Thursday, June 29, 2006

It's All About Relationships!

Again this trip has reminded that ministry is all about relationships. I am sitting here in Panera watching our students and leaders interact with each other in amazing ways. Everyone's talking to everyone! It's wonderful.

As for me, I have valued this time in Chicago as I've had the privilege to speak one on one with every student on the trip. I've had extended time to hear their story, find out what their passions in life are and what they are anticipating God doing when we land in Poland!

What's happening in Chicago is fortifying our group for relationships that will outlast our Poland trip and I grateful to God for this! I can't wait to see how God's going to use this trip and our experience at summer camp two weeks ago to create authentic community centered around God's Word, Prayer and Fellowship this fall!

Soaring Like Eagles

Tuesday night we had a dynamic team time. I was very interested to see how the team was doing when we gave them a chance to share how they were doing! We spent a significant amount of time talking through our present circumstances and where we see God. Our conclusion was that God is right in the middle of it. Everyone on the team spoke and the air was filled with praise for God and His provision. I was overwhelmed by the response. We concluded our time in Isaiah 40:28-31,

"28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

God is God and we are not! He doesn't grow tired! He doesn't grow weary! His understanding no one can fathom!

I walked away from that meeting with a song of praise knowing that our students are yearning to find God here! I sensed that it was the desire of everyone in the room to soar like an eagle.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

We found this message down the street...isn't that weird? Just kidding, but I thought it would make you smile today!

A Team of Leaders

Throughout all the changes, decisions, questions, comments, curveballs, sliders and a few bean balls, I have loved serving alongside our leaders on this trip. It is in this situation that we find ourselves that we find out the quality of our leadership and the five men and women that are with me are leading this team through this bump in the trip are amazing (From Left to Right - Stacy, Jen, Julie - Tim and Kasia were down the hall). What's more, we have a bunch more sitting at home who serve in our ministry.

This morning I am grateful to have such a committed group of leaders who are taking the most passionate people in the church and making it their passion to impart the love of Jesus Christ through the study of the Word, prayer and fellowship. They are doing it here, in their small groups on Wednesdays, drinking lattes at Starbucks, Winter Retreats, eating Taco Bell or Goodtimes, it's happening everywhere!

I am grateful for God's gift to our church - the leaders of the high school ministry and the leaders of our jr. high ministry.

Making the Right Decision

If you’re not aware of how our trip to Poland has begun click HERE! You’ll have to click the link to understand where I am headed.

This morning is the first time I feel like I can breathe with some sort of rhythm. It’s not that I am physically exhausted or even emotionally exhausted; I am mentally exhausted from the past 36 hours. What’s been so exhausting? Making the right decisions. Choosing to have the right attitude in our situation. Leading our leaders. Watching the moral of our team (which has been flawless)…you name it. And it’s just not making the decisions it’s the lack of time to sit down and weigh all the options that wears me out. It’s thinking through what’s best for our team and the Zeilona Gora team with an SMS from Dan Hash saying he needs a decision now!

I am beginning to understand why goals before a trip are so important. It's the goals that our team has been working towards before we got on the plane that are helping shape what we do here and how we are handling making the decisions.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blogging in Poland

Later today we leave for our high school mission trip to Poland. Throughout the trip there will be two blogs running detailing our trip and experiences. First, I will be blogging on the trip from the perspective of the youth pastor. It is my hope and desire that what I am processing will let you more into my heart and mind as I lead this trip. Second, our team will be blogging. You can access that blog on the sidebar of this blog by looking for 180inPoland. Jon got the blog going for our trip and will be our support back here in case we don't have internet at camp! Here we go!

Tonight is a weird night, or should I say early on the morning we are leaving is a weird morning?I am supposed to be sad I am leaving my family and absolutely pumped to go on this trip. There is no question I will miss my wife and three kids. When I come home Adah will be eating rice cereal! Who know what Noah and Josiah will be doing new? I'll miss praying with them at night and walking in the door to be hugged as hard as boys who are 2 and 4 can hug. I'll miss hanging with Julie and the kids on the 4th of July. I miss swimming at Nana's. I miss hearing about VBS everytime Noah comes home. So many things...and these are just a few!

And as I am feeling all of this my thoughts are running through the list of students going on the trip and praying like mad that the Spirit of God will move in a mighty way in their lives. I am thinking through all the details of travel tomorrow. I am wondering what will mark this team this year? I wonder who on our team will be brought to tears with the realization that there are millions in Poland without Christ? Who will come home weeping for their friends who are far from a relationship with Jesus? Who on our team is going to struggle to engage the students? What will Auschwitz be like the 5th time for me? I can't wait to see Alice, Dan, Laura, Mickey and Tori! I can't wait to walk into the square in Krakow and eat ice cream with our team at night. I wonder if there is a student on our trip that will be called by God to "GO" into a career in missions? So many things...and these are just a few!

With all of these thoughts about my family and the trip running through my mind early on the morning we are leaving, I wonder if I will ever get to sleep?

Books In Poland

I am excited for our trip to Poland today! Not that you care, but here is a list of the books that I am taking with me to read on the trip. I chose the first three because they relate to me becoming a better father and husband. There is something about being away from my family for these extended periods of times that seem to make me a better dad and husband. I am excited to be sharpened in this area!

I chose McKnight's book because I want to read a little bit each day to supplement my time in the gospels. McKnight's book focuses on loving God and loving others!

Bringing Up Boys - James Dobson
Choosing To Cheat - Andy Stanley
What a Daughter Needs from Her Dad - Michael Farris
Jesus Creed - Scot McKnight

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Josiah & His Scooter

Josiah's up and going on his scooter! The funniest part of watching him do it is to see how tired he gets. It's a lot more work to ride it without training wheels. He'll go up and down the sidewalk and then walk inside looking for Gatorade! The kid already knows he needs to replenish his electrolytes. This kid cracks me up!

Friday, June 23, 2006

It's all about relationships

Our mid-week get together this week was a trek downtown on the light rail to see our beloved Rockies. The point of the night isn’t to go see the Rockies, but to build relationships with students. From standing at the light rail station waiting for the train, to riding the light rail, to walking to the stadium, to watching the game in the Rock Pile together eating kettle corn and peanuts, to dodging lightning bolts from the ominous storm, to missing the light rail by 2 minutes and waiting around for half and hour, to riding the light rail home and saying goodbye, the night was all about building relationships with students. Building relationships is what it’s all about. It’s low program with high relational impact! I never signed up for youth ministry because I love programs, I signed up because I love students!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bottom Line...Babies aren't Cheap!

I read an article on MSN detailing the amount of cash it cost to actually pay for a baby -
9 financial shocks for new parents. Between diapers, wipes, formula, baby food (soon), co-pays for the Dr., and the need to up the life insurance policy...I should probably be throwing a paper route!

But when the baby looks this cute sitting next to one her brothers...WHO CARES?!

Noah & His Bike!

It took him the sum total of about 9 minutes officially to ride his bike without training wheels, along with glasses of Gatorade - Glacier Freeze. The kid has tremendous balance. This was one of the things I wanted to accomplish with Noah before I go to Poland on Monday. The next goal is to get J.T. riding his scooter without his training wheels.

It's so exciting to see his excitement. Each morning he wakes up this is what we hear, "Can I go ride my bike?!"

Noah's reminded me this week how much fun it is to be a kid!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Adah's Dedication

On Sunday we dedicated Adah. People get all weird with this. For some it’s like a cheap baptism. For others they think the parents are making it all about them and it’s a show. I read once that J.I Packer calls it “dry baptism," I don't know if that's true.

Anyway here’s what the dedication means for us.

- To publicly commit our children to their Father in Heaven in front of our family, friends and spiritual community and confess our need for God’s intervention in our family.
- To declare that we are submitting our own desires for our children to God’s desires for them.
- To give them life verses for which we hope their lives will be lived around.
- To give them a prayer from the Bible that we will pray over each of them every day of their lives.
- To publicly declare that our children are gifts from God, and that it is our desire as parents to raise our children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord.
- To model for our children the priority of being part of the Christ’s Bride, the church.

Adah’s life verses – Deuteronomy 10:12-13
Adah’s life prayer – Ephesians 3:14-21

It was a great day!

What Motivates You?

I read this article on what motivates Olympic swimmer Michael Phleps to achieve at the highest level in swimming. Basically, anything motivates him. Here’s what he coach, Bob Bowman says,

"He's motivated by failure, he's motivated by success, he's motivated by money, he's motivated by comments people make. He can take just about anything he comes across and turn it into some kind of motivation. That's one of his greatest attributes."

It got me thinking about what motivates me to achieve at the highest level in my profession. I thank Louie Giglio for this answer. What motivates me is not being the star of my story that will one day be forgotten, but to choose to play a small part in God’s story that will never be forgotten. Could there be anything more motivating than playing a part in God’s story that will never be forgotten? On the flip side, is there anything more scary than choosing to star in your story and it never being remembered?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Coach Dungy's Unstoppable Faith

This article from ESPN is a must read, "Tony Dungy's - Amazing Grace." The article details how the coach has processed the suicide of his son. My friend Brian emailed this to me late last week and I read it this weekend. Several things stood out but here's the quote that grabbed my heart.

This is what Warrick Dunn said of Dungy's faith, not just through the suicide, but through his entire life, "He never gives you room to question his faith."

I stopped for about five minutes and just sat there wondering if people in my life could say that about me. What about the students coming out of our ministry, will they possess an unstoppable faith of their own or will they still be holding on to their parent's faith? What would our students say about their parent's faith? How is what we do in student ministry helping to make this a reality or hurting it? What will my kids say about my faith? Where have I stopped? What needs to change? I want Dungy's unstoppable faith!

Spanish VBS

Last week we had a great time serving alongside Calvary EFCA just north of our church! It was a great to see our students loving people in our backyard. We sang songs in Spanish, listened to Bible lessons in Spanish, made sweet crafts and had great lunches!

I want our students to have a heart to serve the people in our community. I think too often student ministries and the churches they are in applaud them when they go overseas and not when they stay home. We’ve gone to Poland for years and the trips have been amazing. We’ll keep on doing it! But going to 6th and Sheridan from 9-1:30 for five days was just as exciting!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Father's Day

We had a great day! Adah was dedicated in church - more on this later in the week. After church Adah and I came home for a nap and to watch the U.S. Open. Julie and the boys went to see Cars (for a second time) with grandpa Coombs. After we watched Phil's choke on 18 we went to my mom's house for a BBQ and a little golf in the park!

A great day!

Let's Row Together

I came across a great quote about the role we play in living out our faith this past week as I was preparing to teach on Abraham yesterday.

Carlo Caretto “God gives us the boat and the oars, but then tells us, ‘It’s up to you to row.'”

I want to be part of a community of people who rows together. I want to be on this faith journey with someone who is rowing who can help me when I get stuck. I want to be with someone who wants to learn how to row. I want to teach someone how to row. I want someone to teach me how to row better. I don't want to row alone. I want every student in our ministry to know how to row and how to do with others around before they graduate!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Gossip vs. Talking About Someone

My friend Charlie (our summer camp speaker) posted a great quote from a book he is reading, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni, that has helped me think through this issue more clearly.

"Talking about a colleague who is not present is not gossip. Gossip requires the intent to hurt someone, and it is almost always accompanied by an unwillingness to confront a person directly with the information being discussed. Ironically, members of cohesive teams are not overly concerned about the prospect of their collegues' discussing them in their absence because they know it is in he best interest of the team. They trust each other, and know that true gossip will not be tolerated."

I talk about people a lot and at times I've wondered if it's gossip. I love that our student ministry team is committed to each other and the best interest of our team.

12 Year Old Girls can Marry in Colorado?

That's right! In just 11 years and 8 month my Adah, if she finds the love of her life in sixth grade social studies can decide to get married under the English common law which Colorado recognizes. Traditional marriages in Colorado require the people to be at least 18 or 16 with parent or judicial approval. The article is here. Now that would be fun conversation with Noah, "Dad...I've got a question for ya. Yeah, uh, I'd like your permission to marry Morgan...I'm sixteen!?" Now that's funny!

This whole issue came about as a 15 year old was in court to see if she had a valid marriage to her 38 year old husband.

Leave, cleave and weave, but not in your teens...please kids!

Friday, June 16, 2006


We went and watched the movie "Cars" last night with the Hodges! It was absolutely FANTASTIC! I have no clue if this is true, but the movie got me thinking last night about the power of brainstorming. I was watching the tractor tipping scene and I have to believe that it came out of a brainstorming session of trying to figure out creative things to have cars do!

So, I am going to pursue this idea in the fall of grabbing a group of students to brainstorm with me ideas about how I can communicate my messages more creatively which I think will make them more effective! This fall we will be studying David's Journal (Psalms), The Lost Experience and Homecoming King (Isaiah)!

One of the quotes I will always remember from this movie is the phrase "Hillbilly hell."

Senior Prank - Pot Muffins?

It was fun in the month of May listening to our seniors talk about what they were going to do for their senior prank. I am pretty sure none of our students made muffins laced with marijuana and then placed them in the teachers lounge!

Inside Edition ran the story - Pot Muffins!

I still can't believe it.

What did you do for your senior prank? I can't remember what we did!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

June 15, 1996

Ten years ago today I got married. WOW! I love my wife. I thank God everyday He gave me a wife who knows what to say and when to say it. Sure Julie is many things, but her wisdom is what sharpens me. In ten years our kids will be 14, 12, 10! That's going to be fun!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hace mucho calor!

In light of our working with the Spanish VBS this week I'd like to report that it was really hot today! It got to 101 degrees! We had a great day with the kids and are looking forward to our final two days in the low 80's...I hope!

Santiago's heart for the people in this apartment complex has gripped me and forced me to remember that my ministry must start with my heart being broken for the spiritually lost students in our community.

A Rebel With a Choice

The choice...sign with the Brewers...or play at Wichita State! Evan Anundsen from Columbine High School was drafted in the 4th round and has a huge choice to make about his future. It's great to see this school in the news for something other than what happened in 1999 - here. Evan pitched his guts out and brought Columbine their first state title since 1991. Incidentally, it was in the 1991 state tournament that I busted my thumb going after a fly ball in left field!

What would you choose...the Brewers or the Shockers?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Spanish VBS

I am so excited for the next few days! Our high school students are going to be serving alongside a Spanish church in our community as we do FIESTA VBS!!! I am thrilled to have our students serving the families of the 300 apartments in the complex this church is trying to serve. I want the students in our ministry to not just have a heart for missions overseas, but right in their community. 6th and Sheridan will do!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Last week I had the privilege to take part in our first high school summer camp! It was EPIC! We had a great group of students that walked into the week not knowing each other and walked out of the week friendships. I had the privilege of having our worship led by a former student and our speaker was a great friend from my Denver Seminary days.

Students walked away marked by the amazing fact that God pierced us by His presence in the from of Jesus. We looked at how Jesus was full of grace, love, sovereignty and compassion. Each morning we were alone with just our Bibles, water bottle and journals thinking about what we learned the night before.

More blogs to come about some of the details of the week!

I can’t wait for the summer of 2007!

Monday, June 05, 2006

You Might Be A Coloradan If...

Rich, a pastor on our staff, sent this to me awhile's funny! I'm sure there's one for every state! I love Foxworthy!

1. You switch from "Heat" to "A/C" in one day.
2. You know what the "Peoples Republic of Boulder" means.
3. Your sense of direction is: towards the mountains and awayfrom the mountains.
4. You're a meat-eating vegetarian.
5. The bike on your car is worth more than your car and you have your own special bike lane.
6. You're able to drive 65 miles per hour through 13 feet ofsnow during a raging blizzard without even flinching.
7. You take your out-of-town guests to Casa Bonita even though you would never go there otherwise.
8. You think your major food groups are granola bars, tofu and Fat Tire Beer.
9. You design your kid's Halloween costumes to fit over a snowsuit.
10. You think that sexy lingerie is wool socks and flannel PJs.
11. You know all 4 seasons "almost winter, winter, still winter and spring blizzards.
12. You've been tear gassed in a riot to celebrate a CU/CSU'svictory.
13. You can never figure out why your out-of-town guests faint from altitude sickness on a picnic to the mountains.
14. You can drive over a 12,000 foot pass in 4 feet of snow, but can't get to work if there are 4 inches of snow.
15. You know the 'correct' pronunciation of Buena Vista.
16. When you visit friends at sea level, you can drink a case of beer and not get a buzz.
17. Your car insurance costs more than your car.
18. You have surge protectors on every outlet.
19. April showers bring May blizzards.
20. 'Timberline' is someplace you have actually been.
21. You know what a 'Chinook' is.
22. You know what a 'Rocky Mountain Oyster' is.
23. You know what a "fourteener" is.
24. But you don't know what a"turn signal" is.
25. A bear on your front porch doesn't bother you nearly as much as a Democrat in Congress does.
26. Your golf bag has a 9-iron, a 3-wood and a lightning rod.
27. You know who Alfred Packer was and what he did.
28. You know who Baby Doe Tabor was.
29. SPF 90 is not out of the question.
30. People from out of state breathe 5 times as often as you do.
31. Having a Senator named Nighthorse doesn't seem strange.
32. Thunder has set off your car alarm.
33. A full moon has never kept you awake at night.
34. You have an $800 stereo in your $300 truck.
35. A sudden loss of cabin pressure is not a big deal.
36. You think a red light means 3 more cars can go.
37. Where we're going, we don't need roads!!
38. You know where Doc Holliday's grave is.
39. You know where Buffalo Bill's grave is.
40. You know where the real "South Park" is.
41. You can recognize the license plates of all 50 states onsight.
42. Driving directions usually include 'Go over_________ Pass.'
43. You've 'checked for ticks'.
44. You've dressed in shorts, sandals, and a parka w/a hood.
45. You've gone snow skiing in July and...
46. You've gone sunbathing in January and...
47. They were in the same year!
48. You've urinated on the Continental Divide just so it could'run into both oceans.
49. And the most important: You get a certain feeling of satisfaction from knowing that California and Texas are both downstream.
50. You actually understand these jokes and send them to your Colorado friends.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Jesus & The Rockies

A big thanks goes out to Al, from Compa Food Ministry and the dad of my best friend, for sending me this interesting article from USA Today about the Colorado Rockies. Christianity is playing a major role in this team’s new identity on and off the field. The Rockies chaplain lives 10 houses down from me and is a really great guy. I met his wife at a graduation party this weekend. He is also the chaplain for the Denver Broncos. I like that the Rockies organization is going after players who have character. Sure they have to be able field, catch, throw and bat, but we don't need anymore Denny Neagle's on this team or in this community. Denny's story is here.


You must read this post by Trevor on what true power looks like in the Kingdom of God. Trevor is our Young Adults Pastor. Trevor shared this at staff meeting last week and I've been thinking about it everyday.

Jury Duty Update

I didn’t get chosen and I was walking to my car at 9:28 a.m.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jury Duty

My number was in a range of about 150 last night which means I am heading to the courthouse to see if I am going to sit on a jury! Here's what I read last night to get me ready...only read if you're really bored today! I am going to read Freakonomics while I am waiting.