To be transparent is for your life to be an open book. There are no hidden pages. For people to be able to see through the emptiness of your words and the shallowness of your actions, they had to see your heart. Transparency is simply that. Letting people is your heart. To see the purity of your motives. To be able to lay your agenda out for everyone to see.

Transparency is not something that can be taught. You do not wake up one day and just decided to be transparent. It is not something that you put on your to do list or a New Years Resolution that you make. You are either transparent or you are not. Either your motives are pure enough to share with everyone that comes in contact with you or your not. I am not saying that being transparent is something that can not be learned over time. Authenticity can be achieved but most of the time it take us retraining ourselves.

Transparency can be an asset and an enemy. It can be a strength and a weakness. In the end I will take transparency over masks any day. I will take pure motives over hidden agendas any day.

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Monday, August 31, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

The last three days have been crazy. Had a Youth Reps meeting Thursday in Macon, Friday and Saturday was the Church Ministries Conference in Griffin.

The cool thing about living where we live now is that I have slept in my own bed the whole time.

Countdown to vacation is ON!!! Two weeks and counting.

God is speaking some really cool things to me right now. It is some of those things that I will share in time. I am excited, scared, nervous, and anxious for the future.

God is constantly reminding me that my ministry can not go to another level until I first go there. You can not lead where you have not been.

Got to visit with some really cool people this weekend. See old friends and laugh with my closest ones.

Really excited about the class I taught yesterday afternoon about creativity and set design. Lot of positive feedback.

One of the highlights of the weekend was sitting on a panel of Youth Pastor Friday night answering questions about Youth Ministry. It just seems like a couple of weeks ago I was the rookie Youth Pastor in the crowd. I still do not know what I am doing.

The insurance company approved the claim on my truck this week. I will pick it up Monday. So glad to have it back.

Very excited about some things I am going to blog about this week.

Hope you had a good weekend.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

This week I have been writing about things I hate saying. My last entry on this thought is probably the toughest thing for me to say. HELP! I do not know where it came from (but I have an idea), but it kills me to ask for help. I do not know if it is the fact that I think I can not do it if I have to get some one else to help me or what. All of this issues this week have been pride issues in my life. The pride of no one can do it like me or I want to look good for everyone around me. I am learning, the older I get that the prideful life is a lonely life and you live in a small world.

When I do not ask for help I am saying that I want to go at it alone. When you go at it alone, you miss the chance to do life with someone. Share memories, and adventures. Relationships maybe the most important thing in life.

When I do not ask for help I miss the chance to invest in others. I often use excellence as an excuse and miss the chance to teach someone how to do something.

When I do not ask for help I limit creativity. Two heads are better than one. Other people can see it from a different perspective than you can sometimes.

When I do not ask for help I wear out quicker. I can not get as much done. I am not as productive as I could be or should be if I did not let my pride get in the way.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

One of the words that I struggle with in my vocabulary is the word no. I would love to be able to tell you that I struggle with this word because I just have such a HUGE heart for people or I am just such a servant. I do like helping people and doing things for people, but the root of why I struggle telling people no is because of my insecurities. Because I am such an insecure person, I find my security in people needing me. My motives are not what they should be and that means I have an agenda I am trying to push.

Saying yes to everything means that I do not have the time to do everything and something gets neglected. Usually it is the most important things in life that I neglect the most. Something being urgent does not make it important. Saying yes to everything usually mean we say no to what God is asking us to do. If you are so busy doing everything for everyone else it means that you have no time to do what God has called you to do.

Saying no does not mean you do not love the person asking, it simply means you know that you are called to do. It means you understand what things are important and would rather do a few things with excellence than do a lot things mediocre. Saying yes to everything does not make you important, it makes you tired.

The quicker that you quit struggle with the word no, quit struggling with your insecurities, you realize that the world does not depend on you to run. The sooner you find your security in God the sooner you can help people find their security in Him.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

For so long in my life I have said that failure is not an option. I am convinced that not only is that statement unrealistic, but it is unhealthy. A lot of times I have found that fearing failure is more of a pride issue that any other issue. Failure is something that I have feared and often try my hardest to avoid.

Failure is somethings that a lot times can not be avoided. No one is always right. Everyone has a bad day every once in a while. No one is perfect, so logic tells us that you will fail at some point. To push yourself not to fail, you are putting unhealthy expectations on your life and you are setting yourself up for a crash.

Most of the time I want work so hard to prove to people that I am not a failure that I will do whatever it takes to succeed. I get so focused on what I am working on that I loose sight on everyone and everything else around me. I start using people like they are objects and my priorities are really out of place. By the time I regain my proper perspective I have done hurt whoever is in my path.

Failure builds character. Failure is healthy. Failure makes me stronger. Failure is something that I can learn from, grow from, and become better from. Failure is not to be feared, it is to be studied. Failure is not something that is pretty but it is something that is necessary. A person is not always measure by how they handle victories but how they handle failure. Everyone falls at some point, but not everyone gets back up. GET BACK UP.

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Monday, August 24, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

This is the late edition of the Saturday Ramblings.

I never felt like I got caught up this week. I am determined to have a productive week this coming week even if it kills me.

One of the highlights of the week was going to Stockbridge's City Council Meeting Monday night with my Pastor and Sandra Reagan from Life Management Solutions. Sandra was asking for help for the City of Stockbridge and ask Pastor Steven to speak on their behalf.

Everyone needs a statistic that drives them. I got mine this week. 53% of all juvenile crimes that take place in Henry County take place in Stockbridge. If that does not raise a need I do not know what will.

Found out Tuesday that my truck is ready. It was struck by lighting back in July. Insurance company is balking saying they can not find a point of entry. We are fighting for them to pay it.

Had class this weekend. Have been out for a year. A little tough readjusting. A Pastor that I have admired for a long time was my instructor. Great job. One down Three to go.

Spend the evening with The Graves Family. I love those people.

God is dealing with me about a lot of things right now. One of them is the balance of big ministry and building big students.

I am really tired of settling for less that what I am called to do.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Lately, I have been in a slump. In baseball when a batter is going through a slump it means that he is not swinging his bat up to his full potential. His mechanics are off, his mind is sometimes some place else, and he is struggling to play the game. Slumps can come out of nowhere for no reason. The strange thing is most people do not realize they are in the middle of one until they are struggling. Once you look back you can see where it was sneaking up the whole time.

Over the last couple of weeks I have found myself in a slump. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I have not been able to focus, not wanting to be around people a lot, and really not wanting to have my quiet time and read the Word. Just being honest and transparent, I have not felt like doing a lot of things. Most people probably could not tell but those that are closest to me and do life with me have noticed it.

So what do I do? What do you do when you are slumping spiritually? You do the same type things you would do if you were slumping anywhere else:
  • If you were slumping in baseball you would schedule more time in the batting cages - so I will spend more time in prayer and in the Word.
  • If you were slumping in baseball you would go to a hitting coach for some tips - so I will go to people I trust to mentor me and help me with my spiritual mechanics. I will listen to some podcast of some people that really hear from God and God uses to speak into my life.
  • If you were slumping in baseball you might move around in the batting line up some - I will change my routines up. The only difference between a rut and a grave is depth.
  • If you were slumping in baseball you would keep playing - so I will carry on. I will not give up or give in.

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Friday, August 21, 2009 Posted in | | 1 Comments »

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  • Last night was the third night of the Mighty series. It was not the most creative series that we have ever done but it was one of the most effective.
  • The band gelled really well last night.
  • There is a since that God is up to something and this is only the beginning. This is going to be a fun ride.
  • Really excited about Patric speaking next week.
  • I know I say this a lot but I am without a doubt the luckiest Youth Pastor alive.
  • I love watching God mess up a group of students so they can mess up a generation for Him.
Upcoming Events:
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Thrive starts a new series in September that no one is going to want to miss. Turn it up will be one of the most creative life changing series we have done in a long time.

Fast-A-Thon is October 2-3. Thrive Student's objective is to get sponsors to sponsor their fasting for Speed-the-Light. There will be a couple of services, missions projects, team competitions, and a feast at the end. We have challenged each students to raise $240 for this event.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Something I struggle with on this blog is leadership lessons. Sometimes I just do not feel like I have anything to offer other leaders but here lately there is one thing that keeps ringing in my head. Why is it that as a leader, we think we have to do it all. That if we allow others to do anything that we are not a good leader.

I know that most of you know this and most of you are great leaders but this is something that I keep seeing leaders not walking out. This is something that I personally have struggled with through the years. The mindset that no one can do it as well as I can. That is about one of the most prideful and arrogant mindsets we could have. It shows our lack of trust in the people around us. Trust that they are capable doing the job, capable of handling with every is going on.

Most of the time we use the excuse of excellence. We say that we can not sacrifice the excellence of whatever we are working on. What we do not realize that even if the people we empower fail or struggle, it give us a chance to pour into their life more. It gives us another opportunity to teach them and to invest in them.

When we empower people we also free ourselves up to lead. To do what we are called to do. We we allow other people to walk in their call, we are also walking in our call. There is power in empowerment.

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I am in a season where I am evaluating a lot of things in my life. Taking a lot of inward looks and asking my self a lot of questions:

  • Do I spend more time on the internet then I do reading the Word?
  • Do I spend more time on my cell phone then I do praying?
  • Do I spend more time gossiping about people then I do encouraging people?
  • Do I spend more time finding the problem then being a part of the solution?
  • Do I spend more time feeling sorry for myself then trying to help others?
  • Do I spend more time trying to push my plan and agenda then God's?
Be careful the question you ask yourself, you might not like the answers.

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Monday, August 17, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Sunday was a long day. Church, lunch with friends, and then Water Wars.

Water Wars was a blast. During the big water balloon fight it started to rain. That did not stop us. The rain helped the slip n slide.

This last week was crazy. Full of ups and downs. Stress and peace.

Just to be honest I have felt myself slipping into a funk over the last week. The thing about a funk is that it is all about me. I will be spending some time fighting it this week.

Thrive has at a whole nutha level over the last couple of weeks. The Mighty series is rocking and I am loving watching God mess these students up as they are getting ready to mess up a generation.

I go back to GSOM (Georgia School of Ministry) this weekend. Going to be a long weekend but I only have 3 more classes until I am Ordained.

Really praying about enrolling in a University soon to work on a Bachelors degree.

Hope you had a good weekend and a good Monday.

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This week a hero of mine and a giant of the faith slipped into eternity. It made me begin evaluating some things in my life. It made me look at my heroes. Here are a few of my heroes:

  • It is the student who has been dealt a rough hand but refuses to let her excuses define her life.
  • It is the Youth Pastor that will do whatever it takes to reach this generation. That cares more about building big students instead of big ministry.
  • It is the Children's Pastor that is committed to her call no matter the pulls of all the other aspects of her life.
  • It is the man of integrity that teaches by his actions and not by his words.
  • It is the mentor that is not impressed with me and speaks into the blind spots in my life.
  • It is the young lady that refuses to believe what all the doubters said about her and became who God created her to be.
  • It is the Pastor who jumps every hurdle and fights every stereotype to beat the odds. He is not afraid to be himself and not afraid to come down out of the pulpit and do life with you.
My heroes do not wear capes or masks. My heroes are affected by life just as you and I are. My heroes are the people that are sometimes missed but the world would not run without them.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Lately I have been blogging about investing in people more than things or programs. That thought has really been digging in me a lot lately. It has even cause me to take a deeper look at my own life and ask if I am a good investment. Am I worth someone investing their time and love into. Am I good soil?

What have I done with the things that have been invested into my life and ministry? What have I done with the things that I have been given? If I want people to invest in me then I need to make my life good soil. I have to make my own like a good investment.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

How loud are our lives and what are they screaming? September is a month you will not want to miss around Thrive, I promise! Strap in!

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Monday, August 10, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Lately I have been aggravated and frustrated a lot because things keep breaking around me. Lightning struck our house and took out our garage door opener, dishwasher, wii, television, and MY TRUCK. Yes you read this right it took out my truck as well. Then my computer crashed while we were in Bogota, Colombia. To make matters worse, my phone, that I had only had for 6 weeks, messed up this weekend. It seems like everything I touch breaks. I hate broken things, they are no good for me. They aggravate me and waste my time. The really bad part of everything that has messed up over the last four weeks is that I could not fix anything that was broken.

This all got me thinking this afternoon. I am so glad God sees things differently than I do (not only for this reason but for many others). I am grateful that God not only finds beauty in broken things but He chooses to use them as well. Actually, I believe that He finds more value in lives that are broken. When we find our lives broken is when we find our dependency on God higher.

One of my favorite things to watch is God taking the broken pieces of broken lives and making something beautiful out of it. When God fixes, He fixes the way He wanted it to start with. If something is broken, it makes more sense to let the creator have His way with it. I am grateful that God does not get aggravated with broken things, but He uses them.

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Just got back into town from a surprise get-a-way with Paige for our 10 year anniversary. I gave her tickets to see Grease at the Fox Theater and dinner at The Melting Pot.

Paige got me a new titanium wedding ring. It is stinking awesome.

We have the greatest friends in the world. I know that God loves me because of the people He has placed in our lives. Thankful to Mary Catherine for watching the house and Laney while we were gone.

Got my computer back out of the shop on Friday. They were not able to recover anything from the old hard drive. It is good to have it back though.

Because they could not recover anything, that means I have to start over with Thrive's websites and some other things. It will take me a couple of weeks to get that all together. Hoping to at least to have our podcast up and running by the end of the week.

Friday night we went to see GI Joe. It was not the best movie ever but I really enjoyed it. It brought back a lot of memories for me.

I am hoping that I get my truck back this week. I get that back and then my life will some what be together again.

Really enjoyed delivering doughnuts and coffee to some schools this week. We were met with warm welcomes. The schools are the largest mission field in America and we are believing God for favor in all the schools.

Thursday I finally got my office clean and things felt like they were where they should be since being back from Bogota.

Speaking of Bogota, I missed it this week. Missed the ministry and the people there. Praying for God to open doors to get us back there to minister soon.

Hope you had a awesome weekend.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Happy Anniversary to my awesome wonderful beautiful wife. She puts up with so much out of me and I love her so much.

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Friday, August 7, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Wednesday night Thrive had a record attendance for a nonevent service and it was only the first week of school. October will be a year that we have lived in Stockbridge and had the privilege of being the Youth Pastors of Uth Force/Thrive. The ministry has more than doubled and we have seen some great things and God has done some amazing things. Here is what we are focusing on the rest of the year:

  • September and October will be two of the most awesome series that we have ever done. September we will be doing a series called "Turn It Up," and then in October we will be doing "Game On" with a Campus Challenge.
  • We are still working on our small group strategy. We are doing them once a month at our house right now, but we are looking at allowing them to meet more often. Also making more of them and making them smaller.
  • Student Leadership is a HUGE element of Thrive. We will launch our Student Leadership in September.
  • We have a need to renovate our facility but before we do that we want to raise $10,000 to help our friends in Bogota Colombia make discipleship and evangelism videos.
  • Schools are the largest mission field in America. We have a campus strategy and plan on walking it out. This fall we are feeding Woodland High Marching Band for every home game. We will be hanging out at lunch with a lot of students, plus a lot more.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

  • Wednesday night was the first night of Thrive since school started back.
  • We had a record crowd for a nonevent service.
  • Our van route has grown so much that we have to split it now.
  • We stripped our stage and platform for this month. No set design or stage props because we want the focus on other things.
  • The band gelled so well together. It will only get better as the school year rocks on.
  • Preached in Thrive for the first time in four weeks. Man I missed it.
  • Loved watching the passion of these students as they pressed in to get closer to God.
Some things we talked about:
This month we are talking about three of David's Mighty Men from 2 Samuel 23. This week we talked about Shammah and the stand that he took in his lintel field.

Here are some things we know about his life:

He had convictions - no one stands and fights when everyone else is running without them.

He made a choice - sometimes our indecision is our decision. Shammah was faced with the same choices you and I have today. To stand and fight or run?

He had courage - courage is not the absence of fear it is the absence of fear's control.

Upcoming events:
Sunday August 16 we will have a cookout and water wars. Meet at the church at 5:30 p.m. and bring $5. Wear a dark shirt and shorts, please no bathing suits.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Have you ever heard someone pray for favor? Have you ever prayed for favor? Asked God to open doors for you and bless you? What else have you done about it? We pray to God like He is some magic genie only around to meet our every need and grant our wish. We pray for "favor" so we can get what we want in every situations. After we have prayed what else have we done?

My favorite is to hear people quote the story of Joseph in Genesis. Everywhere Joseph went he had favor. Do you know why he had favor? Yes it is because God blessed him, but do you know why else? He worked his butt off in every situation he was in. Sold into slavery, and he worked. Thrown into prison, he worked. Made second in command of all of Egypt, he worked. He did not just ask for blessings, he worked as well.

Us just asking for favor and blessings is like a farmer walking out to a field and shooting for corn to grow and nothing has been planted. Most of the time we use the prayer for "favor" as an excuse to be lazy. When in reality we need to be working and grooming our situation for God to bless us. Just my thoughts on the matter.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

The more I am around people I am sure that we have investment issues. We are investing in the wrong things in life. I am sick of people measuring the value of their life by the clothes they have, the vehicle that they drive, the home they live in, and the things that they have. A person is not improved by material things and a person's value is not added to by worldly wealth. One thing that I find true is that a jerk is a jerk whether he/she drives a Cadillac, Lexus, or Kia. The character of someone is not improved by nice things.

Proverbs 1:19 (in the Message Bible), "When you grab all you can get, that's what happens: the more you get, the less you are."

I believe that when we invest in things that really do not matter then we devalue ourselves and show our own ignorance. I can not for the life of me figure out why we invest in things that we can not carry with us after we pass from this life. Why do we invest in temporary things:

  • Why do we invest in the Stock Market when it can crash?
  • Why do we invest in businesses when they go bankrupt?
  • Why do we invest in vehicles when they will breakdown and rust?
  • Why do we invest in homes when they lose value?
I am not saying it is a bad thing to invest in these things, but what I am saying is that they can not be our only investment. If material things are your only investment then you are making bad investments. Your investments need to be in people and in a cause that is bigger than yourself. Your investment needs to be in the Kingdom of God. When your investments are in those things, your investments are eternal and will last forever.

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Monday, August 3, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Let me start this post off by saying that I have the privilege of working with one of the most awesome men of God, Pastor, and friend anyone could ask for. Yesterday he started a new series on Sunday called Connecting The Dots.

  • They are only dots until they are connected and then there is a bigger picture
  • It is easier to love God than love people sometimes.
  • Because Jesus saved you, you are now a catalyst for His love and relationships with others.
  • New relationships are hidden treasures that are waiting to be discovered and the discovery of a relationship is a process.
  • We have too many people standing in the pulpit that refuse to know what people are walking through because they are afraid to walk with them.
  • The key to connection is not having the answers.
  • Relationships are based a lot on habits and some people need to just change their habits.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

I have not blogged this week because my computer's hard drive is gone. Getting it fixed this week.

It has been weird readjusting to a routine this week after being out of the country for a week.

The last few weeks have seen some unfortunate events for electronics in the Gordon house. A couple of weeks ago our house was struck by lighting. It whipped out our TV, Wii, Garage Door Opener, Dishwasher, and my truck. Everything has been fixed but my truck.

Have I ever mentioned that I am the luckiest Youth Pastor in the world? Not only do I serve with an awesome community of believers, not only do I work for an awesome Pastor, but I pastor the greatest group of students in the world.

Went to a Braves Game Friday night. They lost but we had a blast.

We left the Braves game and then drove to South GA for my Grandma's 80th birthday party.

Excited about Thrive's leaders meeting tomorrow night. We have a lot on tap to discuss. This Fall is going to be amazing.

School starts back Monday. ITS GAME ON AROUND THRIVE!!!!!

I am excited about our August series and this week we will be laying out the next three month series. I can not wait.

Going to be sharing a God sized dream on this blog one day this week.

Going to bed. Its been a long 48 hours. Hope you have had a good weekend.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »