The Newest Apple Product

Apple has done it again. Check out their MAC-genius handiwork...

THIS is at the top of my wish list now!

RSS Subscribers: There is video here.

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A Picture of the Church

Earlier this week I joined 40+ youth workers on a youth worker retreat in Columbia, South Carolina courtesy of my alma mater. Our time together was priceless. We shared our burdens, joys, wounds and laughter together. When our time came to a close I heard comments like "this is what the church should be..." and "we are family." The memories will be etched in my mind forever.

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Try. Fail. Learn. Adjust.

Loved this video by Craig Groeschel on leadership.

RSS Subscribers: There is video here.

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Manic Monday Minute

Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute
  • Great weekend services at Crossroads
  • I spoke in both services this past Sunday.  
  • First sermon out of the way. Check!
  • I wrapped up our "In God We Trust" series.   We start a series on HOPE next week.
  • Thanks for the prayers this weekend.  A number of people sent me messages on twitter to say that they were praying for me.
  • Church planter Thomas Barron was in our services this past Sunday.  Great guy.
  • Crossroads has a big heart for church plants.  Love that.
  • Did I mention my church is now on twitter? Yesss!
  • Made the trip down to South Carolina on Sunday afternoon. Traveling by myself makes for a really boring trip.
  • Had a great overnighter in Florence, SC with my family.   Love them SO much.
  • Saw this church's billboard in Florence promoting this sermon series. 
  • Was supposed to hook up with this guy earlier today but his father passed away. Please pray for his family.
  • Got a free e-book from Cataylst earlier today.  Go download yours now.
  • As you are reading this I'm currently at an awesome youth worker retreat in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • A birdie told me that my alma mater was inundated with phone calls after this post last week.  Glad I created a bit of a buzz.
  • My roommate for the retreat is this guy. Brings back SO many memories as we use to live in the same dormitory in college.  
  • Ah... college days.  ::sigh::
  • Set my TiVo for American Idol this week.  Can't wait to see the second and third groups perform.
  • I'm rooting for Matt Giraud or Danny Gokey to win.  Excited Gokey is in the finals.
  • TiVo'd the Oscars too... in case I missed it while on the road.
  • Still looking for housing. Nothing new to report.  
  • Something tells me this week could be a game-changer though!   Can't wait.
  • Crawford OUT!
  • Labels:

    (LoL) with Josh Griffin

    Life on Life is a feature where I interview leaders from around the country who are doing this thing called LIFE. In this interview my friend, Josh Griffin, High School Pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA, shares his life with us.

    Me: What book(s) have most shaped you?
    Josh: The Heart of a Great Pastor by HB London and Neil Wiseman, God Came Near by Max Lucado, and The Grace Awakening by Charles Swindoll.

    Me: You are a blogger. What have you learned through blogging? What do you enjoy about it?
    Josh: I love sharing thoughts and learning in real-time with a community of other youth workers. I love the outlet for what I’m learning. It is always a great reminder than I’m not alone and God is using youth ministry in His church and lives are being changed.

    Me: What have been your top 3 best resource finds that every youth minister should have at their disposal or should tap into?

    Josh: Simply Text – revolutionized our communication system this year. Cheap. – download Youtube videos to play at youth group. Free. Wing Clips – clips from new movies to use in your talk. Free.

    Me: Where do you turn for inspiration (besides Christ Jesus of course)?
    Josh: Because I have a business background, I love reading business books and leadership stuff. I also really enjoy watching movies, award shows and pop culture in general to try learning from them as well. Inspiration is everywhere, and I love learning from the leaders inside and outside of my field.

    Me: Considering you are a youth pastor, what notable advice would you give the rookies?
    Josh: Sticking in youth ministry is one of the most rewarding experiences someone could have. Your relationship with your supervisor\senior pastor cannot be more important. You will never arrive, keep learning.

    Me: What do you dislike most about ministry?
    Josh: I love it - I struggle with balance because I love it so much. But, I do dislike the stereotypes of youth ministry (me too!) and youth pastors. I reinforce some, I know, but I hope to shatter the ones that are the most important.

    Me: What do you like most about working on staff at Saddleback (besides working with Doug & Rick, of course)?
    Josh: Serving at Pastor Rick's church and working with Doug are HUGE. Doug is a great friend and an amazing youth worker. I love the unified vision we have operating under the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry model. While we have incredible flexibility and room to innovate within the framework, but it still provides us with a template to work within.

    Me: In your opinion, what should we be doing differently in youth ministry today or are we right on track where we should be?
    Josh: I think texting, web and social media are some of the most important mediums we can do youth ministry in right now. While nothing compares to face-to-face interaction and life-on-life discussions, students are online and on their phones so much we need to go there too. I'm also concerned about the jump from high school ministry into "big church." That is always a challenge for youth ministry, and it is one we have to continually focus on.

    Me: What is something that most people don't know about you?
    Josh: I was in a movie with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. I was an extra in Far and Away. Pretty exciting life, eh?

    For more on Josh Griffin, click here to visit his blog.

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    25 Things I Hate About Facebook

    Julian Smith nails the 25 Things I Hate About Facebook.
    What about you?

    RSS Subscribers: There is video here.

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    Critics and Cheerleaders

    Every speaker needs a critic and a cheerleader. Sometimes its a rarity that you have someone that embodies both talents. I've learned to appreciate the critic because she keeps me humble and helps me think constructively at how I can improve. I've also learned to value the cheerleader because he keeps me encouraged and helps point out all the positives.

    I'll never forget a guy named Matthew who use to be on my staff years ago. Immediately (and I do mean immediately) after I would finish speaking on stage he would seek face-to-face time with me to tell me what was wrong with my message. There were never any positives. He was my critic. Even though I wished he would point out the positives what he was giving me was a list of areas to improve. He helped sharpen me.

    Meanwhile another staffer, Lisa, would catch me when the event was done and she would boost my ego. She would point out all the positives and help me see the victories that I needed to see. I think I could have literally walked on stage, spit on the front row, and she would have said "that was the best spitting I've ever seen. The audience, while wet, really seemed to enjoy it." Ok, thats a bit exaggerated and unfair to the cheerleader... but you get the idea.

    Thank God for both.

    ((*Names changed to protect the innocent))

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    Why My Alma Mater Rocks

    Next week I'll be heading home to South Carolina.  Oooh yea.   Not only will I see my family but I will see my Columbia family too.
     I have to give a personal shoutout to my alma mater.  They believe in their alumni and invest so much in their spiritual formation that they have put together an all-expenses paid retreat for youth workers (which is next week!), complete with some quality time with each of the youth ministry professors. I've been looking forward to this retreat for months.  

    I have never been more thankful to God that he sent me to such a great university. The friendships, mentoring and spiritual investment that I've experienced have been worth every penny!   For more info on Columbia International University, go here

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    2009 Church Conferences

    I love to attend conferences. Love the networking, the training... everything about it. I thought the other day about the scores of conferences that are out there -- many of which you may not know about. I decided to share a listing of general church conferences you and your staff may be interested in checking out during this calendar year.

    Feb 26 :: Catalyst One Day (Atlanta, GA)
    A one day leadership experience packed with teaching and insight from Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel.
    Cost: $89-$139

    Feb 27 :: The Idea Camp (Irvine, CA)
    The Idea Camp is a FREE, open source hybrid conference designed to help people move from the realm of ideas to implementation.
    Cost: FREE

    Mar 12 :: Unleash (Anderson, SC)
    Unleash is a one-day conference hosted by NewSpring Church and specifically-designed to challenge, encourage and motivate church leaders to take action in reaching their communities for Jesus Christ.
    Cost: $59

    Mar 17 :: The Sticks (Harrison, AR)
    The Sticks is a gathering to inspire and equip pastors in small to medium towns to make a big impact for the Kingdom!
    Cost: $99-$209

    Apr 20 :: Exponential Conference (Orlando, FL)
    Experience God’s church planting movement around the world.
    Cost: $159-$249

    Apr 23 :: Catalyst West (Irvine, CA)
    Catalyst West is a gathering of 3,000 next generation leaders from all over the world for three days of teaching, worship, and exploration of what’s possible for the church.
    Cost: $209-$289

    Apr 27 :: Q (Austin, TX)
    Q is a gathering where innovators, church leaders, social entrepreneurs, and cultural pioneers come together to explore the church’s role in positively contributing to culture.
    Cost: $750-$820

    Apr 28:: Thr3e (Charlotte, NC)
    This is not billed as a conference but a movement. Completely stripped down, Steven Furtick shares a behind the scenes look at the top three things he has learned in the first three years of Elevation Church.
    Cost: $300

    May 12 :: The Sticks, South East (Canton, GA)
    The Sticks is a gathering to inspire and equip pastors in small to medium towns to make a big impact for the Kingdom!
    Cost: $99-$229

    May 13 :: WFX Worship Facilities Conference (Long Beach, CA)
    WFX is designed to educate and your church executive, facilities and tech teams to learn together through a unique conference program that focuses on 4 tracks for facilities and tech teams.
    Cost: $145-$445

    May 18 :: Catalyst One Day (Dallas, TX)
    A one day leadership experience packed with teaching and insight from Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel.
    Cost: $69-$139

    May 18 :: InnovateChurch (Lynchburg, VA)
    Innovating the leader… innovating the church.
    Cost: $59

    Jul 29 :: Echo Church Media Conference (Dallas, TX)
    A conference for church leaders that love using media, technology, and the internet to be more effective in sharing God’s story.
    Cost: $99-329

    Aug 3:: The Influence Conference (Orlando, FL)
    A conference on leadership, leadership in action, leadership realities, and the power to initiate.
    Cost: $99 & up

    Aug 6 :: The Leadership Summit (South Barrington, IL)
    Willow Creek Community Church’s leadership conference.
    Cost: $175-$355

    Sep 10 :: MinistryCOM (Chicago, IL)
    MinistryCOM is a national conference designed specifically for church communications professionals.
    Cost: $100-$325

    Sep 24 :: Innovate (Granger, IN)
    Whether you have a church gathering of 100 or 10,000 you can begin making innovative, strategic moves that will impact your community.
    Cost: $219-$239

    Oct 07 :: Catalyst East (Atlanta, GA)
    A gathering of next generation leaders from all over the world for teaching, worship, and exploration of what’s possible for the church.
    Cost: $159-$319

    Oct 20 :: The REVEAL Conference (South Barrington, IL)
    It’s an opportunity to participate in challenging dialogue, testimony, and teaching with pastors and church leaders whose practical ideas, vision, and best practice insights are supporting their people in growing spiritually.
    Cost: $135-$275

    Nov 04 :: National Outreach Convention (San Diego, CA)
    Outreach magazine’s church conference.
    Cost: $219-$379

    Which ones did I miss?

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    The Prayer of Terrace

    I've started praying a new prayer. I've prayed for wisdom (like Solomon), strength (like Joshua) and even blessings (like the former superstar Jabez) but now I'm praying a new prayer. Here it is...

    "God, grant me creativity."

    I think we as leaders of the church need to be on the forefront of innovation and all things creative. Most of the time we just don't ask for God's help. How much do you consult the creator? Remember... "the heavens, the earth... he created all these." Amazing. Breath-taking. This new prayer I'm praying acknowledges that he is the MASTER. I'm turning to him for inspiration.

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    Site Shout: Passion 2010

    I watched the live launch of Passion 2010 last evening. Here are a couple of snapshots I took:

    and the slick, new, official site which looks oh-so-sweet
    Louie Giglio announced last night that the first 1,000 people to register (which may have already been surpassed) get to register for Passion 2010 at the low low price of $99.00.

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    Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute
  • Great weekend services at Crossroads. Ooh yea.
  • Lots of energy in our congregation.
  • Our youth ministry band led worship Sunday and did a great job.
  • I'm preparing for this Sunday - as its my first sermon at Crossroads
  • I'll be wrapping up our "In God We Trust" Series.
  • Connected with this guy this afternoon and had an awesome brainstorm session.
  • Did I mention my church is now on twitter? Yesss!
  • Heading down to South Carolina on Sunday afternoon after I'm done preaching. I'm stoked!
  • Look forward to meeting up with this guy and this guy, among lots of other leaders.
  • Thought I saw snow earlier today. Maybe not.
  • Spent time on Saturday looking for housing. Dear Jesus, please direct me to the right place. Soon.
  • Got a free book from Cataylst earlier today just by calling their hotline and saying hello.
  • Go ahead. Call them. Get yours.
  • Tell them I sent you.
  • Working on our summer missions opportunity. Can't wait to announce it!
  • Loving American Idol this season. Congrats to our local talent (and Virginia Beach native), Felicia Barton, who is in the final 36!
  • I'm rooting for Matt Giraud or Danny Gokey to win.
  • Got some cool interviews with innovative leaders lined up. Can't wait to pick their brains about ministry!
  • Watched the Passion 2010 launch earlier this evening. Giglio & Tomlin. What a team.
  • Got two calls today about future speaking opportunities. Awesome when opps come ur way.
  • Brainstorming something huge for the world of youth ministry.
  • Get to meet-up with my mentors from college next week. I'm doing a literal countdown...
  • Lots of meetings tomorrow. Gotta get rested up.
  • Crawford OUT!
  • Labels:

    Some of the Best Preachers Aren't Preachers

    Some of the best preachers aren't preachers. They work at the wheel in another trade but preach when given the opportunity. One of the guys I could listen to all day long is Dr. David Gibbs. Dr. Gibbs is actually a lawyer by trade. He founded the Christian Lawyers Association and considers himself a legal missionary. I've had the fine opportunity of meeting him and hearing him preach on occasion and I'm always moved and challenged in my faith when he breaks open the scriptures. He is also one of the best storytellers I've ever heard in my life... which I think may be the reason he is one of the best preachers I've heard.

    I'm curious... do you know anyone who can light up the scriptures like no other and they aren't a "preacher" by trade? Give me some names, links to audio\video or testimonies of these great expositors in the comments of this post.

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    Aquiring a Wife Before Valentine's Day

    I received a Facebook message from a friend the other day that I literally haven't seen (or spoken to) in years. They started off their message to me with this wonderful greeting: "You aren't married yet!?" Then they proceeded to say "Sorry, that is probably a sore spot." My instant reply was "No, the only time it becomes a sore spot is when church members start trying to set you up with people. Go here to read more about how I feel about it."

    Then today I receive an email with how to acquire a wife, biblically speaking of course. What a God-send! Literally just in time for Valentine's Day. For all the single men out there... your welcome.

  • Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails and give her new clothes. Then she's yours. (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)
  • Find a prostitute and marry her. (Hosea 1:1-3)
  • Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock. (Moses - Exodus 2:16-21)
  • Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal. (Boaz-Ruth 4:5-10)
  • Agree to work seven years in exchange for a woman's hand in marriage. Gettricked into marrying the wrong woman. Then work another seven years for thewoman you wanted to marry in the first place. That's right. Fourteen yearsof toil for a wife. (Jacob--Genesis 29:15-30)
  • Cut 200 foreskins off of your future father-in-law's enemies and get hisdaughter for a wife. (David--1 Samuel 18:27)
  • Even if no one is out there, just wander around a bit and you'lldefinitely find someone. (It's all relative, of course.) (Cain--Genesis4:16-17)
  • Become the emperor of a huge nation and hold a beauty contest. (Xerxes orAhasuerus--Esther 2:3-4)
  • When you see someone you like, go home and tell your parents, "I have seen a ... woman; now get her for me." If your parents question your decision,simply say, "Get her for me. She's the one for me." (Samson--Judges 14:1-3)
  • Kill any husband and take HIS wife (Prepare to lose four sons, though).(David--2 Samuel 11)
  • Wait for your brother to die. Take his widow. (It's not just a good idea;it's the law.) (Onana and Boaz--Deuteronomy or Leviticus, example in Ruth)
  • Don't be so picky. Make up for quality with quantity. (Solomon--1 Kings11:1-3)
  • A wife?...NOT? (Paul--1 Corinthians 7:32-35)

  • ((Courtesy, Mikey's Funnies))

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    What is your inbox handicap?

    I must admit that for years I've been a bit of a pack rat. I consistently question whether I will need things later or not. Thankfully, God granted me a friend that began rubbing off on me and over the past couple of years I've adapted her system that "if you don't use it in a year's time you need to get rid of it" and its working for me. Sounds like something Mrs. Less Clutter, Less Noise would say, right? She inspires me too.

    What is sad is that the same unruly behavior has been true for my inbox. Its cluttered. I have a tremendous "inbox handicap." At any given time I have over 50 emails in my inbox but the clutter grows as I'm sometimes unsure if I should file or trash email messages right away. I need to kill the inbox - daily. Tim Sanders wrote a piece on this very thing. His challenge is to kill your inbox, managing it with excellence.

    So I'm curious... Do you have an inbox handicap? Have you mastered killing it everyday? Find a good system that works for you? Please share.

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    Last Lecture

    Ran across an inspiring video the other day of Randy Pausch, former professor at Carnegie Mellon, whose "last lecture" (filmed before a packed auditorium at the University on September 18, 2007) has been viewed on the internet nearly 9 million times! What's interesting is that I just found out that Randy moved his family from PA to my backyard (Chesapeake, VA) before he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008. I watched his last lecture titled "Achieving your Childhood Dreams" over the course of the last two days and was inspired myself by his challenge to the students and faculty he called friends.

    Here is the video:

    Very inspiring. I couldn't help but think about what my "last lecture" or "message" would be after watching his final words. I was also very moved by his joy and positive outlook knowing that within a few months he would be in heaven.

    Randy was most noted for his contributions to the Virtual Worlds' programs, including Alice, which is enhancing computer programming education at Carnegie Mellon and beyond.

    Watch the video of his memorial service on September 22, 2008.
    Click here to visit his personal site.

    On February 4th a small dedication ceremony was held at the "Mad Tea Party"attraction at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Randy's honor. A tribute plaque was unveiled with a quote by Pausch. The quote reads; "Be good at something; It makes you valuable... Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome." ((This is so special because one of Randy's childhood dreams was to be an imagineer for Disney.))

    **RSS Subscribers, there is video in this post.

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    Winners of "Jesus Wants to Save Christians"

    Winners of this contest have been declared. Congratulations to Frankie Creel and Josh Brickey! Thanks to everyone who entered or twittered about this little contest.

    ((click on graphic to enlarge))

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    Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute
  • Longest Sunday of my life yesterday. and I was excited about it.
  • Our weekend services went great. Lots of energy in our services lately.
  • Our youth ministry band had a gig on Sunday evening out in the sticks. It was a fun road trip and experience but it meant getting home at midnight. Here's a fun pic I took.
  • Spent a little time chit-chatting with this guy and this guy tonight on the phone. Love those guys.
  • Been getting emails of people wanting to subscribe to my blog by email. That option is available, of course. Go here to sign up.
  • Did I mention my church is now on twitter? Yesss!
  • Speaking of twitter... did you miss my twitter-only contest? Go check it out.
  • Added a name to my "I'd punch you in the face if I weren't a follower of Jesus Christ" list earlier today. Sorry, just being transparent for a hot minute.
  • I can't wait to hit Columbia, SC later this month!
  • li type="circle">Look forward to meeting up with this guy and this guy, among lots of other leaders.
  • TiVo'd the Grammys. Love the results I read about today. Can't wait to watch.
  • Had some delicious wings today over a lunch meeting. Sooo good.
  • Spoke with a pastor-friend today who is a hardcore Steelers fan. He is still on a high from the Superbowl. Whooo!
  • Clover. Awesomeness.
  • Great to bump into this guy today. Love that guy.
  • I need to start working out. Tomorrow!
  • I polled friends on twitter and facebook the other day (at random) to see if they thought Michael Phelps' sponsors should drop him because of the recent news of his drug use. Talk about a split audience. I got 13 responses back and 8 said "Yes, drop him!" while 5 said "Nope. Stick with him."
  • Got some cool interviews with innovative leaders lined up. Can't wait to pick their brains about ministry!
  • Game Show in My Head. It did not come on Saturday (for the second week in a row!) :=( Sweet Jesus, I find myself praying again about this, don't let it get cancelled.
  • A good friend gave me a copy of The First 90 Days earlier today. Can't wait to read!
  • Awesome Leadership Community gathering tonight. The spirit of God is at work at Crossroads!
  • Ok. Thats it for now.
  • Crawford OUT!
  • Labels:

    Win Rob Bell's "Jesus Wants to Save Christians"

    One of the books I'm currently reading is "Jesus Wants to Save Christians" by Rob Bell. I was able to snag a couple of extra copies of the book and thought I'd create a little twitter-friendly contest to give them away so we could read it together.

    Here is how you win a copy of this book for you (and a twitter friend)

    1. Follow me on twitter.
    2. From your existing or new Twitter account, create a twitter post with the following text:@terracecrawford is giving away "Jesus Wants to Save Christians" here Comment with my twittername & we both win!
    3. You can only win by using your twitter account (and, then of course you have to comment here - with YOUR twitter name and the twitter name of the person who sent you).
    4. You can only enter once.
    5. Have your twitter follower leave a comment on this post with you as a reference. This is the only way entries are complete.
    6. I’ll check your twitter feed and make sure you play by the rules…
    7. On Wednesday, 5:00pm eastern time, I’ll use to pick a random winner from the comments and they will win a book and if you referred them YOU will win a book as well.
    8. I cannot win (and don't want to as I already have a copy of the book)... so make sure you mention a different member of your twitter family who is tweeting about this.

    If you are here because of a tweet you saw comment and let us know who sent you! (Remember, it cannot be ME)

    Please note: You can only comment once. If you have sent 50 people here…you have 50 chances to win! So you are NOT penalized for having a large following. Your best chance to win is to send people right here.

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    Bill Gates Releases Mosquitos

    I joined a live youth ministry chat hosted by Tim Schmoyer today and we were talking about communicating. Later, I checked out the TED Conference that concludes this week in Long Beach, California and caught Bill Gates' talk. He did one of the most creative things I've seen yet. He apparently wanted to make his point stick so during his talk the he released a jar full of live mosquitos as he was presenting about how he is changing the world (specifically by tackling Malaria). "I brought some. Here, I’ll let them roam around. There is no reason only poor people should be infected.”   Now THAT is memorable.

    ((Just a tip: If I'm ever in the audience and you are the communicator don't ever release snakes from the stage to make a point or I'm outta there.))

    Click here to view his entire speech.

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    Missional Renaissance

    One of the coolest church leaders I have ever met is Reggie McNeal. Not only is Reggie a great speaker but he is a great voice for the church today and we should listen to him.

    I was able to get an advance copy of Missional Renaissance, his latest book, and it is written for such a time as this. The current church scorecard is full of how many, how often and how much but Reggie suggest that we shift our thinking, become missional and develop a scorecard that supports an externally focused ministry, people development efforts and a kingdom-oriented leadership agenda. I'm loving this book.

    By the way, great title Reggie. I googled "Missional" and "Renaissance" and came up with nearly a billion hits. Score!

    Next Week: I'll give you a short review of the book and interview Reggie McNeal, asking him a few questions that are stirring in my brain.

    You can now order your personal copy of Missional Renaissance from Amazon by clicking here.

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    Move Over Jack Bauer

    Yesterday I had my very first experience at a firing range. Yes... I needed to man-up. Now, contrary to the gun-carrying, Texas pastor who may believe that I've never shot a gun at all, I've fired shotguns and rifles many times. I've never shot a pistol.

    A pastor friend of mine took me and this friend to a local firing range during lunch. Once we started checking in the manager asked us to fill out this form before we could begin. I filled out the form but did not realize there was a page full of clauses, rules and threats (just kidding) on the back of the form. The manager immediately asked me if I had read the back of the form and I said "no." I turned it over and really gave it the "once over" and signed the thing. I know, that was not smart. It was not smart for many reasons but mainly because there was a TEST. Oh yes, we had a test and I was not ready for it.

    So the 3 of us are standing there and he begins to quiz us on what we've just read. I, of course, begin to fail miserably because I didn't read the whole thing! Midway through I asked if I could use a lifeline. He didn't find that funny. He said "strike one." "You only get three." I began to get nervous and turned to each of my friends and told them they may have to go ahead without me. A line started forming behind us. (Apparently the firing range is very popular during the middle of the week around lunch time.) One of my pastor friends began to tell the folks behind us that they could "go head because we were going to be there for a while." I can take a hint.

    Much later we finished the test, grabbed our targets and were ready to practice our Jack Bauer skills. Here's a tip: If you ever plan to visit a firing range dress like an eskimo. Seriously, it was like a meat locker in there! I'm told that is to keep the lead levels down. Who knew? I actually researched it this afternoon and that is true. In fact, firing ranges are inspected carefully for their ventilation. Makes sense. Long story short - I could very well be Jack Bauer's apprentice. Out of 17 shots fired (with my 9mm glock) I nailed the victim (or target I should say) 12 times. Afterwards the manager shook his head at me (with a smile on his face) and I simply said "my picture is going to go on the wall after this experience, right?" Move over Jack Bauer.

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    I Love Stretch Marks

    I love stretch marks. No, not the ones you are thinking of. Those are very unattractive. These are the ones you get after you've been stretched. Its like a medallion of honor that is never actually awarded to you. Over the last couple of months I've prayed a simple prayer: "Lord, stretch me." He is beginning to answer that prayer.

    One of the things I'm excited about is working with the team at Crossroads. God has put together a great team, led by Chuck Harrison. One of the things about Chuck is that he is a great coach. I will certainly grow under his leadership and I'm thankful for the moments ahead in my journey where he will speak into my life. I will be stretched... and that will leave a mark.

    This week I cruised over to this guy's blog and read a post titled "Best Leadership Material I've Read to Date." I thought of the stretch marks when I read it.

    I've been speaking with numerous leaders all across the nation over the past few weeks and each one is being stretched where they are. I am burdened for them. I pray for them often because I know how difficult ministry is. The journey is not easy.

    I spoke with one young adult the other day who told me of his recent weight loss. He's lost over 75lbs in eight months. I congratulated him on his accomplishment and he immediately said "but I have these stretch marks that are hideous and I wish they would go away."

    Leader, the stretch marks I'm speaking of you never want to go away. The situation or season your are in may be difficult but the stretch marks I'm speaking of are beautiful and you'll want those to be permanently inked on you like the hottest tattoo you've ever seen. Forever.

    Now forgive me. I must go buy some stretchy pants.

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    My Current Desktop

    This is my current desktop.  A simple nine zero.  It means nothing to you but it means everything to me.  What does it mean?   I'm not going to tell you... yet.  

    So what does your desktop look like?  

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    Manic Monday Minute

    Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute
  • What. A. Weekend.
  • My first Sunday at Crossroads was great! Loved every minute of it. Well, except for having to wake up two hours earlier than normal. I'm not complaining though!
  • I'm excited about what we are doing!
  • The church had a nice little welcome reception for me - with lots of cake! Thank you Crossroads.
  • Talked to a realtor friend on Saturday. Looking for housing now. Pray for me.
  • Spent a little time chit-chatting with this guy and this guy tonight on the phone. Love those guys.
  • Been getting emails of people wanting to subscribe to my blog by email. That option is available, of course. Go here to sign up.
  • My church is now on twitter. Yesss!
  • My bank card got stuck in the ATM today. I was skurred for a hot minute.
  • Spent a little time on this guy's Mogulus page today and watched a live shot as well as a couple of pre-recorded videos.
  • I think we just experienced the best Superbowl game EVER.
  • First of all, Jennifer Hudson threw down the national anthem. It was the best rendition I've ever heard.
  • I felt like a proud papa. Seriously. and I'm not black (well, half black...) nor am I old enough to be her father.
  • Then... bam! Steelers took control but Cards brought it and the game was sooo tight at the very end. It was intense!
  • I still cannot believe some of the plays the Steelers made. It was like they had magical powers or something.
  • Of course, they don't have anything on the Crossroads flag football players.
  • Check out this photo from the pre-Superbowl game. It got bloody!
  • My favorite new television show is Game Show in My Head. It did not come on Saturday. I missed it. :=( Watch it get cancelled. Sweet Jesus, don't let it get cancelled.
  • This guy is inspiring me with his weight competition... but he needs to take the picture of those sausage links down off his site so that no one stumbles. :=P
  • Busy day tomorrow!
  • Ok. Thats it for now.
  • Crawford OUT!
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    Site Shout: ShutterFly

    Last night at a Superbowl party a friend showed me her Story Book she recently created at This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. She went to the site, uploaded her pictures, used the templates to lay them out, added some captions and presto -- she got her book in the mail within a couple of weeks! I suck at putting photo albums together... but I can do this! For the ladies who got caught up in the scrapbooking craze, you may not like this because you can't put those cheesy stickers on your pictures... but the finished product looks incredible.

    If you want to take advantage of the very best deal on the story books, visit the site today. Looks like there is a 20% offer on them ending today!
    ((This message is certainly approved by but there was no payment exchanged for the shoutout.))

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    Scratching the Itch

    I love our current series at Crossroads. It's helping answer questions people are asking. The series, In God We Trust, has been a good one because it is prime example of the church scratching people where they are itching.

    Yesterday we focused on trusting God with our money. The failing economy is the #1 topic at the water cooler and based on a survey last August it is also the #1 issue teens are concerned with too. Last week I was saddened to hear of the Home Depot and Starbucks closures and the layoffs at Granger - just to name a few companies\organizations who have been affected in this crunch. Under such circumstances sometimes our faith and trust is rocked. We experience a bit of a faith-quake. We have questions and are looking for God's answers.

    I literally sat in our service yesterday and thought about how people are connecting with God through the message, receiving hope, and even though we do not claim to have all the answers, are receiving some biblical action steps for their lives.

    As we lead our congregations I also think of the message of this video clip constantly as a reminder of just how much the Church needs to scratch the itch.

    God help us to continue to be the church that you want us to be... a church of light, salt, and hope. Help us to not turn a deaf ear to those who are seeking after you.

    RSS Subscribers: There is video here.

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