Matt Campbell – Reflections on Life, Ministry and Scripture

Way Cool!!!
November 18, 2008, 11:40 am
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I will posting another tomorrow, but I ran across this sweet video worth sharing. This video was recorded at Fellowship Church (Ed Young Jr.) in Dallas and was part of the release party for their latest worship CD. After watching this it’s hard to imagine the production it required to get everything in line…pretty daunting for one song. Nonetheless, it’s way cool and those who experienced this will most likely never forget the idea of new creation.


My Battle
November 11, 2008, 5:41 am
Filed under: Church, Family, Leadership, Uncategorized | Tags:

One of the personal frustrations that constantly brews for me between the professional and personal is that of looking ahead vs. looking around. Or, put in other words, vision vs. impulse. Or, put yet another way, tomorrow vs. today. These two are always battling for control of my attitude.

By nature I do not tend to be visionary rather a bit more impulsive. It’s not that I don’t look ahead; it’s just that I have to work harder than most people to look ahead. In fact, I have to make myself sit down at the end of each week (and most days) to plan the following week otherwise I probably wouldn’t get much done. So I make myself consider what needs to be planned, prepped and/or pushed back and it helps me maximize my week considerably. But where I struggle is keeping my eyes up for long periods of time. I may spend two weeks working on the non-immediate, setting vision and keeping attuned to my agenda, but it’s like I hit a brick wall after some time and I put my head down. And for a few I seem to get lost in the moment. Ever been there?

During these days I think about being at home more often and consider leaving the office early to be with Nicole and Lily. During these days I am not as committed to prepping for lessons/sermons that are not immediate. During these days I play more MLB 2K6 and work on the house far more. During these days I am not as sharp as I’d like to be, though I am not bothered at the time. I think of fishing more often or consider getting out of town for a few days or staying up late to watch a movie. I guess you could say that rather than looking “ahead” I now look “around.” I like these days and wish I didn’t feel so guilty liking them.

I think one of the reasons I live in the moment from time to time is that I often struggle to see fruit from working with people. Maybe you’re not aware of this but fruit from vision casting in church leadership is rarely immediate. I remember one conversation with my brother Mike and him stating that just now after five years he is beginning to see some fruit in his youth ministry. So from time to time I get to the point where I need a jolt or buzz or something that offers instant gratification. I think this is why working on my house is rewarding (the results are immediate) or fishing is so enjoyable (immediate jubilee… and because fishing rocks). I also think this is why I enjoy preaching and teaching so much (I really feel like I accomplish what I set out to do).

I find myself praying for stamina often. But I also find myself wondering if isn’t such a bad thing. Sure, it flies in the face of about every leadership philosophy, but, still, maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. Today is as important as tomorrow, right??? I guess this is my leadership battle. On the other hand, leadership guru’s have probably arrived at the conclusion that I am just plain selfish and lazy. I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinion. But this is reality in my world and it “is” a battle.

When I set out writing this post I didn’t intend to get so caught up in the moment. Wait, shoot, I’m doing it right now. I better sign off before this gets too bad.

Peace…Matt c.

Fall Is On the Doorstep…
August 21, 2008, 7:33 pm
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Fall is on the doorstep! I love the fall because I crave college football and am always glued to the post-season baseball in October.  Sadly, it looks like the Cardinals may not make the post-season this year. Even sadder is that the Cubs are tearin’ it up. My love for the Cardinals is equaled by hatred of the Cubs. With this in mind, I have as much incentive to remain glued to October because I must root for the team playing Chicago.

Better than October baseball, though, is college football in October. In the fall my energy is given to Oklahoma and the Big 12. Now, I live in Big 10 country and must cope with my faithful Illinois friends who, each year, insist that the Illini will do great things this year (please join me in my disgust. ). At the other end of the spectrum, are my Illinois friends who cheer on those over-hyped Tigers of Mizzou. Seldom do I come across an individual who has the college football head on straight. Oklahoma, on the other hand, is poised to have a great year…again.

I also love the fall because it is a bit of fresh beginning for church stuff. We still carry the baggage of our past failures and weak areas, but the fall gives opportunity to make changes, start new programs and begin certain ministries the right way. I guess you could say that the church’s new year lands just after Labor Day! I am so excited about starting up the Student Ministry with a full head of steam. It was a great summer for our students. But I have a hunch that this fall the Spirit will move through this ministry is a powerful way. It is a step up for the Student Ministry. Last week I sent out a letter to all my parents concerning the Student Ministry along with a postcard advertising our regular programming. This week I sent that same postcard out to around 60 students. The first week of September my team and I will be making personal phone calls to further invite our young people. God will bless this ministry and He will impact young lives beyond our imaginations. Our job??? Dream big and let imaginations run wild…

Greg Boyd
August 4, 2008, 3:42 pm
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My brother recently posted Charlie Rose interviewing pastor/author Greg Boyd. The interview centers on Boyd’s book The Myth of a Christian Nation and the majority of the interview discusses faith/politics. Good interview that is worth checking out…

Waiting on the Baby!!!
June 25, 2008, 3:52 pm
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As I am write this note my cell phone is in my pocket waiting for “the” call. By “the” call I refer to Nicole calling to say, “Matt, it’s time for the baby to get out of my belly! Take me to the hospital!!!” And, literally, she could call at any moment. We both want to share that surprise. We both want that memory to look back upon. I can’t wait for that call. Her bags are packed. I have a good book in a bag along with my computer, camera and ipod. This is definitely the most unique experience of my life thus far.

We spent forever deciding on a name for the new little girl in our family. Well, let me rephrase that. We spent forever agreeing on a name. Nicole knew exactly what the name would be, I was just a little slow in realizing Nicole would get her way. So, I cannot reveal the name yet. I’ll give you a hint, though. It starts with a “L”.

For the most part we have everything ready for when we get back home. The nursery is finished. The good people at our church threw us shower to furnish us with lots of essentials. All the guys threw me a diaper party (it was really more of a wiffel ball party that required diapers for entrance). A good friend is cleaning our house while we are in the hospital. And…well…I’m sure we are forgetting a few things, but that will just have to be a surprise waiting in disguise for now.

I would say that even Boomer is ready for the baby. He has turned into a lovey-dovey dog that last few weeks. He cuddles, licks and gives more attention than I can remember. He is and will continue to be a good companion for our family.

I will be posting lots of pics of the addition to the Campbell family. When that time comes no one knows. Until then we are just “waitin’ on the baby.”

My Favorite Teams of All-Time…
May 23, 2008, 4:19 am
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In keeping with my last post let me share a few other favorites…my favorite teams of all-time. These are probably not the best, but by far the most fun I have watched. No need to post your criticisms…only “your ” favorites.

1. 1988 Oklahoma State Football Team. Remember Barry Sanders??? He was very fun for an 8 year old who loved college football, who lived in Oklahoma and who had a brother and sister attending OSU at that time to watch play. These are the glory days for my brother Thom and sister Linda. Actually, they may be the only days were remembering for OSU football…

2. 1994 Tulsa Memorial Chargers Boys B-Ball. Hands down the best high school basketball team (alongside 1995 Booker T. Washington) I have watched. They regularly scored 100-110 points per game. They were run n’ gun and packed out the gym at home and away.

3. 2000 Oklahoma Football Team. They were the Cinderella, undefeated, national champs. I could probably put about every other OU team on here…this is one year they didn’t get beat in a BCS game.

4. 1985 St. Louis Cardinals. I was only five when they played, but, man, I loved ’em. I could recite the number of every single player…top to bottom. Ozzie Smith was in his prime, Vince Coleman stole tons of bases, Jack Clark in the cleanup and Whitey Herzogg as the skipper. What a great team!!!

Favorite Preachers!!!
May 22, 2008, 3:35 am
Filed under: Preaching, Seminary, Uncategorized | Tags:

I am in the process of finishing up a Master of Arts degree in preaching. All of my class time is now done (although I am working to complete a thesis so that I can graduate) and I guess I never realized the toll classes had on me until I had no class to prepare for. It’s awesome. Rather than spending an hour or two after supper and/or staying up late I can now enjoy the evening without the stress of school work. Let me reiterate: It’s awesome.

One part of my classes I enjoyed was critiquing sermons. We critiqued each other, ourselves and other various preachers. Needless to say, I listened to a lot of sermons…some good and some not so good. Still, though, I enjoyed 90% of them and I will probably critique sermons for the rest of my life.

Anyway, a good friend and I were talking about our favorite preachers and I thought I would share a few my favorites here. Each of these men are superb preachers that challenge me, captivate me, teach me, convict me, etc. I must include that two or three of these were not so admired much by classroom standards, but it’s amazing that God uses them despite all the stupid issues seminary students (and even prof’s) seem to point out about their preaching.

A Few of My Favorites (in no specific order)

  1. John Ortberg ( Ortberg is the senior minister at Menlo Park Presbyterian in Califonia. The way he gains a listeners attention at the start is wicked awesome and his phraseology…wow-wee…is better than anyone I am aware of. It’s strange, though, because his preaching captivates me more with only audio, not as much on video. Strange…
  2. Jim Dennison ( Dr. Dennison is the teaching pastor at my oldest brothers church. I subscribed to their podcast about a year ago and find myself listening to the majority of his sermons. He is smooth, pastoral and has the heart of a teacher. I even subscribe to a weekly men’s ministry podcast where he tackles pressing topics (homosexuality, politics, etc.).
  3. Jon Weece ( Weece is a Christian Church boy in Lexington, KY. He and his church gained national attention when, in 2006, they did not hold Christmas Day services. Man, he got it good. Anyways, he preached probably one of the top sermons I’ve ever heard while I was at a Christ In Youth conference. Since then I usually stay tuned to what he’s preaching and what their current series is. He is an awesome storyteller and has a way about his preaching that puts him in a league of his own.
  4. Tony Evans ( Probably the most known of this bunch. Man, Tony can preach. He’s funny, piercing and extremely dynamic. All’s I can say is…”Tony can preach.”

Well…I could have named a lot of other guys I love too (Bob Russell, Fred Craddock, John Stott, etc.), but right now these guys have earned a way onto my platform.