Saturday, December 29, 2007

Crossroads Church Christmas update

Just a quick update on Christmas last weekend at our church. We had 8 services (normally we have 4) with an attendance above 3000 people! This is roughly twice the number of our normal weekend attendance!! Even better than that is there were 70 people who made eternally impacting spiritual decisions to follow Christ!! The Gospel was clearly presented, Christ was glorified. Thank you Pastors Phil Print and James Brown for your commitment to sharing the Good News at this time of year.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Pumping Iron - aka get your tickets to the gun show...

Just posting an update on my progress in my exercise program. I joined Life Time Fitness in Woodbury, MN Oct. 31st. The first two weeks I did nothing but cardio. Week 3 I introduced some very light weightlifting. That first week of weight lifting I stayed at 135lbs on my bench just to work on form. The second week I put up 185lbs on bench but was shaky doing so. I was pretty close to my max at that point, which I honestly expected since it had been 6 years since I had last lifted. Tonight I decided to push things. For the last two weeks I have been benching 225lbs as my final set, anywhere from 3-5 times. It really was all I could lift. Tonight I jumped up to 245lbs, and found it surprisingly easy to lift twice. So I put on 265 for my next round, and put that up, though admittedly barely at that point in my workout. Not nearly what I used to lift, but impressive (to me anyhow) considering how short of a period I have been lifting.

As a point of reference, 6 years ago before enrolling in seminary I benched over 400lbs. I don't know the exact total of my bench max, as I had not maxed out for quite some time. My final working set of 5x5 bench was 395lbs. I did all this naturally, no andro, no bench shirt or anything of that sort. I also maxed my squat at 595lbs, and dead lifted 450lbs. My DL was always my weak point as I've had some minor lower back issues from time to time over the years. I always took my DL a bit easier than my other lifts because of this, and it held that development back.

I enjoy lifting weights, and honestly wish I had more time to do it. There is something about moving large steel plates that really gets me going. Now if I could only get just as excited about cardio so I could speed along my weightloss. I manage 30-45 minutes of cardio 4-5 times a week, but I am hoping to begin increasing the intensity of those work outs. I'd like to get to the point where I could play some pick-up basketball at the gym, but right now that is still a little ways off. I'd do fine in half court, but running full court I'm not sure how long I'd last. Oh to be young again!

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vintage Jesus and Simple Church

I have started reading a new(er) book by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger called "Simple Church". So far I'm really liking it, with the caveat that it hasn't covered a whole lot of new ground in the 25 or so pages I have read thus far. I'm looking forward to some time over the next week to dig further into this book.

I also got an email today from Crossway Books that contained a link to my electronic copy of the new book by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears titled Vintage Jesus. My print copy will be coming soon as well. I'm really looking forward to this book. I read a bit of the electronic copy already and it is vintage Driscoll. I hope it will be thought provoking and interesting.

We'll be heading to Sioux Falls for Christmas, so hopefully the roads stay clear!

Merry Christmas!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eagle Brook Church - Spring Lake Park Campus Part II

I received the following in my inbox today from Eagle Brook Church's Senior Pastor Bob Merritt:

It isn’t often that I send two E-News letters in the span of two weeks – and I promise not to make a habit of it – but what’s happened these last two weeks has shocked and humbled me. Some of you have been wondering about our December series and whether our prayers to reach people are being answered. Well, two weeks ago we saw an all-time non-holiday record of 11,289 people attend our three campuses, many of whom are new to our church.

Then, I spent last weekend at our new campus in Spring Lake Park, where we opened up a third service on Saturday night… and 350 people came! Then I watched the two Sunday morning services fill up, and my jaw dropped. We had a total weekend attendance at SLP of 1306. This is unheard of by anyone’s standards. I don’t know of any other church that has that kind of immediate growth at a new multi-site campus.

But what thrills us more than anything are the stories we’re starting to hear about people who weren’t thinking about God or faith a month or two ago, but are now taking steps toward a new life because the people of Eagle Brook were obedient to Jesus’ directive to sow seeds. My young car salesman and his wife have come all three weekends and he said, “It was the first time I’ve ever been in a church where I didn’t want it to end.” As I stood in the lobby at SLP last week I talked with dozens of people who thanked our church over and over for opening up in their area. So, way to go church, thank you for believing, praying and inviting; thanks for taking some risks, for sowing seeds and for making room for God to do something amazing among us.

A word about Christmas Eve: We’ve been working on Christmas Eve for two months now and it’s going to be powerful! It’s not too late to invite someone, and if they come I promise that it will be a highlight for them and for you. Thanks to everyone that’s picked up tickets at church or online. Based on the trends, we anticipate that the 4 pm service on Monday in Lino Lakes and the 4 pm service on Monday in Spring Lake Park could get full. If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, and have the flexibility, please consider attending a service other than those two services. Again, if you haven’t gotten tickets, please reserve them online by going to

A word about year-end giving: I wish I didn’t have to mention this, but December is a critical month for most churches in America and Eagle Brook is no exception. Everything we do is funded by the generous contributions of thousands of people like you, and it’s vital that everyone does their part. We’ve stayed under budget in most areas for 2007, but it’s been a year of expansion and increasing influence for our church. Frankly, it’s put a strain on our resources that will affect future initiatives and badly needed hires. So, if Eagle Brook has been important to you in 2007 and you believe in what we’re doing now and for the future, please consider making Eagle Brook a priority in your giving. Many of you give faithfully and sacrificially, and for that we are deeply grateful – but it’s vital that all of us participate.

Thanks for what you are doing at whatever level. Every contribution matters, no matter how big or small, and these last eight days are key. We appreciate your support!


It is great to see so many good things happening at the Spring Lake Park campus. It is in a prime location, and I pray that God will continue to use that location to do great things!

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Eagle Brook Church - Spring Lake Park Campus

This past weekend Eagle Brook Church opened their third campus in the north metro area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. This third campus is in the building formerly known as Spring Lake Park Baptist Church (SLPBC) - a church I was on staff at for 3 years. This is an exciting move for SLPBC was really struggling over the past few years.

The Spring Lake Park Campus of Eagle Brook Church opened with two services - one at 9:30am and one at 11:00am. In spite of a sizable snow storm the attendance for this opening was spectacular. 540 people at each service! 1080 people in all! Starting December 15th there will be an additional third service at 6:00pm Saturday night.

This fantastic turn out created traffic problems, as the parking facilities of this location are somewhat limited (on site) and snow/weather added an unexpected element to complicate things. The joy of living in Minnesota!

The Spring Lake Park Campus of Eagle Brook Church will have Steve Whicker serving as their campus pastor. As Campus Pastor, Steve will provide leadership and direction for this community, and will be the liaison between Spring Lake Park and the broader EBC family.

I am glad to see that Eagle Brook chose to keep my friend Lynfield Hines on staff as the Student Ministries Pastor. It is also good to see the wisdom in keeping Dan Munson to minister to the older adults of the church.

What to expect:
Eagle Brook Church is a growing, Christian church that is committed to reaching people for Christ, and bringing them into strong relationships with God and each other. It's their desire that all visitors—regardless of their faith background—be able to walk into any campus and be welcomed by real people, inspired by excellent music, and challenged by biblical messages that give answers to everyday problems.

Eagle Brook—Spring Lake Park is one of three church campuses. It offers the opportunity to share in all of the resources, programming, and excellence of one of the largest churches in the five-state area, while experiencing the intimacy and community of a small church setting.

At the Spring Lake Park Campus, weekend services feature live worship from an in-house worship band, as well as the leadership and guidance of an on-site campus pastor. Each weekend's message (sermon) is presented via video by either the senior pastor or one of Eagle Brook's teaching pastors on large, state-of-the-art screens. This allows consistent, excellent teaching to be presented across all the sites on the same weekend. If you would like to see a sample of some of their past teachings, visit the Past Messages portion of EBC's site.

Dynamic, age-appropriate kids programming is available during all services for kids from birth-grade 5. Click on birth-K or grades 1-5 to learn more.

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