Church Planters catch purse-snatcher

A few men from our staff at Crosspointe Waterford Lakes went Seattle, WA a couple weeks ago to a church planting conference held by Acts29 at Mars Hill Church.  Our company consisted of Jared Davis (Lead Pastor), Brent Reid (Deacon/Mission & Administration), Tommy Wong (Deacon/Shift College Ministry) and myself.  The conference was transformational in a lot of ways.  We learned so much from seasoned church planters about God’s glory, sharing the gospel, loving our wives and children and of course church planting.  After two days of intense sessions at the conference, we concluded our stay in Seattle by going downtown and seeing the sites.  After a great sushi dinner and site seeing, this is what ensued…

The night sky was beginning to make it’s way over us like a cool blanket as we walked back down the main stretch toward the market place in the heart of Seattle, Washington.  Full of sushi and fellowship, we decided to take a final look at the first Starbucks before heading back to our vehicle.  The pavement was buzzing with tourists shopping, locals leaving work and street performers trying to earn enough to eat that night.

As I walked in succession with Jared I looked to my right and saw a man relieving himself on an alley wall.  “That’s real cool.” I murmured as we continued through the crowd.  I couldn’t help but continue to rebroadcast the things that I had learned the last two days over and over again in my mind.  I kept asking myself if I were leading worship for God’s glory or my own.  My syndicated conference reel would have continued to play if it hadn’t been interrupted by someone screaming, “Sir, please stop!”

I looked up to see three asian women in a sort of tug-o-war with a latino man in a puffy jacket.  The struggle continued as were drew closer only to end in the man falling over backwards and hastily getting up, walking away.

I followed him with my eyes and our stares connected.

He was afraid.

I was confused.

His pace quickened as I realize what I just witnessed.

I yelled to the women, “Ma’am!  Did he just steal your purse?”

“Yes, yes! Thief! Thief!” They cried.

As our stares connected once more, he turned and ran.

Immediately I began sprinting after him.  I wasn’t even aware of the seriousness of what I was doing.

He turned into an alley.  I turned into the alley.  The whole time I screamed, “Stop!  Do you want to go to jail?  Give it up man!”  Although those words were coming from my mouth, my brain was screaming, “What are you doing?  You’re chasing a purse snatcher through an alley in Seattle!  What if he has a gun?  What if he has a knife?  What if this is a trap and he’s leading you into an alley where there will be multiple men waiting for you.”

My thoughts were interrupted as I looked to my right to see that my Lead Pastor had caught up with me.

As we gained on the thief, he turned back onto the main drag with us in close pursuit, my words of caution and pleading still echoing off the brick buildings of downtown.  In a moment where Jared and I were about to tackle the purse-snatcher, he made a bold dash into traffic, Jared making it through and me almost getting plowed by a taxi cab.

The thief, in his dash into traffic, fell; throwing the purse away from him thinking that we would be satisfied with that.

We were not satisfied.

Jared continued to pursue the man, grabbing him by the coat.  I ran around the cab and grabbed the purse, remembering all the television specials about pickpockets and how they work in groups of three.  By this time, Brent had caught up and had the man by the other side of his jacket.

Not really knowing what to do, and believing he still had more of the woman’s belongings we began to try to subdue the thief only to be interrupted by a goliath sized bouncer spearing the man to the pavement like he was auditioning for the WWE.  In a moment’s notice, there were seven bouncers surrounding the man yelling very threatening things to him while they cuffed him and confiscated his open containers of alcohol (which to my knowledge was the reason why it was so easy to catch up to him.)

We returned the purse to the women but they were too scared to report the incident to the police.  The bouncers eventually let the man go and we made our way back to the first Starbucks where we received free coffee for our efforts in helping the women.

As I checked out of the coffee line I looked out the window to see the man walking by with two other men.  One of whom was the man from the beginning of the story, relieving himself on the alley wall.

The rest of the night was littered with the retelling of the story, embellishing our heroics in a jovial way; feeling like we had proven our manhood and not cowered at the opportunity to provide justice.

As I sit and reflect on that night in Seattle, I can’t help but remember a verse my father has instilled in me since I was a boy.

8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NASB)

There’s nothing extraordinary about me or the men who were with me that night.  We’re not built like professional athletes.  We don’t possess any skills that would be instrumental in warding off an angry mob.  We’re just simple church planters trying to spread the gospel of Christ for the glory of God.  But there is one thing we were that night.

We were alert.

You never know when you’ll be required to do something you’d never dream of doing so continually be on the alert.  You may not be asked to catch a thief.  It may be as simple as recognizing a tender conversation that needs to be had; or time spent with someone who needs a friend.  You may just be asked to be humble and listen.  Whatever it is that God will put in your path, be ready; be alert; be postured for the glory of God.

First Sunday Morning at CPWL

The time has arrived.  After just over a year we have planted with Crosspointe Church Waterford Lakes.  It’s been a long, excruciating, joyful, tiring, encouraging and Spirit filled journey, and it’s just beginning!  We are so thankful for all of your support, prayer and fellowship.  God is so good and receives all the glory!  We are humbled and thankful to serve Crosspointe each week and are just in awe of God’s providence and faithfulness as we heard His call and obeyed it for the glory of His Son!  Here are a few photos and a video from our first Sunday!

We had 52 people join us in worship this past week from college age students to families to older couples.  We can’t wait to see what God has in store next week and are blessed to be a part of what He is doing in Orlando Florida!

So much is happening!

We don’t even know where to start!  God has been so gracious to us these past few months.

We had our baby girl Mercy Elia Potter on August 8th.  She weighed 7.7 and is so precious.  We love her so much!

These photos were taken by the Elia’s pictured above.  They are also the reason Mercy’s middle name is ‘Elia’.  We love them.

We will continue to keep you updated on our lives.  This week we have our last preview service with Crosspointe Waterford Lakes before we go public in the Radisson Hotel!

Setting the example

I hope you begin to see the trend that I (Josiah) spend most of my time each day serving at Chili’s.  Here’s another story of how God’s working in our lives in Orlando.

At the end of my shift I had a table sit down and order Chicken Fried Chicken.  I rang in Country Fried Steak b/c I’m human and I make mistakes.  The food comes out and the three ladies look at it and say, “This isn’t what we ordered.”

No harm so far.  We weren’t busy.  Their food came out literally five minutes after they ordered.  I had my manager swing by and talk to them and we got them their correct order in a matter of 5-10 minutes.  They were still working on their salad and black beans so they weren’t without food at any point.

I bring out their correct order and magically there aren’t any mashed potatoes on the plate.  The lady to my right says, “You got it wrong again, there aren’t any mp’s.”  The lady to my left says, “Stupid.”  (Under her breath but loud enough for me to hear)

I’m furious.  I don’t show it.  I smile and say I’ll be right back with that.  They had mp’s in a matter of 40 seconds.

I continue to wait on them, anticipating their needs with refills and boxes and the whole nine yards.  I figure, I’m not going to let a grumpy old lady steal my joy for the day.

I bring the check and they pay with 100$ bill.  NOTE*  If you go out to eat and your bill is less than 50$  do NOT pay with 100$ bill.  We’re not a bank, we don’t have that kind of cash in our server books at 1pm, especially when everyone else is paying with debit cards.  It’s a huge hassle.

Anyway, I finally scrounge up their change and bring it to them with To-Go drinks.

They leave.

I go to the table to collect the tip but………………there is no tip.  There’s no tip.  They ran up a 50$ check and stiffed me.

I’m fuming.

I look out and see the ladies walking to their van.  On this van, neatly placed on the right side is a Jesus Fish.  Just like this car.

You can only imagine what’s running through my head now.  As I begin to sift through my thoughts to pick an appropriate one to attach to these ladies I look down and see this.


That’s right.  They left their take out boxes full of their left over food.  (There was a lot of it.)

I look out the window and see the ladies having a nervous conversation looking back towards the restaurant wondering if they can sneak back in knowing full well what they just did.

Then it hits me.

I grab the box and run out to their car and say, “Hey ladies!  You forgot your take out food!”  They say anxiously, “yes……yes we did, didn’t we?”  I reply, “I like your Jesus fish.”  “You do?”  “Yes ma’am, I’m a Pastor.”

Silence.

“Oh really?”  “Yes ma’am, well you all have a great day!”

I watched those women talk to each other in bewilderment for the next five minutes as I cleaned their table.  They never came back in and tipped me, I didn’t even really care about the tip that much.  What I did care about was the example I got to set for my co-workers.  I spent the next ten minutes telling and retelling my story to my teammates and they laughed hysterically!  They couldn’t believe, first of all, that I would take those ladies their food after they had stiffed me and then they couldn’t believe how foolish those women must have felt after they received the knowledge that they had just stiffed a local Pastor waiting tables to scrape by.

I had a choice.  I could have cussed those women and bad mouthed them to my teammates and just been another disgruntled server, or I could swallow my pride, take those women their take out food and set an example for my friends at Chili’s that even when people treat you unfairly, you can still love them while exposing their wrong doing without hurting them.

I hope those women learned a valuable lesson today.  As Christians, how can we go to a restaurant, run up a 50$ bill and then not be gracious to the person who served us that meal?  You don’t have to tip 30% to show how awesome Christians are when they go out to eat.  Just be patient, kind, gentle, and generous and maybe people will recognize you by your love.

Table for 3

One thing you all should know about servers at restaurants is this……it’s going to sting…..are you ready?

If you’re not a regular (someone who comes in the same time ever week and sits in the same section and orders the same thing)……if you’re not a regular, your server doesn’t care about you.  It’s nothing personal, actually that’s sort of the gist of it.  Guests are merely dollar signs to servers.  Sure they’ll treat you like kings and queens but as soon as that credit card receipt is signed you’re simply taking up precious space until the next party of four dollars sits down.  Is this taught by the companies/restaurants in training?  No.  This is an unspoken norm that I see played out every day.  I’m ashamed to say that I get caught up in it.

One night, a week or so ago I had two people sit in my section.  It was close to closing time, I was tired, I wanted to go home and be with my wife….needless to say, I didn’t care about these people.  I walked up to greet them, put on my fake server smile and asked if I could get them something to drink.  The guy informed me that he was an employee of Chilis.  That changed everything.  Employees get 50% off their bill and usually tip really good so my demeanor shifted a little.  I was refilling drinks, chips and working my tail off for that one table because the little dollars just turned into bigger dollars.

Later in the meal I stopped by to see if they needed anything.  The girl had gone to the restroom and the guy looks up at me and says, “Hey man, sorry I’ve had such a bad attitude this entire meal.  I got some really bad news today.”  Oh no.  This isn’t good.  My dollars were turning back into people.  People with real problems, real families and real souls.  I had a choice.  I could blow it off and say, “sorry bro, more sweet tea?” or I could truly serve “the least of these.”

I said, “I’m so sorry man, what happened?”  He said that he just found out that he got rejected by the law school he’s been dreaming of going to since he was a little boy.  I replied, “Wow.  That’s awful man.  Well, I know some people with connections to some great schools in Georgia.  I’m a pastor, here’s my card.  Call me and we’ll grab coffee or something and talk about what’s next for you.”  He looks up at me, “You’re a pastor?  Me and my girlfriend have been looking for a church to go to around here.”  From there on I told him about Crosspointe and where we meet.

I’m not sure if that guy will come to church, or even call to talk about what’s next in life for him.  I’m not sure if that was even the reason for the lesson I learned that evening.  I am convinced of one thing though, we all get caught up in whatever it is that we do and devalue people.  Pastors devalue people to numbers.  Serves devalue people to dollars.  Politicians devalue people to votes.  So how do we change that?  How do we see the value in people?

We serve them.  Whether it be with time, money, work or refills of sweet tea, we serve them.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:35-40

Love,

Josiah and Jordan

Praying amidst the chaos

In Exodus 17:8-13 there’s a story of perseverance in which the armies of Amalek and Israel fought with one another.  Moses instructed Joshua to choose men personally to go and fight with  him.  The deal was that Moses had to lift his hands (in which he held his staff) above his head, raised and the Israelites would win.  If he lowered them, the Israelites would lose.  Short version of the story-Moses raised hands, he grew weary, Aaron and Hur each held one arm up, Joshua cleaned house with his sword and God facilitated the win.

Last week I was working a shift at Chili’s and the night came to a close.  If you’ve never worked at a restaurant, here’s a look into what happens at the end of the night.  It’s insane.  The servers are taking care of their last tables while doing sidework (i.e. cleaning drink stations, salsa cooler, chip machine, trays, trivets, soup station, dessert station) and trying to clean their tables, all so they can roll two buckets of silverware before they can go home to their families or cats.  All the while, the bartender is cleaning the bar, the bussers are taking out the trash, cleaning the bathrooms and bussing tables, and the kitchen is cleaning all the grills, fryers, bowls, utensils and well……it’s chaos.

I walked back to my manager’s office to cash out for the night and we begin talking about Jesus, life, Christianity, and the church.  This is all fairly normal as the relationship I’ve developed with my boss has basically become a really great Q&A concerning the Gospel.  My boss begins to tell me about his life and the things he’s going through with his family and work and basically let’s me know he’s broken.  I assured him that we’re all broken and in need of Christ.  I explained God’s sovereignty and how He’s way ahead of us and is already putting into place things in our lives to draw us closer to him.  I shared 1 Peter 5:5 with him and explained the difficult process of how getting walked on glorifies God.

After talking I asked if I could pray with him.  He said yes.  So amidst the chaos of the restaurant closing, I laid hands on my boss and prayed for him.

God is moving in Orlando to redeem this city.  God is using Crosspointe Church to reorient people to the gospel, and God is using simple servers at Chili’s to pray over their bosses  prayers of healing and grace.  This is all being facilitated by and through your prayers and your giving.  Thank you for trusting God and supporting us.

Love,

The Potters

The First Sunday

I’ve heard a story told in pictures communicates far more than words so I’m going to heed that phrase and instead of describing how our first Sunday service went I’m going to let you see how it went.  God blessed us and brought us more than we expected; in people, in ministry opportunities, in community and in grace.  Here’s a peak into our first Sunday.


Brent and me figuring out last minute tech stuff for worship and teaching.

Brent and me testing the mic for recording and Jared & Jocelyn & baby Hudson looking over the seating arrangement.

Shot from the back of the room.


Where the body of Crosspointe Waterford Lakes worships.

Praying over the night.

Community

Jordan already has a big children’s ministry!!!  Six children!!!

The first worship at CPWL.

Out of the 32 people that God brought us that night, 5 were orphans from a foster care home.  They were awesome students and so much fun to talk to and be around!

Jared teaching the gospel.

Children’s ministry in full effect.

God is so good.  We are so thankful for your support and prayers.  Keep coming back for more weekly updates on what God is doing in Waterford Lakes!!!!

Love, The Potters

Launching soon!

The past few weeks have been filled with staff meetings, planning, praying for God’s Spirit to move and an overall excitement that grows daily.

We are one week and four days from launching our core team phase of Crosspointe Waterford Lakes!  What that will look like is this:

On Sunday nights we will gather at Jared and Jocelyn’s house.  There we will hold a service of worship where we will hear the Word of God, fellowship and worship through song, communion and community.  Jordan will be running the children’s ministry and I will be leading the worship in song.  After that we will all eat together and fellowship and grow in community.

It’s almost unbelievable that it is here.  We’ve been heeding God’s call since August.  We’ve been praying and trusting like we’ve never done before.  We’ve walked through terrible storms to get here and the only reason we are here is because of God’s grace.  We are so blessed and so excited to begin what God has called us out of West Palm and into Orlando to do.

Along with all the church planting excitement, our little baby girl Mercy is developing nicely in her mommy’s tummy.  Here’s some photos!


Thank you all for your support!  Your prayers and giving has been such a blessing and we want you to know how much we love and appreciate you all!

Josiah and Jordan

40%

Now that we have sent out our first quarterly letter updating you all on what’s been happening these last two months I am excited about blogging weekly again.

We wanted to get something tangible out that you all could hold and read and enjoy.  We will continue to send those out every quarter and will be blogging, emailing and calling weekly.

God has a plan for everything.  He works through and in all things.  One of those things has been Josiah’s job at Chili’s.

One of the things that I (Josiah) wrestle with is wondering why God has called us to Orlando to plant a church but has only provided 40% support for us instead of 100%.  I figured if I simply heeded the call and obeyed He would automatically meet my expectations of completely supporting us so that we would be “freed up” to do “Kingdom work.”  Luckily for us, God works in and through all things.

I was finishing up my work at Chili’s one night and walked into my boss’s office to cash out and go home for the night.  Here’s how it played out.

“Here’s my cash and checkout slips.”

“Josiah, I have a question for you and I hope I don’t offend you.”

“No, by all means.  What’s your question?”

“So, what makes you so sure that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?”

“I should grab a chair.  This may take a while”

For the next half hour I walked my boss through the bad news/good news of the Gospel.  I talked to him about the authority of Scripture and the fact that Jesus cannot be a ‘good man’, that He is either Lord or a lunatic.  We spent some time going through the separation from God because of sin and disobedience and the physical birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ for the Atonement.

Nothing spectacular happened afterwards.  I didn’t baptize my boss in the lake or hand him an invite card to my church.  I simply told him about the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.  I feel God gave me an opportunity to live 2 Timothy 4:1-5 which says:

h I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, i who is to judge the living and the dead, and by j his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; k reprove, rebuke, and l exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 m For the time is coming when people will not endure n sound [1] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and o will turn away from listening to the truth and p wander off into myths. 5 As for you, q always be sober-minded, r endure suffering, do the work ofs an evangelist, t fulfill your ministry.  2 Timothy 4:1-5

As I left Chili’s that night I thanked God for giving me that opportunity and prayed for more like it.  Looking back on that evening I’m grateful for our 40%.  That 40% meant a conversation to a man who needed to hear about Jesus Christ.  That 40% means another opportunity I haven’t had yet but will.

To those of you supporting us in prayer or financially-thank you.  Read this and know that your support isn’t simply keeping our lights on, or providing us the means to see whether we’ll have a boy or a girl at the O.B.; but that God is using you to facilitate the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily in Waterford Lakes, Florida.

Love,

Josiah & Jordan

God’s Providence

This past weekend Jordan and I went to Waterford Lakes to celebrate Kelly Allen’s birthday, Jocelyn Davis’ baby shower and hopefully lease a house in Waterford.

This is Crosspointe’s Lake Nona Campus where we worshipped and heard the Gospel from Pastor Chan Kilgore.

crosspointe 1

Here’s Sydney the proud big sister of Brody.  They’re Rob and Kellie’s children.Sydney and Brody

Who would’ve thought I’d reconnect with my dear friend JT Dellis in Orlando!?  God is moving and shaping JT in amazing ways!!!!JT and I

Here’s Jo at Disney.  She loves Disney!disney 2

Here’s the Allen/Potter/Davis clan at Disney.  We’re excited about sharing the Gospel with these people!disney 1

Our Saturday was filled with appointment after appointment on every half hour with realtors and home owners that Jordan skillfully planned down to the minute from 9am-4pm.  After hours of searching and taking photos and reviewing and praying we finally decided upon a house!!!  Here it is!

Neighborhood_1

Above is the neighborhood we’ll be living in.  From what the neighbors tell us it’s filled with young families, UCF graduates and students!Front_of_House

Above is the front of our house.  We are thankful that it will have enough space to host Bible Studies/Small Groups and it fit our housing budget perfectly!

Lake_1

Above is a lake near our house.Trees_2

These are the roads that weave in and out of Waterford lakes.  There are lots of little playgrounds like this in the area.  The one below happens to be immediately off of our cauldesac. Playground

We are so thankful for God’s providence in bringing us to Waterford Lakes.  It’s been an exteremely difficult six months and not how we would’ve pictured our first six months of marriage but God has proved over and over again that He is faithful and continues to guide us as we seek Him in everything we do!

Our next step is Jordan graduating from Palm Beach Atlantic University on December 19th!  After that we will drive up and begin our lives in Waterford Lakes, spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone.

We are currently 30% supported and are praying for God to provide 75% support by Christmas!  The more we are supported the more we are freed up to minister to Waterford Lakes so if you have a moment today, pray about partnering with us in ministry and God’s redemption of Orlando.

We love you all!

Josiah & Jordan