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, www.CanThisBeChurch.com

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!