Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Baptism Video - Jeff Hilley

A few weeks ago we held a baptism service at the beach, and Jeff Hilley was able to publicly declare his faith in Jesus Christ. Watch as Jeff tells his story:


Monday, September 29, 2008

Are We LO$T?

What happens if an individual or a family spends more money than they make? What if they continue to do so, year-after-year?

What happens if an entire nation behaves in such a manner?

The headlines of the last few days have been clear. Our country is financially lost. Does the Bible offer any solution relevant for today's economy?

Mark your calendar now for the start of new series coming to Access Church on November 2: LO$T. The answers aren't easy, but change is possible.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Warthog Emergency

Felt like with all the gloom & doom in the news you could use a good laugh on a Saturday. Enjoy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Wall Street Meltdown

I watched the president's address Wednesday evening, and I found it interesting that he spent 5 of his 12.5 minutes explaining the history of the problem. I thought he did well to not cast blame on any one specific individual or group of individuals.

However, he did address a specific heart issue: Greed.

Greed's a pretty strong word. It's pretty harsh to accuse someone of being greedy. But the president implied that the entire nation had gotten a bit greedy the last 10 years or so, and that greed has grown to have massive implications for our economy.

Politicians and economists in Washington are trying to arrive at a solution for the credit crisis. But what's the solution for greed?

This Sunday, Andy Stanley is going to address the greed in our hearts. This greed, left undealt with, will destroy our lives as surely as greed is destroying our economy.

Join us at the UNF Fine Arts Center at 9:00am or 10:30am for a startling examination of our own hearts. Even better, Andy will offer a solution that is simple and clear, and can be implemented right away!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Simon's Baptism

You know how we like to have folks videotape their baptism stories ahead of time and show them at the baptism service?

You know how we say, "You can have as many takes as it takes?" Well, Simon at Buckhead Church took two days to film his two-minute video. But when it came time to show the video in the service, the equipment failed. Watch as the congregation insists on hearing his story anyway:


How Much is Enough?

Our family took a spontaneous trip up to Jekyll and St. Simons Islands on Labor Day. It was refreshingly deserted on these quiet islands, where the canopies of live oak make you feel as if you're in another world.

The home pictured here was advertised for sale. We were pretty tempted, but fell just a few mil short of the asking price.

What cracked me up, though, was the realtor's description, "At 7,000 square feet, this home is the perfect size."

The perfect size! For what, a village?

Now, before you think I'm passing judgment on folks with large houses, let me assure you that I'm just as guilty. In my mind, there is a "perfect"-sized house for my family. It's not 7,000 sq. ft., but it's always just a little bigger than the one I currently live in.

For fourteen years our family of six lived in an 1,100 sq. ft. home with one bathroom. A friend was encouraging me to look for a larger home, when another friend, who lived in the Philippines, asked, "How many families live in your home with you?" That, my friends, is perspective.

It's so easy to look at the folks who have more than we do, and forget how much of the world lives on far less. Here's an exercise that rocked my perspective recently: Go here and enter your annual family income. See how you compare to the rest of the world.

I saw an article in a magazine this week about a couple who find it "necessary" to visit the spa once a week to "relieve stress." My first thought was, "If you can afford to spend one day a week at the spa, you don't have anything to stress about!"

Then I thought about the rest of the world. How they would laugh at my perspective, and say that I have nothing to stress about.

It just seems this whole following-Jesus thing should impact how I spend my money, you know? Do you wrestle with this?

Let me put it this way. What if you won the lottery and became fabulously wealthy overnight? You now have $84 million in the bank. You can set your own salary. How much per year should you draw on that account, just to spend on yourself?

Oh, I know you'd give so much of it away. You'd be so generous. Yeah, me too. I'd buy new ski boats for all the guys that have been pulling me all these years, pro-bono.

Really? Is that what we would do? We'd use the money to give more stuff to our friends who are also in the wealthiest 1% of the world? Why? Just because we know them? What about the people who are in the second percentile, or the third? Or the 99th?

And what of the leftover in that $84Mil account? Would you draw $50,000/year? $250,000? $1,000,000? How much is enough to spend on ourselves?

Think about it this week. What does it really mean to be generous? And if we're not generous, does that make us greedy? Is there an in-between?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baptism Video - Amy Hillard

A few weeks ago we held a baptism service at the beach, and Amy Hillard was able to publicly declare her faith in Jesus Christ. Watch as Amy tells her story:


Monday, September 22, 2008

What's Next?

I love being part of the Access community, partly because this is a group of people that are always moving forward. Just three weeks into the series, "It Came From Within," and already you're asking, "What's next?"

And I know why you're asking. You are thinking about a friend, family member, or co-worker that you'd like to invite to Access Church. And the start of a new series is such a natural time to invite someone.

Well, I've got some great news. The next series is a lay-up. It's called "Letters to the Next President," and features three messages on leadership that any president, Republican or Democrat, can learn from. The fun starts October 12.

We will not be endorsing any candidate or party. Instead, we'll focus on the virtue of good, solid leadership. Principles that can apply whether you are the president of a nation or a family business, whether you lead an army around the globe or to the bus stop. I guarantee you'll learn something new!

You can get a feel for the series at LetterstotheNextPresident.com

Who will you invite?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Andy Stanley's Leadership Podcast

Here's something I learned over at Orange Families:

Andy Stanley, our teaching pastor, has a new podcast focused on leadership.

Click here to listen or subscribe to the podcast.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chasing People

I believe there are two kinds of people you should be chasing in your life:

1. People who are chasing God. It would do everyone reading this a great deal of good to surround themselves with genuine, close friendships comprised of people who are striving to see God made real through their words & deeds. Don't know how to start that kind of relationship with someone, or where to find them? Come to GroupLink, October 19, at 4:30pm!

2. People whom God is chasing. We are called to influence the world for Christ, and you can't do that from an arm's length. Start today, getting to know the person you work with, play with, or live with, and love them to Christ. If your heart isn't breaking right now for a specific person who hasn't yet embraced salvation through Jesus, then your heart and God's heart are in different places.

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


From the very inception of Access Church, we said that if we could use just one word to describe Access Church, it would be "relational."

Let's face it, you can listen to our music on your iPod. You can even listen to Andy Stanley, our teaching pastor, on at least two iTunes podcasts.

So, Access Church has to be about so much more than music-and-a-message.

It has to be about relationships.

Here are three we focus on:

1. Intimacy with God includes regular private and corporate worship experiences as well as allowing the truth of the Bible to change how we live.

2. Authentic community. For us, community with insiders happens in community groups. The method isn't as important as recognizing that we need other people around us in safe, authentic relationships in which we can discuss our faith, God's Word, and how it relates to our purpose in life. (Not in a group? Join us for GroupLink on October 19!) We even organize our children's environments by small groups, and every child has a small group leader.

3. The world around us. We aren't called to alienate those who disagree with us, but rather to influence outsiders with such grace and love that they want to know and worship the same God we do.

These relationships are vital and interdependent. Imagine how God would be honored if everyone reading this blog committed to pursue these three relationships equally and with vigor!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Baptism Video - Brad Arrowsmith

A few weeks ago we held a baptism service at the beach, and Brad Arrowsmith was able to publicly declare his faith in Jesus Christ. Watch as Brad tells his story:


Monday, September 15, 2008

What's in Your Mailbox?

Look what arrived in my mailbox this morning!

We're hoping this postcard will cause many who've not thought about attending church in a long time to hear something unexpected. The postcard leads them to this page on our web site, where they can download samples of our worship music.

Perhaps if they like our music, they'll realize that church can be a lot different than they thought!

The postcards don't represent a new strategy for drawing people to Access Church. Instead, by mailing them to your neighbors, we're reinforcing the strategy we already believe in: Invest & Invite.

Investing in people means taking the time to get to know the people around you, care about their issues, and be a part of their world. It means offering love and grace to people who haven't experienced nearly enough of either. They could be your family members, or they could be people who are nothing at all like you...on the surface.

Inviting those individuals to church used to be a risky proposition. We know that. That's why we strive to create environments which are predictable in their excellence. We want to partner with you so that once you do the hard part (inviting) you can be assured that we're not going to let you down (ineptness) or pull the rug out from under you (judgmentalism). 

Dropping a few postcards in the mail might make the inviting easier. If you got one, that means your neighbor did as well. Just maybe, they were surprised by the design, the music, or one of Andy's messages.

If you've been investing in a friend/neighbor/co-worker, ask them if they got the card, and if anything about it surprised them. Perhaps they're ready to visit Access Church in person.

If you haven't been investing in the people around you, let this be an encouragement to start today. Ask someone about their weekend. Initiate a conversation around the water cooler or the bus stop. Take a neighbor out for coffee—just to listen. 

Wouldn't it be great if the community around us began to see that it's not just our music that's different, but our attitude towards them, as well?

Surprise someone today!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Last Sunday was pretty cool. There was a definite buzz at Access Church. Perhaps because we're now meeting every Sunday, or maybe because it was the first Sunday of the new school year.

Either way, we had 10 first-time families register children in Waumba Land and UpStreet. That's pretty cool!

We refer to Sunday mornings as a "foyer environment" because it is our primary goal on Sunday mornings to make guests feel welcome. Those of you reading this blog are key to making these families feel welcomed at Access. Here are a few thoughts as we look to our second-ever-in-a-row Sunday:

  1. I was recently shopping for Stephanie's birthday. I ventured into the women's section of a department store. Not my comfort zone. The salespeople didn't notice me, however, because they were completely engrossed in their own conversation. I waited to be noticed, then finally gave up and left. Let's remember that while it's fun to see other members of the "family" on Sunday mornings, the Foyer is all about welcoming our guests.
  2. Look for the uninitiated. They're pretty easy to spot, really. They're looking for the signs, reading their way to where they need to go. Why don't you help them out? Don't just direct them—escort them to where they need to go.
  3. Be warm without overbearing. Most guest don't want to be interviewed upon arrival. Give them some space. But others would love to share their story of how God has led them to Access Church. Yeah, I know... tough balance. But we've got to work hard at reading people!
Keep in mind our win for Sunday mornings, "To completely change the mind of the unchurched about what church can be."

Let's surprise some people this Sunday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Who's Helping You Worship?

We had a great service programming meeting yesterday. It was more relaxed than I expected, because even though we're doing back-to-back Sundays for the rest of our lives, Darin and Kevin are way out ahead of the curve and we're talking about November and December, not next week. Huge kudos to a great team!

So, we got to talking about introducing some new tunes to the worship rotation at Access. It was really fun, as we each went through our iTunes libraries and took turns playing artists that are really helping us worship. Here are some of our current favorites:

Lee McDerment
Charlie Hall
Chris Tomlin
Eddie Kirkland
Casey Darnell
Phil Wickham
Tenth Avenue North
David Crowder
Robbie Seay Band
Tim Hughes
Big Daddy Weave

Now, we want to hear from you. Who's helping you worship this week? Please comment below and let us know!

Join us this Sunday to worship with Steve Collom at 9:00 & 10:30am.

Who will you invite?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Catalyst 2008—Together

Don't wait another minute to register for Catalyst 2008. This could be the year it sells out Gwinnet Arena! Held October 9-10, just north of Atlanta, this is one amazing conference for leaders in business, church, and home. It's the perfect blend of fun, great learning, and amazing worship times.

I believe in Catalyst so much that I put my money where my mouth is, and paid for two of my lifelong friends to attend this year. It's that great. The Access staff will be heading up on Wednesday, October 8, and coming home late on October 10. You should join us.

There's a special rate for Access volunteers. Give us a call and we'll help you score a significant discount.

And, trust me on this: Book your lodging now. You don't want to end up in the same hotel we got last year!

Watch this video and tell me you're still not sure...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It Came From Within

Join us each Sunday, September 7—October 5, as Andy Stanley walks us through a thorough heart examination. What's in your heart?

Services are held in the Fine Arts Center at UNF every Sunday at 9:00am and 10:30am. UNF is located just off 9A, one exit north of J. Turner Butler Blvd.

Waumba Land (Birth through Pre-K) is offered at both hours, and UpStreet (K-Grade 5) and xtreme (Grades 6-12) are offered at 10:30am.

Here's a taste.