Doing Life Together at Journey

"I Love Your Pastor" She said...

It's Hurricane season here in Louisiana and we have a tropical storm already brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. June is rather early in the season to already be tracking a storm but that's what I'm doing. Since I'm on Sabbatical I have become a full time weather man for the family. They may be growing tired of my text message weather alerts but deep down I know they like it. It's a culrutal thing here in Southeast Louisiana to buy extra food and water for the unexpected Hurricane party, so that's what I did early this morning. I went to the new Wal Mart on Robert to stock up for the storm. (I was wearing an LSU polo, short pants and an LSU cap on backwards, because I'm cool like that). The water shelves were being restocked as I shopped and the potato chip  aisle was too. Apparently people love bottled water and chips during a storm so I bought some too... Then the strangest thing happened next...

   An older lady came up to me in the water aisle at Wal Mart and introduced herself and asked me my name. She explained that she is not from Louisiana and the impending storm had her worried. She wanted to know if I was from Louisiana and if so what was my opinion about the weather approaching. I told her that yes, I'm from Louisiana and my best guess was that we were going to be okay for it appeared that the storm was tracking West. That seemed to bring her great comfort. Funny how the confidence of a total stranger can calm our fears and relieve our worries but that's exactly what happened. She stopped and talked for a few minutes and changed the subject to church. She asked me, "What church do you belong to here, son?" I paused for a second and debated whether I should tell her that I was a pastor. I decided not to mention that but to say that I worship at Journey Fellowship Church. When I said Journey, her eyes lit up and she said, "I have visited Journey before!! I'm Catholic but I love to sneak out to visit Journey occasionally." Then she said this, "I LOVE THE PASTOR AT JOURNEY" I looked at her and said, "Me Too!". Obviously she didn't recognize me and that's cool because for a moment I could see how our community sees us. "I love Journey and I love your pastor." For a moment we both forgot about the storm, smiled and parted ways.  We were off to our separate ways to face our own storm. 

Apparently, you can learn a lot about life on the water aisle at Wal Mart while shopping for Hurricane supplies. 

Tropical Storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico

Doing Life Together

Father's Day with my 5

   I'm half way through this Sabbatical and find myself at rest on Father's Day. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and went to the kitchen to make some coffee. We just bought a new Mr Coffee maker which works fine except it only stays on for two hours after brewing so you've got to drink while it's hot. But I don't mind... After Rachel and I had coffee we got ready for church. Since I'm not preaching this month we are visiting a different Journey campus each Sunday. Today we worshipped in Slidell on the Pontchartrain Campus at the 8:30 Experience then headed over to the I-12 Campus to enjoy our kids leading worship. Then Rachel and I met up with all of our kids in the cafe between services to take pictures in the photo booth. We stood in line waiting our turn and laughing and enjoying the morning at church and talking to friends and hugging one another. That's what Sunday is all about for us: Jesus, family, Journey. 

   When it was our turn at the photo booth we took a bunch of different shots of the family. We laughed and squeezed in tight and took a few more. Then I took one picture of just my 5 children. They range in age from 15 years old to thirty-one. Each one a gift from God. The contents of that photo captures my best work; they all turned out to be amazing human beings but I give the credit for that to Jesus and Rachel. But I have been along for the ride and it's been an incredible 31 year journey. Today I was fortunate to be called daddy by 5 of the best people I know. Ryan. Christian. Gabrielle. Cade. Camden. I love you guys. Everyday. 

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Doing Life Together

Top 10 things I'm doing on Sabbatical

     This year marks our 21st year as pastors of Journey. We planted the church in 1996 and it's been a great adventure here on the North Shore of New Orleans, LA. We have raised our family, followed the call of Jesus and served these communities for more than two decades. We have lived and loved and laughed and cried. We have seen some of the best days of our lives here and faced a storm that nearly ended it all. But through the years the Grace of Jesus has remained. So during this month of June 2017 we are taking a Sabbatical to rest and recharge for the next season of ministry here at Journey. We are very grateful for a church leadership team that sees the value of an extended time of rest. Thank you Journey. The McAllister family loves and honors you. So what do I plan to do this month ?

Heres my Top 10 list of things I plan to do on my Sabbatical:  

1. Stay up late at night and hang out with Rachel and our kids. All five of our kids are nearly grown so our relationships have grown to a new level and we are all pretty tight . We love our time together.  

2. BBQ. Rachel bought me a new grill and I plan to cook out as often as I can.  

3. Binge watch Netflix. I am currently watching The Andy Griffith Show. The first 5 seasons are the best because they are in black and white and then Don Knotts leaves the show after season 5 so the show loses its appeal for me. Barney Fife is one funny character. 

4. Yard work. We just moved back to Slidell after three years in Ponchatoula living on the farm. So the house and yard here needs lots of attention. But I'll take my time and pace myself. I like working early in the morning and stop around lunch to take a break. 

5. Naps. I now regret all those times that I fought my Mom when she wanted me to take a nap. She was a wise woman, my Mom. So I'm making up for missed naps. I'm due for one now. 

6. Reading and drinking coffee. The best way to start a new day is to put on a pot of coffee and read and wait for the sun to come up...

7. Take long drives in the country. I love to take a back road and drive through the country side with all four windows down and music cranked up on the radio. Nothing like burning fossil fuels in my SUV and enjoying life like an American boy should.  

8. Eating home cooked meals. I made BLT's late last night and we ate way too much bacon. Best meal ever. 

9. Listen to some vinyl. My kids bought me a record player last year and I've been collecting some albums. I bought an old LP of The Best of Otis Redding. "Sitting on the dock of the bay..." 

10. Count my blessings. I've been married to the same pretty girl for 36 years, raised 5 amazing children, love being a granddad, devoted my ministry to the people of Journey Fellowship Church. I'm not sure if my life could be any better...

Doing Life Together

DDay June 6, 1944

     It was the beginning of the end of World War II. On that Tuesday some 73 years ago, more than 150,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches stretched across 50 miles of France's Normandy region. The Nazis were waiting and well fortified and the future of world power and maybe even freedom itself hung in the balance. Ironically, the young men and women from the Allied forces were the deciding factor. Many of those young men died on the beaches that day and the price for a free world was paid in their blood. Every time I see the American flag or hear the Star Spangled Banner the memory of those brave young men stirs my soul. This was the largest land, sea and air invasion in history and it was planned to surprise Germany but the Germans were ready and the battle raged. Thousands of young men died that day and many of them were buried there.

"The Normandy American Cemetery, overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel, was established on June 8, 1944, as the first U.S. cemetery in Europe during World War II. It holds the graves of more than 9,300 U.S. servicemen who died in the D-Day invasion or subsequent missions."        

                                                                                                      From the history.com DDay story. 

  General Dwight D Eisenhower was appointed Commander of the invasion in January 1944 and would spend the next six months planning this battle to save the world. On June 5th, one day before the invasion he told his troops, "You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.” 

On this day we remember the generation of young men and women that saved the world.

God bless the USA.  

 

Doing Life Together

Story Tellers

     I fancy myself a story teller and I'm always on the look out for a new story to tell. That may be why I love country music because it's the art of telling the stories of small town America. Country song writers are great story tellers. So the equation seems to be Story plus Music equals Country Songs. One of the classics of Country Music is the story of a man falling in love with a Cajun girl. "Jambalaya" was written and recorded by Hank Williams Sr and went to Number 1 on the country chart in the early 1950's. It's a song steeped in Louisiana culture and stereotypes and may be one of Hank's greatest hits. I first heard Jambalaya in the late 1960's when I was little boy. In my memory that song  is tied to my cousin Kelly Brent getting married. Kelly Brent married Carmen (a Cajun girl) at a Catholic Church in South Louisiana and that day is etched in my soul. The Cajun music, my cousin Kelly and the wedding day with the little Cajun girl always reminds me of a story. It's the story of love and Louisiana and food and dancing at the wedding reception with my extended family. Thanks for the memories Kelly Brent and thanks for the story Luke the Drifter that still echoes in my soul. 

 

Here's the lyrics to Jambalaya:

Written by Hank Williams Sr.

Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me oh, my ohMe gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne, the sweetest one, me oh, my oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, and a crawfish pie and a file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma chère amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

The Thibodeaux's, the Fontenot's, the place is buzzin'
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style, and go hog wild, me oh, my oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, and a crawfish pie and a file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma chère amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya, and a crawfish pie and a file' gumbo
'Cause tonight I'm gonna see my ma chère amie-o
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-oh
Son of a gun, we'll have big fun on the bayou

 

 

Doing Life Together

Imagination can take you ANYWHERE in the world.

     Interstate 12 opened in the early 1970's and joined Baton Rouge and Slidell, crossing through the parishes on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Southeast Louisiana. I was about 12 years old when the Interstate was opened to the public and my family was living in the little village of Albany, LA, about halfway between Slidell and Baton Rouge. My dad worked in Baton Rouge and commuted from Albany each morning, traveling about 60 miles through the old Highway 190 route. The first time that I heard the phrase "Interstate 12" was from my dad, when he told me that he was looking forward to the grand opening of the new Interstate for he would save time and money on his daily commute. I asked him, "What is an Interstate?". I remember his answer to this day. Here's a paraphrase: Pop said,"Interstate 12 will be a non stop, super highway with multiple lanes that will make our commute fast and easy each morning. He continued, 'the government is building these roads all over America and son you'll be able to go anywhere you want to go in the country." ANYWHERE. That word hung in the air like the smell of freshly cut grass. I can go anywhere I want to go? Anywhere! That's the first time in my life that my mind opened up to the concept of travel. From that day on I knew that Interstate 12 held my destiny and from there I would travel throughout the world. 

    As a little boy in a small town with a meager life style, travel never even occurred to me as a possibility. But now my dad introduced to my universe the concept of going anywhere. It struck my mind like lightning and consumed my thoughts. I would have to travel the world and it would begin on Interstate 12. I knew it was going to happen but I had no idea how. When you're 12 years old and your imagination fires for the first time it's a spiritual high that changes everything. In my mind I could picture the world outside my window and I would stare through that window and dream, then every time that we crossed the overpass in the family car on Interstate 12, my pulse would race. My destiny lay down that road but I didn't know how to get there. I would have to settle for the travel allowed only in my imagination for the next decade. For the next 10 years,  I spent most of my free time and summer days in the tiny parish library reading everything that I could get my hands on and I traveled the world in my mind. Before a person accomplishes his destiny he will have already lived it out a thousand times in his thought life. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." 

    This year I will celebrate my 55th birthday. Over the last 43 years I have traveled the world. First in my mind then as a pastor and preacher traveling to tell the Good News. I have put my feet on every continent except Antarctica and I don't plan to visit there anytime soon. (It's too cold). But it all started with a highway. Interstate 12. My dad told me that story about his new commute to work and maybe I shared his excitement but something else happened. He sparked my imagination that day. That spark still blazes today in my universe. It's a spark that began on Interstate 12 in the early 1970's in a small village when my dad said that I could go ANYWHERE.  Fathers say a thousand things to their children and then one day they say something that changes everything. But ironically a father never knows which one of the thousands of conversations he holds with his children will be the one. 

    As my life comes full circle it occurred to me the other day that Intertstate 12 still plays a central role in my life. The church that Rachel and I planted in 1996 has grown to be a multisite church with three Campuses open in and around New Orleans and two more on the drawing board. But our first Campus has grown to become the hub of the entire ministry and it is central to all the others and it is located near Lacombe, LA on Interstate 12 at Exit 74. As Journey opens each new campus, we give it a unique name inspired by the local geography. There's the campus in Slidell that we call Pontchartrain Campus because it's located on a street near the lake with the same name. Now there is the Belle Chasse Campus located off the street in the city with the same name. Which brings us to the original Journey campus in Lacombe, LA. It's located off Interstate 12 at Exit 74 and we call it affectionately the "I-12 Campus". And there it is again. The words that I heard from my Pop still echo in my imagination. Doug that new Interstate can take you anywhere in the world. Yes it can Pop. ANYWHERE. 

Doing Life Together

My coat, my books and my papers

 “When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

   Recently, I moved most of my books into the second story of a little studio that Rachel and I built for the kids. They are all musically inclined and we wanted a place that honored those gifts that bind us all together.  So on the first floor of the tiny studio we store the musical instruments and gather occasionally to jam as a family. Those impromptu sessions fill my soul with great joy. But the second floor was mostly empty so we decided to make that my library. I filled it with the books that have shaped my life over the llast 30 years. Unfortunately Hurricane Katrina destroyed a large portion of my collection. But I managed to save some from the storm and added new titles in the years that followed. I've collected over a lifetime of principles, truth, lessons and doctrine from so many gifted writers. I love each book in my library. I know this is old school but I cherish the feel of  the book in my hand and enjoy turning each page. Books are a gift from God. If the Lord allows me I plan to write a dozen more books in that little library. According to 2 Timothy, the Apostle Paul loved his books, papers and even had a favorite coat. He asked his son Timothy to bring all three when he came to visit. Bring me my coat, my books and especially my papers. I can identify with that. 

Doing Life Together

Easter 2017

Journey is gearing up for Easter 2017!

12 Experiences on 4 Campuses

Here's the Easter 2017 worship schedule at Journey Fellowship Church:

 

1. I-12 Campus - (6 Experiences)

"An Easter Journey"

A celebration of The Resurrection of Jesus in music with 6 shows.

Thursday April 13 at 7 PM

Good Friday April 14 at 7 PM

Saturday April 15 at 7 PM

Easter Sunday April 16 at

8:30 10:00 and 11:30 AM

 

 

2. Pontchartrain Campus-

(3 Experiences)

Artist Mark Eckel paints the resurrection story

Easter Sunday April 16th

8:30 10:00 & 11:30 AM

 

3. Belle Chasse Campus

(1 Experience)

Grand Opening

Easter Sunday April 16 at 10 AM

 

4. Online Campus

9:00 & 10:30 AM

Broadcast from Pontchartrain on journeyfellowshipchurch.com

 

Easter Sunday is April 16, 2017. Billions of Believers will gather for worship on that day from every nation on the planet. It is the single greatest day of the year for evangelism. Journey developed this Guide to help you to prepare for Easter Sunday and to maximize your worship experience. Follow the guide each day for ideas to get ready for the biggest day of the year.

 

Here are 40 things you can do to get ready for Easter 2017:

 

Read the "Preparing Our Hearts for Easter" Bible Plan on the  YouVersion Bible App. It's a 40 day plan.

Pray for your friends and family who are not walking with the Lord or not attending church.

Make a list of three people that you plan to invite to Easter at Journey.

Plant a flag on the Prayer Walk with the name of the people you're praying for.

Fast at least one meal each Friday and pray for Easter at Journey.

Commit random acts of kindness to people you may encounter and leave them a Journey invite card. (Cards available at Guest Services)

Stay connected to your Small Group this Semester.

Use your gifts at Journey on Sunday on one of the Weekend Teams.

Get involved with students at Journey by joining the Generations Team.

Handout Easter invite cards. (Available 4 weeks before Easter at Guest Services)

Send an email invitation to your friends to the Easter Experiences at Journey.

Post the Journey Easter graphics on your Social Media pages.

Encourage new believers in your circle to register for water baptism. Water Baptism will take place on Easter Sunday at all three campuses after the final Experience.

Invite someone to visit the musical on I-12 "An Easter Journey" 6 shows.

Invite someone to see the artist Marc Eckel on the Pontchartrain campus. 3 shows.

Invite someone to attend the Grand Opening of the Belle Chasse campus. 1 Experience.

Have a Spring Cleaning garage sale in your neighborhood and use the money to do Random Acts of Kindness. Also pass out Easter Invite Cards to your customers.

Spend an hour on the Journey Prayer Walk. Or pray wherever you are for your friends to come to Christ.

Cut your neighbors grass or wash their car and invite them to Easter at Journey.

Bring a bag of canned goods to a local shelter or ministry.

Buy a family in your circle Easter baskets for their children.

Post a Easter scripture on Social Media.

Invite someone to lunch after Church one Sunday.

Give a special offering above your tithe for the Easter outreach. Give online at journeyfellowshipchurch.com

Buy flowers for someone in the hospital and visit them to cheer them up.

Pray for your friends today.

Visit or write a letter to someone in jail.

Serve on the Compassion Outreach team at the New Orleans Mission.

Read a book on spiritual growth.

Host an Easter Egg hunt for your family.

Take your kids shopping for Easter clothes for church.

Peeps!

Pray for your friends to come to Christ.

Invite a neighbor, friend or family member to Easter at Journey.

Read Mark 16

Take an Easter family portrait.

Sponsor a student for Summer Camp or help send someone on a Missions Trip.

Pray for 100 people to be baptized on Easter Sunday.

Make a commitment to help a new believer to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus.

Attend and serve at one of the Journey campuses on Easter Sunday.

 

Easter weekend at Journey:

2500 people

12 Experiences

4 Campuses

1 Risen Savior!

Doing Life Together

Stutter

   On a long road trip a few weeks ago I found myself in a room full of other pastors at a luncheon. Afterwards we were making small talk with new friends in a circle of three or four in a group. We all took turns chatting and adding to the conversation but there was one man that I didn't know who wasn't saying a word. So, at a natural break in the conversation I asked him a direct question and he looked at me in slilence for a moment as if he was gathering his thoughts and finally he opened his mouth to speak. He struggled to express himself through a severe speech impediment but he was determined to be heard. He stuttered at almost every word but he expressed a complete thought that answered the question that I posed. And all the while he was speaking I kept steady eye contact and listened intently. My heart literally hurt in my chest for the struggle that he was engaged in to say what was on his mind, but I didn't let on that I noticed his pain. When he was done I acknowledged his contribution to the conversation and continued to speak to the group. And my new friend added a few other comments through his struggle. It was awkward at times but each person waited and listened patiently. We concluded our group conversation and broke up to move to the next event. I found a place alone and swallowed the lump in my throat and wiped a tear that rolled down my cheek. That chance encounter in a hallway far away from home with three strangers that I'll probably never see again brought me back to the days of my childhood. I was 16 years old again and the feelings flooded my soul as I remembered what it feels like to have a speech impediment. You see I was born with a stutter. I didn't speak clearly until I was 16 years old and then quite unexpectedly. 

   The things that I hated most about being a person with a stutter was that most people would look away from me when I talked. I understand now why people look away but as a child it always made me feel invisible. I also despised the pity from the listeners or sometimes the ridicule that was common from the kids who laughed at my impediment. And finally I longed to be acknowledged for my contribution to the conversation but that was rarely if ever granted. Children hardly ever know what is the right thing to do for a person with a handicap. I certainly didn't know how to handle it either. So mostly I suffered in silence and listened, wishing I could join the conversation. All those feelings disappeared from my daily existence in 1979 and I almost forgot about them but they were lying dormant in the storage bins of my soul. And then after nearly 40 years all those feelings came flooding back. Maybe God leaves those emotional scars in our lives so that we will have compassion for others who still suffer. Maybe it gives us a chance to treat other people how we wish we were treated when we suffered the injustices of life. Maybe those scars mark the places in our lives that gave birth to humility and forgiveness and grace. Maybe. Or maybe that's just how the world is, you struggle, you hurt, you change, you move on. I stuttered until I was 16 years old and I thought that I always would.       

     But that all changed on a walk home from church one Sunday night in 1979. I felt this strange sensation in my body like an electrical charge or a feeling of euphoria that was unexplainable and somehow I knew that my stutter was going to disappear. I don't know how I knew but I just did. And over the next several weeks my speech impediment completely left. I had stuttered all of my life until I was a junior in high school and then all of a sudden it was gone. Completely healed. I now know it was Jesus who touched me. One touch and he healed my stutter yes but so much more. In a moment He wiped away a lifetime of pain and embarrassment. And for the first time ever I could speak in clear understandable sentences. it's ironic that I've spent the rest of my years preaching the Gospel always with a knowing grin on the inside that my listeners had no idea what made it all possible. Most of my early life I felt like an underdog. That still remains true today in many ways but I'm reminded often that Jesus uses broken vessels and redeems the most unlikely candidates. Jesus heals hurting people. He brings comfort and grace. He is the Champion of the underdog. 

 

Doing Life Together

Vision Letter 2017

                                     

                                                   JOURNEY FELLOWSHIP CHURCH

                                                               Vision Letter 2017

 

Dear Journey family, 

    We are so excited about 2017 and we believe that this will be your best year ever. In September of last year, the Journey staff started planning the 2017 church calendar with our Purpose Statement, Mission and Core Values in mind. You know the ones…

     In this letter we want to share with you our LONG TERM goals that we call "Journey’s 2020 Vision" and the 4 Big Events that we have planned to serve our cities and reach new people in 2017.

 

    Let's begin with the Big Picture, our "2020 Vision" doesn't necessarily refer to the year 2020 but more so to seeing clearly where we are going. The 20/20 vision is a snapshot of our long term goals.

 

The Journey 2020 Vision:

6 Campuses [I-12, Pontchartrain, Belle Chase, Online, believing for Metairie and Ponchatoula]

14 Weekend Experiences

500 Small Groups

1500 GO Team Leaders

10,000 People in the Fellowship

 

 

For 2017 we have planned 4 Big Events to help us to Serve our community and reach new people. Here they are:

 

I. Easter @ Journey Fellowship Church:

10 Easter Experiences across our 3 Campuses.

April 13-16, 2017

 

I-12 Campus:

"An Easter Journey" musical

6 Shows

April 13 Thursday 7PM

April 14 Good Friday 7PM

April 15 Saturday 7PM

April 16 Sunday 8:30/10:00/11:30AM

 

Pontchartrain Campus

3 Easter Sunday Experiences.

April 16th at 8:30/10:00/11:30 AM

Artist Marc Eckel will be painting original Easter art at each Experience.

 

Belle Chasse Campus

Grand Opening of the new Campus

Easter Sunday April 16th at 10AM.

 

II. "BBQ & Watermelon Fest"

Sunday July 2, 2017

All Campuses!

Love Your Neighbor Weekend.

Be a Bringer!

 

III. PARTY ON!

Thursday October 5, 2017 @ 7PM

Journey's 21st Birthday Celebration -

ALL 3 Campuses will gather for

One BIG worship experience at the Northshore Harbor Center in Slidell with incredible music and our very special guest speaker Pastor Choco De Jesus of New Life Covenant Church in Chicago with an After Party for the Journey GO Team.

 

Note: All regularly scheduled Sunday Experiences will meet as usual on Sunday October 8th.

 

IV. December 8-10, 2017

Christmas Production: "The Toymaker" I-12 campus ONLY.

December 8-10, 2017

December 8-Friday at 7PM

December 9-Saturday at 7PM

December 10-Sunday 8:30/10/11:30AM

 

 

Note: All of the other Journey Campuses will meet as usual on their regular schedule Sunday December 10th.

 

Also on Sunday - Christmas Eve, December 24th We will follow our normal Sunday schedule with Christmas themed Experiences on All Campuses.

 

 

Now, you can see why we are so excited. We have an amazing opportunity to celebrate together and to win new people in so many different ways. Mark your calendar and be a part of praying for the events and the leaders leading them & volunteer and help us reach our cities. Together let’s

Believe, Pray, Serve and Give!

 

Doing Life Together,

Pastor Doug & Rachel

Doing Life Together