World Changers

Students ... never think that you are too young to do big things. You are the church of today, not tomorrow. God wants to use you now to change the world. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us that we have been given everything we need for life and godliness. Go change the world!

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12


As I mentioned in a post last Wednesday, our services on Sunday were centered around the REAL.LIFE. Exhibit that a large number of people from our community went through on Saturday. It was also centered around the 30 Hour Famine that many of our students participated in that weekend.

The theme of the morning was, Don't Waste Your Life...Do Something. It was a great morning of sharing as a community all the different things that God had shown us and then a practical look at how we as a church can respond, in light of what we had seen and experienced. There is something very cool about hearing from the collective voice of a body in a worship service as opposed to only one. God had much to say. Please feel free to listen in.

To hear the services click here or to hear the Podcast on iTunes you may click here. On the recording we combined the sharing from both services. In addition to the sharing, you will also hear from myself, Pastor Steve McCracken and Pastor Jon Knapp.

30 Hour Famine Revisited

You have one something, was the resounding theme of our weekend. I have been doing the 30 Hour Famine for many years, this year's was perhaps one of the best. God spoke, we listened, we were changed.

The weekend began with a Portland-wide rally held at Beaverton Christian Church, in which I had the privilege this year of emceeing. What an awesome sight to see 1,000 students come together from different churches and backgrounds to seek and worship God. The night included, prizes, great times of worship, music and message from Frank Grubbs, and concluded with a powerful candle light experience. We had 300 candles lit on the stage and turned all the house lights off. We then spent the next 15 minutes in worship as one candle was snuffed out every 3 seconds. The 300 hundred candles represented the 300 children that would die in the next 15 minutes because of malnutrition. It was a sobering depiction of the harsh reality that so many in this world live with, a reality that we, the church must understand, and respond to.

On Saturday morning we took our students to the Washington Square Mall, which proved to be a very eye opening experience. While there we had them observe attitudes and actions in relation to prosperity as well as poverty. Much of what they saw alarmed them and caused them to take a close look at their own way of living. We also made sure they all spent time walking around the food court. Sounds cruel, but the truth is, many in the world live where there is much food, but are unable to enjoy it because of the poverty they find themselves in.

Saturday afternoon we took the students to the REAL. LIFE. Exhibit at Medical Teams International. It was the next best thing to actually traveling to some of the world's most needy places. As we drove to the exhibit the vans, as usual, were alive with chatter and laughter. The drive back to the church was completely different. There was very little talking. The exhibit leaves you with much to process and consider. We had a great debrief session afterward. To see students gain a heart for the people that God's heart is close to, is perhaps the most rewarding experience a pastor to students can have.

We broke our fast with a terrific meal, a burrito bar. Let me tell you, those were some of the largest, and best tasting burritos we have ever had! Awesome!

Many thanks to all of you that supported our effort through your generous giving, and prayer. So far more than $4,700.00 has come in and continues to do so. To God be the glory.

We often wonder, where God is in the midst of the world's suffering. My answer...God is in us, the church, and how honoring it is to be used of Him to respond to those He calls the "least of these."

To see all the pictures of our famine click here.

Google Searches and Middle Schoolers

With my site meter I have the ability to see how people get to my blog. Many people find it through simple Google searches. I am always fascinated by the searches that lead here. Searches like:

"Make everything glorious"
"Heavy saddened heart"
"Turning 40"
"Jesus Camp"
"Starve Hunger"
"God of Wonders"
"Is Coke good for getting rid of A cold?"
"Goodbye youth pastor"

Perhaps the most interesting one I have seen in a long time is "how can I instill the fear of God into middle schoolers?" Wow. Makes you wonder how their middle school ministry is going doesn't it?

I must admit there have been plenty of time over the years in my ministry that I have wondered the same thing. Middle schoolers can be an interesting bunch, but man are they fun! They have more energy than about any other group I can think of. They are a group of people that are open to new things and love to learn. I am blessed to be able to shepherd a great bunch of middle schoolers and wouldn't trade my job with anyone!

If you love kids, loud noise, strange smells, and are in need of an exciting ministry, come talk to me! I have got a group of middle schoolers that are ready to welcome you and show you a great time!

Results Are In

A few weeks back I participated in a survey of Christian bloggers conducted by Rick Warren's Ministry Tool Box. I was one of 367 bloggers surveyed.

The participants broke down like this: 128 "senior pastors", 77 "associate pastors", 42 "church staff", 67 "layperson/church members", and 53 "other". Go here to read the full results of the survey.

The blogosphere is huge and growing each day. Technorati,the popular blog search engine, is now tracking 66.6 million blogs. It's exciting to see the way many in the church are using this new technology to share God's story with the world.

To see the full list of bloggers that participated click here. It will provide you with many hours of blog reading. Just what you wanted, right?

Do Something

This Sunday the theme of our worship gathering is, Don't Waste Your Life...Do Something. We will be looking at the overwhelming needs in the world today and discussing how God wants to use us as a church to respond. Many from our congregation will have just gone through the Real. Life. Exhibit the day before, and our students will have just done the 30 Hour Famine.

We will be looking at three important actions we can take.

1. Reflect
2. Pray
3. Act

• Learn more about the needs of people around the world.
• Consider personal values and priorities. In what ways are we contributing to the problems? In what ways are we contributing to the solutions?
• What changes can I make?

• Pray to gain a heart for the people on God’s heart.
• Pray for those affected by poverty.
• Pray for those affected by disaster.
• Pray for those affected by conflict.

• Give
- Give financially to ongoing efforts that we are participating in as a church that are making a difference.
• Go
- Go on one of the many mission opportunities God has set before us as a church.

It is far to easy to throw our hands up in despair and think there is nothing we can do. We must remember... No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

As a pastor to students I get real excited when I see young people making a big difference in the world. Zach Hunter is just that kind of person. Zach is a 15 year old boy that God has called out to help draw attention to the human trafficking that is taking place around the world. You may not realize it, but there are 27 million slaves in the world today, a fact that breaks the heart of God. It is a need that God is using Zach to draw attention to, and inspire others to respond, to bring an end to the atrocity of human trafficking.

Zach has authored the book, Be The Change and was recently featured on CNN's Faces of Faith. He is also the student spokesperson for the Amazing Change Campaign, a campaign inspired by the movie Amazing Grace. Go here to learn more about what Zach is doing and watch the CNN interview.

May we all be committed to using the one life God has given us to make a difference in the lives of others. Don't waste your life.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Exponential Times

The times...they are a changin'.

The world may be changing but there is One who holds true and constant. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

Video credit goes to Colorado high school teacher Karl Fisch.

Not For Us

This morning we began our worship services with the Chris Tomlin song, "Not To Us". A great song and a great reminder that we don't gather as a community for our benefit but for the benefit of the One we worship.

Here is a tongue and cheek video to drive the point home. Humorous, yet poignant.

The earth is shaking
the mountains shouting
it's all for YOU
the waves are crashing
the sun is raging
it's all for YOU

The universe is spinning and singing
it's all for YOU
YOUR children dancing
it's all for YOU
it's all for YOU
my all for YOU
my all for YOU

-Chris Tomlin

God's Love

The theme last night with our high school ministry was God's love. Together as a group considered the following questions...

• What if you were loved unconditionally by God?
• Do you really believe you are?
• How would my life look different if I did?
• How would that affect my view of God?
• How would that affect my view of myself?
• How would that affect my view of others?
• What would I cease to do if I didn’t feel I had to earn that love?
• What would I begin to do because I understand His love for me?
• How would I treat/view other people in light of God’s unconditional love for them?
• Could it be that I am unconditionally loved by God?

So often we feel as if we need to somehow earn God's love. We think that if only we can maintain the different spiritual disciplines that we feel are important (Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, worship, etc.) we will somehow earn God's love. There is an inherent problem with that. If we are to carry out that logic, then the reverse of that would be true as well, that being when we fail to fulfill one of those disciplines, then God loves us less at that point. Clearly that is not the case.

We must remember we engage in spiritual disciplines not so God will love us, but because He does love us. There is nothing we can do to earn His love. We are loved and accepted just the way we are.

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

Psalm 36:5-9

Happy Valentines Day

Do you know the origins of Valentines Day? Found the following tid bit of interesting history here.

Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. At this stage, the factual ends and the mythic begins. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion.

Way to go St. Valentine.

Think On This

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have too is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Good Bye To Coke

I have recently said good bye to good friend. Ok, well maybe not a friend, perhaps more like an addiction. Not too long ago I could hardly go a day without drinking one of my favorite beverages, Coke. After years of my wife trying to get me to quit drinking it because of how unhealthy it is, I have finally succumb. You know what? I'm a better person now. Well, at least a healthier person. Since I have stopped drinking Coke, I have noticed a marked difference in my health! My immune system seems to be much stronger as I can now fight off a cold much quicker, and just plain feel better. I'm sure that has to do with the fact that I am no longer consuming 10 teaspoons of sugar like I used to do each time I drank a can of Coke. I'm not the only person either. Check out Joshua Michael's recent post.

At our recent High School Winter Youth Celebration conference this is how much pop our room consumed. How much of it did I drink? None! That was not easy!

I really desire to live a healthier life. I certainly know that is what God wants. Getting rid of Coke was a big step in that direction!

I may no longer be drinking Coke, but it sure seems as if there are plenty of other uses. Check this out.

Here's to healthier living!

Blessed...To Be A Blessing

Simply amazing...

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12

More on Akiane here.

Wonder of Creation

Check out this amazing time lapse video of some of God's most amazing creations.


The needs are great. The expectation of Jesus for us to respond, greater.

29,000 young children are dying every day from hunger and other preventable causes. That's more than 10 million children dying needlessly each year.

Every three seconds a child dies because he or she was malnourished or susceptible to disease. (That's another death while you read this fact.)

As many as 1 in 5 children die before reaching their fifth birthday in some developing countries. (In Sierra Leone, more than a quarter of all children die before reaching age five.)

One-sixth of the world's population does not have access to safe drinking water - that's over a billion people.

1.2 billion people live on less than $1 a day. That's more than one-sixth of the world's population.

6,000 children die every day from water-related diseases, the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing every single day.

More than half the children in Central Africa are undernourished.

The question....what are we doing to be the solution?

There are many ways to be involved in the solution. Just do something.

World Vision

Compassion International

30 Hour Famine

Medical Teams International

Invisible Children

Save Darfur


Your local church

Proverbs 14:31 - "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."

Stats from World Vision.


Thanks Phil!

See story here.

Come Spring, come!