It's Camp Time Again...

Monday morning (tomorrow) I head out with a group of about 20 students to Pre-Teen Camp at Highland Lakes Camp & Conference Center on Lake Travis just outside of Austin. It has been a long, long, LONG time since I've been a sponsor for Pre-Teen Camp. In fact, as soon as I could con someone at Goldthwaite to go for me, I checked that annual duty off to volunteers. (Thanks Speegles!) They were a lot better at it than me anyway. But with a lack of sponsors this week, I'm packing up my bags in the morning and heading back to camp. I'll have the chance to spend some time with some of our younger students who are just now coming into the youth group this summer so that'll be fun. And our group of kids going is a great group. But I'm not looking forward to two things: Missing Johanna & Hayden and the ridiculous HEAT we've been having in Central Texas. But even in the crazy-devil-like Texas summer heat, it ought to be a great week for our kids...and that's what it's all about. So pray that God moves in our group this week and that our kids are shown and reminded of how much God loves them.


"And that's a wrap!"...

I got a Flip camera for Chritmas and have been using it a good bit since Hayden's been born. Last night I uploaded my first couple videos onto Youtube. As you can tell, I'm not meant for filming, directing, producing, or editing video. In fact, I should probably just stick to watching. But with such a great star in the films, I had to share these videos of Hayden. Plus, grandpas, grandmas, aunts, and uncles don't care about how good the video editing is...they just want to see Hayden! Check 'em out.


God Is...

At The Connection Church this month, we've joined with thousands of churches and over 1 million Christ-followers for One Prayer. All month we have been talking about the characteristics and attributes of God by completing the statement "God is ______." This Sunday I had the opportunity to share the message "God is Father." When you've got a little time, check it out!

One Prayer - God is Our Father from The Connection Church on Vimeo.


What's Next?...

I've noticed something about Hayden since he came into the world just seven weeks ago and that is this: He's grown! He is growing like crazy! He's gained weight, he's gotten longer, his cheeks and face have filled out, and he's already outgrown newborn clothes! But really, that shouldn't shock any of us, right? Why? Because we expect babies to grow. We don't call 911 or rush them to a specialist just because they are growing. It is natural. In fact, it would be unnatural if the opposite occurred...if they never grew. Then we would know there was a problem!

When it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ, far too many times we are willing to settle for the unnatural. When we quit growing in our walk with God, we are far to willing to overlook what obviously is something unnatural and unhealthy. After all, it is natural to grow. When you go out to a restuarant, no one expects to see a 30 year old man being fed a bottle and having his diaper changed by his mother. That's not natural! Then why settle for a lack of growth in our spiritual life?

Maybe you're in the midst of a growing time in your walk with God. Or maybe you've hit a wall and it seems like growth just isn't happening. Either way, as you evaluate your relationship with Christ, asking yourself the following questions and honestly evaluating your answers can be like adding Miracle Grow to your spiritual journey. So ask yourself these questions, be honest with your answers, and if growth isn't taking place, then make the needed changes to see it happen!

5 Questions To Evaluate Your Current Relationship With Christ:
  1. Am I Following? Jesus' basic call on our lives is to follow him. How well are you playing follow the leader when it comes to your walk with Christ? (Read John 1:43 & Matthew 9:9)
  2. Am I Obeying? Are there areas in my life where I am being disobedient to how God has called me to live? Does my life match his Word? (Read James 1:22 and 1 John 2:6)
  3. Am I Growing? What steps am I taking to spend time growing closer to God? Do I spend time in His Word and in prayer on a daily basis? Do I have people in my circle of friends who are encouraging me to follow Jesus more closely. (Read Colossians 1:10)
  4. Am I Serving? Am I using the talents, gifts, and abilities that God has given me to servfe others and to connect others with God? (Read Mark 10:42-45)
  5. Am I Sharing? Am I using the relationships and conversations God has given me to point people to Him and His love? Am I actively investing in relationships that connect the people I love with the God I love? (Read Matthew 4:18-20)

When babies grow, no one is shocked. Why? Because growth is natural. It is the lack of growth that is unnatural. The same is true in our walk with God. God wants to see us grow to become more like Jesus. Have you found ways to "add Miracle Grow" to your walk with God? What are some things you do to see healthy growth happen in your spiritual walk? Feel free to share your experiences and comment away!


Beach Bash Recap...

Johanna, Hayden, and I spent last week on the beach at Port Aransas, TX for the 5th Annual Beach Bash Youth Camp. I started Beach Bash back in the day when I was serving as the Youth Pastor at FBC Goldthwaite. Over the years, it’s taken on different shapes and sizes, as we’ve combined with various churches and groups. But every year one thing has not changed and that is our vision of using the draw of the beach to reach unchurched students and get them to come to camp with our various churches to hear that God loves them and wants a relationship with them.

This year’s Beach Bash was probably the best one yet. Around 200 students from six churches spent a week hanging out in the pool, lounging on the beach, getting sunburned, and most importantly joining together to experience the life-changing power of God. Throughout the week we saw God do some incredible things as students’ lives were forever changed. God took dead things and made them alive by drawing students into a relationship with Jesus Christ. He restored broken relationships. He poured his love and grace out on hurting teenagers. He gave hope to the hopeless and peace to the troubled. God showed up…BIG TIME. And there were tons of lives changed. We still don’t have the final numbers, but with what we already know, almost 30 students gave their lives to Christ for the very first time and almost 60 other students made some other type of significant commitment in their spiritual walk. Beach Bash 2009 was incredible. And now that the sunburn is fading, I can’t wait until next year!


Happy Birthday Pops...

Today is my dad's birthday. I have the most incredible parents in the world. They would literally do anything to see my brother and I and our families safe, happy, and secure. I've worked with kids and teenagers for my entire adult life and I've observed parents of every shape and kind. I always say that I won the parent lottery and the more I minister to teenagers and kids, the more I see it is true. My dad has always been there for us, put his family and our needs before himself, sacrificed for our needs and provided a model of what it means to not only be a biological parent, but to be a father and a dad. Now that I'm a dad myself, I appreciate his model of fatherhood even more. I appreciate the sacrifices and love he's always shown us. He really is not only a remarkable man, but a remarkable father...and those are few and far between. So Happy Birthday Pops! I love you and hope I can be half the dad to Hayden that you were and are to Justin and I!


Forever Young...

I had to share this video and brag on my boy, Michael Pittman. Michael just graduated from Lockhart High School and was my worship leader for the better part of the almost 3 years we were in Lockhart. He is easily one of the most gifted and talented musicians I've ever worked with. And when he leads worship he's not just playing music. He takes seriously his call to lead people into the presence of God through music. It has been awesome to watch him grow and mature as a young man and a worship leader. At his graduation service he covered the song "Forever Young" by Stoney Larue. I think he knocked it out of the park, but I'll let you judge for yourself. Check it out: