Monthly Archives: April 2012

friends from other churches


one of the coolest things about a conference is the chance to hang out with other church leaders. the coolest thing for me is that this group right here is actually part of a group we have in Nashville. we have a strong network of people from churches across the city that meet together … we all want to see change in Nashville. love it!!

twitter works…

i found a new artist and was enchanted by his art. ... art worth knowing about. enjoy.

so… i tweeted about it. told him it was enchanting.

he thanked me on twitter…

so, it made me an even bigger fan (which is saying alot because i had already pinned some of his work, so i was already a believer).

i love the mashup between pooh and star wars. two things i love and have great memories from my childhood… and now great memories from my kids childhoods (is childhoods a word).

his website says it all…James Hance … relentlessly cheerful art.

are you kidding me?! talk about your dear heartist!

i hope you enjoy this find as much as i have.

i gave him a sneak peek of the as yet unrevealed Up In My Treehouse song. Mutual appreciation is another beautiful thing.

artists… go find other artists to appreciate. inspire each other. be digitally generous (ala Tami Heim).

it’s so much fun. and lets your mind think about all kinds of new things.

what are some things you have found recently that you adore? did you tell the person that made them?

will you share them with us here? i’d love to know what inspires you.

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Jeff Lovingood, happy anniversary!

talk about your next generation pastor...wh


Today marked the 10th anniversary of my boss, next generations pastor Jeff Lovingood and our church, Long Hollow Baptist.

here’s the thing. not only is he my boss… in my life, he is LITERALLY a next generation pastor.

he was my youth pastor as a high school senior, and now he oversees the ministries that affect my high schooler, middle schooler and elementary schoolers… and i get to be part of it, working in his kids ministry.

if that’s not a full circle, i don’t know what is. and friends, that is encouraging!

it was an honor to be one of the presenters today and publicly say thanks for his work in my life, through the generations…

here are the gifts we gave him and why:





Preschool ministry is presenting this orange leather Bible to Jeff Lovingood.
In preschool at Long Hollow, kids begin to learn foundational truths of Christianity. Everything starts and ends with the truth of the Bible. Without the Bible and the truth of Jesus Christ, nothing else matters. Jeff Lovingood has 3 kids of his own. He has trained them up in the ways of the Lord… as well as every baby or preschooler at Long Hollow. His ministry crosses the generations.

The Children’s ministry is presenting heart monitor watches to Jeff and Rachel Lovingood to represent the time they have invested in kids and families over their years in ministry. why heart monitors? For the Lovingoods, ministry is a matter of the heart, they have dedicated their entire lives to seeing life change in others. They are deliberate not only about their personal physical health, but with the spiritual health of our generations.

The student ministry is presenting this chair to represent the heart for that one person, that drives Jeff Lovingood. He is willing to go to any lengths for even one soul. This chair also serves as a reminder of the new Long Hollow Student building that has been a lifelong dream for Jeff that was realized this year and has already, in it’s first 4 months impacted #? lives for Christ. He has always said that when are not enough seats, or parking spots, they will stop coming.

This football represents Jeff’s great love for the Volunteers.
Yes, it is signed by he entire Tennessee Volunteer football team. No one loves the Tennessee volunteers more than jeff… But even more than his beloved VOLS, Jeff has his own team of volunteers, who have their own team of volunteers, who have.. well, you get the picture. Jeff has a personal rule, recruit 10 to recruit 10. Training leaders to become leaders. Volunteers are a big deal to Lovingood.

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lhkidz stop motion video… what happens when kids are challenged to tell the world

we made a little stop motion video…

40 kids spent an entire saturday with us, and with our videographer and editor Tyler Scott. This is the story they were telling…

Two kids hear the command to Go into the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit when they are in Treehouse. They take the message seriously and go out to impact their neighborhood and school for Christ. They come back to the treehouse with the new Christians that they have shared with.


my chains are gone… ish

We have been having a tough time here in sumner county with schools and freedom of religion issues… budget cuts… new teacher evaluations… it’s been rough.

my chains are gone, moms in prayer presentation at long hollow.

Last week, the local chapter of Moms in Prayer (formerly Moms in Touch) invited area principals to a luncheon to honor them and pray for them. It was hosted at my church, Long Hollow.

They had an idea of how they wanted to depict the year and their support … so they asked me to help them pull it off… it was such an honor to be asked.

A “principal”,  “teacher”, “mom” and “student” had chains around their neck that said things like :TCAP scores, financial stress, parents that don’t care, budget cuts, no subs, spiritual oppression… basically anything we could think of that is currently weighing down educators and families.

Chris Tomlin’s AMAZING GRACE started as they stood there in chains.

Then moms began to kneel at the altar and pray…

as the chorus rang out, “MY CHAINS ARE GONE” the characters began to put their chains on the cross and knelt to pray as well. It was a powerful representation of the power of prayer to free us. And our responsibility to pray for each other.

it made me think about the chains in my life. i struggle with the chain of time management… letting busyness steal my time… i struggle with the chain of distraction… letting things take my focus away from where it should be. if i’m with my kids, then the phone can distract me. if i’m in the middle of writing something, wanting to stop and draw can distract me. if i’m reading my bible, tiredness can distract me…

what chains are binding you today?

will you ask someone to pray with you to be freed from those chains? there is power in numbers.

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jade coomer’s sweet sixteen… what’s so sweet?

on jade's 13th birthday, her friends and family and friends of her family and family of her friends... showed up to show love.

most 16 year olds are thinking about getting their driver’s license, whether or not they are going to get a car, what to wear to the school dance… the usual.

not jade. jade is in a fight for her life. just a very short time ago she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. she is undergoing excruciating amounts of chemo after a 9 pound tumor was removed… her last concern is her driver’s license… her main concern is her hair.

jade plans to have a lime green bob when it’s her turn to choose her wig. you can see from the photo that jade loves lime green… and that people love jade.

she came home a couple of days ago from a week in the hospital where she went through her first rounds of chemo… miraculously, gloriously she felt great today. when she should’ve felt really crappy… she didn’t. (thanks you Lord)

and it was a really good thing because she had lots of company to entertain… two buses of students from her school, Hendersonville Christian Academy, came to pray and post hearts on a stick in the yard (they had drawn and written on them), countless lime green balloons dotted the yard and signs. a wishing well was a gathering place for gifts and cards and gift cards… cupcakes were distributed to visitors… it is a sweet 16 after all! lisa lovins was on a mission to bring the party to jade, and that she did…

small photos on magnets were given to those who would commit to pray.

bracelets that say “jade’s jewels” were sold as a fundraiser, you see, jade’s small group started this project… they are calling themselves jade’s jewels.

crosses were tied to a tree, each with it’s own prayer.

literally hundreds of people swarmed the home and promised faithful prayer… i believed them.

i believe that people are prepared to walk this walk with their friends, and implore the Great Physician on behalf of Jade.

that’s what’s so great about believers. and being a Christian. we have hope. we have a promise of a future. and we have a father who knows us and cares for our hearts when we don’t know what we need.

i have no idea how people that do not know him… and do not have prayer… walk through one minute of one day… nevermind walk through the valley that comes with cancer… no idea.

thankfully, the coomers know my God. and he loves them more than any of the people that fled the lawn today.

i believe that.

my face hurts…

from smiling so much.

i spent today

first…creative meeting about the next season of ISHINE KNECT, the series i get to help write for Bema Media that airs on TBN.

secondly… i got to take engagement photos of the yummiest couple. it started at FIDO (a favorite for coffee), then to the lawn at VANDY (my favorite place to go in nashville), then to percy warner park ( a new favorite that they introduced me to).

they were so so sweet. they were so kind to each other. so gracious to me. and just so…

i pray that they will have a marriage wrapped in joy and graciousness to each other. that’s certainly how they treat each other now. it’s pretty magical.

then i came home to edit the photos and i relived the experience again. that’s why my face hurts, because as i looked at the 1500 pictures that we took today, the smiles and kisses and tender caresses were a living breathing part of who they are as a couple. i asked him at one point, “do you always kiss her on the head like that?” they both answered “yes” … i asked, is this awkward for you? “no, it’s who we are anyway”.

i never had to ask him to show tenderness, it was his go to when dealing with his future bride. i never had to say, act like you love him… because her face was enraptured everytime she looked at him. just wonderful. they were gracious to each other. and this has been 2.5 years, so it’s not just a fluffy thing… its through some life, and well, i’m just honored to know them. and to have spent the afternoon in their glow.

wanna know how i came about this opportunity… this is interesting too:

four years ago i took photos for the hollabaugh family in plano for the graduation of their son stephen.

stephen came to vanderbilt and became friends with matt samples.

they stayed friends… matt samples is marrying tori bates.

stephen’s mom (darla hollabaugh) sent a facebook message to ask if i was still taking photos… and would i take the engagement photos of her son’s best friends?

i said yes. and here we are.

i will also be taking stephens’ college graduation pics in may of this year. what a really cool full circle.

what has made you so happy this week that your face hurts from the smiling?


give the love you need

what if we really did that?

gave someone the amount of love that we actually need…

or gave the forgiveness that we actually need…

or gave the grace that we actually need…

that’s alot of love, forgiveness and grace. it’s ALOT.

have you ever needed forgiveness? think about that.

if we actually gave the amount we require… INFINITE AMOUNTS… we would love hard, forgive quickly and extend grace lavishly.

yeah. i wanna do that.

because you know what? when you are quick to love, forgive and extend grace… it will fill people up. it will encourage love. it will change lives. most importantly, it will change your life.

what do you need today that you can give instead?

i believe that if you give it you will get it. might sound a little like karma, but it’s really more about reaping and sowing.

give what you need… and i suspect it will be more than you would’ve given otherwise. speaking from personal experience, of course.

this isn’t going to be easy. it isn’t something cute and fun to put on a bracelet. this is a true filter. a way to see things. a way to think. a way to consider our actions.

this concept is captivating me right now … and humbling me. because i need a lot of all of this.


i’ve died and gone to heaven.

actually… i haven’t.

pantone cards and markers

normally, this is the kind of things that would make me say "i've died and gone to heaven"

phillip randoll did.

if you were at my church this sunday, then you know…

if you were not, and you want to know you can check it out here:

i ask you… who has an easter service that starts with death? we do, that’s who.

you know, lots of people go to church on just christmas and easter… so it’s possible that they have only encountered two of the stories in the entire bible. TWO! while, we can all agree that they are the two most crucial things that have ever happened… christ was born… christ died and rose again defeating death.

but the bible is about so much more. and the picture is so much bigger. it is huge.

that’s what we chose to show at my church this week.

to show that a life lived for christ has an eternal impact. that every second counts. every word. every decision. every second.

as our pastor, David Landrith, stood and shared, there was a descending ticker behind him on the screen… counting down the seconds of his life (if he were to live to age 80). WOW. it was powerful.

then to see the ripple effect of philip randoll’s life. his choice to

say yes to jesus

to become a prayer warrior to friends

to have a godly marriage

to evangelize his community

to take his family to another country to start a church.

the evidence of his life lived for Christ … that’s the kind of evidence i want to leave behind when i am gone.

when i have died and gone to heaven… i want to have left evidence of a life lived for Christ.

what do you want to leave behind when you’ve died and gone to heaven?


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i received an interesting message today…

why is spiderman at the top of this post? read on... read on...

this is what her message said –

“as it currently stands, i am having to make decisions about my job i never hoped to make which is leading me to question career choices in journalism and life as a writer. i’ve often viewed writing talent (or any art form) as a curse. There is the relentless need to achieve perfection and writing is subjective-loved by some, hated by others.
i find myself questioning why God gave me talent as a writer and why i couldn’t have been blessed with something else that would have been easier to establish job security in, like having a gift for science or math and pursuing careers in medicine or business.
as i was reading my bible tonight, i began to realize being gifted in writing is one of the greatest gifts of all. why? God needed writers to spread his word. True all scripture was inspired by God, but he needed someone there to put ink on the pages.
and although this doesn’t necessarily bring about resolve to my concerns, it does provide a little comfort.” this was sent to me by Emily Jane Vernon, (check out her blog. follow her on twitter.

she makes a really good point, doesn’t she? and i love our God for encouraging her through the very medium that she was questioning. I love that he shared a love letter and showed her how important the written word is… it gives life in the case of the bible… by using his word written down for us.

it’s true, writing is an interesting thing because it is very subjective, and with the new outlets like blogs, tweets, posts, etc. many of the traditional rules are out the window too… so you can’t even really judge something on it’s structural elements. it’s pretty much, do people like reading what we write? which leads to something altogether different.

it’s our responsibility to find contentment in Christ and not look for it from others. this is true in relationships (it is not your husband’s job to make you feel a certain way. it is not your child’s job to complete you. and on and on… ) when we have contentment the other things that we really want take care of themselves. that being said, we have to be content that what we write honors God, and is worthy of our time and effort. when we share, we have to be confident in what we are sharing. we take a risk that it won’t be well received or considered “good enough”. and we have to be ok with that. and content that we did the best we could.

if you are a writer, be grateful. you have been entrusted with a powerful gift. use it wisely.

story. writing. capturing the best ideas. sharing. it’s crucial, and has life changing effects.

like peter’s grandfather told him in spiderman “with great power comes great responsibility”.

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