Weight Loss Contest Results Are In

In June, I entered the Church Tech Biggest Loser contest. Thirty-seven people from the Church IT and Technology world entered this contest organized by Jason Powell, Director of IT at Granger Community Church.

The contest ended yesterday and the results are posted here. I came in second place. I think I was in first place for a week or two. But for the most of the contest, I was firmly in second place.

While I would have liked to win the contest, I’m not disappointed with my finish. In fact, I’m pretty happy with it. In the past three months, I lost 25 lbs. This is the thinnest I’ve been in my adult life. I’m also pretty happy for the group. As a group, we lost 444 lbs. That’s awesome.

If you’re interested in competing in the next contest, please check Jason’s blog in October. He’s planning to organize another round at that time.

Weight Loss Contest Results Are In

My Big News

Yesterday, I got on the scale and it read:

That’s right. It read 164 lbs. What’s the significance of this? It means for the first time in my adult life I am not overweight. My weight has now moved into the healthy, normal range.

I can’t believe it. After 18 months of exercising, eating right, falling off the wagon, getting back up, and still more exercising, I’ve lost 59 pounds! Praise God. It’s only by His strength that I was able to reach this goal.

How did I determine I’m at a normal weight? I measure my body mass index (BMI). If your BMI is 25 or higher, you’re overweight. Yesterday, it read:

Yep, 24.7. It was very gratifying to finally see the word, “Normal” flash across my heart rate monitor instead of “Overweight.”

How did I lose all this weight? You can read about that here. Right now, I am so excited. Here are some updated stats:

Weight went from 223 lbs. to 164 lbs.
BMI went from 34 to 24.7
Fat percentage went from 33% to 20%
Waist size went from 38 inches to 33 inches

In addition to being thankful to God, I am also very thankful to my wife. She has been very supportive and encouraging. I also want to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement.

What’s the next step? I’m not done. There are a few more pounds I’d like to lose. It’s not essential to lose 3 more pounds, but it would be nice. I know I need to continue to work towards some fitness goal. If I don’t, the weight is just going to come back. I’ll be praying about what my new goal should be and will post it here in a few days.

Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share my big news with you. Did I mention how excited I am?

My Big News

Leadership Summit – Day 2 – Key Takeaways

Here are some of my key takeaways from the second day of the Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church.

Session 5 – Craig Groeschel – IT: How Leaders Can Get IT and Keep IT
In this session, Craig talked about his new book IT. He talked about how some leaders and churches have IT and some don’t. He talked about how churches share the same systems, like worship and teaching, but they produce different results. The difference is IT. Craig doesn’t know what IT is, but he describes it as something in addition to the power of the Holy Spirit.

Here are some of the qualities of organizations with IT:
– Laser focus
– They see opportunities where others see obstacles
– Willing to fail
– Led by people with IT

In Craig’s talk, he also asked some important questions:

– What are you doing that you need to stop doing?
– What has God called you to do that you are afraid to do?
– What are you going to do to get it?

Session 7 – Catherine Rohr – Risk Taking, Barrier Breaking, and Bold Leadership
In this session, Catherine Rohr, founder and CEO of Prisoner Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) was being interviewed by Jim Mellado, President of the Willow Creek Association.

PEP helps prisoners who are about to get out of jail by training them to use their entrepreneurship skills for legitimate businesses when they are released.

In this session, I was impacted by how passionate and bold Catherine Rohr is when it comes to PEP. Am I like that with what God has called me to?

Those were my takeaways for the second day. As you can tell, I got a lot out of this year’s Summit. Like in previous years, I need to take a few weeks to continue to process through what God was trying to teach me.

I did like the changes that Willow made with the format of this year’s summit. It was great idea to eliminate the Saturday sessions. I’m looking forward to next year’s Summit.

Leadership Summit – Day 2 – Key Takeaways

Pictures from hike in Arizona

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to visit the LifeChurch.tv campus in Mesa, Arizona. I was pretty excited to go. I had never visited the campus or the state for that matter. While I was there, I had the opportunity to go on a hike at Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale with a friend, Jim Tomberlin. Jim is one of the experts in the multisite church movement. I had the privilege of working with Jim at a previous church. Here are some of the pictures from that beautiful park. If you want to see more pictures from this place, just connect with me on Facebook. I have more posted there.

Pictures from hike in Arizona

Leadership Summit – Day 1 – Key Takeaways

I really enjoyed Day 1 of the Leadership Summit at Willow Creek Community Church. Here are some of my key takeaways:

Session 1 – Bill Hybels – The High Drama of Decision Making

– Turn enemies into friends

– Vision leaks. You need to keep visioncasting

– Facts are your friends

– When something feels “funky”, engage in it. Don’t avoid it.

– Leaders call “foul” when necessary

– Take a calculated risk

– “This is church” Don’t get caught up in the small stuff and forget about the big picture.

Session 2 – Gary Haugen – Just Courage: Charging the Darkness

– Lead things that are important to God.

– How to lead when it seems hopeless? Refocus on where we center our hope (God). If God is passionate about it, He will solve the problem.

– How do we lead when it is scary? Jesus came to, not make us safe, but to make us brave. Don’t go on a trip but miss the adventure.

– How do we lead others on the more demanding climbs? Choose not to be safe. Choose deep spiritual health. Choose to pursue excellence. Choose to seize the joy.

Session 3 – Bill George – Finding Your True North

The job of the leader is to:

– Align the people around a mission and values

– Empower the people

– Serve

– Collaborate

As a leader, you need to understand the purpose of your leadership. You need to know where you’re supposed to be. You need to gain self awareness. You need to use your strengths. You need to build a support team around you.

Interview with Wendy Kopp

I really enjoyed this interview format. I was very impressed with Wendy Kopp’s leadership style. Some key takeaways for me were to be relentless in my leadership and have a sense of urgency.

Session 4 – John Burke – Leading in New Cultural Realities

Our job is not to fix people, but to just cultivate the soil.

Efrem Smith

This pastor had a lot of great points. Some of the key ones for me were:

We want our church to be a sneak preview of heaven.

God wants to love the world through us.

Efrem Smith also spoke about our identity in Christ. Our identity is not based on our color, ethnicity, or any other external factor. We are all children of God.

It was a great day today. I look forward to Day 2 in just a few hours.

Leadership Summit – Day 1 – Key Takeaways

Leadership Summit 08 Begins Today

I’m sitting at kitchen table at my sister’s house in Illinois, thinking about the Willow Creek Leadership Summit that begins in two hours.  I’m really thankful that I can attend this event and be able to spend a little time with my family as well.

I’m not sure what God is going to teach me at this two day event, but I know that He is going to teach me something.  I’ve had the privilege of attending the summit for a few years now and have always been blessed by it.  This year, I’m looking forward to hear from Bill Hybels, John Burke, Chuck Colson, Brad Anderson, and my senior pastor, Craig Groeschel.

I’m also looking forward to connecting with some old friends, meeting some online ones for the first time, and making some new friends.

If you’re attending in Chicago, twitter me.

Leadership Summit 08 Begins Today

Multi-Site Production Round Table – Day 2

It was another good day at the Multi-Site Round Table discussion. The previous night, we had the privilege of having dinner at the Larry Osborne’s house. Larry is the senior pastor at North Coast Church and one of the pioneers of the multi-site/multi-venue church movement.

At dinner and the following day, all of us were able to get know each other a little better and deepen our relationships with one another. To me, that was the greatest benefit of this meeting. I was very good to just be able to get to know each other, learn a little more about these churches, and share our challenges and successes. It was reassuring to hear many people in the room were facing the same challenges that I’m facing.

Even though the gathering has ended, I hope we can keep the conversation going.

Multi-Site Production Round Table – Day 2