Gone Fishin’



Gone Fishin’
This morning I was reading in my quite time John 21. In this passage Jesus has already been crucified and resurrected – yet the disciples didn’t know what to do next.

So Peter in typical Peter-fashion says in verse 3, “I’m going fishing.”

Peter doesn’t strike me as the sort of guy who could just sit around and do nothing. He had a history of impatience. So he figured why not go fishin’.

What strikes me in this story is the response of the other disciples. They respond by saying, “We’re coming with you.”

There are two types of people in the world.

  1. Those that say, “I’m going fishin’” and his friends say, “Good luck, I hope you catch something.”
  1. Those that say, “I’m going fishin’” and his friends say, “We’re going with you.”

The latter is the stuff of leadership. Peter was a natural born leader. Jesus knew this and put up with all his stuff in order to groom him to lead the movement after He was gone.

Leader – what are you leading others to do. Most likely they are doing what you are doing.

That’s why Jesus tells Peter in the end of the chapter too…

  • Love me
  • Follow me

As leaders when we do this other people will also. Instead of just going fishin’, let’s love and follow Jesus. When we do others will follow!

A Thousand Lost Golf Balls



A Thousand Lost Golf Balls

In the land of lobelias and tennis flannels

The rabbit shall burrow and the thorn revisit,

The nettle shall flourish on the gravel court,

And the wind shall say:

“Here were decent godless people:

Their only monument the asphalt road

And a thousand lost golf balls.”

  • T.S. Eliot


Does that sound like the master planned community you live in?

Does that sound like Arizona?

More importantly does that sound like your life?

There has to be more to life than just chasing after lost golf balls!

Life must have more meaning than this.

In Ecclesiastes we find Solomon searching for the meaning of life and in this search he reminds us that, “God has put eternity in our hearts.” Ecc. 3:11

God has made you for more than golf, tennis and a few random pleasure points. He has made you for a purpose.

Life is all about living out that God ordained purpose.

Augustine said, “He who has God has everything. He who does not have God has nothing. He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God and has nothing.”


Dreamers vs Doers


The Difference Between Dreamers and Doers

This is not a slap in the face of dreamers. The dream phase of any project is awesome. Great things start with dreams.

Acts 2:17 tells us that when the Holy Spirit shows up and shows out that even, “your old men will dream dreams.”

That’s right even though dreaming for the most part is a young man’s game – when the Holy Spirit is factored in even the old men will dream.

But lately I have observed an obsession with dreaming that leads to little doing. There is the type of Pastor/Leader out there that all he does is dream. He has time for dream session after dream session at all the latest hip coffee shops. He meets with other leaders – and talks and dreams.

The problem is there is a lot of smoke but not much fire.

A dream that does not lead to doing will eventually lead to death.

You see at some point you have to “fish or cut bait.”

Doing or implementing is hard work. I’ve said for years that implementation is a beast. Which is the reason that those who tend to be work-brittle seldom do it.

There is a special place in the kingdom for the dreamers who are also doers.

“But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

Young and old leaders alike – stop living in deception. Stop convincing yourselves that talking about it is the same as doing it. God has given you a dream to grow a great church and implement new and exciting strategies – now do it!

A Good Church Fight


A Good Church Fight

Sometimes a little church fight can be a good thing – especially when it causes us to fix a problem and step into a preferred future.

Such was the case with the early church in Acts 6.

In Acts 6 the church has been exploding with growth – but then there is sort of a lull in the the growth.

Vs. 1 – “the number of disciples was multiplying” – It’s great when this happens. However, sometimes this can create some unexpected problems.

Vs. 1 – “there arose a complaint” – They go from growing to gripping. This is how I know the early church was a Baptist church – lol.

What was the problem?

Vs. 1b-6 reveal that they had cultural, organizational, and philosophical problems that caused them to not be healthy.

  • Cultural – the collision of two cultures. There were the Hebraic Jews who were the early responders, (i.e. charter members) agrarian, traditional, and less traveled. Then there were the Hellenistic Jews who were the late responders, (think newcomers) urban, and more entrepreneurial. Now all of a sudden they are in the same church. The mixture was sure to cause some stress.
  • Organizational – they were Hebraic heavy in leadership. In other words, the old-timers have not released the newcomers to serve and have ownership of the church. The organization needed to find some balance.
  • Philosophical – they thought that everything was the preacher’s job. Vs. 2-3 – If they had accepted the conventional wisdom that was apparently prevalent at this time they would have created a ceiling for the work of the church. They would have created a system that could only expand to the bandwidth of which ever leader they had at the time.

It’s true different leaders have different relational bandwidths. Most people can know and interact with about 70 to 100 people at a time. That’s why churches who are organized for the Pastor to do everything typically only grow to around 70 to 100 people.

Fortunately, for the early church its leaders understood this and refused to do everything.

So what was the solution?

Vs. 3-5 – They expanded the leadership pipeline and in the process gained a new found organizational alignment.

They selected new leaders and delegated these important tasks to them. And all the new leaders in the leadership pipeline were Hellenistic Jews. In other words the charter members shared ownership of the church with the newcomers. This all resulted in a new, fresh organizational alignment in the early church.

I have a friend who is the Lead Pastor of Calvary Church in Lake Havasu, Arizona. There church has grown to over 2000 people. When I asked him what was one of the main reason for his churches recent growth he said, “Organizational alignment.”

The result of a healthy organizational alignment was growth in Lake Havasu and in the N.T. church.

Check it out, “So the preaching about God flourished, the number of the disciples in Jerusalem multiplied greatly, and a large group of priests became obedient to the faith.”

That my friends is what I would call a good church fight! 

Healthy Things Grow!



I’m preparing our annual vision sermon for Palm Vista. It’s given me time to reflect on the past several years.

Over the last several years it has been amazing to watch God grow our church and fulfill our dreams. God has grown our church from an average attendance of a little over 300 to over 800 and touching 900 on a regular basis. Last year we welcomed over a 100 new members through our membership class. Last year we had a record number of baptisms! Our Bible Groups have continued to expand. We launched an additional campus this past year in Phoenix. And the ministries of our church now literally reach around the world – all the way to Burma.

When I tell you that at Palm Vista that you are part of something great, something special, something that just doesn’t happen every day in churches – I am speaking truth without any mixture of error. In the best possible way, you should be proud about how God has used you in the past to position this church for the future.

However, as our church has grown it might surprise you to know that we have never had a numerical goal in mind. We have not focused on numbers because quite simply we believe that healthy things naturally grow.

When your focus becomes healthy relationships, healthy systems, healthy values, and a healthy culture then you are well on your way to some healthy growth.


Lessons from George Washington on Leadership


Lessons from George Washington on Leadership

At the suggestion of my friend David Johnson, I’ve been reading, “The Return of George Washington” by Edward J. Larson. It’s been a great read with tons of insightful lessons on leadership.

If you lead a church, school, business, or team there are some great lessons from the life of Washington for you.

Think about the amazing men that were used to form the United States. Men like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, and Jay. Through the collective wisdom of these men the greatest nation in the history of world was formed.

However, there was a time after the Revolutionary War when the future of the nation seemed anything but secure. There was little or no centralized government, the states who held the power did not cooperate well with each other, there was no national currency, and the recent war had left Congress with a large debt.

Yet, out of this chaos Washington and others brought a clarity of vision that helped form the nation that we now reside in.

That’s what leadership does – it forms a clear vision of a preferred future in the midst of confusing chaos.

From the life of George Washington let me remind you of some great lessons on leadership.

If you are a leader, you need to…

  1. Always be thinking about a more ideal future.

Washington had just lead his army in winning the Revolutionary War, he now has resigned his post as General and returned home to his beloved Mount Vernon.

However, he understood that there was more to be done and dreamed of a more ideal future for the United States.

Don’t think that you last success is your last success. It’s just a stepping stone for the more ideal future that God desires for your church, school, business, or team.

  1. Make sure you learn from your failures.

After the war and prior to becoming President, Washington had this big dream to use the Potomac River as a water route for trade – connecting the east to the undeveloped west.

It was a great plan but it never fully worked. There were too many rapids and too many water falls to maneuver around and finally the plan fell through.

By most accounts it was a failure. However, the lessons he learned about bringing neighboring states together to work on this project would no doubt serve him well as the nation’s first President.

All of us have failed at stuff. That’ ok. But, what lessons did your last or greatest failure teach you about the next big thing you want to do?

  1. Leverage your current chaos for a more secure future.

There was a time in our country’s history that everything secured in the Revolutionary War was at risk.

Washington wrote to John Jay, “something must be done, or the fabric must fall.”

Is there a “something must be done” mentality in your organization?

“Something must be done” or our church is in trouble.

“Something must be done” or our school will fail.

“Something must be done” or our team is going to implode.

When things are this critical in your organization then good news, people are open to change.

Leverage the uneasiness by painting a preferred future. That’s was Washington did. That’s what leaders do!