A Father's Duty

My daughter will be dating soon.
I have found the answer to all my fears....

The Core

Taking my staff to The Core today. The Core is a one day training seminar put on by Youth Specialties, that we go to each year in the Spring. It's always a great time of challenge, learning, and fun. Each year we come away with a bunch of new ideas, and good memories of just hanging out and spending the day with each other. The 25% off at the Youth Specialties Store isn't bad either!

This year's presenter at our particular location (they're nationwide) is Chap Clark, author of Hurt, Inside the World of Today's Teenagers. I have written about his book here. I have heard Chap speak twice in the last year and am anxious for the team to hear from him. He has done some great work in recent years!

I will post later what we came away with from our day today.


This takes using Scripture out of context to a whole new level. This from Glory Golf Balls.

Three Dunlop loco golf balls with a Biblical text on each -

• "...but each shall go straight ahead."
Ezekiel 46:9

• "Lift up your eyes on high and see...not one is missing."
Isaiah 40:26

• "I have finished the course. I have kept the faith."
2 Timothy 4:7

I'm not sure which bothers me more..... using Scriptue in the context of golf, smacking the Word of God with a club, or the thinking that as the "Glory Golf Ball" is flying through the air that someone just might see it, read it, and then give their heart to Jesus.


Do your best 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.
2 Timothy 2:15

HT to Gman


God....the one that makes all things glorious.
What an artist!

Makes me think of the new David Crowder song,
"Everything Glorious"

My eyes are small but they have seen
The beauty of enormous things
Which leads me to believe
There's light enough to see that

You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
You make everything glorious
And I am Yours

From glory to glory
You are glorious
You are glorious
From glory to glory
You are glorious
You are glorious
Which leads me to believe why I can believe

Photo taken by Barbara Mathews
May 14, 2005
The east side of the Carrizo plain, in Temblor Range,
about 50 miles due west of Bakersfield, California.

Little Children

I have been reading recently in the book of Mark and have taken particular interest in Jesus' view of children. In Mark 9:36-37 we see Jesus teaching His disciples on what it takes to be "first." We see Him take a little child and say "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me..."

One chapter later in 10:13-15 we see Him go as far as to say that if we do not receive the kingdom of God like a little child we will never enter it. Wow! What does that look like? My friend Jon has been blogging a lot lately on just what the kingdom of God is. I encourage you to read his thoughts, and explore for yourself just what the kingdom of God entails. What I want to focus on here, is what it means to be like a little child.

As a father of two this is what I have observed about little children....

• Complete and utter trust in me their father
• Not a care in the world
• A wide eyed wonder of the world around them
• A sense of joy like no other
• A view of me as their father as one who can do no wrong
and knows all
• Very resilient; doesn't let pain slow them down too long
• Not stuck in their ways; willing to try new things
• Lives life to the fullest when awake
• Sleeps hard when it's time to rest

As I think of these traits, I wonder do I share in them? I believe it to be these very traits that Jesus desires from us.

As we seek to live out the kingdom of God, let us remember that we must approach the things of God with the openess and innocence of a child. May we be more like little children.

Coffee With Purpose

In a previous post I mentioned that we would soon be seeing a Rick Warren quote on the side of our Starbucks cup. Well this is the week. This week Starbuck's "The Way I See It" cups will feature the following Rick Warren quote...

You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. Focusing on yourself will never reveal your real purpose. You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense. Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance and our destiny.

Way to go Rick! Way to see an opportunity and seize upon it. Warren has also set up The Purpose Driven Cafe web site to further engage people in thinking through their purpose and God's desires for them.

No matter what your view of Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life, or Starbucks for that matter, pray that God would use something as simple as a coffee cup to draw many more to Himself. That's the way I see it.

Think On This

The most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless. The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.
- Billy Graham


I love to read of the miracles that Jesus shared with people as He walked among us. Who doesn't like to see or hear about a cool "supernatural" event? Miracles captivate us, but do we really need to witness a miraculous event to believe?

Jesus' first recorded miracle is of course His turning water into wine. In John 2:1-10 we read of a wedding taking place at Cana in Galilee. When the wedding party had consumed all the wine and it was brought to Jesus' attention, He had the wedding servants go and fill six stone water jars with water, in which He then turned to wine! Pretty cool! I wonder how many began to believe Jesus's message because of this miracle? I wonder how many believed even without it?

On Monday the Washington Post ran an article on an archaeological dig in Kafr Cana, Israel -- Cana, in which supposedely these same clay jars may possibly have been unearthed. Read the article here. For some I suppose this may help them believe in the man, the message, and the mission of Jesus. I guess that is ok, but again I ask must we have physical proof to believe?

Even Jesus Himself refused to do physical miracles at times because He knew that even with the miracle He and His message would be dismissed. Of course even Jesus' disciple, Thomas, needed physical proof to help him in is unbelief.

What do we need today to believe? Hopefully the biggest miracle of all time is what we need. What is it? A changed life! Jesus is in the business of changing lives. He has changed my life and the lives of many others. That is miraculous! Romans 3:23 makes it clear that we are all messed up without the miraculous touch of Jesus on our life.

Because of the change, our very lives should be an ongoing miracle, one that is noticed by many. May we live such changed lives that people can't help but notice the miracle, and they themselves begin to believe in the miracle giver...Jesus.

Open Mouth

Benny gives new meaning to the phrase,
"Open mouth...insert foot."

There's got to be a sermon illustration here somewhere!


I have a confession. I am a coffee barista wannabe. I even own the Starbucks Barista espresso machine. I love making espresso drinks...lattes, mochas, cappucinos, etc. I also really enjoy making little artsy designs in the foam on top of each drink that I produce, well ok, usually just a smilie face, but hey....it's cool! At least it always impresses my wife! Well after viewing this video I feel perhapas it is now time to hang up my so called barista hat. Or no...perhaps I feel all the more inspired to finely hone my craft, to take my coffee foam creations to a whole new level...I think I just need a cup of coffee.


This morning we as a staff gathered for our annual post Easter weekend breakfast. It's always a good time to decompress and debrief the busy weekend.

This year's Easter weekend was an incredible time. Friday night saw our Good Friday service, Saturday was our Easter Super Saturday children's outreach, and then 3 morning services on Sunday. What a privilege to be a part of God's family to celebrate the resurrection of His Son, and to share it with so many others! We saw more people join us this year than in any other year.

Easter this year marks my 7th year on staff at The Grace Place. I count it such privilege, and find such joy, in being part of such a wonderful church family, and serving with such a great team of pastors and staff. We truly are more than just a staff that works with one another, we are great friends. I look forward to many more years of serving with such a great team. I am blessed.

The Grace Place Team.

Happy Easter!

Because of the risen Jesus....

I have life.
I have a mission.
I have a purpose.
I have hope.
I have love.
I have joy.

I have a Savior.
I have a Lord.

Thank You

Thank you Jesus.

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."
A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:28-30

Lilly Lewin has posted a beautiful Good Friday prayer here on her blog.

How Big Is God?

Voice of God

This morning I read the account of Jesus' arrest in John 18:1-9. I always marvel at what happened to the Roman soldiers and Temple guards when they heard the voice of Jesus.

Jesus asked them, "Whom are you looking for?" "Jesus of Nazareth," they reply. "I am He," Jesus said, and they drew back and fell to the ground! Wow!

What a scene that must have been! What must have gone through their heads as they were falling to the ground? Did they have any doubt in what they were doing? Did any of them begin to believe Jesus was who He said He was?

It makes me think...how do we react to the voice of God? Does it knock us over? Does it move us to action?

May we hear the voice of God and do more than just be knocked over by it, but may we hear, accept, and respond.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. James 1:22-24


This is a very special and unique month. This is the only month in which both Brittnie and Benny are 15. Brittnie turns 15 years old this month, and Benny 15 months old. Their both 15!

I am a blessed man. I am so thankful for the two beautiful and wonderful kids God has blessed me with.

To celebrate Brittnie's birthday my parents came up from California as the do each year for her birthday. We have had a great weekend and were sad to see them go.

What a blessing family is.

In Tune

I recently viewed the NOOMA video “Rhythm” and plan to show it this Sunday to our students. See a clip here. In it Rob Bell describes who God is and what He is doing as a song. I really like and appreciate the metaphor. It has really had me thinking.

God desires us, the church, to be in tune with Him. To be a part of the song. There is something very beautiful about being in tune with the song of God.

I love a good song, a song that is well crafted and masterfully played. On the flip side, when a song is poorly crafted and poorly performed I don’t want to listen. I am repelled.

The more we as His church get in tune with Him, and begin to play His song, the more attractive the song will be to the world. The more out of tune we are the less the world will be attracted to Him.

Just as there are different elements to a song, melody, rhythm, pitch meter, lyrics, there are different elements of God’s song that He desires us to be in tune with. Elements of truth, justice, compassion, forgiveness, and sacrifice are what He desires of us. When all these are in play in the life of the church then God’s song is as irresistible, and beautiful, music.

Jesus us told us that He has come that we might have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10). It is when we are tune with who God is and what He is doing that we experience that full life.

In this season of Easter may we recognize the why of Christ’s resurrection. May we hear the beautiful song and join in. May we remain in tune.


I have been thinking a lot lately on what it means to really have a relationship with God. This question was once again brought to light this week as I was reading through the applications for our Mexico Outreach this summer. One of the questions asks, “Are you currently spending a regular time alone with God in Bible reading and prayer? Please explain.”

As I read the answers given by many of the students I was saddened. Not so much by their answers, but rather by the poor job we as the church have done in communicating what a personal relationship with God looks like. I was saddened because we have in many ways reduced it down to a mere reading program. In doing so I believe we have set people up to fail.

As I read the responses I read things like, no I am not spending a regular time with God because I am too busy, I have too much homework, or I don’t feel like it. I also read, not as much as I would like to, or when I set up a plan I don’t stick to it. I thought to myself, how defeating. What must it be like to say that I don’t have time for God? If I were to guess I would say many people do spend time with God but since we equate it to a reading program that people have a hard time sticking to, they suddenly feel guilty, and defeated.

I am all for Bible reading. I think it is a vital and important part of the Christian life, and something that all believers should do. God’s Word after all, is his message to us. I in fact liken it to a love letter from God to us. We must read it. Are there other ways though to spend time with God? I would say yes.

As much as I try, I don’t read my Bible everyday, though I do spend time enjoying my relationship with God everyday. I enjoy times of quiet reflection, worship through song, fellowship with other believers, serving, prayer, etc.

I love my relationship with God. I am thankful for my relationship with God. I don’t though want to reduce it down to a mere reading program and feel like my relationship is not going anywhere if I fail to crack the cover of my Bible. I have to believe that the followers of Jesus before the time of the Gutenberg press in 1455, were enjoying and developing their relationship with their Lord. I believe we can to.

Continue to read and love God’s word. It is one of the most valuable gifts we have been given, just don’t beat yourself up if you fail to adhere to your reading goals or program. Continue in, and enjoy daily, your love relationship with Jesus.

Fun Fact

Did you know...

On Wednesday of this week, at two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.

This won't happen again for 1000 years.


As followers of Jesus we are all to live out the mission of God. A mission to share His love and grace with the world. That mission is played out in different ways by different people. For some it's the rebuilding of Noah's ark!

Check out this story. What are your thoughts?

Communication Breakdown

Do you ever feel like you just aren't getting through?

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
James 1:19

Testimony Bee

Check out this story....

INDIANAPOLIS — After months of intense preparation, hundreds of youths converged at the RCA Dome for the ninth annual National Testimony Bee.

"My testimony is awesome, and I tell it with genuine feeling so I think I have a chance at winning," said Megan Enrica, 14, who traveled from Juneau, Alaska, where she has given her testimony many times at local youth groups.

At the packed convention center, hundreds of kids found quiet corners to practice their presentations one last time before competing. Judges listened for authenticity and refinement in each 3-minute testimony. In the first round kids lost technical marks for "rambling" and repeating phrases like, "And then I" and "My mom was like." During the crux of each performance — the salvation moment — some kids faltered and fell into traditional descriptions like "I felt this heavy burden lift off of me," or "it was like love pouring into me."

Soon, word spread among contestants that the judges were leaning against emotionally charged deliveries. Several participants had lost points for TMI (too much information) and OT — Over the Top.

"The judges are probably reacting against last year when the testimonies were kind of overwrought," said a past judge on hand to observe. "One kid last year told us he 'wept like a broken fire hydrant with gushing sobs racking his body.' It was a little much."

As the dry conversion trend took hold, kids scrambled to tone down their emotional appeals. One contestant dropped any mention of tears and focused on the "seismic spiritual shifts" that took place in his soul.

"Testimonies have to change with the times," he said.

During the fourth round one girl was dismissed for gratuitous description.
"We didn't need to hear about her aunt's abortion," said a judge. "That was outside the scope of her testimony."

A 13-year-old boy from south Florida was removed for faking facts about his testimony. Enrica of Juneau lost in the third round to an 8-year-old from Kansas City who delivered a near-perfect testimony.

"I thought I had a chance," Enrica said tearfully, "but the competition is amazing. I'll have to work hard to get to the level of some of these kids."

Emerging victorious was June Clawson, 15, a lifelong Christian from Palm Springs whose testimony of quietly struggling to define her own faith found favor with judges.

"She nailed her presentation," said the lead judge as Clawson held the trophy aloft.

She will give her testimony on the 700 Club, which co-sponsors the bee.

Oh by the way...... April Fools!

Thank you Lark News.

1 Peter 3:15 come to mind?

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.