Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Life Atlanta...

Sorry its been so long since I've posted. I never thought people would actually read this but after two requests for an update (taffy and Carrie baker) I thought I should post something.. About a month ago, I got the opportunity to lead worship at a New Life Ministries event in Atlanta GA, with Steve Aurterburn and his team, which are now my second family. The event was an intensive for Lose it for Life (an amazing program that deals with the heart aspects and the source of over eating) and Healing is a Choice (practical steps to healing). Steve came to Saddleback this last summer to talk about Lose it for life. It was right about the time when walk and worship was established. With that came the infamous song by former ambrosia rock star, David Pack. That song is now up for a Grammy :). Anyway, I've battled being overweight my whole life and I thought this program was just another quick fix and I would be back on the Cheesecake highway in no time. I was wrong, I started this program and learned that its not about food at all, its about comfort. I was eating for comfort and had my whole life. I have since lost 30 lbs (265 then, 235 now) and feel GREAT! Enough back story, I got a call from Joe Franklin at new life and he said, "John I was wondering if you might be interested in leading worship for an event in Atlanta", I said sure, he said, there's one catch, its next weekend. Which didn't surprise me all that much, after you are a part of a ministry at Saddleback Church, flexibility becomes everything to you. I agreed and was off to Atlanta. The whole staff kept giving me warnings about the way the people have responded to the worship at the first meeting in the past. These people look like they have lost all hope and are at the end of the road... I took their advice, but wasn't completely worried, After all I toured Germany with a group of singers in fall of 03' and nothing can be as bad as the crowds in Germany. They invented "straight face". The first session started and I shared a little bit about what I had gone through in my battle with weight loss and how Lose it for Life has helped me so much! There was an immediate trust built on both sides, which helped them be free in their worship... I think that its completely necessary to show a level of transparency from the platform so that people get to know you quickly and to keep them from feeling like you think your above them in any kind of way. Especially when its the first time you have seen them. Which we aren't above anyone at all, we are all the same, we've all got junk, so why act like you don't, its a waste of time!! The new life team made me feel right at home. They were so gracious with me. They really do feel like a second family and I cant wait to work with them again. The event was a huge success. I love the way that God brings things together, he planted something in me this last summer to try this program, little did I know I would be leading worship at an event for that exact thing 5 months later. for more info about new life ministries visit;

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stories that Bomb......

We have all been there one time or another. You go over your story in your head and it seems worthy of sharing. Somewhere in the middle or close to the punchline in your story, you realize that there is no punchline and that you have just wasted precious moments of your listeners life. You come to this realization through a few different cues.

1. The "dead face". This is when you realize that your listener has lost complete interest in what you are saying. In turn their face will assume this position in hopes that you will get the clue.

2. The next and almost immediate sign following the dead face is the "wandering eyes". The wandering eyes are an indication the listener is looking for a way out of this story or possibly someone to save them from the pain.

3. And finally the tragic "courtesy laugh" . This is when you have delivered the punch line as the listener and feel completely awkward about the story you just heard, SO you laugh to diminish the thickness in the air and to make the storyteller feel a little bit better about them self.

How do you avoid this process of feeling stupid? Let me share a method with you that I have implemented in my life. As you begin to tell your story, check for hints (steps 1,2&3) that tell you it's going no where. If you see any of these signs, STOP IMMEDIATELY and say to your listener/listener's; I'm sorry, I just realized this story is going absolutely nowhere, I am going to stop here before I waste more your time and my myself look stupid. More than likely you will be immediately complemented on your humility and honesty. You might even get a laugh out of the person.

So do everyone a favor and implement this system next time you are telling a story that is about to bomb.

Jesus Loves you just the way you are.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nephews!!! (continued)

Introducing................................. Owen Michael Stearns. I can't believe how big he is!! And again, ladies hes only 3 months old, don't get any ideas. Thank you all so much for your prayers, this little guy had such a hard time when he was born, but as you can see he is a happy healthy boy! And the newest addition to the Stearns name!


There is nothing better than starting work and opening your inbox to find pictures of your beautiful nephews. Thanks Jill! (sister in law) Meet Noah. Most of you have seen pictures of him, but not in his new snazzy Halloween costume as SHREK!! Ladies, hes off the market until hes at least 12 so you'll just have to hold on.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I went out to lunch today with two of my favorite people; Riley Hall and Juli Hueni. We were accompanied by a new friend from England, named Joe. She is here meeting with some people from peace at Saddleback which has something to do with the organization that she works with in England. She is a very cool. I hope you all get to meet her before she leaves. Anyway. I have done my fair share of traveling, but I have yet to experience the U.K. So I'm not very familiar with the vernacular that is used by our English friends. This will all be relevant, I promise. So we were driving and Riley said something to me and my response was "Ohhhh That pisses me off" and the look of concern on Riley's face was priceless. Riley (being an experienced U.K. traveler) said that "piss" or "pissed" is not a pleasant word in the U.K. and is actually considered a curse word. My curiosity got the best of me, so I asked Joe. Riley was totally correct. Joe tried to not make me feel bad, she said "its not a really bad word, you just wouldn't use it around certain company, especially Christians", GREAT that made me feel better. thanks Joe (just kidding). I then later learned that the word crap is also considered a curse would in the U.K. Who knew. I probably use that word 10 times a day. I hope my humiliation was insightful for you!

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