About Me

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New Orleans, LA, United States
Family from South Africa, Born in New Orleans, Lived in South Carolina. Married to Annabeth since May 2004. We have three boys (Bolt, Mack, and Birk). Currently living in Uptown NOLA and serving as Lead Pastor of Vintage Church and Camp Pastor of Student MissionLab.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Justified by Burnout???

Burnout is a psychological term for the experience of long-term physical and emotional exhaustion.

My family and I are going to take a little break in the month of February. I'm gonna go to a couple of conferences and retreat to the mountains for a couple of weeks. Why? Because I refuse to burnout. I'm not even close right now and I honestly don't ever want to experience it.

Over the past three years as we have planted Vintage Church in New Orleans, I have heard so many in the church planting world share about how in the first 5 years of their church plant they worked themselves to a place of full exhaustion. Some couldn't get out of bed for weeks, some got really sick and almost died, some ended up cheating on their wives or vice versa, and unfortunately some killed themselves.

I am a little concerned by the discussion that I find in most church planter circles. It seems like a lot of church planters are in pursuit of burning out because somehow that will justify their ministry. Who are they trying to impress? Are they cooler because they got unhealthy? Will this help them sell more books in the future (as if that is the ultimate goal of ministry). Burnout is not the key to a successful church plant and it isn't the way by which we are justified before God.

Now, please know that I'm not saying that we shouldn't work hard as ministers of the Gospel. Please also know that I'm not saying that we should spend the majority of our ministry on vacation. What I am saying is that we are called to be faithful to God first, our family second, and then our church. How useful can you be as a church planter paralyzed by exhaustion, in the hospital, in divorce court, or in the grave?

Take a break and get some rest. If you are afraid that your church will fall apart when you leave then you might need to reconsider whose kingdom you are really trying to build?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Prayer: Give Me Faith

Right now I am at Ma’agan on the Sea of Galilee and God has really presented an incredible challenge in my life. I believe that He is loving me by calling me out on my lack of faith and compelling me to place more faith in Him.

This is my 4th trip to Israel and I have prayed specifically in two ways. Lord, give me a refreshing love and passion for Your Word and challenge me toward Your Vision for the future. Dr. Warren is walking us through the book of Acts this week and he presented some great truth from Acts 1 tonight. He explained how he didn’t necessarily like the fact that the disciples were casting lots for the 12th disciple replacement for Judas. However, he also explained that their method isn’t the most important thing in this text. In the previous verses after Christ ascended into Heaven, the disciples gathered to pray and prepare for this great mission. Dr. Warren went on to say that our methods are useless unless our lives are prepared to respond to God and His work.

With this being said, we drove from Mt. Carmel (where Elijah and the prophets of Baal battled it out) and I listened to one of my favorite new songs (Give Me Faith - Elevation Worship). Here is a video of this song led by my buddy Chris Brown.

This wasn’t by chance, this was orchestrated by God. I was anticipating for God to speak to me clearly and He chose to bring this up on my new ipod shuffle. For those who don’t have one of these, you basically can put up to 250 songs on it and then it just randomly shuffles songs when you hit play. I couldn’t have chosen it myself.

Here I am sitting on the Sea of Galilee and God asks me to “Give Him Faith”. I mean how stinkin awesome is this! There are too many to cover on this blog, but consider the encounters people had with Jesus about their faith in the book of Mark.

To the paralytic who was carried through a roof by four friends near Capernaum:
Mark 2:5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

To the disciples on the Sea of Galilee:
Mark 4:40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

To the woman who touched Jesus’ garment by the Sea of Galilee:
Mark 5:34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

2010 was an amazing year. There were definitely some major ups and major downs. In regards to family, we went through quite a roller coaster ride with the pregnancy but by God’s grace we welcomed Mack and Birk into our lives in July. Annabeth and I are so thankful for them and our Bolt. In regards to school, I am almost done. I never thought that would happen. This has been a slow process but I am thankful to learn and grow. In regards to ministry, I am amazed by the evidences of God’s grace with Vintage and MissionLab despite my failures and inabilities. I am so thankful that Jesus has set me free from the burden of trying to do anything, He has simply called me to surrender to Him and follow Him. I wish everything was great this year but I also went through some intensely difficult times. I am hoping to one day share these journeys as God has shaped and molded me through pain. I’ll be completing my 6th year leading MLab and have been thankful for every minute of this growing ministry. Vintage is at an incredible place where truth, love, and community is being multiplied through individuals, community groups, and gatherings.

With all that said, God is challenging me on my level of faith. He is reminded me through His Word that He has even greater things in store. Things that I can’t even imagine. No matter what I face in 2011, I am praying that God would give me a faith that anticipates His glory continuing to shine in my personal life, my family life, and my ministry life. Thank you Jesus for loving me by the Sea of Galilee.

Please Lord, Give Me Faith.