Thursday, December 31, 2009

I am doing a new thing...making a way in 2010!

“This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:16, 18-19

These words from Isaiah are giving life to my soul as I think about the next 365 days of my life, the life of my family and the life of Southern Gables Church!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Eliot

"A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter."
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The adoration of the shepherds

Rembrandt - 1646

John 9:5 "While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Redemption is drawing near

"Christ is breaking open his way to you. He wants to again soften your heart, which has become hard. In these weeks of Advent while we are waiting for Christmas, he calls to us that he is coming and that he will rescue us from the prison of our existence, from fear, guilt, and loneliness. Do you want to be redeemed? This is the one great question Advent puts before us.... But let us make no mistake about it. Redemption is drawing near. Only the question is: Will we let it come to us as well or will we resist it? Will we let ourselves be pulled into this movement coming down from heaven to earth or will we refuse to have anything to do with it? Either with us or without us, Christmas will come. It is up to each individual to decide what it will be." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, A Testament to Freedom (New York: Harper Collins, 1995), 224-225.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Darkness is swallowed up

“In the Incarnation God the Son takes the body and human soul of Jesus, and, through that, the whole environment of Nature, all the creaturely predicament, into His own being.

So that ‘He came down from Heaven’ can almost be transposed into ‘Heaven drew earth up into it,’ and locality, limitation, sleep, sweat, footsore weariness, frustration, pain, doubt, and death, are, from before all worlds, known by God from within.

The pure light walks the earth; the darkness, received into the heart of Deity, is there swallowed up. Where, except in uncreated light, can the darkness be drowned?”

–C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (San Diego: Harvest, 1964), 70-71.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

By myself I am not large enough

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles [a good friend to Lewis and Tolkien] is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. For from having more of Ronald, having him ‘to myself’ now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious ‘nearness by resemblance’ to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.”

~C.S. Lewis in an essay entitled “Friendship”


Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Freer Sky

"How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always being played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers." - G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Monday, November 23, 2009

I am at my wits' end and it's a good thing

"When we are at our wits' end for an answer, then the Holy Spirit can give us an answer. But how can He give us an answer when we are still well supplied with all sorts of answers of our own?" -Karl Barth

This quote from my friend Shane stopped me in my tracks this morning. I see this quote being lived out in my life, the lives of others and our church as a whole. I want to be a part of a community of people who embrace a "wits' end" look at life because that will lead to a community of people who are finding answers in God and not in man.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Our Greatest Danger

"This time of waiting on God was also necessary in order to teach them the greatest lesson of the Christian life--to cease from themselves. The greatest danger about these men was not in what they may fail to do, but in what they might try to do. The greatest harm that we can do is the attempt to do anything at all when we are not prepared, and when we do not understand the Master's will. There are times when the most masterly thing we can exercise is inactivity, and there are times when the most mischievous thing we can do is to do anything at all." --A.B. Simpson referring to Acts 1:1-5 in his book "The Holy Spirit." HT - Shane Stacey

Southern Gables Church is living in the midst of the tension of this quote and it's a beautiful thing to wait with all the people of SGC through this time!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Wildness lies in wait

"The real trouble with this world of ours is not
that it is an unreasonable world, nor
even that it is a reasonable one.
The commonest kind of trouble is that it is
nearly reasonable, but not quite.
Life is not an illogicality, yet
it is a trap for logicians.
It looks just a little more mathematical
and regular than it is; its'
exactitude is obvious; but
its' inexactitude is hidden;
its' wildness lies in wait."

- GK Chesterton

This quote captured my heart again today as I am reading Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan for a second time.

The times of our lives are filled with complexity. They are filled with wildness as we lie in wait. I want to live a life with a community of people that desire to embrace the wildness and seek out the hidden inexactitudes!

Monday, November 02, 2009

I will make you fishers of men

Matthew 4:19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

I have been thinking about these words this week and the results the book of Acts records of the first disciples whose focus wasn't on creating a church, but rather on following Jesus. There is no doubt, the early disciples were fishers of men!

Acts 2:41 "There were added that day about three thousand souls."

Acts 4:4 "The number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Acts 5:14 "All the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number."

Acts 6:1 "At this time . . . the disciples were increasing in number."

Acts 6:7 "The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly."

Acts 9:31 "The church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace . . . [and] continued to increase."

Acts 12:24 "The word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied."

Acts 16:5 "So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily."

My hope and prayer for our church is that we would all seek to follow Jesus and trust God for the results.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Do you?

This quote from John Piper will start off our Senior Sneak this weekend in Breckenridge. I am praying that our seniors will let these words soak into their souls!

Do You…

Do you love the thought that you exist to make God look glorious?

Do you love the thought that all creation exists to display the glory of God?

Do you love the truth that all of history is designed by God to one day be a completed canvas that displays in the best way possible the greatness and beauty of God?

Do you love the fact that Jesus Christ came into the world to vindicate the righteousness of God and repair the injury that we had done to the reputation of the glory of God?

Do you love the truth you personally exist to make God look like what he really is—glorious?

I ask again: Do you love the fact that your salvation is meant to put the glory of God’s grace on display?

Do you love seeing and showing the glory of God?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Spiritual Community

"I want, for myself and others, an experience of spiritual community...where divine life could be poured back and forth through all the confusion and complexity of developing relational intimacy with preglorified saints, where we would actually become more like Christ in our attitudes and choices and motives because of our time together." - Larry Crabb, Real Church

Sunday, September 20, 2009

God is making His appeal through us

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 "17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

It's my goal every time I encounter a student in my ministry this fall to be filled with humility as I consider the truths in these verses: God is a God of reconciliation; I am Christ's ambassador; God is making His appeal through me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Is Christ being clearly portrayed in your student ministry?

Galatians 3:1-3 "1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"

While there are many things to say about these verses, the one thing that grabbed my attention this week is, "Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified."

At the end of May in 2010, could you say this to your students? What are you going to clearly portray to your students throughout this school year?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Prayer of Trust

“Abba, into your hands I entrust my body, mind, and spirit and this entire day – morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Whatever you want of me, I want of me, falling into you and trusting in you in the midst of my life. Into your heart I trust my heart, feeble, distracted, insecure, uncertain. Abba, unto you I abandon myself in Jesus our Lord. Amen.” - Brennan Manning from Ruthless Trust

I am envisioning a student ministry in the next few years where more students are praying this prayer and then living it? Can you see it? But then it hit me, if I am not praying this prayer and then living it I can't expect to see in our students.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Need for Jesus

My ministry needs what I need first - Jesus. Therefore, I am praying this prayer this fall from the Valley of Vision.

Lord Jesus,
I am blind, be thou my light,
ignorant, be thou my wisdom,
self-willed, be thou my mind.

Open my ear to grasp quickly thy Spirit’s voice,
and delightfully run after his beckoning hand;
Melt my conscience that no hardness remain,
make it alive to evil’s slightest touch;
When Satan approaches may I flee to thy wounds,
and there cease to tremble at all alarms.

Be my good shepherd to lead me into the green pastures of thy Word,
and cause me to lie down beside the rivers of its comforts.

Fill me with peace, that no disquieting worldly gales
may ruffle the calm surfaces of my soul.

Thy cross was upraised to be my refuge,
Thy blood streamed forth to wash me clean,
Thy death occurred to give me a surety,
Thy name is my property to save me,
By thee all heaven is poured into my heart,
but it is too narrow to comprehend thy love.

I was a stranger, an outcast, a slave, a rebel,
but they cross has brought me near,
has softened my heart,
has made me thy Fathers’ child,
has admitted me to thy family,
has made me joint-heir with thyself.

O that I may love thee as thou lovest me,
that I may walk worthy of thee, my Lord,
that I may reflect the image of heaven’s first-born.

May I always see thy beauty with the clear eye of faith,
and feel the power of thy Spirit in my heart,
for unless he move mightily in me
no inward fire will be kindled.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Looking for danger in your youth ministry

"Looking for Jesus is an undertaking fraught with danger… The closer you get to finding him, the higher the stakes become. He is no mere passive object to be circled and appraised like a piece of sculpture. You look at him and he looks back. You may begin the search for Jesus with your own agenda, but be warned, he has one too. As the disciples discovered, you pay a price for finding Jesus. He may in fact, one day turn to you, as he did to those weak first-century followers, and ask, ―But you. – who do you say that I am?" (Virginia S Owens, Looking For Jesus, pg. 256)

It's an unbelievable privilege to get the chance to walk alongside students as a companion on their journey to find Christ which is fraught with danger. Too often our students see those around them as dangerous, but Owens forces us to think about the dangerous One. Is my youth ministry fraught with this dangerous picture of Jesus? On Wednesdays? On Sundays? Wait, maybe the first question I need to ask is, "Is my journey to find Christ more intimately in my life fraught with danger? Am I following the dangerous one?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Clean - Romans 8

I am so excited to be starting our fall series this morning with our students. We are going to be studying through the transforming promises of Romans 8!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Great Companion

“The sum of the blessings of Christ, sought by what he did and suffered in the work of redemption, was the Holy Spirit [The Great Companion]. Thus is the affair of our redemption constituted; the Father provides and gives the Redeemer, and the price of redemption is offered to him, and he grands the benefit purchased; the Son is the Redeemer who gives the price, and also is the price offered; and the Hoy Spirit is the grand blessing obtained by the price offered, and bestowed on the redeemed.

The Holy Spirit, in his indwelling presence, his influence and fruits, is the sum of all grace, holiness, comfort and joy, or in one word, of all the spirutal good Christ purchased for me in this world: and is also the sum of all perfection, glory, and eternal joy that he purchased for them in another world.” (Edwards, Jonathan. A Call to United Extraordinary Prayer…. Christian Focus Pub. Great Britian, 2004.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

9-9-9 = Julie's Birthday TODAY!

Happy Birthday Julie!

I love you!

Don't worry I won't say how old you are...I've at least learned that over the last 13 years of marriage!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Terrorist or Sappy Spirituality?

"I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery. "
— Brennan Manning

Friday, September 04, 2009

Has the church lost her testimony?

"The church has lost her testimony. She has no longer anything to say to the world. Her once robust shout of assurance has faded away to an apologetic whisper. She who one time went out to declare now goes out to inquire. Her dogmatic declaration has become a respectful suggestion, a word of religious advice, given with the understanding that it is after all only an opinion and not meant to sound bigoted. Pure Christianity, instead of being shaped by its culture, actually stands in sharp opposition to it." AW Tozer

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You and I NEED Someone

"How do we know that we are not deluding ourselves, that we are not selecting those words that best fit our passions, that we are not just listening to the voice of our own imagination?...Who can determine if [our] feelings and insights are leading [us] in the right direction?

Our God is greater than our own heart and mind, and too easily we are tempted to make our heart’s desires and our mind’s speculations into the will of God. Therefore, we need a guide, a director, a counselor who helps us to distinguish between the voice of God and all other voices coming from our own confusion or from dark powers far beyond our control.

We need someone who encourages us when we are tempted to give it all up, to forget it all, to just walk away in despair. We need someone who discourages us when we move too rashly in unclear directions or hurry proudly to a nebulous goal. We need someone who can suggest to us when to read and when to be silent, which words to reflect upon and what to do when silence creates much fear and little peace." - Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out

Who is this someone in your life?

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Deeps

My prayer for the week from a collection of puritan prayers.

"Lord Jesus, give me a deeper repentance, a horror of sin, a dread of its approach. Help me chastely to flee it and jealously to resolve that my heart shall be Thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action, and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no master but Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I can be nothing but that grace adorns me. Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A friend who cares

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares.” - Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The most revealing thing about your youth ministry

"For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. ..." AW Tozer

This quote has captured my heart. The most revealing thing about my youth ministry is its idea of God. What have I said about God? What have I left unsaid?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Memorize This

We are using Memorize This in our i2i small groups this year! I am so excited to see our students hide the Word of God in their hearts this year!

Check out the book here for the table of contents.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Things My Kids Say

From Josiah's Sunday school teacher in an email to me this week.

We were studying Joseph. At one point, I asked, "Where did Joseph's captors take him?" The kids thought for a moment before Josiah offered ever so sincerely, "Nevada?" All of us helpers/teacher were desperately biting our lips trying not to laugh. Somehow I managed to respond calmly, "Close." Then, Josiah said, "Egypt."

Monday, July 27, 2009

5 Dollar Youth Ministry Training

I am so excited to be a part of what my friends Chris Folmsbee and Matt Wilks are doing this year with 5 Dollar Training! We are hosting one of the 12 trainings at Southern Gables Church on Saturday, September 19th! Here's a blurb from the blog that Chris wrote.

Barefoot has decided to launch an initiative that we hope will help youth workers deal with the current economical challenges called, $5 Dollar Training. Through the generosity of some people who have a HUGE heart for youth ministry, my colleague Matt Wilks and I will be traveling to 12 (8 in the US and 4 in Canada) cities this fall to provide youth ministry training for $5 per person. We’ll do one day of training comprised of three separate seminars for only $5 per person – not $5 per seminar just $5 for the entire day. We hope that providing training at this low cost will help youth workers be able to afford to bring their entire staff and volunteer teams.

The three seminars we will be facilitating in each city cover the themes of (1) spiritual formation for the mission of God, (2) dynamics/practices of healthy teams and (3) collaborating with parents. More details for each of these seminars and an easy registration process will be available when our website goes public in the next few weeks. Watch for more information.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fondant Dan

What can I say? I made a cameo appearance this past weekend at Noah and Josiah's water birthday party on their birthday cake. Yes, I became "Fondant Dan" on a hostess chocolate donut floating in a pool.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

God loves me as much as he loves Jesus

I am overwhelmed with the truth that God loves me as much as he loves Jesus.

John 17:22-23 "22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our chief resort...

There are many nuggets of truth to glean from this amazing quote from Charles Spurgeon as we look back on the school year of 2000-09 and look ahead to 2009-10 in our student ministries.

“Beloved brethren, let us pray. We cannot all argue, but we can all pray; we cannot all be leaders, but we can all be pleaders; we cannot all be mighty in rhetoric, but we can all be prevalent in prayer. I would sooner see you eloquent with God than with men. Prayer links us with the Eternal, the Omnipotent, the Infinite, and hence it is our chief resort... Be sure that you are with God, and then you may be sure that God is with you.”

I want to be a pleader during the up and coming school year. I want prayer to be prevalent every time we gather. I want to be eloquent with God before I am eloquent with my students. I want people to look into our student ministry and see that my chief resort isn't my capability, but rather my dependence on prayer. I want to be sure to be with God at every moment during the day to ensure that I am following Him as He directs our ministry.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tears of joy

Yesterday I experienced something I will never forget as I came through customs after returning from Poland. My Adah was came running to me so filled with joy that she was crying. What a moment. What a hug she gave me. I will never forget that moment and thank God for the love I experienced in that moment with my daughter. Thanks was EPIC!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Poland 2009

I have been in Poland for almost two weeks! Check out all that we've done and seen God do while we've been here at our 180inPoland Blog - HERE! Our theme this year has been "Stories" - we told the Story of God during our evening program and built some amazing relationships with our new friends and deepened ours. We are excited to come home on Tuesday and share our stories of what God did in Poland!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sharing our humanness

Larry Richards said, "To communicate the reality of God we must share our humanness...that inadequacy of ours which made us need Him."

For the next two weeks I am hoping and praying that I will be able to communicate the reality of God by sharing my humanness not only to our team, but to the Polish students we encounter as we serve them at English Camp.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Next time I am having a brainstorming session I am going to SCAMPER!

• Substitute: Is there anything you can substitute that will make your idea better?
• Combine: What things can you combine to make the original idea better and more relevant?
• Adapt: Is there anything you can adapt from another idea to improve it?
• Magnify/Modify: Will your idea be better if you expand it or modify it any way?
• Put To Other Uses: Is there a better use for your idea than originally intended?
• Eliminate: What can you eliminate that is not serving any purpose and make your idea better.
• Rearrange/ Reverse: Could your idea improve if you rearrange any of the ideas concepts and details.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Illusion of leadership

In Leading With A Limp, Dr. Dan Allender suggests that most of us want an illusion of a leader. He suggests that this what we're really looking for,

"...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."

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 Transitional Senior Pastor and the next Lead 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."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Press the "awkward" button

I read this post by Seth Godin two years ago and read through it again today. I am convinced that if you're a leader you must make awkward not only a part of your vocabulary, but a value you embrace.

Awkward. Seth suggests it’s his new favorite word. I agree, especially when you look at it through the lens of leadership. Seth states, "It's awkward to create a product that changes the status quo. It's awkward to demonstrate your amazing insights when it might threaten those that are looking for stability instead.”

Change creates awkward moments. Leading creates awkward moments. Silence creates awkward moments. Disagreements create awkward moments. Confrontation creates awkward moments. Passion creates awkward moments. Meetings create awkward moments. Challenging someones thinking creates awkward moments. Therefore, leaders must commit to searching for the awkward. Why? Seth suggests,

“The reason we need to be in search of awkward is that awkward is the barrier between us and excellence, between where we are and the remarkable. If it were easy, everyone would have done it already, and it wouldn't be worth the effort.”

There is no easy button to press when it comes to leading. Press the awkward button.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Student of change

"Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Today we start a new era at Southern Gables Church - our new TSP is in the house! TSP stands for Transitional Senior Pastor. Dr. Mark Platt comes to us with a TON of experience. I am excited to navigate the new waters ahead of us here at SGC.

D'Angelo's quote resonated with me this morning and has challenged me to start becoming a student of change. I am excited for what this change will bring in my own personal life and ministry!

Friday, June 12, 2009

How kids learn

I pulled this article out again this morning from CNN and it was a good reminder that kids have a primary way that they learn. It’s nothing new to all of us, but it’s a good reminder for us as we spend time with our kids and students this summer. The author suggests that kids learn in at least three ways:

Learning by listening
Learning by seeing
Learning with your body

What is your kid's primary learning style? Should the ways kids learn change the way we teach? What needs to change?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Social Media Tee

This made me LOL!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wildness lies in wait

"The real trouble with this world of ours is not
that it is an unreasonable world, nor
even that it is a reasonable one.
The commonest kind of trouble is that it is
nearly reasonable, but not quite.
Life is not an illogicality, yet
it is a trap for logicians.
It looks just a little more mathematical
and regular than it is; its'
exactitude is obvious; but
its' inexactitude is hidden;
its' wildness lies in wait."

- GK Chesterton

This quote captured my heart on Monday as I was flying to Kansas City reading Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan.

With every change "wildness lies in wait." As we change our student ministry by releasing the class of 2009 and gaining the class of 2013...wildness lies in wait.

As we say "goodbye" to our beloved senior pastor Jerry Nelson and "hello" to our new interim pastor Dr. Mark Platt...wildness lies in wait.

As I continue to walk more closely to Jesus following him, fishing and feeding...wildness lies in wait.

Here's to a lifetime of finding hidden inexactitudes!

Monday, June 01, 2009

The wrong addiction in leadership

"As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their 'right' place." - Henri Nouwen

This Monday morning I am so grateful that I have been surrounded by men who weren't addicted to putting me in the "right" place: Fritz Dale, Jerry Nelson, Michael Murphy, Jim Means, and Jim Kimbriel. I want to live out the opposite of Nouwen's quote, that which all of them have given to me as a model to follow. I don't want to live out what Nouwen portrays as the wrong addiction in leadership. I want to live out the opposite as a husband, father, friend, follow, leader and shepherd in my community.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lead with your ear open to heaven

The longer I get the privilege to lead I am becoming more convinced that I need to lead with my ear open to heaven. Is it my way or God’s way in our student ministry? Am I listening to the promptings and whispers of the Holy Spirit? Out of our study in the book of John I learned that Jesus had a lot to say about the Holy Spirit, a person I've rarely open my ear to. He lays out an impressive description that should have my attention.

He is the Counselor – 14:17
He is with you forever – 14:17
He is the Spirit of Truth – 14:17
He dwells within you and lives with you – Jn. 14:17
He will teach you all things (Jn. 14:26).
He will bring into remembrance the words of Jesus (Jn. 14:26).
He will lovingly convict you of sin (Jn. 16:7).
He will convince you of the truth (Jn. 16:8).
He will testify that you are free of condemnation (Jn. 16:8).
He will guide you into all truth, speaking from what He hears from the Father and Son (Jn. 16:13).
He will always seek to glorify CHRIST (Jn. 16:14).
His name is Counselor, Spirit of Truth, Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:17;Jn. 14:15, 26, 16:7).

I think we need to stop opening our ears first towards and event, conferences, books, or curriculum that will ignite a passion in our students and open our hears to hear about all that Jesus has provided for us in the person and work of the Holy Spirit. If we spent the summer reflecting on these truths from John we might hear something different for what the fall might bring for us personally and our ministries.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Doing the "being" of the vision

“Am I doing the ‘being’ of the vision of my student ministry?” To many student ministry leaders are committed to their vision, if they even have one, as managers of it, rather than making a personal commitment to live it out.

Five things, among several others, to consider this summer as you reflect on whether or not you, as the leader, are doing the "being" of your vision to reach students.

1. Who's 1st place? You or God?
2. Are students being matured as a result of what we are doing (Col. 1:27-28)?
3. Asking/giving God’s blessing on students we come in contact with.
4. Being effective in my organization of things – organization doesn’t become the focus, but the effectiveness of the organization.
5. Reaching out to students who aren't connected in our group and in our community.

What else needs to be added to the list? Deleted?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When seniors graduate

Today I am thinking about 2 Timothy 1:7 – “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power!” It has led me to wonder whether or not the class of 2009, who has been a part of our spiritual community for four years, is leaving our group with a spirit of timidity or a spirit of power. I pray it's the latter. I pray that they saw a spirit of power in the lives of their leaders and the church they attended.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trust in the Life of David

This morning I sat down with a great cup of coffee and reflected on these verses from the Life of David. WOW! I want my kids to see that I am trusting in the Lord and not my own ability. I want the students who gather in our community to see that I am trusting in the Lord and not my own strength. I am dreaming this morning of what changes I need to make in my life and my ministry to show that I am trusting more in the Lord than my own ability.

“When I am most afraid, I put my trust in you, in God whose word I praise, in God I put my trust, fearing nothing; what can men do to me?” - Psalm 56:3-4

“My trust in God never wavers” - Psalm 26:1

“He rescued me, since he loves me” - Psalm 18:19

“But I for my part rely on your love, O Lord” - Psalm 13:5

“Put your trust in Yahweh, be strong, let your heart be bold, put your trust in Yahweh” - Psalm 27:14

“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” - Psalm 40:4

“I mean to thank you constantly for doing what you did, and put my trust in your name, that is so full of kindness, in the presence of those who love you” - Psalm 52:9

“I, for my part, like an olive tree growing in the house of God, put my trust in God’s love for ever and ever” - Psalm 52:8

Prayer of Trust

“Abba, into your hands I entrust my body, mind, and spirit and this entire day – morning, afternoon, evening, and night. Whatever you want of me, I want of me, falling into you and trusting in you in the midst of my life. Into your heart I trust my heart, feeble, distracted, insecure, uncertain. Abba, unto you I abandon myself in Jesus our Lord. Amen.” - Ruthless Trust, Brennan Manning, pgs. 11-12

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Worship - self-conscious vs. God-conscious

"As soon as we come to worship looking for and expecting an experience, we have violated the most basic principle of (worship). We easily become religious aesthetes capable of judging the entertainment value of a church service while remaining unaware of the reality it can open us to. Unfortunately for us, when our worship becomes self-conscious rather than God-conscious, it points not to God’s reality but (only to) our own." (Mark Horst as quoted in Anderson p76)

As I look back over the year that was in our student ministry I am wrestling with whether or not our adoration times with students led them to be more self-conscious or God-conscious. Where did we see the reality of God during our gatherings?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Teaching with passion

Seth Godin has an interesting post on teaching that I have revisited this weekend.

“If you teach--teach anything--I think you need to start by acknowledging that there’s a need to sell your ideas emotionally. So you need to use whatever tools are available to you--an evocative PowerPoint image, say, or a truly impassioned speech.”

“If it’s worth teaching, it’s worth teaching well. If it’s worth investing the time of 30 or 230 or 3330 people, then it’s worth investing the effort to actually figure out how to get the message across.”

How much time should youth pastor's spend preparing to teach a message from God's Word? How much time should a small group leader spend in preparation? 5, 10, 15 hours?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quotes & Exodus 20:16

Exodus 20:16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor."

1700 years ago St. Augustine wrote, “The tongue inflicts greater wounds than the sword.”

“There is nothing more contrary to (the opposite of) God than a lie.” (Watson, The Ten Commandmetns, 170) Puritan, Thomas Watson wrote that in the 17th Century.I believe that statement captures why the 9th Commandment is so important.

“Politeness is an air cushion, there’s nothing inside, but it absorbs life’s bumps.” (Jochem Douma, 332)

One man wrote, “We indulge in this by making ourselves the people who are always right, making ourselves the people who always do good; we are the people, we say, who are always having injustices done to us, but who never do injustices to other people! For all lies are not just things which crop up occasionally and pass through us without affecting us; they are an expression of what we are, and as such they mold our lives, quite literally making us into a lie!”(M.E. Andrews, “Falsehood and Truth” in Interpretation, 17 (1963), 436)

Thomas Watson wrote, “He who tells it [a lie] carries the devil in his tongue and he who hears it carries the devil in his ear.” (Watson, 169)

“There is nothing more contrary to God than a lie.”

Better I should steal my neighbor’s possessions than steal his reputation for he is made in the image of God.

Exodus 20:16, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Word of God & The Lord's Supper

The preaching of the Word and the Supper are identifying marks of the church. We preach the word because it is living and active and God uses the Word to change people’s lives (Hebrews 4:12). We celebrate the Lord’s Supper when we “eat His body” and “drink His blood” and in doing so we are physically and materially confirming that we are placing our faith in the promises of His Word. The Supper allows us to take hold of the promises of God with our bodies. The Supper incarnates the spoken and written Word we’ve poured over and points us to the original incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Four meetings we need to have

I am a big Patrick Lencioni fan! Here's a good summary of his book, Death By Meeting. He suggests that there are four different kinds of meetings we need to have:

1. Daily Check-In
2. Weekly Tactical
3. Monthly Strategic
4. Quarterly Off-Site Review

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Q. 35. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness. - Westminster Shorter Catechism

Our students are wrestling this week with the doctrine of sanctification in Paul's prayer for the Thessalonians in 5:23-24, "May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."

I like what Charles Colson has to say about sanctification in his book Loving God, "Christianity is not just a high-sounding ritual which we perform on Sundays. Christianity is abiding by Biblical standards of personal holiness and in turn seeking to bring holiness into the society in which we live."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Give me 100 youth pastors

John Wesley, "Give me 100 preachers [youth pastors]who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen; they alone will shake the gates of hell and set up the Kingdom of Heaven on earth."

How would our student ministries change, both in programming and personnel if your top two priorities were to fear sin and desire God above everything else?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I am not an entertainer

As a pastor to students I am not an entertainer. What’s more, I am not director of programs to entertain students. Our doors aren’t open to entertain.

As a pastor to students, along with those I serve with both paid an volunteer, we open our doors to be shepherds. We are spiritual guides. Our doors are open to be a place of refuge, renewal and restoration. Our aim is focused on the Chief Shepherd. We take our cues from the Word of God. Specifically 1 Peter 5:2-4,

“2Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Who or what is the subject of your youth ministry?

"I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ...if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply: "It is Jesus Christ...I would pin and bind myself for ever, God helping me, [with] Christ Jesus, who is the sum and substance of the gospel; who is in himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life."" - Some Spurgeon's first words at the new Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

Today I am thinking about who is the subject of our youth ministry. What is my creed? If an outsider walked into our group would they know that Jesus is the sum and substance of our student ministry?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Rock

"The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying!
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust." - T. S. Eliot, Choruses from "The Rock"

This morning I am thinking through how much of what happens in our student ministry is bringing us farther from God and nearer to the dust.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A frightful thing

"How frightful a thing it is for the preacher [teacher] when he becomes accustomed to his work, when his sense of wonder departs, when he gets used to the unusual, when he loses his solemn fear in the presence of the High and Holy One; when, to put it bluntly, he gets a little bored with God and heavenly things." A.W. Tozer, God Tells the Man Who Cares, 92.

I am praying that no student ministry pastor, including myself, will ever be able to say this frightful thing.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

National Day of Prayer - Spurgeon's Heating Plant

Today is our National Day of Prayer. Today is a day to go to the heating plant. Here's a great story about one reason Charles Spurgeon was a great preacher. I thank God for the hundreds of men and women that heat Southern Gables Church.

Five young college students were spending a Sunday in London, so they went to hear the famed C.H. Spurgeon preach. While waiting for the doors to open, the students were greeted by a man who asked, "Gentlemen, let me show you around. Would you like to see the heating plant of this church?" They were not particularly interested, for it was a hot day in July. But they didn't want to offend the stranger, so they consented. The young men were taken down a stairway, a door was quietly opened, and their guide whispered, "This is our heating plant." Surprised, the students saw 700 people bowed in prayer, seeking a blessing on the service that was soon to begin in the auditorium above. Softly closing the door, the gentleman then introduced himself. It was none other than Charles Spurgeon. Our Daily Bread, April 24.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I have not yet succeeded...

St. Augustine's quote has stopped me in my tracks today at Princeton, “Those who think that they have understood the divine scriptures – or any part of them – but cannot by their understanding build up the two-fold love of God and neighbor, have not yet succeeded in understanding them.” On Christian Teaching, 1.86

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Columbine Remembered - The Memorial Ceremony

I will never forget the Columbine Memorial Ceremoney at the Bowles Crossing movie theater. One of the highlights for me personally was seeing my senior pastor up on the stage sitting next to Colin Powell and delivering an unbelievable message of hope to our community - "Seek Jesus." Here is part of Dr. Jerry Nelson's transcript from that day,

There is only one rational way to live without despair in a world of pain. That way is to know the Son of God, Jesus Christ - the one who truly loves us and gave Himself for us. Temporary comfort can come through many means and it is appreciated but genuine, lasting comfort - real hope for the future - comes only through Jesus Christ.

Whether you are a family member grieving the loss of a loved one or a neighbor who hurts deeply for them or a member of community shocked over the evil perpetrated - we, the pastors of your community, appeal to you today – Seek Jesus.

He said, “I am the way the truth and the life…” He also said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have life everlasting."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

5280 the Magazine Remembers Columbine

I am thankful for 5280's video. Anne Marie and Kacey says some powerful things in this video. It's great to see Kacey's hubby and baby girl! She was hoping they were going to be in the photo shoot!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Columbine Remembered - Kacey is my hero

I remember Kacey showing up for Big Hair Bowling on December 2, 1995 and going absolutely giddy over the fact that her jr. high youth pastor proposed to her small group leader that morning! It was the day Julie and I got engaged and I still have a picture of Kacey with BIG HAIR! She's pictured here with her sister Britney who is on the left at the Rose Parade in 2005.

Kacey was shot in the library 10 years ago today and lived. She is my hero. She made it on the front cover of USA Today on April 21, 1999. Two months ago she was featured in Good Housekeeping and last month she was feature in 5280 the magazine to remember the 10 year anniversary. I still remember the huge security guard posted outside her hospital room. N'Sync came to visit her. Colorado Avalanche players stopped by to comfort her. Peter Forsberg gave her a signed jersey! So many things happened so fast.

When I read what transpired that day I can't believe she lived. She's married now, with a beautiful daughter. Repeatedly she has opportunities to look patients in the eye who are facing death and tell them that she not only sympathizes with them, she empathizes with them. She spoke at Virgina Tech two years ago after their shooting took place. I got the privilege to see her last month at her sister's graduation party and she is doing fabulous. What a woman! What a story! What a God she is madly in love with to this day!

Kacey, you are my hero!

I truly believe that Kacey can communicate what Corrie Ten Boom said, "There is no pit that God is not deeper still."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Great supply

1 Thessalonians 3:10 “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.”

I want our student ministry to be a place of great supply. I want our leaders showing up being people of great supply. I want our students to see God as the ultimate supplier of what is lacking in their faith. I want to be a student ministry pastor that is praying night and day for this supply.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

By His Poured Out Blood

I am becoming more convinced that our students need to understand the rich theology that is locked within the Lord's Supper. We take the Lord's Supper twice a month in our church. Twice a month our students get a reminder of what Jesus' poured out blood did for them.

The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body given for you;”

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

Jesus Christ gave us His body for what His blood would be poured out to do.

By His Poured Out Blood…

We have been purchased – Acts 20:28
We have been justified – Rom. 5:9
We have redemption – Eph. 1:7
We have been brought near – Eph. 2:13
We have peace – Col. 1:20
We have been sanctified – Heb. 13:12
We are ransomed – 1Pet. 1:19
We have been cleansed from all our sins – 1Jn. 1:7

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I want to be a part of this kind of church

“Where the Holy Spirit is poured out on the church, it sweeps the believers along as though in a great river of obedience, praise and mighty works. Empowered by the Spirit, the community can dare and hope great things, seeing visions, dreaming dreams, turning the world upside down. Where the Spirit is at work, liberation is under way, good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and deliverance to the oppressed.” - Richard D. Hayes

Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't Rob Jesus of His Glory on Good Friday

“…No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27b-28).”

Jesus was whipped by a whip that had small pieces of metal or bone at the tips.
He was mocked by the soldiers.
He had a crown of thorns pressed into His skull.
He physically carried the cross that He would die on.
He stared from the cross into the eyes of Mary, His mother as He was dying.
His last words were, “It is finished.”

For this hour Jesus came to be glorified and to glorify the name of the Father. For this hour of deep pain and suffering Jesus came. On this Good Friday we remember that deep pain and suffering. Why?

We embrace the suffering because it leads to glory.

The deeper and more profound the sorrow we feel tonight, the deeper and more profound the joy we will feel on Sunday morning. To experience the jubilant shout of “HE IS RISEN” on Sunday we must cry the prayer of Jesus in the Garden, as he quoted Psalm 22, “My God, my God why have your forsaken me?”

Charles Spurgeon challenges us to never forget the passion of Friday,

“….His glory was to come to him through shame...that the greatest fullness of our Lord’s glory arises out of his emptying himself, and becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. It is his highest reputation that he made himself of no reputation. His crown derives new luster from his cross....We must never forget this, and if ever we are tempted to merge the crucified Saviour in the coming King we should feel rebuked by the fact that thus we should rob our Lord of his highest honour.” - “The Corn of Wheat Dying to Bring Forth Fruit: John 12:23-25,” Charles H. Spurgeon, Farm Sermons (c 1875),

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Reculturing youth ministry and life

Recently I have been consumed with this idea of reculturing. What does it mean to reculture a student ministry in the context of the local church? For that matter, my life, marriage and parenting have been included in my thoughts.

“In his book Leading in a Culture of Change (Jossey-Bass, 2001), Fullan notes that reculturing ‘does not mean adopting innovations one after another; it does mean producing the capacity to seek, critically assess, and selectively incorporate new ideas and practices.’” - I came back to this quote this morning in my friend Chris' book, A New Kind of Youth Ministry.

Therefore, I am asking these questions.

1. What am I seeking?
2. When was the last time I sat down and took a critical assessment?
3. What are the new ideas and practices that will help me get to what I am seeking?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Our greatest need...

“If God had perceived that our greatest need was economic, he would have sent an economist. If he had perceived that our greatest need was entertainment, he would have sent us a comedian or an artist. If God had perceived that our greatest need was political stability, he would have sent us a politician. If he had perceived our greatest need was health, he would have sent us a doctor. But he perceived that our greatest need involved our sin, our alienation from him, our profound rebellion, our death; and he sent us a Savior.” D.A. Carson, A Call To Spiritual Reformation, pg.109, 1992).

I am excited to share this quote with our students on Sunday from our study of Colossians 1:9-14.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wise fool

“A wise fool has learned not to take oneself too seriously or to respond to defensively. One accepts the fact that life is laced with surprises and embarrassments; one relinquishes the demand to always be above shame. The wise fool has given up tensions of feeling self imposed expectations of complete competence and constant superiority. The wise fool who fumbles can shrug with self accepting chagrin and being temporarily less than expected; the wise fool who stumbles can smile and laugh at the faux pas.” - David Augsberger

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

5 questions to keep asking

I came across these five questions from Bill Phillips and I think they are worth keeping and asking regularly, both for personal and ministry development. The questions aren't new, they were just a great reminder.

1. Where are you now?
2. Where are you going?
3. Why?
4. When?
5. How?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fruit that will last

John 15:6 "...but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last."

This phrase has captured my heart this year, "fruit that will last." I'm wrestling with what a student ministry should look like that produces "fruit that will last." I keep coming back to what the foundation for doing student ministry is - The Great Commandment and the The Great Commission. If I don't start here, I don't think I'll make it. Everyday I wake up I am thinking about graduating students who possess a Great Commandment Heart and desire to live a Great Commission Life.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What consumes you in youth ministry?

This morning I have been reflecting on Psalm 69:9 and what consumes me as I serve as a student ministry pastor,

"for zeal for your house consumes me.."

David's words ignite a fire in my soul to be passionate, not about my own ministry, but HIS house. I want to be a leader who is consumed with the perspective that Jesus issued to Peter when he said to him, "Upon you, I will build my church."

It's his house, not my ministry. I am not building my ministry, Jesus is.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What we can learn from spaghetti sauce?

Malcolm Gladwell spoke at TEDS and offers an interesting window for us to look into to evaluate youth ministry.

What can youth ministry learn from spaghetti sauce?

- My students don't always know what they want.
- What's extra chunky?
- Are we asking the right questions?
- Who's stepping into your student ministry to help you think?
- There are universals for student ministry - Great Commandment, Great Commission, Acts 2:42-47.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Within a yard of hell

Some want to live within the sound
Of church or chapel bell.
I want to run a rescue shop
Within a yard of hell.

C.T. Studd

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Thinking about worship

Several years ago my senior pastor encouraged me to think about worship in these five ways:

1. Worship is about God; it is not about us.
2. Worship is a relationship and lifestyle before it is a Sunday activity.
3. Worship has both content and emotion.
4. Public worship is personal but it is not private.
5. Worship requires variety to give it the richness God deserves

How can these five suggestions enrich and deepen your thinking and implementation of worship in your student ministry?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Quality vs. Quantity

One of my leaders, Jon, shared this interesting post with me, "Simple Guidelines for Workday Quality Over Quantity."

How would this schedule change the way you do student ministry?

QUALITY vs quantity, UX process.
Check email ONLY:
  • 10AM
  • 1PM
  • 4PM

Send any time
Set email to check every 3 hours.
NO email on evenings.
NO email on weekends.
EMERGENCY? = Use phone.

FOCUS 1-3 Activities max/day
LOG 1-3 Succinct status bullets every day on team wiki

MAXIMIZE single-tasking

OUT by 5:30PM
~No excuses~

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Porn-Again Christian

Porn-Again Christian by Mark Driscoll is available for free download HERE.

You can read the introduction HERE.

It is very blunt, to the point and not for the faint of heart. It's directed towards men.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I came across "40" last year and found it to be a great resource to use with our students to get them to start thinking about Lent and the 40 days before Easter. It's a series of images that depict Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness.

Thank you Si Smith!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A youth pastor's prayer

Psalm 86:11

"Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name."

I've been captivated by David's words this past week and have been praying this every morning and every evening. I want nothing more than to live out this verse in our student ministry.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Post-It notes

Post-it notes are one of my favorite things to use when I gather with my adult leaders. Tonight we passed them around, along with Sharpies, and asked each leader to write on the Post-it notes where they have seen God working in our high school community of students. Each leader wrote down one word or phrase per Post-it. They then stood up in front of the group and posted them on the white board, explaining how they have seen God working. At the end of the night we had this amazing picture of what God has been doing in the lives of our students. It helped us pull out some themes of where God has been moving and it gave each leader the chance to speak in front of the group and share their heart!

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Royal Waste of Time

As I am preparing to preach on John 12:1-11 this Sunday my senior pastor gave me this quote to think about from Marva Dawn.

“To worship the Lord is –in the world’s eyes – a waste of time. It is indeed, a 'Royal' waste of time. By engaging in it, we don’t accomplish anything useful in our society’s terms. But Worship ought not to be construed in a utilitarian way. Its purpose is not to gain numbers nor for our churches to be seen as successful. Rather, the entire reason for our worship is that God deserves it. Moreover, it isn’t even useful for earning points with God, for what we do in worship won’t change one whit how God feels about us. We will always still be helpless sinners caught in our endless inability to be what we should be or to make ourselves better – and God will always still be merciful, compassionate, and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and ready to forgive us as we come to him.” - A Royal Waste of Time, Marva Dawn

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Acts 6:4 youth ministry

This week I've been wrestling with Acts 6:3-4 "3Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word."

I am wondering how my youth ministry would change if I could say I lived out Acts 6:4? I am wondering this week how youth ministry, in general, would change if we quit relying on being pragmatists and started relying on prayer and the Word.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Last words after 30 years of preaching

On Sunday I missed my senior pastor's final sermon. A lady in our community emailed me his final words last night. These are worth not forgetting.

I wish to end with some brief personal remarks:

It has been the greatest privilege and greatest challenge of my life to serve as the preaching pastor of this church for over 30 years. It has been the greatest challenge because of God and because of you.

I say “because of God,” because I was commissioned to represent God to you. Do you realize how frightening it is to say, ―Thus says the Lord? On a name plate inside the front cover of many of the books in my office are these words: 2 Timothy 2:15 ―Do your best (―make every effort, study) to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

There is a sacred seriousness in teaching the word of God that has always weighed very heavily on me. And preaching has also been a great challenge because of you. I realized that preaching is about your relationship with God. God said, it is ―the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

I knew it to be a tragically sad waste of your time and your lives to speak of things that in the end didn‘t really matter. But preaching to you has also been the greatest privilege of my life. I inherited a congregation that desired to learn and you have continued in that desire.

Through the years there have been opportunities to pursue larger churches and seminary positions but they have never held an attraction for me. Because I could not imagine a better group of people to serve. You have been responsive to the preaching of the word. You have been generous with your encouragement. And best of all, you have used God‘s grace to you to be his grace to others.

Jesus says, ―My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

I close with a prayer for you:

Hebrews 13:20-21 ―May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Numbers 6:24-26 ―The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. AMEN. - Jerry Nelson, January 25, 2009.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Words to remember...winter retreat 2009

On Saturday night of Winter Retreat we had a great debrief of Psalm 133. Chris Folmsbee did a great job of making this Psalm come alive in the hearts and minds of our students. I asked the students to share with the group the one word that stood out in our study of Psalm 133. Here's what the board looked like when we were done.

I am praying that our group can start to live out what we've learned in the next few months together!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Winter Retreat 2009

We are heading up to Crooked Creek Ranch this weekend for our EFCA District Retreat!

Our theme is Comm(unity)! Chris Folmsbee will be speaking from Psalm 133 and Romans 15:5-6.

Remedy Drive will be leading our large group adoration times.

We're staying at Crooked Creek Ranch.

I can't wait!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Tribe Apart

“What kids need from adults is not just rides, pizza, chaperones, and discipline. They need the telling of stories, the close ongoing contact so that they can learn and be accepted. If nobody is there to talk to, it is difficult to get the lessons of your own life so that you are adequately prepared to do the next thing. Without a link across generations, kids will only hear from peers. The Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development report A Matter of Time found: ‘Young adolescents do not want to be left to their own devices. In national surveys and focus groups, America’s youth have given voice to serious longing. They want more regular contact with adults who care about and respect them.’”

A Tribe Apart: A Journey into the Heart of American Adolescence by Patricia Hersch, pg. 364

If you are involved with adolescents at any level of engagement, YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The President's Speech

This is the line I remember from President Obama's speech this morning,

"In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

10 College Marketing New Year Resolutions

This post on Ypulse got me thinking about how this list could make me more effective in youth ministry in 2009.

1. I promise to consume the things that college kids consume.

2. I promise to stop generalizing college students.

3. I promise not to dangle an iPod as a prize.

4. I promise not to obsess about back-to-school.

5. I promise not to pretend to be someone I’m not.

6. I promise to start measuring my brand health on campus.

7. I promise to get “mobilized.”

8. I promise to rethink social platforms.

9. I promise to not make students create a video.

10. I promise to admit when I am wrong.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Death By Meeting

I am a big Patrick Lencioni fan! Here's a good summary of his book, Death By Meeting, which I read a couple of years ago. He suggests there are four different kind of meetings:

1. Daily Check-In
2. Weekly Tactical
3. Monthly Strategic
4. Quarterly Off-Site Review

HT: Seth

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Bible in a year

I am really pumped that some of our students are joining me in my annual read through the Bible journey. You can download our plan HERE. I am excited because this year I am going to read through the Bible in the English Standard Version (ESV).

I want our students at the end of 2009 to be able to claim what David announced in

Psalm 119:14 "I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches."