Category Archives for "Let's get it started"

Join A Small Group Today

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  Hebrews 10:23-25

I keep coming back to these verses.  I posted about these verses back on October 13, 2011 and August 15, 2010.  I remain convinced that plugging into a small group of people is absolutely essential to our faith and to our spiritual health and growth.  The Bible clearly presents this as a model for Christ followers.  Yet, many Christians shy away from this type of relationship with other Christians.  Are we afraid of intimacy and transparency?  Are we afraid that others might learn that we’re not perfect?  Are we so independent that we believe we can do it on our own?  Are we just introverted and the thought of opening up to others is terrifying?

I’m not sure, but I know from my own experience that my involvement with a smaller group of Christians as brought me through some tough times.  It has pushed me to grow and think.  And it at times has made me uncomfortable as I ponder challenges and deal with the ups and downs of those in the group.  This may not sound attractive to some, but I’m telling you – it’s worth it!

If you’re not in a small group of some type, why not?  What’s stopping you from getting involved today?  I would encourage you to take your own leap of faith by getting involved in a small group this week.  Don’t let it wait until all the stars align with your schedule.

Today, at my church, we are rolling out the spring groups.  If you go to CCV, this is a perfect opportunity to jump into the mix.  There are groups for everyone at every stage of their walk.  There are exercise groups.  There are service groups.  There are foundations classes and groups designed to go over the basics of what it means to be a fully devoted follower of Christ.  And there are in-depth Bible studies.  Check out the groups catalog on-line, and sign up today!

If you’re not from my church, seek this out at your own church.  You’ve had enough time to sit on the side lines.  If you’re church doesn’t have small groups or a small group ministry, start a group yourself.  Grab a few other people and start one today.  If you need help figuring this out, send me a comment.  I’d love to help.

Okay, that’s enough spurring on for today.  Have a great Sunday, and keep STRETCHING!

What’s your story?  Are you in a group right now?  If not, what’s stopping you?

Top Posts of 2011 Number 3 – Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging (A Guest Post by Jason Fountain)

As I mentioned last week, my plan is to provide links to the top Stretched posts from 2011 over the next couple of weeks.  This provides an excellent opportunity for me to take a small break during the holidays, and it also provides an incredible opportunity for you to catch up on things you may have missed over the past year.  I hope you’ll hop on over to the original post, so you can read the entire post and add your comments to the existing comments string.

The 3rd most popular Stretched post from 2011 was a guest post by my friend Jason Fountain.  The post is titled Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging.  Here’s an excerpt to get you going:

Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging

John Maxwell relates a story shared by sociologist Anthony Campolo.  Campolo tells about a group of 50 people over the age of 90 years old who were asked one question: If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?

The question was open-ended and the people’s answers were varied. However, three ideas consistently emerged.

1. If I had it to do over again, I would reflect more. 
2. If I had it to do over again, I would risk more. 
3. If I had it to do over again, I would do more things that would live on after I am dead.

I want to share with you an idea that can help you begin to accomplish all three of these goals TODAY.

To read the rest of this post, head on over to the original Reflect More, Risk More, Leave A Legacy – Start Blogging post.

What would you change about 2011?

What is one thing that you’re looking forward to in 2012?

Leaders Are Readers – Creating My Reading List For 2012

“Leaders are readers.”

I’ve heard Tim Sanders quote this in several interviews on the radio and on podcasts.

It seems to me that there is a lot of truth to this statement.  When we feed our minds (with good stuff), we fill it up with tools that are useful for leading and for life.  With this in mind, I am beginning to assemble a list of potential books to consider reading in 2012.  I should let you know that I’m generally a slow and very deliberate reader, so I’m planning to narrow the list down to twelve with a couple of alternates.  Here are some of the books that I’m considering so far:

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

Today We Are Rich by Tim Sanders

The No Complaining Rule by Jon Gordon

Community:  Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support by Brad House

Creating Community:  Five Keys To Building A Small Group Culture by Andy Stanley

So these are a few of my ideas.  I will most likely throw in a fiction book or two (or three).

Now I’d like to hear your thoughts.  What would you add to the list?  What’s on your “To Read List”?  What have you read recently that you think I should consider?  I can’t wait to see what you’ve got!


This Saturday, we had a blast at our house – the first ever ChiliFest!  We invited several couples over with the idea that they would bring over their own chili to share with the rest of the guests.  We provided drinks, salad, dessert, and corn bread.  It was so fun to get together with couples who represented a hodgepodge of our friendships from the area.  There were friends from our neighborhood, friends from our old neighborhood, and friends from our church.  We enjoyed White Chicken Chili, Taco Chili, Buffalo Chicken Chili, Spicy Green Pork Chili, Pork/Beef/Beer Chili, and Traditional Tex-Mex Chili.  As we enjoyed the Chili, guests voted for their favorite chili’s in six different categories:  Most Unique Chili, Most Delicious Chili, Most Spicy Chili, Most Likely to Serve at Home Chili, Most Colorful Chili, and Best Overall Chili.  The winners of each category took home a unique bottle of hot sauce.

Besides the great food, we enjoyed great times with friends.  It was neat to see people from our friendship circles interacting with people they had never met before.  When we bought our house six years ago, we planned to use our home as a place to welcome our friends and neighbors – to bring connection and community to those around us.  Saturday’s ChiliFest was a great reminder for us!  I can’t wait until the next get together at our house.

What fun ideas do you have for fun in-home gatherings?

Let’s Get It Started – Time To Stretch

Stretched LOGO Header

Well, this is the start of it all… Time to get my stretch on.

I’ve been contemplating doing the blog thing for some time.  You might be wondering where the “Stretched” thing comes from.  For starters, when I was in high school at Rancocas Valley Regional High School, I was short – 5’6″ to start my junior year.  Since then, I’ve grown to almost 6’6″.  Many of my friends started calling me Stretch.

On a more recent basis, I often feel “stretched” by all the things going on around me – career, marriage, parenting, church, running, reading, friendships, extended family, relationship with God, etc. (in no particular order).  My hope is that this blog will provide an opportunity to express some of my “stretch marks” and to possibly hear your thoughts as well.

So here we go….

Until the next posting….