Sunday, August 31, 2008

We Are Family

Last weekend wrapped up the "Awakening" Series at Grace. It was a cool series that I was privileged to be a part of. I love when ideas become reality from our creative team meetings for each series. This is the video for the family service. The first part was played as a sermon lead in - the last part was played as people exited the worship center. People start dancing at 3:34. Enjoy

We Are Family from Dave Hartland on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Late for Church

I'm on vacation and will posting some pics soon. But before that I want to send a word out to all Grace folks who read this blog. PLEASE GET TO CHURCH ON TIME! Seriously... is it that tough to pull yourselves out of bed, to pull yourself away from that coffee you're sipping in the cafe, to pull yourself away from your kid in the nursery and get in to the service on time?? I'm just going to say it... it's disrespectful to our teams, to our pastors, and to our God to be consistently late. There I said it.

You are putting our team in a jam because we don't know what to do at the beginning of the service. We seriously spend wayyyyy too much time debating this issue in our service planning meetings, and if everyone would just plan to get there 5-10 minutes earlier than you're getting there now, and begin waiting expectantly for the opportunity to worship God - our teams wouldn't have to talk about it for one more minute.

This past weekend at 11 we literally had 1/2 the crowd come in over 5 minutes late (many 10-15 minutes late). We are wanting to do our communication segment at the beginning of the service so that it doesn't disrupt the flow of worship - but we're geeked that so many people are going to miss the major communications that we have to do for the week. We want to put worship there sometimes - but don't want people always missing the first two worship songs that set the tone for the rest of the service. We sometimes want to do the sermon off the top - but realize that many people will miss the lead in to the proclamation of God's Word. Please begin arriving on time...and forward this to all your friends.

- the management

Monday, August 18, 2008

Unbelievable Team

It's about 7:30 AM- I'm sitting in a small motel room somewhere around the border of NY and MA. We're on our way to Plum Island, MA for vacation. We drove about 6 hours yesterday after a crazy afternoon of packing and mowing and cleaning. We left at about 4:30 and started driving. I'll be posting some thoughts from vacation - probably more on the personal and family side of things - but before that I wanted to mention a few things that I appreciate about our team at Grace. I had some time to ponder on the drive.

1. Services this weekend were awesome. Not without challenge or difficulty - but in the end just really awesome. Brian and AJ have the ability to pull off creative, and challenging, and excellent like no one I've ever worked with before. They have challenged our people to bless others and bless our enemies in some very cool ways over the last two weeks. I love working with those guys.

2. The skill level of the people we have on our staff is unmatched. I would put this team up against any other in the country. The quality of our ministries at all levels is hitting its stride right now. Sure we have plenty of stuff to still improve on - but there is no group that I'd rather have on it than this one.

3. The camaraderie among us is just really fun. Not only do we work together, we really love to work together. A good number of us have been there a long time- and that's beautifully mixed with those who have recently joined - but there is a family atmosphere among us that is rare in many workplaces. Man do we laugh.

I'm going to be gone for two weeks - and I'm being honest when I say that I'm going to miss this team when I'm gone. I love doing ministry with them. On the other hand I'm really going to love this time with my family - and I'm going to soak up every moment with them. It is truly a privilege to serve on a team like the one we've assembled at Grace - buckle up because there's still some huge stuff around the corner!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


So I haven't made huge progress on my sermon for this weekend yet - it's a really difficult subject - blessing your enemies. But I had spent 4-5 hours in and out of study this afternoon and had been typing notes into a research document. This is usually my first step. Before I left the office at 7:22 this evening - I pressed save and then unplugged my laptop and packed it up for home.

When I got home- I had a quick bite for dinner and then plugged in to get things set up for after the kids go to bed. I opened the document and it didn't include any of the notes that I took today. I was sick to the point of wanting to vomit. Not only am I behind already - but now am 4-5 more hours behind. I called Dave Winn (our I.T. guy from church) to see if he could rescue me. He promptly came over and remotely found a document on the server at church that was saved at 7:22 pm. He then rescued my document from the server - thank you Jesus for Dave Winn and all I.T. peeps out there. Holy smokes I might have done myself in if it weren't for him!

Dave made me promise that in return I wouldn't convict him too much with the sermon this weekend. Sorry - no promises on that one... Maybe he should "get sick" during services because I have a feeling the sermon is going to be a whack between the eyes for some.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Shed My First Olympic Tears

Last night I got misty eyed for the first time this Olympics. You can usually chalk me up for 3-5 teary-eyed moments per Olympics. There's just something about the competition and teamwork, and laying it all on the line, and performance under pressure that does me in- it's just intense.

I'm not a big swimming guy, but the men's 4x100 freestyle relay was unbelievable. It looked like Phelps' quest for 8 golds was over. The US was behind by a whole body length going in to the final leg - against the heavily favored team from France. France's best swimmer and relay anchor was the world record holder and the one who said they were going to "smash" the Americans in the finals. So when it came to him with a whole length lead - it looked impossible. The US anchor, Jason Lezak swam the fastest relay leg in history and came all the way back and beat him by a fingertip for the gold. The reaction of the rest of the team was priceless. You can read about it here.

If you read it and don't cry - don't think I'm a wuss - I really had to see it live.....and well....I've had a really long and stressful I'm emotionally spent from preaching three times this weekend...I'm just saying....

17 Incredible Years with Kim

I have the most amazing wife. I pity all other men because they simply have to settle for second best! I teased her from the front during my sermon today, but honestly Kim is completely perfect for me in every way! We met at age 15 in German class. I thought she was hot then, but she was a punk rocker, wore all black, and had half her head shaved. I was a three sport athlete and it wasn't exactly the ideal match. We didn't date until our senior year at McDowell in 1988 - brought together by our faith in God. We started a prayer ministry at our school to pray for God to pour out His spirit there. We were married 3 years later at the very tender age of 20.

I love this picture that Caleb took a few years ago because I think her face sums up what she's probably thinking most days, "what the heck did I get myself into!?" I could go on ad infinitum singing her praises, but here are 10 things I adore about my wife:

  1. She is one of the most intelligent women I've ever met and carries that intelligence with humility and dignity.
  2. I love the peaceful look on her face when she sleeps.
  3. She rarely wears makeup or jewelry and remains the most breathtakingly beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on.
  4. She designs and builds really beautiful houses and uses power tools (and is very handy to have around the house I might add.)
  5. She is a tremendous example for our kids of what a strong, devoted, successful, Christ-following, driven, loving woman looks like. I want Ayden to grow up to be like her, and I want Caleb and Chase to marry a woman like her.
  6. My heart still beats fast when my mind drifts to her as I'm trying to get work done at the office.
  7. She's mysterious and very deep - people who meet her or see her from a distance get one impression - but to know her is a deep and rich experience.
  8. I love how hard we laugh with each other at night after the kids go to bed.
  9. She's spontaneous with the kids and loves when they make messes - perfectly complementing my type-A/ neat-freak tendencies.
  10. She balances being a mom, and wife, and career woman, and sister, and daughter, and business owner, and friend with a gracefulness that is really beautiful to watch.
We ask each other the same question each anniversary, "if you had it to do all over again would you still take the plunge?" After 17 years it's still a resounding, "YES!"

Friday, August 08, 2008

College Memories

This weekend I'm telling a story from my college days to start off my sermon. It led me to a land of recollection about my years at Taylor U. - definitely one of the most hilarious times of my life. I was reflecting on some of the situations and names and faces that defined my life during those years.

Then randomly I remembered a secret wish I used to have.

I lived next to a guy named Dan Gin (pronounced like "jin"- same as the strong drink). We also had a friend named Esther. For a while they were thinking about dating. I always hoped that they would get married simply to call her by her new married name...

Esther Gin.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Reaching the Next Generation

Our guest services guru here at Grace, Miriam Crossman, sent through some interesting statistics today. One that got my attention was that 43% of first time guests who have come through our doors at Grace since we've moved into our new facility last November are between the ages of 18-29.

That's right - almost 1/2 of the nearly 500 people who have visited Grace in the last 8 months are 20-somethings. That's a staggering number. There are churches across our country who would kill for that number. The majority of churches are struggling...aging...dying. Why are we reaching this age group?

1. We've been intentional about reaching them through our hiring practices and our programming.
2. There is a spiritual hunger among this generation that if tapped will turn the world upside down for Jesus.

We cannot be one of those churches who get comfortable. Who continue to do things the way we've always done them. To plateau and age and eventually die. We will not stop this pursuit - of reaching out to those who are far from God - and of reaching out to the next generation and mobilizing them to love Jesus and lead the church.

We had a heart-thumping vision and strategy session at Management Team on Tuesday that has the potential to change the way we do ministry here in the coming years and will put us on a course to chase down the next generation for Christ like we never have before. I can't spill the beans yet ... c'mon. But stay tuned.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Olympic Spirit

Yes, I'm excited for the Olympics. I always am. I love watching some of the best athletes in the world lay it all on the line. And the fact that it's only once every four years only raises the stakes and intensity. I know it's a place for all the lesser known sports to have their day - but I'm really looking forward to Track and Field and Basketball. Never really got in to people skiing and shooting at the same time and stuff like that (I know that's Winter Olympics - I'm just saying...)

I read a great article in ESPN the Magazine about certain funny lines in different countries' national anthems - I had to share a few excerpts from Rick Reilly's article:

  • Andorra - "I was born a princess maiden" -I look forward with great zeal to the day when a 350 lb. Andorran shot putter stands on the podium and sings these words.
  • Ukraine - I love it because it asks so little - the first line is, "Ukraine has not perished." I call that managing national expectations: "we're not dead OK? give us that."
  • Algeria - "We have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm and the sound of machine guns as our melody." This is why no one invites your band anywhere.
You can read the full article here. I thought these were the best ones! Happy Olympics everyone - the opening ceremony is on Friday. God save the Queen.