The gift that keeps on giving

Merry Christmas!

Let me guess, you’re reading this while still in your PJs? That’s ok. It’s Christmas Day! Just do us all a favor and put some real clothes on before walking out of the house today!

I wanted to invite you to join us online for a Christmas message we put together for today. I’ve been encouraging our church to be intentional and invitational this Christmas season, and we wanted to give them a hands-on way to do that. So, at each of our Christmas Eve services yesterday, we handed out “Christmas Kits” complete with hot chocolate, candy canes, a Christmas card, and a DVD with a special Christmas message.

If you weren’t able to make it to one of our Christmas Eve services, you missed out on an awesome time, but you can still watch the video below.

Before you do that, though, would you do me a favor?

Copy and paste the sentence below into a tweet, Facebook post, email, or whatever other method you choose to spread the word. We pray this creates a way for you to discuss the story of Christ and the impact He still has today.

Merry Christmas! Take a few minutes & watch this short Christmas message with some family or friends!

Jesus gave Himself once as a baby in a manger, again as a man on a cross, and He keeps giving today by providing mercy and grace whenever we need it (Hebrew 4:16). Jesus is the gift that keeps on giving!

Merry Christmas and God bless!


Unconventional Christmas

This year, Christmas falls on a Sunday, which makes things unique for churches around the nation. We played around with a lot of ideas this year at Awaken, but we decided to approach the situation in a unique way. We decided to have church on Christmas Day…but not in our typical way.

At both of our Christmas Eve services this year (3 & 5pm), we’ll be handing out “Christmas Kits” to each family in attendance. Each Christmas Kit contains a Christmas card with a summary of my Christmas message on the back, packs of hot chocolate for each family member, some candy canes, and a DVD. The DVD will contain a 13-minute Christmas message that we spent 5 hours filming last week.

One thing I stress to my church each year is that Christmas is a unique time of the year when people are naturally talking about Jesus already. So we should use that to our advantage as much as possible. People are much more willing to go to church for Christmas and talk about Christmas as the holiday approaches. I also wanted to remind the church that our church building isn’t the only place that we can meet with Jesus and talk Christmas – we should be doing it in our homes and neighborhoods anyway.

So, in an effort to equip people with some conversation starters, as well as encourage discussing the beauty behind the holiday, we’re not canceling services this year at Awaken – we’re moving them to living rooms around the world. I say “world” because not only will the Christmas teaching be available by DVD in our Christmas Kits here in Clarksville, but it will also be streaming all day on our website at We’re encouraging people to post a link on their Facebook, Twitter, or blog, so they can share this Christmas gospel message with people all over the world.

We look forward to hearing stories of deployed soldiers celebrating Christmas with us from Afghanistan, as well as family members and friends in California, New York, Brazil, and many other places.

The challenge for Awaken Church this year is to be intentional and invitational. Christmas is a unique time of year and we want to use every opportunity that we can to share the Gospel with as many people as we can.

Will you pray with me that God would use the Christmas teaching in a powerful way this year? We want to reach as many people as possible with it, and I’m praying that many people will pray with me at the end of the teaching to give their lives to Jesus!

If you live in Clarksville and you’re sentimental about going to a church on Christmas Day, here are a few churches in the city that are having service on Christmas Day…

LifePoint Church: 10am

Xtreme Church: 10am

Hilldale Baptist: 9:45am

3 months

Last Thursday, March 24 was the “official” 3-month mark for us in the new building. We opened it on Christmas Eve 2010.

After that opening service in December, I got an email from one of the guys from the church saying we’d outgrow the building in 6 months. I laughed. I shouldn’t have.

Today we had to pull out extra chairs for our Sunday morning service. We only own a few more that are still in the storage closet.

It’s interesting that we’re here only 3 months into opening the new building. When we reopened our remodeled building after the flood, it also only took 3 months for us to outgrow it. Maybe 3 months is the mark for us. Sounds good to me!

All I can say it this: GOD IS MOVING IN CLARKSVILLE, TN! It’s a blast to be on board and to have the privilege to be a part of whatever He has planned!

If you live in the Clarksville area and haven’t been to Awaken yet, come join us on Wednesdays at 6:30pm (right now we’re in the book of Jonah) or on Sundays at 10am (we start Chapter 5 of 1 Peter next Sunday). We also have some pretty amazing Good Friday and Easter services planned that you won’t want to miss! Hope to see you soon.

A Pictorial Tour

In case you haven’t been to our new Awaken Church building yet, and if the video walk-through just didn’t do it for you, below is a gallery of pictures that Chris Varble took at our Christmas Eve service a few weeks back. He’s a talented guy who helps out with a lot of the audio/visual aspects of Awaken.

Pictures and video are great, but you really should come see it and experience what God is doing at Awaken for yourself. We meet on Sundays at 10am and Wednesdays at 6:30pm.

You can see these pictures and more at!

You can also see pictures from our Christmas Eve service (and tag yourself in them) on our Facebook page!

the NEW (again) Awaken Church building!

This is our 4th remodel of an Awaken Church building in 16 months – that’s an average of 1 building every 4 months. That’s WAY too much painting, cleaning, and moving for anyone, in my opinion.

Our Christmas Eve service last night was our first service in our new building. We worked till midnight on Thursday night finishing it up. It was a fun family service – we were joined by all the kids and families as we worshiped together. My good friend, Ryan Wylie, was here from Albuquerque to lead worship for us as well.

On our very first service in the new building we already filled it up! That was fast…but that seems to be how God moves! I had a couple people ask me last night where we’d be moving next. Believe it or not, I already have my eyes on a place and have been praying for it for months (more on that when the time is right).

Tomorrow (the day after Christmas) kicks off our Sunday services in our new building. We’ll be debuting our new electronic kids check-in system, expanded and updated kids classrooms, plus, a special message from Luke 2, which I’m excited about.

We’ll have pictures posted soon from our Christmas Eve service, but below is a little walk-through of our new building that I shot on my phone a couple hours before service began.

If you’re in the Clarksville area, join us on Sunday mornings at 10am or Wednesday nights at 6:30pm. What a ride it’s already been – I can’t imagine what’s next!


Our last Sunday at 581 S. Riverside Dr.

Jenn and I stayed at the church pretty late last night decorating it for Christmas tomorrow. We’ll be studying Luke 2 in a message I’m calling The 7lb 8oz Savior of the World. Once we finished decorating and cleaning, we sat down on the couch and thought about all we have been through in that building.

That building will forever be the beginning of Awaken Church. It’s where we began and it’s where we’ve seen God provide in so many ways. We’ve counseled, prayed, studied, partied, worshiped, painted, and fellowshipped in that building. We cleaned it up and painted it in September 2009 (pictured to the left), then got to redo the whole thing in May 2010 after the flood that wiped it out.

It’s crazy to think of moving on into a new place, but we’re very excited about it.

In July, when we repainted the building, it took 5 of us about 4 (very long) days to complete the project. This time, although we had twice the square footage to paint, we completed it in only 5 (very long) days. Last Sunday, on our first day of painting, we had 13 people show up to help. That is as many people as attended the church in May when the flood hit! Amazing how quickly it’s changed!

So tomorrow is the big day. We have service at 10am, but as soon as the message is over, clean up will be much different than normal. We’ll unplug, pull down, box up, stack up, and prepare to move out. Wednesday is the official move-in day as long as everything with the city’s inspection goes well. Friday (Christmas Eve) is our first service in the new building. We have a lot to do before then, but it will all come together. Bring a friend and join us as we enjoy our new building and celebrate the birth of the Savior!

A Quick Building Update…

We finally got started painting the building on Sunday afternoon. As it snowed outside, a big team of us painted inside. By Monday evening, we had accomplished in 2 days what it took us 5 days to do back in July! In fact, we had as many people show up to paint on Sunday as attended the church back in July! It’s amazing what God has done in such little time.

As I type, a construction crew is priming the Kids Ministry side of the building, and we’ll resume painting tonight.

Right now, we’re completely done with the first half of the building. The Kids Ministry side is the fun part – it has all the cool colors! We will be working on that tonight and tomorrow morning. As soon as that’s finished, the tile and carpet guys will come in and get the floor finished. We’re hoping to have that done by this weekend, then as soon as the city approves it, we’re moving in!

Tomorrow night’s Night of Worship is our last Wednesday night service in our current building, and this Sunday is our last service in there. Next Wednesday, December 22, is canceled as we move in and set up in preparation for our first service in the new building: CHRISTMAS EVE!

It’s bee a ton of work so far, but also really rewarding as we see the building start to take shape.

If you’re interested in helping paint tonight, show up at 6pm. There will be snacks and drinks for all the volunteers, good music, good people, and LOTS of work! We’ll continue working tomorrow morning as well. Stay up-to-date with the progress and work times on our Facebook page and Twitter.

As always, if you’d like to help financially with the cost of moving into the new building, click HERE. All donations are tax-deductible…and awesome!

Thanks again to all who have helped. We pray that God uses this building to change even more individual lives, marriages, and families through the teaching of His Word!

Building Update and How You Can Help

Moving has become a regular part of our routine since we started Awaken Church.

Before the church opened, we rented a space and began cleaning and painting, until we found out we couldn’t meet there. That was just 3 weeks before our first service. We quickly found our current Riverside location, cleaned it up in about 11 days, and opened the doors for our first service on September 19, 2009. Just about 7 months later, the flood hit and it was time to move again (although that move was easier – we didn’t have much left to move!). We moved temporarily into the Bank of America building downtown, while work was done to restore our Riverside building.

Just 5 months ago, in the middle of June, on a Saturday night in the bank, I made the announcement that we’d be re-opening on Riverside on July 11. I had NO idea when I made that announcement that just 5 months later, I’d be making another moving announcement…but that’s what I did tonight!

Right in time for Christmas, we’ll be opening the doors of our new facility for our Christmas Eve Family Service at 6pm!

We’ll talk more about our Christmas Eve service this weekend at Awaken – it’s going to be fun!

A lot of people have been asking how they can help, so here are a few ideas…

ENERGETICALLY: If you live in this area and would like to help paint, we’d love the help. Sheet rock goes up this Friday and will take about 4-5 days. As soon as that’s up, we’ll head in and do the painting. It took us a long time to do the 2400 square feet of our current building, so we’ll definitely need help in our new 4800 square feet! We’re hoping to knock it out in 3 days, so that they can get back in, put down the flooring, and finish it up in time for the city to inspect it.

The tentative painting schedule is: Saturday, December 11, from 1pm-8pm; Sunday, December 12, from 2pm-LATE, and Monday, December 13, from 8am-8pm. Hopefully we can knock it out in just those 3 days. Whether you’re an artist or not, feel free to come help!

FINANCIALLY: If you’re not local, but would like to contribute financially, you can always donate online (click here). As many of you know, there are lots of added expenses when moving into a new facility, so if you’d like to help in this way, that would be a big help as well.

PRAYERFULLY: It goes without saying that we’d love for you to be praying for us and the ministry of Awaken Church. We’ve already seen God work in powerful ways – changing lives, marriages, and families – but that’s just the beginning of His big plan for Awaken and Clarksville!