Learning To Read

Today I was at The Core with my youth ministry staff. It was a great training event put on by Youth Specialites The training was centered on ministering to hurting kids. I have given my life to ministering to students such as this. Even more important to me though is ministering to and training up my own children.

Recently Robin and I have been working with Benny at learning the alphabet. He now knows all the letters. He knows them by sight and by sound. We have been wondering when he would attempt to sound out his first word.

As I was sitting in one of the sessions this morning I receive the following voicemail from Robin.

"Hi hon. I just had to share with you that Benny sounded out his first word today. He was looking at your Starbucks book on the coffee table and he sounded out the word coffee." Can't think of a better first word!

Makes me think of the words found in Proverbs 22:6, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

That's my boy!

Make Poverty History

Last Wednesday night on American Idol, 30 million people were introduced to the One Campaign. Since then 74,329 Americans have signed on with One to join the fight against extreme poverty. The goal is to have 100,000 signed on by next Wednesday. Might you be the next?

Go to the One Campaign web site to join in and take a stand for those who desperately need your help. Sign on and then do something. For ideas on what you might do, see the two posts I wrote in February on what can be done, Act and Do Something .

We have been blessed with so much. It is God's expectation of us to be a blessing to others. It sure worked here.

How To Move An Old Church

As we all know it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. It can also be real hard to get an old church on the move again.

That wasn't the case here.

HT to Gman

Behind the Wheel

Why Jesus needs to be behind the "wheel of our lives," and not merely our co-pilot.

Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc - www.reverendfun.com

Mexico Bound

This summer 180 Student Ministries is heading down to Mexico for the 7th year in a row. Each year we are blown away by what God accomplishes both in our lives as well as through our lives. Yesterday the 19 of us going this summer met together for the first time. We had a great discussion on what motivates us to engage in such an endeavor as well as what our expectations are. It was just good coming together to lay our plans before the Lord and anticipate what He may do with us this year.

The dates of our trip this year are July 24-August 4. Unlike years past in which we drove down to Mexico, this year we plan to fly to San Diego and rent vans to drive down to Ensenada. This will allow us twice the amount of time in country that we have had in years past. We are also very excited about partnering with missionaries Tim and Kathy Johnston. The Johnstons are church planters in Ensenada working specifically with the Oaxacan people. While there we plan to construct a house for a needy family, lead a children's ministry, help the Johnstons develop their new ministry site, and just be with the people to build relationships and share the love of Jesus.

If you would like to learn more about our trip, follow our progress in preparing, and learn how you may pray specifically for our team, you may visit our web site at www.180students.com/mexico07. It will be updated often. Please join us in prayer that God would equip us to not only serve Him well in Mexico but to live our lives on mission everyday, everywhere.

Outside In

As a pastor I often find myself trying to view our church through the eyes of a guest. From the outside in, if you will. I ask myself how does an unchurched person view the things we do? What are their thoughts and fears as they approach our worship services? Do they feel welcomed? Do they feel comfortable with us? We want everyone to feel welcomed and a part of our church family. Sometimes it doesn't happen that way.

It's important to always be asking these questions. Approaching a new church can be a scary proposition. This is especially true for a person unfamiliar with the people of a particular church, or the ethos of that church. Breaking in from the outside is not always an easy thing. We as the Church must do all we can to eliminate the barriers.

Do you see any changes that the Church could make to help people feel more welcomed? If you are not a regular attender of a church, what is your view of the church? What can be done to make it more inviting?

I welcome your comments.

HT to Tony Myles for the video.

Change of Plans

What do you do when God asks you to do something real big? What if that plan does not fit into your plans?

Looks like fun movie. Can't wait to see it.

God wants to use you to change the world. Are you listening?

Chocolate Justice

Several weeks ago my friend Jon Knapp preached a message entitled "Called To Justice." He spoke on how justice is at the center of God's heart and how it's His desire for us, His people, to be seekers and defenders of justice. We were challenged to looked for ways in which our lives may even contribute to the injustices of the world. Hear it here.

My friend Greg has just written about how half of the world's choclate is comes from Corte D’Ivoire, in Africa, where children are forced to harvest the cocoa beans. According to Stop The Traffik, 12,000 children have been trafficked into cocoa growing areas to harvest the cocoa beans.

I immediately went to see where my beloved 1 lb. bar of Trader Joe's chocolate was produced. Unfortunately I was unable to tell, other than it came from Belguim.

To guarantee the chocolate you are eating is “trafficked free,” check out Stop The Traffik Chocolate Campaign for a listing of companies that are dedicated to producing chocolate that is not harvested by enslaved children.

Teen Behavior

A recent article in USA Today entitled, "Expert: Risky teen behavior is all in the brain" asserts that "Adolescents are at an age where they do not have full capacity to control themselves," and that we as adults need to do a better job of controlling their actions. It goes on to state that we are wasting billions of dollars on education and intervention programs to dissuade teens from risky behavior simply because their brains have not yet developed to the point in which they can avoid such risky behaviors on their own.

While I agree with the neurological research that has been done that shows that the human brain is not yet fully developed by the teenage years I am left wondering how scriptures like 2 Corinthians 10:5 that tells us to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." factor in. What about the words of 2 Peter 1:5-7, "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."?

Yes I agree, it is important for adults to stand with teens and help them navigate the difficult pressures of life. That is what I have given my life to. I also believe that we need to believe in them a little more, and believe that they have the ability to allow God to transform their lives and form them into the people He desires them to be. I believe students have the ability to "not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of their minds, so that they will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

What do you think?


On Sunday, the theme for our Easer celebration was His Resurrection…Our Hope. A highlight of our morning was viewing the videoed interview of members Doug and Kemi Winn.

The Winns went to visit family in Southern California in late December when Doug became deathly ill. Diagnosed with viral encephalitis and transverse myelitis which left him comatose and paralyzed…his survival: a day-to-day question. Today, more than three months later, Doug is experiencing something of a miraculous recovery.

Doug and Kemi were asked, “How has Jesus been your hope during this difficult season of struggle?” Their answers are a beautiful story of hope; a hope found only in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:1-5

Rolled Away Stone

God wants to roll away your stone as well. He wants you just as free as Jesus is risen - Christ's death and resurrection were for you. God's intent is to so saturate our lives with his life and Spirit that our everyday existence embodies and expresses the victorious and death-conquering resurrection of his son. - Dutch Sheets


I was recently interviewed by Payscale.com. PayScale, Inc. is a market leader in global online compensation data. On their site they have an area dedicated to the, "true tales about working people who do what they love and love what they do." If you have wondered about the inside workings of a youth pastor, what it takes to be one, and what is needed to survive it and love it, then you will want to check it out.

Read the interview here.


Sunday I preached on hardships, more specifically making Jesus Christ Lord of our hardships. Hear it here. We know that God allows suffering to produce within us perseverance, character, and hope. (Romans 5:4). Suffering is not enjoyable, but it is beneficial.

As we approach Good Friday we are reminded of the horrific suffering our Lord endured. "Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2). When we suffer, may we be reminded of His suffering, and remember how He identifies with us in our times of suffering.

I appreciate Rob Bell's thoughts. He writes,

"The cross is God's way of saying, "I know what it's like."

The execution stake is the creator of the universe saying, "I know how you feel."

Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, "God, you don't know what it's like! You don't understand! You have no idea what I'm going through. You don't have a clue how much this hurts."

The cross is God's way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments.

The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, "Me too."

Because of what Christ accomplished in His suffering, we now have the ability to conquer sin and experience victory and hope in suffering.

Thank you Jesus for Good Friday.

Think On This

On the last day, Jesus will look us over not for medals, diplomas, or honors, but for scars. - Brennan Manning

April Fools

You've just got to love Google! They know how to have fun. Especially on April Fools Day! Check this out. Be sure to click on the "Get Started With Google TiSp" link.

I was able to pull off a pretty good April Fool's Day joke as well this year .... on our entire church for the matter. I got to preach yesterday and had a little fun with my introduction! Click here to hear it. I wish you could have enjoyed the view I had from the stage!