Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Kickin' Back at Starbucks

Kickin Back at Starbucks
Originally uploaded by Johnny Leckie.
Leona and I had a great cheap date tonight - Taco Bell, Starbucks (with a gift card) and wandering around Southlake Town Square.

This pic sums it up pretty nicely...

Pictured are my new Christmas jeans, one of my old shoes, my tall gingerbread latte and the general ambiance of Starbucks...


Posted a few more here.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

O (un)Holy Night

We have to hear this at least once every Christmas. Fortunately there's now a MySpace page in the "O Holy Night Guy's" honor.

Check it out here.

And be sure to not miss the climactic ending. It always brings a tear to my eye...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Shopping Fun

Two Christmas ads/promotional signs I saw recently:

1. Sign outside of a "Flooring Supply" store: "Shop Here For All Your Holiday Flooring Needs!"

Ok, let's see....we've finished the Christmas shopping, decorated the house, set up the tree, sent out Christmas cards....Oh no, we forgot to get the Holiday flooring! Dang! Get back in the car!

2. Sign in Target store above some shelves of merchandise: "$2.50 each, OR 'Mix and Match'- 2 for $5.00!"

Wow, honey, look! What a great deal! If I only buy any one of them, it costs $2.50. But if I "Mix and Match," I can get two different ones for only $5.00!


Biggest Part of Christmas...

Forget "reason for the season;" He's just the biggest part.

Again, I know they mean well, but it still made me laugh.

Click to listen:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

First Steps (Part 2)

This post is the second in the "Steps" series. It's the "follow up" post to this one: First Steps

When we first arrived in the Alliance, Texas area, it was a place full of promise. There were new neighborhoods being built everywhere, and just a glance at a master plan for the area made it clear that this was the place to be. It was shaping up to be the fastest growing area in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

But when we started the church there were far more cow pastures than neighborhoods here. The neighborhoods were in the works, but the population was still pretty slim.

The "Alliance, Texas" area itself was more of a concept than a reality at that time, consisting of a master planned land development project by the Perot family (Yes, that Perot family .) And as such, it loosely included the towns of Keller, Roanoke, Haslet, Justin, Westlake, Northlake, Trophy Club and North Fort Worth within what is sometimes referred to as the "Alliance, Texas Corridor." A brilliant development with big business appeal, Perot's company, Hillwood, aimed at the big boys first. Retail and housing developments followed.

The heart of this development was the Alliance Airport, located about a mile or so away from the Texas Motor Speedway. When we discovered a building near the Airport that we could rent for worship services, we were excited. We would be able to meet in the dead center of the Alliance, Texas area. [Of course we didn't know at the time that it really was the "dead" center, but - more about that later.] Yes, one location to rule them all...:-D

Our last Sunday at the Church we were leaving was in October. I was free to begin recruiting team members around this time. One couple said, "Yes" right away. Another couple called us up and came on board a few weeks later. In November, another couple was on board. We had our first public worship service in January...

Yeah. About 2 months from Team to Start.

...It wasn't very pretty.

Of course, to most church planters today (myself included), starting public services this soon in the process would generally be considered insanity. But, start them we did. Not "despising the small beginnings," we basically hit the ground running and didn't stop running for four years.

And on a personal level, I knew that this was where God wanted me to be - planting a church, learning to risk, caring about people, becoming a servant, making sacrifices, working through challenges, creatively solving problems, becoming fully dependent on Him and working through my understanding of what church could and should be.

Today, the Alliance, Texas area is everything that was predicted about it in those early days. It is truly a booming area, adding new neighborhoods and retail environments at an amazing pace. There are people everywhere. For reaching that "boom" of population, however, we were probably about 3 years too early.

But I am certain that God wanted us here, nonetheless. When we didn't draw the crowds we had hoped for early on, I knew it was going to be tough, but hey. That's just part of the deal. What worthwhile endeavor isn't challenging?

Now it would be very easy for me to "pick apart" every decision at every turn and challenge we experienced along the way and spend a ridiculous amount of time over-analyzing why our church plant has drawn to a close after four years, but doing so would be tedious and unproductive. Instead, I'll be focusing on the things that I have learned and that will be helpful for the future. I'll throw in a few "behind the scenes" stories along the way.

The next post in this series will provide a basic "time line" of the journey of Compass Church.

...And what an exciting, difficult, powerful, frustrating and wonderful journey it has been...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Leckie Loco Salsa

This year, Leona and I decided to bottle up and give our delicious homemade salsa to my family members at the Leckie Family Christmas gathering.

We've been wolfing this stuff down in embarrassing quantities since we made the first batch this past summer, so we thought it was time to share.

Oh, man. Add some salted tortilla chips and this salsa's a taste of sweet heaven.

Click the image for a larger view, and be sure to read the "Nutrition Facts."

Hey, it's crazy tasty...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fellowship Church Christmas Fun Pack

Everyone present yesterday at Fellowship Church received this bag of promotional/invitational items following the services.

Pretty cool stuff.

I think that giving your church members and attenders great tools to make it easy to invite friends and family is generally better than using mass media invitations. It's a mix of produced quality and personal touch.

It also helps if they are very excited about what's going on at your church, and really do want to invite people. The church then becomes the "street team" and partners with the staff to reach out to those far from God.

That was definitely the case at Fellowship Church, yesterday. People grabbed this stuff up like crazy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Photos From "Santa Duty"

Here are a few images from my "Santa Duty" tonight at the Roanoke Christmas Parade. Once again I had to stuff my jacket under my shirt to provide enough "girth" to keep my belt from falling to my knees!


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Santa Duty Tonight

I have "Santa duty" tonight (Saturday, 12/2) at the Roanoke Christmas Parade. The parade and festivities (including free pictures with Santa) begin at 6 pm tonight in Roanoke and will be going on till about 9 pm or so.

If you live in Roanoke, Keller, or the general Alliance, Texas area you really should check this out. It's one of the more unique, fun and free Christmas celebrations in the area! If you're not yet in the Christmas spirit, this event will be just the ticket.

Oh, and if you make it to the event tonight, be sure to say hello. I'll be the one in Red and White...

A Plan For "Changing Plans"

Taking a cue from my sermon, "Crash: When the Plans Change," [Acts 27:1-28:10] here are a few things I'm currently working on during this time of transition:

* Remembering that plans change, but vision remains the same. [Acts 27:9-11] (Thanks, Andy Stanley & Visioneering)

* Understanding that sometimes the plan is out of our control. [Acts 27:11] (Unanticipated events, choices of others, and circumstances sometimes take the wheel for a period of time. When this happens, it is now "big picture" time.)

* Acknowledging that God is not limited by plans or the planet. [Acts 27:14-18] (Sometimes the vision is realized in a different way. There's nothing that takes God by surprise or that He hasn't planned for- even our mistakes.)

* Realizing that hope & stability can be found in instability. [Acts 27:21-25] (Uncertainty provides a powerful and unique opportunity for courage and faith to be strengthened.)

* Striving to obey God more than my plans. [Acts 27:30-28:10] (Taking my eyes off of my goals and more intensely onto God and His guiding.)

* Developing strong relationships. [Acts 27:1, 3, 6; 42-43] (Friends, neighbors, family and community.)

* Sharing the truth. [Acts 27:30-32] (Still caring enough to share Christ with neighbors and others in my community - there is no "break" from this. The mission is for all Christ followers, not just for church planters!)

* Staying connected to God. [Acts 27:35] (Daily time in prayer and Scripture, keeping the 'God lines' clear.)

* Meeting my needs. [Acts 27:33-36] (Lots of mental & physical rest, eating right, building financial resources, paying bills, focused time with my wife and kids, evaluating and planning.)

* Meeting the needs of others. [Acts 28:7-10] (Still volunteering, looking to meet needs in my neighborhood - interestingly, this confirms in me the authenticity of the serving, because I truly have no strings attached...)

When in doubt, love God and love people. Work on becoming and learning. Plans and "next steps" will generally follow and flow through that.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Big Little Church in Grapevine

We returned from Tennessee late last Saturday and made a last minute decision to help the attendance of a little country church in Grapevine on Sunday. :)

The service was incredible and was a nice change of pace for us. Kind of strange not leading anything on a Sunday morning, but this short break has been more refreshing and energizing than I imagined.

Keep following the "Steps" series for the inside scoop on where we've been and what's ahead.

Oh yeah, the coffee there was pretty good, too... 8^D