2 Posts in 1 Day...Crazy!...

After being gone from blogger world for a week, now I've posted for the second time today. I guess I had more to talk about the last week than I realized. Because of the busy-ness of the first part of the week, I forgot to blog my regular weekend update. I wanted to give you a quick recap of the best part of the weekend. Sunday morning I got to baptize two of our students. Craig and Dylan are both junior high guys who have recently made the decision to ask Christ to forgive them from their sins and to come in and be the boss of their lives. It has been cool to see how God is working in small echoes and waves in our community within the student life. These guys are two examples of that. At my previous church I got to see a whole lot of students come to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord, but I was never given the chance to participate in any of their baptisms. I was at the church for almost 10 years and got to see God move in a lot of ways, but really never got to experience the joy that comes with baptising a student whom you've had a role in their faith journey. This is the third time I have done the baptisms here and it is really a special time. I understand that the baptism is just an outward symbol of what is already inwardly done, but it is still pretty cool to be a part of. While the weekend was oustanding (including a great "Man Shower" for my friend, Jeremy's upcoming wedding and lots of hanging out with friends) this was definitely my highlight of the weekend.


I know it's been a while since my last post and I do apologize to both of you who read this for that. It has been crazy since our Disciple Now weekend, with just trying to catch up on rest and life not slowing down at all. But that's all good.

Since our D-Now (actually since about a month leading up to it) I have been listening to a lot of Lindsey Kane. She's the fantastic artist that led worship at our D-Now a couple weekends ago. The title track on her album is called "Satisfied" and here is the chorus:

I am satisfied
I will abide
I have decided to run away with You
Humbled on my knees
It's You I want to please
Captivate me Jesus, To keep my eyes on You
Steal my eyes from distraction
You are my lasting satisfaction

I have heard that song dozens of times the past few weeks and it really has began in me a pondering process about being satisfied. In the midst of this pondering I have come up with a couple thoughts:

First of all, too many time we (a big I included in that) look beyond our relationship with Christ for satisfaction. In my calling, working with students, I see it on a daily basis. There is the desire to be the best in sports, to be the prettiest, to be the smartest, to gain the approval of a parent or a girlfriend or boyfriend, the strive to be popular or included. All of these things speak to our satisfaction. As adults, it comes as us in the need to make more money, the need to be in a certain "class", the desire to drive certain cars or live in certain homes, the constant striving to keep up with the Jones' and buying into the lie of the American Dream, where we believe the more stuff we have, the more satisfied we will be. As I have pondered this, I realize that it just doesn't make sense. Look around us: Students are comitting suicide at a record rate. School violence is at an all time high. Divorces are a daily occurrence, with families being shattered all around us. I have come to this conclusion. We, as a people, are looking for satisfaction in places where it cannot be found. Real, true, lasting satisfaction cannot be attained apart from an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ. Our only true satisfaction, the one that lasts, comes from running away with him and abiding in him. But too many times He has to steal our eyes from distraction. We buy into the lie that the things of this world will satisfy us. But it IS a lie. You can be the prettiest for a while...but it doesn't last. You can be the fastest and strongest for a while...but it doesn't last. You can have the most money and the biggest house for a while...but it doesn't last. The only place where true satisfaction is found is in a real, authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.

The second thing that I have been pondering lately about satisfaction has to do with the church and viewing satisfaction in a far different way. As I look at churches across the U.S., am in and out of different churches, and talk with fellow ministers who are serving in various places, it seems to me that the church, for the most part, has become extremely satisfied. And this is not the same satisfied that I am refering to above. We have become satisfied with where we are, who we are reaching, and what we are doing. In short, we have become complacent and lazy. Mediocrity fills the church in America and for most believers, it is ok. Most of our churches are failing to reach their communities and grow with any consistency and, for most believers, it is ok. People are being turned off from church in record numbers and, for most believers, it is ok. But it is not ok. Where in the word of God do we find the commission or command to be complacent. Where in our walk with God are we called to mediocrity. I cannot believe that Christ died on the cross so that His people could go through life living in a mediocre and complacent fashion, satisified with "well, that's good enough", while the people around them struggle through life without meaning and destined to spend eternity apart from a loving God. This is not what the Father intends for us. We are not called to be satisfied with the status quo or the size of our church or the number of believers in our community. The phrases "well, I guess that's good enough" or "i guess we'll just have to be satified with that" should never be uttered in the church. We do not serve a God who limits us to being satisfied with the status quo. We serve a God who empowers us to live and serve and reach people in ways that are limitless, because he is limitless. I think that there are springing up in different places people who are tired of the status quo. There are those who are tired of being satisfied with doing things the way they've always been done. God is raising up people here and there who refuse to be satisfied when it comes to reaching people for His kingdom. And while I struggle with living in a church culture in our nation that is predominantly one that is satisfied, it gives me great hope to know that there are those who feel spurred along with me. We will find our lasting satisfaction in Him, but we will not be satisfied when it comes to expanding His kingdom and His love.

Have a great day and let Christ steal your eyes from distraction, to prove that He can be your lasting satisfaction!


The Weekend Update...Immersed...

This weekend was our Disciple Now weekend here at our church for our students. It's basically a weekend where students come together for fun, fellowship, friends, and faith. The theme of the weekend was "Immerse" and it came from 1 Timothy 4:12-16 in the Message Bible where Paul challenges Timothy to immerse himself in following Christ. That is the challenge we provided to our students this weekend: to forget about religion, rules, and some "God-checklist" that they have made up and to plunge completely and totally into an authentic, intimate relationship with Jesus. And I think some of them actually got it. It's good to see all the work that so many people did to make the weekend happen pay off in kingdom terms. We got to see the coolest thing that anyone could possibly imagine: We saw life-change. And that is why I do what I do. That is why other adults drove several hours to come and minister to our students. We asked God to show up and he did...And because of that students' lives will never be the same. I believe that the kingdom of God will look different when we get there because of this weekend. I know it will.

Two things that really made my weekend on top of all the other awesome things and seeing God move in the lives of students. First of all, all of my leaders were former students of mine. It is such a blessing and so rewarding to see the ministry that you poured into students be something that they caught and are continuing themselves. That is the model of what healthy, good student ministry should be. The second great thing was Lindsey Kane. She was our worship leader for the weekend and although I knew Lindsey before this weekend, I had never had the privilege of seeing her lead as a worship leader with students. One word about her music and her ability to lead worship: Amazing. If you haven't heard her check her out at lindseykane.com or on hit up her myspace music page. Fantastic stuff and I could not say enough about how real and authentic she is.

As far as my quote of the weekend goes, there were dozens of funny and side-splitting comments made throughout the weekend as we hung out together. But I think I'll choose Dylan's statement on Sunday morning as the one quote that summed up what we as believers should be about and what this weekend was all about. Dylan is one of our 7th graders who God really spoke to this weekend. Here are his words: "Caleb invited me to church and I started hanging out with him and Brooks. And then Brooks started talking to me about how I talked and acted. Then they got me to come this weekend and God showed me that I needed to be saved so I asked him to be my Savior this weekend." That is what it is all about.



Love is probably one of the most overused and abused words in the English language in today’s society. We hear it constantly. I love my new car. I love playing soccer. I love pizza. I love my girlfriend (who I have been dating for 3 days and we are in the seventh grade). I love that song. I love this. I love that. But do we really understand what it means to say that we love someone or something?

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines love in various ways, including these:
Strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal ties.
Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion.
Unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for another.
To hold dear.
To like or desire actively or to take pleasure in.
The dictionary defines love as both a noun and a verb. D.C. Talk (a legend in Christian music for those who don’t know who they are) says “I don’t care what you say, I don’t care what you’ve heard, Keep on talking ‘cause Love is a verb.”

God defines love in this way:
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 one another. 1 John 3:16

Merriam-Webster ain’t got jack on God (and yes I know that is bad grammar). Love, real, true, authentic, love is not mere devotion or attraction. Love is not a warm fuzzy feeling or a quaint happiness. Love has little to do with “like” and often requires of us things that we may not necessarily take pleasure in. And I am convinced that love cannot be found in pizza, new cars, or our favorite sports or songs. Love is found in God. He is love. He is the author and creator of love. Love does not exist outside of Him. Fondness, yes. Strong feelings and emotions, definitely. Attraction and desire, sure. But not love. Apart from God, love is not found.

As I examine my personal relationships here on earth, I can see the example of God’s love in them. For example, I love my wife and she loves me. As we each grow closer to God and more in love with Him, we grow closer to each other. It is as I learn to love God properly and to understand His great love for me more fully, that I can love my wife in a better way. Outside of a proper understanding of God’s love for me and my invitation to love Him, I cannot properly understand the sacrificial nature of love that is required of me toward my wife. And in that very example I find the true nature of love. God loves me so he made a sacrifice to show that love. He spared no expense in lavishing His love on me and seeking to captivate my heart with the great expanse of his love for me. “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 one another.” Love demands sacrifice. It demands others above ourselves. It demands holding nothing back to capture the heart of the one whom it targets. That is what God did. He took no shortcuts and cut no corners to show us the richness of his love. He made the sacrifice so that we might know God and know Love.

So this Valentine’s Day, think about love. Who do you love? Who loves you? And remember, love is not something you feel, it is something you DO.

In Honor Of Valentine's Day & The Internet...


The Weekend Update...

Spent this weekend with the students and adults of First Baptist Church Georgetown. Johanna and I were both leaders for their annual Disciple Now weekend. Their youth minister, Brett, is a great friend and someone who I admire so much for the excellence and professionalism he brings to student ministry. I can seldom remember a conversation that I have had with Brett where I have not left the conversation having learned something...about students, about ministry, about myself. For that to happen consistently is rare and Brett really is, in my opinion, one of the top, if not the very top, student pastor that I know. Having said that, Brett and I almost parted ways in our friendship this weekend. I was set to lead a group of 12th grade guys in Bible studies and discussions all weeekend. I had prepared for it and was ready to go. Arriving at Georgetown on Thursday evening, Brett informs me of a change in the groups. He had mis-aligned some of his leaders and homes and I was going to be changed to leading 11th grade...girls. There go all the illustrations about football, fights, and farts. And this isn't the first time Brett has pulled a switch on me like that...But after coming to grips with it, all was good. I got to lead a great group of young ladies and we really had a great weekend. Johanna and I both had the privilege of being involved in the lives of some great students and an outstanding youth ministry. Overall, a great weekend.

This week will be super busy for us. Our own church's Disciple Now is this weekend and we are in full-fledged last minute preparations mode. If you are one who prays, pray for us this week and this weekend. Pray for our students, that God would do a great work in their hearts and lives. And pray for our ministry and our church, that God would use this weekend to bring genuine, authentic revival into the lives of His people. Hope your weekend was as rewarding as mine...


I Knew It!

You are Superman

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Check out this cool little quiz to find out which super hero you might be.

The Weekend Update...

Our weekend was extremely busy this time around and consisted mainly of sports, so I really can't complain. On Saturday, our church had it's annual "Chili Bowl." It is a student versus adult flag football game that we play each year. The game was a lot of fun and so was the fellowship. After the game we all went to the church and ate chili, as the men of the church were having a chili cook-off in conjunction with the game. Sunday was our big Super Bowl party. We went over to some of our students' house and watched the game together. Although I wasn't really pulling for one team or the other, I thought that the Bears had a good shot at winning. Great defense and a solid running game usually mean victory but the Colts did a great job in winning the game.

Yesterday was back to the office. What I was hoping would be the highlight of my Monday turned into a not-so-high-light as the Texas Longhorns failed to upset the Aggies on Big Monday on ESPN. If only the game had been 35 minutes long, we had a chance...

The quote of the weekend this weekend takes a little different twist. I have been super impressed with both Tony Dungee and Lovie Smith, as football coaches and as men of faith. Neither man comes off "preachy" or fake when talking about their belife in Christ. In each one, I feel that I can see a sense of authenticity and compassion as they share their beliefs on the public stage given them as Super Bowl coaches. In fact, I ran across a cool website dedicated to the faith of the men called beyondtheultimate.org. Check it out when you have a chance. But for the quote of the weekend, I will paraphrase what Tony Dungee said in his speech following the Colts victory at Super Bowl XLI. Here are his words, paraphrased:

"A lot has been made of Lovie and I being the first two black coaches to coach in the Super Bowl. We are also two men of faith who believe in Christ, and to me, that is even more important."

Wow. Talk about capturing the moment to use your influence...


My WeeMee...

Found this cool site, weeworld.com, on a blog I frequently read, ysmarko.com. Thought it was pretty cool. You can check out the site and make your own WeeMee...Here are ones I made of Johanna and I.

Fear and Risk...

I have come to the conclusion that it is very possible that the single, most inhibiting, negative characteristic in the church today is fear. And I am not just talking my church, little c, but THE church, the entire organized body of Christian believers. I especially think that this is the case here in America, as we really don't see that same attitude in the church abroad. We live and act and walk like a people afraid. We make rules that say who is in and who is out because we are afraid that we won't be able to control the group otherwise. We come up with bylaws, church guidelines, policies, and laws to protect ourselves from getting sued and to make sure that everyone fits inside a certain box because we fear what might happen if we didn't have these boundaries. Many times we meet together and are urged to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ with fear as our motivator. And most of the time that motivation fails because deep down the church is more afraid of the world and it's opinion of us than we are of failing Christ.

Last night in our midweek student services we talked about the disciple Peter. We looked in Matthew 14 where Peter walked on the water with Jesus, but took his eyes off and almost drown. We looked at the story in John 18 where Peter was in the garden of Gethsemane and cut off the ear of the Roman soldier. We even looked at the following chapters in John where Peter denies even knowing who Jesus is. Each story gives us a picture of a Christ-follower who was passionate, aggressive, brash, and jumped into things with both feet (most of the time without thinking through the consequences). For the most part, this kind of decision-making and living usually had Peter ending up in some kind of dilemna that really wasn't part of what he bargained for. For those of you who are Chris Farley fans like myself, Peter is kind of like the Tommy Boy or Blacksheep of the group of disciples. Try as he might, with all his good intentions, it just never goes his way...

But I think God took great pleasure in Peter's attempts. You can hear the story of Peter walking on water told again and again in church. Usually it ends with some statement or conclusion that if Peter had just kept his focus on Jesus and not on the storm and waters around him, he would have been ok. I won't buy that cow. I believe that until Peter's dying day he probably had dreams of the day he stepped out of the boat and walked toward Jesus, even if it was only a few steps. I believe that while the other disciples played it safe and stayed in the boat, Peter's RISK brought honor and pleasure to God. While everyone else was afraid and decided to ere on the side of safety, Peter risked it all to get closer to Jesus. And God smiled. Then Peter heads to the Garden with Jesus on the night the Roman guards come to arrest him. As the guards try to take their Master, their Teacher, their Rabboni, most of the disciples just stand there watching, afraid of what the soldiers are going to do to Jesus and to them...But not Peter. This fisherman who was probably terrible with a sword pulls out his sword anyway and attempts to defend his Master. Even in his attempt, he only pulls a Mike Tyson on the guard and cuts of his ear, which Jesus reprimands him for. But notice that Jesus does not reprimand his desire to defend him or his willingness to risk his life for the sake of Christ, but only his methodology. They were not people of the sword and Jesus reminds Peter of that...But deep down inside, and maybe even outwardly, I think that Christ smiled on Peter's willingness to take a risk while everyone else watched in fear, and I think that it brought honor and pleasure to the Master to see that one of his followers would choose risk over fear. And then Peter really blows it. If you have spent much time in church at all, you've heard Peter's last and most famous blunder. After Jesus is arrested and taken into custody, Peter and John follow the soldiers to see what they will do with Christ. Upon entering the courtyard several people recognize Peter as one of those Christ-followers and confront him about it. Each time Peter commits a grave error by denying Christ, in essence letting his fear overtake him. But one thing that I notice about Peter even in this passage is again his willingness to take a risk. Even though fear eventually wins in Peter in this passage, he took great risk to even put himself in a position to face that fear. In this story, where are all the other disciples? They aren't in it...Becuase they went home. They ran off. Their master was arrested and they went home to hide and worry and be afraid. From the very beginning of the Garden scene, fear had won in them. But not Peter and John...They press on and take the great risk of following Christ as he is taken captive. Luke 22 says that Peter is following close enough to Jesus that after he denies him he sees Jesus' face and they make eye contact. Wow. I can't imagine what dissapointment Peter must have felt in himself at the time. And while I know that it had to hurt the heart of Jesus to know that Peter had denied him, I think God had to take pleasure in the fact that at least Peter took the risk of putting himself close enough to Christ in the situation to be given the opportunity to fail. At the end of the day, and at the end of each of these passages, I think that Peter shows us something great about our own, personal walks with Christ - they must involved risk.

Yes, we may fail. Yes, we may get out of the boat and not realize how rough the water is until we are six feet out in it. Yes, we may pull our sword and start swinging, to only then realize that we are not swordsmen. But at least we took the risk to do something. At least we were willing to take a risk instead of be afraid. I believe that the church in America is in a perilous time. I believe that those who truly are Christ-followers are living in an incredible moment in history. And I believe that the church is filled with people who are afraid. We fear that the world is against us. We fear people who look different that us. I mean, after all, what on earth would we do if "those" people started coming to our church? We live fear that we are going to lose control or some semblance of power that we have dreamed up the church and Christianity is about. And, deep within my being, I believe it breaks the heart of God to watch his children live in such fear...But it doesn't have to be that way. Over and over again in the Bible God teaches us that he is honored when his people take great risks for him. We see time and time again in history how God uses those who are willing to take risks for him.

So here we sit, at the crossroad of fear and risk. What will we do, church? Our answer to this question will determine how God works among us and it will determine what future generations believe about the power, strength, and trustworthiness of our God. And our answer to this question will determine our involvement in reaching a world, a community, a neighborhood, a school, or a neighbor that so desperately needs to know the love and grace of Christ. So join me in fighting your fear. Take the risk. Be like Peter. God takes pleasure in our risks because it means we have more faith in Him, than in ourselves...