Thursday, November 30, 2006

Be an informed, voting member of Horizons

Hey Horizons,

On Wed., Dec. 6, the Horizons Community will gather for the annual all-church meeting with our conference district superintendent Keith Johnson. If you are a member of Horizons you need to attend so that you will be aware of the goals and ministry projects set for 2007.

Sure, if you're a member you get to vote on the budget, elected ministry leaders, and all that administrative stuff. But even if you're not yet a member but feel passionately that Horizons is your church home, come to the meeting. It's pretty inspiring to hear all the different stories and successes going on in our church.

If you've never been to an annual meeting, give it a try this year. If you don't like it, then you don't have to attend next year. We'll start at 7 p.m. with dessert and wrap up the night by 8:30 p.m. I hope to see you there.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Using technology to further our mission

Horizons embraces technology. In our nearly 10 year history we've always been above the curve, but 2006 has taken us into mostly uncharted territory for not only our church but for the Church in general. And more changes are coming soon. Here's a taste of one thing we have planned:

  • eNewsletter instead of printed and mailed newsletter. Our postage costs are extraordinarily high. In making tough budget decisions, it's been determined that we can save thousands of dollars by changing our bi-weekly printed and mailed newsletter to a weekly emailed newsletter.
  • Our email newsletter provider, Constant Contact, will allow anyone visiting the Horizons web site to sign up for our eNews and to also specify a number of info lists they want to be on such as: DiscoveryZone, prayer requests, 56 Ministries, women's ministry or men's group. Instead of everyone being saturated with information they don't need, you'll get just what you want in your inbox.
  • What about people who don't have email? We're not going to leave you out if you don't have email. We'll still send out a regular postcard to anyone who doesn't have access to email. However, we want to have that list down to no more than 200 pieces which give us the best postage rate. We'll also have printed copies of our newsletter at the Information Center for anyone who would like to pick up a copy on Sunday.

While we work through this transition, we need your help. If you are already getting emails from Horizons, your information will be uploaded into the Constant Contact system. It is a spam-free service and your email address will never be sold or used for any purpose other than to inform you about Horizons Community Church. If you are not currently getting emails from Horizons, it is because we don't have your current email address. Please add that information to your Communication Card any Sunday or send an email to Candie at and make the request to be added to the Horizons mailing list.

This will be a transition over several months and we appreciate your support during that time. It is our intention to be good stewards of God's resources and the money entrusted to Horizons. This will help eliminate thousands of dollars in postage fees, copies and production. Our costs with Constant Contact will be a mere $126 a year for the size of our current list. Isn't that incredible?

Thanks for your help and understanding.


p.s. If you want to get your own free web-based email address but aren't sure how to go about setting one up, feel free to call me or Jamie Brown and we can help you get started.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Get connected:

We're having a great time with the new Web site. Right now, the basic structure is up with the Sunday message series highlighted along with three upcoming events, a running list of news and both the Horizons blog and Pastor Steve's blog.

There's still a ton of more features to add: video, audio, photo galleries, a calendar, more ministry info and serving opportunities. One feature already up and running, however, has the potential to help the Horizons Community reach out to friends and family. Our evites are an automated way to invite others to Horizons.

Get connected yourself and help others get connected at Horizons. Have you logged on yet?


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Statement of faith or fashion statement?

Some months ago, Mace asked me why I wasn't wearing my cross around my neck. I'd been wearing it continually but the chain started making my neck itch, so I took it off. I love wearing it and having that constant reminder of my faith but one can't be scratching at their skin all day and night either so it's tucked into a cedar box on my dresser.

If you're a Christian, you know it isn't something you wear on the outside. Christianity is an inside job: heart, soul and mind. There is an outward expression of Christianity in how we serve others, but again, it's not clothing or jewelry. But if you're a people watcher and maybe read People magazine, it seems that in the past few years, crosses have become more of a fashion statement, less of a statement of faith. When I was a kid, you were a hard-core Jesus freak if you wore a cross or, even bolder, a t-shirt from church or with some Godly message. If you wore those things, it was like being outed. Today? Not so much.

Instead of wearing what could be confused as a fashion statement, my statement of faith should be more about what I do. If people cannot tell what we believe by how we live, we're not living our faith out loud. If it takes wearing a cross to express my love for Christ, then I've got work to do.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dear Erin

How could I have left you out of my thank yous? Is our staff growing by such numbers that I could actually forget someone? And you of all people. Do I think of you more as a friend than a staff member? Regardless, there's no excuse. But here are my thanks to you:

Erin, you are the very heart of our children's program. I remember our first meeting and how you later shared your vision for our Horizons children's ministry. It was such a compelling vision that I wanted to be a part of that and you quickly included me in your plans. I loved working with you on the team, traveling to the Promiseland workshop, and working weekly with our DZ kids. Everything I know about working with kids has come from you. You've been a parenting role model for me and a great resource when I have kid questions and quandaries. Your faith and your love for kids shows in everything you do. With all the kids we have in DZ, you still manage to take time to get to know them and their parents.

When you first shared your vision with me for DZ, Mace was a newborn. But I knew that I wanted your vision to happen so that when he was a DZ kid, he'd have a fabulous program to teach him about God, Jesus and the Bible. And here we are, three years later and Mace is in the 3 year old class having a blast but coming home with Bible stories to tell, songs to sing and teachers to talk about. For all of that, I thank you, Erin.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dear Steve, Candie, Jamie, Mark, Jaime and David

I meant to write each of you a personal note telling you how much I appreciate you. They were going to be really nice and clever on fine notecards made of 100% cotton fiber. I was going to use my best handwriting (translation: I was going to sit down and really spend some time to make them neat).

Your cards didn't get lost, I didn't take the time to sit down and write. The next best thing I can do now even though this is now a week late is to take an hour to sit now and tell each of you a few things on my mind:

Steve: I've known several pastors in my life and you're my first "first name" pastor. It's given me an entirely new perspective on pastors in general -- you've made your profession, your calling more personal to me and less authoritarian. It's been a cool distinction. And you know there are times when I even call you "Steve" without the title. You're both pastor and friend to me and our Horizons Community which I think is unique.

You've trusted me with much, including your reputation. None of it I take lightly. Thank you, Steve.

Jamie: Your talents and skills seem endless -- is there anything you can't do? I think most people know you as a Christ-loving musician and songwriter but I'm not sure most know what a tech geek you truly are (and I say that with the utmost respect because I'm mostly clueless on anything with a wire). I enjoy working on creative projects with you and with the exception of meeting deadlines (where's my Christmas series graphic?), it's always an enjoyable process. I appreciate all that you do (whether I understand half of it or not), and your friendship. Thank you, Jamie.

Mark: We are so blessed to have you working with our youth. Thank you for being the strong presence our kids need and for giving so much of yourself and your time. I'm not sure there are really any part-time ministry jobs -- so thank you, Mark.

Jaime: You were Mace's first experience having a teacher. You've set a high expectation for him on what and who a teacher is and the kind of heart a teacher has for her students. I hope when he moves on to preschool and kindergarten he's not disappointed. You've been a wonderful addition to our Toddler and Twos program to give these kids structure and solid Bible teaching in a truly loving environment. Thank you, Jaime.

David: We're so lucky to have you on the team at Horizons. Your video was hilarious (I hope everyday isn't like that!) and I now have this vision of you coming to work with this Mission Impossible look on your face, ready for anything. Thank you, David.

Candie: I love you so much! You've been a best friend for years now and I cannot imagine Horizons without you (nor limo rides and lunch). I miss the old days (pre-baby) when I spent Wednesdays with you at the Trade Center office. Fun times. We got so much work done but laughed the entire time. I don't miss the newsletter production, but I miss hanging out with you. You always did things that boggled my mind, like being able to rattle off the routing number of your bank account. NO ONE MEMORIZES THEIR ROUTING NUMBER!!! That's just scary. And that's why I love you -- I never know what you'll say next.

You've been a great friend and a great servant at Horizons. Thank you, Candie.

Steve, Candie, Jamie, Mark, Jaime and David...thanks again. And sorry about not handwriting these.


We're live in Lincoln, Nebraska

The site is up. It took awhile to get to Lincoln (it was live in Chicago where our hosts are located around 4:30 p.m. yesterday) but now we're up and running. If you're reading us from other countries and planets, be patient.

Surf the site. Enjoy it. If you have information to share with the eTeam, send me an email at If you have complaints, wait at least a week to share them with the eTeam so we can all enjoy the launch for a few days. And please remember, the site is always going to be a work in progress. We still have a ton of features to add including audio and video, photo galleries (we need your digital pictures!), the calendar and more pages with more opportunities to get connected to God and Horizons.

One thing that is up and running are the Sunday message Evites. This is about the easiest and most painfree way of inviting your friends, co-workers, family and others to Horizons. All you do is click on the Evite line, add in your contact's name and email address, type up a little note and hit send. Go ahead and send one to yourself to see how cool they are.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Patience isn't one of my spiritual gifts

If you haven't noticed, the new site is still not up. We're waiting on some tech information to complete the switch so we're still a few hours away from going live. And yes, it's driving me nuts.

I'm not a patient person. God has given me many challenges to help me overcome this flaw and this launch business is just another way He is trying to get me to chill out and just let things happen. I'm not a worrier -- I just want things the way I want it and when I want it. I'm a scheduler. I like date-certains and time-certains. I belong to the Picky Chick club and my closest friends are exactly the same which is why we all get along. My friends don't complain when I order food at a restaurant. I prefer IM to email because I live in this one-hour photo/digital world and email is so slow. This year, I'm giving up my Franklin Planner and will just be using Outlook and a mini pocket calendar for quick notes. I love the speed of technology, I love immediate problem resolution, and I long for the days when I'll be able to do all of this and more because it'll no longer be necessary to type. I am a Star Trek: Next Generation fan. I want a replicator. I want a micro-washer and micro-dryer so that laundry will only take 10 minutes per load.

The launch will happen when God's ready. God's got his own time-table and right now, I'm going to let this go and turn this over to Him. Keep checking either today or during the weekend. Once it happens, we'll all have a nice surprise.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Two months late (but who's counting?)

Today is the day. Finally. We've missed several soft and hard deadlines (all self-imposed, but deadlines nonetheless). We've experienced a learning curve that will continue in a slow but steady fashion as a neophyte Web team trains and learns a new system for maintaining our new Web site.

We're ready to launch. You heard it here first. We're flipping the switch today if all the ducks are in the so-called row. It won't happen instantly...once the switch is made, it can take up to 48 hours to cycle through the mysterious complexities of cyberspace so it'll be a huge surprise as to when the site will be live.

Yes, that will be me hanging out at and hitting refresh hourly. Pathetic, I know, but I'm trying to be honest here...that's exactly what I'll be doing. I won't be able to resist. I hope you won't be able to resist either.

It's been great fun getting the new site ready. It's not perfect -- it probably never will be. It will always be a work in progress as we continue to add information, keep everything current and interesting, add photo galleries, audio and video and provide more ways to keep up with and stay connected at Horizons.

Your eTeam is always open to comments, suggestions and corrections. Email me at We also need lots of pictures and video from all the Horizons ministries. If you want to talk about specifics, give me a call @ 483.1819.

Enjoy the sights at the new site.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Seinfeld gets Horizonized (not that there's anything wrong with that)

If you missed it, then you missed it. Sorry.

Jerry. Elaine. George. Kramer. They were all there Sunday night at the Horizons tailgate party. Jerry's living room. Snapple. A skit about nothing. You shouldn't have missed it.

What a great night. I haven't been out much in the past month...for me, just seeing everyone and hanging out was a nice break. Laughing...yeah, that was good too. I know, the entire night wasn't all fun and games. We did get down to some serious details like the building fund and future payments that will be due. We watched a serious video welcoming our new staff members (OK, that wasn't so serious) and Superman aka Steve had a cameo in another video segment. Maybe we have a hard time being too serious and that's OK with me.

Thanks to Jerry and Theresa for planning a terrific night. I know there were a ton of people involved in the process, so thanks to everyone -- great job! And yes, I have the Seinfeld piece on video. Giddyup.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Breaking the rules

The family and I are hanging out in Ogallala, celebrating a milestone birthday for Eric's grandmother who just turned 90. Today I took Mace to a nearby park to let him run off some of his 3-year-old energy reserves.

As he was playing on the equipment, I was walking around the park and started reading the rules and regulations sign. One of the first no-nos was "running." The entire line was "no running, pushing or shoving." OK, sure I'll stop my kid from the pushing and shoving, but really, no running at a park?

Some rules are just begging to be broken. Jesus broke the law by healing on the Sabbath. It was a silly rule. I hate getting so caught up in rules and regulations but as a parent, I am always making up rules for Mace. But no running at a park? That just makes me laugh.

Today is Veteran's Day. Thanks go out to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve. Without our Veterans, people like me wouldn't have the freedom to sit in a comfy chair in a warm home with family and publicly post about rules I think are silly. That sort of freedom I don't take for granted.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

How did I forget Encounter?

It occurred to me sometime this morning between shopping at Sam's Club and picking up Mace at Grandma's that I'd totally forgotten to attend Encounter last night. Freaked me out. I had it all planned. Eric and I had the Tuesday schedule all worked out that he'd be home, he and Mace had some projects to complete (all 3 year olds need to know how to change oil in the truck, right?) and I could ditch them for time alone with God.

So, what happened Tuesday that made me forget? I spent a few hours at the medical center getting my Remicade infusion -- good experience all around, then I voted. Pretty much the extent of my day. Certainly I wasn't so busy and harried that I couldn't keep track of my schedule. In the end, all I can say is I just spaced out. While the boys were changing the oil, there I was taking pictures of them. Never occurred to me to remember that they were going to be doing this alone.

Since I got sick a month ago, we haven't been able to spend much time as a family. Maybe God was letting me forget about HIM to have an encounter with the two guys that mean the most to me on this planet. It wasn't the encounter I had planned, but probably the one I needed most.