Practicing What I Preach...

Last night I practiced what I preach. And at times that is a lot harder than you might imagine...I constantly share with our students and our adults that our priorities in life should be this:

1. God
2. Family
3. Ministry
4. Other Stuff

That's really easy to tell other people. It's a lot harder to live out...And to be honest, there are times where I don't do a very good job of it.

But last night wasn't one of those times. I took the evening off from our mid-week student gathering. Wednesday nights are our biggest weekly event and the one night where I usually lead and teach. But last night I left a great group of our adult and student volunteers in charge and put my family first.

For Valentine's Day I gave Johanna tickets to the Michael Buble concert in Austin that was last night. Going into the concert I admit that I wasn't a fan (more on that later). In fact, I was a bit synical...But it was something I knew my wife would LOVE and so it was of the utmost importance to me.

So last night I put into practice the things I preach. My family is far more important to me than my ministry. Period. Even though I might struggle with my time management in this area at times, my family is first. If I am not the Christian husband that Christ has called me to be, then my ministry is in vain...And I think it is a great lesson for our students to see me live out those values. Plus, I got to see a pretty sweet concert with the love of my life...Ya' can't beat that!


Lickable Ads - More Great Marketing...

Here is some more great, creative marketing. Welch's recently unveiled their new "Lickable Ads." So long to scratch and sniff flavors or the smells of perfume. Now you can taste the product right off the page. Here's a description:

Similar to perfume ads that have panels you pull back to offer a hint of the fragrance, Welch’s is launching tabs in this month’s edition of People magazine in the form of a one page print ad that let the customers peel to taste.

Check out the full article here.


Iphone Madness...

I just read an article about Abilene Christian University's new policy to provide all incoming freshman students with an Iphone...Crazy! Check out the story here.


Integrity. According to Merriam-Webster integrity is a firm adherence to a code of especially moral values or the quality or state of being complete. In the words of my good friend and college roomie David Brown (check him out here) integrity occurs when you come to a stoplight at 2 AM in the morning and there is no camera, no police, and no one else around. In his words, "integrity stops anyway." Over the past few weeks I've noticed that the topic has come up over and over again in conversations. In conversations like the one below, that I had last week with a T-Shirt company here in town. I was ordering some shirts and the lady I usually deal with was busy so she asked her boss to help me. Here's the convo:

Lady: Can you help Nic? I am busy.
Boss: Sure. Come take a seat at my desk Nic.
Lady: And be sure and give him a great deal...He's one of our best customers.
Boss: Ok.
Lady (To Boss): He works at that church and he's a nice guy...and they actually pay their bill on time.
Lady (To Me): You'd be surprised at how many churches don't pay us on time!

Wow. Real ministry cannot happen without integrity. And integrity cannot be bought. It cannot be faked. Authentic integrity can only be earned...by living a consistent witness to who Jesus is. Integrity is HUGE when it comes to reaching others with the love of Christ. It gives credibility to our message and earns us the opportunity to be heard...

How is your integrity? Are you the same person in the crowd as you are behind closed doors? When you come to a stoplight at 2 AM and no one is around, what do you do?


You Are God...

I got the privilege to be in a couple worship services where Charlie Hall was leading worship back in the fall. He has an incredible God-given ability to lead people into worship. This is one of his songs on the new Passion CD "God of This City"...Great lyrics. The new Passion CD is solid stuff...If you haven't heard it yet, check it out. Here are the lyrics to "You Are God" by Charlie Hall:

You’re closer than our troubles
More present than any danger
More grand than gold and silver
You are God, You are God

You’re the joy of man’s desire
You are Father, satisfier
We are stunned with wide-eyed wonder
You are God, You are God

You fill our hearts with love and faith
You fight for us, You make us brave
You are God, You are God.

You walk with us, You lead us on
Faith, hope and love wakes up with dawn
You are God, You are God



I have been in student ministry for around 12 years now...Just typing that sentence makes me feel EXHAUSTED! But over the years I have had the privilege to serve some incredibly talented students. Several of those students are now adults who are serving in churches and plugged in to ministry in various ways...And that's what it really is all about - making disciples who make disciples...

Right now I have the privilege of serving with some incredibly talented students, specifically in the area of worship and music...We've got two guys who rotate leading worship for our mid-week student gathering...And they are super talented. Michael is gonna' be the next American Idol and you name the instrument and Austin can own it...You guys ROCK! Thanks for being willing to serve God and serve others by using the incredible talent that he's given you...



Anytime I'm driving and I see a cop car I automatically hit the brakes. Regardless of whether I'm speeding or not, that is my initial reaction - every time - without exception. And anytime a policeman or highway patrolman is following me I feel like I have to watch my every move - like they know of some random law that I have never even heard of and are just waiting on the right moment for me to mess up so they can hit the lights and write the ticket. Do you ever feel that way?

Late last week and during the weekend I was struggling. Every now and then I let the devil get the best of me with his accusations. I allow the accuser to bring up mistakes and mess ups from my past that are long gone...And I lose focus and begin to feel accused. I know that the sins have been forgiven and I know that the mistakes are in the past. I am fully confident that Jesus has not only forgiven me but removed those sins as far as the east is from the west...But I still let the devil win sometimes...It's kind of like driving with a guilty conscience just because you've got a speeding ticket in the past.

But the cool thing about God is he knew stuff like this would trip us up. He knew we'd have these days...So he talked about it in his Word. There is this cool story in John 8 where these religious nuts and community leaders bring a woman whose been caught in the act of adultery to Jesus. They throw her in front of Jesus, treating her like the trash that they believe she is. After all, she's nothing but a sinner, right? They demand that Jesus respond to her sin and deal with her accordingly. And the cool thing is, he does. He looks the guys in the face and tells them that if they can honestly say that they are without sin, then feel free to judge this woman and even stone her. But Jesus knows they don't stand a chance. He knows they're just like the rest of us and have messed up time and time again...After her accusers drift off one by one, Jesus looks at the woman and says these words: "Woman, where are your accusers? Does no one condemn you?" She responds by saying, "No one." And then Jesus tells her this: "Neither do I. Go and leave your life of sin."

Jesus was far more concerned with where her future was headed than with where her past had been. He was more focused on the change that would take place in the woman rather than the times she had messed up in the past...

What a great reminder for those days when the devil acts like the accuser and trys to make us lose our focus and passion by bringing up our mistakes from the past. In God's eyes, it has been dealt with. There's no need to go through life driving like your guilty when your ticket's been paid for, taken care of, and completely removed from the system...So the next time you're feeling accused by things from your past, realize the source of the accusation and then turn your focus to the One whose dealt with your past and still has great plans for your future...


My Partner...

I'm blessed to have tons of great people in my life. I have the best friends in the world. I have a great group of friends in ministry who help challenge me and keep me accountable - even if we live hours from each other. I've got friends and former students who've been in the trenches of life and ministry with me. I know that I can trust them and that they've got my back. I've got a fantastic family that believes in me and has poured themselves into making me who I am. But I've got one person in my life who is my partner.

Webster's dictionary defines a partner as one who shares life with another. Today, on Valentine's Day, I just want to say a public thanks to my partner - my incredible wife Johanna.

You are amazing. Thank you for listening to all my rants and crazy thoughts...Thank you for being a listening ear when I need to vent. Thank you for encouraging me when the world, or those not supposed to be of the world, have beat me down. Thank you for believing in me and my ministry when it seems that all others have fallen by the wayside. Thank you for hearing some of my crazy ideas and just shaking your head affectionately...I've said it before - God has called us to a crazy, insane, incredible ride in following Him. I'd rather share my journey with no one else. I love you babe...


I absolutely love fresh, new, outside-the-box creativity and marketing. One of my favorite new sites that keeps an eye out for all things fresh, new, and hip around the globe is here.

I honestly think that the church, in most cases, is light years behind our culture in marketing and creativity. We have the absolute best message in the world. But there are times when that message is presented in the most plain, dull, boring, old, traditional ways. And when that happens we do a great disservice to Jesus and his incredible, revolutionizing, life-changing message...But that is a soapbox that I can easily climb atop, so I'll stay away from it for now...

Here are a few cool ad pics from the link above. You've got to appreciate the creativity and freshness of this stuff. Check it out...

A Casino Advertisement in an Airport:

A Harley Davidson Ad:

Denver City Marketing Campaign to encourage people to conserve water usage:



I must confess that I am a not-so-recovered reality TV addict. I used to watch every reality TV show a few years ago, regardless of it's entertainment value...and definitely regardless of it's contribution to society. There was this one show called Temptation Island. Basically, the premis of the show was to place couples in a resort island setting, divide the couples into groups of guys and girls, and then bring in 20 members of the opposite sex to tempt them, party with them, and do everything - and I mean everything - they could to destroy the pre-existing couples' relationships.

And that is what temptation does, really. Temptation, if followed through on, leads to our destruction. When the devil tempts us, his desire is not to cause us to have a bad day. His plan is not to cause us to stumble or to make a little mistake...He desires to destroy us. He wants to bring us destruction and death.

But here's the deal: We like to dance with temptation. We like to get as close to sin as we can. We want to know how close we can get without it "officially" being a sin. We all struggle with our flesh and it's desires to dance with temptation. So we toe the line and get as close to sin as we think we can...And then we wonder why we continually stumble and fail.

The apostle Paul addressed this in a letter to his young friend Timothy. He told him to RUN AWAY from tempation...He literally screamed at him to run from temptation and toward righteousness.

What are you doing to run away from temptation? It's so easy to go through life dancing with temptation and then wondering why you continue to struggle and fail in following Christ...Here's some advice we can all use when it comes to dealing with temptation: Set some boundaries. Get some accountability. And when the devil comes knockin', run away...


The Weekend Update...

Johanna and I spent Thursday evening through Sunday in Georgetown as Disciple Now Leaders at FBC Georgetown. My good friend Brett Levy is the Youth Pastor there. I spent the weekend playing cards until 3:00 AM, getting shot with paintballs, and loving on some teenagers...It was a great weekend and we had a blast, but I am exhausted from the lack of sleep. I love these weekend events, but there are times - like yesterday and today - that I feel way to old to be hanging out with students all weekend long...But when you see the end results of a weekend like that - students lives being changed by the love and grace of Christ - you know it's worth it!

One of the cool things about this Disciple Now is that Brett uses several of my former students as leaders. It is incredible to see these students that we poured so much into when they were teenagers using their lives to serve the kingdom...I believe that far too often our students graduate from our student ministries and also graduate from God...I'm thankful that we have a number of students who've left our youth ministry days and are now using their lives to love God and love people...They understand that church is not a building or a program, but a lifestyle and a people.

So not only did we get to spend the weekend loving students and sharing God's love with them, but it was also a family reunion of sorts...It's always a blast to get together with these former students and sharing life again...I even think that's what the New Testament leaders had in mind as they started this thing called church...


Amazed (My 200th Post)...

I have been milling over this specific post in my head for a couple days now. Not this actual written blog, but the fact that it is my 200th blog post. I'm really not sure if anyone outside my immediate family and a few close friends read this thing, but I still enjoy it so I've kept at it...For the past couple days I have been wanting to make this a great post since it is a milestone being number 200 and all...I've thought about humorous stories, catchy graphics, and deep thoughts. And I could not come up with anything that fit.

But God did. God provided me with something amazing to blog about...Actually, I am sure that what God did had nothing to do with my blog, but I get the joy of sharing it anyway. Yesterday I asked you all to pray for our students tonight as we presented the gospel in a very plain and understandable way. I asked you to pray that God would literally bring light into dark places. And guess what? He did! We had 6 students accept Christ tonight and begin their journey as Christ-followers! God literally changed lives and changed eternity forever for 6 students tonight...And we won't know until we get to heaven how much the kingdom of God will be changed because of what happened tonight. If you are one of those students, know that I am so happy for you, proud of you, and PUMPED about what God has done and is going to do in your life!

But here is the crazy thing to me - it still amazes me. I asked God to change the lives of students - to use tonight to convince students of his love and his grace for them. Our youth workers prayed for the same thing. I asked you to pray that He would bring light into dark places. And then after we ask, we are blown away that he does it. I think I should expect him to by now...

I was talking with one of our youth workers after the service and we were celebrating how great God is and I said, "I don't know why we are surprised. God loves these students far more than we do." And that is the truth. God loves our lost friends and neighbors far more than we ever could. I hope that you will continue to pray for our students. I also hope you'll pray that God would use you - in the lives of your neighbors, family, and friends - to bring light into dark places. Wow. God is good.



Tomorrow night we are starting a new series at the Attic called Assured: Having A Confident Faith in a Blurry World. It's a study of the book of 1 John and it's all about the identifying marks of a Christ-follower. In a world that is in constant change, how do we live in such a way that we know, without a doubt, that we are following Christ and living for the kingdom? How do we live ASSURED of the faith we claim to follow?

Pray for our students tomorrow night. We're talking about forgiveness and how Jesus made the sacrifice for our sins. For some of our students, this night could be bigger than life-changing...It could be eternity-changing...We have several students on the verge of beginning their walk as believers and we are praying that tomorrow night God will use his Word to bring life to dead places. Join us in that prayer...



Found this over here. Great cartoon commentary on the church, life, ministry, and what it means to follow Jesus...

Super Bowl Recap...

I've read several game recaps...I won't go anywhere near saying that I saw this coming, but I'm sure not dissappointed that the Giants beat the Pats. I thought it was a pretty good game. Because of the low scoring nature, it wasn't the most exciting thing I've ever watched, but it was competitive and overall, a solid game. Check out my blogroll link Dbrown to see a live blog critique of the first half - good stuff. Below is a post I wrote on a friend's myspace page today that happens to be a Pats fan. He's also Red Sox fan and gives me a hard time when the Sox beat the Yankees, so turnabout is fair play:

Video Crew To Tape Jets Play Signals: $2,000 per game

Hiring Randy Moss to make Tom Brady look invincible: $3 Million

New Camera to Video The Rams Walkthrough in 2002 Super Bowl: $300

Losing Your Undefeated Season in The Super Bowl to A Team Led by ELI Manning: Priceless.


Only A Sorority Would Do Something Like This...

A friend of mine got invited to a Sorority Fundraiser to raise money for cardiovascular disease. The sorority is holding a benefit lunch for students to raise money and promote heart health awareness. Below is the actual description of the event on their invitation:

"Come enjoy an all-you-can eat barbeque lunch for only $5! In honor of Cardiac Care Month, Alpha Phi is holding a lunch benefit to raise money and raise awareness about cardiovascular disease. We can all help support cardiac health together! Invite your friends!!"

Un-be-lievable! Only a bunch of sorority girls would host an "all-u-can eat" greasy BBQ lunch in honor of Cardiac Care Month. Wow...