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!