Friday, February 29, 2008

Someone to watch - 3

This is Angel Barcero. He pastors Lighthouse International Church in Florida. Angel and his wife planted the church 13 years ago with no money, no members and no building. It is now a growing congregation of over 500 people. They have services in both Spanish and English. Recently, the church purchased land and they are getting ready to build their first facility.

Angel is another humble, quiet leader that has a desire to reach the lost for Christ. He's got an iron will and a never-say-die spirit that has enabled him and his family to weather many storms in the life of church planting. He is what Jim Collins would describe as a Level 5 Leader.

Level 5 leaders don't give up easily and they have an insatiable quest to learn best practices so that he can grow a healthy, balanced organization. Leaders are learners. True learners can learn from anyone. Angel is that kind of leader that will continue to great things for the Kingdom.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Someone to Watch - Part 2

This is John McKenzie. John is a church planter in Frisco, TX. He planted Hope Fellowship Church seven years ago. This church has grown from a handful of people to now a family of 1400. It's an amazing story of growth and blessing.

John is a passionate leader with a heart for the lost. He's incredibly creative in his communication and preaching style. He's a quiet and reserved kind of guy, but don't let that meekness fool you. John's relentless determination to reach the lost and build the church is second to none.

Here are some things I've learned by observing John:

*quiet humility is a sign of Christ in you
*vision that never gives up eventually wins
*faith to believe God for the impossible (check out his building plans)
*steady, balanced growth is best

You know, much of your success in your life is determined by the people you surround yourself with. The Bible says, "As iron sharpens iron, so shall one man sharpen another." I thank God for the opportunity to rub shoulders with some great people who are committed to living for Jesus.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Someone to Watch

I'm in Nashville this week at a national strategy meeting for church planting. One of the highlights for me is the opportunity to hang out with some top church planters across the nation. One of them is my friend, Jeff Leake.

Jeff is the lead pastor of Allison Park Church which is a high impact church in PA that is part of genuine move of God. Jeff is passionate about reaching the lost, building a healthy church and raising up next generation leaders.

In addition to leading an awesome church, Jeff has already planted 8 churches. His network is called MCM-Pittsburgh. He's getting ready to launch his 9th church next week. That's just phenomenal. He operates with an authentic apostolic gift and is his work for the Kingdom is one to be modeled.

Thanks Jeff for raising the bar of church leaders and your willingness to empower others.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Red Eye

Sorry for dropping off the blogosphere the past few days. Somethings been wrong with my blogging site. As you can see from my previous post, my spell check function is out of whack too. Yikes. Now you all know what a horrid speller I am.

Anyway, I've been fighting a nasty cold and was out of commission Sunday afternoon and all day Monday. I feel so lame - like I have the plague or something. What's next - locust?

I just got off a red eye flight and landed in Nashville - music city USA. I've been invited to participate in a roundtable with leaders among our denomination regarding a national church planting strategy. I'm not sure why they invited me - but I'm humbled and honored to serve.

This week I'll be sharing some thoughts regarding church planting among other musings.

But for now, it's time for some much needed rest.

PS - Quote of the day from a book I've been reading titled "Humility" by one of my all-time favorite authors, Andrew Murray.

"God made the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us." ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Randon Thoughts

1. Our community group met last night. It was great. We've got 4 new couples that have joined our group and they are a lot of fun. Three couples from our group last semester started a new group of their own that meets on a different night. That's awesome!

2. Today has been a busy day. I'm tying up my message for Sunday. You don't want to miss this weekend. We're going to be looking at the story of the Good Samaritan where we will discover how to demonstrate love towards others.

3. 40 Days of Love Outreaches are coming together.

  • The Gas Buy down is looking great. As gas prices continue to soar, this outreach will help people experience immediate financial relief.
  • We've met with the American Red Cross this week and they are excited about the blood drive. They are calling extra nurses and technicians to have on hand in response to the overwhelming number of donors from PCC who have already signed up.
  • The local food bank is also excited about our community-wide food drive. There is nothing like serving the poor. PCC, you are making God smile with your generosity.

4. I'm fighting off a cold this week. I've been coughing a lot and feeling achy. Please keep me in prayer.

5. Just a personal word of thanks to so many of you who have recently emailed, sent cards and letters, or for those who picked up the phone to call me and let me know you are praying for me. Your kind words, love and support, and most of all - your prayers - mean more to me than you'll ever know. It makes me proud to be called your friend and pastor.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at Valley Forge Chrsitian College near Philadelphia, PA. It was a lot of fun to hang out with my friend Tom Rees and his discipleship class. Tom works for the Penn-Del District Council of the Assemblies of God where he overseas church planting and other ministries. He also teaches at VFCC and serves as a teaching pastor at Glad Tidings Assembly.

I was really impressed with the students and their passion to reach the next generation for Christ. We discussed different ministry models and just took a behind the scenes look at the everyday life of a church planter.

This was a great experience and I look forward to more teaching oppotunities in the future.

Bekah made the trip to Philly with me and we enjoyed a ride together in the car. We love road trips - they really help us reconnect. Of course, we went out for sushi and had a great time talking about the future.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Prayer Journal

During the 40 Days of Love Campaign, we are reading and journaling through the book of John. During the past 17 days, God has spoken so many words of encouragement into my life through the pen of John as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

Friend, there is nothing greater you can do in your life to grow into spiritual maturity other than reading and praying your way through the Bible. Let me encourage you to keep a record of your Bible reading and prayer life in a prayer journal. What a phenomenal way to record your thoughts and conversations as you interact with God's Word on a daily basis.

Today in my Bible reading I was encouraged by Jesus' statement in John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." The key word here is "then" because it connects this powerful truth with Jesus' previous comment in verse 31 which states, "If you hold to my teaching."

Friends, you can't know the truth and you can't be free unless you know and follow Jesus' teachings. When you engage with Scritpure on a daily basis it helps you understand and know the teachings of Jesus. But it does more than that. It connects you with the Spirit within the Scritpure - the Spirit of Jesus Himself! And it's the relationship and empowerment of the Holy Spirit that enables you to live out the Scriptures everyday.

Pick up the Bible today and read it and apply it to your life.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Best Birthday Gift Ever

Today is my birthday. Yes, I was born thirty-six years ago this Valentine's Day.

It's been kind of a crazy week here in the Crosby house. We've got two sick kids and my wife isn't feeling well either. She hasn't been able to even leave the house for a week and she mentioned to me last night how bad she felt for not getting me anything for my birthday. Things have been so hectic at work that I told Bekah that I haven't even given much thought to my birthday and not to worry about it.
Well, that's when I got the best birthday gift a dad could ever receive.

Last night when putting my 5 year old daughter to bed she told me and Bekah that she wanted to pray to ask Jesus to come into our heart. Bekah and I melted. We've never even really talked to her about praying a 'sinners pray' yet and she just came out with it.
She prayed the sweetest prayer you could ever hear. She told God how she loved him and how she was sorry for all her sins. She thanked him for sending Jesus to us and told Him she believed that Jesus died and rose again. She thanked him for the angels who rolled the stone away and she asked Him to help her to live for Him forever.

You know, I read recently that less than 4% of Christians were led to the Lord by their parents. How sad is that? It breaks my heart - especially after last night. The most important thing we can do for our families and children is to teach them to love God and to love others. The most important decision is to live for God and ask him to forgive you of your sins.
This Valentine's Day I have a renewed sense to help families experience what Bekah and I were fortunate enough to experience last night - leading our families closer to Jesus.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Love Rant

1 Corinthians 13:7b says, "Love ... always perseveres."

The funny thing about love is that it doesn't know when to quit. It never gives up. According to Paul - love never dies. Now, Paul is'nt talking about just any old kind of love - not the "once upon a time" fairy tale love. Rather, Paul is talking about biblical, God-honoring, Christ-centered, change-your-life-kind-of-love.

Unfortuantely, there are too many misconceptions floating around out there in the world when it comes to love. There's the idea that love is a feeling or an emotion. That I can just fall into it and out of it on a happenstance. Well, in my humble opinion, that's a really shallow definition of love.

For me - love is a verb. It's an action. It's a decision and a choice that we make. Even through thick and thin - love presses forward. I'm sorry Tina (Turner) - love is not some "second hand emotion" and it's got "everything to do with it." (I'm sorry Tina - you did a great job on The Grammy's the other night, though.) In fact, that's the whole point of life. Loving God and Loving Others.

I don't know about you -but I crave that kind of crazy love. I desire to be in biblical community that understands God's great love and extends it to one another. A kind of love that doesn't fly off the handle or keep score when others fail. A kind of love that puts others in front of self. A kind of love that expects nothing in return. The kind of love that lays down its wants, desires, preferences for the greater good of God's Kingdom. The kind of love that thinks the best of others, not the worst. The kind of love that ...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Love Revolution

On Sunday I spoke about our primary objective in life: Loving God and Loving Others. In Mark 12 (The Great Commandment), Jesus said commanded us to love God:

1) Passionately - "with all my heart and soul"
2) Thoughtfully - "with all my mind"
3) Sacrificially - "with all my strength"

As we continue this 40 Days of Love Revolution here in our community, we are going to reach out with the love of Jesus in the following ways:

1) We are going to help commuters by giving away free GAS. That's right. We are going to do a gas buy down in 3 locations to help the 25,000 commuters in our area experience some relief at the pump.

2) We are going to serve the poor. Hundreds of people in our community go to bed every night with an empty stomach. Since our recent cash donation to the local food bank as almost been depleted, we are going to do a major food drive and feed the hungry.

3) We are going to give blood. This is the kind of giving that hurts - literally. In partnership with the American Red Cross, PCC is going to hold a community-wide blood donation on Sunday March 2nd at the Pocono Mountain Red Cross.

In addition to these church-wide outreach events, hundreds of our people in PCC community groups are getting together to serve those in need through local servant outreach projects.

I'm so proud of our church! God honors an outward-focused church that seeks to meet both the physcial and spiritual needs of its community. Let's reach out with LOVE!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Happy B Day G!

I'm with my family today in Harrisburg celebrating my moms birthday.

My mom is now affectionately known as G. She picked up the nickname the day she sent a card to the first grandchild in our family. She couldn't bring herself to sign the card "Grandma" and only got as far as the letter "G". Well she left it at that and the rest is history.

I just want to say how blessed I am to have a Godly mother who prays for me everyday. My mom is one of my biggest supporters. If it wasn't for her - I would not be who I am today.

Here are a few things I love about my mom:

1. She is truly a woman of God.

2. She loves my dad and treats him with kindness and respect.

3. She prays for me and our family every day.

4. She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.
5. She corrected me when I was wrong.
6. She challenged me to excel in life.
7. She accepted my wife as a child of her own.
8. She is an awesome cook.

9. She is a phenomenal story teller.

10. She reads my blog everyday : )

Thursday, February 07, 2008

New Book

My friend, Vince Antinucci, just released his first book, "I became a Christian and all I got was this lousy t-shirt." This is one of the funniest, yet most insightful books I've ever read on the grace and love that Jesus has for lost people.

Vince writes with a great mix of humor and depth on the Christian life. Trust me, once you pick this book up you won't want to put it down.

Vince planted Forefront Church, which is reaching tons of unchurched 20 and 30 somethings. It's a great church that has a heart for the lost and to help Christ-followers experience a radical walk with Jesus.

For all my church planter and pastor friends that read this blog, Vince has also put together a church-wide campaign that accompanies the book. It would be a great series to do this September to turn up the evangelistic heat in your church. To purchaset the book, click here. Happy reading!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Gathering

Tonight the PCC family with gather together for an evening of prayer and worship at the Clear Run Intermediate School off route 611 in Mt. Pocono. Click here for directions. You don't want to miss this opportunity to be together with your church family.

Here are a few reasons why we believe in corporate prayer:

1. God commands us to pray together corporately.
2. The more people praying together, the more glory God gets when he answers prayers.
3. Prayer changes things. It's perhaps the most powerful activity we can do together as a church family.
4. It's a huge decompression chamber for our church body - it relieves stress as we call upon God and acknwoledge our need of him.
5. It gets God's attention.
6. Prayer keeps our church family walking in unity.
7. It gives us an opportunity for extended times in God's presence.
8. It's where we celebrate corporate communion together.
9. It protects us from the attack of the enemy.
10. It reminds us that we cannot live the Christian life out in isolation. We need God. We need each other.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday

Today is Super Tuesday in the US. Twenty-four states across the nation will hold presidential primaries or caucuses to select delegates to national conventions at which each party’s presidential candidates are officially nominated.

More delegates can be won today than on any other single day of the election year with 52 percent of all pledged Democratic Party delegates and 41 percent of the total Republican Party delegates at stake.

Check out this link here to take Play the Candidate Match Game by answering a 10 question quiz that will tell you what candidate's policies with which you most agree.

Due your civic duty and be informed and get out to vote!

Monday, February 04, 2008

40 Days of Love

Yesterday we kicked off our 2008 Spiritual Life Initiative that we are calling It's About Time: 40 Days of Love. If you missed the service, go here and listen online. It was an exciting day for PCC where we witnessed the beginning of a revolution of love here in the Pocono Mountains. Many accepted God's love and give Him theirs. Here is what we are committing to do for the next 40 days as a church family.

During the next 40 days, I commit myself to building a life of love by:

  • Attending Sunday services each week.
  • Reading and keeping a prayer journal on the book of John.
  • Memorize one scripture related to love each week.
  • Joining a 40 Days of Love community group at PCC.
  • Participating in a community service outreach project.
  • Asking God what he would want to do through me in regards to the PCC building campaign.

If you want to get on this love train - join us this Wednesay night for "The Gathering" and discover the difference that love makes.

18 Wins - 1 Giant Loss

Yeah, baby ... the Giants won! What a game. Here's to all the naysayers and navel gazers. I love it when an underdog upsets the top dop.

There is something special about a group of ordinary guys pulling together to beat a team full of superstars. Did you know that the 07-08 Giants are the first team in NFL history to win the superbowl and only have 1 player going to the ProBowl? That tells me that this years win was a team effort. Sure, Elie received the MVP - but this victory goes to the team.

Way to go Giants! You can accomplish a lot when you put differences and egos aside - and work together for the greater good of the team. Now that'll preach!

Journal Challenge Day 28

Scripture: Acts 28:31
Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul finally made it to Rome and while there he remained under house arrest. However, that didn't stop him from preaching Jesus to the Jews and Gentiles. In fact, he continued to tell others of Jesus despite the opposition and persecution.

Paul's faithfulness to the Gospel and unflinching courage enabled him to gain an audience with the most powerful leaders of his day - in both the spiritual and political arenas. He leveraged that influence to preach the Kingdom and Jesus.

I pray that I will walk in obedience to God's calling and maintain the courage and passion to share Jesus with everyone I meet. God, help me live a life on purpose and never waste an opportunity to tell others of your great kingdom. Amen.

Journal Challenge Day #27

Scripture: Acts 27:22
But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.

During Pau's journey to Rome, a storm blew up on the sea and the ship was about to be destroyed. Instead of heeding Paul's earlier advice not to set sail, the sailors now found themselves in a life threatening situation. Despite their disobedience, Paul hears from God and encourages the crew to listen again to his advice and their lives will be saved.

What a great picture of God's protection and grace in the storms of life. Even when we don't listen the first time, God still offers grace and salvation. Instead of saying, "I told you so", God says, "I love you still."

Father, thank you for showing up in the storms of my life and offering me a second chance at salvation and grace. Thank you for not giving me what I deserve (which is a big fat "I told you so") and instead giving me what I need - grace and protection. Help me listen and obey today.


My wife Bekah and I received an emergency phone call Friday evening informing us that Kristi, my wife's childhood/best friend, was very sick and in the hospital in Baltimore. Kristi is on staff at a church plant in the Baltimore and just moved to the area about six months ago.

Kristi was taken to the hospital on Friday afternoon with severe sweelling in her leg and excruciating back pain. It turns out that she had several blood clots in her body, one that was 3 feet long. Before going into emergency surgery, the doctor informed us that she may not make it through the surgery and that there was a good chance that if she did survive that she would lose one or both of her legs due to the blood clots.

Bekah and I drove to Baltimore Friday night to be with and pray for Kristi. Well, thank God the surgery was successful and Kristi is now expected to make a full recovery. The doctors also thought she may have a rare form of blood cancer that caused her blood to clot but that too was not the case. We thank God for answered prayer and appreciate all your help and prayers too this weekend.

Friday, February 01, 2008

An Evening with Rick Warren

My friend Nelson Searcy invited me to hang out with Pastor Rick Warren and some friends in New York last night. What an awesome opportunity to spend a couple hours with perhaps the most influential Christian leader on the face of the planet.

I'll post some of the things that I learned at a later time. In the meantime, it was just so cool to be with a Pastor who loves other pastors so much.