The One Less Traveled By
May 31, 2007, 9:51 am
Filed under: Church, Personal

I was reading my favorite poem in the world this morning. It is, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I like the poem feel I have taken the road less traveled. I believe as a church we have taken the road less traveled. I know that it will and it already has made all the difference.


Endings are better than beginnings (Andrea)
May 30, 2007, 8:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In a couple of weeks I will partake in the annual celebration of my birth. I’m not one who wants any fuss. (Unless it is an 80’s themed roller skating party to which everyone would be invited!) I will usually tell Darrell specifically not to do anything to draw attention to that day. (I will also refrain from posting the date in this blog… it will remain a mystery!) Regardless of however little or much commotion is made of the day one thing always remains true for me. Birthdays are always a day of reflection for me as well as a time to set goals for the future.

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I am a planner. My life is on a very strategic timeline. We all have come to the realization that life doesn’t always go according to plan but there is something to be said for setting some goals and striving to meet them. God has a way of reconfiguring the things I do though.

The main reason for liking my life on a timeline is that it is neat and tidy. (That is a whole other obsessive-compulsive disorder I have in and of itself… love neat and tidy!) I really think I had succumb to the whole “you can never over-plan” philosophy. But what happens when God throws you the proverbial curve ball? I think a symptom of the timeline lifestyle is there isn’t a lot of time left over to enjoy the things that are going on now. God has a way of reminding me not to take the here and now for granted. What is He teaching me now that I would not be able to see if my eyes are only focused on the next and later?

My tendencies to plan come from a place of thinking that if everything is already set up then nothing can fail. With failure comes disappointment and sadness. The problem with this is that if the plans are only “Andrea-made” then I have set myself up for failure because without Christ I can do nothing. I gotta lay it down. I love that God has given me the ability to cry as He is showing me things. I used to be very hard, closed off and lacking any outward emotion. Crying used to be cowardly to me. I was confirmed in my gratitude for tears tonight as I read Ecclesiastes. I love how the message translation puts it in chapter 7. “Crying is far better than laughing. It blotches the face but it scours the heart. Sages invest themselves in hurt and grieving. Fools waste their lives in fun and games…. Endings are better than beginnings. Sticking to it is better than standing out.” I long for more wisdom and discernment from the Lord. I know He has Darrell and I exactly where He wants us but sometimes I want to see more results sooner. I fail to realize that sticking to it is better than standing out at times. We have all heard that perserverance builds character but, you know what, sometimes I don’t want to perservere. I want INSTANT GRATIFICATION so I can move onto the next project on my calandar! That is what our society tells us we deserve… even the church has fallen under a hyper-prosperity doctrine. What is wrong with me? I am realizing that I need to put my timeline down and focus on the here and now. Here- C3 Church reaching and connecting Orlando to Christ like never before. Now- Almost 200 new believers that are a part of my family that I will spend eternity with. Lord, scour my heart even if I have to cry a million more tears. I want to grieve for those who are lost and hopeless without you even if it means missing a thousand of my self-gratifying deadlines. The only hour that matters is the last. Lord thank you for the promise of the end being far better than the beginning. With that promise I live in the now.

May 29, 2007, 7:49 am
Filed under: Family, Personal

Today is Tuesday after a long Memorial Day weekend. Where can I begin? “Memorial Day” weekend, a time to celebrate the ultimate sacrifice that so many have made for their country. I like many yesterday went to the cemetery to visit a loved one who has passed on but served their country. My Dad is one such person. My Dad served in WWII in both the Army & the Navy. My Dad made it through WWII only to succumb to Alzheimer’s Disease in 2000. His contribution to the freedom which I enjoy now will never be forgotten. When I saw the American flags on all of the graves of people that served in the military at the cemetery on Monday it touched me deeply. My Dad never talked about the war very much but I have seen a few remembrances of his time in the service. I can also remember his story about being on the USS Atlanta (Destroyer) in the Pacific as it was sunk and surviving to tell of the horror that he went through.

I also heard on the news yesterday that there are only three remaining US service men that served in WWI. In fact one is in Florida and I think they said he was 107 years old. I pray that we never take for granted, no matter what war or conflict our military personnel have been in, their sacrifice and their dedication to this great country that we live in. We truly have much to be thankful for and their sacrifices should rank right at the top of the list. Did I enjoy the weekend and the extra day off? Yes I did but this weekend means more to me than just a day off. It is a time to say thanks Dad and thanks to all of those who have served so that I can enjoy being a US citizen. THANKS!

May 26, 2007, 7:19 am
Filed under: Personal

I have been thinking recently about my new fascination with blogging. I think that I have stumbled onto why I am liking it. I have never journaled before or kept a diary of any kind. But, I have always liked writing. I believe that this is the first time I have just written because I want to. While in school (college) I had to write for the professors and for a grade, never just for myself. I think that has something to do with it. I also would love to write a book but know that the chances of getting something published would be next to impossible. Writing usually comes from personal experience, whether it is a fictional story, autobiography, memoirs etc.. The ability to vent and to get your personal feelings out to people in a logical, methodical and organized way has an attraction as well. I think that blogging gives me the ability to sit down and think and put my thoughts down on paper (or computer) and gives me the ability to take some of the intense emotion that is usually impulse and focus that into succinct talking points that are organized and make sense. I believe blogging gives me the ability to accomplish all of this. It also gives others a glimpse of the person that is inside that normally is hidden. The ability to put yourself out there so that others can share in your triumphs and losses is therapeutic and kind of fun. I am sure that a psychologist would be able to clearly define this type of behavior and that’s fine. All I know is that I am enjoying it and that I am writing for me and I give myself an “A+” every time. Blogging is awesome.

American Idol vs. Lost
May 24, 2007, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Pop Culture

OK I am officially shamed. I claim to be a Lost fan but I miss 2/3 of the season and therefore can’t watch the season finale and blog about it like my good friend Barry Leathers. Instead I am left to blog about American Idol. Which show should I have watched? Lost, no question about it. So to all of you Lost fans I promise I will do better and watch the episodes I missed and will be ready for next season.

Now back to AI. We all know that Jordin had the most talent between her and Blake. I am disappointed that Melinda did not make it into the finals but my friend Barry Oser made a valid point last night. This is “American Idol” it is about having the total package. Although Simon says that it is a singing competition and Melinda had the best vocal talent it is a total package kind of deal. Yes Melinda had the talent and stage presence but she did not have the “look”. Jordin and Blake had the “look” and enough talent to make it all the way. Although I might concede that point to Barry O. , I raised another point that he did not fully agree on but I believe is the heart of the matter. AI is a popularity contest. Whoever America likes the best and votes for is the winner. No denying it, popularity contest. So congrats to Jordin, the winner. Blake and Melinda will do just fine without the contractual shackles of AI. And I will stick by what I said last week. AI is what it is. Reality TV, entertainment for the masses. It’s been a fun season and we will say so long until January!

Against All Odds
May 23, 2007, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Church

You know sometimes I feel like a salmon. Trying to swim against the overwhelming current, swishing my tail to make it up-stream jumping over obstacles while fighting the gushing water. Sometimes I sit back and look at the current of negativity and the repeated misquotes, inaccuracies (sometimes, out and out lies), mischaracterizations etc. Sometimes by people we don’t even know and then sometimes by friends we’ve had for years. When the world seems totally against us and what we want to see accomplished at C3 Church then I remember I only need to look to Jesus. It feels that if people were betting on C3 Church and it’s success that the odds would be totally against us. Then once again I only need to look at Jesus. The tide of public opinion was overwhelmingly against Jesus. In fact they wanted him dead. Who incited this groundswell of public opinion? The religious people of that day, the pharisees and priests, the “Godly” or religious leaders. These people conspired with the very government that was oppressing them to have Jesus wrongfully charged, tried and convicted to keep Jesus from busting up their legalistic rule over people. The only people that stood with Jesus were his mother and eleven out of the twelve closest friends that He had in the world. One of his closest friends even betrayed him to the people that would orchestrate His death.

So did Jesus have all of the odds against Him? In the evaluation of the situation by people in His day I am sure they would say Jesus had no chance of pulling out a victory. Does Jesus know what it is like for people to hate Him, say evil things about Him, lie about Him, have friends betray Him? Yes He does. Let me ask a few more questions. Is C3 Church God’s church? You better believe it is. So when people are actively saying negative, derogatory things about C3 Church are they railing against God’s church? Yes they are. Do I want to be identified with God and His church? Yes I do. Will God empower His church to accomplish the task He has given it? Yes He will. Did Jesus beat all the odds and turned defeat into a glorious victory? Yes He did. Did He lay down His life for His church? Yes He did. Does He love and care for us the same way today? Yes He does. Does Jesus understand everything we have lost to reach people for Him? Yes He does. Does Jesus promise that when we lay it all on the line to do His work will he make a way and help us? Yes He does. Is God the same yesterday, today and forever? Yes He is.

Now the question is, will I take God over the conventional wisdom of the masses that predict our “certain demise”? Yes I will, because Christ has done it before. Christ went against all odds and won. Even though this might sound old and trite I believe it, “God and me make a majority”. I’ll take God over the odds everyday. I’ll swim up-stream, against the current with every last ounce of strength I have. Against all odds!

The Most Valuable Gift Someone Can Give
May 22, 2007, 7:32 am
Filed under: Personal

I attended two funerals this weekend. While sitting in both of them and just thinking, something very profound hit me. I am sure I am probably not the first one to look at life from this point of view but it is still profound (at least to me) none the less. When you think about the most valuable gift a person can give to someone, several things might come to mind. Some might say money, some might say love, some might say any number of possessions. Although some of those answers are good none of them are what I am thinking of. There is something that every single person possesses that is the most valuable commodity in the world. Once this possession leaves you, one can never get it back. A person can not make more of this possession and you can not earn or gain any more of it by any means. By this point some of you know what I am talking about. The most precious of commodities is time.

I believe that the time that you give someone is the best expression of love you can give. Think about it. Once you give it you can not get it back. It is the one thing that you have total control over and your most valuable possession. I know that most of our time is spent at work but that is time that is given for compensation. When you spend an hour with someone that is a gift that you will never get back and if it is given to someone that you want to be with it is given unconditionally.

I spent some time with my beautiful wife this weekend. That was time well spent. I spent time at church this weekend, celebrating in worship with 700 people, the greatness of God. That was time well spent. I spent several hours this weekend sharing grief with friends over lost loved ones who they will never get a chance to give time to. Time comforting them. Time well spent. Some other time was not spent as wisely. I did spend some time in front of a mindless time sucker called TV. Time not spent wisely. All that to say this. Time is the one commodity that we don’t know how much we have and yet I along with so many spend haphazardly without concern as if there was an endless supply. I pray that I can give my time to the most important things in life, God, family, friends, church. I don’t know how much time I have left but I know that if I give this most valuable of gifts to the things that matter the most then my life will be fulfilled and full and there will be no regrets when my account of time has a zero balance.