the best gift ever

Posted November 11, 2008 by Barry Leathers
Categories: family

Tags: , , ,

gift_surpriseEven though it’s her birthday, I thought I’d honor her with why she’s been the best gift ever:

1.  She always puts the needs of her husband and children first – except for maybe when The Office is on:)

2.  She has sacrificed much to stay home with our children.

3.  We benefit greatly from her discovery of allrecipes.com.

4.  She lives an incredibly balanced life, which makes for an incredibly balanced family.

5.  She desires for people to know the Jesus she knows, loves, and follows.

6.  She can swim, bike, and run really fast.

7.  Because of number 6, she looks gooooooooooood!

8.  Her favorite form of entertainment is spending time with the family (The Office might be a close 2nd).

9.  She’s a true friend to so many (on Facebook and beyond.)

10.  Of all the guys, she chose me!

Here’s to 33 more years with the woman of my dreams…

sunday night rewind

Posted November 10, 2008 by Barry Leathers
Categories: c3, church

Tags: ,

magnifine-glassAfter weeks of following up on countless tips and employing the best private search firm in the country, my blog was found in cyberspace.  He was a little famished and weak from the lack pithy posts and thought-provoking comments, but we feel with a steady and balanced diet over the next week or so, he should be fine.  Thanks to all the volunteers and readers who held out hope and didn’t give up…

On to more serious matters – this morning we took a break from our Google series so Byron could address C3 about an upcoming initiative that requires a large step of faith.  One where we hope to impact 100 families in East Orlando with the hope that only Christ can bring.  More to come on the project, but here were my takeaways from the message:

  • The writers of the Gospels always seemed to distinguish between the disciples and the crowd.  There were those enamored by Jesus, and those that truly followed.
  • The choice to be a disciple always requires sacrifice.
  • To be great, a choice must be made, and price must be paid.
  • There must be a decision to die to selfish ambition to become a true follower.
  • 11 men turned the world upside down – in an oppressive government with no resources to speak of.  Imagine what we do could with 500.

This initiative will be the first large scale project for us that blends the two critical components of the gospel message – physical and relational needs.  Jesus was in tune with both in all his human interactions and we want to do the same.  If you are part of C3 and truly want to be a disciple, you can sign up next Sunday.  The reality is, it will change your life as well.

*A BIG shout-out to Amanda today – she’s 33.  And because she’s the greatest and hottest wife and mom around, she’ll get her own post tomorrow!

sunday night rewind

Posted October 13, 2008 by Barry Leathers
Categories: c3, church

If there is one area the church has blown it in the past 50 years (oh wait, there’s more than one area – but humor me) it’s becoming an institution of judgment.  The church, which should be a place of safety and compassion, has become known as a place of judgment.  We’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong, when you’re doing it, and why you shouldn’t – but we haven’t earned that right.  At C3, we’re trying to change that perception, and that was the subject of Byron’s message – here are my notes:

  • the same Greek word is translated both “judgment” and “condemnation” in the New Testament.
  • the only one with the power to condemn is God, though that is not his desire or character.
  • the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) felt safe and protected when Jesus arrived.
  • Jesus earned the right to speak truth into her life by FIRST showing compassion.
  • How many times had this woman heard the Law about adultery, but it only took Jesus saying it once to change her life – because he proved he loved her.

We’ll finish up “I Wish Jesus Didn’t Say…” this Sunday – see you then!

sunday night rewind

Posted October 6, 2008 by Barry Leathers
Categories: c3, church

“You can’t experience God’s best thing, if you’re not willing to give up the one thing.”

This morning was a time of rememberance, celebration, and conviction.  It was one year ago today that Byron and I met in a conference room in our old campus and signed a contract that changed the course of C3 Church forever.  It was October 5, 2007 that we sold the campus to Eastland Baptist Church and officially began our transition to the theaters.

As we continued the series “I WIsh Jesus Hadn’t Said…” Byron walked through the passage of the Rich Young Ruler.  And to be honest, it might be the most alarming statement Jesus ever made.  Upon asking what he needed for eternal life, Jesus responded by telling him to sell everything he had and give the proceeds to the poor.  Now here’s the deal, this command wasn’t directed at everyone, but the principle was:  We all need to give up the one thing that’s keeping us from following Jesus with everything we have.

So what’s your one thing?  Is it money?  A relationship? Sin?

Whatever it is, it’s not worth missing out on God’s best.  As I was listening this morning, I couldn’t help but think what kind of life the RYR gave up by walking away that day – what he could have seen, what he could have experienced, the relationships he would have developed.  I don’t know about you, but there are definitely some things that get in the way, and I hope to make some changes beginning this week.

And as a church, we made our “sale” – now we’re following with everything we have.

it’s friday, i’m in love…

Posted September 28, 2008 by Barry Leathers
Categories: friday

Tags: , ,

(actually it’s Saturday, but who’s really counting?)

with Pandora.  This might be old news for some of you, but I’ve been using Pandora for a few years and love the concept.  For lack of a better description, it’s an online radio that allows you to customize your music.  You plug in a few bands you like, and it automatically plays music in that genre.  You then rank the songs it selects, and the program evolves into your perfect radio station.  It’s a great way to be introduced to new bands and music.  So give a shot, just be sure let me know when you find the next great band.

triathlon tuesday

Posted September 24, 2008 by Barry Leathers
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

If you’ve talked to me and my wife in the last few months, we’ve probably mentioned how we’re “addicted to triathlon.”  Initially, that sounds a little ridiculous.  Who in their right mind would be addicted to putting their body through that kind of physical intensity?  How can you be addicted to something that is hard, painful, and requires some discipline in your training?  I read an article yesterday that finally articulated, at least for me, what is so compelling about multi-sport and the training.

When I was a kid, my favorite activities included swimming, riding my bike, and any games that required running (capture the flag, kill the man with the ball, tag, etc.)  As we get older, the “fun-factor” in these activities begins to decline as we embark on our more mature and responsible lives.  In addition, our fitness level subsides and these activities that used to be fun, have now become “work.”  Having been pretty consistent with my training the past 5 months, I’m beginning to remember what it was like to be a kid.  Now, I still work hard, and still have a long way to go, but my training takes me away from the “adult world” for at least a time, and allows me to enter the world where you had endless energy and enjoyed physical activity.

This is a good thing – even Jesus discusses the importance of maintaining a childlike innocence and wonder.  In a small way, triathlon training has brought that back to my life.

Happy training!

community paradox

Posted September 23, 2008 by Barry Leathers
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Disclaimer:  I’m not sure I’m going to use “paradox” in the right context, but it sure sounds intelligent.

We’re in the process at C3 of launching our fall community groups.  As we’ve transitioned, we developed a time table of ministries and programs that would receive our attention and focus, and community groups is next.   We’re using the fall to identify and develop leaders, and we’ll do a churchwide launch in Jan/Feb 2009.  As we’ve discussed our philosophy and how community groups will fit in the C3 culture, we’ve stumbled upon an important truth – coined by yours truly as the community paradox.

Community simply defined is a group linked by a common characteristic.  Maybe it’s location, interest, culture, etc.  In the context of the church, community groups are intended to focus a group of people on living out the life of Jesus.  One of the “selling points” we hear and see in so many churches is that “group is a great place to have your needs met, and meet the needs of others.”  However, there’s a tendency for the group’s charity to be focused on each other.  At C3, we’ve concluded this is a very good thing, but IT CANNOT BE THE MISSION.

We’ve discovered that the best way for a person to have their needs met (both spiritually and physically) is to focus their efforts OUTSIDE THE COMMUNITY!  Yes, community is most healthy when the community is pooling resources and talents not to help themselves, but to help others.  It’s amazing how God will supernaturally meet your personal needs when we take seriously the command to love our neighbors.

Therefore, Darrell (C3s Community Group Czar) has challenged all of our groups to find a place of service this fall.  This is just the first step in structuring a culture of community that looks outside so we can be most effective inside.  (The community paradox)