Praying about a New Direction for this Blog

When I first started this blog back in 2007, my goal was to keep in touch with my financial and prayer supporters, as I started serving at RCC. I shared successes and struggles, as to help connect with those who cared about me. As our church became financially independent, and did not need me to raise funds anymore, the blog evolved into a place where I also shared book reviews, ministry resources, youth ministry tips, conference notes, marriage thoughts, tech-stuff, and more. It’s really become a “hodgepodge” of blog posts.

blog update

So, it recently crossed my mind that maybe I should clean things up a bit and give this site more of a streamlined purpose. I don’t yet know what it will look like, but I think it may go back to being a place where I will write more about me, my life, and my ministry. I think it will again become a place where I can share stories that feel too long for Twitter or Facebook — a place where I can write freely about my life.

Where will my writings about ministry, marriage, and other stuff like that go? I’m not yet sure. Yvette and I have thought about starting a marriage-focused blog to prepare for our book. I’ve considered writing about student ministry for an established site, but I could also see myself starting a new one. I’ve also really felt strongly about doing a site specifically focused on helping students and parents in their effort to reach out to others experiencing tragedy. This has stemmed from my experience with that in my own ministry recently.

Yes, I know. This all seems pretty overwhelming, and that’s where you come in. Please keep all this in your prayers. And if you feel like God is telling you to tell me something, please pass it along. I want to follow Him, and I want to make sure none of this is just for me. I know I am nothing without Him, so I want to make sure I do what He wants.

Anything is Possible? Not Exactly…

keepcalm-anythingispossibleThe other night, as I was watching the Billboard Music Awards, one of the award recipients was sharing some words of wisdom during her acceptance speech that caught my attention. She used a phrase that I have heard many times before. In fact, maybe it’s a phrase you have used.

“Anything is possible.”

Now, I am sure this lady and all others have the best of intentions when they share this hopeful encouragement, but I’ve got to tell you it just isn’t a completely true statement. No matter how much I hope for it or plan accordingly, I’m never going to flap my arms and start flying like a bird. I’m also never going to be a different race. While these examples are a bit of hyperbole, I think you get the point. Anything is not possible.

So, why do we tell people this sort of thing? Why do we fill young people’s minds with lies like this? I really do think it comes from our best intentions. This particular time, it came from a lady who grew up in a rough neighborhood with the world seemingly telling her she couldn’t do anything, but she rose above it, and she accomplished much. Therefore, she wants others to know to chase after their dreams, because “anything is possible.”

Continue reading

Book Writing Update (May 17, 2014)

We have had several people asking recently about our book we mentioned we want to write a couple months ago. Well, here is the update… We’re still wanting to do it, and we still feel we are called to do it, but we don’t really know where to start. We’ve been hearing differing opinions about what to do, and we’re still trying to pray through them all and seek God.

One of the things we might end up doing is starting to blog together, specifically about marriage stuff that will eventually roll into the book. I’ve been writing on this specific blog for just over six years, and I’ve always struggled to find the words to describe it to people, because it ends up being a random collection of my life and ministry things. If we were to write only about marriage stuff on a separate blog, maybe that would clean this one up a bit more, and maybe it would help us gather something of a following on that specific topic.

Continue reading

Say YES to People Who Say No to Church (OC14)

Image via Twitter

Image via Twitter

There are some people we often overlook in the church. Jeff Henderson spent years as the sports marketing director for Chik-fil-A before becoming a lead pastor. During that time, he and his wife led a small group Bible study. It was there where he met a lady who had never heard that God loved her before. That shocked him so much that he began to have an extremely strong desire to tell people that message every day of his life.

We need to say yes to those who have said no to…

  • What you and I believe.
  • The church.
  • Jesus.

Many people will say something like, “I’m up for saying yes to them, but what about me?” In response, Jeff says, “You will never experience what the church can do for you until you have experienced what the church can do through you.”

Jeff gains some insight from Paul’s story in Athens (Acts 17):

Continue reading

Say YES to Helping Marriages Win (OC14)

Photo from whatisorange.org

Photo from whatisorange.org

The concept of a “bait and switch” is common today. Doug Fields, in his main session at the Orange Conference 2014 says that he experienced a bait and switch when he first went into ministry. He stated that he eventually realized that he cannot adequately care for students unless he cared for their parents. Specifically, he needed to care for marriages. It’s not uncommon for a bad marriage to affect the entire family and make it bad. For example, when parents are having a hard time showing each other grace, how can they show their kids how to express grace?

Doug says that when we say yes to the next generation, we say yes to helping marriages win. He goes on, “The best organization in the world is the one God gave the world in Acts — the church.” Often, though, our churches aren’t really prepared. The strategies of providing a book, yearly conference, sermon, or even a series is not enough. That would never be enough for a student ministry, so why do we think it would be enough for married people?

Continue reading

Say YES to Not Having it All Together (OC14)

Photo from whatisorange.org

Photo from whatisorange.org

Anxiety and depression is more and more of an issue today among teens. We have been hearing about it in our youth group, and I am sure we are not alone. Perry Noble, at the Orange Conference 2014, addressed these issues in his main session talk.

We are extremely sensitive to our appearance. We have products that will suck us in and tighten us up for the one purpose that people are very self-conscious about how they look. Perry told a hilarious story of how he tried on “spanx.” He struggled to get the shirt on, but he struggled even more to get it off. Many times, people get stuck in their problems, and they feel like they cannot get out of it.

Perry said our goal should be that “we, as leaders, will create an environment where we regularly tell people, ‘It’s ok to be not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way.’”

Continue reading

The Power of Story (OC14)

Photo via National Community Church

Photo via National Community Church

There is amazing power in a story. Heather Zempel knows this. Her workshop at the Orange Conference 2014. She started out focusing on the story from Mark 2 about the group of friends who transported their friend to Jesus through the roof of a house. So often, we skip right over the fact that these guys dug a big hole through someone’s house to do this. Heather talked about picturing Jesus down below with stuff falling on his head. Then, she goes on to point out two important things in this story:

  • The man’s mat was the symbol of everything wrong in this guy’s life.
  • The faith of the man’s friends allowed him to walk away with a new life.

So often, Heather teaches, we focus on a lot of the morality of the Bible, but we miss the context of the story. The story of the Bible should have a huge impact on our lives. It should ignight us to go after a better way of living.

Continue reading

“Change This Baby” Parody Song for Volunteers (OC14)

Here is a parody song the Orange Conference 2014 did for volunteers based on “Call Me Baby” called “Change this Baby.” Sorry I missed the first part.

Leading Through Crisis, Tragedy, and Trauma (OC14)

orange2014_brooklynlindsey

Image via Twitter

Brooklyn Lindsey is a middle school pastor at a church in Florida. She started off her workshop at Orange Conference 2014 by asking the audience if they have experienced crisis within the last week. After most everyone in the room raised their hand, she moved on to share a word of encouragement for everyone.

“You are not superhuman, but you are supernaturally able,” Brooklyn starts. You are probably not able to do things that superheroes do to save people by flying in and saving the day, but you do have the ability to respond in a way that is supernatural. The church is a lighthouse people often run to in times of crisis. Brooklyn urges to stand strong, because people will run to us in hard times. She then said, “We might not be the best in every situation, but we can be our best.”

Continue reading

Say YES to Reimagining What You Do (OC14)

mark_batterson Mark Batterson kicked off Thursday morning at Orange Conference 2014 with a message to say yes to reimagining what you do. This is so important, as we often get stuck inside our boxes.

He started by sharing several stories from history when people reimagined the process. The stories ranged from war to surgery to the Olympics. Mark then said, “If you want to repeat history, do it the way it’s always been done. If you want to make history, do it the way it’s never been done before.” Before he went on, he said that it must start internally. If you want to pray for something or someone, pray for yourself. Pray for God to change you, and give you what you need to approach things in a new way to reach new people.

Continue reading