Compassion Highlights

2008 was a great year for Compassion International. They have just released a few of their highlights.

• We registered our 1 millionth child in Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program.
• More than 154,000 children in our programs invited Jesus to be their Savior.
• Compassion began work in Togo, our 25th country.
• Thousands of families threatened by the global food crisis have received lifesaving food, thanks to generous donations from our sponsors and donors.

I couldn't be more proud to be partnered with such a great ministry. Have you sponsored a child yet? Perhaps 2009 is your year!

Be a hero in the eyes of a child in need. Sponsor a child today.

The Good News of Christmas

Santa may be checking his list to see who's been naughty or nice, but the good news of Christ is that He has no list!

"whoever comes to me I will never drive away." John 6:37.

Jesus is, the Good News of Christmas.

John Piper says it well.

May you enjoy and celebrate the Christ of Christmas!

Another Day in The Office

For the last couple of years Aaron and I have put together a year end video greeting for our students. We could not feel more blessed to work with such an awesome group of students and staff.

I now present the 2008 year end greeting ... "Another Day in The Office."

If you have trouble viewing video, click here for a lower quality version.

Partnering with Parents

For the last 23 years I have given my life to ministering to students. In my estimation there is no greater and more important age group that one can invest in. In my time, God has shown me and taught me much. Perhaps the most important of which is the value of partnering with parents.

I was recently asked by Tim Schmoyer of Life in Student Ministry to write an article on the importance of partnering with parents. It is now published.

Instead of posting the article here, why don't you head on over to Life in Student Ministry to read it.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Snow Day

Sometimes life just gets going too fast. This has been a very busy and hectic season of life for our family. Just the other day we were commenting on how we wish life would slow down a bit. Today it happened.

Today it snowed and brought everything to a halt. I love how God does that!

The weather men have been predicting a major snow this weekend. We actually expected to wake up to it this morning. No such luck. The rush of our lives continued as we hurried out the door to church, with only a light rain coming down. Within 20 minutes of arriving at church the snow began to fall. It quickly became apparent we were going to have to cancel services.

We were back home by 9:30 and settled into a wonderful snow day! Here is how it looked!

Thanks God!

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas

To night I saw an amazing movie. A movie that both depicts the depravity of man and the innocence of childhood. It was a movie that made me think all the more about Jesus' words, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

The movie, "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas" is a story of innocent friendship. A friendship between two, who according to the adult world, should have been enemies. It was indeed a picture of the Kingdom of God as lived out by two young boys, who had not yet been tarnished by the lies of the enemy.

As the movie ended the theater was silent, and many were in tears. It is my hope that this movie will move peoples hearts. That people will be moved to love and accept others in the manner in which we are called to.

Taking Back Christmas

Last Christmas I had a heart change. It was last year that I made the decision to make Christmas more about Christ and less about me. On the second week of advent last year, I preached a messages entitled "What Do You Want For Christmas." Hear it here or on iTunes. In my message I shared what our family had decided to do with Christmas, and challenged others to do likewise. I stated my belief that since Christmas is indeed the birthday day of Christ, that we ought to bring gifts to Him, and make it more about Him, and less about us.

In the spirit of Matthew 25, my family had a great time buying gifts for Christ from the World Vision Gift Catalog. For weeks after my message I was blessed by hearing story after story from families within our church that decided to do the same thing. Each person, as they told me their story, spoke of how it made their Christmas celebration more meaningful than ever before.

This year I am excited that our church has decided to take it up yet another notch by participating in the Advent Conspiracy. I love the spirit of the Advent Conspiracy... making Christmas a world-changing event once again. Two thousand and eight years ago Christmas changed the world. This year it can do it again!

10.6 billion dollars were spent on Black Friday this year. Despite the downturn in the economy, that is a 3% increase over last year! Imagine what that 10.6 billion could do, if spent on the cause of Christ. This video will give you a pretty good idea.

If you are a part of Grace Point, be sure to participate fully. You will be blessed beyond what you can imagine. If you are not a part of our church family, I challenge you to make Christmas more about Christ this year, and less about you. Join the conspiracy!

Here is how our advent season will be looking this year. Join us in taking back Christmas!

Worship Fully
- 11/30/08

  • Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.
Spend Less - 12/7/08
  • We're asking people to consider spending less this Christmas (maybe buying on less gift). It sounds insignificant, yet many who have taken this small sacrifice have experienced something that is nothing less than a miracle: They have been more available to celebrate Christ during the advent season.
Give More - 12/14/08
  • God's gift to us was a relationship built on love. So it's no wonder why we're drawn to the idea that Christmas should be a time to love our friends and family in the most memorable ways possible.
Love All - 12/21/08
  • When Jesus loved, He loved in ways never imagined before. Though rich, He became poor to love the poor, the forgotten, the overlooked and the sick. He played to the margins. By spending less at Christmas we have the opportunity to join Him in giving resources to those who need help the most.

Thanks Living

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - U.S. President John F. Kennedy

May our giving of thanks be more than words and thoughts, but may it translate into our everyday lives. May our lives be living testaments to the great things God has done, and continues to do. May we be overflowing with thankfulness.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7


Kingdom Coming

You ready for more free music? Shaun Groves is offering it up! Shaun Groves is offering a free download of his song "Kingdom Coming" with the hope that it will inspire and challenge people to sponsor a child through Compassion International.

Til the sword is spared
And the bread is shared
‘Til the dying’s done
Let your kingdom come
‘Til the rich ones give
And the poor ones live
‘Til the weak are strong
Let your kingdom come

Shaun Groves, "Kingdom Coming"

Faith Of A Child

This morning as Robin and Benny were having devotions together, she asked him what he would like to pray about. He said, "Bugs and spiders and beetles." When asked what specifically he wanted to pray about them, he replied, "To pray that they would fly way, way, way up high into the trees and stay there."

She then asked him what else he wanted to pray about and he said, "There are people who don't have any lights to turn off, or blinds on their windows, or a house to live in, or chocolate chips to eat, they really need chocolate chips to eat."

He gets it! If only the rest of us would.

Turkey 'N Thanks

Last Saturday night our middle school ministry enjoyed our annual Turkey 'N Thanks event, or TNT, as we have affectionately come to know it.

It was a night of fabulous feasting on an incredible Thanksgiving style meal. We ate ourselves silly, and it was wonderful! TNT is a formal event which means everyone comes dressed in their finest. It's always fun because how often do you get bunch of middle schoolers to don skirts, and ties? Not very often! They really do clean up quite nice!

The theme of the night was summed up in Colossians 2:6-7, So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Through out the night we enjoyed great fellowship around tables, a time of worship, and a brief message all centered around the idea of overflowing with thankfulness. Truly a great night of worship!

See all the pictures of the night here.

Since everyone was dressed to the nines we thought we'd throw formal portraits into the mix as well. Got some great shots! Check them out here.

My favorite shot would have to be the one of the staff.

True middle school workers!

Birthday Party Jesus Style

I have been a long time fan of Tony Campolo. He is a man that speaks truth, and lives it. Truly a prophet of our day. At the National Youth Workers Convention last month God spoke through him, in ways that one rarely witnesses. I laugh as I tell people I was spat upon by him, as I sat in the front row of one of the seminars he led.

He tells many stories, but my favorite is the birthday party he threw for a prostitute at 3:30 in the morning. A picture of what the Church should look like.

Letter from Compassion Child

Our family just received a wonderful letter from Lizbeth, the little girl we sponsor through Compassion International. Lizbeth lives just outside the Mexican city of Toluca, where the average family income is only $142 per month. We have enjoyed so much the relationship we have with her. Even, Benny our 3 year old, prays for her each time he prays.

This particular letter blessed me more than most. She writes...

Mr. Brian Eberly,

Hello godfather, I feel very happy to send greetings for you and your family. I had my summer vacation for a month and a half. I helped mom at home doing some chores and putting up all my stuff. I am attending third grade now and I am excited to learn many new things. I also attended Summer Bible School at the project and learned many scriptures by heart. I feel very happy to have a family like you, it does not matter that you are far away, what matters is that we love each other and that we have Christ in our hearts. I will always pray for you and your family. So long and may God bless you richly.

Please pray for all my family. Thank you for your nice letter, and for your support given to me.


Per usual, I think we come away feeling as blessed as she does. How incredible!

Want to make a big difference in the life of a very special, needy child? Click on one of the Compassion boxes in the sidebar of this blog to learn how.

Perspective on Election Outcome

John Piper nails it with his thoughts on having a proper perspective on the election outcome. I could not agree more.

May we remember where our citizenship lies.

If "our candidate" does not get elected, may our perspective and response be Kingdom centered. May we remember that God has placed our leaders in their positions of authority (Romans 13:1). And may we live out the gospel of love, grace, and peace, and pray that God would use us, and our leaders, to bring about the Kingdom peace we all desire.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14


What is it to you?

May it be about Jesus.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1

HT to Gman for video

Compassion Bloggers to the Dominican Republic

This week, November 2-7, Compassion International is with six bloggers in the Dominican Republic. The give first hand exposure to the ministry of Compassion there, to tell the stories that unfold, and inspire the nearly 1 million readers to sponsor a child.

As an official Compassion Blogger myself, let me encourage you to follow their week long journey at Let their stories touch your life, and if you don't already, allow God to move in your heart to sponsor one of the children they meet.

Investing In Leaders

A video tip I put together on the importance of investing in leaders has just been featured on Tim Schmoyer's site Life In Student Minitries.

If you are a youth worker and are not familiar with Life In Student Ministry, check it out. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Tim at the National Youth Workers Convention in Sacramento a few weeks back. He has a giant heart for student ministry, both students and leaders. His site is filled with great thoughts, conversations, and resources for those that are committed to ministering to students.

If you are here as a result of Life In Student Ministry, welcome! I welcome your thoughts and comments on what you see.

The Colors of Fall

It seems that each year at this time I post something about the amazing colors of Fall. It happens every year, and every year I am blown away; blown away at the sheer beauty of God's creation.

For those that don't live in the northwest, I share this so that you too may be stunned by the Autumn beauty of God's creation.

I took all these photos on my iPhone today as we walked our neighborhood.

You can go here to see the video I made of last year's colors.

"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 12:20

Family Point

Last night was the beginning of a brand new ministry here at Grace Point. It's a ministry designed to bring families together to experience a great meal together, fellowship with other families, and a time of worship and teaching from God's Word. We call it Family Point.

It was so wonderful to see families sitting around tables enjoying good conversation, and laughing together, as they shared in a great meal. The sad reality of our times, is that many families today have let family meal times go by the wayside in the interest of life's busy schedules and high demands. It is our hope that the joy of sitting around the dinner table as a family will be rediscovered through through this new ministry.

After the meal families enjoyed a time of worship through song, in a way that connects with kids. It was a time of high energy and lots of motion! The night also includes funny skits all designed to direct our attention to the theme of the evening.

I concluded the night with a short talk on how God wants to use our lives to generate a great harvest for the Kingdom of God. The theme verse of the evening was Matthew 17:20, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard see you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move." Through our faith, as small as it may be, God desires to do great things through our lives!

We are looking forward to many more Family Point nights. They will be happening on the first and third Wednesday evenings of each month. If your family is a part of Grace Point or you live in the area, come on by!

Blog Action Day Recap

On October 15th, 12,800 bloggers worldwide, came together for Blog Action Day to address the single topic of poverty. There were 14,053 posts written. Mine is found here.

What a great cause. Because of all those posts, there were 13,498,280 readers who read how they can personally respond to the issue of poverty.

Here is a video recap of the event.

It is my hope that the discussion will continue, and more importantly, action will follow, the kind of action Jesus calls us to.

Why Youth Ministry

I have been asked many times why I am in youth ministry.

My answer .... hope.

Letter from Student

Today I received a letter from a student of mine that graduated just a few short years ago. It is one of those letters that all youth pastors hope for, but seldom receive. It is the kind of letter that I look at and tell's all worth it. It's a letter that serves as a reward of sorts for the time spent investing in the lives of students.

I share the letter, with her permission, hoping it will encourage all that work with students. It is my hope that God will use it to do two things. One, encourage. I hope that it will be an encouragement to you to keep doing what you are doing. It is a real reminder that we don't always reap in the same season that we sow. It's a reminder that our words and actions do get through, even when we are tempted to think that they are not.

Second, may it serve to remind you of the importance of longevity in ministry. Real discipleship does not happen over night. Life may be full of quick answers, and fast service, but ministry is an area that is not quick and can not be hurried. It requires faithful commitment and steadfastness.

Here is what she wrote.

The youth group that I was involved with in high school is what started the process of taking my faith seriously and making it my own. I was really ridiculous in high school; drama followed me every Sunday and Wednesday night. My youth pastor and his intern never gave up on me or told me to leave though. I relied a lot, in a good way, on the intern and his family, even now. His mom was a youth leader for a short time and very involved in the church, so we still saw her around regularly. We girls loved going to her house to help her with chores or just talk about life women to women.

The leaders were not as permanent as the youth pastor and intern who took over as youth pastor my senior year. College students came and went every few months as helpers and Bible study leaders. After a while, I got tired of starting over with someone new and having to open up and repeat my life story to so many new leaders, so I just stopped talking to them the latter half of high school. I am aware that it was my own choice to close my self off to new relationships. I think my life would have been a lot different if there had been a female leader who stayed with me all four years; someone whose mistakes I could learn from, who I could pattern my life after and who invested their personal time in me on a regular basis.

Honesty was always a part of the youth group staff. During the "talk" portion of our Wednesday night meetings, the staff were not afraid to be open and talk about subjects they knew we were dealing with at home or school or work. I always liked the talks about real-life better than a Bible lesson. One time a speaker from the local Crisis Pregnancy Center was brought into talk to us very bluntly about sex. I really appreciated her frankness in answering our questions and appropriately sharing her own experiences in that area. Junior year I remember the intern pastor sharing about his past struggle with porn. That totally blew my mind because I thought everyone who worked at a church was perfect. At first, I was mad that he shattered my image of him, but it led to me being ale to hear other people's struggles in a less judgmental way and realize that just because one is involved in ministry does not make them any less susceptible to sin.

I am very thankful for the different ministry situations we as students were given to participate in. High school is where a lot of my passion for things, especially ministry wise started. For two summers, I went to Mexico on the typical mission trip that almost every Oregon teen goes on. During high school we were in our community a lot doing retirement home visits, our church's homeless outreach, game times to invite our unchurched friends to, the 30 Hour Famine, and odd jobs for people who lived near the church. At the time, I did not see any point for my involvement in these activities, but now I see that each occasion was another small piece of the puzzle that is coming together as a passion for cross cultural missions and being less judgmental of people.

I would be a very different person if people at church had written me off as someone who would never change. Since last year, I have worked with older elementary and middle school students. Already, I see girls who are a replica of me at that age. Because of my personality in high school, their rude behavior does not offend me me and I can relate to them on a more personal level. Having so many leaders cycle through my youth group has shown me the importance of long-term investment in young people's lives and makes me want to be a youth leader when I am done with

May we never forget the impact we have on the lives of people. May we remain faithful to the call that he has placed on each of our lives.

Was Moses High?

As I was putting together my Kid's Church message this morning, I came across a very sad commentary on Moses's interaction with the burning bush, found in Exodus 3:1-3.

This Sunday I am teaching on respecting God's Word, and I will be using the story of Moses's encounter with God, and hearing Him speak through the burning bush. When Moses realized that it was God speaking, Exodus 3:5-6 tells us that Moses hid his face, out of respect to God. Great principle to learn in regards to showing a deep, holy respect for the words of God.

When teaching children, I will often put images up on the screen related to the story I am speaking of. Upon completing my message, I headed to Google to search for images of Moses at the burning bush. I found plenty. I also found a tragically sad view of Moses' encounter with God.

Seems Psychology professor Benny Shanon, maintains that Moses was high on hallucinogenic drugs when encountering God at the bush and on other occasions as well. Read the full article here.

He maintains that the prevalence of the acacia tree in and around the area in which Moses resided, contains one of the most psychedelic substances known to man, and apparently so strong that Moses himself, could not stay away from it!

What a tragic response to such an incredible and beautiful story. It brings to mind 1 Corinthians 2:14, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Ultimately this serves as a great reminder to me of the importance of praying that the eyes of the unbelieving would be opened to the greatness and wonder of who God is, that they too might be able to accept "the things that come from the Spirit of God."

Spend Less Give More

If the number of "Advent" Google searches leading to my blog right now are any indicator, I would say that it is safe to say, people are beginning to think Christmas. Christmas is nearly two and a half months away, but it's not too soon to consider how you will celebrate it. How is the operative word.

Last year our family did Christmas very differently. It was wonderful. Instead of spending a bunch of money on one another, we spent it on Jesus. In following the teaching of Jesus found in Matthew 25, we gave birthday gifts to Him, not us. Made sense. After all, it is His birthday!

Some of my reflections on our Christmas last year can be found here and here.

I love the spirit of the Advent Conspiracy.

What would happen if this year ... you spent less and yet gave more? What if this year you celebrated the birth of Christ with gifts for Christ.

NYWC Reflections

Aaron and I just returned from the National Youth Workers Convention in Sacramento and I hardly know where to begin in sharing all that took place. I fully intended on blogging, and even promised Marko that I would, but due the lack of free wi-fi it never really happened. Sorry dude. When I did have wi-fi access I was in the convention hall, live blogging like a mad-dog.

Live Blogging

I was honored to be asked to be one of the four live bloggers at the event. I along with Adam, Tim and Sandy, all had a blast being the first to ever live blog the convention. It was an experiment, and one that went well. So cool to be able to report on all that was happening and share with the well over 100 people that were always online while our live blogging window was live. It was rewarding as well to receive so much appreciation from those that wanted to be there, but were only able to join via the live blog.

It's comments like this, that made it all worth it.

I want to thank you for sharing this with us. I wish I could have been there. I know it was always a blessing to me when I was a youth and family minister. I appreciate your ministry and all you do for our young people. You are making such a kingdom difference.

All that was blogged during the General Sessions and several seminars can still be viewed here. It's filled with lots of great commentary, pictures, video, and audio. I look forward to following all the live blogging that takes place in Pittsburgh and Nashville.


The worship over the weekend was off the charts incredible. There something just plain awesome about joining with over 2,000 other youth workers who share the same heart, coming together in worship.

Our times of worship were only enhanced by the likes of Lincon Brewster, Starfield, and Shane and Shane. One thing I so appreciated about each of them, was their hearts. They were all very real guys, not superstars. They were guys that were sensitive to the Spirits leading, and worshipped right along side us. They were guys that also just enjoyed haning out and being a part of the action while not on stage. So cool.


I don't even know where to begin when it comes to the great times of teaching. What can one say after having the opportunity to hear from the likes of Shane Claiborne, Phylis Tickle, Bishop Sherwood Carthen, Mark Yaconelli, Tony Campolo, Mark Oestreicher, and more. I was stretched in my thinking and challenged in my lifestyle.

I was especially blessed being a part of the Veteran Cohort, a track of seminars all geared toward youth workers who have been in the trenches of youth ministry for 10 or more years. It was so good to sit with others, like me that have given their lives to serving students. It was both affirming in what I do, and confirming of the calling that I have received.


This year for me, was the year of networking. I had such a great time connecting with guys that I have known for sometime, but only knew via the "virtual world." One of the things I love most about blogging is the connections made; connections with like minded people all over the country and globe. This weekend afforded the opportunity to take those connections and relationships to a more real and personal level.

It was great sharing meals and hanging out with Adam McLane, Tim Schmoyer, Ben Kraker, Mike Giering, and others. All great brothers that love God and love students.

Of course the exhibit hall was fun, mostly because there was a live boa constrictor in there! I mean all the companies and resources that were displayed I either already know of, or can easily find, but how often do you get to hold a large bone crushing snake!

And lastly a trip to Sacramento would not be complete without a visit to the capital. I was hoping to see Arnold but I guess he wasn't in.

I came away refreshed, and recharged, as well as challenged in different areas of my life and ministry. Thank you Youth Specialites for once again for pulling off a top notch event!

Live Blogging

Hey I'm here! I am currently at the National Youth Workers Convention, and am excited about being around thousands of other people passionate about making a difference in the world of students.

This year I have the privilege of being one of four Live Bloggers.

Here are the times I will be Live Blogging:

1:00 to 3:30 - General Session 1
4:00 to 5:30 - "Seeing the Future: Learning to Exegete Culture" seminar
7:30 to 9:45 - General Session 2

10:00 to 12:00 - General Session 3
2:00 to 4:30 - "Technology and Youth Ministry" seminar

10:00 to 12:00 - General Session 5
1:30 to 3:00 - "Youth Ministry in Your Second Decade and Beyond" seminar
7:30 to 10:00 - General Session 6

9:00 to 10:30 - "Christianity: Modern and Postmodern" seminar

Check in here to see all the Live Blogging action.

The feed will also been seen here along with the thoughts of other bloggers and those Twittering the event.

Ten Years Ago

It was 10 years ago today that I married my best friend.
It was 10 years ago today that my life changed for the better...forever.

I can say with all sincerity that this has been the fastest 10 years of my life. Time really does fly when you are having fun!

In honor of our 10th year of marriage, I share what what I wrote to my bride just before we were married.

The 10 Things That Swept Me Off My Feet and Stole My Heart.

1. That beautiful genuine smile
2. Four words....”The Same Air Babe”
3. A love and passion for life
4. A love for the Lord Jesus
5. A passion for worship
6. Gorgeous
7. A great sense of humor
8. Straight life priorities
9. Incredible (singing) voice
10. An even temperament

After 10 years they all remain true, and I could easily add more.

Love you babe. Happy Anniversary!

Fall Retreat

Our middle school ministry enjoyed yet another great Fall Retreat at Camp Tadmor this last weekend. Great times of worship, and teaching. Great times on the Giant Swing. Great times playing. Great times fishing. Great night games! GREAT TIMES!

I still maintain some of the best times of ministry are times such as these. There is something wonderful about a group of people living in community with one another, seeking the Lord together. Great things happen! I only wish I could do more ministry like that.

Enjoy the video. It will give you a small glimpse into our time together.

See all the pictures here.

Blog Action Day

The video speaks for itself.

Join the over 6,000 bloggers who will together address this important issue on October 15.

Bridgetown Ministries

Here's the new, very well done, promotional video for Bridgetown Ministries. Our church has been partnered with Bridgetown for several years and has seen God do an amazing work in and through the lives of many!

Read here about the middle school mission trip we did with Bridgetown a couple of years back . It was an amazing experience. We have also participated many times in Nightstrike, Bridgetown's ministry to the homeless beneath the Burnside Bridge .

If you want to experience ministry the way Jesus did, be a part of what God is doing with Bridgetown ministries. It will open your eyes and change your life.

Blog Silence

As you know, this blog has been quite quiet for a few weeks. This has been a season of life and ministry like none other I have ever experienced. Consequently I have just not had enough brain bytes left to post to my blog. The dust is finally beginning to settle, and that is all about to change!

I am excited about the days ahead.

Today I leave for the weekend for our annual Fall Retreat at Camp Tadmor. Along with all the fun that always takes place we will be focusing on making Jesus Lord of every area of our lives. Pray with us that God moves in the the hearts of both students and staff alike. Follow the weekend's happenings on Twitter, and watch for a follow up post here.

Next week (Oct. 10-13) I will be in Sacramento at the National Youth Workers Convention. Always a great to be with thousands of other people that understand you, and and what you do. Kind of a summer camp for youth workers. This year I have the privilege of being one of four live bloggers at the convention. Be sure to check in here to see our live reports from the event. Of course I will be posting here as well.

I've also got a lot of thoughts whirling around in my head about family ministry that I hope to post real soon.

Stay tuned!

Think On This

"It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion to save 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases."


Bash 'n Burn

This last Wednesday night our students once again gathered with four other area youth groups for The Burn. The Burn is a quarterly gathering for the purpose of bringing the Church together in worship and fellowship. Read about a couple of our past Burns here and here.

This time we added a fun twist. Along with a great BBQ we brought in two cars to smash! I mean often do you get to swing a sledge hammer into an old car? Great time!

After all the fun outside we moved indoors for an amazing time of worship. To bring together 145 students from different youth groups, and even have the worship band represent three different groups is an incredible experience!

How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)

Changed and Going

Yet another video demonstrating the power of a transformed life. All people who allowed God to take their gifts, abilities, passions and fears, and move them to the front lines of making a big difference for His Kingdom.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

HT to Gerrard for the video.

Altar Boys

This one gets filed in the "blast from the past" category. Back in about 1985 I worked as a roadie for one of Christian music's earliest punk bands, the Altar Boys. They were a band influenced by the early Southern California punk rock scene, and were together from 1982 through the 90's.

Here is where it gets fun. When they made their first music video in '85 I was invited to be a part of it. Along with my love for music, I also loved skateboarding, so imagine my excitement when I was asked to ride my skateboard and be in a music video!

Thanks to the wonder of YouTube, I just found that little gem of a video. Hang on because it's old and low budget. Oh, I'm the sleeveless kid riding up on his skateboard and then hanging out in the garage.

The American Teen

MSNBC has run an excerpt of "It's Complicated: The American Teenager" an incredible photo essay of the American teen, in which photojournalist Robin Bowman spent four years driving across the US photographing and interviewing more than 400 American teens.

It's an incredible, and artistic, look into the struggle that life is for many of today's teenagers.

It's a reminder of why I do what I do.

Click here to view this amazing photo essay slide show.

Changing Times

In the "Understanding & Parenting Your Teen" workshop I recently led I spoke of how culture is changing at a very fast pace and thus students today are much different than they were just a few short years ago. In the workshop I shared the Beloit College Mindset List, a list created by Ron Nief and Tom McBride of Beloit College. The list is designed to give faculty at the college an idea of the basic worldview and mindset of 18 year olds entering school in the given year in which the list is released.

The 2008 list has just been released. See if it makes you feel any older.

For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
8. The students' parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce "tax-revenue increases."
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
11. All have had a relative—or known about a friend's relative—who died comfortably at home with hospice.
12. As a precursor to "whatever," they have recognized that some people "just don't get it."
13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando, Fla.
14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
16. Häagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
24. We have always known that "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."
25. There have always been gay rabbis.
26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the national anthem again.
30. McDonald's and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
31. The students have never been able to color a tree using a raw-umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always had Jay Leno as its host and started at 11:35 p.m. Eastern time.
34. Pee-wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
35. They never tasted Benefit cereal with psyllium.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall along the Mexican border.
38. Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.
39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the United States.
41. Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.
42. The students' parents may have watched American Gladiators on TV the day they were born.
43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
47. The students have never heard a gasoline-station attendant ask, "Want me to check under the hood?"
48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
49. Soft-drink refills have always been free.
50. The students have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about "nothing."
51. Windows operating systems have always made IBM PC's user-friendly.
52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
55. 98.6 degrees F, or otherwise, has always been confirmed in the ear.
56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate-cancer research.
57. Off-shore oil drilling in U.S. waters has always been prohibited.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
59. There have always been charter schools.
60. Students always had Goosebumps.

Because of Compassion

I have been involved with Compassion International for over 20 years.
I have had the privilege of sponsoring a number of children and have seen God bless both their lives as well as mine.

Just today as I finished writing a letter to Jaciel Dominguez Hernandez the little boy we sponsor in Mexico, I came across the video that we were shown at the Student Life Camp I was just at. It speaks for itself.

This is why I so appreciate Compassion.

Click on the banner below and sponsor a child today. Please.

Help make a difference in the lives of children in need. Now is the time to sponsor a child.

Soil of The Heart

I have been giving a lot of thought to the Parable of the Sower that Jesus told in Matthew 13:3-8. In it He speaks of four types of people, and how they respond to the gospel. In short, it's a look into the condition of people's hearts.

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

In this short story Jesus references four soil conditions .... a hard path, shallow rocky soil, thorny soil, and good soil. As a pastor to students I am constantly evaluating where my students are in relationship to Christ. Some are obviously very close to Him, some far. I see all the soil conditions Jesus spoke of represented in my ministry.

Current statistics say that roughly 75% of students that graduate out of a youth ministry will walk away from their faith. I hate that. I have seen it. I have spent countless hours trying to figure out where we as a Church have gone wrong ,and why students are dropping away? While I think there is much the Church can do to better disciple students and equip them to make a life long commitment to Christ, I believe ultimately it comes down to their heart condition, the soil of their heart.

In verse 4 of Matthew 13, Jesus describes a path in which the seed falls upon and is quickly eaten by birds. I see this as the student who just does not care. We share Christ and the great life we can experience because of Him, but unfortunately they just don't care, not even enough to consider it.

Verses 5-6 speaks of the rocky, shallow soil. This is the person who responds quickly to the message of Christ but then almost as quickly as they responded, they back away. This person could be described as an emotional responder. If the mood is right, like at a camp setting, mission trip, or some other special event, they respond, but when they come down off the emotional high, it as if nothing ever changed.

Verse 7 tells us of the seed that fell among thorns that quickly choked out the young plant that has begun to spring up. This is the person that makes a commitment to Christ but then lets the concerns, worries, and temptations of life take precedent over Him. While they say the love Jesus, they love the world more.

Lastly we read in verse 8 of the seed that fell on the good soil. The soil that allowed for the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant that yields great fruit.

As I thought about this scripture in the context of my ministry, God began to reveal to me that I need to be praying for soil. I need to pray for the soil in my students hearts.

In the parable we see 25% of the people who have had "seed" sown into their lives, really going places and making a difference for the Kingdom. That is the same statistic as above!

The good news to all of this is, the 25% that let the seed really take root, produce a great harvest, a "hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." I have seen that, and it's exciting!

Instead of just pondering and even complaining about why we see the large drop off rate, may we instead commit to praying for the soil in the hearts of students. May we pray that students would taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) and give their lives fully to Him, in complete surrender. It is then that we will have the joy of bearing witness to a great harvest!

Mission Camp

Last week was an incredible week. Ten of us spent August 4-8 at George Fox University with the Student Life Mission Camp. It was a great experience, one that far exceeded my expectations.

The theme of the week was The Way. Each morning and evening we were challenged with compelling messages on following in The Way of Jesus. Todd Agnew spoke each morning and Anson McMahon spoke each evening. Both very gifted communicators and used of God in a big way. Along with great messages, the worship each time we met, led by Kristian Stanfill was incredible. It was so awesome to see middle school students raising their hands and losing themselves in worship each day. As good as each session was, it was on Wednesday night, after Anson spoke, that we really celebrated.

On Wednesday night, August 6, we had the joy of seeing many students give their hearts to Jesus for the very first time. The best part, was that two of those students were ours! So cool to see the message of the Gospel begin to make sense, and watch them come to a point of surrender.

Each day after the morning celebration time we headed out to serve the community. It was in these times that the kind of worship spoken of in Romans 12:1 was truly lived out. What a great privilege it was to give of our selves as we served two widows, a church in need, and even spent a day working in a cemetery. To see middle school students sweating in the hot sun serving others, makes ministry to students all worthwhile.

As strange as it may sound, it was spending a day in a cemetery cleaning headstones that was my favorite day. It was a very old cemetery, established in 1899. Many of those buried have been there for over 100 years! It was so great to think about and discuss the stories of those that have gone before us and be reminded that we too all have a story. It is our hope that someday as our stories are recounted that they would be stories of lives well lived. Lives lived for the glory of our Lord. It was also very cool praying for the families represented in that cemetery. We didn't know them, but God does, and God cares.

Such a good week. Here is a video that captures some of what we were a part of.

See all the individual pictures here.

Found on YouTube

So I was surfing around on YouTube and much to my surprise, I came across a video featuring none other than my son and father-in-law. The video is espousing all the fun one can have with YouTube, and would actually make a great advertisement for them.

All the clips used were just randomly selected YouTube clips. With over 83.4 million videos hosted on Youtube, kind of funny one of mine got chosen!

When it gets to "be childish", that's my boy!

See the original video here.

On Mission

"...Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," (Matthew 28:19) is a truth that is central to what we are all about in 180 Student Ministries. It is our desire to live our lives on mission. To live lives that lead to others toward becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.

Today I leave with 9 others from our middle school ministry for a week long localized mission trip. We will be living on the campus of George Fox University in Newberg Oregon and participating in the Student Life Mission Camp. Each day we will be partnering with Love INC to serve the needy in Newberg. Most of our time will be spent showing the love of Christ to elderly folks and single moms, that are in need of assistance around their homes; yard work, cleaning, etc. Pray with us that as we serve, Christ will both be clearly seen and heard.

Our high school ministry is also on a mission trip this week. They left on July 29 for 11 days in Ensenada, Mexico. It was hard for me to see them go as it is the first time I have not gone with them in many years. They have been having a great time of ministry over this last week, building both a home for a needy family, and relationships with the people in the community in which they are living. Check out the updates Aaron Geist has been posting on the trip at his blog To learn more about their trip you may visit our Mexico Outreach web site.

What a privilege it is to be used of God in the building of His Kingdom. May it extend far beyond just a trip.


I never thought I would hear myself say this, but I was excited last night to only have to shell out $3.99 for a gallon of gas! I remember the challenge it was for me to pay the whopping $1.24 a gallon when I first began driving. Now I get excited when we only have to pay $4.00! Could it be because of prayer?

Seems on the day prices started to fall, the prayers began to rise. I'm not sure praying for the price of gas is the best use of a prayer meeting but a group in St Louis is talking it very seriously. See the story here.

I guess all I have to say to them is, thank you. Don't know if the price of gas is a result of their prayer but I admire them for their faith. It challenges mine.

What are you praying for today?

Guy Time

For the better part of 20 years I have been taking middle school boys camping at Indian Henry Campground on the North Clackamas River. We call it Grub Camp. A time to get away and just be guys. No girls, no showers, not really even any manners. Good times! I even did a Grub Camp Reunion a couple of years back with some guys I took some 15 years earlier. Read about that incredible weekend here.

We tell guys that they go as boys and come back men. Kind of a rite of passage if you will. We fish, we swim, we jump off high rocks and logs into the icy cold river, we sit around the fire, and for the more gullible among us, we even go on snipe hunts. This last weekend we did it again!

What a great weekend it was. We did all of the above and loved every minute of it. This year was extra special as we also had the opportunity to baptize one of our students in the icy cold river. Always exciting to see a new and changed life!

A Night To Remember

Last night was an incredible night. In Psalm 133:1 God tells us how "good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity." I believe last night was a great picture of that very thing.

Last night four youth ministries in our town came together for our second Burn. The Burn is a quarterly worship gathering of area youth groups led by the network of youth pastors I am a part of. Read about our first Burn here.

Since it is summer we spent the evening outside enjoying a great BBQ, volleyball, badminton, basketball, and frisbee. We then came together for a great time of worship led by Aaron Geist and team.

Near the end of the worship set Robbie York from Tigard Church of God, shared a bit about having a concern for those that don't know Jesus, and the need to pray for them and share our faith with them. We then got into small groups to pray for the people in our lives that don't yet have a relationship with Christ. What happened next was the highlight of the night for me.

After the small group prayer time we made a giant circle, put our arms around each other and began to pray. It was a sweet time of praying for our community; praying that God would use us to make an impact on those in our city.

It was such a great picture of the Body of Christ coming together in unity; a demonstration of the fact that we are not many churches but rather one Church. It is my prayer that through nights like this that the Church would begin to take notice of what God is doing among student ministries, and desire to enter into similar relationships with one another.

May God use the youthful enthusiasm and idealism of students, to move in the hearts of older generations, so that they too may see how good and pleasant it is to experience the Church of Christ as one Church.