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    Full Disclosure
    by Stephen Gray and Barry Smith

    Essentially, I'm the authority on this concept - failures and mistakes in church planting. If you are planting a church or thinking of planting a church... this book is for you. You can click on the picture above to buy direct from Amazon, or shoot me an email and I'll send it to you for $13.00 including shipping within the United States.

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Risking It

"Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
-- T.S. Eliot

Agree or disagree? Why?


Bounce House Goes Flying

Are you kidding me? I can't imagine the terror experienced by the parents of the kids who went soaring into the air. I'm not sure what could have been to prevent this... other than concreting the thing to the ground. (There is a commercial before you get to the video-but it's worth a look)

ABC US News | ABC International News


Memorial Year

It seems more fitting to remember those who have given their lives for our freedom all year... not just one day or weekend.

I'm not jumping on a high horse. I tend to fall into the proverbial trap of many Americans... hit the appreciation big on Memorial Day and then... I've done my part as an American.

Well, a tremendous way to keep the kudos going this year is to memorize a Bible verse. Serious! John 15:13 | Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (NIV)

Although 'friends' could be a little subjective, wether it's our armed forces or Jesus - life has been sacrificed on our behalf. The military for our country's freedom and Jesus for our eternal freedom from the penalty of sin.

Our family is so incredibly grateful for both!


Chicago Bears - this is our year

I am almost embarrassed at my giddiness for the impending 2014-2015 NFL season. The Bears appear to have made all the right moves in the off-season, shoring up the unusual stall in defense while getting the most effective players re-signed on both ends of the pigskin.

Time will tell - but this year is definitely the year we will #Beardown in a big way. Regardless of the outcome, I am a life-long Bears fan to the end... thanks to my youngest, older brother who ingrained the Blue and Orange colors into my bloodstream. They cannot be removed.

Here's to a great year! GO BEARS!


Message Inspires Man To Get Tattoo After Church

This isn't a sensational title to peak your interest. Last year, a man attended Impact Community Church and got inked afterward.

The message he heard included the verse from Matthew 5:29-30 stating if your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off.

The words penetrated his very soul. He went out and got this tattoo and then told me about a little later. It's a reminder of the scripture that impacted his life.

I was shocked. Not that God would lead someone to do this... but that I had the opportunity to be a small part of it. It's why I do what I do. It's so rewarding to see that God is up to something among those who listen every week.

The man who did this has a very famous brother most everyone would know. I hope he gets the chance to share this tattoo with his brother... and WHY he got inked after church.


William Jessup University Helps Scholarship Students

William Jessup University raised 101% of their Annual University Fund to help offset the costs of education for students seeking a Christ centered, liberal arts environment.

Over 1,100 students are enrolled for 2012-2013 - A NEW RECORD! And WJU has six new degrees this Fall and Spring. Incredible.

Take a look at this video - SUPER CREATIVE way to say THANKS to all those who made it happen... including Impact Community Church which supports WJU on a monthly basis!

If you don't see the video above, click HERE!


Barack Obama & Jimmy Fallon on School Loans

You may not like Obama's politics. You may not care for his spiritual stances.

But you have to love his composure to pull this off on the Jimmy Fallon show.

How does the POTUS keep from laughing?


Exponential 2012 - National New Church Conference NNCC

What an incredible privilege to attend Exponential 2012 last week. Thank you STADIA: New Church Strategies for the opportunity. Not only were the relationships sweet and the workshops all about more effectively planting churches... the main sessions were all about Church Leaders. Yes, in other words, it's all about me. :)

The theme was 'sifted.' Taken from Luke 22:31, the sentiment is that satan has asked to sift Peter like wheat... and what is he gonna do about it. But the Lord is praying for his faith not to fail. I don't know about you, but I'm glad the Lord was praying for Peter... and I'm thinking He's praying for me too.

Christians get sifted. Period. It's not about avoiding the sift. It's about knowing that He is God and has the supernatural power through the Holy Spirit to get us through the trial... through the sift. One pastor from Northern California was with me and his comment was something like this, "I went to Exponential to see what it could offer my home church to plant more churches. But what I received in the main sessions was for me."

I'm a different person for having attended. I believe I received two directives from the Lord on this trip. 1) Be more intentional with my family. 2) Start implementing the ideas/goals/plans I have in my head.

I have to admit, I'm scared on both fronts. I fear that I might fail. That is the point of the challenge God put before me. My job is not to succeed or to fail. My job is to be obedient.

One last gigantic challenge from my trip. I have GOT to stop doing things FOR God... and start OBEYING what I am hearing FROM God. I welcome your prayers for me.


Worship - More Experiential

Ray Johnston's young leaders weigh in on ministry at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, CA. This is number 5 of 7.

Worship needs to be far more experiential... expect God to show up!

It's not all about the smoke, sound and lights. It's not all about picking the best songs. Worship needs to be approached with an expectation that God is going to show up and do something big... every week. Churches should set up the service with His movement in mind. Plan for it. Expect it. Watch for it.

Young leaders seem to have an almost 'child-like' faith that puts the responsibility back on God to do the 'experiential' part of the worship. I've been guilty in the past in trying to 'help' God where He might be lacking.

Do you 'experience' God in your weekly church services? Does God show up? Quite honestly, many of us might not recognize Him if He DID show up.


Ministry-More Compassionate

Ministry is not about meeting the surface needs of all the followers. Young leaders let Ray Johnston know of their desire to be led well by elder leadership.

As I picture it, it's great to give the passing, "Praying for you," when rubbing shoulders with someone you know has a need. But is that really compassion?

Some show compassion by reaching out to the less fortunate. Others champion the rights of those who can't defend themselves. Maybe, compassion can be extended to those in your own family. How cool would it be for a teenager to really understand and empathize with a parent going through a tough time... instead of consistently being focused on their own world... their own emotions... and their own needs?

Are you short on compassion anywhere in your life? I think I'll go hug my kids.


Preaching-More Challenging

Going through homiletically correct motions in a sermon is a waste of time. Continuing some previous blogs regarding Ray Johnston's keynote address at the 2011 Thrive Conference at Bayside Church... young leaders are weighing in with Ray.

Young leaders are clamoring for their preaching and teaching pastors to stop talking just to be heard. Instead, throw down the gauntlet. Eloquent words are not desirable. What's needed is for young leaders to be challenged by the teaching of the local church. When that happens... young people will rise to the occasion.

I'm 45 years old. I'm not a 'young person' anymore... even though, inside, I feel like I'm about 28. I can say that this makes perfect sense to me. I agree. And, to the best of my ability, I try and live this concept out in my own teaching. Maybe to a fault.

I realize most readers, when asked if challenging preaching and teaching is what they desire, would give a resounding, 'YES!' But, could it be when we hear challenging preaching... we actually tend to get upset and really DON'T want to hear it?


Max & Taryn Baptized

Certainly, this goes down as one of the greatest days of my life. Having the privilege of baptizing both my kids, at one setting... WOW! I hope you enjoy a personal moment with me, my kids, and my church family. What an incredible moment for our family!

Max N Taryn Baptism 071711 from Barry Smith on Vimeo.

If you don't see the video - click here!


Vacation, Staycation, Workation

Vacations include time off from work and often getting away. Staycations are time off but typically don't include overnight travel.

I'm writing this on the last day of a 'workation' - a vacation that includes some work. That can appear as an oxymoron - 'time off from work with work.'

I agree, but I loved this one. Know why? Cause the work I did was perfectly in my giftedness and involved what I'm passionate about - Changes Lives and Church Planting.

If you have to work on vacation - it's an honor and joy to receive energy from said work! I'm not recommending workations - just sharing the joy I experienced from mine.


Train In Tornado

This video shows a moving train derailed by a tornado. My father-in-law sent it to me.

Nothing really spiritual about it... just incredible how powerful a tornado can be. And to think, it's not near as powerful of the One who created it.


Trains have cameras facing forward and backward (like police cars). This is a rear facing video from the last of three engines. The trees on the side look normal, then it will start raining, then the trees sway violently as the train passes through the tornado... then... you'll see!


Change-Implemented Quicker

Bayside's Ray Johnston explains how his younger staff are begging to be led. In striving for a God-directed ministry accomplishing the impossible... here is the 2nd characteristic.

2. Change needs to be implemented quicker.

They are NOT saying that change is fun. But young leaders are stating when change is needed, it needs to be done quicker.

Young leaders understand there’s an urgency that’s obvious. So they want to see the politics stop and the needed changes be swiftly made if the church is to have a successful future.

Do you agree? Should we start making quicker changes when it's needed and stop worrying about being so safe? Do we stop prolonging the inevitable?

Young leaders say, “YES!” What say you?