Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Final Blogger Post

Today is the final post for me on blogger. It was a great place to start. 204 posts later I am transitioning to a new look. You can go to Cremeansblog.com and see my new blog. I love it. I want to say a special thank you to Greg Davis for setting it up for me and also thank Ben Jones and Jon Snyder for all their help in making this happen. One of the things I love about my new blog is that you can subscribe via email. That’s right…no more logging on. Every time I post it will automatically be sent to your email account. Take a look and let me know what you think.


Monday, March 31, 2008

The Goat Life

That’s right we are living the goat life at the Cremeans farm. Two Sunday’s ago our staff and elders gave Michelle her ultimate 40th birthday gift: Two baby Nubian goats. I have never seen her more excited. Part of her dream of moving out where we could have some acreage was so she could have some animals. We have dogs, cats, chickens, and ducks…now it was time to get something a little larger. These are actually dairy goats.

So here is where the story gets interesting. The initial place Michelle went to pick up her “babies” didn’t pan out so she began to put some other feelers out. Long story short, she ended up finding a family in our area that had three babies they were trying to find a home for. Apparently the “contraption” they used to milk the goats burned down (can you believe it!) so they were trying to get out of the entire “goat business.” Michelle called me at work to tell me we had hit the goat jackpot! Now we could get two momma goats, and the daddy along with the three babies! Can you feel the excitement building? This was Friday night. There was much to do. We would have to work on fencing some of our pastures and Michelle had to build the “contraption” for milking. In case you didn’t know it, I can’t build stuff. Michelle can. It’s all good. She is pretty amazing!

So we got everything ready and it was time to get the goats. Somehow I seemed to remember that they would deliver these goats but here I was in our Honda minivan driving home. The middle seats were out and my kids were holding two of the babies in the back with the two momma goats standing in my van. As I was driving I looked to my right and there was this big fat goat head staring at me from like six inches away. All I could say was … “hey goat”…kind of a surreal moment. This get’s better because a state cop pulled out behind me and I was trying to figure out what I would say if he pulled me over.

Anyway…we made it home finally. I want to say a special thanks to Kevin, Shari, Ray, and Jim for helping us get everything ready. That evening I saw Michelle get off the phone jumping up and down – she looked like she won the lottery. She had just heard from the owners and we could have their other three males for free! I didn’t know we were trying to get the other three …now we could be the proud owners of nine…that’s right, NINE goats.
I am such a city guy but God is helping me adjust. You know what? Goats were never in my dreams, but Michelle was. She is an amazing lady. Loving her like Jesus loves the church means making her dreams the priority in my life. She did that for me a long time ago and I am still learning. Here is the crazy part – I am loving being a goat owner. That is kind of how God works things I guess. Yes, they still freak me out and I don’t like it when they start biting on my jacket but it’s all good because I am living “the goat life.”

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Reflections

Today was a great day. I was really pleased to see so many newcomers back from Easter. It was great to get to meet so many new people today. I met one lady who came to Fellowship several years back and this is what she said, “All I can say is wow!” God is good. Our music was incredible today. Kathleen rocked “Living on a prayer.” It was our highest voted song yet. I want to say a special thank you to Bryan Giles our new sound engineer. Great job Bryan. Here are some other thoughts about the day…

  • We presented Lee White as our new Elder candidate. Lee and Jean have been such a blessing to Fellowship. He will be an incredible addition to our board and cause us to step up our game.
  • I’m really enjoying our “I Love” series…
  • Michelle did some great acting in our 80’s video…
  • I loved the new song “came to my rescue.” It is a powerful song.
  • The story of our new goats seemed to go over well. I will try to get some pictures on my blog tomorrow. I helped Emily get them fed and put them into barn tonight. Crazy. Emily, by the way, is like Dr Doolittle. She has a gift with animals.
  • I thought Davidson might take down Kansas today. I am a sucker for the underdog.
  • I can’t wait for baseball to start tomorrow. Go Phillies. Here’s to a better start this year and repeating as division winners again.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I want to share some of the things I put before our team this week. God has given us an incredibly talented and focused staff at Fellowship. Nowhere was that more evident than our Easter service. They are committed to honoring God and serving people. Here are some of the things that I challenged them with this week. Maybe they will help you as well.
  1. We must value people over tasks. This is more difficult for some personality types than others. Tasks are important, but Jesus died for people. People are image-bearers of a holy God. Reaching them is the mission but having God’s heart for them is the catalyst.
  2. We must develop thicker skin. Criticism happens. Trust me. You can’t please everyone in the first place. We are called to please God not people.
  3. Have the courage to confront one another. Don’t hold things inside or act like everything is okay when it is not.
  4. Be nice. Speak the truth, but speak it in love.
  5. Project joy. This is not optional. What we do is too difficult and takes too much emotional energy to be around moody or grumpy people.
  6. Own your mistakes. So many times our reaction to conflict is to be defensive. We take risks and we are aggressive in our mission. Things run at a fast pace and mistakes will happen. Don’t waste time getting defensive and don’t delay the lessons that can be learned that only come from realizing your part.
  7. Don’t gossip. It’s sin…even for staff.
  8. Continue to identify and address your blind spots.
  9. Don’t hold grudges. Forgiven people should forgive others. Grudges are the enemy’s playground.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Speed Traps

I am still basking in the epic Sunday that God gave us for Easter. The final count that I received was 873! That is a record attendance for only two services! Way to go God and way to go Fellowship!

As I was taking Grace home yesterday I saw three highway patrol cars on the side of the road “waiting.” As I drove a little further and started to get off at my exit I saw where two other highway patrol cars had pulled people over. I dropped Grace off at the house and headed back to the office. On my way I looked at the state police cars and felt some mild sympathy for the people who got caught. As I drove past the “speed trap” I began to look for the “spotter” car. There it was at the next overpass tucked back where you could barely notice it. I guarantee I’ll be checking out that overpass for the next couple of weeks!

Peter told us to be on guard and to watch out for our adversary, the devil. He sets traps for us all the time. Peter knew that seeing warfare for what it is can be half the battle sometimes. Yesterday ended up being that kind of day for me. Spiritual warfare extraordinaire. The problem was that I didn’t see it for what it was at first. It just pulled me in. Warfare is much clearer in your rear-view mirror. I haven’t had a day quite like that in some time. By about 10:30 last night I was getting into one of those “I quit” modes that happens to pastors much more than most will admit. My first 4 years as a pastor I had those days at least once a week. Now they are more rare but this one came with a vengeance.

The timing wasn’t lost on me with Easter barely over. It is the nature of the beast. I’m glad for some good friends in Florida, New York, and Texas that helped me through. I share this with you as always to bring you into my crazy world but to also remind you of Peter’s warning. Where are you struggling right now? What relationships are out of whack? What traps are you about to step in? See the warfare for what it is and put up your guard.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Today was my daughter Grace’s 9th birthday. She is our “baby.” I took off a half-day today and Gracie and I went to breakfast. She had the pancakes with chocolate chips…good stuff! I took her shopping after that to get her a couple of things. Mostly it was about having some special daddy time with her. Grace is mommy’s girl make no mistake about that. I’m totally good with that by the way. They have a special bond that I celebrate. I am so proud of Grace. She is a leader at age nine. Yesterday I was trying to “coach” her in a behavioral area and I suggested that someday she would probably run her own company. She started shaking her head no (not something I like when I am imparting my “wisdom”) and said, “I don’t want to run a company daddy.” Then she said with what might have been the sweetest look I have ever seen, “I want to sing in the praise team like mommy!” How sweet is that? I know, I know…she has me wrapped around her little finger. Happy Birthday Grace. Your daddy is very proud.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He Is Risen

Today marks three years since we moved into the school and began our mission to redefine church in the Delaware Valley. All I can say is Wow! I have never seen so much excitement in our service. It was electric.  Jeff Ream our worship pastor, has come into his own. I had so much fun watching Jeff today. He had such a good time “cranking it up” 80’s style. Jeff I love seeing you grow. You are setting the pace as you become one of the best worship leaders in the Northeast. I am your biggest fan.

From the parking lot to the auditorium I saw scores of new volunteers decked out in their “I love” shirts, smiling and welcoming our guests. I loved it! What a way to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior! He is alive and living through us. Here are some other things that stood out to me today…
  • Our media pastor Ben Jones delivered the goods today. I loved the all the videos. They are the “stained glass” of the contemporary church.
  • The props looked great. Thanks to Dan, Nancy, Trevor, and Daniel.
  • I had fun watching the expressions on your faces as I reached my hand into the Victoria’s Secret bag. Priceless!
  • It was a blast from the past as one of my high school teachers showed up. Thanks for sowing into my life Mr. Murphy!
  • Michelle had a great birthday. Our staff and elders blew her away with a very special birthday gift. More on that later this week…stay tuned.
  • This is the 200th post in my brief blogging career. Never saw this one coming. Every pastor should blog…hope to see some of you launch a blog this year. Let me know when you do. I am excited about my new blog that should debut later this week. It is going to look awesome!
  • Not sure how many people raised their hands for accepting Christ in both services. My best estimate was somewhere between 25-35! I could not keep up with all of them. Incredible! Pray for these new believers as they live their first week as part of the family of God.
  • It was encouraging to see so many of our leaders sitting toward the front today. You guys set the pace.
  • Hats off to our “Live” and KidVenture workers today. I heard you guys did a great job and the 11:00 service was packed. Thanks for leading our kids to Jesus.
  • Our band is incredible! You guys bring it every week.
  • I loved the 80’s music before and during the service. You gotta love somebody…can’t wait to see what song is going to be performed next week.
  • It was cool having friends from Russia in our 11:00 service. Welcome to the USA!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Michelle

We just finished watching Michelle open her birthday presents. Tomorrow (Easter) is her birthday so we decided to celebrate early. I think it is appropriate on a day like this to zoom out for a moment and realize the impact Michelle has had. She is an amazing Mother. It is her calling and her passion. Our kids are getting old enough to see just what they have. She let me read the birthday card from the kids - Alli called her “amazing” and Emmy called her “hot.”

This June will mark 20 years for Michelle and me. We have had quite a ride to this point. Proverbs 31:11 says …”she will greatly enrich his life”. I am a richer person for sharing this ride called life with Michelle. It occurred to me recently what a life-coach she has been to me. She has taught me to listen (still learn) and inspired me to be a more complete person. She calls me to be my best and gives me the respect that makes me believe I can do anything.

Michelle has redefined what it means to be a pastor’s wife. As Fellowship’s first lady she brings a joy and warmth to the Delaware Valley’s most friendly church. She has paid the price that comes from transitioning a church. It is a price that only God truly knows. She loves Fellowship and she loves the dream of reaching our region for Christ. I love seeing her worship…come to think of it…I just love seeing her.

So as we gear it up for a huge day tomorrow let me say it again…Happy Birthday Michelle! I love you.

Friday, March 21, 2008

God Paints

The pace of this week has been incredibly high. That is great for productivity but dangerous for my heart. On my way in to work after a late night (1:45 AM) I called my brother. I am excited about collaborating with Buddy on our “I Love” series. As I left him a message I was doing a quick inventory in my mind of what we still needed to discuss for Sunday and I found myself asking him to pray for the condition of my “hurried” heart.

So here is the deal…God has used three phone calls today from three of my closest friends and colleagues to literally embrace me with his love and handiwork. God paints masterpieces on the canvas of our lives and to see the work he is doing in Buddy, Dale, and Greg brings me to my knees.

You see, God changes pastor’s lives too. We are probably the most broken, messed up people around. I’m reminded on this Good Friday when Jesus gave everything and suffered for me that God continues to give. Giving is his essence. He is giving to you right now. You might not see it but I know he is. He gives in the good times and the tough times. He is painting on the canvas of your life.

The story of Easter is about God’s pursuit of people. It’s crazy! We have this big, incredible God chasing a broken and flawed humankind. He desires us…he misses us…I can’t get my arms around that. If you have been chased and tackled by his grace, drop to your knees today and thank him for “catching” you. He is still tackling me.

You blow me away Father. How can I not give you more…how can I not give you my best today and every day. I love you

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good Times

Yes there really is a town with “this name” in Lancaster County. My friends didn’t believe me! This is me and my good friend Greg Wagner…in case you didn’t know it was raining like crazy when we took this picture (hence the squinting). Now that I think about it…not so sure what message this sends…two guys in front of this sign with cheesy smiles…oh well. Michelle keeps telling me I need to put this post in my “draft” section and save it until tomorrow…Like I would have better discernment tomorrow…This is probably a great time to remind you that one of the main purposes behind my blog is to get to know me.

It has been awesome to have Greg and Kelly with us. Our friendship goes back about 18 years to our time in Fort Worth, Texas. They have two really cool sons Cody (17) and Ethan (14) who have hit it off with our kids. It’s great to see how these guys have grown up and how they love God. Cool stuff! Tonight we went over to the school and watched the rehearsal for Sunday. I was so stinkin' proud of our staff, singers, band, tech team, and volunteers! They are working so hard to make Sunday an unforgettable experience.

I just need to say one more thing about our staff. It occurred to me tonight just how far God has brought us. To see Jeff, Ben, Ryan, and Dan leading tonight was a huge encouragement to me. There was this huge production effort going on and I literally had nothing to do with it. They have great initiative, work their butts off, and they love Fellowship. I’m not sure they really get the respect and appreciation they deserve sometimes. Thanks guys…You inspired me tonight and challenged me to step it up for Sunday.

March Madness

Watch Series Preview Here

Is it just me or does anybody remember the NCAA Tournament beginning on Easter weekend before? I love watching the games but it does bum me out that it is falling on this particular weekend. Seems like we will have some competition this weekend, but it’s all good… It will be fun to pull for our three Philly teams. I have been a Villanova fan since I was a kid but I will also be pulling for Temple and St Josephs to do well. I hope you have your brackets all filled out and ready to go. I love watching for upsets and seeing games come down to the wire.

Our team is gearing up for an incredible Easter Sunday as we kick off our “I Love” series. I promise you that you will be surprised with at least one song you hear on Sunday. We have had some great response from many of you submitting your favorite 80’s songs. It has brought back some great memories and reminded me of how old I am getting. Make sure you send in some of your crazy 80’s photos so we can all have a good laugh at your expense! I am trying to remember what got into me to get a perm back in the late 80’s. Any of you guys go through that ordeal? I think it was the belief that it would make me look like I had more hair. What is up with that?

I want to say a special thank you to all of you who volunteered to serve this Sunday. You guys are awesome. You will see church through different eyes when you serve. Serving gives you a sense of ownership that you don’t really get otherwise. God also has a way of blessing you when you exercise your spiritual muscles!

Last but not least, let me encourage all of you to be early this Sunday. You can do it…I know you can. Guests are almost always here early or on time. Just think back to your first time here…it makes a difference when there is an energy and a sense of excitement in the auditorium. Again, be praying that God will show up in a huge way. Lives are going to be forever changed this Sunday!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The biggest religious season of the year is on as we gear up for Easter this Sunday. Today I’m wondering who you will invite to church this Sunday. Let me ask you this question…are you a player or a spectator? Many of your friends and family are ONE INVITATION AWAY from coming to church this Easter and FINDING CHRIST! Think about the stakes…heaven verses hell…relationship instead of loneliness…grace instead of emptiness…mercy instead of judgment…peace where there is now anxiety…faith where fear exists… purpose instead of performance. Are you a player or a poser? Do you really believe in Jesus Christ? Has he made a difference in your life? Don’t you think he would make a difference in the life of your friends and family?

I am praying that God will give you the boldness and sense of urgency to get up off the bench and be a player this week. As my high school coach had to scream at me from time to time…”GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!” The stakes are high. The payoff is amazing. God set the table with an amazing service last Sunday, but the best is right in front of us. I am praying for you today...praying that God will not leave you alone this week…praying that you will lose sleep over those who need to hear about the good news of Jesus Christ…praying that you will get off the bench and get in the game…someone’s eternity is depending on it.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

When God Shows Up

Things happen when God shows up. People change. Hearts melt and healing begins. God showed up today in a big way. Words seem inadequate as I try to describe what the Holy Spirit did in both of our services. Never before at the school have we had an “altar call” for people to come forward. To see what looked like 75% of those in attendance come forward just amazed me. God is amazing. You can see the people lining the front of the stage in the picture above. I had some fear about today…from the “goat story” (sorry, you just had to be there to get this part) to inviting people to come forward. I was so proud of God today and extremely proud of Fellowship. For some of you, coming forward today was the most courageous spiritual decision you have ever made. God can’t help but bless that in your life. I am sorry we forgot the tissues! I hated it for the people that missed today because of illness or travel. When Christians obey, the Holy Spirit is free to work in such a special way. I believe that today “set the table” for what is going to be an incredible Easter Sunday.
I want to say a big thanks to all that worked so hard at the design and implementation of our new stage set today. We now have the most “pimped out” stage of any portable church I know. It looks incredible! God upstaged it all but that is the way it should be. When we put forth our best for him he just has a way of giving his best right back! You can see Jeff rockin' it here...

Michelle had to miss today because Gracie was sick. When we got home she was upset over a hawk getting one of our chickens. Murderer. Looks like we will be shot-gun shopping later this week…gotta protect the “live-stock”. Our cat also got hit by a car…nothing fatal but I’m hoping we won’t get a huge vet bill.

Whenever God gets to working you run into spiritual warfare. One of my close friends called tonight to ask me for prayer. His wife told him she wants a divorce. My heart is hurting for both of them tonight. They are two of the nicest people you would ever meet. I had a chance to talk to both of them separately and pray with them on the phone tonight. I am trusting God to bring healing to their relationship and not to just restore their marriage, but give them a whole new marriage. I’m reminded tonight of how critical our upcoming “I love” series will be. Be praying... invite your friends this week.

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Tribute

I come away from my recent trip with a keen awareness of a supernatural blessing on my life. I have been given a gift that few ever realize…a brother and a sister who share my dreams, accept my shortcomings, forgive my failures, love me without condition, and encourage me to be all that God created me to be. Our time together was a realization of a new phase in our lives. Gone are the labels of “older, middle, and younger, and in their place simply brothers and sister. This is significant because the labels come with expectations and baggage. I’ll never forget a Sunday night talk recently between the three of us that I believe will be the catalyst for an intimacy that exists between few siblings. God has given us something special. It has not been easy nor has it come naturally because the three of us have had to get crazy honest about our stuff with each other. There were lots and lots of tears and through it a kind of healing is emerging. This is a place that few families go. Things instead are left unsaid or just ignored. God has called us to something special…He gets the credit and we get the blessing. Kristin (I call her Kris) and Buddy are many things to many people but to me they are just my incredible siblings. How blessed am I?

Kristin is one of the bravest women I have ever known. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but instead moving forward in spite of your fear. She is a great daughter, wife, and mother but to me, she is first and foremost a great sister. She has a love for people (especially kids) that is unmatched. She battles fear and physical challenges…literally goes to war against them to be what God has called her to be. She blesses me like crazy. It’s almost embarrassing how proud she is of Buddy and me (but I still like it). Kris is a discerner. God has given her the gift to see through the facades that people project and see the truth. Most of all she is in love with Jesus. One of the things I admire most about her is the tender heart she has. With her “people radar” it would be easy to become cynical and jaded but she remains a “believer” that God’s best for you is still to come…I love you Sis.

Buddy is my brother. I get the privilege to know him like few others. He also is a great son, husband, and father but he was born to be a brother. He makes me believe in myself like no other person on this planet. He is so much to so many people, but to me he is just my bro. He continues to sharpen me and call me to be ALL that God created me to be. To think of how I would have just “settled” had God not created Buddy. My biggest dreams in life have taken shape out of long conversations with Bud. Buddy is the funniest member of our sibling trio. He keeps us all laughing. He is a gift to Kris and me. Buddy is a capital “L” leader, has a flare for the dramatic and is at his best when he is in “dreaming mode” (see Ephesians 3:20). With all the pain and betrayal that comes from running point at such a furious pace, Buddy continues to open his heart and life to others. I admire that. He is a daring innovator and a master communicator…I love you Bro.
For the rest of you let me ask you this…Do you work at the relationships you have with your siblings? Do you invest in them? Are you painfully honest with them? Don’t just settle for ordinary when extraordinary is possible.