Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012: The Year of Venturing Out

Within hours, 2011 is soon to give way to 2012. The Bible says “You crown the year with Your bounty…” (Psalm 65:11). I absolutely believe that is what the Lord has planned for you as we approach the dawn of this exciting New Year.

At New Venture Christian Fellowship, 2012 is The Year of Venturing Out. I’m looking forward to what He has in store for me… and you – as this is truly the year of God–sized expectations, big attempts and courageous faith.

As you step into 2012, I want to encourage you to join me and our NV family in Venturing Out by making a Bible reading plan a part of your entire year. A few of us will be attempting to read through God’s word in 90 days (quite a challenge, but if you’ve got the time you may want to try it) with a plan called B-90, others will enjoy reading through The One Year Bible, while others still will read an At Your Own Pace Bible plan.

If you’re in the area and around New Venture on Tuesday nights, beginning January 3rd, The Quiet Place kicks off in the Connections Café from 6-7pm. It’s a once a week gathering for those committed to keeping the Bible as priority in their lives this year. You’ll experience quiet time in The Quiet Place, and a chance to catch up on your reading for that day (or week).

You’ll enjoy a comfortable atmosphere and a time to connect with God through your own individual reading. Just imagine your favorite Starbucks or Barnes & Noble – with light food and beverages available (and free Wi-Fi) -- at the Connections Café every Tuesday night. I look forward to seeing you there.
Ready to experience your best year yet? I am! I can’t wait…Happy New Year!!!

Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Shawn

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"Bullet Proof Moose"

That couldn’t have been my son…standing there in a bulletproof vest! What happened to little Shawn, stumbling down a “grassy knoll” trying to catch a football that he could just about hide behind? What happened to the “little guy” whose feet didn’t reach the edge of the passenger seat in my SUV? Those size 18s (not really) were now getting shoved into police-issue work boots, as Shawn Jr. begins his training…with our city’s Police Department. Yep, Shawn Jr. wants to help others…as a policeman.

But what do I do with that information…as a dad?

On one hand, very few things are as pride-prompting as having your son come in and say, “Dad I’m feeling led to serve as a police officer.” It’s inspiring to see God raising your son up to be a contributor to his community.

But how do you watch your only child preparing to put himself in the line of danger? To strap on the extra large Kevlar and say, “Bring it on?” I couldn’t even make it through the fitting. I was clicking away taking pictures on my Droid like it was his first day of kindergarten when the woman behind the counter said, “Boy your dad sure is proud.” Looking back over his shoulder Shawn Jr. asked, “Is he CRYING?!”

Only a little. But I remember a day when a child size helmet and jersey would swallow him whole. When he wore a lion suit at AutumnFest* because his dad was a Roman Gladiator. When he would pretty much fit into my hand with tiny arms and legs spilling over. Now Laurie & I wonder how on earth this refrigerator of a young man came from us! Our fun-loving boy has grown into a caring man – AND a moose of a guy! He’s a big dude – but with a warm smile. That’s a combination God can use in today’s Police Force.

But as a PASTOR, there’s more going on here than just parental pride. I can’t help but believe this is part of God’s ultimate plan for him to make a difference in the lives of others, including in the local church. I think of all the things that each of us learn by serving others, making sacrifices, being responsible for ourselves and our community…all of that sounds like ministry to me. It sounds like a leader. So I can’t help but pray that God is fostering this in him – and that he is PROTECTED in the meantime…from “powers and principalities” and punks.

If you think of it…would you join me in prayer for him – that this “little kid” who’s now hitting the streets in ride-alongs as a “bullet proof moose,” would be kept safe and strong, and be used by God in mighty ways for the citizens our region.

Shawn Jr. tells me, “Dad, I’ll bust’em…and you save ‘em.” I have a feeling somewhere down the line, he might find himself called to the “saving” too – whether that’s on the streets of O’side, or here at New Venture. But for now…my son has got himself a deal!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Don't Quit...Don't Camp... KEEP CLIMBING!!!

I thought I would blog a few notes here on a message I preached recently, due the number of responses I’ve been receiving on Don’t Quit… Don’t Camp…KEEP CLIMBING!!! Dropped a few pictures at the end. May it encourage you today!


Life is a lot like Mountain Climbing - Sometimes fun… but not always easy!
Sometimes during the stresses and challenges of life, we forget the value of all that God has done and given to us, that's when it's easy to simply "camp" where you are, or even "quit." But it's during life’s tough times and difficult experiences that we all need to be reminded to “keep climbing!”

There are 3 different responses to climbing. Which one are you?

Quitters: They focus more on the obstacles, than the opportunities. They cop out, back out or drop out.

They decide to go forward... but only so far. They start... but soon, give up.

They never lose sight of the goal. It may get tough... but there is no thought of quitting.

From time to time, all of us get reminders of how precious and fleeting life is. For that reason alone... don't quit, or camp... KEEP CLIMBING!
Climbing with You!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Encouragement Anyone?

Ever have the need for encouragement? I think I know the answer – ALL OF US DO.

I had lunch with a pastor I greatly respected through the years, Chuck Swindoll, (Former President of Dallas Theological Seminary). Over gourmet burgers at a loved restaurant, he shared how tough sermon preparation can sometimes be for him. As soon as you’re done with one, you have to start on the next one. I thought to myself, it’s like being an NFL kicker – you’re only as good as your last kick.

Now I’m talkin’ this was CHUCK SWINDOLL who was expressing the need to sometimes be encouraged in preparing for the next sermon. He’d been one of my greatest inspirations through the years, as I listened to his great sermons on his radio broadcast. If a pastor like Chuck Swindoll needs encouragement from time to time, how much more the rest of us?!

Then, in getting ready to prepare a weekend message the other day, an email popped up on my screen which humbled me while at the same time, put wind in my sails. The Lord must’ve known my need.  It read:

Dear Pastor Shawn:

I never get a chance to tell you how important your messages are to us and how we feel so blessed to have you as our pastor. We have never found such a wonderful Godly man so talented, that holds our attention no matter what else is going on. And we are being fed as we attend. God Bless You and your family always.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend.
(name withheld)

Like I said, I was greatly encouraged and touched by these words that showed up just when they were needed the most! It’s amazing that God gives us exactly what we need – even when we’re not aware we need it.

My prayer is that you find some encouragement through this today – and the reminder to keep our eyes open for the ways God is reaching out to encourage us in those moments that matter.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mom. Missed...But Not Missing.

I have warm, inspiring & thankful thoughts of my mom today. She made it to 85 yrs & and went home to be with the Lord 3 yrs ago. She told her 5 boys at age 60, "If you don't see me next year -- you'll know where you can find me." Isn't that a great line?! Well, today I find her in a multitude of unforgettable memories.

Memories that now make me smile. My life perspective has largely been shaped by her love for people and life. It shaped my faith in God as well, as year after year I would watch her begin each day in the Bible and four different devotionals.

Through the years I've heard people remark that I'm pretty high energy. I've got news for ya -- next to my 80+y.o. mom, it appeared like I was moving in slow-motion! That lady had serious ENERGY!

And what a lady she was -- such style...flair, and a love for life. In many ways, she was ahead of her time. And now...she lives with the "Timeless"! More alive than ever.

You see, Alzheimers didn't take my Mom in 2007. The Lord took her, painlessly & peacefully.

Yep, no doubt - one day, I know where I'll find her. I can't wait to see her again.

Peggy Mitchell. What a lady! And this man is so thankful for her. This Mother's Day -- and every day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thinking About: The Osama bin Laden Mission & an Unwanted Eternity

Amazing sitting here blogging today. Usually I write and speak about “life”. Eternal life… Living life to its fullest… making the Rest of your Life – the Best of your Life, etc. But today, I write about… death. as headlines around the world proclaim... Osama bin Laden is Dead.

As a Christian and US Citizen, my emotions are varied. As a Christian it’s hard to take pleasure in the death of anyone who is destined to spend a dark, anguishing, ETERNITY outside of God’s Presence – in Hell! But as a proud citizen of this country, to know that Navy Seals swooped into bin Laden’s 18’-wall-fortified compound, and successfully completed their assigned mission to “take out bin Laden at all costs.” The 44 minute mission was a “surgical strike” that occurred without American casualties. Talking about PROUD!!! I felt like one of those 45,000 fans in Philly Stadium for the baseball game last night who read the news of bin Laden on their cell phones and began chanting “USA – USA – USA… “ throughout the stadium. I got goose bumps and shared in their pride.

This past Sept. 11th I was in New York City where the terrorist attacked occurred. I was there for radio interviews, to share the Gospel, etc. I was emotionally struck by the deep block wide holes in the earth where the World Trade Towers once stood. I met and spoke with some who had loved ones trapped in the towers when the airliners hit them 9 years ago on that world changing morning.

What I’ll never forget was the silent sobs from many of the thousands around me that came to honor all the innocent whose lives were needlessly taken due to the diabolical –and demonic– scheme of one man to strike terror into the hearts of millions. The man – Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden was successful. Yesterday, the US was successful. “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.” Matt. 26:52

May those who lost loved ones, sleep more peacefully tonight. And may we as a church -New Venture Christian Fellowship - and as a nation – double our efforts to spread PEACE around the world. Peace… begins with JESUS!

Be blessed. … … USA! … USA!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spending Sunset, Thinking of "Sunrise"

(Sun. 9pm) Just came from the Oceanside Amphitheatre. No it’s not Easter morning. It’s late at night – and I just had to go back, sit up at the top of the now empty stands, alone, just the Lord and I - and a myriad of deeply satisfying and fulfilling thoughts of today’s 22nd Sunrise on the Shore Easter Service… which will rank as one of our all-time best, if not the best Service we’ve ever experienced!

What made Sunrise 2011 so Memorable?

One of the biggest crowds – if not the biggest.. we’ve EVER had (check out the pics)! Folks came from everywhere and had a great time.

Sky Divers kicked off the morning, with incredible flying feats and landing on the beach right in front of the roaring thousands wildly cheering for them.

New Venture's Worship Team was TREMENDOUS. Filling the stage and setting the tone for a true celebration.

412 Million watched last year's Super Bowl… but that doesn’t come close to the one Billion people who watched the rescues of the 33 Miners, buried a quarter of a mile under the earth in Chile. Mario Sepulveda the leader of the men who survived 69 days under the earth kept us spellbound by his fascinating stories of God’s care and provision underneath the earth.

Had to come back tonight on this peaceful night to what’s now a completely empty, clean and quiet amphitheatre. I sense the Lord’s pleasure sitting out here alone with Him. Where only several hours ago, this place was rockin'.

It was great to serve Him, sense His touch, and now – for countless reasons – to thank Him. I sensed Him earlier, along with the 7,000 in attendance. And I sense Him now, just He and I.

Blessings on your day. Ours sure was blessed. All to His Glory!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

WHAT I’M THINKING… A Lifetime Memory with my Son

A neat thing happened to me the other day. My son, Shawn Jr. who works on our New Venture Facilities Team stopped by my office after normal work hours and asked me if I’d like to take a break from a long day of meetings, and jump in one of our church’s trams with him for a quick ride across the street, to get a little fresh air & talk. Anytime Shawn Jr. or Laurie want to get together for a little quality family time is a big deal to me – so I took him up on it.

He drove us across the street over to NV Eastern property land, drove up onto the low lying grass, parked the tram facing the church and simply sat and talked for 20 minutes or so.

WHAT I’M THINKING – Shawn Jr. & I talked about nothing special… but all of it was special because it was with my SON.

WHAT I’M THINKING – We watched the sun slowly setting behind the New Venture Campus and thought…”what an amazing sight and BEAUTIFUL CAMPUS” – the Lord has been exceptionally good to our New Venture family (Eph 3:20).

WHAT I’M THINKING – As we could feel and smell the gentle ocean breeze coming up from the canyons behind our New Venture Home, I thought – In life we get consumed with all of the little things (i.e. meetings, demands, etc.)… but leaving my desk for 20 minutes and enjoying the “big picture” reminded me of the amazing miracle that all of us at New Venture are experiencing and are a part of.

WHAT I’M THINKING – That the 20 minutes that I gave my son, for a brief “field trip” across the street from our church, to catch up as father and son, enjoy the view, and each other… were 20 minutes of priceless memories that will last a lifetime.

I’m reminded of that verse: “ I thank my God upon every REMEMBRANCE…” (Phil 1:3). A great day. Great memories. Thanks for sharing in them with me!

Monday, March 14, 2011

God Loves a Good Party... and So Do We.

Love a good party? Most of us do. A cursory look through the Bible reveals that near every time that something of note or significance happened to God's people, He would command them to throw a party. A feast to celebrate the positive things going on around.

Well, you've got to check out the pics in this blog over the BIG PARTY we threw for a lot of worthy people who serve as ministry Partners at New Venture Christian Fellowship.

For all of you Partners that do so much for so many of us who call NVCF "home"... and work so hard to help us fulfill the Mission (REACH,TEACH, RELEASE) which the Lord has given our church - a big Shout Out & THANK YOU for the joy and privilege of doing ministry along with you. You make serving as your pastor - the greatest of joys and an honor!!

Hearing from so many of you today as to how much you enjoyed the Partner Appreciation Dinner and Party made it all worth it! We'll do it again. Promise. 3 reasons why...1.God loves a Good Party. 2. So do we at NV. 3. You deserve it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

NV Bowling League… “The Holy Rollers”…and Lots of Other Good Stuff

One of the best times of year starts this weekend. DAILY SAVINGS TIM is here!! Longer days, it’s Lighter later, spring growth… and Easter right around the corner!! Be sure to set your clocks AHEAD on Saturday night or you’ll miss out on the party on Sunday @ NVCF.

Other good news… VENTURE SPORTS AND RECREATION keeps doubling in numbers. We’re calling our bowling league… “The Holy Rollers!” What do you think? :)
Come find out if we have a team for YOUR favorite pastime.

I’m looking forward to this weekend for another reason… this weekend we get to recognize the hundreds of church Partners that love our Lord, RELEASE their gifts and make New Venture the comfortable, extending and loving church that it is. Come CELEBRATE with us on Sat. night – as we recognize a whole lot of special people.


Heard a bunch of players on a college baseball team tuned into New Venture's Celebration Service from the DUGOUT of their game last weekend, as they watched us LIVE ONLINE!

A proud mom of one the players shared how her son went up to the coach and asked permission to bring his laptop so he and other players on the team could get inspired during their 9 inning game.

She said..."you were spotted in a dugout in Kansas City last weekend... and they'll be watching you LIVE ONLINE from Florida this weekend."

Pretty cool, huh?! I just hope that the guys are winning:)!!

A big SHOUT OUT to my favorite dugout team -- and to everyone logged on across the nation and around the world. Church just went viral, getting out there wherever people are. But none of it would be broadcast if it wasn't for our church family gathering together every weekend to make it happen.

INVITING SOMEONE TO CHURCH JUST GOT EASIER! Get the link out there to anyone unable to make it this weekend or people who don't usually come to church or to New Venture.

Live on campus or LIVE ONLINE. New Venture Christian Fellowship is now your church - at home… or away!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Sink or Swim...I'm Diving In!"

When God decides to do the OUTRAGEOUS… there is nothing quite like it. Cannot express the overwhelming wonder and joy of meeting excited, grateful people and ministry popping up everywhere! What a BAPTISM!!!

To think that I tried to cancel it due to the report of record low temperatures and a monster storm coming our way! When we were informed that if we were to cancel it would cost us $200.00 – suddenly, I heard the voice of the Lord saying...”maybe going ahead with it isn’t such a bad idea”:). And what a day! A HUGE crowd of family, friends and supporters came out to cheer on all of the happy dozens of boys, girls, adults and families baptized!

Tears of joy, as story after story was told of others that had been baptized in the same pool – over 15 years earlier – and now were watching their kids and/or grandkids be baptized!!! Congrats to you guys. It was something special...for ALL of us!!!

To date, over 300 have signed up for Venture Sports and Recreation! We’re mixing God and Good Times through Softball, Basketball, Bowling, Volleyball, and Walking. It kicks off in less than two weeks. Can’t wait! And 130 households at NVCF have signed up to learn more about attending Financial Peace University and taking control of debt and money issues. Good decisions guys!!

I’m writing this blog grateful to God… our church...and YOU!! Be sure to check out the pics! See you this weekend...

Friday, February 25, 2011

The First Post -- The Final Countdown

Too excited to contain myself. This weekend we launch our Live On-line
Streaming of our Celebration Services at New Venture. Right here on our
Website. Check it out!! It's going to be the entire service with Worship (though by law we won't be able to put up the words of the songs; sorry), announcements, Video & Creative Moments, and of course - the Message.

Now here's what's got me fired-up: We'll have a Chat Room so you can chat with others while the service is going on. There'll be an On-line Pastor during every service that will immediately answer by computer any questions, or respond to any comments you have - during the service. Plus there will be after-service prayer and counseling on-line so we can meet your, and many others', needs.

The launch begins this Saturday -- 5pm. Check the Live On-line Countdown Clock on our website. Email, facebook and text your friends and get them on-board. We take off soon!!