The Sunday That Was (February 26)

This past Sunday we were missing two staff members (and their hard working families) so we had some holes to fill and I just wanted to start out by saying thank you to all the people who stepped up and filled those holes. GREAT JOB! We are blessed to have a "bench" at the Suncoast!

It was a good service all the way around to close out the month of February. Everything got set up, the place looked good, there were greeters outside and inside, there were new faces, the cafe was pumping out the coffee, the tech team was flawless, the band sounded good, there were a TON of kids and plenty of hard working volunteers to love, care, and teach them... the guy bringing the message did a pretty good job too... AND one young lady accepted Christ! Go God!!!

If you missed the message you can catch it online tomorrow in podcast or video form. You can also get the Church of the Suncoast APP from our website too, it will bring all the message content to you plus prayer requests and online giving.

I really feel like God did some work in some people's lives this week. We talked about manipulation, both people who do it to us, and how we do it to others. When Rita was working on the video to put online she said, "Wow you prayed a long time!" It was over 6-minutes, but I just felt like giving you guys the chance to admit/confess some stuff and have the chance to cry out to God for courage to set some clear boundaries with people who try to control us. I truly believe God set some of us free Sunday and put us on a path to surrendering to HIM and NOT to those who would try to impose their will on us. Like I said on Sunday, there was a lot to think about so I hope you will listen to, or watch, the message again.

At the end of the service I made a big push for this week's round of NEXT Groups. You can get all the info here on our news page. I know we don't have groups on every night of the week to accommodate everyone's schedule, but hear me out. If you are a Christ-Follower and you are not connecting in Biblical community through serving, through one on one lunches or coffee, or in a NEXT Group then I believe you are not really living the Christian life! Jesus "did life" with a small group of guys and gals, and as our model why do we think we are above that example:
  • We are too busy?
  • We don't need it?
  • We are afraid?
There is not a good reason to not be in Biblical community with other followers of Jesus! Bottom line! This week is the come back party where the people who showed up for week number one are planning something fun for you. Will you show up? I can promise you when you come under the authority of God's plan for your life you will be glad you did it!!! Again, all the info is HERE.

IF you are one of our awesome volunteers DON'T MISS THIS SATURDAY NIGHT'S Volunteer Community, 7pm @ the Warehouse! Lots of fun, food, and that community thing I was just ranting about. Bring the family. You can let us know you are coming by e-mailing Rita at:

Finally, be praying for the staff and I tomorrow. We are making a HUGE decision that will potentially impact the future of our church and take us a new level. It is really exciting and we will hopefully be making an announcement in the coming weeks! I love my church!

The Sunday That Was (February 19)

Got to start off by saying GREAT job to the guys in the band. You guys nailed it yesterday. We had fun, we rocked out, and we reflected all in the course of about 12 - 13 minutes. Great job in getting us on our feet and then on our face before Jesus.

The morning started out with the typical set up. People showed up from 7am - 7:30am and got things rolling. So much work goes into just making one Sunday happen, I am constantly blown away and grateful. We had a little issue with the lights but resorted to the Microsoft way of solving issues. We turned everything off and back on!
During the service we set up the new series called "Those" People with some movie clips from Meet the Parents and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I can't think of anymore difficult people than those! Tried to cover both generations of Suncoasters. Good stuff.

For the first installment of "Those" People, we looked at the "needy" people in our lives. You know the ones, they call you and leave 8-minute voice mails! Here are some key thoughts I am still thinking over and trying to apply:
  • The reason we are studying this is because we are all "Those" people at one time or another and we hope someone is taking notes so they can deal with us!
  • My goal is we become a church so filled with love that, "Those" people feel like we are the church for them!
  • The reason this matters is because if we don't help people in the right way, we can actually end of hurting them more and if we are not careful, we end of hurting ourselves too.
  • Relief is immediate and temporary assistance (think natural disaster).
  • Restoration is working with people to restore them to their God-given potential (think an addict).
  • The problem is we offer relief when what people often really need is restoration!
  • Acts 3:1-7 - Peter didn't give a hand out, he gave a hand up and the man became strong!
  • SO... three prayers: 1) God, help me give people what they truly need not just what they want. 2) God, help me stay out of your way by not continually rescuing people from their consequences. 3) God, help me remember that I'm in need too and that YOU ARE ALWAYS THE ANSWER!
This is all stuff I am learning with you guys. I can't wait for this week's talk on Manipulative people! Don't miss it and BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU! This series is perfect for anyone to jump into to no matter where they are spiritually.

After the service we had our NEXT Group leaders and hosts in the back for NEXT Group sign ups because they start THIS WEEK!!! Yes, this week! I talked about them on Friday here on my blog, so just read the post right before this one called, "New and Next" and you can hear why I think you need to be in one. All you need to do is show up:

Sunday Night // Middle and High School, 7pm

Tuesday Night // Adults, 7pm

Wednesday Night // Adults, 7pm

And, the last thing I have for you from "The Sunday that was" is don't forget about Volunteer Community on Saturday, March 3rd. We will be giving you guys that volunteer the Christmas photo's, eating Cuban's, black beans and rice, and playing some kind of dancing game because that was just way too funny at the last Volunteer Community, and if you see a video of me from it online know that it was my stunt double!

Love you guys and I love my church!

New and Next

This coming week at the Suncoast is all about NEW and NEXT...

... first the NEW:

New Message Series This Sunday!
"Those People"
We all have some difficult people in our lives right? Someone who is just a bit needy maybe? Every time they talk to you they have some big crisis and need you to fix it for them. Or, maybe you have some really nasty, critical people in your life. How do you deal with that? What about those manipulative family members? And, the list goes on and on... they are, you know, "Those People" and sometimes we think our lives would be a whole lot better if we didn't know them. So, what do you do? How can we help? How can we show love and not go crazy ourselves? That is what these next four weeks are all about at the Suncoast.

Let's do all we can to pack the house and invite people like we really believe this stuff about Jesus and His love and His forgiveness Suncoasters! I left a few cards this week and personally invited my pharmacist! There is still time, so let's go for the ASK! "Will you come to church with me this Sunday?"

Now the next...

NEXT Groups Start This Week!
NEXT Groups are small groups of people from the church that circle up during the week to dig deeper into Sunday's message, serve the community, give and pray for each other. We believe life change happens best in groups, in community, in relationships with other Christ-Followers. Where did we get that idea? Well, Jesus! Look at what He did. He spent time with the crowds, but gathered up 12 guys and spent the bulk of His time with them. It was a small group, or a NEXT Group as we call them. AND, they are a lot of fun! I have made friendships with so many people at our church because of groups. I will never really get to know people on a Sunday, just not going to happen. It won't happen for you either! But, in a NEXT Group by the end of the 12 weeks you will have some new friends and your faith will be stronger.

So, I dare you, double dare you, double dog dare you, call you chicken... to try one of these groups. Look, we all are busy, Cheryl and I just had a baby!!! But, you make time for the things that are important to you. Spending time in a NEXT Group, I'm telling you, is a much better use of your time than kids sporting events (they are not going pro), working late, or doing laundry (a much better use of time than that). Your soul is eternal and your relationships are eternal. Make an investment in what matters!!! Take a next step in a NEXT Group!

We have groups for middle and high schoolers and adults. For all the info check out the NEWS page of our website.

NEW and NEXT. Two big vision pieces of our church.

The Sunday That Was (February 12)

If last Sunday was a good Sunday, then this past Sunday was a GREAT Sunday at the Suncoast! Anytime you run out of chairs you know it was great! So... some random highlights:
  • We dedicated 6 kids, our most ever at one time! - Go God!!!
  • One of those kids was our baby Sophie!
  • The band played the Steve Miller Band classic, "Take the Money and Run" to close out our financial series called, "Balanced".
  • Crystal and Keith shared an awesome personal story about how they were $12,000 in debt in 2009, started coming to the Suncoast, heard a message series on money, made the decision to get out of debt and start tithing and by 2010 they were debt free! Thank you guys for sharing, it was very powerful! God's truth works!!!
  • I thought the baptism teaching video was the best I have ever seen. Thanks to our friends at Granger for producing it. We DO need an anchor for our faith and baptism is one of those anchors. It reminds us we are not who we used to be! We are new!
  • We baptized 3 people in 40 degree weather! - Go God!!!
The message video is already up so if you missed it, make sure you check it out. Ignore the crazy sound guy waving his arms like a mad man about 30+ minutes in ;-)

Thank you to everyone that set up, ran tech, played in the band, worked in kids, or greeted someone with a smile! Without you GREAT Sundays like this one don't happen. God doesn't care about our ability, but He does honor our availability. Thanks for being available for Him to use! One of the guys we baptized has been coming for almost 6 years, since the day care days, so keep up the hard work, you never know when God uses it in someone's life!

THIS Sunday we start a brand new series called:

We all have some difficult people in our lives. Some of them are overly needy. Some are critical. Some are just down right manipulative. So how do we deal with "Those" People? That is what we will be talking about for the next 4 Sundays. AND, this is a perfect series to invite someone to! If you know someone who does not go to church then this is a perfect series to introduce them to our church! Let's invite this week like we actually believe this stuff!!!

We also start NEXT Groups this coming week (Feb 19th - 25th), more about that later this week here on my blog or you can get the skinny here:

As great as this past Sunday was I am expecting even greater things this week. Let's celebrate what God did and what He is doing! I love my church!

Baptism & Child Dedication

This Sunday is our next Baptism and Child Dedication celebration at the Suncoast AND these are always my favorite services. The Gospel is all about new life and what an exciting way to celebrate that new life!

Parents, you are celebrating this new life that God has blessed you with! And, in several places in the Bible you see parents taking their children to the temple to "dedicate" them to God's service. It is letting the church / world know you want to raise them in a Christ-Following home AND you need their help doing it. As a church we will commit to praying for you and your children and we will commit to providing a church environment that partners with you in leading them to their Savior.

To have your birth - 5th grader dedicated just show up 10-minutes early to the Guest Services Kiosk in the back of the cafetorium.

Students and Adults, you are celebrating new life in Christ. At some point (most likely in the not so distant past) you have made a decision to follow Jesus. To invite Him into your life for the forgiveness of your sins, and receive His new life! Baptism identifies you with Jesus and let's the church / world know about your personal decision. The church will be clapping and celebrating as you come up out of the waters!

Now, I know we have had 80 degree weather all winter up until this Sunday, go figure, but don't let that stop you from obeying this command of Jesus to, "Get up and be baptized!" We will be adding some hot water right before the baptism so it will be bearable!

To be baptized show up 10-minutes early at the Guest Services Kiosk for some last minute instructions.

It is going to be a GREAT Sunday, full of new life!

Be on time church!!! We roll child dedication first!!!

Invite your friends and family!

The Sunday That Was (February 5)

Yesterday was a GOOD day at the Suncoast.

The day began at 4:15am for me as usual, my time of going over my message for a couple hours went well, felt like I was ready to deliver it effectively with God's help. Set up went smooth even though we were down a man. The band showed up for practice early! Musicians are never early!!! Just kidding... But, no lie I turned around and they were done, ready to go. Great job guys! But, overall the pre-service morning just went smooth.

The room was fuller, glad to see that, the band opened with "All Because of Jesus" and "Our God is love." I did some welcoming and the offering, awesome video during the offering by the way, then we sang an old DCB song, "O Praise Him" and it was onto the message, part 5 of "Balanced."

I really thought this message hit home! I don't know if by the fifth straight week all this finally sunk in, or God just moved, or what? But, I felt like the message "connected." The main idea was discontentment is dangerous! And, the thing that drives your discontentment and mine is awareness. Our awareness drives our discontentment. You were happy with what you had until you became AWARE of something better out there. So, we have to learn how to starve this appetite in our lives. Because, if we don't we will fall into a trap and it has the potential to ruin our relationship with God (1 Timothy 6:10). The bottom line is we have to shift our awareness to the things that matter, the things of God, let our discontentment of where we are at there shift our discontentment with our stuff. If you have some time give the message a listen, or another listen this week. The podcast / podcast is up now, and the message will be up Tuesday afternoon.

The service ended with a few big things coming up:

Baptism and Child Dedication THIS Sunday
If you would like to take your next step of baptism or have your birth - 5th grader dedicated PLEASE arrive 10-minutes early at the Guest Services Kiosk for some last minute info. (I can't wait to dedicate our little Sophie)

Next Groups
NEXT Group sign ups have begun and you can get all the info on the news page of our website. You have to check a group out this semester! This is where the real "church" happens.

Finally, as everyone was tearing down Sunday I walked back by our Coastal Kids area and DANG! Kids everywhere! I love seeing that. Love our kids ministry. Love that we are a young enough church to be having kids!!! Love seeing them in action.

I love my church! -- Now, get baptized on Sunday! :-)