Friday, July 18, 2008


So the other day my wife is invited by another new mommy to join her at a weekly breastfeeding group. It's an event sponsored by Trident Hospital where moms can come for a couple of hours, get a free meal, and nurse their babies. There are even a couple lactation consultants on hand to offer assistance.

Now, my modest wife was a little leery about nursing in the presence of 25 other women, so her friend told her about a nifty little device known as the "Hooter Hider". Its basically an apron that straps around a mommy's neck and allows her to feed in public, while still remaining discrete. My wife was sold on it and rather enjoyed her 2-hour escape from the house.

I got to thinking about my wife's experience... When The Net gets going, it will exist primarily in the form of what we will affectionately call "Net Groups". A Net Group is simply a member-led group (comprised of people inside and outside the church) meeting together around a common interest, study, or service opportunity.

I gotta say, I'm hoping some young mother with a bit of ambition will step up one day to lead a Hooter Hider's group. A place where new mommy's, who feel their little bundle of joy has taken away any hope of a social life, can come together and experience the love of Christ in a fresh and relevant way. Perhaps our ambitious mother could even partner with a local business to provide Hooter Hiders to moms who may not be able to afford their own covering.

Groups like this only scratch the surface of possibility when people are empowered to minister in uniquely God-given ways!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


News came out today that Chattanooga has landed a deal with Volkswagen to house its first assembly plant in the United States. According to the Times Free Press its a deal that is expected to create 2,000 new jobs. That's good news for Chattanooga and it's good news for The Net... it means our potential "catch" just widened by 2,000 souls for the Kingdom!

Erich Merkle, vice president of forecasting for IRN Inc., said the new plant will also create jobs outside the plant, as suppliers, hotels, and restaurants rally around it. In his words, "It’s like casting a stone in the pond."

Or... in our case, like casting a Net in a pond! A pond that is continuing to grow!!

For Further Study:

Chattanooga Lands VW Plant

Luke 5:5-7; Luke 10:1-2; Revelation 14:14-16

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


This morning an email from Geoff Surratt was waiting for me. In it was a link to a blog entitled "Reason for Optimism" from Jerry Gray of Columbia, SC. He heard the message I gave at Seacoast a while back and had some very wonderful and kind words for The Net. You can read it by clicking over to his BLOG.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


You’ve probably seen this picture. Look at it one way and you see a young lady with her head turned away. Look at it another way and you see the profile of an older lady. Well, it kind of reminds me of the team God is putting around us!

We are now being contacted by families interested in The Net at a rate of one to two per week. And we are becoming a great blend of young and old (or young and “not quite as young, but young just the same” I should say, if I expect to keep them around!). We also have every age in between. This gives us a unique blend of energy and maturity, vision and wisdom.

And apparently, we are a good fit for Chattanooga! In recent articles from the Chattanooga Times Free Press these two diverse age groups found Chattanooga to be a great place to live!

A survey done among 20-40 year olds living in Chattanooga showed an overwhelmingly high satisfaction rate with the city. Many of the respondents said they even recommend Chattanooga to others who do not live in the area.

A separate article revealed that retirees from Chattanooga, who once considered moving to Florida are now rethinking the idea on the premise: “Why in the world would we want to live anywhere else… We think this is a great place…”

The second article also references an MSN Money story naming Chattanooga as one of the top destinations for retirees looking to settle down but not ready for “a sedentary lifestyle of retirement communities and shuffleboard”.

So there you have it! To a city for the young and… “young at heart”, we bring a church for the young and… well, you know. [Disclaimer: If you are on The Net Launch Team and wondering if I am referring to you when I say old… the answer is no. I’m actually referring to someone else on the team. That goes for all of you.]

Links to related articles:

Most Young Professionals Like Chattanooga Life, Study Finds...

Chattanooga Named Top Destination For Retirees...

The New Hot Retirement Spots...

Friday, July 4, 2008


Independence is overrated. Is anyone REALLY independent? And even if it is attainable, should that be our highest goal?

Relax. I'm still an All-American Guy. But, the older I get, the more I realize that true strength and true freedom is found in Dependence, not Independence. I used to be a "Free Man" - single and able to do whatever I wanted to do. Then, six-and-a-half years ago, I got married to a beautiful girl. Things changed. Someone else was relying on my ability to make wise choices. A certain dependency was created. Now, last week my son's been born. Talk about dependence! This little guy can hardly do anything without us... I'm reminded of it every time I smell a dirty diaper.

The funny thing is... I like dependence. I'm happier now than I was when I was single. I like the accountablility of it. I like that, when I allow it to, I become more responsible and mature. As a pastor, I've counseled couples who get this and couples who don't. And the ones who embrace dependence survive.

On a spiritual level, God wants this same dependence present in our relationship with Him. Because when we are seeking "spiritual Independence", trying to acquire and obtain our "unalienable rights" away from Him, we fall short. We miss the mark. But, when dependence is present we become more responsible and mature. In essence, we become more like Him.

And so, today on July 4th, our nation's Day of Independence, I ask you to join me in a prayer I pray almost every morning. It was born out of my studies one day in James 4. Verse 10 says, "When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on Him, He will lift you up and give you honor." (NLT)

Today, call out to God and admit your dependence on Him. Let Him know that without Him nothing of consequence gets done in your life. But, with Him all things are possible and freedom from the weights of this world can be reached!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Don't let the preciousness of this picture fool you... Last night was our third home with our new baby and each night's been like stepping into a cage match.

Round 1 went to Gannon. By morning I felt like a Mack truck had run over me. To be expected after a night of intermittent piercing screams.

Round 2 was closer, but still went to Gannon. Personally, I did better, but he got a best of Selina. Despite the fact that he screamed less, she still couldn't rest well.

Round 3 went to... Ryan and Selina! We got more sleep last night and heard less crying. But, I cannot boast. We owe the success of this round to my wife's mother and two sisters. They gave up their sleep to take the midnight blows for us, allowing us to get some much needed z's.

And so, as the saying goes - It takes a village to raise a child. When our backs were against the wall, the support of loved ones came to our aid. Thank you Dianne, Tina, and Kimberly.

And isn't this the way it's supposed to be? God's design for each one of us is to embrace the support of others and be the support for others. Yet, pride can keep us from the former and selfishness from the latter.

My prayer for all who read this is that you would allow the people God is putting around you to help you walk through life. And that God would open your eyes to the needs of others, so you may be the village on which they can lean.