Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Easley at Englewood? How Did That Happen?


The following article was written by the Pastor Search Team of Englewood for the sole purpose of letting the church family hear the story of how God brought Englewood and the Easley's together:

Process - the steps you take to reach a goal. A process isn't always fun and usually isn't easy. Sometimes God allows our decisions to take years, forged in the fire of heated discussion and terse debate. But God had a different plan for Englewood and her Pastor Search Committee. He was gracious to give unity, peace and swiftness. God remained in control and He alone receives the glory.

The Pastor Search Committee first gathered on November 24, 2013 in The Jett Fellowship Center. Surrounded by the Deacon Council and Personnel Committee, they received their charter before being prayed over as they began the search.  These ten church members, formed into one committee, were ready to focus on the task at hand. They spent time getting to know one other, learning the spiritual gifts God had given each. There is no ‘how to’ book on finding a Senior Pastor so they prayed for a spirit of unity, a spirit of discernment and for each other as individuals. One prayer was, “God, this has to be all You.”  The committee began working for hours each week. A retreat was scheduled and they began praying for discernment of what God would have them do. They asked questions: Who do we know? What does this process look like? What resources do we use? At times, the responsibility was overwhelming but they pressed in closer to God - always seeking His will.

Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, first shared Jordan Easley's name in early December 2013. The search committee liked Jordan from the beginning, but with a notable résumé and thriving ministry they weren't sure if God would call him to leave his current position and come to Englewood. So his name was put on a list; a long list with hundreds of names – each one researched, discussed and prayed over. But time after time they received Jordan's name.
More names and résumés poured in and the committee was faithful to go through them one by one.  Each committee member can tell a story such as lying in bed watching sermons late into the night or wondering how they would ever finish their stack of résumés. The task was hard and they struggled with what seemed an impossible task. But God was faithful and a word of encouragement from Jarrett Stephens, a Teaching Pastor at Prestonwood Baptist Church, pushed them through. “Don’t settle.” And they wouldn’t. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

When God Says "GO"


On Sunday, April 27th, I preached a message in view-of-a-call in all 3 morning services at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee. On May 4th, the church voted to call me as their Senior Pastor and with great excitement and expectation, we have accepted the call to go.

Just typing those words brings a smile to my face. The reason I chuckle under my breath is because it reminds me of the countless times growing up where people would shake my hand or greet me at church and would say things like, "Someday, you're going to Pastor a church… or Lead a church… or be a Preacher just like your Daddy." And my token response was one that was repeated quite regularly… "You're crazy! Never in a million years!"

Never in my wildest childhood dreams did I ever think I'd be doing... this.  Every step of this journey has been hilarious to me because I could have never predicted or planned God's path for my life. It's amazing how many times I've gotten it wrong. There have been times I could have sworn I'd be a businessman for the rest of my life and there have been other seasons where I thought I'd be a Student Ministry lifer. At times I thought I'd be a long-term Teaching Pastor or author. I've even had times where I thought I'd travel and speak full time. Even this time last year, I was convinced that God was going to have us in Hendersonville, Tennessee for the rest of our ministry, but it seems like every time I get it all figured out, God shows me that His plan is different than mine.

This time, God's made his plan for my life crystal clear! He's called me to Pastor.  Despite my own insecurities, I'm confident that God wants to use me to be a part of something special in Jackson, Tennessee.

It's pretty amazing how God uses each season to prepare you for the season to come. I've had an amazing time serving at Long Hollow! Serving on the Executive Leadership team alongside David Landrith has been an experience I'll always cherish. He's demonstrated so many valuable leadership lessons to me and has also shown me how to lead a church through difficult circumstances. He trusted me with his platform and gave me an opportunity to preach/teach/lead in a very vulnerable time for Long Hollow, and for that I'll always be indebted to Him. I'm confident that the best days of Long Hollow are yet to come and I'm confident that God is going to continue doing something special in Middle Tennessee! To keep up with David and his battle with cancer, Click HERE.

When God tells you to "GO" it can be a little scary. I think about how Abraham felt when God told him (in Genesis 12) to, "Go from you country and your people and your father's household to the land I will show you." He didn't know what to expect. He didn't know what to think. He had to have a complete faith and trust that the Lord, in all of His provision, would provide clarity as Abraham pursued the call... and God did. God promised him in verse 2, "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you." Abraham understood, that the destination may be unfamiliar, but the reward for obedience is great.

I'm pursuing this transition with the same expectation from God. My family will be moving to a new place; one that we are pretty unfamiliar with. It requires a lot of faith to leave a place you love; where you're comfortable and content and move to a place where there is uncertainty. But what God has shown me lately is that when you put your "YES" on the table… and agree to follow God's plan no matter what, the word uncertainty doesn't exist anymore. It's a reminder that God's will for our lives is all the certainty we need.

We couldn't be more excited about our upcoming season of ministry at Englewood. It's one of the great churches in Tennessee and one that has a long, rich history of great ministry under many great leaders. We've fallen in love with the people already and can't wait to see what God has in store for us as we lock arms and begin serving together. I'm convinced that Englewood is a church poised for something big in the days to come! I covet your prayers these days as I'm preparing to be the man/leader God's called me to be.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jordan Speaking at Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas

Jordan will be preaching at Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas this Sunday for Dr. Ronnie Floyd as part of their Palm Sunday services.  He will be speaking at the Springdale Campus as well as the Pinnacle Hills Campus.

This will be the kickoff of something pretty unique.  Cross Church is launching an 8-day initiative that will begin with Palm Sunday and end on Easter Sunday.

They will be hosting a number of events that will mark, with great reverence, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  As part of this week, they will have Passion Week Lunches each day, where someone will unpack the seven sayings of Christ on the Cross.  If you live in that area, I'd highly encourage you to make this a priority.  For more information on all of the upcoming Easter events, please visit the Cross Church Website here.

It's going to be a great week in Northwest Arkansas!  Please pray for Jordan as he speaks as well as the church as they prepare for a great week of remembrance and celebration.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Six Steps to Finding Your Sweet Spot in Ministry

Just in case you're from another planet… this is a baseball bat.




In baseball, when you're batting and the Pitcher throws the ball, you can swing it and strike the ball anywhere from the bottom of the handle to to top of the barrel.

But there's one spot unlike any other part of the bat, and it's called the "sweet spot."  This is where you're going to get the maximum power and see the greatest result.

Doubles, triples and home runs happen when the ball hits the sweet spot.  Foul tips, grounders, and pop-ups happen when the ball finds itself outside the sweet spot.

Believe it or not, the same is true of someone in ministry (or any other profession for that matter).  As Pastors (or professionals), we have a sweet spot; a place where we thrive and do our best work.  It's the area of our ministry that gets us the most excited.  It's the part of our job that seems to make the days pass by quickly and is usually pretty quick to bring a smile to our face. 

So what is your sweet spot in ministry?  Here are six steps to finding your sweet spot and making the most of your time at the plate.

1.  REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE A SWEET SPOT

Everybody has a sweet spot and the reason is because God made you that way.  He gave each one of us gifts, talents, and passions.  It says in Romans 12:6, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us."  And not only did God give us gifts, but He gave them to us so that we would serve others in ministry.  1 Peter 4:10 says, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."  That's pretty straight forward… God has given you gifts, talents and passions and when you use these things to serve others in ministry, it allows you to operate in your sweet spot.

2.  GET IN THE GAME IF YOU EXPECT TO GET A HIT

This seems pretty obvious, but the truth is, you'll never get a hit if you stay in the dugout.  You have to get in the game if you expect to get a hit.  Many times, we hoard the gifts God has given us instead of utilizing them.  We stockpile our gifts instead of sharing them.  When we refuse to operate in our God-given giftedness, we are essentially refusing to be maximized in the ministry God has called us to. 

How many men are called to preach, but they remain on the sidelines for whatever reason?  How many gifted Bible teachers continue to re-read the text to themselves over and over again without ever operating in their giftedness, teaching others what the Word of God says?  How many Paul's refuse to get involved with Timothy because they're afraid or apathetic?  When you get in the game and commit to swinging, you'll get hits.

3.  LISTEN TO YOUR BATTING COACHES

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Speaking at Roswell Street Baptist in Marietta, Georgia


I'm looking forward to speaking at Roswell Street Baptist in Marietta, GA this Sunday (3/16/2014) for their special #316weekend service.  If you are in the Atlanta area, be my guest and join us on Sunday at 11am.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Understanding the Differences between Inspiration & Motivation

Most people would say that 'Inspiration' and 'Motivation' are interchangeable terms for the most part.  But this idea is completely wrong.  Both of these concepts are designed to move people from point A to point B, but when you stop and think about it, these are two completely different vehicles that take people on two completely different rides.

I believe motivation is something that moves someones feet, whereas, inspiration is something that moves someones heart.

Motivation is the push.  Inspiration is the pull.

Both vehicles have the ability to move people, but I believe that we, as leaders, have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves the question, "In what way am I trying to move the people God has given me leadership over?  Am I simply trying to motivate them, or am I trying to inspire them?"

Many times we try to motivate people to do something without ever stopping to consider if they care about it or not.  We dictate policies, procedures or changes and then attempt to motivate our people to get on board.  When we do that, we may be moving the ball down the field, but at what cost?  Motivation leads to people doing what they're supposed to do or told to do.  It brings people to a place where progress may happen, but it won't be self-motivated or valuable to the person that's supposed to be following you.  Motivation will only get you so far in leadership.

Inspiration is a completely different vehicle.  The word "inspiration" literally means, "To be 'in spirit.'"  That gives us the picture of someone that's tuned-in to the spirit of something and when someone is inspired like that (or 'in spirit' like that), they become naturally bought-in and drawn-to seeing and experiencing progress.

Inspiration isn't about moving people to do what they're supposed to do or what you're telling them to do, it's about aligning your heart with their heart.  It's about connecting people to an idea that's bigger than themselves and bigger than your organization, and then giving them the opportunity to be a part of it.  When a person's heart is awakened and inspired, it creates an independent desire to move  away from point A and toward point B.

So how do you know if you're inspired?

  • You're ready to go right now!
  • Your passion is steady.
  • Your thoughts are constantly thinking about it.
  • You feel called by God to do it.
So… are you inspired?  
One more question… Are you trying to motivate people or inspire them?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

101 Impossible Things God Did



“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."  [Jeremiah 32:17]
From the Old Testament
1. Creation of the entire earth from nothing

2. The flood, when humanity did not even know what rain was

3. Sarah gives birth to Isaac at age 90

4. God spares Isaac on Mt. Moriah

5. Esau doesn’t kill Jacob despite of the deep hatred and grudge

6. Joseph’s rise to #2 in Egypt

7. A bush burns yet was unconsumed

8. (#8-17) 10 remarkable plagues on Egypt and the Egyptians

18. The Red Sea parted into two for the Israelites to cross

19. Manna and Quail from out of nowhere

20. Water from a dry rock

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hearing God's Voice & Discerning His Will

"I'm faced with a huge life-altering decision.  How do I make sure I'm choosing the path God wants me on and not the path I selfishly want to take?"  This is a question every believer faces at one point or another.

It's scary to consider that we can believe in God, have a relationship with Him, talk to Him, and still completely miss His will in our lives.  So the question is, "How do we hear God's Voice and Discern His Will?"

The Bible is clear that The Lord speaks to us through the Holy Spirit.  He's the third person of the Trinity (co-equal with God the Father and God the Son).  Scripture also teaches that God's Spirit dwells inside of every Christ-follower.  In John 14, Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.  I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you."

When Paul wrote his letters to the Christians in Rome and Galatia, he referred to the believers as being "led by the Spirit" (Rom. 8:14), and I have to believe that if someone is being led by the Spirit, then the Spirit must be able to communicate.  The same is true for us.  If the Holy Spirit is going to lead us, we can only assume that He's willing and able to communicate with us.

Sometimes we forget how powerful the Holy Spirit really is.  Scripture says that the Holy Spirit is just like Jesus; both being equally God, and He, like Christ, freely submits to the will of the Father.  Jesus explains the role of the Holy Spirit a little further in John 16:13:

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own. he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come."

There are 3 important things this verse teaches us --

1.  The Holy Spirit is Reliable

Thursday, February 13, 2014

17 Things I've Learned in 17 Years with Audra

17 years ago today, I showed up on Audra Podzemny's front porch with a dozen roses and asked her out.  She said yes!

As I was thinking about that this morning, I started considering what an incredible blessing she's been in my life.  To give you just a glimpse of what I'm talking about, I've decided to list out 17 things I've learned in 17 years with Audra:



  1. She loves Jesus with all her heart.
  2. She's is a caring, compassionate, loving, patient and consistent Mother to our children.
  3. She demonstrates to our kids what a godly women, wife and mother looks like every day.
  4. She's a giver and a servant leader.
  5. She makes our house a home and a place of retreat.
  6. She knows me as well and sometimes better than I know myself.
  7. She keeps my head thinking right thoughts and my heart soft to the needs around us.
  8. She's an encourager and a supporter.
  9. She has an independent call of ministry and loves doing life with and investing in women.
  10. She's more beautiful today than the day I met her.
  11. She knows how to make me laugh.  
  12. She's a prayer warrior.
  13. She's trustworthy, honest and a woman of integrity.
  14. She's a hard worker.
  15. She always seeks to do the right thing.
  16. She demonstrates selflessness on a daily basis.
  17. When she said, "I do," I knew it was for a lifetime.
I love you babe.



Thursday, February 6, 2014

20 Common Mistakes We "Not-So-Perfect" Parents Make

No parents are perfect.  Period.
But that shouldn't prevent us from recognizing the common mistakes we make and learn from them as we move forward.

I've never met a Mom or Dad that says, "I think we do everything right as parents," but I've met several that say, "I have a long way to go!"  Honestly,  I think we've all got a long way to go!  So, what are the mistakes so many of us make?

Here are 20 common mistakes that many of us "not-so-perfect" parents make: