrace and hug from my girl when all of a sudden, about two steps from my arms, she makes a quick turn and runs right past me! Evidently she saw a Cheerio or a bird (who knows what). I know she'll grow out of it and be knocking me over with her hugs in no time, but for now it's a pretty good picture of what we do with God. We bypass the worship of God for lesser things. We end up worshipping creation (His stuff) when we could (and should) be worship the Creator (Him).

There's one sure and quick way to find out if you're worshipping God or not. Are you living for you? Or are you living for Him?

We are extremely excited to be heading into our Grand Opening (September 21, 2008, Seneca Middle School, 10am). I really think we're ready (with God's help and by God's grace). We had several more people give their lives to Christ at our last service and we are hungry for more life-change! If there is any way possible you can come to our Grand Opening, we think it would be well worth your time, and it would be a huge help and encouragement to us. Drag anyone and everyone you can with you, this is a once in a life-time opportunity!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

3rd Preview Service!

The graphic says it all and explains where we're at in the launch process. The summer has been interesting, but I think our team is strong and excited for our 3rd and final preview service. We've grown closer together as a team; we've grown spiritually; we've turned some corners. God is good.

Please pray for God to move and give all of us strength this weekend! If you are in the area we'd love to have you join us. We've gotten some great feedback and really like what we're seeing. Again, God is good! What we long for though is for God to fill this weekend with His power! See you on the flip-side (after a short family break)... Love you guys!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

There's Something Very Spiritual about the Smell of Cows

There's just something spiritual about muddy roads and the smell of cows! This week I've spent a few days at a church camp that I grew up going to every single year. It was the kind of thing that my whole family went to. In fact, each year pretty much the whole family makes the trek back to Brown City, Michigan for ten days of Brown City Camp. Every year it rains at least once like crazy and the gravel roads turn to mud and every year the dairy farm across the street is in full effect.

This camp has meant a lot to me. It is here that God has spoken to me and I have made many significant spiritual decisions here. It really is a great place to change your pace and connect with God. There's something neat about it... in a weird cow smell sort of way. (they have the messages from just about every service on here, some really good stuff)
Below is a passage I shared from during one of the camp's early morning prayer times. God is really working with me this week on desiring Him above all things and ministering out of an overflow of my relationship with Him rather than a deficit. I love this passage.

Psalm 73:25-28

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is Miley Cyrus Really that Relevant?

Yes, today at our second preview service we played a little round of an orignal game called "Relevant/Irrelevant". I'm sorry to say that Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) is irrelevant along with guys in blue knit sweatervests.

God's presence was real today as our team set up in yet another facility (two for two, not bad) and did an awesome job. We no doubt have the best team on the planet and it is an honor to be starting a church with them.

A long time ago (in church planting years) God told me "Josh, preach the Gospel/Jesus, and I'll take care of the church." I'm going to hold God to his word (I'm pretty sure He's good for it.) and today as the Gospel was preached a room full of followers acknowledge their desire to go deeper with God and two people stepped across the line of faith for the first time!

We are so grateful to God for His overwhelming grace, amazing friendships, and bright future. God is good! We can't wait to do this again next month! (Next preview service is August 17!)

ps - I've noticed that a lot of my posts sound really upbeat and almost too good to be true. This really has been an amazing journey and it really has been this good. Well, and it doesn't hurt that I'm an eternal optimist!

Friday, July 18, 2008

2nd Preview!

Just a heads-up, our second preview service is this weekend! As of today (Friday), the school still has power and we're good to go (what a wild ride last month). We really believe that God wants to do significant things not only in general through this new church, but specifically this weekend.

Evident Church
July 20, 10am
Sequoyah Elementary School
18500 24-Mile Rd.
Macomb, MI 48042

A few things to pray for:
- protection for our team (health, sanity, circumcstances)
- the right people to be at our service
- soft and ready hearts to hear from God
- Jesus to be made evident
- people to take steps closer to God
- people to accept Christ

Things we're praising God for:
- an amazing team
- a great and clear vision
- blessings of resources
- life in Christ
- great school to meet in
- grace and favor in the community
- the Spirit of God at work in us and the world

Thanks for all your prayers and support! If you're anywhere in the area it would be awesome to see you Sunday. If you know anyone in the area, you could be their connection to Evident Church... and to Christ.

I'll post again after this weekend to let you know how things go and what God does!

ps - we added a few new things to the site

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Church on the Beach

I think one of the best ways to be like Jesus and the early church is to have church on the beach! This is definitely one way to grow your launch team. We had a really good time this morning at Stoney Creek Metropark. We worshipped together and enjoy some good old-fashion fun-in-the-sun!

One of the things we looked at in Scripture was Acts 1:1-12 where Jesus gives some last instructions to his "launch team". Basically he said to wait for the Spirit, and when the Spirit is present there is power... power to do things you can't normally do. One of the key things the Spirit gives us power for is relationships - power to be one (united in purpose), power to be the body (different but working together), power to bear with one another. What better witness can we be than to show the world that Jesus is alive by how we relate to one another as his followers? Then we spent some time sharing what we appreciate about each other. It was good stuff, we have a great team!

Thanks Matt & Shannon for putting this together! Thanks Matt for not wearing your speedo.

I love my girls! (eating their icee-pops)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Evident Church in Action

I'd like to give a special thanks to James & Shannon Waid for taking all these great shots. These are just the first few to come through, but they look awesome! Thanks James & Shannon!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Media from 1st Preview Service

We had a little fun at our first preview service revealing our church's name. We (I) definitely need some acting classes, but I think you'll find this humorous anyway. Enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Enter... Evident Church!

To give you an update on our 1st Preview Service, I thought I'd just let you in on portions of a team email that was sent out recapping the day.

Email sent to Launch Team, June 15 PM:

Hey Team... or should I say Evident Church!

(Disclaimer: I want to thank God first and foremost. Anything good that happened today is only by and through Him. He has been so good to us!)

Wow! Oh my goodness! What an amazing day! God is so good! You all did an amazing job!

Enough with all the exclamation points but seriously you all did amazing. It was so cool to see the vision in reality. You guys pulled it off, that was it, that was the vision! We have some tweaking to do (and a constant ear to the voice and Spirit of God), but that was it.

Tim... the music, you, and the band were phenominal!

Matt... thanks for reminding us about real man fuel (wings!), seriously great job!

Team Leaders... you all knocked it out of the park!

Every single volunteer did everything with a great attitude and with excellence... what a team! (change of venue? no big deal!)

During several conversations with Matt and Ameen (Portable Church guys), they mentioned how impressed they were with all of you and the team that God has brought together. I couldn't agree more! This is amazing to be a part of.

Here's the run down on the morning:
- 140-people were a part of the day!!!
(that is excellent! don't be discouraged if people you invited didn't come, keep inviting and we'll keep cranking out experiences you'd be proud and excited to bring them to!)
- Every single kid had a blast, many had to be drug away at the end of the morning
- God was worshiped
- The gospel was preached
- Many lives were impacted
- I didn't throw up... it was a good day!

- The plan is to have DVD's of the worship experience for the entire Launch Team this coming Sunday (June 22) at our team meeting.
- You'll want to get familiar with the church's website! We'll be using this as one of our key tools.
- Our next Launch Team Meeting is June 22, 5pm, Parkside Community Church (if someone is willing to host this celebration at their house I'd rather do that - let me know!)

We'll officially be celebrating and giving feedback about the day at our next Launch Team Meeting (Team Leaders, don't forget we're meeting early at 4:30pm to debrief), but I'd love to hear your stories and get some dialogue going even now. Feel free to respond back and "reply all" to include the whole team. I'd love to hear what everyone's saying.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! It is an honor to serve with you guys. Today was so much fun, can't wait to do it again next month! Let me hear from ya.

In Christ,

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I have been pretty absent from the blog world lately. You wouldn't believe how busy we've been. And this week leading up to our first preview has been amazing (in all kinds of ways)

Honestly, the best way to bring you up to speed would be simply to have you head to and look around. We have our first public service this weekend, pray like crazy that God does what only God can do. This is His church and we are looking forward to worshiping Him this weekend! God is good (and our team has been amazing!)!

I'll update you on the flip-side!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More Pics!

Here are some more, recent pics - enjoy! Thanks Carol Ann!

First Steps

Hey, it has been way too long since I've last blogged! Things have been very busy and a lot is happening as we're headed toward our first preview service June 15. Let me just give you a quick update.

- we're excited to add several new people to the team
- has attracted some great media and buzz (several local and even large papers have called for stories)
- we'll be deciding on and announcing the church's name once voting ends May 31!
- our team has been getting more and more prepared for our preview services and launch
- AvaRae took her first steps (sorry, just had to throw that in there... and yes, of course I'm bragging!)(Hey, it's related to church planting. As a church plant we're taking some of our first steps.)

Prayer Requests:
- continued team unity and growth
- funding, we still have significant finanacial needs
- strategic partnerships
- outreach events
- June 15 preview service
- pray for Matt & Katie Woodburn to be able to move up and join us soon (pray for the sale of their house and a great job for Katie)

This is a crazy adventure! Things are tough but good. God is always faithful and has done so much even just in me not to mention all the others involved in this. We are excited to make His name great and help people find, pursue, and live a life-changing relationship with Christ! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Go Big or Go Home

Part of the vision for this church that God has placed in our hearts is that we would launch large. We believe it's not only possible but it would also honor God to launch with 200+ people (large is relative). This would give us tremendous traction and momentum as we begin to impact this community for Christ.

I've shared this with a few people (and I'm sure a few of you might be thinking it) and some have been skeptical. They didn't necessarily think that it couldn't be done but that maybe it shouldn't be done. I even had a church tell me that every church should start small and cozy, like in some guy's basement (like their church did). They didn't think our vision was biblical. Again, they thought it should start small. Sounds nice, right? I had to bite my tongue. I wanted to respond back by saying, "What? Do you mean like Pentecost!?!" I would have definitely said it with too much attitude (like I just did when I typed it).

Can you imagine launching a church with 3,000-people!!! Pentecost, the day when thousands of people attended an impromptu church service and 3,000 of them accepted Christ and were baptized! This "launch" led to the incredibly rapid growth of the church in Jerusalem. Some scholars estimate that this church numbered somewhere near 25,000-people! While this isn't the norm and isn't what we predict in Macomb, launching large provides great momentum and can prove incredibly effective in many areas. (Not to mention just the shear fact that behind every number is a name, a person's story!)

So, we believe not only would launching with some size be incredibly effective, but it would also be incredibly God-honoring. So, when this is part of the vision, it means different strategies, different plans, different approaches. You either go big or go home!

So, we have posted on the biggest billboard we could find on Hall Rd.! That in itself is a God story. (fyi - this billboard is 14' tall and 48' wide, we have the board for a biblical 40-days) Our prayer is that God will use this crazy idea to spark some interest and create some buzz. We've already seen some great response. We believe God is stirring in the hearts of hundreds of people in Macomb Township and preparing them for an encounter with Jesus... an encounter that will change their entire lives!

God, we're giving you everything we have. We trust in the vision you've given us. We know you want to connect with the people of Macomb way more than we do. We know you want to see your church thrive in Macomb way more than we do. It's an honor to be a part of something like this and a privilege to be burdened (in a good way) with a vision like this. Thanks in advance for all you're going to do!

Friday, April 11, 2008

How Much Does Your Vision Cost

I'm a little angry about vision:

Vision should and does drive everything.

Your lack of vision might be costing you more than you know (What's your vision/dream for your family, faith, future, finances? An even better, what's GOD's vision/dream for these things?).

Vision should cost you something.

If your vision doesn't cost you anything it isn't worth anything.

If the leader you're following isn't challenging you to give everything, he probably isn't taking you anywhere worth going.

If you find something worth following, it's worth giving your life to. If you find something worth giving your life to, it's worth following.

If you aren't having to sacrifice, I guarantee you will not end up where you want to. There is no way you're going to end up where you want to end up by coasting. The only way to coast is down hill.

How much does your vision cost?
How much is it costing you to pursue your dream, the preferred future for your life? What kinds of sacrifices are you having to make to propel you toward your vision (I'm not talking about sacrifices you have to make because you've been lazy and now this is where you find yourself. And I'm not talking about sacrificing the things that matter most (like family and faith) to pursue selfish ends. I'm talking about deliberate choices that will ultimately help catapult you toward your vision.). Are you following someone, something that is challenging you to go to greater levels of sacrifice? If you're not being challenged to give it all, you probably don't have a vision worth following. What's your vision/dream? How much does your vision cost?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008 UPDATE

Many of you have been asking, so I thought it was about time to give you an update on

So far it's been going great. It's generated some great interest and low level buzz. It hasn't exactly lit the community on fire yet, but I think there's still some great potential for that. We have some things coming up that I think will really help get this thing rolling in the next few weeks. We'll keep you posted.

By the numbers:
- so far, we've tallied several hundred votes
- we've received over 30 name suggestions (several decent names, several humorous ones)

Here are a few that won't make it past the panel:
St. Josh Hossler Community Byzantine Church
Hosta Church (a take off of "Hossler")

- the two most popular names so far have been Evident Church and Faithbridge Church (you can view an updated list of the names at

The greatest thing so far is just the opportunities has given us to share and engage people in conversations about the church (here's one example). I personally have found myself talking to people and asking for their input that I otherwise wouldn't be talking to about the church yet. And in addition to that, we've heard some great stories of how the news of is spreading throughout the Macomb community on it's own. People on our team have bumped into people in the community that started telling them about it!

I really think is going to help create some awareness in Macomb that we otherwise would be able to create. We're extremely excited about moving closer to our outreach events and summer preview services and we believe God can use to help build some great momentum!

Feel free to comment and share your stories.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Allure of God

There are certain parts of the Bible I just don't understand. I've been reading the past few months in the book of Hosea. It is the twisted story of a prophet of God named Hosea who God tells to marry a prostitute (not exactly the kind of girl the parents want you to bring home). She's unfaithful to him, she has several children, most of them probably not Hosea's (some real Jerry Springer material). The whole time, God is using this real life drama as an illustration of his tumultuous relationship with Israel.

What surprises me the most in Hosea is the picture of God you see. Now, remember, the genre of Hosea is prophecy. Imagery is vivid, words are used to paint powerful pictures. And it portrays a side of God not usually seen. It's an up and down story of a God who is being wrenched back and forth (like Hosea) by his love for a women (Israel) who is unfaithful. It can be kind of sappy. And at times, God seems more like a junior high boy than I'm comfortable with.

It is a powerful story of God's unbridled love for... us (let's not get into the whole debate of whether or not we/Christians are the Israel of today). In the middle of it, there are two of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible - Hosea 2:14-15.

"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope."

This is powerful. God doesn't just sit by and wait for his lover, Israel, to return to Him... He makes the first move! He allures her! God, goes after Israel. It says that He will "speak tenderly" to her. God so desires Israel that He woos her! He acts in ways that entice and draw her back to Him!

Now, the implications for this are huge! God acts in ways that entice and draw creation back to Him. This means that God woos me. As I wander and drift, not always on target in my relationship with God through Christ, God doesn't give up on me. Instead, He allures me! This means that God woos (sorry, I can't find a more manly word) those who are far from Him. Right now, God is speaking tenderly to the people we see every day around us. God is wooing and drawing them, tenderly and gently begging them to return to their rightful place as sons and daughters of the King.

Honestly, if I were Hosea/God, I'm done! No more love, no more mercy, no more effort on my part. You/Gomer/Israel have ripped my heart out for the last time! I'm through! But not God. God is ever full of love and mercy and a passion to pursue us.

I love to see then how God is using us, in Macomb, to allure people. Even crazy things like God is using to draw people to Him and make them aware of what He's doing around them. I believe God is helping Macomb to see and sense Him in a million different ways and using us to do some of it too.

I tell you what, I am absolutely captivated with a God who is this amazing! I am gripped by this kind of creative love and I am prayig that others all around me can sense the allure of God as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Big News! An Addition to the Team...

From the beginning I have been absolutely blown away to see what God is doing to pull this new church together. There is absolutely nothing about this plant that is normal or that we can take credit for. God is building an amazing team for this new church and we are continually blown away at how God is stirring in people a desire to be a part of what is happening in Macomb. Here's one more piece of that.

We're excited to be able to announce that Matt & Katie Woodburn will be coming to Macomb to join the team! My connection with Matt began when Matt and I were pk's together at Colonial Woods Missionary Church back in the day. Matt and Katie are also both graduates of Bethel College, Mishawaka, IN and have been serving at Rona Missionary Church in Fairborn, OH for the past several years. I love Matt & Katie's heart for people and their great ability to connect with the unchurched. God has uniquely gifted them and placed a common vision in their hearts. Officially, Matt will be serving as the Pastor of Connections, handling primarily outreach and assimilation (no doubt lots of other things).

As you might be wondering, our new church doesn't have the resources to be able to "hire" additional staff like Matt, even though that has been part of the dream from the beginning. The way it works is that the Michigan District (of the Missionary Church) is kicking in a portion to allow Matt to do a church plant internship with us while Matt also works a part time and raises support to help supplement the rest of his income. Please pray for these areas of transition for the Woodburns (they also have a condo to sell in Ohio).

You have know idea how much of an advantage this gives us as a church plant and we are extremely excited about it. If you would like to be a part of helping Matt & Katie make the transition or would like to contribute to the church plant in general (we still have huge needs!), please email us at or call 586.246.0938.

I continue to shake my head in amazement at what God is doing. I've never seen greater potential for God to move and do great things than what I'm seeing in this new church. I have no idea what 2008 will look like, but I do know it's going to be exciting! Matt & Katie - it's great to have you guys on the team!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pictures - Mr. E Bunny's Egg-Stravaganza

The event today with the Macomb Township Parks & Recreation Department went great. We ran a station called the "Candy Corral". There were close to 600-people (6,000-pieces of candy!) that came through and we were able to make some good connections. It was a good first touch for our church in the community (and of course we all sported our sleek t-shirts). Man, I love Macomb and we have such a hunger and determination to launch a church that connects with them and that can help them connect with Christ!

Connecting with the Community

We're participating in our first community event today. We're thrilled to be partnering with the Macomb Township Parks & Recreation Department for an Easter event. They've been great to work with. Today, we'll have the opportunity to rub shoulders and talk with nearly 600-people!

Pray that we'll make great connections. Pray that we will fall more and more in love with the people. Pray that Christ will be exalted.

(I think prayers are retro-active, so even if you didn't get this in time, go ahead and pray :)) Talk with you soon!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Church Name... sort of!

You have all been waiting so patiently. Well, here it is! Our church name... sort of!

We figured we were designing this church for the community, why not have the community give their input on our name! And this is not so much about coming up with a name as it is we're hoping to peak the interest of our community. At the very least, we're hoping to increase awareness in our community that we're launching a new church!

So jump in - we're going to have some fun with this! Spread the word. We just happen to think God can use it! See ya.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Can You Give God Props?

God deserves some serious props (translation: God has blown us away with some amazing things and he deserves proper credit and recognition). Can you really even give God props? Anyway, here's what He's done:

1) business man decides to give us business cards and t-shirts at his cost (Thanks Dmitry!)

2) God provides great video camera for us to use through one man's generosity

3) we have the biggest billboard on Hall Rd. reserved for part of our marketing plan (God moved the big boys for this one!)

4) it looks like we're in... the door has been opened for a meeting location for us! (we still have to finalize it, but things are looking good)

This past week, I have been brought to laughter, tears, my knees, and awe over what God can do! It's been great.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


"So after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off." - Acts 13:3

It's nice to know that even though we go into something risky and something difficult, we don't go alone. We are being sent out with the blessing, prayers, and support of those in authority over us and in ministry around us.

Team, here we go! It's official! It was a significant night in the story of our lives and the story of this new church. I hope you have a sense of the destiny and providence of this whole thing. We are a part of something that few people have the privilege of being a part of and I'm glad to be a part of it with you.