Summer Celebration

Each year at this time 180 Student Ministries officially kicks off the summer with an event we call Summer Celebration. Last night we celebrated in style!

Check out all the fun here...

It has become a tradition at Summer Celebration to take an annual group photo. Here is how we look this year.

Go here to see pictures from previous years.

One Vote '08

As you consider who you will give your vote to in '08 consider this....

We are a blessed nation. May we use our blessings to bless others and bring an end to this "stupid poverty."

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18


As I begin my first week as Family Pastor we are also engaged in Vacation Bible School. It's been full immersion into children's ministry for me! With 147 kids it has been a very busy, yet very good week! It has been especially fun watching Robin leading the singing each day. She along with several of my students are doing a great job leading the children. Benny is also getting into the action. For the last couple of days he has been the one to hold the offering bucket for the boys. He is quite proud of this task.

Here's just a glimpse...

Watching so many of my students engaged in ministering to the children has been one of the biggest highlights of the week for me. Makes me one proud pastor.

VBS has been good on so many levels. It is great discipleship of our own children, it is great outreach to the children (and their parents) of our community, and it has been great ministry training and discipleship for our students. There have been times in the past which I have questioned the value of VBS. Not this year.

Family Pastor

For the last 7 and a half years I have served as Pastor to Students at our church and have enjoyed every bit of it. I have not only served as a youth pastor at The Grace Place, but have also done so at Westwood Community Fellowship in Milwaukie, OR, Pasaeo Del Rey Church in Chula Vista, CA, and Gladstone First Baptist Church in Gladstone, OR. I have given my life to discipling students and wouldn't want to trade it for anything. Now I move into a new position and ministry opportunity, one that will broaden my influence and allow me the opportunity to touch even more lives.

After a year of seeking the Lord as to who our next Children's Ministry Pastor would be the Lord has led us into a completely new paradigm, one in which His hand is all over, and one that has us all very excited. As of today I am no longer Pastor to Students but rather Family Pastor. I now have the opportunity to oversee our churches Christian Education program from nursery through high school. I won't be doing it alone though. As opposed to having only one person direct our Children's Ministry there will be a plurality of leaders. God has brought together a great team that I am excited to work with! While I will be giving oversight to the whole program, I have the privilege of serving and leading three other paid staff to accomplish this important task. Luanne Jaramillo will be leading our Nursery through Kindergarten ministry, Keli Pierce will lead our Elementary ministry (grades 1 through 5), Aaron Geist will lead our High School ministry, and I will stay directly involved with our Middle School ministry.

We are all eager to see what God has in store as we begin to dream big dreams and seek God as to what His plans are as we move into this new era of ministry. I value your prayer as I transition into this new chapter in my life.


By far one of my favorite things about youth ministry is seeing change take place in lives. It is the goal of each of us involved in our ministry to become more like Jesus and less like ourselves. Our ministry is called 180 Student Ministries. There is nothing better than watching Jesus help someone make a 180 in their life for Him.

Seeing students change physically is also a lot of fun! Each year at this time we put together a slide show showcasing our graduating seniors as well as our 8th graders. The slide show of the seniors highlights the last seven years they have been involved in our ministry, and the 8th grade slide show highlights the last three. Oh the changes! They are many. You don't always notice them when you are with people on a regular basis, but when you step back and look into the past, they are great.

Here they are...

Farewell to Seniors

Farewell to 8th Graders

World Vision Aids Experience

I have worked closely with World Vision for many years, primarily with their 30 Hour Famine program. Each year I grow more and more impressed with their ministry and the way they are responding to the needs of this world.

They have recently put online the World Vision Aids Experience. It is an interactive experience in which you enter into the world of a boy or girl living in Uganda facing the atrocities of AIDS and the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). I encourage you to take a few minutes and enter into their world and allow the Lord to break your heart with the things that break His. Allow Him to show you how you might join Him in bringing hope to situations like you just experienced.

The site has even won a Webby Award. The Webby Awards is the leading international honor for Web sites, and has named the World Vision AIDS Experience the best Rich Media Advertising of 2007, Non-Profit/Educational category, in the People's Voice voting.

God's Unspoken Word

Yesterday Pastor Steve spoke on Psalm 119. He discussed How God speaks to us both through His creation (unspoken) as well as His Word (spoken). The "55-38-7 Law of Communication" says that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% tone, and 7% content, it seems that so much of what God communicates to us is nonverbal as well.

Psalm 19:1-4 is beautiful. It tells us,

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

I find that it is in times of being amidst God beautiful creation that I hear His voice the loudest.

I am aware of His majesty in the beauty of His mountains.

I am taken back by His wonder and mystery when I stand in His forests.

I am reminded of both His awesome power and calming peace when I sit on the shores of His ocean.

Where in His creation do you hear His voice most?

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made..." Romans 1:20

Hear Steve's message at our church podcast.

Think On This

The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose. - C.S. Lewis

Comfort Zone

I have always appreciated the Casting Crowns song, "Voice of Truth". I especially appreciate the first verse.

Oh, what I would do
To have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand

I enjoy the comforts of my life. It sometimes is a real challenge for me to step out of that zone to be where Jesus is. The song was kind of a theme song for our Mexico Outreach trip a couple of years ago.

This Sunday we are meeting with our 2007 Mexico Outreach team for our second training session. In the session we will be discussing different cultures and how entering into one different than ours requires us to step away from the life that we find comfortable, so that we may be with Jesus as He stands with those that are different than us, and in need of His touch.

In preparing for the session I came across this great Skit Guys video.

May we always be willing to "step out of the boat" and leave our comfort zone, to go and be where Jesus is.


Benny has just completed his first session of swimming lessons. It's been a lot of fun playing and splashing in the water with him. Today he got to go down the slide for the first time. He loved it! By far his favorite thing to do is jump from the edge of the pool into our arms.

Watching him jump so freely really got me thinking about trust. He had no doubt in his mind that I would catch him as he lunged into the water. He had no fear. He had complete trust. Made me think of how well, or perhaps how not so well, we place our trust in God.
When God asks us to jump into a unknown situation, how ready and willing are we to do so? When He asks us to trust Him and believe His promises why is it that we so often are quick to retreat and shy away from putting our complete trust in him.

I am always challenged when I read the words of Hebrews 11. I want to have the faith of Noah who didn't question God in the face of what seemed so absurd. I want to have the faith of Abraham who trusted God with the unknown and the impossible. I want to have the faith of Moses who gave up all his wealth, riches, and privileges to follow God's plan for his life.

I want to be able to jump off the "edge of the pool" and know that my Daddy will catch me. May we all have that kind of faith and trust.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6