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Nov 2011 09

1..2..oh he kicks out! Unbelievable. These two have been at it for some time! What a match! This will go down in history as one of the best KWWF matches in history. Matt swings him against the ropes, but Wes ducks underneath the clothesline and takes rolls him up in a small package. 1..2..3!!! We have a new champion! Wes Howard is the new KWWF champion!!

That’s one of my fondest memories of my childhood. My brother, Matt, and I had an imaginary wrestling federation. We called it the K.W.W.F. The Kids Word Wrestling Federation. My brother is 5 years older than me and so, he was ALWAYS champion. ALWAYS. His reign was years as Heavyweight Champion. Then one day, he let me win. He let me become champion and I will never forget it.

I choose to remember that. Or the time that my brother stayed up all night with me waiting for Santa to come even though he knew the truth. “Let’s go check again Wes! Maybe he has come now!” When he finally did, I ran to wake up my parents. It was 3AM. They told me to go back to bed. We didn’t. We watched wrestling videos all morning until they woke up.

I don’t want to remember the time that my brother stole my XBox and pawned it for drug money. The time that I watched my dad and him fist fight. The time I cried my eyes out at his first rehab graduation. When he shot cocaine in the wrong place on Christmas Eve and was in the hospital the entire holiday. The countless number of rehabs or that my parents have been drained emotionally, physically and monetarily by him over the last 15 years.

At some point, I changed the way I looked at my brother. I let the bad memories become prevalent and over time I began to think of him as a hopeless addict instead of my brother who needs help and deserves help. I was convicted by a message that I wrote when the question was asked, “Do you see people the way Jesus sees them?”

How would I get up and preach this message and ask that question and not look at my brother the way Jesus sees him? Someone who needs hope and the love of a Savior. My parents had never given up on him. Why did I?

So I called him. Every day. For the first 2 weeks, I never got an answer. Just couldn’t catch him at the right time and a random number is not one you answer when you are living the lifestyle he lives. Then, one day I was in traffic and was very tempted to get angry about the next hour I would waste sitting in it. Instead, I decided to “choose joy” and started thinking of a way I could use this time to glorify God.

So I called again and I knew he would answer. And he did. We got to talk for 35 minutes about everything. It was awesome and I got the opportunity to finally tell him that I believe in his story and that it’s not over. I got to tell him that I love him and pray for him everyday. Most importantly, I started to remember him for the right reasons and view him as someone who needs this love and hope.

No one is too far gone for the love of Christ. And if we are the vessel for that hope, no one is too far for us to continue loving.

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Aug 2011 25

I’ve been married for 10 1/2 whole months. So obviously, I know everything there is to know about marriage. So for all you newbies out there, pull up a chair and listen to the wisdom that I am about to throw down.

1) First and foremost, she’s weird. She doesn’t keep the toothpaste canister clean. She’s anal about the shower curtain being closed. She will be fine with the way the house looks until the second she hears company MIGHT be stopping by and then suddenly we live in the dirtiest house in the world. She steals my pillow and my covers nightly. She’s just weird! I’m sure there is nothing about me that’s weird to her. ;)

2) Saying, “I don’t care babe, you can pick” is NOT you being nice and letting your wife decide. It’s you being an $&# and making your wife decide. If my wife asks me what I want for dinner, I better have an answer. This is serious stuff.

2) Hiding from your spouse is a lot of fun. Amy goes to bed pretty early, so when she’s getting ready for bed, I like to turn off all the lights and construct a complex scene of fake-outs and hide somewhere. I will put pillows under the covers to make it look I am there and jump out from the closet. I will pretty much do whatever I can to make her say, “Baby, I hate this…please come out.”

4) Marriage helps with money accountability. We both have smart phones, so that means we both can instantly access our bank account. So if I decide to buy the new PS3 NCAA football game you better believe Amy is going to know about it! It makes us ask the question, “Do I really need this?” Sure there are times when we blow some money, but having someone to ask if that purchase was necessary or not really helps. (As long as you have both agreed to be asked that question.)

5) Your wife is pregnant? This is really an entirely different blog post, but be prepared to wash more dishes, do more laundry, give out 50% more back rubs and hear, “Get away from me” at least 15 times a day. (Especially if you like to pester your wife like I do.)

6) It’s really easy to neglect praying together. We got to bed at different times and wake up at different times. It’s so easy to put off praying together. We have to be very intentional about this.

7) Intimacy comes in many different ways. We are a team. When we cook and clean the kitchen together I feel it. When we discuss our week and what we are going to do, I feel it. When we pray, I feel it. When we laugh, I feel it. Intimacy comes in many different ways.

Just because these are things that I have learned doesn’t mean we are perfect at them. We aren’t, but we are trying to get better each day. I am so thankful for Amy and the last 10 1/2 months. It’s been so much fun and I can’t wait to start our family and continue down this journey of life with her. She’s awesome and scared of the dark. Can’t ask for much more.

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Aug 2011 23

So it’s been over a year since Twitter Commandments Part 1. I said in that post that there would be a part 2 and a year and some odd months later, here it is. Not sure why it took this long. Maybe we all have gotten better at Twitter and there wasn’t a need for 5 more commandments, but all good things must come to an end and so here we are with 5 more. If you need a review of what the first 5 Twitter Commandments are you can click HERE.

Let’s do this.

6. Thou shall not retweet a Happy Birthday tweet. I’ve been guilty of this one, but it’s time to put a stop to it. Can anything feel less satisfying than a retweet happy birthday? You are basically saying, “Oh it’s ____ birthday. I’m too lazy to say it myself so let me just hit this retweet button. Done.” You wouldn’t do it in person!

John: Happy Birthday Alex! Hope it’s a good one.
You: Alex, what John said.
Alex: Thanks?

Unacceptable.

7.Thou shall not fall for the spam DM. You aren’t in a funny blog post, picture or video. I know it would be nice, but you aren’t. If you want to lose weight, it won’t happen by clicking a link and it won’t make you rich either. Just isn’t going to happen. So let’s all agree to that and stop falling for it. If you do happen to click one of those links and it takes you to a Twitter sign in page, don’t sign in. It’s fake and then you will be adding to the problem. Also, if you do write a funny blog with me in it, don’t advertise it as “Hey, I wrote a funny blog about you!” You won’t get many clicks now.

8.Thou shall not tweet to tweet. I was a middle school pastor for a year, so I follow a lot of students…and they tweet a LOT. Here’s some examples:

“That’s completely homo.”
“to hot to tan.”
“Just woke up.”
“I look like a hoe right now.. haha”
“GIRL, yooo booty hungry. #pickthatwedgie”

And that was in the past 10 minutes. Seriously. I see tweets that say, “Only 124 more tweets until 2,000! I’m going to make it tonight!” Tweeting 124 more times in a week is WAY too much much less a night! I think the only thing that will change this behavior is time, but I’m throwing out this rule anyway.

9. Thou shall not tweet longer than 140 characters. Twitter has a limit. 140 characters. That’s all. And when you tweet longer than that people have to click a link to go see just how crazy it was when your dog jumped into the pool wearing a mini skirt and high heels. Ok, that tweet might be worth the click, but the majority are NOT! Simplify your message. Make it shorter. 140 characters isn’t a suggestion, it’s the law. Don’t break the law. If Justin Beiber can abide by the rules, so can you.

10. Thou shall not live tweet TV shows. There is no such thing as appointment TV anymore. DVR’s are just as common as reruns of Full House, so when I get out of an incredibly long and boring ballet that my wife begged me to go with her to and I have DVR’d the season finale of Dexter, I don’t want to look at Twitter on the way home and see, “Oh my GOSH! Dexter chopped Deb’s head and his own head off! And Mr. Weasley, the school janitor, was the killer the whole time! What a way to end the season.” That moment sucks for me. (No, I didn’t ruin Dexter for anyone. All that was made up.)

Yes, I realize that once a show has aired it should be fair game, but can we agree to just comment on how good it was and not give specifics? I wanted to include music award shows in this, but Grant Jenkins is my friend and Matthew Paul Turner said he might want to volunteer at the downtown campus and I can’t screw that up. (And he’s my friend.)

So there you have it. The complete set of Twitter Commandments. Learn them. Memorize them. Obey them. Happy tweeting.

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Aug 2011 10

At 8:00PM on August 14th, at Rocketown in beautiful downtown Nashville, a campus will relaunch. A campus geared towards reaching college students that are in a stage of life that is as much about growing than it is about learning.

I am personally pumped up and can’t wait to start. I’ve got big dreams and plans and I am praying that God does as well, but I also have questions.

Cross Point Community Church believes in this age group. While most churches have a college ministry, Cross Point has a college “church”. An entire church campus dedicated to college students. That’s where the whole “how to launch a campus in 10 days comes in.” Sure, we will launch. We have volunteers returning, new ones starting and teams in place to make this successful, but I can’t help but be challenged by this question: How do we create an environment where college students will come and consider this campus their “home” church? This isn’t a secondary meeting. It will be the same programming as Sunday morning.

Most of us grew up getting up on Sunday mornings and going to church, so we have a mindset that church happens on Sunday morning. This is going to be a change for some people. Or maybe we will attract those kids that never got up on Sundays and went to church, or students who were out too late on Saturday night. That’s just fine with me.

Whoever comes, I believe the answer to my question is this: Community. Once a student steps inside the doors at Rocketown, my prayer is that they will experience that “Everyone is welcome, nobody is perfect and anything is possible.” A campus cannot launch without being intentional about community. That’s our goal. Acts gives us an account of the first church and Act 2:44-47 lays out how we can launch successfully.

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

I pray we sacrifice to give to those in need together. I pray we meet together regularly. I pray we eat and laugh together. I pray we worship together. I pray we see many saved together.

August 14th at 8:00PM at Rocketown. It begins. Let’s do this.

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Jul 2011 21

You can’t make this stuff up.

Unemployed and 2 weeks away from not being able to pay rent.
Getting a shot in ministry by becoming an assistant.
Starting a community group that eventually became a ministry.
Meeting my wife.
Speaking to a church in the Dominican Republic.
Accepting a job as a middle school pastor.
Communicating weekly to students.
Preaching in Brazil.
Leading over 220 students at a 5 day camp.
Learning that you are going to be a daddy.
Accepting a job as a campus pastor.

And all of it happening in almost exactly 2 years. You can’t make this stuff up. I could have never scripted this. Yes, I am writing this post to share some news with you but before we get to that I want you to take a second and thank God for the story he is writing in your life. You may not be in the best circumstances or where you would like to be, but God is still writing. You make a horrible storyteller with your life, trust the one who created you with it. It’s not over yet.

Or you could be in a great place and overjoyed at what is going on, also remember that God is still writing. And it’s not to bring you more success, but to bring you closer to Him. All of those events I listed, some were good and some were tough, but they all brought me closer to Christ. It’s not over yet.

My story has once again taken a turn that I didn’t expect. On August 1st, I will begin the next chapter in my ministry as I become a campus pastor for Cross Point Community Church in Nashville. I will be leading the Downtown Campus that meets at Rocketown. I am so excited to be returning to my home church and getting the opportunity to be a part of that team again. It is truly a dream job.

With any job change, you are leaving something behind and I was reminded last night and today what I am leaving behind here at LifePoint. The most amazing, beautiful, fun, Christ-like students I could have ever asked to lead. They taught me so much in the past year and they taught me even more on how to accept change. I have been overwhelmed with well wishes and videos of how much they learned and loved our time together. I will never forget them and I am so excited for what’s next in their lives. I could have never dreamed how much they would mean to my wife and I.

And that sums up life right now for me. I could have never dreamed the events of the past 2 years or what’s going to happen in the next 2, but whatever does happen – God will get the glory. He deserves it no matter what circumstance you find yourself in.

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