It's Christmas Time Baby!

Well, the time is here Suncoast family! The stores are packed, the streets are nuts, and the time to get your invite into full gear is on!

This Saturday night, 6pm at Rushe we will have the chance to partner with the angels in not only celebrating the birth of Jesus, but partner with God's redemptive work in our world. That means God is moving in people's hearts even now. He will bring new people into His eternal kingdom at our church this Saturday. AND you could be a part of that!!!

How? By investing your remaining minutes into some people around you and then inviting them to the Suncoast for Christmas Eve. The service is going to be different from anything you have ever seen at the Suncoast. We have put a lot of effort into this time, this moment, this opportunity. Will you join me in honoring God and His Son by doing all we can to pack the house? It is the best gift you can give Him these last few days before Christmas!
  • Will you bring someone?
  • Will you make sure you are there at least 5-minutes early?
  • Will you consider what gift God would have you give to this years Christmas Offering?
I am praying for you! I am praying for the people you will be asking! Will you pray for the staff and for the service and for the souls HE WILL SAVE THIS SATURDAY NIGHT?

I love my church!

Welcome Sophie Marie!

As we sit here in awe of our beautiful, little girl, and all of the wonderful people who have showered her already with love and gifts, together we wanted to update you all on the past week of our life.

Monday, December 5th
2AM Cheryl wakes to some new pains
2:30AM Cheryl wakes Brian and tells him of these new pain, and the timing of the contractions begins
3:30AM Contractions are five minutes apart, so we shower and pack the car
4:30AM Leave for the hospital, with a pit stop at McDonald's (don't judge)
5AM Arrive at Mease Countryside Hospital, where Cheryl's water breaks while filling out paperwork we already filled out (not happy)
5:10AM Undressed and in bed waiting for the doctor
5:11AM Brian throws up (really)
6:30AM Contractions are one minute apart, still waiting for the doctor
7AM Cheryl begins to push
7:07AM Meet Sophie:

18.5 inches long, and 6 pounds 14 ounces, and unbelievably long toes

First family photo, after Brian was done crying:

Nothing could have prepared us for this day, despite the books, classes, and advice. After several days in the hospital healing, learning how to care for our baby, and lots and lots of diapers, we were both exhausted.

On Wednesday, December 7th, we finally got to bring our little girl home!

Sophie in her new home:

Sophie's first doctor appointment:

Doctor says Sophie is doing well, and maintaining her weight of 6 pounds 5 ounces. She was a little bit jaundice, so we go back on Monday for a follow up. But she has been eating, pooping, and peeing like crazy, so we're thinking she is just fine. :)

Sophie's photo shoot with Daddy in the backyard (not too bad for amateurs):

Thank you to all of our family, friends, and neighbors who have prayed for Sophie for months, and were a part of welcoming her into this world. We are very grateful for the people God has placed in our families life!

Nside the Suncoast (Part 1)

For the next few weeks I will be posting an "Nside the Suncoast" series of posts that I hope let you get to know your church a little better. Today, we will look at the staff of the Suncoast.

We call our current staff the, "Management Team" and they are the ones that make the decisions around here. We are a staff led church as compared to an elder led (think Presbyterian) or congregation led (think Baptist) church. The current staff members of the Suncoast are Rita Wilson, Crystal Michehl, Steve McCauley and myself.

Some basic info:

Rita - came on staff part time, first as our children's director, and now as an administrator back in late 2006 I think. She does all kinds of office stuff, manages the website and other communications, helps me a ton, and leads our Sunday first impression teams. Rita really does anything I ask and has become a trusted go to person for me on almost any project. Even if she has no idea how to do it! Rita works on Monday's and Thursday's at the Warehouse.

Crystal - started attending our church in 2009 from a postcard and quickly jumped into volunteering and we hired her in late 2009 part time as our Children's Director. She runs the Coastal Kids scene at the church and has done an amazing job growing leaders and creating a real "Wow" experience for our kids. It is a HUGE job and she works a lot more than part time on it!!! But, she is at the Warehouse on Tuesdays.

Steve - jumped in back in 2006 when we had a hole in our band and needed a guitar and some vocals. What started as a favor turned into 5 years of being our music guy! Being portable the only practice Steve gets in leading our band is before church on Sunday's, but week after week he gets out music and provides direction under a lot of pressure! Steve can take a crazy idea I have for a song or service element and give it life in a short amount of time. He can also play everything up there, so the flexibility has been such a huge blessing! AND, he is the only staff member we have never had to pay a dime! He volunteers for all this!!! Steve works remotely from his house through a ton of e-mails.

Then there is me - I have been here since the beginning and for the first few months was the only staff member. I folded programs, did powerpoint, called volunteers, and even led the band!!! Yikes, I would not want to go back to those days. These days I spend my time working on messages, creating a chunk of the Sunday service, and leading the church overall. Well, I do a lot more than that, but that is the 30,000 ft view anyway. Right now I am the only full time staff member at the Suncoast.

The staff meets twice a month on Tuesday's for about 2 hours over lunch and we evaluate the Sunday services, plan, talk about current needs and issues, and we usually are digesting some ministry or hip new leadership book. If you think of it, we would love your prayers!!! We need them as we listen to God and guide this church.

Next time I will share about how a Sunday comes together. Tune in next Wednesday... unless baby Sophie is here!!!

The Sunday That Was (November 27)

The Sunday AFTER Thanksgiving, AKA turkey hangover weekend, was upon us yesterday. You guys crack me up, I ask if you are thankful and everyone is so groggy no one responds, ha! We got through it though. Thank you to the awesome volunteers who showed up and made Sunday happen. You guys ROCK!

I went to bed Saturday night about 90% sure Cheryl would make it through the next 24 hours without going into labor. Little Sophie is due on December 11th, but we are thinking it might be a week early, or anytime really! So, I was glad we made it through Sunday since I had no back up plan for this week, thanks Sophie! We will keep you guys posted as we get closer to the big day.

I thought the service yesterday was really good. We opened with a MuteMath song called, "Chaos" appropriately. I liked the third screen touch for it. Glad Rushe has that sitting up there in the ceiling! The band did some of my fav songs too. Love hearing Stephanie sing Revelation Song! You guys rocked! Thanks for volunteering your time and talents even though everything is different week to week. One day we will have our own place with sound we can depend on! Oh, the thought! Finally, I wrapped up the, "Chaos" series talking about one of my fav Bible dudes named Joseph.

I love Joseph's story because there is nothing supernatural going on. No angels busting onto the scene, no burning bushes, no voices from the heavens. I guess I am saying I can relate. God has yet to use any of those things in my life when things are chaotic. The tension we addressed was this:

How do you follow a good God when times are not? We want to believe God is with us and for us but how do we do that in times of chaos? Why should we be faithful to God when it seems He is not being faithful to us? Good questions right? And, I am not going to really get into all that we talked about because you can listen to the message, but the take home was this...

"It’s easy to follow God in the good times. It’s easy to follow when our prayers all seem to be answered. But, in times of extreme chaos when God seems distant it is hard to follow. It is easy to look around and think we are the victim. BUT, do you know what we learn from Joseph’s story. You are not a victim. I am not a victim. We are players in God’s amazing plan for this world. The chaos in your life and around you right now is just a tool for God’s greater good.

So how do you follow God in the chaos? How do you follow a good God when times are not? You do what Joseph did:

You live your life like someone who is confident God is with you.

That’s it. You just follow! You keep on keeping on keeping on, living your life like someone who knew that they knew that they knew God was with them. How do you deal with the chaos of your job, your marriage, your finances, your dating world, your future? You live with the confidence, that even in your circumstances, you know God is with you and will never leave you or forsake you. You know that God has been leveraging, and using, and bringing good out of chaos, out of the ashes throughout human existence and you are no exception. You know that God is with you.

You pray, you remember, you seek first, and you follow. You pray, you remember, you seek, and you follow. And on the other side God will have done more in and through you than you could ever imagine. Your faith will have thrived in the chaos and you will know your Heavenly Father deeper than you did before."

I hope this series helped you! I think it has been one of my favorites. It was the 77th message series in the 5 year history of our church, by the way, in case you were keeping count. Would love to hear what your favorite has been over your run here at the Suncoast!

Two things before I wrap this up:

Christmas @ the Suncoast will be here before you know it! Our service will be at 6pm and we will have a shorter volunteer service after for all the volunteers that served during the 6pm regular service. Let's pack the house guys! This is about Jesus!!! IF THAT IS NOT ENOUGH MOTIVATION THEN WHAT IS? Really?

Finally, our Volunteer Christmas Party is THIS Saturday night, 7pm here at the Warehouse. If you are a volunteer (or the spouse of a volunteer) then please join us as we celebrate... YOU!!! This is the one time we ask middle school and older only because it is a special night and we want you to have a blast!!! I promise this will be the best Christmas party you go to all year!!! Really!!! For more info e-mail Rita at:

The Sunday That Was (November 20)

Happy Thanksgiving week Suncoast!!!

After church on Sunday I got in my truck and someone had left me a gas gift card! So, I am thankful for the person that put it there!!! (This is another reason why I don't lock my truck... the first being I don't want the guy stealing it to break my window and the second being I hate having to unlock my doors when my hands are full) But, enough about that... Here are some random thoughts and a few of my message notes from yesterday at the Suncoast:

The band sounded awesome yesterday. It was a tough range of songs from rock to more mellow, and a lot of high notes, but you guys sounded great. The closing song after I sat down really ministered to people I think. Thanks for showing up and using your talents to help people take their next steps with God.

Set up went by really fast! Dang! You guys were on your game. Thank you for setting up God's house each week.

I was thankful for the people that actually show up on time every week! You guys give God and His church honor and He will reward you for that by honoring you! Really!!!

As, I was walking around from my "green room" (Basically, a storage closet at the school that I change in) I saw the Coastal Kids team members having a blast with the kids and checking everyone in with a smile. Thank you guys for taking care of what is most important to people so they can take their next steps with God and not worry about their kids!

I then walked down the breezeway and saw the greeters talking and shaking hands. Thank you guys for making such a great first impression for our guests! People will remember your hospitality long after they forget my message.

I grabbed a seat for the opening song with my wife Cheryl and that takes us back to the band... then an amazing video about being thankful even in the chaos of life... and then it was my turn.

Some of my notes:

Whenever you have chaos in your life there will be pain. Pain is a byproduct of chaos because it forces us out of our comfort zones. AND, whenever we have pain in our lives we become very self-focused. But, if we let that back us into a corner where all we can think about is me, myself, and I then we will miss God!

So, Jesus offers this exchange in Matthew 6:

"I tell you, do not worry. Don't worry about your life and what you will eat or drink. And don't worry about your body and what you will wear. Isn't there more to life than eating? Aren't there more important things for the body than clothes? 26 "Look at the birds of the air. They don't plant or gather crops. They don't put away crops in storerooms. But your Father who is in heaven feeds them. Aren't you worth much more than they are? 27 "Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the wild flowers grow. They don't work or make clothing. 29 But here is what I tell you. Not even Solomon in all of his glory was dressed like one of those flowers. 30 "If that is how God dresses the wild grass, won't he dress you even better? After all, the grass is here only today. Tomorrow it is thrown into the fire. Your faith is so small! 31 "So don't worry. Don't say, 'What will we eat?' Or, 'What will we drink?' Or, 'What will we wear?' 32 People who are ungodly run after all of those things. Your Father who is in heaven knows that you need them. 33 "But put God's kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all of those things will also be given to you." Matthew 6:25-33

So, this is where we landed:

In times of chaos God tells us to SEEK His priorities, His agenda for the world, His Kingdom AND if we do that, if we make that the top priority of our lives over all the self-centered worry, THEN God promises He will take care of the rest. He will give us, "all these other things".

Ask: What can I do to further God's kingdom in this chaos, not mine?

If you are going through a time of chaos right now don't let yourself get backed into a corner where all you think about is yourself. Put God's agenda in this chaos first and you will see Him work in your life in undeniable ways!

If you missed Sunday please at least listen to my prayer for you at the end of the message. It will be up later on Monday in both podcast and video form on our website,

Have a great Thanksgiving and DON'T MISS THE FINAL WEEK OF CHAOS this Sunday!

The TUESDAY That Was

Normally, I give a quick update about, "The Sunday That Was" but, this week I wanted to share about the final week of my NEXT Group. If you have never tried a NEXT Group at the Suncoast I hope this inspires you to jump in next year when we roll them out again!

For the past 10-weeks a group of about 11 - 12 people have "invaded" our house each Tuesday night for a lot of fun, a lot of food, and the chance to take our next steps of faith and friendship with each other. Is that enough "F" words??? Every week one person is in charge of bringing dinner for the group and we have had taco's, baked ziti, pulled pork, sloppy joes, subs, pizza... more I can't remember but last night was the mother of all meals:

We had Thanksgiving dinner a week early!!! Not sure why Dale is looking at me like he wants to kill me? But we had Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, corn casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and chocolate layer cake... AND, we all ate until we were stuffed! I was thankful! I even had to use my big fork! It was a great finish to a great semester of groups.

BUT, we do more than just eat! Really, even though that seems to be all I have talked about. Each week we study a little deeper into the past Sunday's message. It is a chance to have a dialogue about the message instead of just one way communication. You get to hear the opinions of others and learn from the experiences of others. My faith is always built up when I hear other's stories of how God has worked in their life.

Then we pray for each other, and each 10-week semester we serve as a group once, and then we give to a cause once. My group is buying gifts that we are going to shower on a soon to be mom from the West Pasco Pregnancy Center.

And, that was the Tuesday that was... for the past 10-weeks! I loved getting to meet some new friends and re-connecting with some old ones that have not been in my group for a while. Again, if you have never tried a group, or have not been plugged in one for a while, WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? Groups start back up in the New Year and I hope you will try one.

The Sunday That Was (November 6)

We always try to keep our stage fresh and Rita had the idea for this one. It looked really cool once we got the lights on it! I can't wait for the day we can have our own stage and I can turn you guys loose!

We also had some new help for set up which was awesome AND Karl walks in and makes pancakes and sausage for everyone! Holy cow! Set up never smelled so good. So thank you Mike, Kris, Patti and Karl.

We started a new series yesterday called, "CHAOS" and I have been amazed at how timely and relevant this is to so many people's lives. Of course the world is full of chaos these days, but so many people came up to me and commented on how yesterday hit them right in the middle of their own chaos. Go God! I know He will use this series if we let Him. The message will be up later today if you missed it or want to give it a second watch or listen.

The room was fuller too Sunday which was good to see from the stage. I hope you will join me this week in making sure it is even fuller this Sunday. I know a bunch of people in my life that need to hear this series, even just a week of it! So, who do you know that needs to be here? If you e-mail me I will pray for them this week, pray that God opens their hearts for your ask, and gives you the boldness to actually do it!

As we closed out the service I was pumped because you guys were actually excited about worshipping God through the offering! That is cool. If we can make that shift that this isn't about dollars and cents, this is about obedience, about worship, about honor to God then look out! The Bible says God LOVES a cheerful giver and I think He is just looking for a church to bless that He knows will be generous in return!

I also mentioned a couple things I am also excited about:

Each Sunday from now until the end of the year I am asking you to get in the habit of bringing some can / box food items each week and dropping them off in the back of the room. We will be taking them to Christian Social Services in Land O' Lakes and even one can a week they tell me makes a difference! So, let's "wow" them with our generosity and help make sure no one goes hungry this holiday season!

The second thing is our annual Volunteer Christmas Party on December 3rd. If you are one of our amazing volunteers at the Suncoast then don't forget to save the date for this always over-the-top event. (If you don't serve yet, you might want to start now just so you can come!!!)

It was a great Sunday Suncoast. Let's do it again this week for, "CHAOS" part 2. If you want to do some reading ahead of time read 1 Kings 17 - 19. ILMC!!!

CHAOS Begins on Sunday!

Hey guys I am really jacked up about the new series we are doing for the month of November called, "CHAOS." Basically here is the tease:

Chaos! It seems to be the word that best describes what is going on in our personal lives and in the world today. The cast of Bible characters were no strangers to change and unrest either. They spoke and wrote as men and women who knew firsthand the difficulty of trusting a good God when life was not good. Find out what we can learn from them Sunday's in November at the Suncoast!

So, will you treat THIS Sunday kind of like a mini-re-fall launch? Will you invite like crazy this week? Will you not just invite, but will you BRING people with you Sunday? Will you do whatever it takes to BE THERE this Sunday and BE ON TIME? Will you PRAY for God to move in powerful ways in the lives of those dealing with their own chaos? Will you pray God shows up Sunday and rocks YOUR WORLD? Will you treat this Sunday like some one's life depended on it?

We are putting a lot of effort into this Sunday, and this series, because I am so passionate about the content and timing of these talks. I really do believe lives will be changed. I want to be obedient to what God wants us to talk about, I want you guys to be obedient to His Word, and if we are God will bless us even though it seems like the world is falling a part around us.

Again will you:


Let's do ALL we can to take advantage of this opportunity Suncoast!

Love you guys!!!

Georgia Photo Essay

Backroads through Donaldsonville, Columbus, Callaway Gardens, Dahlonega, Brasstown Bald, Blue Ridge, and Brown's Bridge from October 26th - 29th, 2011. Enjoy!

The Sunday That Was (October 30)

Yesterday, I got to do something I have never done in 5 years as pastor of the Suncoast... I got to go to church like "everyone" else!!!

Cheryl and I were gone for a long weekend trip up to Georgia to see some fall foliage and we got back in town Saturday night. So, Sunday morning I slept in to about 7:30am or so. Actually had breakfast WITH Cheryl on a Sunday. Got ready and waited for her to finish getting ready... this is why we never fight on Sunday's, we never ride together! It was strange!!! We pulled in the parking lot and were greated by Henry and Christopher. Then greated by Rita and Marge. Then greated by Angel at the door. Got my program, checked out the coffee and donuts, found a seat in time for the countdown clock. "Worshiped" with Cheryl, actually filled out a Communication Card during the Need to Know, my first time. Watched the cool "Lord's Prayer" video which was awesome with the three screens. Then took some notes listening to the final message in the prayer series. When the service was over, I talked with some people, finally got the donut, and then we just left... THAT WAS HARD! Seeing everyone doing tear down and just walking out was the hardest part of the day for me.

SO, thank you staff and thank you volunteers for keeping the church going even when the pastor is just a spectator! I love my church!

It is not too late to do Halloweenie at your house tonight. Take the grill out front and give out some free hot dogs and invite cards for the new series, "CHAOS" that begins this Sunday! E-mail me if you need some invite cards,

Take a look at the new series:

CHAOS from Church of the Suncoast on Vimeo.

The Sunday That Was (October 23)

I never know how to start these weekly Sunday recap posts since I changed up my blog's direction this year. There is, "Yesterday..." or, "This past Sunday at the Suncoast..." I don't know?

On Sunday, October 23rd at Church of the Suncoast :-) we talked about the mystery of unanswered prayer in our, "Prayer" series. You can watch the message here on my blog to the right OR head to the church website and get the podcast. OR!!! Get the church of the Suncoast App for your Driod, my fav!

We started the service with a really honest video about what it feels like when God is silent and we have been desperately seeking Him. I know I could relate to it! There have been many times in my life when God seemed deaf to my request. Have you ever felt like that?

The band did a great job on Sunday I thought. We were missing a few peeps but you guys stepped up. We had one of our high school students, Josh step up and play electric, and he rocked it. Great job guys. Steve led us in a time of prayer after the set and I loved the honesty of his prayer. He said there are things he has been praying about for 20 years and still it doesn't seem like God has answered his request. Thanks for sharing man!

The message had a lot of content and really looking back I should have broken this talk up into two seperate messages, but I just had so much I wanted to share about what I have learned when God says, "No" or "Wait" or just seems to say nothing at all! And, when I say the things I have learned I should really say learnING because I still don't have all the answers to why God doesn't answer some request for healing, or for a marriage, or for our kids. The bottom line, where we landed yesterday, was can you still trust God? Fill in the blank with the thing you have been praying about and still nothing... Got it? Now, can you trust God despite what you feel and see right now? Can you trust that He is still writing your story and the last chapter has not been written yet? Can you trust Him and His plan even when you think yours is better? Can you trust your Heavenly Father BECAUSE maybe, just maybe, that is the point to prayer in the first place. That is what part 3 will be about this Sunday.

After the service a handful of Suncoasters joined Cheryl and I out at the Villiage Lakes plaza in Land O' Lakes off SR54. For a couple years we have been trying to get this plaza to lease to us and every time we meet with them they say, "NO" because we are a church. There were some issues with Wal-Mart and Sweetbay but now both of them are gone, the plaza is sitting empty, I called one more time and they took it before their "big cheese" and they said no once again. BUT, every time I drive by there I can't get it out of my mind. It might be God, it might just be me, BUT either way a group of us went out there and prayed for God to open doors at that plaza or clearly show us what is next for the Suncoast. If it is to stay portable for the next 5-years, fine. If it is a storefront, fine. If it is some other building, great... we just want to make sure we have the faith to ask and trust and not just lean on our own understanding. SO, the next time you drive by the Villiage Lakes Plaza just past 41 on 54 say a quick prayer for God to open doors or show us what is next as we wrap up this year and start looking to 2012, crazy, where has this year gone!

One last thing, THANK YOU to the crowd we had help out at the West Pasco Pregnancy Center on Saturday! Huge blessing to them!

Prayer in MY Life

This past Sunday at the Suncoast we started a new series on prayer simply called, "Prayer". So, today I thought I would share a little of my own prayer life with you guys. Again, my disclaimer on Sunday... I don't think I am that great at it and I have so much more to learn, but here is what I have found along the way:

Write them down...
For about the past 7 or 8 years I have been writing down my prayers. The first go around I created a Word document and just kept adding to it for an entire year, then I would print it out and start a new one for the new year. That was good because it kept me focused, but I got bored with it. I am, dare I say it... a bit "artsy" so I got a journal and started writing down my prayers for an entire month at a time and then some daily ones as well. I also write down thoughts and impressions I get, AND any ways God has answered those prayers. Yes, and I can doodle!!!

Pray the "P's"...
Somewhere along the line I was studying the, "Lord's Prayer" that Jesus taught His disciples to pray and I found a way to remember the basic ingredients of what Jesus teaches. This is not the "right" way to pray. This is just what works for me and keeps me from always praying about myself!!!

Praise - start out by praising God for who He is and what He has done. The longer you spend here the bigger God gets and the smaller your problems get.

Purpose - this is where you surrender your will to God's will. Before you even get to your laundry list of request, you submit to His will. If you cannot get past this point then don't! Wrestling through this part of prayer is more important than anything else!!!

Pardon - this is where you confess your sins and ask God to create in you a clean heart and you declare your dependency on Him and Him alone for your salvation.

People - who do you know that needs some prayer, needs God to move in their life, this is where you bring them before God and pray on their behalf.

Notice we have been praying for a while now and still no mention of all the things we want from God... exactly!!! The FINAL part of prayer for me is:

Petition - what are your concerns, what do you need, what are your wants... ask your Heavenly Father here. You don't have to hide them or not pray for them, most of us just need to pray for them less! Praying the "P's" helps you do that.

Pray for someone now...
The final thing I want to share from my personal prayer life is when someone asks you to pray for them, or you tell someone you will be praying for them, do it then! It might only be a one line, simple prayer, but do it then OR ELSE YOU WON'T. Trust me!

Hope that helps. Hope Sunday's message gave you some hope and freedom. Don't miss this Sunday as we talk about the mystery of unanswered prayer.

What can I pray for you? Let me know! Hit me up with a comment, facebook, twitter or e-mail.

The Sunday That Was (October 16)

Yesterday we opened up our new series called, "Prayer" with what else but Bon Jovi's 80's hit, "Livin' on a Prayer". We even gave the band some 80's rocker hair to jam with... they had just a little fun with it! This was my view from off stage looking at Josh, Meredith and Rayzor. You never know what might happen next at the Suncoast.

Here are some random thoughts from the first talk in this 3-week series:

Prayer is an interesting, confusing, even at times offensive subject. It is also powerful, many people rely on it for a sense of peace, and studies have even shown it has many health benefits. It is at least a topic we are interested in and curious about no matter where you are on the spiritual spectrum.

A lot of people don't pray more because they just don't know how!

We also don't pray more because we get bored or distracted when we pray. The office next to ours at the Warehouse has a guy that cusses like a sailor almost every day when I pray... it is a little distracting!

Many of us don't pray more because we think our request are too small to bother God with.

Others of us don't because we are not sure our prayers make a difference!

The bottom line is prayer is simply communication with God. David asked God in Psalm 5 to consider his SIGHING! David felt like he was so close to God that even a sign could be a prayer. It is a lot different than we think!

IF you let yourself break out of your preconceived ideas of what prayer is you can find a lot more creativity and effectiveness and meaning!

Try: Talking to God with gut level honesty, about everything that matters to you, continually (don’t pray for long periods of time, but never go long periods of time without praying) and finally we must learn how to listen for God's response.

Five years from now, your life should look radically different because God wants to say something to you TODAY that could change the course of your life, the life of your family, maybe the course of generations to come. Will you learn to listen for His response?

This Sunday we will dive into the mystery of unanswered prayer. I hope if you are reading this then you will be there this Sunday. I hope you will pray about someone to bring too!!!

I wanted to let you know two vision pieces of what is going on right now at our church. One is THIS SATURDAY at 9am a bunch of people will be showing up at the West Pasco Pregnancy Center for our NEXT Serves project. We want to make Pasco County a better place! We want to serve our community. Service is a big part of the Suncoast from Sunday mornings to service opportunities like this. This Saturday we will help do some landscaping and building maintenance so wear some old stuff and meet at the center at 9am. Marge is leading the event and her e-mail is Everyone is welcome to help make a difference and here is the address and map:

West Pasco Pregnancy Center

***NOTE: There are no NEXT Groups this week so we can serve on Saturday!

The second vision piece I want to mention is this week our church is giving back thousands of dollars to local ministries that help people in need from Land O' Lakes to Ybor City. We are also setting aside some money to help those in need at our own church! As a church we believe the Bible teaches to live on 90% of what God has blessed us with and give back to Him 10% called the tithe. From day one of the Suncoast we also believed if God asks us as Christ-Followers to follow this command then we as a church, as an organization, need to follow it as well. So we "give back" 10% of everything that comes in each year. To date we have given back over $75,000 in the past 5 years!!! As this money goes out this week pray that God blesses and multiplies it and that it is used to bring even more people to Jesus. Stay tuned for updates.

Don't miss part two of "Prayer" this Sunday guys... it will be good stuff and I will try to have my "A" game back. Felt like I only brought a "B-" this week.


Neglect... [why you might need this Sunday]

This morning I was reading in Hebrews chapter 2 and the Apostle Paul warns us with this:

"This is why it’s necessary for us to pay more attention to what we have heard, or else we may drift away..."

In my years as a pastor, and as a follower of Christ, I can say without a doubt the number one cause of spiritual problems and issues is NOT failure or sin, it is neglect. We neglect our faith and when we do it suffers, we drift, we fall into temptation, we feel empty. Paul warns us we need to pay more attention so that we don't drift away. Meaning, we need to read the Bible, pray, worship, serve, give, and spend time enjoying other Christ-Followers. All the personal things we do to keep our faith fresh and alive.

As your pastor as I take the temperature of our church I think many of us would say our faith is a bit flat right now... could it be because we have neglected it like a pound puppy!

So, this Sunday we are starting a new message series on prayer. For the next three weeks we will talk about what prayer is, some of the common frustrations, and we will look at how Jesus taught His followers to pray (which might shock you how much we miss the point of prayer). If your prayer life, and faith, could use a boost then please be here this Sunday. I have been praying for exactly that!

For more info click here:

Ye Ole Book

When I got home from church on Sunday I found a really thoughtful gift in my mailbox... no it wasn't a bomb! Marlene gave me this REALLY old book:

The book is an Episcopal Church book or prayers from get this 1898!!!

It was regifted to Lois for "Faithful Sunday School Attendance"

AND, inside were these newspaper clippings from the 1940's where you could get a car for $10 down and $7 a week!

Thanks for the great gift! Had to share about it.

The Sunday That Was (October 9)

It rained... A LOT!!! Thanks to our unnamed tropic low that spun up over us this weekend we got soaked. The set up people got soaked. The amazing greeters who helped people inside with the umbrellas got soaked. I saw tons of kids walking in soaked. The tear down peeps got soaked. And, yes... I got SOAKED on multiple occasions Sunday. Thank you guys for being a, "Whatever it takes" kind of church. Summer sun OR tropical storm, God's house gets set up and church happens, lives are changed! I love my church.

Saw some of our students sitting up on the front row again, you guys rock! Keep it up! Show us "old" people how it's done. The band rolled out a tough new song called "Magnify" and with not a lot of practice you guys pulled it off. Thanks for giving new things a try. We never grow if we don't! You guys are hard workers, thank you!

We celebrated communion and dropped our F-bombs too... We do communion different ways at the Suncoast. Sometimes the ushers pass out little waffers and cups, and sometimes we have everyone come up front and rip and dip the bread and juice. This past Sunday we ripped and dipped and asked everyone to come forward. Then as they were making their way back to their seats we had a basket where everyone could drop their "F-Bomb." My message ended with me asking everyone to write down the biggest offense they had to forgive someone for right now in their lives. After communion they dropped them in a basket and this week we will burn them as a visual tool for the process of forgiveness many of us are on now because of this series. Powerful stuff! I would love to hear your stories!

I HIGHLY reccomend watching or listening to the past two weeks if you were not at the Suncoast! Look, I am not dumb. I know no one wanted to talk about the topic of forgiveness. No one ever does! I didn't want to, that is why this series sat on the back burner for months... BUT, I am telling you as a church WE NEEDED THIS SERIES! So much freedom and liberation when you can swallow your pride and wrestle with the pain and work the process of forgiveness. So on your own, at your pace, watch or listen. You will be blessed because if, "you got it, then you give it."

This Sunday we start a new series on prayer called... "Prayer." We got creative with the title. Don't miss it if your prayer life could use a boost!

Don't Miss This Chance!

To all my friends at the Suncoast... DON'T MISS THIS CHANCE! As this week has gone by I get a stronger and stronger sense God wants to move in BIG ways this Sunday at the Suncoast. What does that mean?

I think marriages will start down a path of healing. I think students will find freedom from some past hurts. I think those of us with a low grade fever, an anger, a frustration that lies just below the surface will be released to new joy! I think many people will finally forgive themselves and those who have held them in a prison of emotional captivity...

BUT, MOST OF ALL I BELIEVE DOZENS OF PEOPLE WILL FIND THE FORGIVENESS OF JESUS FOR THE FIRST TIME! Don't miss the chance to be a part of this, and what God wants to do in the lives of the people all around you at work, in your family, and in your neighborhood. Invite like a person possessed by the forgiveness of God and can't wait to share that with others!

E-mail me, tweet me, or facebook who you are inviting so I can be praying.

I love my church!

The Sunday That Was (October 2)

It was a struggle... the portable church demons were out in full force yesterday! We had our monitors go out so the band could not hear themselves for the most part, not to mention they all had sinus infections! We had two of our VGA cables that take the signal to the projectors short out or something so we were down one video screen. Half of the video and media files got corrupted somehow when we transferred them off the portable hard drive. So, with less than an hour before church started I made a mad dash for my laptop while the guys finished set up and fought all these other issues. We got everything going at about 10:15am just in time to open the doors so we didn't get to rehearse the service before going "live" and had a few hiccups. Like I said the portable church, wear and tear, nothing is the same week to week demons were out doing all they could to keep us from experiencing this new series on forgiveness.

BUT, God won! He pulled it all together and the service was really powerful I thought! It might not have been perfect, but it was powerful. I got to pray for our band before they went out on stage, something I get to do every once in a while when I walk in on them backstage, but I prayed the only thing I knew to pray... "God if you show up and your presence fills this place then all this stuff doesn't matter."

I was also jacked up when I came out because a bunch of our middle and high school students were filling up the front row! Awesome to see you guys sitting together and being the church! Loved it!!! Keep it up, show us adults how it is done!

We started a new series called "F-Bomb" that I have been wanting to bring to you guys for a long time. I felt over a year ago that forgiveness was going to be something our church needed to wrestle with in 2011 and the only thing I am bummed about was the number of people who missed out one of the most powerful talks I have ever been able to preach. I didn't feel like I brought my "A-game" but the content and what God did made up for it! Guys I hope you will do everything within your power to help pack the house this Sunday! If there has ever been a time our church and our community needed to hear something it is this series! I actually wrote a handwritten letter to some friends inviting them to this series, I have never invited someone like that, but I just felt I needed to put into words why I was so passionate about this. So no excuses, be there this week and bring some friends.

Normally, I would leave you with some thoughts from the message, but I want you to watch or listen to the message if you missed it. It is worth the time investment, again not because of anything I said, but because forgiveness is that powerful and most of us don't really know why, or have been misinformed about it. So watch or listen and let me know what you think. I would love to hear your stories about how God is using this series. In fact you can share them here:

A couple "announcements" to leave you with that I am also excited about from Sunday:

For the past 4 years we have done something as a church that has become a favorite for Cheryl and I each year. Halloweenie is where we take our grills from around back and put them in the drive way. We put signs (that the church provides) out the week before, and we grill hot dogs for all the people out trick or treating. We give out from 100 - 125 plus each year and then we give them an invite card for the new series we usually start that Sunday. The past couple of years we have had our NEXT Group help us and it is always so much fun! The signs will be available the next few weeks at church and from there it is up to you how big you want to make it!

On Saturday, October 22nd at 9am we are also meeting at the West Pasco Pregnancy Center to help them with some basic maintenance and clean up. Our NEXT Groups will be helping and EVERYONE is invited to help us make a difference in Pasco County. E-mail Marge to let us know who is coming:

I love my church!

The Sunday That Was (September 25)

Yesterday at the Suncoast was the chance for a lot of people to step up, which was really cool to see. We had two staff members and a couple key volunteers out of town so some new faces got to step up and lead the Suncoast! We had a new vocalist, a new person leading worship, a new tech person running video, new people doing set up and tear down... good stuff.

I can remember days 4 or 5 years ago when we were just getting this church started that this would have been a Sunday I would have dreaded because we would have had some huge holes that would NOT have been filled OR I would have had to fill them and totally killed myself before I even preached a word!

I am so thankful for our staff, for our volunteers, and for the new people who stepped up and made it happen this week. Virtual HIGH FIVE!

Sunday we also wrapped up a quick little series that packed so much punch called "Catalyst." We continued talking about the things God uses to grow our faith and how we can either intentionally involve ourselves in these things, and put ourselves in environments where this happens, OR at least be aware of how these things work in our lives when we experience them so we can work with God and not against Him. Here are a few of my notes... catch the message here on my blog later today:

  • The reason Jesus was so revolutionary was because He invited us to KNOW God through faith. Not just know about God (religion), but actually KNOW and relate to God as a Father.

  • The first two ways God uses over and over to grow that relationship from last week were Practical Teaching and Providential Relationships.

  • Private Disciplines is the third way He does this. Things like prayer, reflection, reading your Bible, giving, even fasting.

  • In Matthew 6:6 Jesus tells us there is a reward for doing these private things on our own.

  • Pivotal Circumstances is the next thing God uses to grow our faith and usually it is the negative ones!

  • The difference between your faith growing and your faith being devastated in a crisis is who you surround yourself with! THIS is why we want you in a NEXT Group this week!

  • Personal Ministry is the final thing people talk about in their faith journey as something God used as a catalyst for bigger faith. There is something about being put in a stretching situation that forces you to depend on God and your faith grows. This is why we want you to serve!

  • At the end of the day the thing I want Church of the Suncoast to be known for is our big faith. This isn't about building a church it is about building people. And when you have a big church, filled with people of big faith, you can make a big difference! How much fun would that be???

    I said this on Sunday but let's "Go Fish" this week! We are starting a new series on forgiveness THIS Sunday called "F-Bomb" and I know God wants to do some incredible things in our lives over the next couple of weeks through this series. We will be talking about the things you never knew about forgiveness and why it matters so much. I wrote in my journal this morning that God would make ME a bold "fisher" this week. I want my unchurched friends and neighbors to hear this series! I want them to be changed by the power of Jesus forgiveness!

    Cheryl shared this with me on Sunday afternoon as we were chillin' on the couch. If someone gave you free luxury box tickets to the Buc's Monday Night Football game next week how jacked up would you be? You would walk around with a spring in your step, you would be so excited, you would anticipate the day! Well, news flash... we have been given forgiveness in Jesus and the gift of eternal life and NOW we get to share that with other people and we can't even muster a little enthusiasm... ouch!

    I want my neighbors to hear this series and I want yours to hear it, but they won't unless we invite them. Let's get a little jacked up about what we get to do this week Suncoast! Let's tweet it up, post it up, talk it up, share it up, txt it up! Feel free to use our website, twitter feed, any of my stuff to help get the conversation going.

  • A Glimpse Into the Pastors Life (Part 2)

    As promised last Friday in THIS POST I will share some stuff that I have been going through, and learning from the amazing conference Cheryl and I went to in South Carolina recently. If you want her take you can read:

    THIS and THIS from her blog.

    By the way... I know this might not be about our church and your life, but it is about my life and my leadership and that does affect you so I hope you find this interesting. If not then check this out :-)

    My life is not defined by the success of my church.

    I wish I could go into all the in's and out's of how this feels, but maybe those of you who are parents can relate. You dream about giving birth to this baby, you work so hard for the first couple of years, it grows up a little and it is easy to let your life be defined by your "baby". But, it isn't!

    I am still wrestling with how this plays out in week to week life, but I am like most church planters. We live and die by the weekend numbers. If the numbers and offering were good, then we are good. If they sucked then we suck! But, in the end it all kind of feels the same in its affects, it robs you of your joy and even your intimacy with God.

    SO... the size of my church does not define me! What my fellow pastors think of me does not define my worth. What the people that get mad and leave our church think of me does not define me. God and God alone defines my worth and He said I was worth sending Jesus for... wow!

    If I really want to make a difference then I need a selfless passion.

    There are three levels most pastors and church leaders live at. The first level is make a name for yourself, make a living, you are good if the numbers are good and the enemy to all that is EVERYONE. The weather, the football game being a 1pm start, the church down the street that talks bad about you.

    The second level is make a name for OUR church. You shift from ME to WE. We / our church can make a difference. We are good if the numbers are good. And, the enemy is the competition, or other churches, and the critics who take shots at our ministry.

    The third level is the place where God wants me! A selfless passion where GOD is GOOD and the enemy is Satan! My life is worth nothing to me so I keep preaching the Good News about Jesus NO MATTER WHAT!

    I needed to do a gut check!

    I had to stand up with hundreds of other pastors at the conference and confess I was at level one or two depending on the day or the week. Get this, if I take credit for the down times then I will also take credit for the good times instead of giving God the glory! DANG, that still stings!

    God did not call Cheryl and I to start Church of the Suncoast because our area was supposed to explode with growth. So now that it hasn't why would I take my hand off the plow now!

    'Nuf said.

    Focus on friendship with your wife!

    Cheryl and I have been very blessed in the fact that we married our best friend. Before we got romantic we became best friends. The challenge is to stay that way once you are married and the pressures of life and ministry come into play. Thankfully this part of the conference was a reminder and not a wake up call. I am so glad I get to do this life and church thing with my best friend, love you babe!

    When is Jesus not enough?

    When the promises of God about this church and my ministry seem half fulfilled AT BEST... what do you do with that? Hey preacher!!! When is Jesus not enough. God has not promised you success, He promised you Jesus and gave Jesus for you. When is that not enough for you? See "gut check" and repeat.

    Walk towards the messes.

    Oh my gosh!!! This past year has been one ministry mess after another for Cheryl and I. But, guess what Jesus did? He walked towards the messes not away from them. Word!

    These things also apply to your life and my guess is you can relate more than I lead on. But, I hope these two post give you some insight into my life and how you can pray for your pastor.


    God is not done with us yet Suncoast!

    The Sunday That Was (September 18)

    As a church we shined this past Sunday! Literally! It was not just the song we walked out singing. If you miss Sunday here is what I mean. We started a new message series for 2-weeks called Catalyst and as we looked at the graphic and message intro, and thought about the idea for the series... "Why not buy a bunch of glow sticks and glow gear for the band and not just "sing" on Sunday but let our worship and gratitude for Jesus be visible?" So we did!

    We bought a ton of glow sticks and all kinds of glow gear, the service opened with a cool video explaining what was going on, then the band came out with the lights off and we sang, "It's All Because of Jesus" and we showed our gratitude to Jesus by waving and raising our glowing hands. I loved it!

    We are always looking for ways to engage everyone during our songs we sing to God each Sunday, and ways to make a service memorable. This was a simple way to do both. Here is a snapshot I took while they guys were setting up and one of the glow sticks in action. Thank you Rita for making it happen!!!

    Like I said we also started a new series called Catalyst about the things God uses to grow our faith. Life is too messy for us to believe that there's a simple formula for faith. So, then the question is how does our faith grow? How do we get to the point of completely trusting God with every area of our lives?

    As people share their stories you hear some common things over and over again. In fact you hear about five things over and over again. That is what we are looking at and here are my notes from the first two:

    There are only two times Jesus was ever "amazed" in the Bible. Both times had to do with faith. One was some one's big faith, one was a group of people's lack of faith.

    By faith we mean: What would someone who was you do if they were absolutely confident God was with them?

    As a church we realize we can't make your faith grow. All we can do is create relevant environments in which GOD can work. Specifically, around five faith catalysts God uses over and over again.

    #1 Practical Teaching - Having the Bible taught so that you know what you need to know and what you need to do. The "doing" is what makes the difference to your faith though. Unapplied truth is like unapplied paint! The value is in the application. (See James 1:22-24)

    #2 Providential Relationships - God always uses other people to build our faith. And, while we can't create a "providential relationship" for you as a church we can create environments that are conducive for this to happen. This is why we want EVERYONE in a NEXT Group.

    I closed the message by saying this... About 5 out of 6 painful situations I get a front row seat for as a pastor are all self-inflicted wounds. People didn't apply the truth of the practical teaching and they didn't have anyone around them to point them back to Jesus. Just because you punch yourself in the head doesn't make you Job! When you jump into a NEXT Group THIS WEEK you will take two big steps in God doing something big in your faith and heart.

    To find out more about NEXT Groups check out these two links:
    About Groups
    This Week's Groups

    We seriously want YOU in a group this week. AND, I want you back on Sunday for the final part of Catalyst! Bring someone with you and let's pack the house. Love you guys!

    A Glimpse Into the Pastors Life

    Over the past 5 or 6 months God has had me on a journey as a pastor and as a person. Let me set the stage for you:

  • Spring of 2010 the Suncoast is having Sundays with 150 plus or minus people and that Easter we had 237 people, which was our highest attended service to date. This was still not the explosive growth I thought we would have 4 years into church planting, but it was moving in the right direction even if it was slow.

  • Spring to summer of 2010 we start to drop almost weekly until in June we went to one Sunday service. No big issues, no church split, just poof...

  • Summer to fall we bottom out and despite praying, a church wide fast, and working harder than ever we can't get any momentum going back in the right direction. Financially, we almost had to shut the doors because of people who had left, the economy, and many couples who were having major marriage issues one after another.

  • 2011 I begin to ask God if I am missing something, what was I doing wrong and if this is still what He wanted me to be doing with my life. Shared it with the staff, we prayed some more, we worked some more, and at least the financial picture started to turn a corner!

  • Easter of 2011 we saw our first signs of new life, 175 people. The summer was back lower, and then for the big fall launch we worked and prayed for so hard we had 131 which was about 25 more than last year, so some more new life.

    • BUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I was to a point where I was letting my self-worth and my relationship with God be dictated by how many people were showing up or not showing up AND, what my peers thought of me and our church (our brand you could even say).This wasn't something that happened all of a sudden but over time, with some wrong expectations, some wrong advice, wrong focus, and even some wrong motives I have had to repent of.

      Now, personally Cheryl and I got pregnant and our worlds are about to change forever, I was emotionally spent from church life I think, and I just decided I was by God's grace not going to be one of these guys that flames out of the ministry, or jumps into some immoral stuff that would disqualify me from leading. So, I decided to get some "preventive counseling" as I coined the phrase with my counselor. No, real agenda, and he said this was a first, but just felt I needed to get in a better place before the stress of a baby enters the mix!

      Through this I will share some of the things I am learning, and some of the things that went along with it from the NewSpring Leadership Conference last week, all in some upcoming post... mainly because I have already written too much for one post and it is a really nice day out and I want to go enjoy it. Sorry to leave you hanging, but stay tuned.

      The Sunday That Was (September 11)

      Wow, it has been a busy few days for Cheryl and I. We left last Wednesday morning for a church leadership conference in South Carolina and it was, dare I say, life changing! Cheryl did a great post on her blog here:

      I will be sharing some personal things that happened in my life later this week, but first here are my Monday morning random thoughts from the weekend that was at Church of the Suncoast:

      We started the service with a 9/11 countdown and video that was pretty emotional I think. I didn't want to really make a point so the opening time was more about letting yourself remember those emotions from 10-years ago. The only "point" I made when I came out was what Paul told the Corinthians, faith, hope and love. And, the greatest of these is love. That should be our response. We prayed for those still hurting and for our nation to seek Jesus like they did in the days after 9/11 ten years ago.

      The band helped us get transitioned and then I came out to wrap up our "Life at the Redline" series. We talked about margin in our morals and the notes looked like this:

      Will we let the culture push us to its moral redline, or will we step back from the line and create some moral margin?

      1 Corinthians 6:18 - "Run from sexual sin! All other sins people commit are outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies."

      There is a personal significance with sexual sin that is different than anything else.

      For students, you need to pre-decide how far you are going to go sexually. You need some artificial boundaries to cover you in a moment of weakness. For singles, the more things you have experienced, the further from the redline you need to place your self-imposed limits. For married couples, 1) Don't have lengthy online conversations. 2) Don't eat alone with the opposite sex. 3) Don't ride alone with someone of the opposite sex. 4) Don't be alone in your office with the opposite sex. 5) Talk about questionable relationships. 6) Porn and strip clubs are not neutral entertainment. 7) Don't let the opposite sex confide in you.

      The point being we need to take extreme measures to create some moral margin for those times of weakness in our lives because no one PLANS on blowing up their life!

      If you missed any of the series check out the message videos on the player at the upper right of my blog. It is worth your time!!!

      On the announcement front we talked about two things:

      Volunteer Community for all volunteers THIS Saturday night, 7pm at the Warehouse. We will feed you some Carrabbas and celebrate the volunteer of the quarter! Don't miss it, bring the family. Help us plan with a RSVP to

      NEXT Groups start THIS week! Our small groups run for the next 10-weeks and you can get all the info on the news page of our website:

      And... that is the Sunday that was. Can't wait to share some of the personal stuff from the conference later this week, check back for that.

      Love you guys and I love my church!!!

      The Sunday That Was (September 4)

      Happy Labor Day... yes some of us have to work on Labor Day. And, you thought I only worked one day a week! Here are some random thoughts from the Sunday that was:

      • The band TOTALLY slayed AC/DC's "Money Talks" dang!

      • I never knew just how funny Dave Ramsey was.

      • The 5 Steps to Create Financial Margin were: 1) Have a written game plan... AKA a budget 2) Act your wage... live on less than you make 3) Save money 4) Get out of debt 5) Give... the tithe is just the starting point!

      • Even though we had a TON of people out for the holiday weekend we still had a good crowd and we have been up 15% since the fall launch over this time one year a go! Go God!!!

      • Thank you to the volunteers who helped set it up and tear it down, even without all the help you got it done quick!

      • Still seeing lots of new people, win! Keep inviting guys!
      This week Cheryl and I are heading to a church leadership conference in South Carolina. Be praying for us if you think of it. Pray God equips and encourages us. Check my twitter feed for some updates. We will be back on Saturday and ready to go for Life at the Redline Part 4!

      Keep "fishing" Suncoast! With this being 9.11 people may be looking to reconnect with a church on this day as we all remember and reflect on the last 10 years. We have a few things planned to start the service so BE ON TIME and bring some people. Dare I say it... it will be EPIC!

      10-Minutes a Day

      Two Sundays ago I gave you guys the homework of sitting still for 5-minutes a day, 5-minutes where you unplugged and did NOTHING. For most of us that was the hardest homework I have ever given from the stage! This past Sunday the homework was to give God your first minutes. To stop long enough each day and show Him you are making Him your priority. AND, we were supposed to double the time to 10-minutes a day (at least 5 days this week). In "Christian circles" this is commonly called a quiet time. So, today here is a recap of how you get started:

      > Get an easy to read Bible like the New Living Translation (NLT).

      You can get them at any Christian book store, online, or even at Wal-Mart. I like having online tools like BUT to me there is nothing like my old red Bible full of my notes and highlights over the years. So get an easy to read Bible like the NLT.

      > Read a chapter a day from Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

      You can even read less than that, but a chapter a day is a good idea of what to read. Have a pen or some different highlighters with you and mark whatever jumps out at you. YES YOU CAN WRITE IN YOUR BIBLE! I have no idea if my family will leave me any inheritance but what I most want is their Bibles. For years they have marked and made notes in them from before I was even born. Do the same thing. As you read just mark what seems to speak to you. Some days you will get a lot, some days you won't mark anything. But, mark it so you can come back to it and see how God has moved in your life.

      > Journal your prayers and thoughts.

      I don't claim to be great at this, but I have a couple journals filled up over the last 11 or 12 years of what God showed me as I read the Bible, what I was praying for and how He answered some of those prayers. Writing it out just helps you stay focused. So, write out your prayers, write them like you are writing a letter to God. Write down what you read about today. And, be still long enough to see if God doesn't impress upon you a thought or reminder of His love or peace.

      That is how you have a basic quiet time. This is the number one secret to gaining margin in your schedule. Can't tell you why, but it does. Give God your first minutes and see how He blesses the rest.

      I would love to hear what God is showing you as you do this! Leave a comment to e-mail me at

      The Sunday That Was (August 28)

      Wow! Go God! Sunday was the second week in a row where some BIG things happened at the Suncoast. We were in the second part of this new series called "Life at the Redline" and while we might be talking about slowing down, as a church, I think we are speeding up. We have seen our attendance bounce back from the summer and some huge wins have been going on all over in individuals lives. I have heard so many stories from the past couple of weeks. Our faith and God's faithfulness seem to be intersecting during this season and I am praying for more and can't wait for the rest of the ride this fall.

      On Sunday we baptized 3 people and dedicated 3 awesome kids. We also had 3 people accept Christ and we continue to have lots of guests. Keep serving to create those environments for God to work Suncoast! Keep inviting because YOU NEVER KNOW when those invites will pay off. I love my church!

      One story that I just have to share... Our band was praying before they went out and as they prayed for that time, and the rest of the service, someone said, "And God help us to just have a kick-ass service!" As your pastor Suncoast I love that for several reasons. It was honest! It wasn't fake! It was passionate! It was bold. I would much rather have someone step up and pray that kind of prayer in front of their friends and fellow band members that some canned, flowery, nice little prayer that wasn't from the heart. I'm glad we have created a church where people can be the same when they pray as they are when they are hanging out during the week.

      If you missed the message Sunday it will be up Monday afternoon and you have to watch it! We played a little trick on everyone at the beginning of it. Good times. Here are a few notes, talking about margin in our schedules:

      1. Your time is limited
      2. All your time will be spent doing something
      3. Someone will choose how you spend your time

      "The urgent things will always push aside the important things"

      So how do we do something about it?

      1. Recognize your days are numbered
      2. Prioritize accordingly "Is this the wise thing to do?"
      3. Make time alone with God number one
      4. Schedule intentional times of rest

      This Sunday we will hit week 3 of "Life at the Redline" and we will be talking about creating financial margin. I am telling you if you really "get" what we are talking about this coming Sunday it will change your life. Not hype! Financial issues are ultimately not about dollars and cents. It is about the man or the woman in the mirror. Change that person and your money will take care of itself. Don't miss it. I know it is Labor Day weekend, but DON'T MISS THIS SUNDAY!
      This Sunday I am asking everyone to do one of two things.

      The first thing is, if you have never been baptized as an adult, meaning you were old enough to know what you were doing and meant it, if you have never been baptized then bring a towel and a change of clothes and tell everyone you have DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS! I know it might seem a little scary, and what will people think, and I don't know, and what about my hair, and I am not sure I am ready and... Look, YOU WILL NEVER BE "READY". If you have accepted / trusted / believed in Jesus to be your Savior in your heart then you are as ready as you will ever be! You might still have some questions, you might still have some doubts, you might not understand it all. Fine. In the Bible, someone made a decision to follow Jesus and they were baptized that day!!! No waiting. Have you decided to trust in Jesus, then you need to follow in obedience this Sunday. This Sunday is YOUR TIME. Don't let fear keep you from obeying Jesus. The step of faith will be rewarded and you will experience what it is like to go public with your faith. No turning back! THIS IS YOUR SUNDAY! I believe that will all my heart and I have been praying for you!

      If you are a parent of a birth - 5th grader then I would also challenge you to dedicate your child THIS SUNDAY! This is a simple act with profound implications. You are publicly telling everyone that you are wanting to raise this child in a Jesus-centered environment so that one day they will make the decision to follow Jesus as well. You are publicly saying you need God's help and the church gets to commit to YOU in helping with that process. Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 That is your goal and commitment as a godly parent. That is what this Sunday's dedication is all about, creating that kind of environment.

      The second thing I am asking you to do is pray for this Sunday. If you have already been baptized then pray for those that will be taking that step this Sunday. Pray for courage and boldness. Pray God's blessings over them as they obey and follow Jesus. Pray this Sunday is even more epic than last Sunday!

      If you are getting baptized, during the final song at the end of the service on Sunday, I will ask you to slip back to the restrooms and change. If you are dedicating your kids go and get them from the Coastal Kids area during that time too. THEN, we will all meet at the Guest Services Kiosk in the back for some final instructions and prayer before we head out to the baptismal kiddie pool.

      Praying for you.

      The Sunday That Was (Fall Launch)

      Epic! I told you it would be :-) Here are some pics first from the Fall Launch this past Sunday @ the Suncoast, and the start to our new series Life at the Redline...

      It was an awesome day at the Suncoast and a great way to kick off the fall around here. The day started out with a lot of hard and really hot set up work. I have said this before, but the set up guys and gals are my church hero's. By 9:30am when things were getting close to being done I think we all were soaked, gross! The local Corvette Club showed up a little before 10am and we pretty much lost all the men from that point on :-) Thanks to those guys for bringing over a dozen cars! If this means anything to you we had several Z06's and Grand Sports, way cool.

      As people started to arrive there was a huge "Wow" factor with the Vettes out front, the R/C car track for the kids and the new stage design. The countdown clock ended and the band rolled out some old school Alabama "I'm in a Hurry". We had two more songs that got everyone focused on uniting around Jesus, what this is all about, and we rolled a hilarious video showing people freaking out with stress. Then, I got up and preached my guts out (more sweat) on the insanity of our "Life at the Redline." Here are a couple main thoughts:

      We are living at an unsustainable pace!

      We don't have any margin in the major areas of our life.

      Margin: the amount available beyond what is necessary.

      The best things in life happen in the margins!

      If Satan cannot make us really bad, he will be happy to make us really, really busy.

      When margin decreases, stress INCREASES.

      When margin decreases, relational intimacy decreases!

      AND, then I gave everyone your homework... for 5-minutes a day, each day this week, unplug 100% from EVERYTHING and just be, just sit, don't think or produce anything, be a human-being not a human-doing. Why? Because we don't know how to do this verse:

      "Be STILL and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

      We ended the service with a prayer time and two people accepted Christ, go God! That is what our church is all about. That is why we try to be creative, that is why we sweat the details (literally). That is why we have fall launches!

      I saw huge wins all over the place Sunday. We had a great crowd (highest since Easter... and our highest non-holiday service since last May), we had tons of guests, a TON of kids... OMG! During the prayer most of you said you would try the homework, most committed to come back for the rest of the series, and I can't wait to see what happens this Sunday with baptism's and child dedication. New people were exposed to Jesus, you guys "went fishing" and our volunteers did a great job creating a relevant environment for God to work, and He did! Win!

      So, take a minute today (not one of your 5 from the homework) and thank God for what He did. Take a few more minutes and keep inviting people for THIS Sunday, and I hope you will take a next step and get baptized THIS Sunday the 28th! To get more info let us know: