The Weekend Update...

We have had a really good weekend. After a LONG week serving with my students at Mission Arlington it was nice to have the chance to just relax and hang out some. Here's the highlights - bullet style:
  • After taking students home and unloading vans, I didn't get home till almost midnight on Friday night. Needless to say, we slept in on Saturday morning.
  • Saturday morning Jo & I made a quick trip to Austin to take back the rental van. After that, I headed home to relax and lounge around all afternoon, while Jo did a little shopping in San Marcos.
  • Saturday night we went on a dinner cruise on Town Lake in Austin. It was definitely the highlight of the weekend. Zak White invited us to join their small group from The Connection Church and we had a blast hanging out with Zak & Amber and meeting some new friends.
  • The dinner cruise was really cool. But I almost died when the wind blew a tray top off of our fajita buffet table and almost decapitated me! Lucky for me, Seth stuck his arm out at the last minute and stopped the killer tray. Thanks Seth!
  • We also got to see over a million bats on the dinner cruise. These bats make the South Congress bridge in Austin their home from March to October. Our boat captain, Captain Andrew, told us that those bats fly at over 60 miles per hour and would eat over 800,000 bugs a night. Crazy!
  • Worship this morning at church was great. "My chains are gone, I've been set free. My God, My Savior, has ransomed me."
  • This afternoon Jo, Jaron, Jenna, and myself are just chillin' at the house wathing some Family Feud and Cops...good, quality entertainment.

That about sums up the weekend thus far. I've got a busy week ahead, but it's work that helps people and Jesus connect so I'm pretty pumped about it! Sometimes it blows me away that God would allow me to do what I do...but I'm glad he called me to this craziness!


Mission Arlington Quotes...

We've had a really good week serving with Mission Arlington and being the church in the DFW metroplex this week. It's been hot. The kids we're serving have been crazy with energy. My hotel bed is crappy. I miss my wife enormously. But it has been a great week. How can you complain when you get to see God move with your very own eyes. Every time I come to MA, I am stretched to follow God more faithfully and I learn more about His plan for my life. One of my good friends, Matt Hart, works at MA and leads the student groups, like ours, that come serve each week. This guy seriously loves Jesus and people and is one of those people who will stop at nothing to make sure that those two connect. Absolute great guy. And he's said a couple things this week that have been complete gems. I wanted to share a couple his thoughts about missions with you so here they are:
  • "Some of us have it so easy, you wonder if your a threat to anybody."

  • "If people are worth Jesus' blood, shouldn't they at least be worth our sweat."

Chew on these two for a while and let me know what you think...


Mission Arlington Update...

It has been a quick couple days here on the Mission Trip. We've worked hard, served hard, had a blast, and sweated more than what I thought was humanly possible. Here are a few highlights and things that stick out:
  • When we got to the Quality Inn & Suites on Sunday it took almost an hour and a half to check in. First our rooms weren't ready. Then they were wrong. Then they had no sheets and towels. It was a mess. And we had stayed here before so that was really suprising. But they finally worked it all out...I think.
  • It is EXTREMELY hot. We are all completely soaked with sweat before 11:00 AM every day! It's hot and that leads to stinky and gross.
  • I LOVE Mission Arlington. God is doing AMAZING things through the ministry here and if you are anywhere near the DFW metroplex area you should make every effort to come be a part of what is going on. Seriously, drop all the excuses and come check it out. They will put you to work and let you serve and you'll be a part of something that is changing the world, changing lives, and growing the kingdom. So do it!
  • Our Rainbow Express teams (teams of students working with children teaching them Bible stories, playing games, singing songs, etc) are doing a pretty good job. There have been some times where students have lost focus, but overall they are working really hard and doing a good job.
  • Several of our student leaders have taken it to ANOTHER LEVEL this week. They are leading, serving, and stepping up big time.
  • It's always cool to see the faces of these kids that we're serving light up when we show up and get off the vans. It is crazy how God uses a couple hours at each apartment complex and stuff like Red Light, Green Light and Red Rover to communicate his love to children.
  • I am spent. I am exhausted. And our lights are out...So I'm out too. I'll try to post some pics tomorrow so that you can get a visual picture of what's going on.

Poor Ol' Duke...

If you know me very well, you know that I am a HUGE North Carolina Tarheel basketball fan. My family bleeds Carolina blue. And as a fan of UNC, a deep hatred of the Dook Bluedevils is mandatory. I read this article Saturday and even though it's not about the basketball program, it's still pretty funny.

According to the article, Dook is so bad at football, that a judge awarded in their favor in a case against Louisville. Louisville was suing Dook for $450,000 for pulling out of the last three years of a contract to play them. However, the judge ruled that the Dook football program was so bad and at such a non-competitive level, they were exempt from paying up. You can read the full article by clicking here.


The Weekend Update (Early Edition)...

As soon as our morning church service is over tomorrow, I am leaving on a Mission Trip with a group of my students. We are going to Mission Arlington. If you've never heard of this ministry, check out there website here. I have been working with them for about 10 years now and it is incredible to see the amazing life-change that is taking place in the DFW metroplex because of the ministry of Mission Arlington. But because of that, I am writing the weekend update early. It includes a little that's been done and a little that is still to be done. I should have internet during the week and be able to blog. I'll have some posts pre-set for the week at least. And you can always follow me on twitter (or keep up with what is going on using my twitter feed to the right). So here's what this weekend has and will look like:
  • Spent Friday morning resting and getting some last minute things done for the Mission Trip.
  • Friday afternoon/early evening Johanna and I went on a "day date." I love spending time with my wife! We ate some Red Lobster, did a little shopping for some things I needed for the trip, and watched Get Smart.
  • Today has been filled with lounging around, grabbing some Mexican food for lunch, and watching a marathon of the UFC Ultimate Fighter. In fact, as I write this I am sitting here drinking a Sonic Slush and watching the live finale.
  • Tomorrow will be crazy. We load up and leave right after church. With the caravan we're taking it will take us a good four to five hours to get to DFW. Then we'll get checked into the hotel and spend some time prepping for the week.


No Extra Charge...

About a week ago Johanna, myself, and some friends went and watched the movie Kung Fu Panda. It's a pretty good flick. I even caught myself laughing out loud a couple times. Jack Black does an excellent job with the voice of Po, the Panda. And if you like animated movies, this one is probably worth your time and money.

But there is a great quote in the begining of the movie that has had me thinking over the past several days. After a fight sequence, Po, the "Kung Fu Panda" makes this statement: There is no charge for awesomeness.

It's an instant classic line that gets a lot of laughs in the movie. But the principle of it is what has my brain churning.

How many times in our churches is "awesomeness" the exception instead of the rule? I hear tons of pastors say that they want the Sunday morning worship experience to "be the best hour of your week." But so many times, we over-promise and under-deliver.

But what if the church took Kung Fu Panda as their mission, their motto, their modus operandi? What if we planned and led every worship experience with the mindset that there is no charge for awesomeness. That is, that "awesomeness" or excellence was the bar. That an incredible, life-altering experience was the norm, the standard, and the expectation.

What if we strived to make our worship gatherings the most engaging, incredible experience possible? What if awesomeness was expected as the norm and not something that comes with an "additional charge"? What if our churches took serious the obligation we have to reach the lost and awesomeness became the reality instead of the exception? Just a thought...Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comment section.


Bad Boys & Bad Boys What Ya' Gonna Do...

I love the TV show Cops. In fact, it is one of my all-time favorites. Almost every time I pass a cop car I sing the theme song...Either that, or the Ridin' Dirty song made famous by a great episode of the TV show Rob & Big. But I digress...

Today I got to be involved in my 2nd "high speed" chase in the past year. Johanna and I, along with my interns, were on our way to San Marcos to grab lunch when I noticed the car in front of me driving recklessly. And by recklessly, I mean running red lights and stop signs, stopping at the lights for the school zones, and driving in the oncoming traffic lanes running people off the road. So I did what any safety-first, community watch-dog citizen would do. I called 911. I reported the driver and then I asked the operator this question: "Would you like me to follow them until the police get here?" I fully expected a no, but the operator responded, "If you don't mind that would be a big help." Let the chase begin.

What ensued was a 5 to 10 minute "not-so-high-speed" chase while waiting on the police to track us down. The lady continued to run stop signs, almost turned into a couple yards, and stopped in the middle of the road. Finally the operator asked me if I was in a grey van, which I was (the church van!), and told me that the cop was behind us and we could pull over and let him take over.

While this chase wasn't as high speed or thrilling as the last one, I could here the words to the theme song to Cops the whole time... "Bad boys, bad boys, Whatcha gonna' do? Whatcha gonna' do when they come for you?" Even if I did only hear it at 15 mph.


Beach Break Video Recap...

We had a fantastic time last week at Beach Break, our High School youth camp. We had a blast at the beach, were challenged to plunge deeper into a relationship with Jesus, and had the chance to grow closer together in our relationships with one another. The camp sure didn't go off without a hitch here or there, but overall it was a great week for our students. Here are some videos that recap each day of camp and one video of a couple of my interns showing that they have no idea how to skimboard. Check 'em out!

Monday Recap:

Tuesday Recap:

Wednesday Recap:

The Non-Skimboarding Interns:


Happy Father's Day...

Today is Father's Day. When it comes to father's in my life, I hit the lottery. I have a Heavenly Father that loves me unconditionally. He loves me so much he was willing to sacrifice his own son in order to have a relationship with me...even though there are times when I screw up and let him down. I have an earthly father who loves me. It's really easy for me to see God as a heavenly father who loves me unconditionally because that's what was modeled by my earthly father too. I grew up in a home where I was loved, encouraged, challenged, strengthened, and given the chance to develop character for life. I also have an incredible grandfather who has modeled so many life lessons for me and still teaches me things to this day. His strength, character, and approach to life inspire me to be the best I can be. My dad and papa are not only family to me...They're heroes. And I am blessed by God to have them in my life and to have been molded and shaped by these men. To all you dad's out there: Happy Father's Day! You never know the difference you can make in our lives!


The Happening Happened To Be Terrible...

I just got back from watching M. Night Shaymalan's newest movie The Happening. Jaron, Jmob, Dusty and myself all headed to the theater here in Lockhart to check it out. And 90 minutes later we had all come to a concensus...It is quite possibly the worst movie ever made. I had been a big fan of Shaymalan's past movies like The Village and Signs. But this movie was absolutely terrible. The acting was ok at best, the directing was about the same, and the set at times looked like it was part of a junior high One Act Play. On top of that, the storyline was the worst part of it all. Absolutely terrible. The Happening is nothing more than a 90 minute global warming commercial - and a poor one at that. If I wanted to get preached at for global warming I would've watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. But I didn't. So here's my advice if you're thinking about checking this movie out...Save your time and spend your money on gas. I wish I had taken my $10 and used it to put a couple gallons in my gas-guzzling SUV.


We are finally home from Beach Break! I made a detour away from the group yesterday and came home via Houston. If you look at a Texas map, you'll realize that Houston is way out of the way going from Port Aransas to Lockhart. But that is where my baby was! So I headed to Houston to pick Jo up and we got back around 10:00 last night. I am tired, exhausted, and completely spent from this week and am looking forward to just relaxing some this weekend - with no teenagers! I love my students, but I need a break...As far as camp goes, it was a pretty good week. I will be posting some videos that highlight the week this weekend. But right now I am just glad to be home and to be with Johanna. In light of being home, I thought I would include this video of the song "Home" by Michael Buble. The lyrics to the chorus are also below the video. Have a great weekend folks!

Let me go home
I’m just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

And I’m surrounded by
A million people I
I still feel alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I’ve had my run
Baby, I’m done
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It’ll all be all right
I’ll be home tonight
I’m coming back home



This is my last blog that has been set to post while we're at camp. I'll be back to my regular blogging as soon as we get home, which is this evening.

One of my former teachers from High School sent me this video in an email a couple weeks ago. I have been waiting to share it so here it is. It's a video of part of a message by Louie Giglio on Laminin. It's pretty incredible stuff and it shows just how BIG God is - even in the tiny, microscopic detail of human existence...It's about 9 minutes long, but it is well, well worth your time. Check it out...


Great Blog Post...

Here is another preset blog to post while I'm at the beach at youth camp. While you're reading this I'm soaking up the rays and having fun in the sun. (Actually I am probably counseling some teenager or running around trying to find one - but that's cool too!) Anyway, I read a great blog on Friday night and thought I'd pass it along. It is a GREAT post by Gary Lamb - church planter and pastor of Revolution Church in Canton, GA. Check out his blog! It's good stuff...Check out the post by clicking here. As someone who communicates regularly to a group of people, I completely understand where he is coming from. So many times people hear what they want rather than what it said. We're all guilty of it - myself included. I think churches would be a lot better off - and a lot more healthier and like God intended them to be - if people heard what pastors and leaders said, instead of what they want to here. Check out Gary's blog and his examples of this. Good stuff.


Beach Break - Day Two...

Here's a recap of day two of Beach Break. It's been a LONG day and I am exhausted from being out in the sun all day. I've got to speak at the morning Bible study so I am about to hit the sack. But here's the highlights from today and a few pics.

  • The morning got off to a rough start. We had just started singing in morning worship when the sprinkler system went off right where we were sitting. It's pretty cool to do an outdoor worship time since we're at the beach...We just never thought of the sprinklers. The end result had us sitting around the pool, so check out the pics below to see it.
  • Loved hanging out with my students this afternoon. I spent 4 1/2 hours out at the beach and pool today chillin' with students. Needless to say, I am a little tired.
  • Worship seemed to fly by tonight. I was just getting into it when the band winded down...Not sure what that was all about, but it seemed fast to me.
  • We had a great church group time. God is really working in the lives of some of our students and I am JACKED to see that! Keep praying that God would move this week.
  • I miss Johanna. I know I've said that alot this week, but I really am not on my "A game" without her. I love you babe!

It's 11:30 and I still have to go over my notes for tomorrow morning. Pillow, here I come...


Beach Break - Day One...

We're here! And the Pelican has free wifi so here's a recap of day one - bulletin style:

  • We had planned to leave the church at 11:00 AM. Everyone was loaded up BEFORE 10:40 and we finally pulled out about 5 minutes early. That NEVER happens in student ministry so it shows everyone was ready to hit the beach.
  • Just in case you're wondering there is absolutely nowhere to stop and eat for a group of 50+ people in between Lockhart and Port Aransas if you take Hwy 80 and Hwy 181. We didn't stop for lunch until after 1:30 and our choices were Sonic, the world's slowest and crappiest Whataburger, and HEB...Yes, HEB the grocery store - without a deli.
  • Got to Port A around 3:30, unloaded and checked in to the Pelican, and hit the ground running. We had orientation, divided our students into their Tribes (small groups) for the week, ate supper, and had a worship service and small group time already
  • Got to spend some time chattin' with some of my students on the trip down. I LOVE to see how God is at work in our students and in this ministry!
  • I miss my wife terribly! I absolutely LOVE doing ministry together with her. And it totally sucks that she can't be here this week. Please pray for us - we've got some heavy things on our plate right now.
  • Looking forward to seeing God work in the lives of our students this week. But for now, I need some sleep!

A Little Laughter...

I've got this post set to publish while we are in route to the beach for our high school Youth Camp. It really is gonna' be a great week for our students. Keep us all in your prayers this week. We are praying that God would literally change old things to new and take lives that are dead and make them alive. We want to see students who are far from God come to a realization of how much God loves them.

In the meantime, here are a few vidoes to make you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. Hopefully these clips give you a big dose of it.


What's Nic Up To?...

I'm getting ready to go to the beach for youth camp tomorrow. Like I previously said, I'm not sure what the internet situation will be. I have some blogs already set to post this week. But if you want to know what I'm up to all week then you should follow me on twitter.

Twitter is a social networking device that allows you to answer the question, "What are you doing?" in 140 characters or less. You can use it from the web or your mobile phone so that's how I'll be updating this week. If you want to create your own twitter account and begin to follow me, go here, set up a FREE account, and then search my username - nicburleson. If that's too complicated look to the right of this page and you'll see my twitter updates. You can check back here or just click the "Follow me on Twitter" link and it will take you to a page to set up your free account.

That'll keep ya' in the know of everything that's going on in my world - even when I'm on the beach and away from my laptop!


Busy Week and Beach Camp...

This week was supposed to be a "light" week heading into a crazy week that starts this Sunday. Sunday we leave for Beach Break, which is our High School Youth Camp in Port Aransas, TX. Well, this week has been anything but light. It has been crazy-busy. We have had a ton of stuff to do to get ready for camp, our Vacation Bible School was this week, we kicked off our summer series at The Attic on Wednesday, and I've had tons of other personal stuff going on on top of that...It's made for an insane, tough, hard week.

Sunday we leave for Port Aransas for a week of camp with our High School Students. We'll be meeting up with The Connection Church from Kyle, TX and First Baptist Church Pflugerville for the week. It should be a great week for our students. Pray for us. Pray that God would move and that students and adults alike would encounter Him in a fresh and real way.

Not sure what the internet situation will be while we're at camp. If you don't have this blog set to an RSS Feeder then check back here from time to time next week. If we have internet access at camp I'm gonna' try to get some daily updates up. If not, I'll try to have some stuff set to post next week while I'm gone...


A Special Day...

Today is a special day. It is my dad's birthday. I always say that I won the parent lottery. My parents really are incredible. As a Youth Pastor, I have seen the best and the worst of parents - and mine are the cream of the crop. The more I see of typical parenting, the more I realize how incredibly blessed I was and am to have the parents God's given me.

And my dad is one of my heroes. He has made countless sacrifices to provide for our family and to offer my brother and I an opportunity for an amazing life. He has always been there to encourage me, support me, and challenge me to be my best. Growing up as a kid and then a teenager, I can't remember him ever missing a football game or a little dribblers tournament. He's always not only told me he loved me, but has shown it by his actions. I hope to be half as incredible as a parent as my dad and mom are.

Happy Birthday Pops!!! I love ya!


Praying For Your Pastors...

I read several blogs. But there are some that I DEVOUR. One of those is the blog of Perry Noble. I think he is one of the most daring, creative, challenging leaders in the church today. His writing and teaching stretch me. Tuesday he posted a blog about praying for your pastor. In fact, much of this is a summary of what Perry wrote. While I am not the Senior Pastor of our church, it got me thinking of some general ways you can pray for me and for your pastors at your church. As a pastor, let me just say this: We COVET your prayers. We NEED your prayers. Here are just a few things you can pray for me and others:

  • My Relationship With God - Far too many times we, as pastors, are really good at giving advice to others about their walk with God while allowing our ministry, work, and busy lives to cause us to neglect our own. There is not a conference, a program, or a ministry idea that can replace my time with God. Pray that my passion for God would burn deeply and that I would lead out of the overflow of my personal walk with Him.

  • My Family - No one - and I mean NO ONE - understands what a pastor's family goes through except those who have lived it. We live in glass houses. We are constantly scrutinized, criticized, and critiqued. Our wives and children are under crazy expectations of perfection and the pressure is immense. If you want to BLESS your pastors, pray for their families. And pray that your pastor would put his family before his ministry and the church.

  • Spiritual Warfare - Perry sums this one up great. He says "you would not believe what a pastor faces in regards to spiritual warfare. There are things that have happened to me that I have never preached about (or blogged about) because, well, they are intense." Pray that our walk with Jesus builds in us encouragement, hope, and freedom. And pray that we have the strength, courage, and character to resist temptation and fight against Satan's schemes.

  • My Friends - It is very difficult to have friendships that are real and authentic as a pastor. Too many times people expect you to be perfect and are completely shocked when you show that you are just a normal person and make mistakes. Pray that God places people in your pastors' paths that provide them with meaningful, encouraging friendships.

  • Rest and Health - Ministry is HARD WORK. It is intense work. Just this week I have put in almost 30 hours in two days. Our lifestyles and callings cause us to live extremely busy lives. Pray that your pastors' rest would be multiplied. Pray that his health would be blessed. Pray that rest would become a priority. And then encourage your pastor to take practical steps to rest and support him in that effort.

There are tons of other things that you could pray for me and for other pastors. You could pray for God to give us wisdom, for God's blessing in our lives and ministries, for God's provision for us, for the ability to faithfully lead the church...The list could go on and on. But here's the important part: PRAY. As pastors, we need your prayers. So just take the time each day to do it.


Wanna' Buy A Cookbook?...

One of the things that you can rest assured of in a growing student ministry is that you will NEVER have enough money in the budget to accomplish what needs to be done. I've been in student ministry for 12 years now and my budget growth has never kept up with my ministry growth. So from time to time we have to find ways to raise money to allow crucial ministry to occur. Let me just clarify this: I HATE fund-raisers. But, like I said, we just have to do them from time to time.

Now is one of those times. We have put together our own cookbook. We are doing the ENTIRE thing in house - from the recipes, to the printing, to the selling. Our youth workers and students are doing it all. And all the proceeds from these cookbooks help our students attend summer youth camps, go on mission trips where they serve others, and help us to reach those far from God with the life-altering love of Jesus.

So if you have an extra $15 bucks laying around and are just dying for a new recipe for that next big dinner you'll put on, hit me up and we'll send one your way. And I know some of you never put on big dinners...but you know someone who does. What a great suprise!

At the end of the day, the main thing is that your $15 bucks helps students get a better understanding of who Jesus is and who he wants them to be...And that is a deal you can't pass up!


I saw this on a link from Perry Noble's blog. It's hard to believe that there are people in today's world filled with so much hatred. And unfortunately for those of us who are really trying to reach our neighbors and our world with the love of Jesus, these people call themselves Christians...But I guess they'd never call me one. After all, I am a sports fan, have even been known to lie a couple times, and even stole a thing or two earlier in my life. I've already broke 3 of the first 4. Ugh.


The Weekend Update...

Here's a glimpse into this weekend with the Burleson's.
  • Friday I played golf with Jaron, Jmob, and Dusty. I had no clue it could take almost 3 hours to play nine holes...wow.

  • Friday night Jo, myself, Jaron and Jenna all headed over to the Pittman's for a little cookout and swimming...The Pittman's weren't home, except for the boys, but they graciously allowed us to use their pool and grill...Good sausage and bratwurst!

  • Saturday Johanna and I met my parents and Papa for lunch at a new restaurant in Lampasas. It's called the Wild Goose Steakhouse and it was pretty tasty.

  • Saturday evening, us, all of my interns, and the Horton family all had a cookout and swimming at the Pittman's. This time they were home and actually had invited us and planned on us coming!

  • Sunday morning consisted of a pancake breakfast at church as part of our kick-off to a new year of small groups.
  • Sunday afternoon 6 of us (youth workers and interns) spent about three hours typing recipes for our student ministry cookbook fund-raiser...I despise fundraisers, but that's a whole 'notha blog altogether.
  • And for all of you who are just dying to know the BIG news...It's coming. Just remember that patience is a virtue...And for now, you have to wait.

It's not quite Sunday evening yet, so the weekend could have more in store...but I doubt it, so I'm gonna' go ahead and post this now.