Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Could this be me? You?

Have you ever wondered if you are as free as you could be? Have you ever wondered if something you think frees you to be the you you need to be is really holding you back from who you are called to be? A couple months ago I ran across a couple images that made me begin to ask these questions:

These images made me ask, is this technology that I have become so immersed it created a sort of prison that I am enslaved to now? It is easy to become distracted from our calling to be rooted in God's love and to live our lives accordingly. It is also easy to forget that we were once slaves to sin, but brought to freedom through the blood of Christ. Over time, if we aren't constantly on guard, we can find ourselves slipping the cuffs back on, gladly accepting slavery to someone or something other than Christ. What is it for you?

"Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, 
you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"
- Romans 6:16, NIV

Monday, July 29, 2013

The unexpected.

Monday's on the blog are devoted to celebrating things that have happened recently or passing along information to you for opportunities to become "rooted in God's love." Last Monday something happened that most of you wouldn't know about. First of all, I talk to many people about giving their lives to Jesus and what being a follower of Christ means. Last Monday was different.

I was talking with a young man and his family about becoming a Christian. As we finished he was more convinced than ever that he wanted to be baptized. His father asked if he wanted to wait until some family could get in town, maybe do it the following Sunday. He looked up and said, "Now." 

And that's what we did. This young man saw what Jesus was calling to and saw no reason to wait! Sometimes the best things are unexpected.

**On another note, if you're interested in participating in our Parenting Beyond Your Capacity class that begins on August 7th, stop by the office to pick up a copy of the book as soon as possible!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Say you're sorry! (Friday 5 - 7/26/13)

1. Favorite Upcoming Class (That I Happen To Be Teaching) - (via This Blog)

Click here to read the blog post. This class will take place on Wednesday nights for 6 weeks starting August 7th. There is a little bit of reading required, so grab a book soon from me for $10. This book has the power to unleash the full potential of your family! If you're currently serving on Wednesday nights in Fuel or Root 252, our Student and Children's Ministry programs, and would like a copy of the book and supplemental class materials, see me!
2. Favorite Parenting Article - Should I Make My Child Apologize? - (via Gospel Coalition)
Parents frequently ask me if it is wrong to require their children to apologize when they are disrespectful or disobedient. Usually, they're concerned that they might be training their child to lie. Wouldn't it be better to wait for the child to apologize on his own when he feels genuine remorse, rather than to just repeat an apology he has been taught?
 Find out the answer here! 
3. Favorite Reason You Might Have To Apologize To Your Child - (via Awkward Family Photos)

4. Favorite Furniture - Expandable Round Table - (via Amazing Videos)

5. Favorite Footwear - Lego Slippers - (via Laughing Squid)

I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I can. Can you?

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13, NIV)

You've heard that before, haven't you? One of the most popular verses in all of scripture. Athletes love it. Self-help authors eat this passage up. "You have power!" they say. "You can do anything you set your mind to!" 

Sometimes I wonder if this verse is also one of the most abused passages in all of scripture. It's tells me I can be self-sufficient, but still has a touch of Jesus so it makes me feel spiritual...but are we reading it correctly? I wonder what Paul (the guy who wrote it) would think of our interpretations?

Here are a couple of verses leading up to the passage:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13, NIV)
Paul, once a leader in the Jewish faith, followed Jesus as the promised Messiah and suddenly he faced outrage from his peers, mistrust from Christians (after all, could he just be faking so he can be a mole for the Jewish leaders?), beatings, he was shipwrecked, rejected...yet he says "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." 

Oh more thing: Paul wrote this while imprisoned for his faith. He found contentment while in prison for being obedient to Christ!

What was the secret? "I can do all things through him [Christ] who gives me strength." For me, that gives this passage in a little different perspective. I can use this verse as a motivator for running a 5K or losing 50 pounds. But...whoa...hungry? Who said anything about being hungry? In want? In need? Alone? Jobless? Depressed? Struggling in my marriage? Family falling apart? Car broken down? Ridiculed for my faith? Can I really be content in that? 

Contentment is not happiness. Contentment is finding peace and comfort in all circumstances because you know you're not in this alone. You have the power of Christ in you. With Him, you can rest assured He's on your side.  Christ is for you, rooting for you, cheering for you. 

Contentment is a learning process. "I have learned to be content..." I have to learn to draw strength from Christ each and every day, even the good ones. I have to lean into him to find contentment. That takes practice; daily reminding myself that the power of Christ lives in me and, because of that, I can do all things. It is true, regardless of how you feel. 

Feeling alone? Christ is in you! Christ is for you!
Feeling like a failure? Christ is in you! Christ is for you!
Feeling _________? Christ is in you! Christ is for you!

What you feel and what is true often stand in opposition to one another. Stop allowing your feelings determine your life and lean into the truth of God's word. If you are a Christian, Christ is in you! Christ is for you! Learn that, and we can all say along with Paul, "I can do all things through him who gives me strength."

Monday, July 22, 2013


The following is a recap of the small group spotlight during yesterday's morning worship:

Can't see the video? Click here

We have three pages full of comments just like this from group members in last year's groups! 

As we launch into a new season of small groups, there are always lots of questions.

The two questions most often heard are:

1. Are small groups for me? Am I going to like this? The answer is a resounding
"Yes!" Seriously, we recognize that, if you've never been in a small group before,
there is some uncertainty. This is how we resolve that...try it out. Try it out for 6
weeks. We think you'll love it. If you don't, we won't make you stay. We won't
bug you about it. But we appreciate you trying it out. We call it a 6-week trial run.

2. What about my kids? Our staff and Eldership believe in the power of family.
Family is one of the oldest institutions, 2nd only to marriage that began at creation.
We also believe that our families are strengthened when there are outside influences
speaking the consistent truth into the lives of our children. This year, our Elders and
staff are encouraging you to bring your kids with you. If you're group would like, we
will provide easy, minimal prep, short devotions for the children in your groups. We are asking adults from the groups to form a rotation to lead those devotions in another space in the home and care for the children while the rest of the group meets. We believe there is great power when children see coaches, teachers, family friends, and other community leaders investing in their spiritual lives as well. As the saying goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." The same is true in the spiritual development of a child. Imagine the power that could be unleashed in the lives of children as children see and hear other people caring about their relationship with God! As children see that a relationship with God is not simply something that happens inside the church walls, but happens in the day to day lives of those around them we believe families will be strengthened and children will have a greater appreciation for their own faith. 

If your children are in 6th grade or older, we have small groups for them as well. You will be hearing from Logan soon about all the details.

We also know there are many other questions you may have. Those will be answered
at "Connection," our small group launching event that will be held in the Family Life
Center on August 11th at 6:30 PM. We will provide child care. You'll see more details about Connection soon.

Registration is open now for Small Groups! Sign up in the church foyer.

As always, feel free to contact me anytime.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Barbie, Penguins, and Purpose.

Hot off the presses, here are week's five favorites:

1. Favorite Self-Image Reality Check - Barbie Got Back - (via Visual News)

Someone got a 3D printer and created a 3D model of the average 19 year old woman and placed it next to a Barbie Doll. Hmm...what are we teaching our young girls?

2. Favorite "Meaning of Life" Article - 4 Questions Everyone Needs to Ask - (via Pete Wilson)
Pete says, "I believe to really find the deepest purposes for which you exist, you must be able to answer the following questions. 1.Who am I to serve? the rest here. 
3. Favorite Teacher - Wearing the Same Outfit for the Yearbook - (via My Modern Met)
What started out as an accident on his 2nd year of teaching, Dale Irby thought it would be humorous to wear the same outfit for his yearbook photo for 40 years!

4. Favorite Photo - Penguins - (via My Modern Met)
This photo, called Penguins, Ice and Light. Taken in Antarctica, it shows playful penguins and a large iceberg above and below the sea.

5. Favorite Video - Amazing Bead Chain Experiment - (via YouTube)
I can't embed the video, so you'll have to jump to the site to view it

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

You are messed up! (Well, so am I.)

Photo Credit
What do you see when you look in the mirror? What do you see when you put away all the masks we use to hide who we really are? When you look into the reflection do you like what you see?

We go to such great lengths to hide who we are, the "me" I don't want anyone else to see. We buy things we don't want, go places we don't care to go, wear "brands" that cost more than you make in a day, buy things for our kids so they won't feel left out, drive cars we can't afford, all to project an image to the world that we think people will like and respect. We hide behind masks to feel loved and valued. This isn't a "woman" issue. It's not a teenager issue. It's the reality of the world we live in. 

We are, subtly and no-so subtly, told over and over again in any given day that you are not enough: not smart enough, not skinny enough, not strong enough, not rich enough, not enough for any standard. What is our answer? Hide. We hide our failures...the one's you hope and pray no one finds out about. We hide our fears, our loneliness, our insecurities and present an image that looks pretty on the outside. 

We acknowledge that we don't have it together, but only a little bit. No one wants to be the "goody two shoes." So you let people know that money is tight, but you're still planning a big trip to Disney so that no one will find out how tight it really is...even your children (the world is capitalizing on this now...I saw an ad recently for a "vacation loan!"). You let people know that you don't get along with your spouse all the time, hiding the fact that you're terrified they might leave you any day. You say that your kids are giving you fits, hiding the fact that you're scared that something deeper may be going on in their lives. You acknowledge that you struggle with lust, hiding that pornography has a death grip on you and you have no idea how to get out. 

We hide because we don't want people to see the real me. 

1. God loves you. I know this sounds cliche and you've heard it said before, but please please please don't lose sight of this. You may not love you. Those around you may not love you. God has never stopped loving you from before you were even you. 
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1a)
2. Yes, you are messed up. I have news for you. So am I. So is every friend, family member, and co-worker you have. Jesus wants to take care of that. Jesus wants to set you free. Sometimes we hide the circumstances that we have no control over. Sometimes we hide our sin and the consequences of our sin. How much freedom would we and those around us experience if we embraced the freedom that Jesus gives!

Hiding behind masks robs us of the intimacy that our Heavenly Father wants to have with us. Masks rob us of the ability to experience the intimacy with other people that we want. We all want to be fully known and to be loved anyway. Masks steal that away from us. Masks rob us of intimacy with ourselves. Our masks cause us to become imprisoned and cause us to hate who we are and resent those who appear to be becoming what we want. 

If you are a Christian, YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD! He has adopted you as sons and daughters. You are royalty. You are of more worth than gold. It doesn't matter if you believe it or not, it is true. He loved you first. 

Tim Keller recently wrote in his book "Galatians for You":
Because of the gospel of Christ crucified, Paul says, I do not feel inferior to or intimidated by anyone... And because of the gospel, I do not feel superior to or scornful of anyone...

If we would begin to believe that, we would find true freedom. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

So much time and so little to do.

Scratch that. Reverse it. 

You're busy. Summer is quickly drawing to a close. School is approaching. Vacations are being squeezed it. You're busy. I understand. For my Campbellsville Christian readers, I want to help you as a new school year approaches. Get out your calendars...

On August 7th our Wednesday's night kick back off here at the church. We start out with a Family Friendly dinner from 5:50-6:20 PM in the Family Life Center. We suggest a donation of $3/person with a max of $10/family.

Our Groups start at 6:30 PM. 
Children's Ministry - Root 252
Student Ministry - Fuel
Adults - Deeper Life Studies:
     - Joe will be teaching a New Testament Overview
     - I will be teaching a class called Parenting Beyond Your Capacity
     - The Men's group will be doing a variety of Bible Studies

Sunday Night Small Groups resume on August 11th with our launching event called Connection. We will all meet at the church at 6:30 on the 11th (childcare will be provided) to talk together about the purpose and vision for our Small Groups ministry. The Student Ministry will have an event to launch their small groups during the same time as well. 

The staff and church leadership are very excited about the possibilities of this upcoming year, specifically as we focus in on two of our expressions of love: Study and Service. Let me encourage you to join us on the journey to become "rooted in God's love!"

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mice and Men

This week's 5:

1. Favorite Marriage Article - How I Know My Wife Married The Wrong Person - (via Cross Shaped Stuff)

Singles today (and most married couples too) are searching for super-spouses that simply don’t exist. People expect far too much from their spouse in all the wrong areas.

2. Favorite Parenting Article - 5 Ways To Lead Better At Home - (via Carey Nieuwhof)

1. Save some of your best energy for family. Many leaders simply show up at home exhausted. They’ve given their best, and there’s nothing left over for the people who matter most to them. Start managing your energy, not just your time. Prepare for home the same way you prepare for work and your home life will improve. Guaranteed. - See the rest

3. Favorite Current Events Article - The New Normal - (via Max Lucado)

Is the church returning to its birthplace? The move to redefine marriage is the most recent of a string of events that suggest we are entering a new normal. If so, here is the good news: the Bible was written for times like these. The church flourishes in times like these. Scripture exists to help the church thrive as citizens of heaven and strangers and exiles on earth. Read the rest here.
Bob Russell (former Senior Minister, Southeast Christian Church) also had an excellent article regarding this. Read it here.

4. Favorite Video - Adrift - (via Vimeo)

Adrift from Simon Christen on Vimeo. (Simon is a Pixar animator)

5. Favorite Cinemagraph - (via echo hub)

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Great day, Garrett Morgan, get it together!

I don't usually trash talk people on my blog, but today I will make an exception. Who is Garrett Morgan you ask? Well, let me tell you a little story (an uninteresting one at that):

The other day, I was driving home from the office, getting ready to turn left on South Columbia Ave, when I noticed something strange happening at that intersection. It was like chaos. There were 11 lanes of traffic (including turning lanes), all full, trying to determine whose turn it was to go next. Clearly these people struggled passing Kindergarten. It was like like watching a bunch of 3-year-olds arguing over who the line leader is.

The stoplight was out. I watched two city police cars drive through (also not seeming to understand the turn-taking process) and not offer to assist what was about to become an ugly mess. I could feel my blood pressure rising and the inner Coach Albertson was ready to come out. Everything was out of sync. Communication broke down all because one stoplight quit working properly.

So, who is Garrett Morgan? This guy:

He invented the stoplight in 1923 and apparently didn't think it a good idea to develop some sort of back up system with a backup of that backup so it wouldn't inconvenience my commute when one of them failed. I say we sue him! What that? He's dead? Oh, well, that's problematic. He also invented gas masks and something that straightens hair? Well, I suppose we should let this one oversight go then. Watch out Morgan...I'm keeping my eye on you!

All this got me to thinking about how little things get us out of sync. Not just things like altering your morning routine and forgetting to put on deodorant as a result. (I'm not the only one, right?)

I'm talking about how little things get us out of sync with God and with others. Someone at work says something that hurts your feelings and it ruins your day, possibly for days. You can't focus on anything else. You start thinking about all the other ways they've hurt you and all the nice things you've done for them. It spills over into your family when you get home, and at the end of the day you certainly don't feel like spending time with God.

One little event, comment, situation, can get us out of sync. Notice I said can, not will. At the stoplight, I could have let my road rage win, but this time I chose to stop, let the preschoolers go on ahead and just smile at the silliness of it all. That's the thing with situations with other people. They may put something on my plate, but once there I get to decide what to do with it. 

In 1 Corinthians 10:5, the Apostle Paul talks about the resources we have as Christians, and yet so often they go unused:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Easier said than done, no doubt. We are called to Love God and Love Others (Matthew 22:36-40) Jesus said all of Scripture hangs on these two principles. We are designed to be in sync with God, with others, and with ourselves. Imagine what would happen if we began to "take captive" every thought, every situation, and surrender it to Christ. 

People would take notice. It's almost as though the Apostle Paul knew what he was talking he was inspired or something. 

Read the rest of 1 Corinthians 10 here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

4 Days Later...

It was a rainy, wet 4th of July. Everything was cancelled, except our annual 4th if July breakfast where we serve a hot breakfast for free to anyone in the community. People still came out inspire of the rain, and so did our team. Biscuits were baking at 3am, casseroles were being baked all over Taylor county, and lots of sausage on the grill. There were just under 800 people served (about half the average attendance), but the love of Christ shone through the rain and gloom to a community. Thank you Campbellsville Christian Church for your hard work. If you see Todd Horn, tell him thanks for all his hard work! The guy was a machine through all the advance prep and throughout the event. Here are a few pictures:

Seriously, how do you respond to this at 6:30 in the morning...Billy and I decided to sing "Poncho Poncho man, I gotta be a Poncho man..."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Yelling, Ballpits, Basketball and More!

I hope you had a great 4th of July! Here are some of my favorites this week...

1. Favorite Article for Parents - The Important Thing About Yelling - (via Hands Free Mama)
My oldest daughter had gotten on a stool and was reaching for something in the pantry when she accidentally dumped an entire bag of rice on the floor. As a million tiny grains pelleted the floor like rain, my child’s eyes welled up with tears. And that’s when I saw it—the fear in her eyes as she braced herself for her mother’s tirade.
She’s scared of me, I thought with the most painful realization imaginable. My six-year-old child is scared of my reaction to her innocent mistake. READ THE REST HERE - Beware, its powerful.
2. Favorite Shameless Promotion - Parenting Beyond Your Capacity (via
Parenting is a huge responsibility by itself, but then we feel work pressures, social and community involvement, working on our marriages, and other stresses we all face and its no wonder so many of us feel as though our worlds are about to come crashing down. CHECK OUT THE ANNOUNCEMENT HERE 
3.  Favorite Sport/Music Mashup - How Ben Lapps Plays Basketball - (via YouTube)

4. Favorite Fun Idea - Take a Seat - Make A Friend - (via YouTube)

5. Favorite Photoshop - Photos of Smartphones Replaced with Sandwiches - (via Laughing Squid)

Everything's funnier with a sandwich!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Have you ever been exasperated? When I first thought about this question it took me back to my freshman year of basketball. Coach Albertson thought he was Bobby Knight I guess. I remember clearly what exasperation felt like that season. We were freshmen so we got the 6:00 AM practice slot. He'd often get frustrated (sometimes rightfully so, sometimes it was because he was grumpy) with us and make us run what they call "suicides" (you run from baseline to free throw line and back then to half court and back and then the other free throw line and back and then baseline to baseline). Everyone hated those. He'd tell us we all had to run one in a set amount of time (I can't remember how many seconds). If we didn't make it, we'd have to do another one and so on until we all made it under the set amount of time. 

I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but logic tells me that if we are all exhausted from the first one and cannot make it in the designated time, repeating the activity expecting a different result is to do so in vain. Coach would be stomping around all mad screaming and cursing at us, throwing basketballs at us, completely out of control. I, along with all my teammates, wanted to make the run under the allowed time, but it was impossible. Exasperation! It's that feeling when there is no way to win in a situation no matter the circumstances or what you do. So when I think about exasperation, that's what comes to my mind. 

I read this article recently called The Important Thing About Yelling on the Hands Free Mama blog (don't judge me). It's really been eating at me. It hurts to write what I am about to write, but I have exasperated my children more than I care to admit. 

I don't know what it is, because if you know me, it is completely out of character for me. Somehow with my children, whom I love only a little less than my wife, I turn into Coach Albertson. I am not an angry person, I generally go with the flow on things. But when it comes to those two sweet children that God has blessed us with, I can turn into a monster. Not even over big things...I can "lose it" if my son would rather cry over spilling his Kool-Aid than clean it up, if my daughter refuses to do what we ask, if I have to stand in the doorway just to ensure that they are getting dressed so we can make it out the door on time, you know, the exact same things I did when I was 3 and 5. 

Why is it that this monster inside me comes out on them. I shutter at the thought of them being afraid of me. I want to model patience for them, but why do they have to try it so much?

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:1-4 (NIV) 
Initially, as I read this passage, I saw the answer to my problems. They aren't doing their part (obeying), so therefore I can justify exasperating them! Nah...that can't be it. 

How do I create an atmosphere for them to receive instruction in the Lord and not equate God with a yelling dad? Simple answer...stop yelling, but you and I know it's not as easy as that. I don't want my kids to live in a house with a constant fear that the Coach Albertson in me might come out at any moment, at any honest mistake. 

I guess I have been reminded over the last couple of weeks that I must remember a few things:

1. I was a completely obnoxious child. I cannot imagine raising me. (Sorry Mom and Dad)
2. I spilled things, I broke things, I stalled, I played when I was supposed to sleep, you get the drill. These things are actually important to the development of healthy life skills. If I will use these as opportunities to teach them table etiquette,  being aware of their surroundings, and time management instead of spilling out the frustrations of my day on them, they might learn how to be healthy self-sufficient adults (of which we need more).
3. Finally, I am learning to keep things in perspective by more fully appreciating my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I know it sounds cliche, but stick with me here. If He were to pour out wrath every time I disappointed Him, frustrated Him, disobeyed Him...I'd be a dead man walking, if I were walking at all. Yet when I fail, He picks me up. When I disobey, He forgives. 

Maybe therein lies the answer. When I am in sync with God, I more accurately reflect Him. My prayer is that I would be an as-close-as-humanly-possible reflection of their Heavenly Father during my time with them on this earth. Oh...there will be discipline, but may it come from a desire for them to love and honor God with their lives and not from anger or frustrations that, deep down, have absolutely nothing to do with them. 

**Parenting is tough work. It can be easy to be frustrated and feel like you're the worst parent ever. Don't worry you're not. Mark your calendar for our class in August called Parenting Beyond Your Capacity - you can read more about it here

Monday, July 1, 2013

God specializes in inviting people beyond their capacity...

September 25th, 2007 changed my life forever. I have experienced some changes is my life: high school graduation and heading to college far from home, moving to a new city and knowing no one, and getting married. All of these things required me to change and adapt, but none like 9/25/07...the day our oldest son was born. 

Suddenly it was like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. "I am responsible for this boy, raising him right, keeping him safe, teaching him how to ride a bike, drive a car! I don't know if I can do this!" I suppose this internal conversation has happened many times in the life of others, but never in my own mind had I realized the gravity of what was happening as I held this baby boy in my arms.

Parenting is a huge responsibility by itself, but then we feel work pressures, social and community involvement, working on our marriages, and other stresses we all face and its no wonder so many of us feel as though our worlds are about to come crashing down. 

I am excited to announce a new class we will be offering beginning Wednesday, August 7th called "Parenting Beyond Your Capacity." It's a study of a book** by the same name from authors Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof. I have been looking forward to this announcement for about 6 months now. 

This is a 6-week class for all parents with children under their roof. We are going to be discussing principles of parenting through the lens of Deuteronomy 6. 

From the authors:
"The concepts we are going to discuss should be viewed as more of a compass than a road map. The last things we want to do is create a standard, more parenting initiatives, and more tasks for you to do. Instead, we hope to establish a kind of framework to help you remember what's important" 

You already have so much to do, I understand that, but no one has more potential to influence your child than you. Join us as we learn together in community how to parent our children beyond our limited capacity. 

*This class is part of our Deeper Life groups that we offer on Wednesday nights from 6:30-8:00 PM. We also offer a meal at 5:50 pm for your entire family. After the meal, your teens can go to Fuel (our Student Ministry program) and your smaller children can head to Root 252! 

**We will have books available for purchase soon. Watch for more details.