Monday, September 25, 2017

A Better Tomorrow

I have always shied away from "New Year's Resolutions". I have never put much thought into why, just never had the drive to make any 'resolutions' for myself. Maybe it is because it reminds me too much of childhood responsibilities as we were required to come up with these little nuggets every year, only to have others be disappointed with us when we missed those goals. Maybe it is due to an unreal idea that I will be judged if I dont hold up to those goals. Maybe I am just lazy, or better yet maybe I am actually not me but an alternate version of myself from a parallel dimension.

Whatever the reason, I realized that one thing in my life that causes me the most frustration is the seemingly lack of purpose.

Before you jump on me let me explain a bit. For most of my childhood and even into adulthood I have always had goals of a sort. Wanting to be something other than what we are is part of the growth process. I (like most children) wanted to be a Policeman, Firefighter, Astronaut, Fighter Pilot, etc, etc. Also like most children the older I got the more those ideas became refined and began to change less frequently... a pilot (of any kind), a chef, and ultimately a Pastor. It would take too much time to go into the why's of the pastor role at this point in time but it was ultimately what I wanted to be my goal of a career.  

Fast forward from 1994 till today (wow... 23 years... dangit I am starting to feel a bit 'older' if you know what I mean) and you will see a much different and somewhat disappointed person. Not for reasons you may think, but for a seemingly small glitch in the thought matrix. I followed the dream/goal/plan for many years to be a Pastor ultimately leading me through seminary and into full time staff positions at multiple churches. The last church I was a part of was let go from the position due to money concerns as the church wanted to get a larger building. When I was let go from the last staff position, I began to question the path I was walking. Not question in a way that it seemed wrong, but more question the way I was going about the process of attaining the goal. It seemed that I was spending a majority of my time doing the processes that really had nothing to do with bringing me closer to the goals I had set in my life. As I started to try and clear up any issues in direction or goal setting one thing became painfully clear... I really needed a job.

I have always been a believer in the scripture that says "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either." 2 Thessalonians 3:10... or to paraphrase my Dad, "Boy... you don't work, you don't eat!". So I did what most able bodied red-blooded American males do... looked for a job with the least amount of work for the most amount of pay!

HA! I jest (kind of). I actually already had some clients in php/web development and IT work that were some small residual income jobs that were already going so I decided to go out on my own full time as my own company. The story of my company is not really the reason I am typing this post, but more the past 8-10 or so years I have been working for my self in this company. I have realized the further I get into the 'machine' that my goals have shifted quite drastically from long term goals like Pastoring a church, or having the ability to retire, to more daily goals of "What does x client need from me today, and can I spend the day avoiding them so I can relax for a bit?" This is needless to say fairly exhausting. I have become yet another cog in a wheel, and to be honest... don't care for it.

This is not by any stretch a resignation letter of any kind, but more an attempt to come clean that I have ultimately become complacent and bored in my life. Not that my life is boring at all! Between losing our first dog this year, to having our second dog needing to go in for surgery to remove a tumor, to getting a sailboat, to (possibly) getting a jeep, to potentially losing a large client next year. There is plenty in my life that should keep me busy, but I think the real issue here is not that there isn't anything keeping me busy, but that there isn't anything (at the moment) off in the distance far enough I can set my mind on that will allow me to keep focus in one direction.

Focus on the horizon is so important. I have an astigmatism in my eyes that can cause some issues when flying/boating etc where I can get motion sick if the conditions are right. These conditions are lots of drastic movement, extreme heat, bad smells etc, but in most every case they are usually triggered when I have a limited or blocked view of the horizon. A focus point on the horizon can keep most motion sickness at bay and taking my eyes off that point can cause me to experience the turbulence and frustration much more acutely than not, and results in the loss of the ability to simply "enjoy the ride".

Why am I saying all of this? Well
1. I have ADD, so early mornings sometimes my brain sort of throws up on the nearest platform (blog post in this case), and
2. I am going to attempt to re-focus on that point on the horizon.

Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to refine what that actually looks like, but for the time being I will pretend it is the most brilliant thing you will ever hear from me (probably not cause I am pretty brilliant).


Here's to a better tomorrow... starting... well... probably tomorrow.

Monday, June 6, 2011

LOAD "*" ,8,1

For those that are unaware... I am a geek... Some even would say "Dork" (as in my wife would say) that's fine by me...

WARNING**** UberGeekSpeek Beyond This point ****

In case anyone that would care is wondering hat the title means to this post.... It is the load/run command for the first file on a disk for a commadore 64 .... ahhhhhhh good times....

I put that as the title because... well, first off I am kind of strange like that... and second, because THAT was my first entry into the world of computers WAAAAAYYYYYY Back when I was in first grade.... and YES I remember those days well.

As noted in my last post I am attempting to build my own linux distro from scratch. I won't go into the why in this post as I covered that in my last. I wanted to make some notes on this process JUST in case someone out there decides to do the same and runs into some of the issues I have faced...

Couple of notes about my UberGeekness....
I did initially learn, and had lots of fun on a commadore, after that came the tandy and the apple 2.... following that was the apple IIe and the Apple Classic and then onto the wonderfull world of windows 3.1 95,98,(skipped me because it really stunk) 2000,xp,2000 server, 2k3 server, (skipped vista cause it was just like ME),linux (all flavors) and Win7

When I jumped into the apple and windows world I pretty much avoided the command line i.e. cli

When I started working in and with linux, in order to truly acomplish what I wanted I was forced to use and learn some basic syntax...

I did not start from scratch, in fact I think my first run in the linux world was with either fedora or ubuntu...

On to today... Under MOST typical circumstances in any given day I am interacting with multiple linux systems as well as the broad majority of usable windows systems.... That said, there are plenty of things I need to learn, and am learning.... The following are some notes while following through the process of building "Linux From Scratch"

-- Learned Lessons:

1. Extracting tar/compressed files
MOST of the files needed come in a bz2 formatted compressed archive. I have never encountered this type of file before and was confused when I tried to run
"tar -xvzf filename.bz2" .... This only works for Gzipped files ".gz"
In order to extract .bz2 files you need to do "tar -xvjf filename.bz2" "tar -xvf filename.bz2" [NOTE: Apparently -xvf works for both and auto-checks the file type unless you specify via 'j',or 'z']

2. The Process....

The linuxfromscratch process should be viewed NOT as a tutorial, but as a collection of cut/paste scripts that need to be run with info on some key points. This is VERY important, as the process leaves a lot of questions if the process doesn't go according to plan. IF something does go wrong... google is your friend. Just sayin.

Every page you go to that is working with a package whether install/edit/modify etc, expects 2 things...
a. It expects that you have extracted that package to $LFS/sources/{packagename}
b. It expects you to have "cd"'d into that new dir
so before you beging anything related to a package do this from the $LFS/sources dir (and you can get there by calling "cd $LFS/sources" (no quotes)

tar -xvf packagename.ext
...and when it is done extracting the files...
cd packagename

When you are complete with the instructions on that package then call "cd $LFS/sources" and delete that dir by calling "rm -rfv packageNameYouWereWorkingOn/"

then extract the files for the next package and cd into that dir to start the next one

Little hint here, when dealing with a "bash" shell, tab-completion is your best friend...

If you have never used it, it is quite simple... while typing the name of a file/dir just hit tab when you have typed a couple of letters of the name (no extra space) IF there are more than one file/dir with the same char's you have already typed, it won't show anything... if you immidiately hit tab again it will come up with a list of all that match... i.e. IF you are trying to open a file named "thisismyfilename.txt" with vi
you can type "vi this" and assuming your system is setup to use this feature and it is the only file that begins with "this"(if not just hit tab again to see all files/dir's that match ) it will autofill in the name.... HUGE help when dealing with compressed packages as I really don't want to type something like "tar -xvf util-linux-2.19.tar.bz2" when "tar -xvf ut" works just as well [;o)

3. the /tools dir and the glibc !!!VERY IMPORTANT!!!
Before you begin chapter 6, the actual build process... BACKUP the tools dir...
I did this simply by executing this command (no quotes) "cp -R /tools /tools.fresh "
-R means recursive so it copies everything in all subdirectories
:: The issue I ran into was, I overlooked a mount location in a previous step (proc to be exact) and when glibc ran it caused some errors... The problem is that IF you try to run the make process again, it will get stuck in a loop as some of the dependant files for make have been overwritten... for this I had to log out of chroot, delete the tools dir, and repopulate from fresh and go back through the build steps in ch. 6 up to glibc... after that NO Problem... UNFORTUNATELY this took me 4 hours to figure out!

4. Rebooting your computer

IF you ever need to reboot your computer (it will take days to complete the process so I encourage you to stop at some point and at least take a shower)... IF past chapter 6 you will need to remount your system before chrooting back in to the build...
Here are my one line mounts needed and the chroot command I use to copy/paste for convience (I also have mount points for boot/opt/usr/home... so if you don't have those... ignore)

export LFS=/mnt/lfs
mount -v /dev/sda8 $LFS
mount -v /dev/sda7 $LFS/boot
mount -v /dev/sda9 $LFS/home
mount -v /dev/sda10 $LFS/opt
mount -v /dev/sda11 $LFS/usr

mount -v --bind /dev $LFS/dev
mount -vt tmpfs shm $LFS/dev/shm
mount -vt proc proc $LFS/proc
mount -vt sysfs sysfs $LFS/sys

chroot "$LFS" /tools/bin/env -i HOME=/root TERM="$TERM" PS1='\u ($(date +%r)):\w\$ ' PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/usr/sbin:/tools/bin /tools/bin/bash --login +h

That's it for now... I am up to ch 6.35 AutoMake so still have a ways to go... Will update later

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Building Linux

I know it has been a LOOOOOOOONNNNNGGGG time since I have posted a blog, so I will attempt to give a quick recap and note as to why this post.

1. Things have been AWESOME with Media 42 building web sites and database admin systems.. so much so I have had very little time to pursue other things of life & enjoyment.

2. I am on the verge of releasing a 100% ready version of RelationCMS Church Management Software for purchase online, and will be STOKED when it is done.

3. (and this is the most important, but because I have A.D.D. doesn't always come first) ... My Wife is AWESOME >>> Check out her blog @ thatshortgirlsblog

4. Ministry.... This is a bit loaded. I am pretty sure at this point I am on what is called a sabbatical - It was never my intention in this, however as I believe God is leading me down a pretty specific path which will allow me to go back into full time ministry without having to worry about financial provision (and have the means to do more of what I feel God has gifted me for), I am ok with this at this point. I am in a place now unlike I have been in for a very long time, a place of learning, growing, and seeking... trying to get answered a TON of questions and issues in my mind & ministry I have never fully been able to resolve... Things which as the workload lightens up I will hopefully share here.

ONTO the Post

The reason for this post is, I am waiting on a build to complete a set of test scripts that is taking a REALLY long time...

I have been in the process of building a linux distro from scratch...
Purpose: I have had a few issues that have arisen lately with "Special" server scripts that clients have needed and it has taken me more time just to muddle through the setup of the server pieces that it actually takes to make the scripts the client needs... Not fun!
So... I have decided to walk through this process so I can have a better understanding of the entire linux system, and also be able to have a custom distro that is trimmed down to ONLY what I need for ONLY the purpose I need.

So far it has been a long and fairly painless process ---- till today... Got stuck on a build test that is taking FAR too long... but will hopefully have that worked out soon... so I figured now would be a good time to blog.

BTW > Not that anyone that would happen to see my blog would REALLY care... BUT if there happens to be any UberGeeks out there that want the info.... There is a tutorial and process located at Linux From Scratch

On that note......

I'm Out

Monday, August 30, 2010

What the World Needs Now... Part 1

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Burt Bacharach!!!

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.

Lately I have been in a very different place in life. Due to work I have been unable to go to church for the past 6months or so. In most circles I would be considered a 'backslider'. I have been told my priorities aren't in order, among other things. But despite it all, I have had a growing hunger for God and for the things of God. Having spent 15 years of my life dedicated to God and the church, being at and participating in every opportunity that would arise, I have seen something very strange being on the 'Outside' for once.

Something to ponder -

I read this article a week ago, and it really hit home to some things I have been seeing in the church for years. I have seen it in different denominations and sects, watching it dilute that which I have dedicated a major chunk of my life to. I am done! I am ready to pin the truth to every door of every "Church" that proclaims Christianity.

I know I am speaking very generally, so let me expound a bit...

For years, growing up and leading in the church, I have heard leader after leader speak on the importance of soul winning and the importance of bringing people to Christ. The Mantra of "Each one Reach one" has been ringing in my ears for as long as I can remember. I have heard countless sermons on evangelism, and on the need to reach the lost as well as countless debates on the way to reach the lost. I have seen person after person put on this air of "God put me on this earth to save you" that it has caused countless number of people to be turned off by the idea of God.

Please bear with me, as I am not saying that soul winning is a bad thing, in fact it is A biblical theology. Not only in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) spoken to the disciples in Galilee, but also referenced throughout the bible in places like Jude 1:23 where we are instructed for some to "Snatch them from the fire and save them".
What I am seeing however, is the truth, and our mission has been skewed away from truth, and showing People Christ, to one of either putting ourselves in a place where we are elevated above those "WE" are trying to save, or to that of being a bestest friend and having a church party sleepover.

This is all really a big deal to me. Why? Because I have dedicated my life to study God's word as well as to help lead people in the way I believe the Bible instructs. I see churches every day that say "It's not our responsibility to feed you every day".

Now, I can say I sort-of agree with this statement, in the cases ONLY when the church is and has been teaching them to feed themselves. I have heard this for years in Children's and Youth ministries, and now that the leaders are over churches the mentality has continued.

This is as foolish as saying to your three year old... "I will feed you breakfast today, but you are on your own the rest of the week". HOW INSANE!!! Even taking the biblical analogy of sheep and a shepherd, the shepherd's RESPONSIBILITY is to lead the sheep to a place where they can feed, and protect them along the way. Granted, it is not the shepherds responsibility to feed the sheep, or make them eat. In the same way if you put food in front of your three year old... if they are hungry, I guarantee they will eat.

Unfortunately, it seems as a LARGE number of churches think it is perfectly natural and ok to expect their flock to feed themselves, while only providing the sustenance you would provide to a newborn, with NO teaching/training in how to eat, or what to eat. NO WONDER there are so many in the church swayed by sensationalism!!! That's also why there is such a large number of church goers who base their view on church solely on how "Good" the music is, whether or not the singer is "Professional sounding" or how catchy the back drop and intro videos are.... Here's the deal... If I want entertainment, I am going to go see a movie!

The Responsibility of the Ministers (pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets, apostles) is, and I quote, Eph 4:11-16 NASB "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love."

WOAH!!!!! Hold On... read that again... the building up of the body of christ UNTIL ... to a MATURE Man/Woman... AS A RESULT...
Result? you mean there is to be a result from the 5 fold ministry gifts? The RESULT should be to NO Longer to be children...

Ok, I have to stop here for a second... No Longer Children.... well that sounds to me like there has GOT to be some way of taking a child, and helping them to BECOME NOT a child... hmmmmmmm ..... Feeding them icecream for breakfast, gummy bears for lunch and a bit-o-oreo's for dinner?? BY NO MEANS!!!! It is by feeding them healthy food AT THE SAME TIME teaching them HOW to make right decisions. Just like a child, however, this is not a simple process, but attained over time... that means you/we need to be constantly teaching, training, and instructing them on the right way to walk/learn/etc./etc.

I understand, that there are a lot of misconceptions in the church on the responsibility of the church, but when you have people leading that only want to feel good, what you get is the same issue a lot of modern parents get... The Parent(church) wants to be a friend, so they are very leniant and easy going while the child becomes dissobediant and lawless because they have no guidance.

HEY PARENTS>>> 3 Year olds do NOT need to be "Reasoned" with... they need INSTRUCTION, and DISCIPLINE!!!!!!!!!! (Same thing goes for you 'church leaders')
Now I will also say that YES the church, in the past, has taken this too far and as a result created a lot of BAD Church experiences (think hellfire-and-brimstone, or i'm better than you because I wear crosses hanging off from every possible point of my person). This happened for the same reason as what is happening now... those in charge, were NOT operating out of love, and a sense of leading/teaching people into the fullness of God, but into their own ideals of how the outward should look/sound/etc. This is Also NOT the purpose of the 5 fold Ministry Gifts!

Now on this note, I am going to have to take a break.... I have a LOT to say, and unfortunately too much work to do to be able to say it all in one setting.... BUT check back! This is weighing heavily on me, so I will post more soon!

And, if you want to comment... Please feel free, but I ask this

1. If you are on facebook reading this... go to to post a comment as I don't get onto facebook enough to see any comments
2. Remember... This is not finished. I ask you not assume I am saying/not saying something you don't agree with if my thoughts aren't full. I don't mind comments, I just think there is no purpose for "Flamebaiting" on this blog [;o) Just saying!
3. Please do not think I am talking about you! If I have a specific issue with you, I will let you know. If you do things referenced in this blog, it is purely coincidence. Think about it, and if you feel you need to change do so. Otherwise... don't! I am not trying to change anyone here, just trying to give a broader perspective I think has been missing in the church at large for a while now.
4. If you are offended... well.... as my wife says... "Put your big girl panties on" and deal with it. No offence is meant, so if you are offended, well... it's your own issue [;o) Love ya!!

I Hope you are tremendously blessed and I will post again soon!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I realize it has been a bit since my last post, so I am a bit past due.

I had the opportunity to lead the devotional worship time at the church this afternoon. I always enjoy doing those types of sessions for a number of reasons...
1. Worship is, and truly should be b/w God and Me, as it is about the attitude and posture of my heart towards Him.
2. Whether or not anyone shows up, I always enjoy just playing/singing, reading the word and telling God how much I appreciate Him in my life.

Today, however was a bit different.... I was in the middle of the set reading through isaiah, where God, speaking to jacob, said... Isaiah 41:8 "But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend,". NASB

What a flat out smack in the face!!! ..... God Called him... MY Friend!!!

I don't know if it is as powerful of a hit to you as it was to me, but let me attempt to share what hit me so hard in that moment.

You see God called him Friend... That is AMAZING to me in that there is such a vast difference between friend and son, or even servant...

Don't get me wrong, There is a whole lot of weight tied up in being a son or daughter of God... but this is something deeper, closer, stronger than just being in the family....
You see, a friend is someone that you not only spend time with and talk to but a friend you will share secrets with and take places others might not get to go. A friend also will be someone who is/or has walked with you through good and bad times. A true friend is not someone that will easily let you slide away, or ignore you in trouble.... You see, I have (most of my life) had a good understanding of my relationship with God as a Son... But haven't taken it to the level of friendship.

I'm sure that parents out there can tell you how great it is when the relationship with a child develops to a point where you can consider them a true friend (not talking about an unhealthy co-dependent type relationship, but a mature friendship).

You see, what I have missed all this time was the opportunity to get to know God as a friend.

What does that look like??
Well for starters, A friendship isn't one sided... It's not about your needs, or your friends needs... it's about the relationship and interaction.

It's not a cure all for troubled times, but it is a understanding that whatever you face, it will never be alone.

It's about being able to say, God... What's on your heart?? And then keeping your mouth shut long enough to listen

I have understood some of this before, but today, I really felt like God actually called me a friend.... And I don't care who you are, THAT is huge.

In the middle of the worship time, I was also reminded that Abraham was credited as "Righteous" because he considered him faithful who had made the promise!!

That is a true relationship.... NOT about the promise, but about the faithfulness of the one promising.... because after all... he has been with you the whole way, and you with him!

Anyway.... That's all I have for now... And I truthfully don't care whether anyone gets anything out of this or not... these are just my thoughts.... unedited, jumbled, A.D.D. thoughts

Now, do I want banana pudding for dessert???

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thoughts on Life, The Universe, and Everything

I have been thinking a lot lately..... which tends to be a good thing... and a really really bad thing.
The good side of thinking is that it is VERY beneficial when writing programs, and developing new functionality for web sites.... the bad side is that I ask myself questions to which I really don't want an answer.

Here's one of those questions....
Q. What do you want to be when you grow up?

A. Well, what an interesting question, that requires an even bigger question than this... which is...

Q. Do you want to grow up?

A. Again.... a good question but an even bigger question is....

Q. What does it mean to grow up?

A. Ahhhhhh..... now there's a conundrum....
Growing up, I remember being asked the question over and over... What do you want to be when you grow up?? It seems like every time I was asked this question, I was filled with a bit of anxiety in having to pick a direction in life and pursue it and it alone till I die. Funny thing is that in all the years I was asked this question I never asked myself the even bigger question of what that even meant to "Grow Up".

For a purly sarcastic response, I should have responded with the answer "Taller".
I want to be taller when I grow up.... Yeah, That's the ticket...
Or how about..... I want to be an adult when I grow up???

So much weight is put into this question which should be really asked as ... What JOB do you want to have by which people can define you when you get older? Now THAT IS a GOOD question! To THAT I say, None!

You see, I have never felt right being defined as one thing above another. Recently (over the past couple of years) I have stepped up to fill in on the worship team at church as a bass player... I even have had people say to me .... Hey, aren't you the Bass Player... blah blah blah.... The funny thing about that is I have also been in the role of an associate pastor/youth pastor/worship pastor/small group leader/network administrator/graphic designer/secretary over the years, and it seems like at every step I am being defined in the eyes of most as that particular role in which I am working at the time.

Here's my particular issue with this thought process, at any given time over the past 15 years, I have been known to opperate in many of those roles, not only that I have also been developing websites and doing graphic design and web programming. Here I am now, 31yrs old, with no one thing I would say that I do better than most.... and no one career path that I want to solely devote the rest of my life to more than any other. You see the thing is that I am not aimless, as much that I am overly ambitious. I want to experience many different things.
I LOVE preaching, teaching, and counseling people.... BUT I also LOVE Worshiping, Leading worship and playing music.... AND I Also LOVE building websites, and doing php programming... AND I Also LOVE video and audio postproduction editing, and recording....

Seeing all of this, I would say that there are so many things I WANT To "BE" that it is impossible that I am any one of them.... so for now on, I think my answer to the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" will be..............

A Politician


Happy Halloween everybody [;o)

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Every (small group) Leader Should Know - pt. 3

Politics, Politics, Politics, Politics.... (it's good to be the king)

Politics, Religion, Business, Education, You name it.... they all require a little bit of the same thing....
Planning and preparation!

In a small (or large) group meeting this is no different, and above all there should be some form of organization to the meeting.

Organizing.... My own personal nemesis. (and no I am not referring to the worst NextGen Star-Trek movie to ever meet the populous, or to the fact that it was one big metophor for dealing with your biggest enemy which is yourself (sun tsu anyone?) or the fact that by the end Piccard looked like a winey sissy girl who needed to be stripped of any remaining "Man Card" in his posession.... but I digress)
I have always struggled being organized. I used to think that I could make it without being organized and God would make up for the rest.... THEN I got Married! Being organized, planning and being prepared is now something I really wish I was better at (for many reasons) BUT One thing I had picked up along the way leading small groups was a sure fire method for having a successfull, healthy meeting wherever you are.... it is..... are you ready for this???

The 5 W's of Small Group Meetings!

The 5 w's, I believe, started out as 4, and I have learned and embellished along the way. This principle originally came from some small group leadership training I had done under the vision and teachings of Ralph Neighbor (sp?) back in the big cell church boom of the late 90's.

The 5 W's are simply this...
1. Welcome
2. Worship
3. Word
4. Walk
5. Wind

I will expound on each of these over the next few posts (which MAY happen before the end of the year.... keep your fingers crossed )


In all my time traveling doing ministry in various places across the globe, I have determined this...
The Southern Baptist Denomination wins this category HANDS Down!!!!
I have been to many churches in many places, and it seems like going to a southern baptist church would ensure 2 things... 1. we would be hugged till we suffocated, and 2. we would be fed till we popped!!! (Good times!)

Nothing, I REPEAT NOTHING says we are family, or I accept you like a home cooked meal and genuine hospitality. It communicates that WE in fact are in this together, and as such we can help each other out in the process.

Why is this so important?
When you have a group of people coming to your house to share and open up in any way they need to know they can trust you and this is a safe warm and inviting place where they can do just that. Yes I know it sounds a bit psychological, partly because it is.... but more than that it speaks to a bigger truth that a lot of leaders miss...
The PHYSICAL needs in life are just as real and sometimes just as important as the spiritual ones. Remember the story of when jesus fed the 5000??? Not just a story but a practical guide to performing ministry to the masses...... Meet the physical needs and they will be open and receptive to have the spiritual needs met as well.

It is very crucial at this point that I say, this is NOT about having to make a full meal every week. More importantly is that there is some type of food/snack/drink as a point of contact to develop a time of relationship that is spontanious and allows for the natural relationships, and trust, to be formed.

What does this look like??
Open up your house 15/20 min's before the meeting starts. have some finger type foods available for people to snack on, and when people show up, be there to engage in conversation and be available to listen....
This is why planning and preparation are so important!!! You need to have your family needs taken care of before this point. YOU the leader are their shepheard and need to give them your attention and be available.

I have been to a few meetings where I didn't even see the leader until it was time for them to share, and by that time, I wasn't listening to them.... why would I?? looks to me like they are above and better than me and have the "Answer" .... which to me says they really don't get it at all!!!

On a bit of a practical note, I know as a leader that if you are trying to feed a group of people every week (even if it is just a bag of freetos) It can get expensive..... So Share the wealth!!! Make up a "Food" rotation that everyone can sign-up for....

Remember we really are all in this together!!!!