I am not ashamed

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed.  The die is cast; I have stepped over the line; the decision has been made; I’m a disciple of His; I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or sit still.  My past is forgiven, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.  I’m finished and done with low-living, sight-walking, small-planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, “chincy-giving” and dwarfed goals.  I no longer need prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity.  I don’t have to be first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.  I now live by grace, walk by faith, learn by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by His power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my guide reliable, and my mission clear.  I cannot be brought back, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of my Lord Jesus.  I am a disciple of His.  I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me.  And when He comes for His own, I don’t want Him to have any trouble recognizing me…I want my colors to be clear!

-found on the cot of an African native after his martyrdom

who owes who?

I was talking to another youth pastor this week about his team structure. We started talking about the role of interns, and he told me that he doesn’t pay his. He said, “If we pay them, they owe us. But if they’re working for free, then we owe them.”

I’m not thinking about yanking the paychecks away from Katy, Blake or Erin (ok maybe Blake). But I am definitely compelled by that sort of leadership philosophy.

I’m always intrigued by backwards thinking, especially when it comes to leadership, evangelism, and personal hygiene.

Heedless of Danger

I was reading a post over on Ben Arment’s blog about the sociological factors that are involved in the expansion of the Christian religion, and it reminded me of this quote from Rodney Stark’s book “The Rise of Christianity“. I’ll include the preceding paragraph so you’ll know the context:

“At the height of the second great epidemic, around 260, in the Easter letter already quoted above, Dionysius wrote a lengthy tribute to the heroic nursing efforts of local Christians, many whom lost their lives while caring for others.”

Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead…

When everyone else ran for the hills in fear, the Christians followed the Golden Rule. When everyone else was about self-preservation, Christians were about everyone else.

Perhaps the ultimate hope of the local church has very little to do with marketing. Perhaps it will have more to do with the small things we do with great love. Perhaps it was a good idea for Matthew Barnett to use an old hospital for their Dream Center.

100 + You

100+youMy church has listed the 100+ ways that we are serving our community and some other areas on the globe. At last count we were supporting 95 missionary families and a slew of para-church organizations. From goats to bibles to shoes, there are SO MANY WAYS for our church family to plug in!

I’m so excited to see these initiatives grow. God is doing something remarkable at Calvary- continuing to bless longstanding efforts, and giving our leadership eyes to see new opportunities.

My hope is to have high school students plugged into a handful of these. We certainly don’t have the manpower to join each and every one of them, but we can certainly do some damage to a few of them!

Check out the list on the site! Can you guess which one I am the most excited about getting high schoolers involved with? If you guess it right I’ll buy ya lunch (even if you live in the UK).

the Sherman family

Last Sunday night a fire broke out at the home of one of our pastors, John Sherman. The fire caused over a million dollars in damage to the 130-year-old home. Linds and I went over to join the cleanup effort a couple days ago. Sifting through the charred remains of the house was surreal. Micah, their son who is a part of my youth ministry, told me it felt like he was watching a movie about someone else.

I’m so impressed with the way that the Sherman family has responded to the fire. They’ve set such an amazing example of what it means to have your hope and perspective rooted in Christ.

Several TV stations and newspapers have been tracking the story. Here’s an article that the OC Register wrote that does a great job of sharing the Sherman family’s response to the fire: “After devastating fire, pastor finds hope and help”.

the birds and the bees

I was five years old when I got “the talk“. Yep… five. My older brother Derek was there, I remember that much. He was nine.

My brother and I were about to move in with my dad, and my mom wanted to make sure that we got the story straight before we got there. She knew that my dad wasn’t going to talk to us about it (which was true, he never did).

I have a huge bucket of memories from those days, but I can’t remember one word my mom said to us. Not one word. I blacked out it all out. Maybe a counselor will find it some day…

Tomorrow night I’m beginning a teaching series with our highschool students called “Bow Chika Wow Wow“. It’s not really about sex though. More about our humanity… the temptations and urges that can jack up our lives if misused and abused.

So… when did YOU get “the talk”?

Parents… when do you plan on giving “the talk”?

And… shouldn’t it be more than one talk?

why I am a youth pastor

I was vicious in high school.

I hated school. I hated authority. I might have hated you. I was really good at hate.

But… here’s the thing- I think I had more passion then than I do now.

I was very good at what I did back then.

I was remarkably destructive.

And that’s partly why I am a pastor to high school students.

Because teenagers are capable of causing so much damage.

I want to redirect all of that destructive potential towards the things of G0d.

I want to give them something better to be angry about.

I want to tell every parent that comes to my office to be optimistic, because I know that their child is in God’s hand, no matter how far they run.

—-this concludes my late-night rant

how does that make you feeeel?

how does that make you feel

Last week we finished up a pretty heavy teaching series at our Wednesday night gathering… so last night we decided to pause. We reviewed the past few weeks of topics, and then asked the students a question or two: How does that make you feel? How does this all sit with you? If you had to pick a word or two that would describe your spiritual posture right now what would it be?

We covered the room in butcher paper, played three songs on the iPod, let them grab a marker and go. Here are a few of the things they said they were feeling:

loving, warm, happy, confident, guilty, irritated, fooled, tired, stressed, despondent, sexy, spastic, forlorn (wow), betrayed, confused, exuberant, victorious, refreshed, appreciative, hungover, dooped, detached, forgotten, overwhelmed, amazed, ashamed, alone, beastlike, unwanted, encouraged, whatever, damaged, blessed, boxed in, uneasy, guarded, happy and sad at the same time.


That’s just a handful of them… there were dozens more. All in one room. All hearing one message… but all receiving it from completely unique places.