All posts by Mark

Point Three

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I’ve had a few hours now to calm down from bringing the talk for the fourth time this weekend, but I still think that parenting is the toughest thing we get into as human beings.  So challenging, so complicated, and who even knows what the final score is until God adds it up?

Anyway, in the two morning services, with time limited due to the appeal I made for volunteers, (by the way, thanks to all of you who responded so overwhelmingly… you really excited some leaders, I can tell you that!)  I actually had to leave out the third point in my list of things you want in your parenting experience. Read More

Why can’t you be like my mom?

By | Message Series, NewSpring | No Comments

If you’re a NewSpringer you know this already, but for those of you who may not get to attend, in the current series, Love Songs, people are texting me questions during the talk. At the end of each service I answer some of the most frequently asked, but unfortunately, I only get to a handful. For the next few days, Mary Alice and I are going to try to tackle some of the others.  Today, I’m going to take a crack at one of my favorites.

To set it up, in the first talk, I warned guys about making unfavorable comparisons of their wives to other women.  I guess that prompted this one…

 How do you handle the situation when the woman he constantly compares you to is his mother?

Bet your first inclination is to pack him up and drop him off at her door, but before it comes to that, try to help him see three things that he’s not getting.

  1. I doubt he realizes how painful this is for you.  There’s nothing wrong with him remembering some positive quality his mother possesses, but when he uses that quality to show you up, he’s no longer honoring his mom, he’s inflicting damage on you.  Let him know, not in an accusative tone, but in an instructive way that his words hurt! 
  2. Guys sometimes get the idea that the way to inspire their wives is to point out other women who are doing something better.  Most guys have no idea how much pressure women put on themselves to measure up favorably to other women, and when the man whom they look to for comfort makes them feel inadequate, it has a devastating effect.  Help him understand  that kind of unfavorable comparison doesn’t inspire you, it makes you feel like shutting down.
  3. The obvious.  You’re not his mom. You’re his wife.  She may have strengths you don’t have, you have strengths she doesn’t, but that’s not the main point. The first thing the Bible says about marriage is in Genesis 2:24. God says a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife.  Remind him that you are his wife, and to the best of your power, and within reason,  you want to do the things that will please him, but at the end of the day, you are who you are, the woman God made you to be.  You’re not his mom, you’re not trying to be her, and although you honor who she is in his life, you’re his WIFE!

Mark

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

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Remember the old Aretha Franklin song about a woman needing respect from the guy in her relationship?  Actually, the real history of the song is a little different.  Turns out it wasn’t written by Aretha;  Otis Redding wrote and released it first, as the plea of a man for respect from a woman. (Check out the Wikipedia article on the song.)

Last week in Love Songs, my talk was on a man’s need for respect from a woman, and in each of the services I read a list that I compiled from a meeting with twelve NewSpring guys.  The list was the responses from two questions I asked them. What makes you feel respected? What makes you feel disrespected?  I went through the answers so fast that a number of you asked if I would give them again, so here they are.

What makes you feel respected?

1. Appreciation
2. Pleasant tone of voice
3. Comments of praise (especially made about him to others)
4. The feeling that he can be himself around her
5. When she goes out of her way to please him
6. Physical touch
7. The words, “I’m proud of you.”

What makes you feel disrespected?

1. The feeling of not being needed
2. Being down on her priority list
3. Being talked down to
4. Being criticized by someone and she doesn’t defend
5. Trying hard to please her but nothing seems to
6. Dishonesty

This weekend we’re talking about The Climb, the challenge of making marriage work for a lifetime. I can’t wait to get started.

Mark

The 7 Rules of Staying Power

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This weekend I talked about saying yes to perseverence and I flew through the 7 rules of staying power. So in case you didn’t get them all in the talk, here they are:

1. Any quest in life, truly worthwhile,  will present you with a “quit now” moment.

2.  A life of quitting early will leave you with an inventory of uncompleted business.

3. We tend to overestimate our own strength, and underestimate God’s.

4. You don’t have to beat your opponents, just outlast them.

5. Battles are won at moments that don’t feel like victories.

6. In the endurance vs. escape struggle, vision of the payoff is what tips the scales.

7. Perseverance is the key to  healthy, godly self-esteem.

Say Yes to Service

By | Message Series, NewSpring | One Comment

Last weekend was fantastic! We got off to a great start with our new series, Say Yes, with a challenge to step up to the plate in the area of generosity. I really enjoyed all the stories of

One more time, I need your help. If you have a story from your life about a time when you served others, either by meeting a need, or volunteering at NewSpring or somewhere else, and it impacted your life, would you share it with me? You can either email it to me, or post it as a comment on the blog or on our Facebook page. Last week it was so awesome to find out all the various areas where you guys are being generous, I can’t wait to hear about where you are serving, and what it’s doing for you.

  • Discovery is this weekend. Maybe you’ve been attending NewSpring for a little while and you’re ready to officially become part of our family (or you’re at least thinking about it). Here’s my personal invitation to be part of Discovery, an informal setting where you’ll get to find out more about who we are, what we’re about, and discover all the fantastic opportunities here. You’ll get to meet our staff, and I’ll be there too. It happens at 9:15 in the East Building. If you get up too late for breakfast, don’t worry, there’ll be snacks. I think you’ll really love it. If you want to sign up, just go to newspring.org/discovery.
  • One more thing. I’ve got some exciting news about the future of NewSpring that I’m going to share this weekend in the message.

I can’t wait! See you in a few days.

Mark

Say Yes!

By | Message Series, NewSpring | 2 Comments

Good morning NewSpring!

I’m so excited about our new series that begins this weekend. It’s called Say Yes! It’s all about living confidently in a scared-to-death world. I was just watching a business channel this morning, and the expert talking heads were bemoaning that they really had no idea where to invest with certainty. And it’s not just on Wall Street; the paralysis has trickled down to Main Street as well. People don’t know whether to spend or save, buy or sell, change jobs or stay put. It’s just too fuzzy out there.

Hey, did you know there’s no downturn in Heaven? God’s not hung up until stimulus bill money gets released. He’s still looking for people to bless. Take a look at one of my favorite verses in the Bible.

2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT

9 The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

This weekend we start talking about four impulses it’s totally safe to say, “Yes” to. I’m so ready to get started!

Just one more thing. Would you be open to helping me craft this series? I’d love to get some of your stories about how you’ve said “Yes” in the past to these impulses. This weekend’s talk is, “Say Yes to Generosity.” Do you have a story to tell about a time when you stepped up to the plate and were generous? I’d love to read it. We’re opening a spot on our Facebook page where you can share your stories. To get to our page, just go to our website at newspring.org and look on the home page for the Facebook icon. Thanks for your help!

Have a great Tuesday!

Mark

Change Your Goals If…

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Mary Alice and I are getting away for a few days to our hometown of Ft. Worth and the weather here is incredible! Everybody is out in shorts and t-shirts.  I want to believe it’s Spring, but I know better. Anyway, I hope you’re having a fantastic Monday.

Yesterday, I closed out the Change series with a talk about changing our goals. I sailed through the eight indicators that you might need to change goals and I promised to put them on the blog. Well, here they are!

Change your goals if…

1. If you don’t have any to speak of

2. If they’re arbitrary obsessions

3. If they’re too easy

4. They’re not yours

5. They’re no longer clear

6. They won’t get you where you need to go

7. They’re too heavily weighted on this life

8. The goal is costing more to execute than the result is worth

10 Questions

By | Message Series, NewSpring | 4 Comments

Hey, doesn’t God continue to blow our minds with what He’s doing at NewSpring?!!! And it’s not just the size of the crowds, they’re huge and growing all right, but it’s the size of the CHANGE that’s happening. The stories you guys tell me about the changes you’re making really excite me.

The talk I just brought was called Change Your Crowd, and in it, I posed 10 questions all of us need to ask about the people in our inner circle. I went through them so fast, a lot of you didn’t have time to copy all of them down, so here they are.

10 Questions

1.    Do I do things I woudn’t ordinarily do when I’m with them?
2.    Do I have to keep making excuses to myself and others for them?
3.    Do I feel challenged to become a better person when I’ve been around them?
4.    Am I more critical of others when I hang with them?
5.    Does this person give me a new problem every time I see them?
6.    Does this person play up to my weaknesses  to prove I need them?
7.    Do I ever feel controlled by this friend?
8.    Do I feel pressured to continue the relationship when I really want to let it go?
9.    Am I pressuring friends to stay, when they really want to go?
10.    Does this friend let me talk about my friendship with God?

Have a great Monday,

Mark

What a Phenomenal Weekend!

By | Message Series, NewSpring | 2 Comments

I keep thinking I’ve seen what God can do, then he blows my mind again. It was just a little over a year ago that we began to consistently reach the 2000 mark in attendance. In late November of ‘08, we saw 3000 the first time on an ordinary weekend (I don’t know, do we ever have an ordinary weekend?)

Anyway, when we hit 3000, we were in some deep trouble with overcrowding especially in the 11 a.m. service, and I asked who would be willing to move to Saturday night. (The Saturday service was the newest, and there was still room.) Special thanks go out to Kidzworld leaders and team, because in order to make Saturday night a complete service, they stepped up and made sacrifices that were huge.

This last weekend, we had four new things going on. A new series, Change; a new service time for the early service (15 minutes earlier); a whole new Sunday service at 12:30 p.m.; and Clayhouse (our high school experience) moving to coincide with the new service time.

It was great! First of all, thanks to all of you who were willing to move to Saturday night. If you were there, I don ‘t need to say anything. Nearly a thousand people worshipped in the Saturday XL service. That represents at least a doubling of that service. So you can imagine what I was thinking. “Great, 500 people moved from the 11:00 service to Saturday night, now we’ll have more room at 11. Not hardly, we had to bring in chairs. Total attendance for the weekend was almost 3700!

Hey, I’m not being Pollyannaish about this, but I have to tell you what it looks like to me. It seems when we do something bold to make room for more people, God fills up the space with people looking for Him!

And hey, this isn’t just about big numbers, remember every single one of those 3700 people is someone God loved enough to send his son to die for! Many people accepted Jesus this weekend in all of our environments.

To all of you who volunteer, every one who has altered your schedule to help us, you have my heartfelt gratitude. I’m sure Jesus will thank you properly someday! Wonder what God’s cooking up next.

Have a great Tuesday,

Mark

What in the world’s going on?

By | Just Thoughts, NewSpring | No Comments

This morning about 5:00, I started watching the news. I checked out the cable news channels, surfed over to CNBC for a little business to see what went on overseas during the night, and sure enough, it wasn’t long before I got the obligatory sour stomach.  Do you get the idea that the talking heads (experts in their minds) don’t have a clue?  I was told, years ago, that all you have to do to be an expert, is travel three-hundred miles away from home and carry a fancy leather briefcase. Today you only need to get yourself on cable news and yell louder than the other experts.

No kidding, though. I get the feeling that the media types who are trying to explain it all to Joe the Plumber are foggier than we are.  On one channel I caught this expert selling the idea that Iran is really our friend. That behind all that death to America rhetoric and nuclear proliferation, they’re really crazy about the USA, and can’t wait to sit down and discuss with us how to help create a stable Iraq. He added that despite the saber rattling, Iran was just fine with Israel. How about a verse of Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

If that’s not enough to get you woozy, check out the expert spinmeisters weighing in on what a McCain or Obama administration would look like.  If I were a betting man, with all the craziness going on, I’d bet not even McCain or Obama know what their administrations are going to look like.

What’ll really get you talking to yourself is watching business news. Bulls and bears have been replaced by calves in hailstorms. The expert guys and gals stare into the camera and give us their opinions, but being a longtime communicator, I recognize that look. It says, I don’t have the foggiest notion what’s going to happen, but the camera is on me and I have to say something.

After about a half-hour of that, I came up for air, and went into the living room where Mary Alice was working on tonight’s talk.  For the last few weeks at Powerlines, (Bible discussion that she and I host Wednesday nights at 6:30) we’ve been looking at prophecy and things that are going to happen at the end of this age.  Tonight, we’re planning a discussion on the last battle, Armegeddon, and the millennial reign of Jesus on the earth.  Heavy but extremely exciting stuff!

Juxtaposing my news surfing against what she had been doing recalibrated my thinking. I’d been listening to people, who although smart, really have no idea what’s going to happen. Mary Alice was reading the Word of Someone who not only KNOWS what’s going to happen but CONTROLS outcomes!  Suddenly I remembered the words of a very old song, one of the first my dad taught me.  The chorus goes like this:

Many things, about the future
I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

Mark