Sunday, June 19, 2011

Greetings from Nakuru (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

After 29 hours of riding on and waiting for planes, trains and automobiles...Jacque, our daughter Bethany and I arrived at Springs of Hope Kenya this last Tuesday night. A little weary and stiff but no worse off for the wear of travel. We are still adjusting to the seven hour forward jump in time but that too shall pass...just about when we board a plane for the return trip home I'm sure!

We are spending two weeks with our partners here and Bethany is with us on her "senior trip" graduation present. I marvel again at what a beautiful place SOHK is both as a facility and more importantly as a sanctuary for some 30 children who have been orphaned by the horrid disease of HIV/AIDS. This place is a sanctuary for me as much as it is for these kids. For in this world where evil seems to triumph far too often, SOHK is evidence that gates of hell shall not prevail...evidence that we can bring a little heaven to earth. The worth of this orphanage is far greater than the number of children we rescue...for sometimes I think we rescue ourselves in the process as well. And to that end SOHK is more than a place, it is a place of hope. Keep us in your prayers...we want to serve the leaders and staff of this ministry well. There are times when I think one of the best ways to serve God is to serve His children.

Cypress you will be served well with the teachings the next two Sundays. Chuck Deitch our director of family life ministries will teach this weekend and one of our favorite ex-Cypress employees Jan Cox will have the teaching baton the following weekend.

Douglas (A.K.A. "The Mzungu Pastor")

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Connecting Worlds

While in Nakuru next month, our Kenya Mission Team will be doing a community outreach with a "story" theme and connecting the stories of kids at Springs of Hope and Cypress Meadows Community Church. See how you & your kids can be a part of this!

A Cosmic Switch (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

“There are times when life throws a cosmic switch that moves the tracks beneath us...hurling our lives headlong in a new and uncertain direction. Of these times three things are certain: It’s best we don’t know what’s ahead. We can never go back. God and His grace will sustain us.”

Yesterday I sent these words to a friend whose life has just been set on a new course that is not of their choosing.  Their future looks...different and a little uncertain. The bridge to the past has been burnt down. But their one constant, their one hope, their God and His grace.

I decided to send this out to you today as well seems to be no respecter or persons and maybe just maybe the tracks beneath you have just shifted and you are being sent in a new and uncertain direction that is not of your choosing. If so, you are not alone...and you are not forsaken. I don’t know what it is, how deep it hurts or how unjust the whole deal seems. I just know: It’s best we don’t know what’s ahead. We can never go back. God and His grace will sustain us.

If this is not for you...maybe it is for someone you know.

Okay a quick word about this weekend. It’s baptism weekend at Cypress this weekend. Don’t miss it. Let me say that again..don’t miss it! Saturday night at 6; Sunday at 9:15 or 11. We get to break in the new dock and deck!! Woohoo!

On Monday Jacque and I head to Kenya for a couple of weeks of working with our partners at Springs of Hope. Prayers appreciated. I’ll do my best to send you my Friday e-note and keep you up-dated.


Friday, June 3, 2011

The Big Three-O (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

It seemed a little surreal to me as I drove onto the Cypress campus this morning...30 years. Not all that many people get the privilege of throwing themselves everyday into the vision that they believe in to the core of their being. Fewer still get to do it with co-laborers that feel more like family than colleagues. And how many get to do it for the substantial part of their adult life? Jacque and I truly feel like the most blessed people on the planet.

This Sunday night we all get to celebrate the One behind the whole thing...our Lord. Our creative team has outdone themselves in coming up with a way to honor God for His transforming power in the lives of so many people for so many years. We will all laugh at pictures of our founders with shaggy hair, old school glasses and vintage 80’s attire. We will be stirred to our soul by some ‘Yea God’ stories. And Dr. Hap Arnold, the chiropractor who started a bible study that eventually led to the launching of Cypress Meadows is driving over from Orlando to make a cameo appearance. Whatever you do...whatever you do...please don’t miss this moment and milestone in the history of our church. Sunday 5:30 PM, Countryside High School Auditorium. (Reminder: This will be the only service this weekend. No services on Saturday night or Sunday morning.)

Let me wrap this up by simply saying that 30 years ago I had a vision, hopes and dreams to be a part of building a prevailing church that would see a steady stream of lives transformed by God’s amazing grace. This morning I fell to my knees to thank God for the sheer outrageous grace of heaven that has so exceeded what a wretch like me deserves and turned vision into reality. Yea God! Yea God! Yea God! I hope sometime this Anniversary weekend you will find a quiet place to spend a few moments thanking God for including you as well.

Happy 30th!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bethany's Dad (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

I am standing in the middle of a pile of memories today that have flooded my heart and mind with an odd mix of emotions. Today is the last day of High School for the last child in our family...Bethany. Some of you have been where I am now and you know what I’m talking about don’t you I would ask: celebrate and soul sigh with me. Others of you see a lot of runway ahead of you before this day arrives on your you I would say what my prayer partner, Art, once said to me: “The days go by slow, the years go by fast” so capture every memory you can. And boy oh boy was Art ever right in that advice.

Next week she will walk across a stage, receive a diploma and go on to her next adventure in life. Next week I will bask in Fatherly pride of the wonderful young woman who has somehow managed to give her dad a few gray hairs yet keep him young at the same time. I will wonder where did the years go, she will marvel at how long it took to get to this moment. But we both will celebrate this milestone and thank God we got to do it together. Am I a blessed man or what!

This weekend all of Cypress will stand together in the memory of a Savior who went to a bloody cross on our behalf as we come to the communion table. Don’t  miss it. We will also wrap up the “Best Question Ever” series.

Then the following weekend Cypress celebrates the big three-0. Talk about this just isn’t fair to put all this in one week...for crying out loud somebody throw a flag for emotional piling on here!


Bethany’s Dad
(A.K.A.: Sarah...Jonathan...Michael’s Dad)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Is tomorrow really the end of the world? (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

So if you knew this week was your last one on this planet...what would you do?

Well there is a group of people out there who are convinced it all ends around 4 PM EDT. Maybe you have been following the latest predictions being made by a guy who made the same projection back in the 90's...but he is really really sure this time. (Wonder if he is sure enough to write a check to Springs of Hope Kenya today since he won't be needing his money tomorrow?) Anyway what would you do if you knew this week was your last one on this planet?

Looking over my shoulder on the last 6 days...I think I'd pretty much do what I did. I went to Haiti and got to hold a couple of little orphaned kids in my arms as we rocked back and forth in a chair...did a little ground work which will result in 300 children getting the game changing opportunity of an education and took the next step in securing micro business loans for  some people who will get the chance to chase their dream of a real job. I got to watch a grand daughter and future thespian perform in her year end pre-school program (she was a dancing lioness). I got to spend some extended time with a guy who is a true and trusted friend. I sat with my family around a table and we shared in a meal and each others lives. I got to walk along the shore of upper Tampa Bay holding hands with the woman who has held me in her heart for 30 plus years. I worked on the services for this weekend at Cypress...the June 5 Cypress 30th celebration...and got ready for the next candidate for the student ministry job who will be with us this weekend. But I didn't get a sail in!

If tomorrow it all ends (don't bet on it since Jesus said no one knows the day nor the hour) I have no regrets about the last week...except maybe the "no sail" part. That said, maybe if any good comes out of this latest self appointed prophet making yet another false is a reminder that we should live wisely everyday since known of us ever know which day will be our last day. How you spend your days is how you spend your life...spend them wisely.

Okay so I'm planning on being with the Cypress family at one of our three services this weekend...and I'd highly recommend the same to you. We will be in part four of the greatest question ever and I can't wait to pass on to you what I think is flat out the #1 lesson I have learned in my personal study of the Book of Proverbs over the last five months.

See you Saturday night or Sunday morning...really...if not, it will be because I met my maker in some way other than as a result of a dooms day rapture theory.


The guy who is living for today but with plans for the weekend.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Did I find a rope or lose my horse? (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

Ever hear the saying: “I’m so busy...I don’t know if I found a rope or lost my horse”. Ever felt that way...sure you have? Well welcome to Cypress world this week. This weekend we have an Orange X-plosion family night on Friday. Saturday brings a half day meeting of the Governing Board, a church service, the Kenya trip fund raiser and oh did I mention that a candidate for the student ministry staff position will be with us as well. Sunday is just the usual two morning worship services and student ministry that night. And lest I forget we are in full prep mode for the 30thCelebration on June 5. As if that is not enough, personally my daughter, Bethany has her Senior Prom on Saturday and I leave for Haiti early thirty Sunday morning.

So this rope I’m holding...did I find it or lose a horse?

It’s a really good thing I am surrounded by and work with some really smart and capable staff and volunteers who do the heavy lifting on all this.

My prayer mantra as I head into this weekend is...”fully present, fully engaged”. I want to be fully present with the people around me and fully engaged in everything I’m doing. “Fully present, fully engaged”.

Just two quick things and I’ve got to go back to solving the mystery of this rope I’m holding:
1.     The service for the 30th Cypress Yea God Celebration is shaping up to be a powerhouse. In a recent planning session for the event, everyone around the table had a moment where God’s Spirit moved close enough to us that we all got goose bumps. Don’t, and I repeat, Don’t miss it! Sunday June 5, 5:30 at Countryside High School auditorium.
2.       Support the “Meadowers” going to Kenya this summer by attending the chili cook-off and auction after the Saturday night church service. You can view items to be auctioned at:


The guy holding a rope and mumbling.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Trust Your Horse (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

Anybody going through one of life’s transitions these days? Well we certainly are in a season of transition at Cypress...two well-liked staff members, Chris and Jan Cox, are moving out of vocational ministry and into the marketplace...we are also fast approaching our 30th anniversary together at Cypress and continue to morph in our ministry. Let’s just come out and say it, transitions can leave you feeling a bit off balance and a tad uncertain can’t they? What will Cypress look like next year at this time? Who will be leading our students and who will be leading us in worship? I don’t know that I want all this change? Will I like the end result of all this?

I’m reminded of the words my Father-in-law once said to me as we were riding horses on a very narrow trail next to a couple thousand foot drop, high up on a Montana mountain. “Trust your horse” he told me, “She doesn’t want to fall anymore than you do.” I was on an experienced mare who had walked this trail more than once and since she didn’t seem to be suffering from depression and since she had a boy friend back at the barn...I reasoned she had reason to want to live too! So I relaxed, eased off the reins, enjoyed the crazy beautiful view and trusted my horse. Now that I am older, and have a few of both life and ministry transitions under my belt...what my Father-in-law said about the horse I say about our Lord. His power is unlimited. His presence is ever near. His plans for us are to give us a hope and a future. So “Trust your Lord...He doesn’t want you to fall anymore than you do.” Really. This transition you are facing in your life and your church may be new to you...but not to Him. He has walked this way countless times before. He will see you and He will see us through. “Trust your horse”.

That said, let me give you a quick update. We have a couple of candidates for the director of student ministry position who will be with us the weekends of May 15 and 22. (More than 150 people have applied for the job). Jan’s last day on the clock will be Sunday May 29. Staff member Chuck Deitch and a team of more than capable volunteers will make sure everything and everyone is taken care of during the transition. Next transition...worship leader. Next party...’Yea God for 30 Years Celebration’ June 5, 5:30 PM, Countryside High School Auditorium.

“Trust your horse...”


PS  See you this weekend for Part 2 of “ The Best Question Ever”

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sometimes (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

Sometimes I stagger under the weight of God’s amazing love for a wretch like me. Sometimes  my mind reels at the thought of my God dying for me. Sometimes hope explodes in my spirit. This upcoming weekend is one of those ‘sometimes’. Tomorrow is Good Friday...Sunday is Easter.

I hope you will join me at the Cypress observances of Good Friday and Easter. Good Friday is an intimate, quiet and personal time of reflection on Christ’s great sacrifice of love on the cross for us by partaking of communion. (Just show up at any time during one of the three blocks of the day: 7-9; 11-1; or 5:30-7:30).

The Easter Celebration  will be just that...unleashed joy coupled with untamed grace. This will be the 30th Easter teaching I have given as a Pastor and I can’t remember any other Easter teaching I have been this amped to deliver and this sure that a God-thing is about to happen. If you have people in your relational world that you want to introduce to your anything short of sin to get them here! Really! (Pray that I may be clear...bold...and spilling over with God’s favor.)

All of earth couldn’t stop Him from going to the cross. All of hell couldn’t keep Him in the grave. All of heaven rejoices at a resurrected Savior. And may all of Cypress honor Him this weekend. Come to His table...honor the one who died for you. Come to a Saturday night or
Sunday morning Easter Service. Bring others with you...He is risen...He is risen indeed!


PS. Bring your Haiti H20 offerings from lent.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Holy Week Devotionals

During Holy Week use the following reading plans to prepare your heart for Good Friday and Easter.

The Events of Holy Week Reading Plan
Monday: Matthew 26:1-16
Tuesday: Matthew 26:17-35
Wednesday: Matthew 26:36-56
Thursday: Matthew 26:57-75
Friday: Matthew 27:1-66
Saturday: Matthew 28:1-20

Additional reading plans:

Words of Jesus During Passion Week

Family Activities for Holy Week

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Big Deal (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

“I want to do something crazy big for God!” someone outside of Cypress began a conversation with me recently. Now I love it when people want to make their one and only life count and I love it when people are willing to trust God for big things in this long as that desire is tethered to some action. Otherwise, it’s just some kind of spiritual sounding talk. So I pressed them as to what that ‘crazy big’ thing for God which I was told “I don’t know yet”. I pressed further, asking what they are currently involved in doing for which I heard “Well nothing yet, I’m waiting on God to reveal my crazy big thing then I’m all in”.

How would you have responded to this person?

I encouraged them to keep listening for heaven’s voice, start searching out different things God is doing in this world but to also be sure to do the next right thing big or small. I mentioned the words of Mother Teresa who once said: “Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love...the smaller the thing, the greater must be our love.” I think she did something crazy big for God by simply doing small things with great love...wouldn’t you agree?

Does this world need more people with an audacious faith...yes! Should you trust God for things which are impossible for you...absolutely! This world desperately needs people like that. Just don’t forget to also do the small things that often go unnoticed or unrewarded this side of heaven. And do them with great love. At the end of the day how would you rather be someone who did a big crazy deal or someone who had a big crazy love for God and others? Both preferably right? But if I had to choose between the two... it’s big crazy love.

I close by asking you to do something with great love for someone outside your family, friends or church. And in the process extend them an invitation to attend one of the Cypress Easter services (April 23,24) where we will talk about the big crazy love of God that caused Him to do a big crazy thing for us through His Son Jesus. You tell me what’s bigger than a life and eternal soul experiencing God’s saving grace? The weekend after Easter we launch into a series called ‘The Best Question Ever’...a really great series for people looking to lead a bigger, more loving life!



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brush off the cobwebs (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

Got any dreams worth pursuing?

Later today a friend of mine will get to hold in her hands a certificate which represents the fulfillment of a dream that God has written into her heart...and I couldn't be more excited for her.

Like most pursuits she has had to persevere and overcome obstacles and challenges along the way. Dreams truly worth chasing are rarely ever a layup, right? And if they are noble dreams then nobody could ever convince us it wasn't worth it all when we finally catch them.

Makes me wonder if there are any dreams worth pursuing that I have allowed busyness or difficulties or discouragement to back burner or shelve...that I might one day look back on and regret. Sometimes I think some of the biggest regrets some of us will have 10 years from now will be over things we didn't do rather than over things we did do.

This week I read the book ONE.LIFE by Scot McKnight and in it he says this: "God's will and what you dream about in your deepest dreams line up so well, you can usually chase your dreams and you will more often than not find God's will." How cool is that...but...if that is so, then doesn't that mean we have a responsibility to dial into our deepest dreams and pursue them? It almost sounds like a God-thing doesn't it?

So let me ask you...any dreams you need to take off the shelf, brush away the cobwebs and start chasing again? Any dreams that never made it to the front burner that should have? If it is truly a dream put into your heart by God...well then what are you waiting on? Run that dream by a trusted and mature Christ follower and if you get some affirmation...then chase for all you are worth. Who knows it may just be what God created you to do in this world.

See you Saturday night or Sunday morning for part two of our series on growing your faith.



Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

She had me with a smile... (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

She had me with a smile.

Yesterday my daughter Sarah and 15 month old granddaughter Lillian stopped by for a few minutes just to make my day. It has been a week where more than a few people have unpacked some of life's very real challenges with very real consequences on me. Heavy stuff...I didn't realize just how heavy it had gotten until little Lillian peaked at me through the slats of a chair and then her eyes lit up as her face exploded in a smile. The joy and love she communicated with that smile...rolled over me like a tsunami and washed away a lot of junk my shoulders had been carrying. Powerful little smile wouldn't you say?

Got me to thinking. Want to make some people's day while at the same time mess with the minds of a few others? Smile. Really...just smile at people today. Be an indiscriminate smiler and you will bring some joy to a few people whose hearts are so heavy or so sad or so lonely that they haven't experienced this kind of grace in way too long. You may just be the one bright spot in an otherwise bleak day or week or month for them. And of course a few will treat you will suspicion, smile anyway...and let "em" wonder what you are up to.

It was Mother Teresa who once said: "Every time you smile at someone it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

And you want to know a great thing about it...won't cost you a dime. Now that is a gift to smile about!

See you this weekend, Saturday or Sunday as we finish up our mini-series "Compelled"...I’ll be the guy smiling and holding open the front door.



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Marching Orders (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

“Get up...suit up...give it your best...and leave the results to me.”

Last fall I got away for a few days of silence and solitude. Just me and the Lord. I had some teaching prep materials with me and a couple of books to read but more than anything I was in need of a word from heaven. (I’m one of those people who really believes that when Christ-followers turn an ear toward heaven, God gives discerning whispers, nudges in our spirit or prompting that guide...encourage...correct...challenge or give assignments that bring so much purpose and meaning to our lives.) When that whisper came, it was so not what I was expecting. I wanted an insight that would bring an overnight breakthrough on something that seemed stuck and unchangeable. What I heard was these marching orders: “Get up...suit up...give it your best...and leave the results to me.” H-m-m-m-m

This week I spoke at a whole school assembly on a college campus. I almost didn’t agree when the call came in a few weeks ago and I almost sent Jan Cox, our Director of Student ministries, last minute to speak on my behalf...but when I prayed about it any guesses what I heard? Yep: “Get up...suit up...give it your best...and leave the results to me”. So I did just that and boy oh boy am I ever glad I did. The students connected with what I was saying at a level way deeper than I anticipated. So much so, I spent over an hour after the gathering in conversations with students who were wanting a few moments of time to talk. I drove off shaking my head in amazement of a God who gives promptings to a rank and file Pastor like me...and amazement of what happens when we simply respond to His whispers.

Anybody besides me realize how desperately we need to hear whispers from heaven? In writing this I just got inspired to revisit the book “The Power of a Whisper” by Bill Hybels...if you have never read it and you long to hear from heaven...pick it up today. Okay, I have to put the finishing touches on this weekend’s teaching...time to: get up, suit up, show up, give it my best and leave the results to God...once again.



Saturday, February 19, 2011

Christianity 401 (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends, up for a little Christianity 401? Pray this old Franciscan blessing every day for the next week and then follow the lead of Jesus. Odds are you will begin to find yourself in situations beyond what you can control...and thereby experience God's grace and power in levels that will rock your world.
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
If that is blessing...then I guess I had a blessed week.

See you this weekend as I wrap up the "i- marriage" series.

May God bless you in a Franciscan sort of way.

- Douglas

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Whisper from Heaven (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

“In normal times, isolation hurts. In crisis, isolation kills.
In normal times, community blesses. In crisis, community saves.”

When I read this statement by author/pastor John Ortberg something resonated with it somewhere deep in my soul. So I picked up my handy yellow highlighter and ran it over these words that were jumping off the page at me. Then I set the magazine down to reflect on why I was so stirred...wondering if heaven was whispering in my ear. Sure enough...that familiar, inaudible, still, small voice of God started breaking into my being. I sensed heaven saying...’Get up next to those in isolation and deepen your own connection in community’. In the next few minutes faces flashed on my mind’s screen of people I know who are feeling alone in one kind of a crises or another and the look I saw in those faces revealed a spirit inside them that was dying. So I made a mental list and have begun making contact. One of those faces was that of a compadre whose friendship now spans more than three decades. And oddly enough, he called later that same day to inquire if I could have lunch this week because he was in need of some “DP” time. Hum-m-m-m. Sound like a God-thing to you...did to me. So we will share a meal and community together later today. I pray it blesses him...and I pray it helps to save a man and a ministry well worth saving.

Part two of that whisper was to deepen my own connection in community. Not sure why or what, if anything, awaits me in this journey I am on that would call for that. I have simply learned that whispers from heaven can be trusted, and when I hear His voice I do my best to follow.

I close with this, would you pull off the busy highway of life right now for just a moment or two, quiet yourself and reflect on this:
            “In normal times, isolation hurts. In crisis, isolation kills.
            In normal times, community blesses. In crisis, community saves”

If someone comes to your mind who might just be feeling a little isolated...just reach out. Don’t try to be their therapist nor their rescuer. Just be a friend. Just listen. Just let them know you care. And while you are at it - ponder the quality of your own connection in community these days. Any relationships you should re-connect with and or deepen?

See you this weekend either Saturday night or Sunday morning as Jan Cox will deliver Part II of ‘I-Marriage’. If you missed Jan last week, simply ask anyone who was there about it and you will end up making sure you are in a seat at Cypress this weekend. Better yet, go to the Cypress web page and watch part one for yourself...then I guarantee you you’ll not only be’ll be dragging friends along with you!



Friday, February 4, 2011

Along the way (from Douglas Poole)

Cypress Family and Friends,

“God provides along the way”...if there is a theme to my trip to Haiti this week that is it: God provides along the way. As you go.

I am going to use my Friday e-note to you this week to give a quick report on my time in Haiti. If this interests you then read on, if not now would be the time to exit.

The adventure began on the drive to Miami Sunday night when my Haitian Pastor  friend who usually travels and translates for me, called and cancelled due to a passport issue...not ideal, but not a show stopper. I made sure the guy traveling with me was okay with going in without a guide/translator and we pushed on. Then once in Port au Prince, a friend (Saul) who picked us up at the airport offered to go the rest of the way and help negotiate the trip and translate. Yea God

I’m happy to report that things couldn’t be much better with the chicken/egg micro business we launched...we will double our little farm in February. The limiting ceiling for this effort is the lack of steady electricity needed to have an incubator which will increase our supply of layers and create a market for fryers. Yet through a serendipitous conversation with a new friend I met this trip, we now have access to 24/7 electricity. This man purchased a generator because he needs steady electricity for a hydroponics project he is launching and we get to plug in!!! Some things only happen when you simply show up! Oh and if that is not enough, this man, like us, has been trying unsuccessfully for years to get a well dug so he has purchased a well digging rig put it on a truck and once it clears customs has put us third on the list!!!! Yea God, Yea God, Yea God. Will it be potable? We will see, if not...that problem can be solved with a purification system. God provides along the way.

One evening I met with church leaders and floated the idea of partnering together with us to do micro-loans to help church members start businesses which will help the community, help support their families and help support the church with tithers. They were very warm to the idea. I also meet with the teachers and administrators of the school to encourage and pour into them.  An American friend of mine is arranging for a bonus to be given to the teachers for their efforts. Yea God!

Somehow I also got roped into teaching an ESOL class the church sponsors...which ended up being a blast. 30 Haitians now know how to say: “Douglas Poole is s-o-o-o-o-o cool”.

Another unexpected bonus, is that I invited an in country nurse friend I met on my first trip to Haiti 8 years ago, to visit our church/school/chicken farm/ and clinic. She was swamped and couldn’t visit...but as a consolation prize totally surprised us by giving me boxes and boxes ($5-10K) worth of meds for our clinic. I wish you could have seen the stunned faces, then the joy, then the tears and then hear the prayers of thanksgiving at the little clinic. Oh, and my nurse friend said there is more meds where that came from!!! Again, God provided along the way...simply because I showed up, 1000’s of doses of badly needed meds are going to be distributed in an area lacking in medical care. (Let me know if any of you people in the medical field are ever interested in doing a little good in Haiti with me.)

All along the way...God provided along the way. I wonder where in my life I think I am waiting on God when in reality God is waiting on me? I think I am waiting on God to provide so I can go forward...when really God is waiting on me to go forward so He can provide.

Please keep our Haitian friends in your prayers. Our in country translator this trip, Saul, is showing all the signs of heart issues but does not have access to medical care due to finances. We set him up to get some diagnostic work done and we will go from there. Our church partners do some of the most amazing work in some of the roughest conditions on the planet. I only step into the situation...then leave. I hope I leave God’s grace in my wake there. It feels like I did this time.

I look forward to seeing and greeting our Cypress family at the front door this weekend. See you Saturday night or Sunday morning as we launch a new series: ‘i-marriage’. Or I may see you this evening at the Marriedlife comedy night with Barnes and Minor. (You can get tickets at the door if you didn’t get them on-line).


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stoked (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

I get to do four things I'm stoked about this weekend:

1. I have a Saturday morning date with Jacque...a four mile hike through the swamps and woods. What an incurable romantic sap I am.

2. On Saturday night and Sunday morning I will roll out for Cypress where God is taking us in the next two years and I am so amped about what we get to do I almost leaped out of my skin thinking about it earlier today! Really, if you strapped a heart monitor to my chest when I think about the fact that I get to be a part of a serious God-thing the next two would beep and smoke and flash, "Danger,danger,danger!" Whatever you do this weekend..don't miss being in one of the services.

3. On Sunday afternoon I get to hang out with and enjoy my kids and granddaughters. I absolutely love being a dad and papa!

4. Sunday night I drive to Miami to catch the first flight out to Port au Prince Monday morning. I am not so stoked about reentering the poverty, pain, suffering and chaos that is Haiti. I am excited about spending time with and pouring into some young leaders I have come to love. Young leaders who are helping to write a better story in hundreds of lives in a place where tragedy is the norm. If you want to follow my little adventure I'll be tweeting about it real time and you can dial in by texting "follow DouglasDPoole" to 40404 on your smart phone or by signing up DouglasDPoole on twitter.

Hope you get to do something this weekend that you can get stoked about!



Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Beautiful Story Ending (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

"We don't know how much we are capable of loving until the people we love are being taken away...until a beautiful story is ending." (from 'A Million Miles in a Thousand Years' by Donald Miller)

As I read those words last week my thoughts went immediately to someone I love, whose beautiful story is ending...My Aunt Florence. She and my Uncle LaVern were not able to have children so they poured all the love and affection they had in their hearts for kids into their nieces and nephews. And, boy oh boy, were our lives ever better because of them. LaVern passed almost 15 years ago and Aunt Florence is now in the early stages of alzheimer's. Her once sharp mind and engaging conversations are showing all the signs of deterioration you would expect from someone whose memory is slowly being erased one life scene by one life scene. We know where this leads to...her beautiful story is ending. What we don't know is how long this journey will be or how much heartache and pain we will experience along the way. My sister is walking with our Aunt down this unthinkable path and taking care of her as she once took care of us. I get updates and pray from 1700 agonizing miles away. A-a-r-r-g-g-h-h!

All of us are writing a story with our lives and some of us have someone we love whose beautiful story will end this year. Map out a great story for your life in 2011 and then live it...and love the people in your life as if their story were ending. You might just be surprised at the great life you are capable of living and the great love you are capable of giving.

I hope you do whatever you have to do, to be at Cypress the weekend of January 29/30 because we will roll out the beautiful story God will be writing on the pages of people lives through Cypress in the next couple of years. A 1000 stories of faith, hope and love!

See you this weekend as we wrap up the 'Taking Responsibility for Your Life' series. 10-10 right? Right!



Saturday, January 15, 2011

What did you expect? (from Douglas Poole)

Dear Cypress Family and Friends,

"Denmark is said to be the happiest country in the world...the reason...they have the lowest expectations."

So I read this statement in a book last Monday and it caught my attention for at least a couple of reasons. First, I've got some Danish blood flowing in my veins. Second, I have some fairly high expectations in life, especially when it comes to me of me. So is the secret to living a happy life to expect little out of relationships, movies, church, restaurants and even God so you don't find yourself being disappointed? Or is happiness found in pursuing a life with high expectations knowing full well you run the risk of them not being met?

Well this Dane has made the decision that life is experienced fully when you have some high expectations...not the blind, check your brain at the door kind of dumb expectations...but the thought through, prayed through, going be a stretch, but I got reason to believe God is in the deal so why not go for it kind of expectations. Number me with those who would rather chase something wonderful in life and live with some disappointments in the process than to number me among those who find happiness in setting their sights so low disappointment couldn't possibly crawl under it and into your life.

In my experience...most often I experience what I expect. Not always, but enough to know I should give some careful thought to my expectations. You really didn't expect me to say something different did you?

See you Saturday night or Sunday morning...come expecting to hear from heaven...I think I did in preparing my talk for this weekend.



Sunday, January 9, 2011

1,000 Stories of Faith, Hope and Love

Thank you for the Sara Groves concert! I invited my sister, brother and parents-and they all came! My brother, who I'm not sure where he stands on faith, bought all of the Sara Groves CD's they had! I think that's a good sign. I also saw my dad, who proclaims to be an atheist of sorts, wipe a tear away when the band played down in the audience. I can only hope his soul was awakened. Please pray for him, as I have done every day. I really want to see him in heaven.

That tear that my dad wiped away...that was my highlight for 2010...maybe there's hope....