Thursday, August 30, 2007

Acts 3:19

Acts 3:19 "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,"

This was the memory verse for the Bible story I read with my sons last week. It grabbed my heart as I was explaining it to Noah and Josiah. I want this for them. I want my sons to see this verse lived out in the lives of their friends in their public schools. I praised God that night going to bed as it was the verse the night before Noah started school. I'll keep this verse in my heart and front of my sons for the rest of their days in school.

I am so grateful that I know the truth of this verse. I wonder what high school students will know the truth of this verse by the end of the year. I can't wait to find out. I can't wait to find to find out who will start drinking living water.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Waxhaw, NC

Today I made to North Carolina to hang with Brian. Brian served in our high school ministry before his job took him away from Colorado three years ago. We are playing golf, eating North Carolina BBQ (whatever that is), and I'll be home just in time for college football this weekend.

We just got done watching the news and the second story of the night was on Billy Graham. Apparently this state loves Billy!

I just started reading another book, Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson. I can't wait to soak it in on the plane ride back.

Finally, we started talking about the Etch-A-Sketch guy! If you don't know who he is...check out his drawing of Lebron James HERE!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I am so excited that what happens on Sunday mornings in our student gatherings is now on iTunes. A big thanks to Jon for getting this done while I am on sabbatical!

Type in sgc180 in the iTunes search bar and you'll find us, or just click HERE!

Thanks Jon.

13 and 18 mean something

Bradley Wright's post on When do teenagers become more religious? is worth a look this week and should send shock waves through student ministry workers as they think about taking shepherding students for six years. 13 and 18 matter!

According to the study, significant religious transitions were made at ages 13 and 18.

We can't just simply welcome 7th graders and commission 12th graders. When they walk in they are ready. When they are preparing to leave they are ready. The most passionate people in the church are looking for the passion of Jesus to guide them through the uncharted waters that lie ahead. These are two HUGE transitions in life. And HUGE transitions must first be met with the Word of God. At these checkpoints in lives of our students they must see that God's Word will be a lamp to their feet and a light to their path. The passion that is required to live a life of faith can be found in God's Word when we meet.

According to this study how we start and end with students in our ministries must not be taken lightly. We must heed Paul's words in Acts 20:26-27 as we welcome our 7th graders and commission our 12th graders, and pray that this is true of us for the six years we have them,

"26Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Olympia, WA

I landed in Seattle today to spend the next four days with my boy Seth from Westwood Baptist Church. Today I had lunch on the Puget Sound at the Oyster House. The Halibut Fish & Chips were out of this world!

Seth and I had the privilege of serving alongside each other at Southern Gables in student ministry while he was attending Denver Seminary. What can I say? His last name is Hanson so he's the only MMMbop in my life.

Every sabbatical needs a little fresh fish and MMMbop as a part of the pilgrimage.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

1st day of school

We are pumped today because Noah starts school at Bradford Elementary. 2 1/2 day Kindergarten. 24 kids in his class. 17 girls. 7 boys. Kellen Hodges is in his class! Mrs. Covert is his teacher.

We can't wait to see what the next twelve years of school will bring before he graduates in 2020!

Illusion of leadership

In Leading With A Limp, Allender suggests that this is what most of us want in a leader,

"...a leader must be physically attractive, fluent public speakers with a firm command of their audience, well-educated, open, sincere, humble, salt-of-the-earth people able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, leaders who never forget their humble beginning or the values and convictions of those they represent. We expect a leader to make tough decisions - to fire his close friend if necessary or to send troops into harm's way - yet we want him to tear up over a sad story and be sentimental on Mother's Day."

And then finally Allender's conclusion, which has caused me long moments of thought and contemplation about myself, what I expect out of leaders I follow, and what our spiritual community at Southern Gables expects out of our new Senior Pastor,

"What we want is an illusion and we know it. We prefer the illusion because we have a deep need to be buffered from reality."

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Chicken Pox

We are taking appointments for anyone who hasn't had chicken pox and would like to get them. If you're a high school student come on over. You'll get a week off of school in two weeks when you start to itch like a mad-man!

Head on over today before school starts and Adah would be happy to pass her spots and rash on to you.

The morning is booked solid and the afternoon is filling up quick!

Hurry, chicken pox rock and Calamine lotion is so soothing. Not to mention you get to take Benadryl!

The Reluctant Leader

In Leading With a Limp, Allender suggests that God loves a reluctant leader.

The experience of the reluctant leader is flight, doubt, surrender and return.

And the reason God loves a reluctant leader is that they are not easily seduced by power, pride, or ambition.

I've been HONESTLY thinking about how I am seduced by power, pride and ambition over this past week. When I first read this section I was thinking about everybody else but me. Then I read it again and found myself struggling with all three. I wrote down each word and starting making lists. It was horrifying.

One of the good things about this whole experience is that I was reluctant to evaluate!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What makes students tick

MSN ran this article yesterday, "Youths’ stuff of happiness may surprise parents" and it suggests that the number one thing that makes students 13-24 happy is spending time with their family! To the youth worker this should come as NO surprise. The parents of our student matter! They matter so much that we need to take a look at our programming and make sure that what we are doing isn't taking our students away from their families. In our context it looks like this:

- Nothing on Sunday afternoons and nights.
- Cancel Wednesday nights the two weeks before school starts.
- Cancel Wednesday nights the last three weeks of December so our students can finish all their work and spend time with their families over the holidays.
- Cancel Wednesday nights the last three weeks of May so students can finish school well.
- End our Sunday morning and Wednesday evening on time.
- Weekly prayer email to keep them up to date on what's happening.
- Updated website.

Our goal is to come alongside families and serve them to help their students become faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Maybe a plan for this fall should include the question, "Does our programming reflect the priority that we value our students having time with their families?"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Doubt and Flight

From Leading With A Limp,

"Doubt is the context for surrender. And flight is the path for obedience."

I have been stuck on this quote for days as I think about it in my own life and the lives of our students. It could quite possibly be that one reason teenagers decide to follow the passion of Jesus Christ is because they operate most of their lives out of the context of doubt. And it's in this context that the beaten Jesus, carrying the cross of forgiveness to pay for their sins, calls them to lose their life so they can find it. He call them to surrender.

And once a new life has begun, our students then join a journey with Jesus where he calls them to flight. He calls them to a life of following him. It becomes the path for obedience. It becomes the one thing they must possess to become more like Jesus, and equally important, it becomes the one thing they must possess to keep surrendering. For flight inherently creates a context of doubt. Will Jesus be there during the next step of my life of surrender? Will Jesus provide for me the right path to live for him? Will his Word be a light unto my path? Will Jesus make good on his promise that he will never leave me or forsake me?

Signs everywhere remind us of the dangerous results of what will happen if we jump off a cliff.
But with Jesus, what's the danger of not jumping?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leading With A Limp

This week I am reading a leadership book, Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender. I am through the introduction and 1st chapter and my highlighter has almost run out. Several things have grabbed my heart and some scare me to death just from the introduction:

- Prepare now to admit to your staff that you are the organization's chief sinner.
- What I am calling you to, however, is far more that they mere acknowledgment of your shortcomings. I'm suggesting an outright dismantling of them - in the open and in front of those you lead.
- Everyone of your weaknesses is the doorway not only to better character but to leadership dividends so enormous that avoiding the necessary risk is utter foolishness.
- Life requires surrender for us to gain what we desire.
- To broaden your effectiveness, you have to narrow your focus.
- To grow in confidence, connectedness, and success, you have to admit for all you are a failure.
- Few leaders operate out of confidence built on anything but the cumbling foundation of arrogance. Few know peace that is not dependent on performance. Few exercise freedom and creativity that are not bound to conventionality.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Off-Road Disciplines

I started another book this week! Off-Road Disciplines by Earl Creps. I made it through the introduction and 1st chapter today. GREAT STUFF!

The first personal discipline he suggests you should possess is Death: The Discipline of Personal Transformation. Several things grabbed me in these chapters.

Question - How can I be changed so that others will find me worth following in mission?

Statement - My best practice must be me.

The changing inside of me must become my best practice and this happens only through death. Death is the first off-road discipline. New life will begin and often emerges from some kind of death. Crucifying aspects of my culture, leadership and spirituality are the death Creps is talking about. So as I sat in Panera today reading I was contemplating where I need to die. At that point I hit the decaf becuase my blood pressure was rising.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mountain golf

Today I played golf in the mountains of Colorado with Tim, Will and Dave in Evergreen. It was awesome!

There is nothing like playing golf at 7,220 feet!

This is the first hole!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Denver Broncos

Today the season begins. I can't wait for tonight.


My take on the season - We will go 10-6 because of our defense!

Sabbatical Reading

The three books I am reading this week...

Go Put Your Strengths To Work by Marcus Buckingham
Leading With a Limp by Dan Allender
Small Is The New Big by Seth Godin

It's going to be an awesome week!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Going back to church

Today was a great day for me as I went to church at Southern Gables for the first time on my sabbatical. Here are some thoughts.

- It was awesome to drive to our church together as a family.
- I went to Julie's Sunday school class during the first hour and had a great time hanging out as we broke down the sermon from the previous week.
- It was just fun to hang out with my wife at church!
- Tim Hodges spoke to our high school students and I can't wait to listen to the sgc180 podcast on iTunes tomorrow.
- I didn't go to the corporate worship services.
- I served in Noah and Josiah's Sunday school class during the second hour. Today was there last day together in Children's Church as Noah will move up to the kindergarten class next week!
- Mrs. Kristie has been a great teacher for my boys!
- I love eating Goldfish crackers out of Dixie cups with 20 kids!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Haggard & Williams

Ted Haggard

The potential replacement for Ted Haggard will be showing up this weekend for his first of three "audition" sermons before a church vote. NO pressure, eh? You can read about it here. I think this would be a GREAT idea for our church to embrace before we hire a replacement for Pastor Nelson.

Darrent Williams

Authorities are linking the Williams case to gang members who are are responsible for a drug ring and 11 murders that are unsolved. The article is here. I wonder what's going on inside Javon Walker's heart as this season starts.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sacrificing for the vision

My friend Charlie is waking up today with a smile on his face for two reasons. First, the Cubs spanked the Rockies last night at Coors Field. Second, he gets to sit at the Willow Creek Leadership Conference. He blogs on the conference every year and I love reading his thoughts. This morning as I am sipping Sumatra I read this blog and it completely stopped me in my tracks. These are Charlie's notes from Bill Hybles talk to kick off the conference. This is what stopped me,

"People who follow you are watching you to see if you’ll sacrifice for the vision. They take their clues from you as to how much they will sacrifice."
Being away from my ministry has created this tension for me. I don't feel like I am sacrificing for what is happening in our student ministry right now. I know my leaders are leading and sacrificing for our students while I am gone. I feel like no ones watching and it's weird. Hard to explain.
These are great words to all of us who are teachers, parents or youth workers. Everyone is watching us. The students. The parents. Most importantly, God is watching. If we have a vision for our sphere of influence, it better not just be for those who are following us, but for us as well. This whole thought leads me to remember what God was willing to sacrifice for His vision. Good stuff for a Friday!

Week 3

Here are some highlights from the third week of my sabbatical

- Spending the night at the Westin in downtown Kansas City.
- Watching the season finale of Lost on the iPod during the last couple of hours of our drive. Actually, Julie was watching and I was listening!
- Sleeping in my own bed.
- Going to my local Starbucks.
- Attending another church in our area.
- The Chart House for the rehearsal dinner.
- Getting the privilege to officiate my cousin's wedding at Green Gables Country Club.
- Eating prime rib at the reception.
- Dancing at the reception. Seriously, I had sooooo much fun!
- Being relaxed.
- Mowing my lawn. Yes, I am obsessed with caring for my lawn!
- Reading the Rocky Mountain News.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


We believe in our new quarterback!

Naked Run

A Catholic priest in our area got caught jogging naked around a high school track before sunrise! If he's convicted of indecent exposure he will have to register as a sex offender.

You can read about it here. His reason for running naked is priceless! My advice to him, eat more banana's!

I remember reading about David being naked, but I don't think he was running around a high school track naked!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Training Camp

Today we made it to Broncos Training Camp! It was awesome. Here are some pics!

Makai, Noah, Kellen, Josiah and Maddox

The boy's standing in the endzone!

Travis Henry...the dude looked awesome!


One of the great things about being on sabbatical is that I can get the "HONEY DO LIST" done! This week is packed full of that kind of stuff and I am loving it!

On another note it has been really refreshing to be at home. This sabbatical is forcing me not to be thinking about my job all the time and keep most of my attention on my family. I am 100% relaxed! In fact, one of my friends told me over the phone a couple of weeks ago, " are relaxed aren't you. I can just hear it in your voice."

I am pumped for what the next four and half weeks will bring.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Calvary Chapel

This past Sunday we stopped by Calvary Chapel to attend their morning worship services with my sister and her husband.

Julie leaned over to me at one point and said, "It's weird going to church where we live and not knowing anyone, isn't it?"

She nailed it! It was crazy to be a few miles south of our church and not know least until the end of the service. After the closing prayer I found out one of my college professor's was sitting right behind me, Bill Honsberger.

It was good to be in a church in our community that was preaching the Word of God!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A wedding to remember

Last night I got the chance to officiate my cousin Kellie's wedding. Her husband Steve works on the Furniture Row Nascar engine!

We had a great time. It started sprinkling outdoors when the wedding started but the downpour held off until we were done!

What made this a wedding to remember was the dance floor at the reception. I requested Heavy D & The Boyz "Now That We've Found Love" and started to line up people on the dance floor like at the end of the movie "Hitch!"

I soon realized it was me and about 10 women, of which two were my wife and sister. Soon it was my turn to head down and bust out some moves. I am pretty sure what happened next has never been attempted by a pastor officiating a wedding from Southern Gables Church. I busted out the centipede in my suit!

When I came got up and headed to my table a couple in their 70's asked me, "Do you really work in a church?"

I am still laughing! I had so much fun at that wedding!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Baseball fever

I have it and it's out of control. The Rockies have their best record (to this point in the season) in the team's history! I can't get enough! The way I know I have the fever is the DVR is set to record the game tonight!

I am pumped to get to a game in the next couple of weeks with Noah and Josiah.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Week Two

Reflections on week two:

- Great time golfing with Charlie and his dad on a SWEET course, Coyote Creek.
- Catching fire flies with the boys in Wisconsin.
- Watching HDTV on Lennie's 120 inch screen in his basement.
- The Fish Boil was amazing.
- LOTS of driving.
- Great conversations with Lennie and Bev. We could talk to them for HOURS!
- Landon and Jake were great playmates for our boys in Wisconsin.
- Lauren loved on Adah.
- Discovery World and the Zoo in Milwaukee.
- Lake Michigan.
- Trevor and Michell Lee.
- Eating Taco Bell in the their driveway!
- It was great to see Isaiah and Ayla!
- Stopping by Naperville, IL and First Evangelical Free Church briefly for a peek at their Sunday services.
- It was great to see my birth father and his wife in Lebanon, IN.
- It's so weird to hang out with yourself with an accent.
- Our kids meeting their final set of grandparents.
- Totally disengaging from student ministry.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Adopting Noah

Today is a very special day in our home. Six years ago today we brought Noah into our home. I can still remember driving down to Colorado Springs to get him. I still remember looking into his eyes for the first time and thinking, "This kid has some big eyes!" I remember seeing a rainbow during our drive to get him and thanking God for that reminder of his faithfulness in our lives. I remember holding him in our home for the first time and Julie just standing their gazing into his eyes. I remember 67 people stopping by our house on this day six years ago to see him and so much more. I remember so many people helping us out!

Most of all I remember the unbelievable peace God gave us to welcome this child into our home as our own.

I love this day! I love this kid!


These are the totals we logged from the trip. We traveled the entire distance across the United States (3,073 miles from coast to coast) and a little more for fun!

The 65 + hours were packed full of eating, watching movies, laughing, reading Harry Potter, listening to music and watching the season finale of LOST as we were driving into Denver!

We have never spent that much time together as a family. It was awesome. Our kids adjusted everywhere we went! I honestly can't think of a better way to start this sabbatical.

Overland Park, KS

Our last stop to us to my buddy Jim Newberry in Kansas. Our last night of sleep on the trip was at the Westin. Jim hooked us with a $300.00 a night room! Lets just say it wasn't the Super 8 I stayed at the night before.

We spent some time with Jim and his wife at the pool before we hit the road home. Jim has become a significant person in my life because he has the GREAT ability to ask the right questions. Both Julie and I really enjoyed our time in rival AFC West territory!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Lebanon, IN

We made it to Lebanon, IN on Sunday and got the chance to catch up with my birth father and his wife. The last time we saw Scott and Vickie was 1994. He and his wife live in West Virginia and Scott is a florist. Lebanon was the only place we could find a hotel because the Brickyard Nascar race was on Sunday!

It was great to see him. Our kids had a great time with them. Julie and I had a great time with them too. Scott and Vickie are HUGE Marshall fans so they hooked us all up with some Marshall gear!

It's crazy to hang out with somebody that you look like and act like and have only seen three times in your life! It was like hanging with myself with an accent! Yes, I will have gray hair someday!

We are looking forward to them being involved in our lives and the lives of our kids for the next several years! The boys are holding stuffed animals that Noah got out of the machine at the Denny's with claw. Noah hooked Scott into feeding the machine coins until he got 2! It was priceless to watch Noah grab two of them and he only blew about $4 on both!