22 April 2007

we are in africa!

i posted this over on the elevate team blog:

here's a shot from the plane.

we made it safely. uneventful, nice ride. no stop-over in senegal like last time i went.

did have an interesting "event" barton got to see on the way to the hotel, though. a lady across the intersection from the shuttle he was on got broken into. a dude tapped on her window then just punched it in, borke the glass, then dove into the car. she of course freaked otu and started honking the horn and floored it and he fell out and ran away as she drove off with a broken window but sparing her life possibly.


we went to kfc for supper (1/2 of us) and the rest went to a little grill place. both took forEVER to bring the food but it was great food once we got it. we actually made the grill's owner pretty upset by trying to eat the kfc in the grill dining area. what was i thinking? i apologized and actually ended up joking around with the guy, but we still didn't eat the kfc until we left.

tomorrow starts early. 4am shuttle back to the airport for the flight to maputo. then it all begins. we get to see charles and kristen and ben and isaac and carol - and mahlahlela and celeste and the rest of the moz team. and hopefully the changaras and beano (and maybe sharon?)

wish ty were with us. big time. glad jarred's with us. he's totally a cool guy. glad he's getting the experience. it just would have been cool to have ty with us as well even. alas - next time maybe.

ok. i'm going to bed now. thanks to everyone who helped put us here. rob and michelle, tiffany, pastor dino, dr. cheri, kari smith, brandi lambert, the musso's, shane comeaux and the tons of you who gave and are praying for us. we need it daily if not hourly.

thanks for the honor of representing you here in africa!

20 April 2007

elevate mozambique

the team blog is open for all now. this is one place you'll be able to track what is going on (given that we actually have internet access while in africa as planned - TIA).


stay tuned! we head out tomorrow!

19 April 2007

rhett IS blake

this is my boy rhett. he watches way too much american idol. what you can't hear in this picture is him saying, "look dad, i bake..." (which, being translated from the aramaic, is "look dad, i'm blake.")

wanna know how i'm feeling today?

18 April 2007

sanjaya's going home

it's about time.

va tech - new life in the midst of tragedy

i got this update from lindsay koch - one of hpc's missionaries to university campuses:

I hope you are well. I don't know about yall but my heart has been hurting the last two days for the students, community and people of VA Tech...but I do know that God is receiving glory from this tragedy all over the world. A girl on my team got this email yesterday from a girl here in NYC...

Mollie accepted Christ today!!!

After everything that happened at Virginia Tech today, it has just been really hard today for me and her. (about half my high school goes to va tech). It’s devastating and I’ve been praying all day for their families. But she came into my room tonight "and said: "I have something to tell you...I went to the church on campus today and prayed to Christ and accepted him into my life because I was so overwhelmed by everything today."

I cannot wait to tell you more about it. We talked a long time and are going to start reading the gospels. I thought we may start with John because I was reading that but would you suggest something else? We can talk more about it Wednesday but I wanted to tell you because you've been there from the beginning.

what the devil meant for distruction and evil, God is using to awaken people to their need of His love.

yay God. prayer works.

17 April 2007

hpc_bridge campus

check out this really cool post (actually, if you read further in his blog, there's quite a few along the same lines) from jason laird about what we half-jokingly refer to as the hpc_bridge campus.

"the homeless come home"

whatever you call it, what tweez and the guys are doing down there is such a right thing. and it's making a difference - slowly but truly.

check out this quote from the post:

"5 days ago there supposedly was 7500 homeless people in B.R. well, as of today there must be 7497.....may not seem like a big difference but ask marc, chief, and alex....its a big difference to them..."

yay tweez. more significantly, yay God!

the mozambique team

the mozambique team - headed out saturday.

this is pretty close anyway.

on the left is michelle gros - the pregnant one. she's the leader of elevate, and i'm going at least in part due to the fact that she's pregnant and travel wasn't advisable at this point.

then on the right is michael baaaaaamonde - better known as "Jesus" - he's not going. well, Jesus is, but michael isn't.

and of course you'd have to add in there jay-red ray and me to round the whole team out.

pray for us.

why i'm going to africa

(click the pic for a bigger view)

noc - converge

making plans now to be in san diego in november. dino rizzo's gonna speak, as are a bunch of other cool friends (geoff surratt, greg surratt, craig groeschel, nelson searcy, bobby gruenewald, dave ferguson, and the inimitable mark batterson just to name a few).

last year's convention was pretty cool - great to meet the great folks from outreach magazine (lindy, heather, jeannie, andrea, lynne - and the rest - a GREAT team there), and certainly had a cool time with johnny green and jp brumfield from here at healing place church. can't wait for this one - it's looking to be an even better time.

so... you going?


lincoln - my 7-year-old

just found this pic from our time up in franklin, tn with kevin and tracy. made me smile. i love that kid.

16 April 2007

displace me

got this info from carole turner - excerpt from an email she got from the folks at invisible children about the upcoming event in new orleans.

"Displace Me is being held to raise awareness about the plight of 1.5 million Northern Ugandans living in Internal Displacement Camps. These people have been uprooted from their homes and relocated in the IDP camps. The conditions in the camps are crowded and unsanitary, posing health issues and diminishing work opportunities. Most of these people are dependent on aid allotments from outside organizations as their only source of food. The events of the night will raise awareness about many of these issues while providing participants a tangible way to get involved and make a difference. Different segments of the night will focus on a particular problem faced in the IDP camps. The issue will be introduced with a media clip presentation educated about the issue and then followed with an opportunity to get involved. We will also be doing some filming on that night."

i'll be in africa during this event, but i certainly encourage everyone to go if you're in the southern louisiana area - or to check out invisible children's website for other cities and schedules so you can get involved in your own area.

va tech

Virginia Tech Shooting Kills at Least 22

i'm stunned. memories of columbine. cannot imagine going thru something like the people are going thru up in virginia.


it's not a "last resort" - it's powerful and effective.

15 April 2007

a few of my favorite things

(the twins, church, hpac, diet coke, invisible children, children of africa, mozambique, life - just to name a few)

i had to take the twins out of church this morning - we were sitting in the balcony and as three-year-olds are prone to do (especially these two), they started getting anxious and did so rather loudly.

so i walked them back to the back of the property where we had parked by the playground at the hpac. i guess technically this wound up being like a reward for acting up in church, but it was too nice a day to just go sit in the car.

they played and played. they got me in the little "train" playground thing and we took this picture together.

we went inside the office for a few minutes to handle a couple of poopies (i'll spare you the pictures), then we came back out and they played some more.

i sat on the side and drank my diet coke. in the picture above i'm sporting my new invisible children bracelet (serving to bring attention to the children of africa).

and then last night, the team that i'm taking out to mozambique got to be prayed for in church. 6 days to go.

life is good.

new blog to check out

aimee poche just told me about the new blog for "his heart for orphans" - the adoption ministry of healing place church.

even if you've never thought seriously about adopting, this site is worth reading. some amazing accounts of God answering prayer - it will encourage you to believe God means what He says.

check it out here:


up and running

what's one of the first things you do when you get a new macbook pro? smile for the built-in (not duct-taped to the top of the monitor) camera, of course!

it's almost 1 a.m. and i've got all my data moved over from the old mac using the migration assistant. pretty smooth deal when it's all said and done.

so now it's just time to start working on it using all my apps and stuff just to be sure i have all i wanted to keep, then nuke the old one so shaun can start making sports ministry videos...

needless to say, i'm pretty happy.

sleepy and still have a ton of work to do, but i'm happy.

14 April 2007

man, it's bright

twins again!

three guesses which one is the macbook pro....

rain and baseball don't mix

my two oldest sons: jd and lincoln after today's games were called

do these faces say "second rain-out in a row" or what?

still unopened

new macbook pro next to my old powerbook

three and a half years i have worked on my current mac. that's longer than any other computer i've ever owned - counting desktops and all...

so now i was able to get a new one (yeah, shaun - got a powerbook heading your way - too bad you're in canada and can't be here for the celebration) - and i went out and picked it up tonight.

i'm not one to hold off on opening something new. when i buy new clothes, i wear 'em. sometimes out the store. so anyway - i picked up the new 17" macbook pro around 8 tonight. it is now more than 5 hours later and i still haven't even broken the seal on the box.

proof that the seal's still unbroken

why, do you ask? good question. and the answer is a four-letter word.


got way too much to work on to stop and get a new computer going tonight. i'll have to savor the event tomorrow. sigh.

i know you're thinking maybe if i didn't post about it i'd have more time to just do it. all i can say to that is that if i did that, you'd never know it, cuz i'd never post anything. some things you just have to stop and do sometimes - and blogging is like therapy for me in moments like these.

tomorrow we mac.

13 April 2007

children's cup t-shirt


back (small, up between the shoulders)

children's cup t-shirt coming soon. $15. don't even think about not getting one.

eight days to africa

in the words of the great william wonka, "...so little to do, so much time... wait, strike that... reverse it...."

this is my life.

12 April 2007

displace me

my daughter tori has a great post (read it here) explaining this whole thing.

i won't try to elaborate except to say this: please pray for this event - that God will touch tons of lives thru it - and that future missionaries will be born.

check it out. go if you can. if you can't, go, then pray. (i can't go but you can bet i'll be praying from all the way up at hpc_mozambique.) i'm pretty sure carole turner is going and will have some others with her...

check out www.invisiblechildren.com, too when you get a few mins. have you seen their video yet?

"bad idea" is STILL funny to me

ok, so i really just wanted to post this so that i could say i posted something today.

that's it. love ya, eddie.

congrats on the wedding!

11 April 2007

if you're going on a missions trip soon READ THIS

john lambert posted this on his blog....

mission blues - beware of re-entry stress

really great stuff to consider. in the midst of preparing to go overseas, you should also prepare yourself for re-entry.

huge stuff in this post. thanks, john. you rock.

ok. yeah, God's REALLY cool.

check out this post from natalie - a girl on the mozambique team i'm heading out with in a few days:



i heard God speak to me today

He just said, "I love you, son."

just what i needed.

10 April 2007

pray for ellie

i heard about ellie from my friends in papua new guinea - some friends/coworkers of theirs. this little girl had an uncle taken hostage in asia and killed, and her family has faced stuff most of us never even dream of. now she's battling the fury of cancer.

please - take a quick tour thru her blog - i did and it grabbed me - i felt a strong urgency to pray for her and to ask y'all to pray, too.

excerpts from a note from pastor dino to the hpc staff last week

i wanted (and got permission) to share this staff email pastor dino rizzo sent out last week before easter.

Dear Staff,

I wanted to sit and write something to each of you that I didn’t think could wait until our staff meeting. I felt the Lord download on me the last eighteen hours. Here’s the backdrop first. Over the last two months I’ve talked to some pastors in the body of Christ who have been fighting some unusual battles. These brothers are from different parts of the world. Some are discouraged, and some are dealing with disunity and rogue church members stirring up strife –even physical battles. Just in the last three days I’ve had one-half dozen conversations with buddies who are on various trials. I prayed last night - “God what’s happening?”, and He reminded me, “Son, you’re in a war”. I don’t know why He has to keep reminding me of this, but He does. It is a real war with real casualties and fatalities. We know it’s spiritual because the ground we take for the Kingdom and eternity are in the balance.

Here are three things to remember in this Holy war.

We’ve got to keep the objective crystal clear.
If you sway on the why we do what we do, our cause -the souls of men- can get so confusing.

Watch for friendly fire.
Remember who the enemy is and don’t shoot each other. This is the saddest tragedy of war. The other person reading this email at the same time as you – they are your body. If they are hit, they bleed. If they bleed, we all bleed. Make sure to bandage one another with Holy Ghost speech.

Guard your heart.
This shield is maintained through flow in the Holy Ghost and fervent prayer. If we lack there, we lack everywhere.

....Lastly, keep yourself healthy and pray for one another. This stuff is and will always be in the enemy’s crossfire. I’m never surprised by the stuff that happens against this team. God is our shield. Run to Him asap.

Much love,

Pastor Dino

great truth about fear

just got this from a friend of mine - andy piper - in texas...

"Fear God, and no other fear will trouble you."

--Joseph Parker

08 April 2007

my view of easter

easter at hpc was amazing - pastor dino rizzo preached a clear, simple, and strong message - laid out the gospel message in a way that anyone could understand. and at this point, nearly a hundred people have crossed the line of faith as a result.

my personal view of this easter was pretty much through my mac. watching the webcast trying to help ensure that web viewers got the best experience we could offer. i can't wait til we get the new setup in a couple weeks with the bigger better bandwidth....

but me and my friend mac had a great easter. sitting up in the balcony by jd in front of josh and shannon (my little bro and his wife).

my life ees goood. eet's the behst.

now it's on to the family fish fry.

thank God for family. thank God for Jesus. thank God we get to celebrate forgiveness and freedom today.

happy easter everyone.

07 April 2007

speaking of world-changers, i love this picture

one of my favorite world-changers.

thinking how grateful i am for the environment i was in i sent tweeze a txt with this pic during the worship after the showing of the passion movie a couple nights ago, and told him thanks for all he and jennifer do for the ohlerking family.

his answer pushed me over the edge:

"how good has God been to you.... can you put a price tag on that? soak it up."

i sat for the next few minutes overwhelmed with gratefulness for how blessed i am.

06 April 2007

jp brumfield - changing baton rouge

new site and address from a veteran blogger who is busting it changing the world of baton rouge through legit no-holds-barred outreach.

jp brumfield

also check out the blog from the team he leads...


another couple world-changers - kevin and tracy mawae

lincoln, kevin, me, rhett, jd in front of mo's
(somehow, kevin's 6'4" 285 lbs comes across differently than mine)

i mentioned in my last post that we were able to go to tennessee earlier this week - the seven ohlerkings went to franklin to visit kevin and tracy mawae and their kids (kirkland and abigail) for a couple nights and the day between.

it was well worth the 10-hour drive. we chilled, we played volleyball, rode a four-wheeler and a go-cart, ate grilled chicken and brisket, slept in, stayed up late talking, played with goats and basically just had a break. it was really cool. thanks for the invite, tracy.

i got to go with kevin to an fca meeting he spoke at on monday night - it was really cool to see him doing what he loves to do - help give others a shot to know Jesus like he does. also got to hang out with his friend david hood, the special teams football coach at vanderbilt, a really cool guy - left his coaching job in minnesota to allow his wife to take a role with nancy alcorn's mercy ministries in nashville.

the night we got to their house, kevin and tracy's neighbors - doug and lisa durr - were there with a couple friends of theirs - william and braley - who are from rwanda and actually were there during the 100 days genocide a decade ago. their story of how they were hidden and able to flee is an amazing account of God's mercy. he now works for africa leadership - more amazing stories of how he's been involved in ministry with them.

needless to say, it was a rush getting to connect with all of them. doug and lisa are totally cool people, william and braley, kevin and tracy - it was a crazy rush of "wow, God's got a lot of cool people on His side."

ahhhh, franklin

me with lincoln and "abigirl" (what he called her when they were younger)

kevin & tracy - thanks for all you're doing to change the world from franklin, tennessee. and thanks for changing our family's world this week - we needed it.

someone else who will change the world... jd ohlerking

me (with four-wheeler hair) and jd (about to have helmet hair)

my oldest son, jd, and i got to ride a four-wheeler all around this field - out in the open in tennessee earlier this week. not being much in the way of outdoorsmen, this was a pretty cool experience for both of us. ("outdoors" to us usually means playing catch with a baseball or football or shooting some basketball in the driveway.)

i truly believe that God has His hand on jd to be a part of a movement in his generation that changes this world. i'm very proud he is my son and can't wait to see what God has in store for him in the next few years.

05 April 2007

and another dude making a difference EVERYWHERE - chad daniel

chad daniel and me (with more bad hair.)

chad daniel - he's legit. he's just a little off-center compared to most. and he's one guy i believe would do anything for the cause of Christ.

check out chad's website: www.globalexpeditors.com

yeah - there are MEN doing great stuff in africa, too

don matheny and me

terrible picture. bad hair for me. blurry shot.

but lemme tell you, this is a man i count it a huge honor to know and to have been able to spend a few minutes with last month (before my last haircut).

don matheny pastors a slammin' church in nairobi, kenya called nairobi lighthouse. he's a modern-day missionary hero. he's legit. if you're ever in kenya....

another lady making a difference for africa

(left to right) dino rizzo, vickie melancon, me

vickie melancon - the mother of terry melancon, the police detective that was killed in the line of duty in baton rouge on august 10, 2005 - vickie has just finished writing a book entitled "end of watch" - about her son and about her own battle with cancer.

i'll post about it as soon as the book is released, but you can already pre-order it on the book's website, www.endofwatch.org.

how does this connect to africa? in our easter service at the river center last year, pastor dino rizzo announced that the facility being built for the new healing place church campus in mozambique would be named "the terry melancon chapel" in honor of terry and his heart to help hurting people.

the nearly-complete terry melancon chapel in nkobe, mozambique

vickie and her family have decided to commit all the proceeds from this book project to help the work there in mozambique - a partnership of children's cup, mission of mercy, the family church of lafayette, and healing place church. vickie and her family have already given so much of their time and resources to helping the project in mozambique - it's an incredible blessing to see how God is using their lives.

it is in this facility that we'll launch the new church while i'm there with the team of elevate interns in just a couple weeks. please be in prayer for our trip. and ask God to bless the book project and to bless many lives through both the book and the work in mozambique.


there is so much to say about this picture. first of all, it is i think only the second time i've actually been able to post a photograph of my wife on my blog (she's on the right with the cool shades).

but the really cool thing is what was going on where the picture was taken. lita (the lady on the left) is part of household of faith in gonzales (just south of baton rouge) where scott bledsoe pastors. she has an intense passion to do something to make a difference in zimbabwe with the children - particularly those orphaned by aids. (it's a strong story i'll share in another post soon hopefully.)

she and some friends from household put together a walk-a-thon and in this one event they raised over $20,000 for their project in zimbabwe with children's cup.

praise God for lita. praise God for a clear call and intense passion in her life to make a difference. she's living proof that what God starts with one person can grow to something huge when people pull together.

check out pat conti's post about the event (and a couple more pics there).

welcome home mom and dad...

monet, monroe, (meemaw), vaughn, rhett, (vicki), rhodes, and lincoln

ok, i know it's been a week since you got home from africa, but i just thought i'd post the pic we took with your little baton rouge grandkids at the airport while dad was getting the lost suitcase situation sorted out.

glad you're back!

tonight - the underground event

9:30 tonight at the annex. come on, a little late night worship-and-a-movie might do you some good.

in the words of the great ignacio, "you can do eeeht."

04 April 2007

hpc "gets it" - according to my boy todd rhoades

cool post over at monday morning insight by todd rhoades about some churches he's visited over the last few weeks.

actually there are two posts. the original post lists some observations - very cool list - from the churches, then the follow-up post which includes a list of six churches he is referring to.

here's the observations (you really need to go read his post to get the full flavor, but for those of you too lazy to click and read over there....):

  1. Each church has a pastor with a vision.
  2. ok, we've certainly got that at healing place.
  3. Each church hires almost exclusively from within.
  4. and nepotism is our friend
  5. Speaking of staff, the staff of these churches ‘get it’ too.
  6. well, yeah. i should say we do. that's why i'm posting about this. :-)
  7. A larger percentage of their staff (or staff wives) are pregnant.
  8. or have lots of kids - come on, stermer!
  9. Since they don’t have it all figured out, these pastors all shared with me their desire to connect with other leaders who can help mentor them.
  10. why i love leadership network and the other churches in this list and a dozen or so more that todd would have included had he visited them.
  11. These churches are not shy about sharing resources.
  12. this is the one i think that hits hpc in the heart. if we stop being this, we stop being hpc.
  13. Most all of these pastors are bloggers.
  14. yeah, baby - dinorizzo.com
  15. These churches are not afraid to make tough calls.
  16. got it. i love todd's explanation about this one... you need to read his post - really
  17. Numbers are important to them.
  18. and ONE is the most important number - reaching the world by serving ONE.

thanks todd - great post. and thanks, matt for the heads up.

shhh... but spread the word...

tomoorrow night

9:30 p.m. till about 1 a.m. (or whenever)

at the annex

an otherwise-unannounced underground gathering with a showing of the passion movie followed by a binge of worship of our Savior in preparation for easter

for the fierce, for the free, for the intense, for the strong, for the broken, for those who are full-on serious about being madly in love with Jesus