Saturday, May 31, 2008

Divine Romance

This summer I want our students to experience a Divine Romance with Jesus Christ. Thanks to Phil Wickham for writing this song. Thanks to Steve for pointing me to this song as we were meeting yesterday to discuss where this will best fit in he and Bethany's wedding next week.

Divine Romance

The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty’s all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence God, I’m completely satisfied

For You I sing I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart and my hands
To show my love, to show my love

A deep deep flood, an Ocean flows from You
Of deep deep love, yeah it’s filling up the room
Your innocent blood, has washed my guilty life
In Your presence God I’m completely satisfied

Letters of recommendation

I have a second job. I write college recommendation letters for students. :) It's really not a second job, but I crank out a lot every year and have for the last 10. I have never once received any feedback from the University until yesterday.

Westmont sent me a return letter in an email letting me know that one of our students was accepted but declined going. It meant a lot to me. It told me that they care about the process. They took the time to type a letter, sign it and email it to me. It showed me that the little things matter.

More and more I am finding that following through on the little things matters a lot. I wonder where I've disappointed people? I wonder where I've communicated that I care about the process?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Summer School

I am so pumped for our Sunday morning summer series in our high school ministry I could scream!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Marko pointed us to this today on his blog and I love it!


Here's a brief description from the website, "Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary — Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate."

It's addicting!

I must get home first

I am reading through The Godbearing Life again and it's really resonating with me, like it did 9 nine years ago. I am so thankful for this book and it's a must read by every student ministry pastor and volunteer who serves in a local church. Heck, I think our parents should read this!

I am realizing more and more that one of the "best practices" I can do in my student ministry is to continually sink my teeth into the truth that I am a child of God, that my identity is in the person and work of Jesus Christ. I like how Kenda Creasy Dean said it, "If Godbearing ministry is to lead youth home to their identity as favored ones of God, then as Godbearers we have to get home to our identity in the cross of Christ first."

I must get home first.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

4 leaders meetings a year

I used to try and meet with my leaders once a month for three hours. It was painful. We never had 100% attendance. People showed up late. People left early. I am done with meeting every month. For the past couple of years we've meet for three hours four times a year. We cancel our Wednesday night program and meet together as a group of leaders. Instead of trying to find another night during the week where we can all meet, it hit me that I do know a night we all can meet, WEDNESDAY! We meet in February, May, August and October. Each week they get an email about what's going on so it's not like we aren't communicating. We top each of our meetings off with a meal. Last week is it was grilled salmon and chicken at my house! I can't wait for August.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Urge 2 Merge - Onslaught

I am so thankful Jen, who spoke to our students this past Sunday, showed this video as she spoke about being a woman of God in today's culture.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

From the green pole to the tree of life

I am praying that our students will jump from the green pole to the tree of life. From F.F. Trench,

"I've seen a poor blind worm on the top of a slender pole stretching every ring of its fragile form and groping all around in vacant space tingling with impatience to climb higher but doomed to stop at the top of the pole. It was a caterpillar whom a rough wind had shaken from the green tree where it was quietly feeding, and when it found itself on the hard ground it wandered about in dry places seeking rest and finding none till it reached the bottom of this wall, the foot of this pole and then it climbed. But, you see, it has made nothing of it. The green painted pole has a very different a very different thing from the leafy tree it used to live in. Poor creature. It's hungry and the reason why it runs along and stretches upward so anxiously is if happily it might find the juicy foliage it once fed on. It will never find it there. Up among the branches of the tree of life man once had his home, his resting place. And there he fed sweetly. But a rough storm of temptation shook him down, the fall of man, and now he runs about among the dry places seeking rest and finding none. And you will sometimes find him, poor groveling worm, poor fallen man, trying to better himself by climbing up some painted pole and once he gains its top you will see him exploring blindly around in emptiness, feeling for some higher object on which to rest, some green thing for his hungry soul to feed on, pivoting and balancing himself and stretching outward and stretching upward. But the tree of life is not there until it comes to live on God Himself, the hungry soul of man will never be satisfied."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Unbelievable grace

God's unbelievable grace given to us - James 4:6 "But God gives us a greater grace..."

“To see a slave beaten and corrected, it argues a fault committed; but yet perhaps the demerit of it was not very great. The correction of a son argues a great provocation; that of an only son, the greatest imaginable. Never was sin seen to be more abominably sinful and full of provocation, than when the burden of it was upon the shoulders of the Son of God. God having made his Son, the Son of his love, his only begotten, full of grace and truth, sin for us, to manifest his indignation against it, and how utterly impossible it is that he should let the least sin go unpunished, he lays hand on him, and spares him not.”

- John Owen, Communion with God from The Works of John Owen (Banner of Truth), 2:96.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I often go to Panera to work. The other day I was watching 5 people on laptops hunt and peck for letters as they were typing. It was so funny to watch them try to go fast and then pound the backspace key. Their faces were constrained as they were hunting and pecking at the keys.

It made me think that one of the greatest skills I have in my ministry toolbox is...


I know what home row is and know how to use it. I don't hunt and peck. Do you?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Last night I experienced some new for the first time in the context of our high school ministry and it gave me chills. Dani showed up. She's our newest leader. She's our youngest leader at 22. She's a recent grad from Trinity Western University. And here's the part that gave me chills. When we introduced her Julie, another leader spoke up, "Yeah, this is pretty crazy, Dani was in my i2i group four years ago and now she's a leader with me in our group."

How awesome is that? A student has returned to serve in the church they grew up in. I just gave myself chills again.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Better than any preaching

"It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching." - St. Francis of Assisi

"I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Weak point...pound pulpit." - Scott Wenig quoting someone during my time at Denver Seminary

This week I step into the pulpit of our church after 54 weeks to preach in our series on James. Every time I get the chance to preach I always remember these quotes that I heard at some point in Seminary. I don't know if I should be encouraged or call in sick!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Who's defining our image?

In our Urge 2 Merge series we asked our students to consider the truths from Genesis 1:26-27 and then watch this video. One of the core foundational truths we need to explore as human beings when it comes to dealing with our God given desire to merge with the opposite sex is our image. Who really owns us? Who's defining our image? Are we being defined from the outside in, or the inside out?

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Hormonal Theology of Adolescence

Holding On To Our Kisses: The Hormonal Theology of Adolescence by Kenda Creasy Dean is a must read for any student ministry pastor, leader of parent of an adolescent. I read through this paper this week as I am preparing to speak in week 4 of our 5 week series, Urge 2 Merge.

She argues in this paper that we must recapture a theology of sex in the context of spirituality. Adolescents are longing for both and it's during these formative years that the church must recapture the adolescents desire to be with "another" and link it to spirituality. Succinctly stated, God created us for intercourse (communion) with each other and Him. As she summarizes, "God created sexuality and spirituality as twin paths to Otherness, divinely appointed routes to the God who desires intercourse, or communion, with us."

You Can't Preach That

I grew up obsessed with MC Hammer. I know...let me have it. In August of 1989 I went to the MC Hammer, Troop and After 7 concert and thought I was in heaven. Today, I came across "You Can't Preach That" which is to the tune of "You Can't Touch This." Pretty funny...and yes "You Can't Touch This" is on my shuffle that I use at Club USA at least 5 days a week.

"You Can't Preach That"


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Field Day - Class of 2020

The class of 2020 had their first field day this week. Noah had a blast. It was so fun to walk around to the different events. It was great to talk with the parents of his classmates. What made even more happier is that the kids actually got marked for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc... none of this "we all win, everyone is first place" attitude.

Who doesn't remember the joy of the shoe kick?

Laminin - class nights

The past two nights I've had the upperclassmen and underclassmen over to my house and one of the things we did together was watch this short video clip. We discussed Psalm 33 through verse 8 then let Louie Giglio take over. I am praying that the truth from this Psalm and the truth about Laminin will change my heart and the hearts of our students for eternity.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A culture that forgot to blush

As we are walking through dating, marriage and sex with our students I was deeply moved to see that not much has changed from Jeremiah's day to today:

Jeremiah 6:15
Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them," says the LORD.”

We live in a culture that has forgotten to blush.

Top 10 Reasons I Love My Mom - JT

Here are Josiah's answers that he gave to his mom on Sunday. I love them!

10. I love my Mom because she reads me tractor books.
9. I love my Mom because she helps me clean out my room when my sister makes a big mess.
8. I love my Mom when she makes me laugh by telling me knock, knock jokes.
7. I love my Mom because she taught me how to read.
6. I love to hear my Mom sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
5. I love my Mom because she finds time to play Legos.
4. I know my Mom cares because she kisses and hugs me.
3. I know my Mom is smart because she makes me want to laugh.
2. I love my Mom because she works so hard at her Bible Study.
1. I love my Mom because she's the BEST MOM EVER!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I have a long way to go

“Spread gossip, and people will not trust you. Speak with sarcasm and insults, and people will not follow you. Yet what is especially on James’ mind is not the reaction of others to your speech but the spreading of sin from your speech to the rest of your life. Be hateful with your tongue, and you will be hateful with other aspects of your behavior. If you do not discipline and purify your speech, you will not discipline or purify the rest of your life.” Stulac, quoted in Blomberg pg. 205.

"We shape our words and then our words begin to shape us.
We like to think that we say what we believe, but more likely, we believe what we say." Jerry Nelson from Sunday's sermon.

Sunday I realized I have a long way to go.

Monday, May 12, 2008

To our Timothy's

2 Timothy 3:10, “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings — what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

May all of us who get the privilege of serving in student ministries be able to proclaim this message to our Timothy's (students) before they leave for college.

i2i is gone...small groups are in

It's so funny...when you first start out in student ministry you name everything so it sounds cool. For example, we have small groups in our high school ministry that meet on Wednesday nights and I thought it would be cool to call them i2i groups. i2i with God, His Word and each other. I try to use this language when I speak to students and leaders. We publish the name i2i in print...but to no avail.

Last Wednesday night when our seniors were speaking to our group every single one of them that mentioned their i2i group called it their small group. So, i2i is gone and small groups are back in.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day and the grace of God

This morning I am overwhelmed with the grace of God. Today I feel like I've been able to experience this unbelievable attribute of God as I've had the privilege of watching Julie be a mother to our children. Her love for our kids is truly the fuel that I believe God will use to show them that He loves them!

God's grace in my life was the gift of a wife who turned out to be a stellar mother. I love God more as I watch Julie love our kids. So today, on Mother's Day, I thank God for the unbelievable gift he gave me, Julie, the mother of our children.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Lost in community

Each week most of the leaders in our high school ministry gather at my house for dinner and Lost on Friday night. It's one of my favorite times of the week. What I like most about it...we don't talk much about our student ministry. We talk about everything else in our lives. I love it. For me, it's just a time to chill with great friends and catch up on life with each other. I guess you could say we are "Lost in community" when we gather on Friday nights. Not to mention there is plenty of entertainment with nine kids running around! I can't wait for next week.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Facing nothingness

"In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding: no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me - naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken - nothing. It is the nothingness that I have to face in my solitude." - Henri Nouwen.

The real battle for this student ministry is not in front of people, but it's in solitude. It's facing my nothingness to find the Someone who is there waiting to call me His child. Once I've been alone, then I can step out into the lives of our students and journey with them, as we seek to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus on a daily basis.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

I'm sick of it!

I am so sick and tired of getting emails that use this word, "Hype." Why, why do people who are spamming student ministry pastors across this land continue to believe that I got hired to "hype" up students to follow Jesus? Every email has the word "hype" in the subject line or somewhere in bold caps in the email. AHHH!

I got hired to call students to this truth in Mark 8:34-35 "Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.'"

There is no hype in Jesus' call. And there will be no hype in my ministry.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Senior Salute 2008

Saturday was a great day in the life of our high school ministry as we celebrated the class of 2008! I'm going to miss these students!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Urge 2

Our 2nd week of Urge 2 Merge begins and I can't wait to make the point that God has designed our students with the urge 2 merge, especially in the spring time. It's okay for them to want each other. We learned this was true when were kids. In case you forgot, here's the video.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Princeton - A Beautiful Mind

One of the highlights of this trip has been drinking coffee at Small World Coffee. I had some great conversations there with Jim, Christian and Tony during the conference. Apparently it's a pretty famous coffee shop as the man that the movie "A Beautiful Mind" told the story of still gets coffee there.

While we were meeting with Christian Andrews talking about
epistemology and ecclesiology he actually walked in the door. We snapped a picture of John Forbes Nash, the Nobel Laureate (Economics) Mathematician writing on out something across this piece of paper. It was fascinating!