Lettuce Explain: 1 Reason Why Moms Feel Crazy (But Don't Have To)

As a mom, I often wonder how other moms do it. It’s a fragile balance to be a mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. As a self-professed overachiever, I take that already extensive list and make it even longer and harder to accomplish.

So why do some moms feel crazy?

Let me explain. We try to do it all and that’s impossible. It often leads to funny moments of forgetfulness like these:

  • I once went looking for my phone, feverishly toppling over bags, rummaging through drawers and my daughter’s toy boxes for 10 minutes, only to realize I had been on the phone, complaining I couldn’t find it, the whole time! [Imagine what my sweet friend must have thought about me!]
  • A dear mama-friend told me that life was so crazy for her, she recently found lettuce in her freezer and the remote control in the pantry.
  • I have been guilty a time or two of letting loads of laundry sit in the dryer, only to finally remove it when someone complained about not having socks or underwear.
  • And what about proudly having dinner ready on time, then sadly watchingit burn as you clean up your potty training toddler’s poop?

 You get the picture. We can’t do it all — not alone, anyway. And we feel crazy when we try. Yes moms, we are crazy. Crazy to think we can fulfill roles that a culture has created. Foolish to try and live up to lofty expectations, most of which we have seen while scouring Pinterest for a new craft or scrolling down our mid-day Facebook fix.

No matter what season you are in, if you feel like you have lost your mind or can’t measure up, Jesus knows. 

Here’s what makes me crazy [and I bet it does for you too] — When I operate in my own abilities rather than relying on Christ’s capabilities. Maybe crazy for you, means tired. As in, YOU NEED REST. And in that context, then, yes all moms actually feel crazy. Jesus wants to quiet the crazy restlessness in our hearts. So what does he say about it?

In Matthew 11, something pretty incredible takes place. Jesus both sets himself apart from the pack and gave everyone a pass on trying to achieve perfection, something that ONLY He could do. Sounds like nothing that mamas struggle with, right?

Here is Jesus, after finishing instructions to his disciples, he began a series of teaching in each of their hometowns. He has seen the unrepentant hearts, the brokenness, the futility of the people for which He so desperately longs to save. He has seen their toil and the daily shackles they have placed on themselves as a result of following false teachings that preach on rule-keeping.

He says, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”—Matthew 11:28-29

There is tenderness and majesty in those words. He declares HE is capable of more than anything. He has clear-sighted compassion for the heavy, burdened, weight on every soul—Both yours and mine. Christ the Consoler says, You don’t have to be what the world says you should be. Only, come to me and I will make you who you will be. 

Being a mama can make us feel crazy, but it doesn’t have to. Silencing the crazy starts by surrendering expectations that cloud the truth. Today, may this truth echo: Come to me and I’ll give you rest. My yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Think about it: What crazy expectations, not reflective of God, have you placed in your life? What can you ask Jesus to take over or altogether remove from your plate?

Pray: God, our great comforter—Today I surrender those areas in my life of lofty expectations. Thank you for your grace and mercy in revealing to me the areas that aren’t reflective of you. Will you guide me to rest in you? In your name I pray, Amen.

- Emily Ondish

One Story Of Saying YES To Adventure: Peggy Sellars

“Peggy-licious!” boomed Renovation Family Ministry Pastor, Joey Todd, as he greeted Peggy at Port City Java in Hampstead, on his way to another meeting. Peggy laughed in good nature, shaking her shiny brunette locks. I’m sure that’s exactly what she wants everyone to call her and will be thrilled to have a silly nickname on record for to all to see. Honestly, Peggy likely won’t care. While her demeanor is gentle and kind, her laughter is quick and her sense of humor sharp. She is exactly the kind of person you feel safe leaving your child with.

RenoCity is the area where children ages 6 weeks to 4 years old spend Sunday gatherings, learning that their friend Jesus created them. As you drop off your child, you’ll meet Peggy. She is at the computer, printing name tags and security tickets, making you feel secure that your child is in good hands. Her faint southern accent and sweet smile immediately put you at ease, and you just have a feeling she’s a really good mom, without even knowing a thing about her.

She is in fact a mother of two, and works in clinical research. Married to Chris in 2008, they parent six-year-old Paisley and four-year-old Owen. Peggy-licious was blessed to lead a life surrounded by faithful, Godly, examples, attending a private Christian school in her youth and even meeting her handsome husband on a mission trip to Ecuador through their church. Her husband had attended the same church since he was a child, and they settled happily into their lives there.

However, God had something different in store for the Sellars family, and they didn’t have a clue about the adventure awaiting them.

Renovation Church began taking shape at the same time the Sellars were determining which school to send little blonde Paisley to. “We were planning to send her to a private Christian school, but then I was like, wait a second!” Peggy realized that if she sent her to a private school, Paisley would only be the light for those kids. “If I send her to Topsail, she will be the light for everybody! The whole Paisley-school thing is where God has shown grace to us. He’s got our baby girl.”

Marveling at the way God used little Paisley to begin their new adventure, Peggy explained how they realized they wanted to be really involved right here in the community they lived in. It was a defining moment for their family, and it all started with trusting God to care for their child, wherever she attended school. 

“We were scared to send her, but I felt like it was being obedient to God to send her. And now I’m just like, Thank You Lord!” she said with a knowing smile, noting that simply stepping out and trusting the Lord when they didn’t have any control over the environment, was a huge leap of faith.

The Sellars family has jumped into serving at Renovation without regrets. Chris serves on the Safe Team, ensuring our kid’s ministry environments are secure. Peggy served at the check-in station for six months straight without attending a Sunday morning gathering herself. 


“I never felt down or out or upset because I couldn’t go to the service, but now that I have been able to go, I didn’t realize how badly I needed it. Now that I can go, I’m like, oh my gosh, this is so good for my soul,” she said with appreciation for the new two service model. How good it is to feed the souls of the volunteers as well! 

The significance of Peggy’s role at Renovation never struck her until recently, when she attended a church conference focusing on the long-term impact of investing in Kids Ministry. While reading all the statistics about the children and their various backgrounds, she realized she was making a difference that went far beyond just serving as a volunteer. It was more than helping parents as they dropped off their children. 

“Even just smiling at someone and having a good attitude about it matters. This is what I’m supposed to be doing. No matter what the background of whoever, we are here to show the love,” she said with joyful conviction. 

Peggy certainly shows the love. She reflects a heart of joy and service, no matter where you find her. When God presented her with this new adventure, Peggy-licious jumped in with both feet, absolutely fearless in trusting the Lord with her family. Experiencing and serving in the groundwork of a church plant has been a blessing to the Sellars family. But Peggy’s sweet smile has been an even greater gift to those of us she faithfully greets at RenoCity check-in, every Sunday morning.

~Elizabeth Giles

Discovering The Adventurer You Are Meant To Be: Part 1


Inside each of us is a desire for adventure. A yearning for a life story filled with twists and turns, a touch of danger mixed with awe inspiring heights, mastering heroic feats where the unassuming become brave.

No two adventure stories are the same and neither are any two adventurers.

There are those who are bold and daring and those who are meek and timid. There those whose story take an unexpected plot turn and those who start off with what seem to be insurmountable challenges.

Adventurers come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, from every imaginable background, but they all come looking for the adventure of a lifetime.

Every so often comes along a brazen trailblazer, ready for anything, prepared to go to the ends of the Earth so they can live out a story that will captivate generations to come.

Meet Peter. Peter was the kind of guy who when a seemingly ghostly haze across the lake called him to step out of the boat, onto the water and walk, he did. [Matthew 14:22-29] He was the one jumping head first into the journey Jesus invited him on. So much in fact, that at times, Christ had to ask Peter to dial it back.

When guards came to take Jesus away to his death on the cross, Peter drew his sword and sliced off the ear of one of them. I’m not leading a band of thugs, Jesus cried as he healed the guard’s ear.[John 18:10-11] Later after Jesus’ resurrection, as Peter, John and James sat alone with Jesus on a high peak and watched Christ’s face transfigured. It was a true mountaintop experience of his faith adventure and Peter’s response was, Let’s set up camp here forever. [Luke 9:28-33]

He was an all or nothing kind of guy. Peter was up for whatever pursuit Jesus was taking his crew on. Bold. Daring. All in. Yet faltering.

You see, Peter had fully committed to the journey. He wasn’t, in his mind, wavering at all the obstacles that laid ahead. He was sure he would plow through them as they came. But then he heard a cock-a-doodle doo and found himself backsliding on all the promises he had made and denying knowing Christ. [Matthew 26:69-75] Just proof that even trailblazers lose their way sometimes.

You may be the kind of voyager who has truly taken the plunge into following Jesus.

Ready to go, wherever He may ask. Always on the lookout for the next big adventure He has for you. And then suddenly, you find yourself backed in a corner you never expected to be in.

Perhaps circumstances have caused you to veer off the path or maybe, fear has started to well up inside you as the fingers of the crowd surrounding point out you are one of them, one of those Christ followers.

Jesus knew Peter was going to hesitate when the adventure got scary and He knows when you’re knees are going to quake too. But Jesus didn’t dwell on how bad Peter was going to fail. Instead, He was more concerned in telling Peter who Jesus was making him into in spite of all his weakness.

When Jesus arrived in the villages of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “What are people saying about who the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some think he is John the Baptizer, some say Elijah, some Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.” He pressed them, “And how about you? Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. And that’s not all. You will have complete and free access to God’s kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven.” [Matthew 16:13-20 The Message]

If you can say with certainty like Peter who Jesus is, then He will without a doubt tell you exactly who you are, not based on how you might trip along the way, but on His plans for you.

If you’ve said yes to this adventure of following Christ, He is ready to use your life as one of the many rocks in the building of His church.

A rock. Strong. Hard. Immovable. That is how Jesus describes those bold trailblazers who may at times get lost along the way, but that shamelessly join him on an adventure of a lifetime.

Here's something to think on: Are you a bold and brazen trailblazer like Peter? When have you found yourself faltering under pressure or circumstances?

Take time today, to pray this: God, make me bold on this adventure. Give me a desire to be all in like Peter and help me to follow you when this journey gets hard. Amen.


~Catherine Fitzgerald

Renovation Church Is Closing Its Doors

That's right... this coming Sunday, October 11th, we’re closing the doors at Topsail Middle School so we can open brand new doors by having a party in our community, for our community. A party that, we pray, will open the doors for conversation and authentic community so that ultimately lives can be changed by the reconciling work of the Gospel. So why on earth would we do something like that? Because...

Sundays aren’t for church anymore.

In fact only 25% of Americans actually treat Sunday like a Holy day. So what about the other 75%? They’re not at church. They're home enjoying football, napping, golfing, hunting, fishing (you name it).

Renovation Church is all about celebrating. It would be easy to count who is attending and get excited about how God is bringing new faces every week, but filled seats are not what motivates us — It’s the life-changing power in the name of Jesus. A vision and mission for reaching EVERY man, woman, and child with repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the Gospel.

So what if we stopped counting those who fill our seats, and started counting those in our community who aren’t? If only about 25% are actually going to church, that means about 7 out of 10 people are NOT attending church on Sundays. For our area, that’s about 16,000 people. Let that sink in.

Now think on this: Hampstead is a thriving community FULL of families — some have been here for years, others recently relocated. It’s a community that will rally around building local business while also staying true to their fishing roots. They love their families, and they love a good event FOR the family—It’s no wonder why the Spot Festival draws THOUSANDS of people every year—because it both promotes a family environment AND their local business.

So if Sundays aren’t for church anymore, what can we do about it?

We can forego a Sunday morning gathering so that the 16,000 who wouldn't normally set foot in one of our environments can participate in a community-wide event that they will want to attend.We can work hard to be what we stand for—to create intentional, outside-of-the-box opportunities to engage those who would never step in our doors.We can do as Jesus clearly commanded — abandon the 99 to reach the 1 (see Matthew 18:22).

So come join us this Sunday, October 11th for our first-ever Party In The Park at 12pm out at Kiwanis Park. Food Trucks, FREE inflatables, face painting, crafts, music, and giveaways! Oh, and by the way — We’ll reopen the doors back at Topsail Middle School, 10:30am on Sunday, October 18th. It will be an incredible morning celebrating the wins from Party In The Park — So be sure to join us for that party too!

Whatever it takes


At Renovation Church we value community and the opportunities to build relationships with the people that live, work, and play in the amazing place we get to call home—the Hampstead/Topsail area! We're always looking for creative ways to further the conversations, build trust and deepen friendships with each other. You see, our School Kickoff Party is just one example of how we will not just do church but be the church in the ever-changing culture that we live in. These are exciting days for us as a brand new church that's seeking to reach every man, women, and child with repeated opportunities to experience the love and truth of Jesus and we'll do whatever it takes to inspire people to see God differently.

In Mathew 14, we see an incredible moment take place as Jesus told his disciples to do the impossible: Feed a massive crowd of hungry people with little more than what would sustain only one family. The disciples had told Jesus to send the crowd away to find food on their own. Yet Jesus took what was given, blessed it and told the disciples to feed the people themselves. As they stepped out to do what must've have seemed foolish (trying to feed over 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish—What?!), God moved allowed a miracle unfold right out of their hands. Imagine the reaction of those being fed—"Is this the Messiah?” they must’ve wondered.

As the last portion was given out, the disciples collected baskets of leftovers, awestruck by what they had just witnessed. Personal engagement allowed them to experience the impossible become possible. That’s what we get the privilege of doing this Sunday at the School Kickoff. Do we expect a miracle to unfold because of feeding people pancakes? No.

But we are praying that as a result of serving pancakes, miracles will happen in the lives of those that we are serving. So that ultimately, marriages will be rescued, addictions will be broken, families will be restored, and lives will be forever changed by the message of Jesus.

Don’t’ miss out on the opportunity to intentionally invite your friends, neighbors, and family to the School Kickoff Party and take a step towards being apart the mission of serving our community—Because every person needs a miracle from Jesus.

#RenoHampstead #YouBelongHere #RenoSchoolKickOff

Because Mom, You're Worth It.


Every Sunday we talk about the mission at Renovation church: to ensure every man, woman, and child have repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond the love of Jesus Christ. We believe that outside of sharing the Gospel, two main objectives help us in accomplishing this great task: creating great environments and creating memorable moments. Both break down walls and remove barriers so that people can better connect with Jesus. Renovation Church values the role of motherhood and the impact moms and women of all ages and stages have on our community! That’s why our Mothers Day celebration will be a strategic moment for us as a church. It will not only accomplish our mission of reaching families in our community but it will show our deep love for serving the people God has placed in our area. For Mother’s Day we will create an environment that demonstrates our appreciation for the women/moms God has blessed us with. Loving on moms will be the way we allow them to see and experience the love of Jesus. We will champion and cheer them on because, moms—You’re worth it.

Mother’s day is a great way for each of us to engage in the mission of Renovation Church—and it will take every person who calls Renovation home to play a role. What’s that role? To simply invite families to join us.

Let’s reach out so that this Mother’s Day, every woman in our area will have an opportunity to feel celebrated, appreciated, and loved by Jesus.


Thank You.


Our journey in life is always impacted by our relationships. People who have gone before us give us the wisdom, support, and encouragement to help us overcome the challenges that are associated with life’s journey. We are better as a result of their encouragement, we are stronger as a result of their wisdom, and we are blessed because of their investments. One of the great joys of life is expressing gratitude to the people who have helped you accomplish the dream and desires of your heart. They help that vision take flight. They are cheering you on— celebrating the wins with you. I want to take the time, on behalf of Renovation Church, to thank all of those who have been apart of this adventure of helping start this new church in the great community of Hampstead, NC.

Thank you to every church. Those that took the time to sit down with me and hear the vision of Renovation Church. The pastors and leaders who helped me think through some of the challenges of planting a church. Humble wisdom was graciously given to help protect us from their own mistakes. Thank you for praying with me and over me as I stepped out in faith to lead people in starting this new church. Thank you for taking our church before your people so they could pray for the work taking place in Hampstead. Thank you to each church that gave so generously to help us reach our community. Your selflessness has influenced me greatly and Renovation Church will always be grateful to you for taking interest in our mission of reaching people for Christ.

Thank you for the family and friends that sat and listened to the vision being casted for a new church in the community in which I live. Each of you took the time to hear what God was doing in my life and the opportunity that was in front of us.  I was grateful to have the opportunity to share how your story has been apart of my own story. There are many life lessons that I have learned from each of you which have helped me become the leader that I am today. Your story is apart of the story of Renovation Church. Thank you for your financial generosity and the sacrifice each of you made to help us purchase the equipment we needed. You're investment has and will continue making a lasting impact on eternity.

Thank you to our launch team members for your generosity, trust, encouragement. The amazing support you have shown and your willingness to do what ever it takes has truly made this a remarkable journey for me.  I’m so thankful and blessed to have this opportunity to serve this community and lead this church with you.

The greatest thanks goes to the one who has made it all possible and He deserves all glory and honor for everything thing that has been done through this new church called, Renovation Church. All thanks and glory to Jesus— for your ultimate picture of generosity on the cross and the grace you showed in allowing my story, our stories, to be a part of your greater story.

Jonathan Cockrell #renohampstead

What's So Great About Being Brand New?


There is no greater moment in the history of a new family, company, or church than those first few formidable months. The remarkable ambition—the stop-at-nothing drive. There is nothing like being brand new. God granted that opportunity for Renovation Church this past Easter Sunday when we saw nearly 600 people show up to our grand opening.  We met so many new friends and nothing excited us more than when individuals and families said they found their new home. As we had prayed for, so many truly felt like they belonged.

Renovation Church offers people the chance for a fresh start, opportunities to do good things for our community, and a place to be a part of a loving, generous network of individuals ready to do BIG things for Jesus.

Being a brand new church means multiple opportunities for individuals to take hold of a vision and live the mission. For the next several months we want every person to make to the most of Renovation Church being brand new! Don’t miss out on serving, giving and the countless opportunities to invite your neighbors and friends. They’ll want to discover more about,”that brand new church that meets in a middle school gym.” After all, who wouldn’t?!

Join Renovation's mission of ensuring that every, man, woman, and child will have repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the message of Jesus Christ.


Three Powerful Words


Three powerful words. Words that, together, share a powerful message to our community about who we are and what we're for. At Renovation Church, we champion that statement because we believe every man, woman, and child has a place where they can call home. Here’s why:

You It reflects the uniqueness of how God purposefully hand crafted you and I in his image. He has given us gifts, talents, dreams and ambitions. Those immeasurable gifts allow us to become a great student, leader, parent, and employees. Such gifts allow us to provide for our families, our community, and the local church.

And there is a greater story unfolding. It’s a collection of individual stories. The greatest news of all—God wants every person to enter into a relationship with Him; to discover the true fulfillment and meaning of life. He has a perfect plan in how to use you to do things beyond your wildest dreams, beyond what you are capable of accomplishing alone.

+ Belong That universal desire of every person—to experience a sense of belonging. It's a place where we are loved and accepted no matter what our background, race, ethnicity, or what the pocketbook says. It’s the feeling that makes you say, “I can be real and authentic. I’m with family.” It brings comfort and safety through the storms of life and celebrations of life's journey, all while being shared together. To belong means to have authentic community and accountability. Belong simply says, we need each other.

+ Here This is the place where stories collide. It’s the community we love and belong to. It’s the place where we work, play, and raise our families. It’s the moments that make up the dash in our life; from the day we were born to the day we die. Here is significant because it brings about the personal expressions of God’s mission in our lives. And Hampstead is at the epicenter of where God wants that impact.

Here is where God has us today. We belong in this community. God has prepared it for the wonderfully, talented, unique you!

= You Belong Here

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourself with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. “ Colossians 3:12-15

You Belong Here


If you have been following along with the journey of Renovation Church you have seen and heard our mission statement repeatedly over the past months: We aim to renovate communities by ensuring that every man, woman, and child have repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

While there are a lot of words in that mission statement we want to talk about the word "every". As a church we want to be intentional about reaching every man, woman, and child in our community. In order to do that we have to think outside the normal modes of the local church. We have to think about the people who are unchurched and have had no experience with church. For many of us that is hard to imagine, but according to Barna Research Group, "An estimated 73 million adults are presently unchurched. When teens and children are added, the total swells to roughly 100 million Americans. To put that figure in context, if the unchurched population of the United States were a nation of its own, that group would be the twelfth most populated nation on earth."

Let that sink in for a moment... 100 million Americans are unchurched.

At Renovation Church, we care about the 100 million because Jesus cares about the 100 million. And because we care about them, we care about what they think, feel, and discover about our church. Our hope is that any unchurched person that comes onto our campus has the greatest experience of their entire week, whether they know anything about Jesus or not. From the moment a person drives onto our campus they should feel welcomed, loved, and appreciated. After all, that's exactly what Jesus did in the cities and towns he entered. He loved on all people, no matter their race, health, socio-economic status, issues, backgrounds, lifestyle or personality. He ate with them, healed them, taught them, loved them, and rescued them. He was on mission for the heart and soul of every man, woman, and child.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

So if you are an unchurched person reading this blog; we want you to know you belong here. We are here for you. We care what you think about our work in the community and our gatherings on Sunday mornings. If you're on the fence about coming to Renovation Church because you have never been to church or you had a bad church experience that left you hanging out to dry- we welcome you just as you are. We want to hear what you think about our church. We want to get to know you, hear your story.

You are important to God and what is important to God must be important to us.


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Finish Line


Reflection and helpful reminders are necessary when accomplishing any God-sized vision. Such vision requires absolute dependence on God and the ability to put forth effective, measurable steps to accomplishing such a great task. God-inspired vision cannot be accomplished alone and will always have challenges that must be overcome. That's where we are today. Just weeks away from what looked seemingly impossible, we're on the cusp of seeing launch Sunday become a reality. Renovation has come a long way in a short amount of time. Can you believe that we serve a mighty God who is able to accomplish far more than we could ever think or imagine?

Before another morning sun rises, stop and reflect on this journey thus far. Think back to the moment when you first heard about Renovation Church. How was God speaking to you then? What has He done in your life since? What have you learned about yourself? How have you responded to the challenges?

Reflect on how God has answered specific prayers. Reflect in how great God has been to bring us to this point. We will never experience another time such as this for Renovation Church in Hampstead, NC.

Our commitment is crucial. The finish line is within sight, we can't lose focus or get tired. No rewinds or do overs. Each of us must make the most of the next 26 days leading up to Easter Sunday.

So here are a few reminders to stay the course:

  • Show up. The next two Sunday mornings we will be doing full set up (your team leaders will be giving you call times and responsibilities).
  • Spread the word. Opportunities to share must be seized and intentional conversations must take place to invite our community for our grand opening on Easter Sunday.
  • Serve the community. Be a part of our first introduction to Hampstead. Sign up to be at our Community Outreach on Sunday, March 29. To sign up, simply email react@renovationonline.org.
  • Continue being generous. Those of you who are giving, remain faithful. Your gifts have brought us within $30,000 from reaching all of our needs for Easter Sunday. If you've never given to Renovation before, now is a perfect opportunity to start.
  • Pray fervently. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move through our interactions and our conversations with those around us. Pray that those searching for a place to belong would find it at Renovation Church. Pray that we are ready and pray for the testimony we are building through our love and service to the community of Hampstead.

I love each of you and I am so thankful for your part in starting this new life-giving church in the community we love! Stay strong in the Lord. Stay focused on the goal. Stay encouraged by God's provisions.

- Jonathan Cockrell


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30 Days Begins Now


Today we begin the 30 day countdown to Easter Sunday and the launch of Renovation Church! It's also the beginning of our time of fasting and prayer. A process of sacrifice and exchange—fasting is an action that was so important to Jesus that he personally experienced it so that we would have an example to follow (Matt. 4:1-11; Matthew 6:16-18, and most of Acts). Just as the early church, we’re taking the next 30 days to fast and pray for important decisions to be made and for the new people who will come to know Christ. How can we, together, fast and pray for the next 30 days?

Exchange food for prayer. It’s probably the most popular—an additional hour committed to prayer can be a powerful way to discipline our prayer life and spend quality (and quantity) time at the feet of Jesus. Fasting from a basic necessity such as food allows hunger to serve as a reminder of our dependency on God. We'll utilize the reminder to pray continually without ceasing.

Exchange sleep for prayer. Rise earlier or stay up later. Spend that extra half-hour, hour (or more) with God. In the busyness of life it is often hard to find a time of quiet. To pause and give God the prayer and time he longs to have with us. Waking up early while the home is still quiet and everyone is asleep is a great way to spend focused time of prayer with God. It will leave us refreshed and more ready to take on the day the Lord has prepared.

Exchange television for prayer. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. That’s 28 hours a week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year. In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube. What if we gave up an hour of TV a day to seek after the heart of God?  In the time we would’ve spent watching “The Voice,” God could change the world around us!

Exchange Facebook/social media for prayer. Facebook and social media are used to connect the world in ways we would have never been imagined 10 years ago—helping people navigate long distance relationships and even becoming a platform for movements. However, Facebook says the average American now spends 40 minutes a day checking their news feed. That could, instead, be time spent pulling out the Bible app—reading and praying.

Whatever we fast from, our prayer is that God would reach the Hampstead community in a miraculous way. This time will be an expression of worship and a joy to participate in. It will change us. We'll get to watch God do amazing things!

So, beginning today, lets join with friends all over the country in this special time of fasting and prayer. We can't wait to see what God does!


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The Power of Prayer & Fasting


There is focus that comes from fasting—removing something so that God has more room to speak, move, and stir the heart. There is power in prayer—a sacred conversation between us and God. Unlike any earthly conversation, it has the power to free us from bondage, heal the sick, raise the dead back to life. We believe that when practiced together, fasting and prayer, can produce immeasurably more. That’s why we’re taking the next 30 days as a church body to fast and pray.

In Matthew 4, Jesus was called out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. It was there that for 40 days and nights he experienced an intense time of prayer and fasting. His example of enduring hunger and resisting temptation reminds us of the importance of focus and clarity. It’s no coincidence that God allowed Jesus to experience this just before he began his ministry on earth—it was by design. God was beginning a movement where He would ultimately stir a great revival in his chosen people, reaping a spiritual harvest never seen before.

We are a part of a movement to renovate entire communities. We believe God wants a revival and a harvest like we’ve never seen before. But it can only take place when we partner with God, calling on His name and asking him to move in ways we cannot. We are totally dependent on Him. Consider what can be removed so that you can become more keenly aware of God moving.

For Renovation Church, these days are some of the most important days of our history. A foundation is being laid, community is being established, vision is becoming clear and hundreds, if not thousands, of lives will be impacted. What we do over the next few weeks individually, as a family, and corporately, will play a significant part in the legacy made by Renovation Church.

Let’s set our objectives, ask the Holy Spirit to move in us during this time, make it a priority and expect results. He will not disappoint.


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Livin' On A Prayer


The 80's brought about great memories, movies, and music. Of course, anyone who knows me knows this: big hair, bright colors, and metal bands; I'm a big fan. That's the world I grew up in! A favorite band of mine, Bon Jovi, broadcasted a song to the world that I still love to hear and sing today "Living On A Prayer." And for those of you concerned, I did love Michael W. Smith's, "Go West, Young Man." Church planting has a tangible reality of every day reliance on God, living on a prayer. For a church planter, there are 3 areas that are essential: prayer, planning, and people. Prayer without planning is foolish. Planning without prayer is arrogance. However, people, planning and prayer together engages us in the mission that God has for us.

Right now, the Renovation Leadership Team is studying "Visioneering" by Andy Stanley. It visits the compelling journey of Nehemiah, a story that we will take some time to unpack in our early days as a church body. One of the greatest areas Andy focuses on is the importance of praying and planning through the example of Nehemiah.

If you're not familiar with the story, here's a quick synopsis: God places a vision in Nehemiah to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. This would be a vision far beyond anything that Nehemiah could or would accomplish on his own. Therefore, the first call to action Nehemiah took after he heard of the condition of his people was prayer and fasting before the God of heaven. He prayed for two things: opportunity and favor, saying,

"O Lord, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of the servant and the prayer of your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before man."

Praying for opportunity and favor landed him with an incredible moment to share his heart. Standing before king Artaxerxes, Nehemiah shared his vision to see Jerusalem's wall rebuilt. The planning had paid off because Nehemiah knew exactly what he needed from the king to have any chance to rebuild. Nehemiah taught us the importance of both praying and planning, capitalizing on the provisions sent by God!

Jesus sets the same example before us; He always prayed and planned for the work God had ahead of Him.

This past Sunday evening we spent some time talking through the launch phase of church planting and the importance of our personal prayer time: our absolute need for God in order to see the vision and mission of Renovation Church become a reality. Prayer recognizes our constant need of God in our lives.

Since prayer is so important, I want all of us to be challenged as parters in the work that is happening through Renovation Church to join together in a season of prayer and fasting. March 6 will serve as the 30-day marker to launch day, Easter Sunday, April 5. It is our prayer that each individual give up something for those 30 days and replace it with a time of prayer. Your commitment may look like 1 less hour of sleep, giving up your lunches, or cutting back on TV. Whatever the fast, join us as we join with God to ensure that every man, woman, and child in our community has repeated opportunities to see, hear, and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Live on a prayer.

- Jonathan Cockrell


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Something To Talk About


First time introductions are make-it or break-it moments. For organizations and individuals alike, a strategic introduction can reveal vision, inspire on-lookers, and captivate an audience.

That’s the kind of introduction to our community that we want for Renovation Church.

Jesus understood this concept as well. Unveiling the Father’s plan through a series of strategic moments, he was not only introducing God’s new initiative to reach humanity, but he would change the path for all who followed behind in his footsteps.

While only one example of Jesus’ incredible teaching moments, Luke 5:1-11 highlights one of the greatest, most captivating introductions by Jesus—His calling of the first disciples. It was just the beginning of many great things to come. Leveraging environment and an audience to his advantage,

"He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.' Simon answered and said, 'Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.' When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, 'Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!' For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.' When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him."

Jesus knew their story, cared about their journey, desired to have a loving relationship with them—no matter what their past. Jesus invited them on the journey of fishing for men and they said yes. It was an all-in, make-it or break-it moment.

This story speaks volumes into who Jesus is for, and gives clarity to the way in which he intends for us to go about getting the mission accomplished. Jesus still invites the ordinary, under-qualified, overlooked people—to accomplish his greatest work of reconciling humanity to himself. What a testimony of God’s love, grace, and mercy.

At Renovation Church we’re all about the mission of reconciling humanity to God through Jesus Christ. We’re praying that our opportunities of introduction last way beyond any individual or event. We get to introduce people to the greatest story ever told and the greatest love ever known! And a bonus? We don’t just get the opportunity to tell it, but we get to show it to the community we love. It's our desire that the community of Hampstead see that we know them, care for them, and understand that Jesus desires a relationship with every man, woman, and child.

It's an all-in moment for us as we say yes to the mission God has for Renovation. Mark it down: this moment will be unlike any other in our history as a church.

Let's give our community something to talk about: a church that's here to serve and love our community with the love of Jesus!


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Spirit of Generosity


Cultivating a spirit of Generosity is the singular most important root a church family must have in order to achieve the greatest Kingdom impact. It is that God-shaped generosity that serves as a wellspring—accomplishing all that God desires through both individuals and churches. Cultivating a spirit of generosity is at the core of Renovation Church, what we are discipling people towards doing with the things God has blessed them with. We’re committed to helping our church be the most generous church our members have ever been a part of so that we can be a church that experiences the work of the Lord in a way we could have never dreamed of. Giving of our treasure is directly tied to our hearts. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus says, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also."

Clearly, Jesus says that if we want to know what we care about we must look at where we spend most of our money and possessions. We know because of His great work, that generosity speaks volumes about our love for God and for others. But a generous spirit doesn’t happen without intentionality. We believe a generous spirit is cultivated when we...

...Give back to God what we’ve been given.

Get this—the average American gives away only 2% of their income and yet we are the nation that is most in debt. Crazy right? Our personal testimony of generosity is a beautiful picture of God’s work in our lives. That’s contrary to the culture we live in, where greed is elevated and our success and reputation are often measured by the amount of things we own, not what we give away. To lay up treasures in heaven means to give away what we have so that they can be used by God for greater things.

…Relocate assets to relocate our heart.

It's true that the things we pay the most money for are the things we care about most. When we are generous with what God has given us, it changes pathways in our hearts. If you send your money somewhere your heart will follow. We’ll take greater interest in that area because of our investment, become more passionate about it, and ultimately pour more resources into seeing it become a successful endeavor. Jesus knew, "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

..See kingdom giving as missional living.

We are a blessed nation and God desires us to use our resources to grow His kingdom, to understand that when we give to kingdom work, we are living out the great commission of, “making disciples of all nations…” Owning a missional lifestyle means making margin in the every day so that we can give more abundantly with our time, talents and treasures. Prioritizing generosity with our treasures is evidence of our value in reaching God’s people. As a church we want to be generous, because when we are generous, God is placing our hearts toward the things that matter most to him.

As a demonstration of our spirit of generosity at Renovation Church, we are committing 100% of our offerings on Easter Sunday to mission work in our community and around the world. Our first offering will be an overflow of the great work God is doing and will ultimately lead us in the direction God has for us.

Our giving shows trust in a faithful God who always provides. May we give in ways we never imagined so that we can celebrate just as the Israelites once did, acknowledging the walls of blessings on our right, the joys of a community being renovated on our left and fixing our eyes on Jesus Christ.

(read Dry Ground to hear more about our step of faith)


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The Trust Exchange

Last week, we began a two part blog post on stewarding our gifts.  This week, we are going to look at the trust exchange that takes place when leadership equips, “the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12
All throughout scripture you see these moments where God goes out before the people of Israel in times of great change.  Whether it was taking over a city or traveling across the land, God was all about seeing his people through to the end.
One of the greatest examples of God going before his people is found in Exodus 13, when God made himself visible to the people so they could follow Him. "And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night."
What an incredible picture of trust—The Israelites trusted in God to lead them by a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire.  Imagine being in the massive group of Israelites, knowing that God is providing them direction of travel and protection from darkness. It must’ve been a pretty magnificent thing to actually see God leading them. Imagine the stories they could tell!
Even now, God still goes before His people through the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that God is setting the stage for great things to come for Renovation Church as He goes out before us to align conversations with people and opportunities for service. As we follow God’s leadership in the discovery phase for our church, there are three things we want to remember during this time:
Be Patient.
You can work hard or you can work smart. As a new church, we want to start smart to minimize risk and maximize time and resources. Starting smart takes wisdom, experience, discernment—but most of all—patience. Often leadership will say, “yes,” to individuals who want to serve without ever checking whether or not where they want to serve is the best fit. Being patient means not running ahead to speed up the process but instead taking careful steps to achieve a goal. That’s where trust is exchanged—When we’re patient in trusting leadership to help us steward our gifts while also trusting God, who goes before us, to provide the best places to serve.
Be Purposeful. 
The way we demonstrate value in people is by purposefully stewarding their time, story, and gifts.
Right now at Renovation, we are in the discovery phase, learning who we have on the team: what their gifts, their stories, and their passions may be. As individuals, we know that God has a perfect plan for our lives and places for us to use those gifts He has given us.  As leadership in the church we want to set each person up with a front row seat to see God’s great work—using pinpoint accuracy when plugging people into areas of service. We want the people of Renovation Church be able to share a story that begins with, “you won’t believe where God has taken me…"
Be Praying.
We must remember that the power and authority God has given to us is tied to our relationship with Him. As a church we must be in continual communication with God being specific in our prayers, and praying as a united body of believers. We are praying, as your leadership team, that God brings us the right people at the right time for the right place of service. You are praying that God brings clarity as to where He wants you to serve. Commit to praying continually and specifically for the needs of Renovation Church and the community we are called to serve. Pray for the leadership, that God would guide us to be in step with the path He has for all of us.
Many challenges lie ahead in our journey, but we know that God goes before us. Walk this week in a manner that declares a complete trust in God and an obedience to follow his plan.
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Before saying, "YES."


We've just began the journey of launching a church and new this week at Renovation was our big reveal of the 11 ministry teams that will help put the wheels in motion making the vision of Renovation Church become a reality. Finding the right fit on a ministry team is a matter of good stewardship with our time and gifts.

Serving is vital, no matter where we're planning to commit. Our goal is to see your gifts align with the opportunities available. That's why this week we're beginning a 2-part blog series on stewarding gifts. Here are a few things to think about before saying, "YES" to serving.

Say YES, when there's alignment with understanding the role. When it comes to playing a part on any team, whether it's a role needing filled at church or an organization you love, know what you're saying YES to. Does it have a time commitment? Are you the best person to carry that responsibility? Do you understand all that's required of you and will those needs fit with what you can honestly provide as a team member? If the answer is "no" then embrace that so you may discover where God might really be calling you to serve. Say YES, when you can meet the needs of the role and can fully commit to it.

Say YES, when the gift sets and experience fit together. God has uniquely designed each of us with spiritual gifts, given to us when we've accepted Jesus and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our gifts reveal insight into the character of God. His creative qualities, His grace, His beauty, the work He has done in our lives. If you've got gifts and experience that fit together allowing you to be the best fit possible for a team then say YES!

Say YES, when there's clarity of vision. No matter where the opportunity to volunteer arises, there's a vision attached to it. A bigger picture is involved. When we can articulate the "why" behind what we're doing, we become vision carriers. Serve joyfully. Joy is contagious. It can be the very thing that draws others into being a part of the team. Say YES when you're ready to walk as a vision carrier.

We've been blessed with a tremendous group of individuals who are more than willing and ready to be the vision carriers of Renovation Church. With each brick we lay on the foundation, each team member we place on a ministry team, we move closer and closer to the launch of our church becoming a reality. The best is still ahead.

Next week on the blog we'll be digging in Part 2 of stewardship and the trust exchange that takes place when leadership equips, "the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ." Ephesians 4:12


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Dry Ground


Renovation Church, 2015 will be a year where we see God’s mighty hand at work in our lives and in ways we may have never experienced before. This New Year will be a testament of God’s sovereignty and our faith in him—colliding together—taking us to a fresh, new and exciting place in our own personal faith journey. 

Each of us has taken a great step of faith towards the place our heavenly father desires us, his children, to be.

We see this step of faith recorded in Exodus 14 as Moses leads the fearful, somewhat hesitant, Israelites on their faith journey to a new beginning with a new purpose. Here were God’s people, just freed from the bondage of slavery to the Egyptians. Fear was all they had known.

If you remember, there is this chaotic moment in the story where Moses leads the Isrealites to the edge of the Red Sea. The Pharaoh’s army is quickly approaching. Moses tells the people that it’s time to step out in faith and into the raging Red Sea, because God has promised to take them to the promise land. Gripped with fear and braced for impact with an angry army, Moses charges the people, saying, “do not be afraid, you will see the deliverance of the Lord that He will bring you today… the Lord will fight for you.”

Then the Lord commanded Moses to tell the people to move on, to press forward, despite the uncertainty. Here is where we see one of the most famous events in the Bible: the Israelites walk through the Red Sea, on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and wall of water on their left.

With each new beginning we will find a renewed purpose that requires us to move on to what God has for us next.

On this journey of church planting, we together will see God at work. He will fight for us, provide for us, bless us, and protect us. He will accomplish great and mighty things in and through us as a result of our obedience. He so desires to accomplish a great work through His children.  That is, children who have a child-like faith, placing their confidence in their Father who holds all things together.

May we together walk on the dry ground of God’s steadfastness. As we move forward let’s celebrate and acknowledge the walls of blessings on our right, the joys of a community being renovated on our left and fixing our eyes on Jesus Christ. Let us look back on 2015 and see the mighty wonders of all that God has done! Then we will celebrate, rejoice, dance, and sing in celebration of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Sounds like a party I don’t want to miss out on!

- Jonathan Cockrell


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