Hot Atlanta Housing Market

Last Thursday night I placed my house for sale on MLS and FMLS.  Within hours realtors were scheduling viewings of our home.  Today, four days later, I am sitting in a Dunkin Donuts shop waiting for showing #13 to end.

People may have other opinions but I think the housing market, at least in our area, is heating up.  Here is why:

1.  There are very few high demand houses on the market.  Those houses are the ones that have 3+ bedrooms, a good neighborhood, and are fairly new with brick siding.  The brick siding really matters!

2.  People are moving here or have moved here.  This is a great place to live – newer community, lots of business HQ’s, safe, and open.

3.  The price is going up.  Demand drives prices and North Atlanta is not building enough houses to keep up with the move ins and they cannot build them for the selling price of a 10 year old home.  Builders are priced out and land is very limited for now developments.

Keep watching.  I am about to sell my house for a good price!   When I win, I am going to shout, I am going to Yankee Stadium!



HOUSE FOR SALE.  That’s right.  Our house in Alpharetta is for sale.  We loved living here but it is time to depart and head back to the state of my birthplace.  New York here we come.

Last Thursday night we signed a contract to sell our home.  We have listed the home through a local real estate firm. They are not a selling agent for us but just a listing company.  Back in 2006 we sold our home by ourselves in less than three months and think we can do the same here.  If a realtor brings a buyer, we will pay them a small commission.

Here are a few good reasons we believe we can sell our house.

1.  We did it once before without a problem.  How hard is it to look at a buyer and negotiate?  It is not!  We do this for cars and other things so why not a house.  The paperwork is not difficult to work through.  A contract, a check, a few disclosures and bingo.  Easy.

2. Most buyers find the house and then call a realtor to show it to them.  What a way to miss an opportunity to be more flexible in pricing!

3. The Internet makes it possible to present and disclose about your home.  Why have a buyer tour your home when it is not what they want.  Let them see it and even call you to discover if they want to take a look.  There are few reasons to have a third party involved!

4. As mentioned, anyone can now get listed on the real estate information sites.  Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, MLS, and FMLS are easy to list with.  They even sync information.  Just too easy.

5. We can make the ‘deal’ happen.  We won’t be stubborn, stupid, or slow.  Call, fax, and make an offer.

Take a look at the online listing:

Here is my neighborhood blog:






Empower Conference 2013

On March 15th I will be speaking at the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention Spring conference called Empower.  This annual conference is designed to encourage and build up church members in their local church ministries.  I will be speaking in two sessions.  The first will be at or around 11 am on the subject of Prayer.  The apostle Paul states that we are to ‘devote ourselves to prayer’.  Take a moment and name 3 churches that you know are ‘devoted’ to prayer then attend this session.  The second session will be in the evening at about 7 pm.  In the evening session I will be speaking about ‘belief’.  We will look at various kinds of belief and how belief transforms into unique Christian living.

See you in Green Lake, Wisconsin on March 15th.


Urban Fundamentalist

There is a new sheriff in town.  At least that is what it seems but I am not sure he will last too long and may already be fading.  You know him.  He is young, hip, conservative, socially drinks yet has a very rigid and somewhat unforgiving view on family, spousal relationships, John Calvin, and whatever else is not of his worldview.  The Urban Fundamentalist is fast becoming sheriff.

By now you know I am poking fun at young Calvinistic pastors.  They have ‘5’ distinct teachings.

1.  Everything they say is said with a stern rightness…even when they say they don’t know.

2.  You don’t know as much as they do.

3.  They don’t need you, they will do their own thing, they know what they are doing.

4. They are always cool.

5. They will thank you for supporting their start up but after careful prayerful consideration, they will support another group when they are done with you.

Hackers and Viruses

It is important to stay current with the status of your website.  Last month mine was attacked and heavily bruised.  Fortunately my wonderful server, Katart Graphics, did a great job of resetting this site and getting things back up and running.  They really know what they are doing and they get after it, call them for your service!

Here are a couple of rules to protect your site(s).

1.  Watch your site!  To my shame it took Katart to contact me about the problem on my site.  I was not aware of the trouble until they called me.

2.  Back up your work.  Make sure your server keeps your site backed up and also make sure YOU keep articles in your computer’s folders.

3.  Ask others to sign up for RSS and send your articles around through twitter and facebook.

4.  When your system goes down.  Get after fixing it.

Pretty simple.

Five Reasons I Blog My HOA

About a year and a half ago I began the neighborhood blog site  Although it is a simple blog, it’s an important one.  This site reviews the Alpharetta area and offers lots of information including road, school, voter, and other information.  Sometimes I use photos but often I just write to inform.  I have five key reasons for writing this blog.

Reason #1: I like my neighborhood and want others to know about it.  It is a great place to live!  The people here are diverse (6 of the 18 homeowners are foreign born) and they like each other.  I have found them to be friendly and helpful.  They even pick stuff up for each other from the store and keep an eye on homes when people are away.  It is a VERY safe neighborhood. Everyone keeps their yards well maintained and lawns trimmed.  I really like the way they put their college flags out on football weekends.  Gator fans dominate right now.  Everything is so readily available from this neighborhood.  The firehouse with full-time emergency workers is only 1/2 mile away.  Most stores and restaurants are only a mile away and easy to drive to, and the mall is about the same distance.  I have to also mention that the Greenway and schools are close too.  With the recent road improvements on Kimball, traffic flows well.

Reason #2: People need to be informed about happenings in their neighborhood.  I use the blog to inform homeowners about school, election, and other local matters.  We use it to announce our annual homeowner association meeting and encourage the payment of the low annual dues.  Dues are used to keep the water retention ponds clear and the light poles maintained and lit each night.

Reason #3: Blogging about the area keeps businesses, government, and other entities honest and responsive to our community needs.  When the apartment complex on Kimball violated the city sign ordinances my blog seemed to get attention and the signs were brought into ordinance compliance.  When the city traffic engineers responded to some road construction concerns, the blog gave them the praise they deserved.  Blogs get noticed.  No one can afford to neglect the influence a blog has on their community.

Reason #4:  A blog offers our neighbors an easy and efficient way to keep up on area matters and events.  Our blog shares information on such things as our schools, area city and religious events, elected officials contacts, Braves tickets, how to secure your drivers license and vote.  By the way, don’t forget to vote.

Reason #5:  A neighborhood blog increases the real estate value of homes.  Having a blog that gives potential home buyers a one-stop information creates a clean easy way to show how great it is to live in this neighborhood.  In a recent sale in my neighborhood, the realtor called me as a result of looking up information on my blog.  His client bought the home just after he called me.

Be a good neighbor and blog your neighborhood.

Weighing the Benefits of Seminary

by Matt Gille:  MatthewGille@Gmail.Com

Who would have ever thought that I would be able to relate my business school experience to seminary?  The one thing I think about while I am studying at seminary is opportunity cost.  Opportunity cost is the physical and financial gains I could have received if I had not made my current decision.  If I had not decided to attend seminary, I could:

1. Still have my old job (financial stability)

2. Live closer to immediate family

3. Still have my old circles of friends

4. Be able to attend all FSU home football games!

But the more I think about these opportunity costs, the more excited I am about the decision that I did make.

At new student orientation the President of the seminary encouraged us by stating, “You will never be younger than you are right now in this moment”.   He told us this because he wanted to encourage us to not quit.  The things we were going to learn over the next couple of years will be so beneficial in our walk with the Lord and the ministry God has for us.  These were good words to meditate on.  I know that God has my wife and I here for a reason, and I am excited that the Lord has called me here at a young age so that I may be able to use what I learn here throughout the rest of my life to bring glory to Christ.

Seminary is not as easy as I thought that it was going to be.  In my undergrad I had never written a long research paper or had to read so many books (business school was about finance, accounting, and marketing).  My first week  here I had to read the whole book of Genesis as well as three separate commentaries on the book of Genesis for my Old Testament class.  Seminary is intense!  Even though the grind is tough and I have to go to chapel 3 times a week (which is a lot of church), I have enjoyed the fact that I am learning things that I am actually passionate about.  The opportunity cost may not make sense financially, but I am thankful that the Lord has brought me here and I am confident that the Lord will provide.

Insights On Refugee Ministry

Last month I attended a refugee ministry conference that gave me much to consider.  I went into the meeting with several questions concerning work among refugees.  I was skeptical about the scope of this work but was really seeking answers to questions I had about refugee outreach as part of a larger work among internationals coming to the US.   Those questions came out during the conference as questioning the value of this work but were my expression of a deep desire to understand the importance of assisting refugees and the impact of that this means for individuals served and those serving while communicating the gospel.  Let me state upfront, the meeting laid to rest my concerns and I gained a strong sense that ministry among refugees offers a rich format to fulfilling Christ’s demands that we care for the oppressed of the world and share the gospel with them.  I was especially impressed by the work and knowledge of the World Relief team and the conference organizers of the Refugee Roundtable.

Here is a short list of things I learned and several items I saw as opportunities for ministry.

1.  Around 54,000 people will be granted refugee asylum in the US this year.  They all arrive through a very demanding screening process that can drain them of their personal dignity and self worth.  Those who arrive without an English language skill-set are at a major disadvantage for overall community/country assimilation.

2. Many refugees have been tramatized by the displaced people camps they come from.  They arrive having been abused by multiple people and without the hope of ever returning to the country they loved.  Some have been tortured and live with fear.  Torture has the effect of destroying community so trust is a major issue.

3.  People receiving refugee status are guaranteed to live in the US but are not guaranteed much help beyond the first three months.  They do receive minimal financial assistance during those months but without the firm security of a job, their hope for ‘normal’ living conditions is impaired.

4. Every refugee who does not know English is required to sign up for English classes within 10 days of arriving in the US.  However, depending on when people arrive, there may not be any classes available to attend.  Each refugee is required to attend 20 hours of English per week.  What an opportunity for college students to take a summer assignment to lead an English class.  Summer is a very difficult time to find available classes.  A church could easily work with college students to offer space and create classroom environments and volunteers.

5. Hospitality is a phenominal way to engage refugees. The offering of hospitality is a Biblical injunction for Christians and is also a well received act of kindness.  It is always important to encourage a refugee as it shows respect and opens the door for a trusting friendship.  Refugees and refugee communities will alway remember those who assisted them when they arrived in the US.

6. Because refugees have been through so much, it may take years and lots of energy to help them trust their new countrymen and to undertand the cultural nuances that are embraced within that change.

7. Local churches have the means to conduct refugee ministry and are in the best position to advance it.  The church has the long term ability to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual human needs of refugees without significantly draining resources.  The church can easily meet many refugee needs by incorporating it into its plans with existing ministries such as events and programs.

As you can see, work among refugees embraces tons of dedicated human need ministry and will yield high impact in the lives of many people.

Be Intentional About Sharing Your Faith

This is one story you have to hear!  On June 14th I flew to New Orleans for a national LoveLoud team meeting and to attend the Saturday block parties that NOBA churches were conducting that weekend.  As I was getting off the plane I tweeted that “I just shared my faith with the lady next to me.  I think I will do this again today.  You can too!”  There is something about intentionality which renews and focuses your daily activity.

When I went into the airport I went directly to the cafe by the Delta terminal.  They make and sell fantastic jelly stuffed beignets! I was joined by my co-worker Greg Finley.

After our snack and coffee, we joined my boss down in the luggage department (opps! I had lost him after deplaning so I thought he had gone on to the shuttles for downtown, my bad!) We decided the easiest and cheapest way to get downtown would be to ride a cab together.  I rode in the front seat with our cabbie Melba while Greg and Al rode in the back seat.

As soon as we got in the cab we began a friendly discussion with Melba about why we were in town and how important it is to know God.  She was very inquisitive about the personal-ness of our faith.  Her son had just begun to attend the ‘Celebration’ church which was located along our route.  During the trip Al, Greg, and I all shared our faith journey and how we trusted in Christ.  We were able to clearly articulate the steps one needs to understand in order to believe.  As I stood to step out of the cab, I asked Melba what she would do about Jesus and she told me to sit back down in the car where she prayed to repent and receive Christ.

There is no way we could have calculated our steps so that we would be in Melba’s cab yet the Lord perfectly arranged this meeting. I can say that I was not shocked that this happened but am truly impressed how the Lord works.  Too often I go about my day without anticipating that I will be encountering someone with the gospel.  On those days, I don’t usually encounter an opportunity to lead someone to Christ.  However, it seems that on the days I ready myself to share the Gospel, the door for that opens.  This is the point of this blog article, be intentional about sharing your faith and the Lord will make the connections happen.

Crossover 2012 Is Almost Here!

The title says it all.  I am fairly excited that the New Orleans Crossover event is upon us.  This special outreach event is held annually to assist churches in reaching their city for Christ.  Events include Prayerwalking, Hospitality workers outreach, a concert, and block parties.  I will be involved in the prayerwalking event on Saturday morning.  It is my ‘prayer’ that the Lord will us this in the city to open hearts.  New Orleans is the ‘murder capital’ of the U.S.  If history repeats itself (and we hope it does not), one in seventeen hundred residents will be shot to death this year.  This does not include the hundreds of residents who will be shot, beaten, or attacked yet not killed.  When you think of it, pray for the people of New Orleans.  Pray for their safety, pray for their mayor, police, and other first responders.  Pray for the schools and teachers.  Pray for those trapped in human trafficking.  Pray for churches to serve their communities well.  Pray for pastors to lead their churches well.  Pray for people to turn to Christ.

Upcoming – 10 Dynamic Ways To Use Social Media In Ministry

Beginning next week you will begin to see some changes to this site and a series of posts regarding the use of social media in ministry.  Last Saturday I made this presentation at a conference of leaders in Houston, TX.  Actually I co-presented with the help of media specialist Sunny Paradeshi.  Sunny is a native of Hyderabad, India and graduate of Jackson State University in Jackson, MS.  This presentation was extremely well received so I want to post it for the world to have.  I don’t think everyone there was able to absorb the tons of information we slammed on everyone in 90 minutes but I do think the application of just a few of these concepts will help a ministry greatly.  Watch for it beginning Tuesday.