Friday, October 22, 2010


This week we started a new series in our High School Ministry called "Reach". This year we changed up the way we do our message series; kinda. We didn't change much. We still preach from the Bible, our goal is to communicate to students in a way they understand, and we want to provide practical application they can take away to enable life change. The main thing we changed was that we are trying to do more "series" that are shorter.

For example: normally we kick off the school year with a 6-8 series. This year we started with a four week series. Instead of doing longer series that provide more depth we are trying to do shorter series that provide more a broad base. In short this allows us to teach students more of the Bible and help them to dig into areas of their interest.

Currently we are doing a two-week series called "Reach". The heart of reach is something that I am super passionate about. Ever since I gave my life to Christ I have had a desire to tell everyone about the one who radically changed my life (if you knew me before you know what I'm talking about). I believe that the God we serve is still actively involved in the business of life change and desires to see all men the truth of living for Christ. Prior to this series our intern, Evan Faircloth, took a two-week series on HELP. Evan spoke about our call, as Christians, to help a world that is in desperate need of a savior.

Part of the reach series we "borrowed" an idea from Kurt Johnson at Saddleback and did this video. I think it helped to communicate the heart of God in a new way. I hope that you don't think I am being disrespectful to God in any sense; that is not the intent of this video. The goal is to bring the truth of God in a relevant way that students are familiar with. Here is our version of Luke 15:1-7

Watch video here

(youtube won't allow me to embed it in here; so you're gonna have to go to youtube and check it)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Be Kind"

As a youth pastor it is becoming increasingly difficult to find something going on in the world that I want to get involved in. I mean there are some great organizations out there but it seems like finding something with honest morals, character and integrity is tough to find now a days!

There is a foundation out there that I have come to know well and is something that I just want to partner with, tell everyone about and buy the t-shirt for me and my kid! Its called the Josh Stevens Foundations and its based on a moto that one young boy chose to live out. I never had the opportunity to meet Josh (I bet I would love him) but have I been able to meet his family and multiple others who knew him personally and he is the kind of person that makes you want to be a better person.

Unfortunately Josh's life was cut short; but the cool thing is that this kid is leaving a legacy here on earth and his message is inspiring me (a 30 year-old man) to be a better a person. Its not a super gnarly message with intricate words that is tough to follow. I haven't seen something crazy that you have to sign to be a part of this movement; in fact the message is so simple that you can read it on the front of my daughter's t-shirt "Be Kind..."

This is the moto that Josh lived by. I've heard stories from the students I work with about what a great kid Josh was and its true! They don't have to say much really because I can see that Josh was a great kid by the conversations I have with his sister (family knows best). But more than any of that I see that he had a lasting impact on the world with the message he chose to live his life by and that message is still alive and well in my community.

I hope one day that my children can leave a legacy. I hope that one day my children will be people that others want to model their lives after. I hope that one day my children will do something in the world that makes it want to be a better place. Until that day happens I am going to encourage my kids to follow the moto that Josh left here for us "Be Kind..." I think that is the right thing to do right now.

It seems appropriate to add this video that the local news station did about Josh. If a picture is worth a 1000 words this one is priceless:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Changing the face of discipleship

Discipleship is my not my natural bend as a Christian.  I would prefer to be out and about sharing the good news with people than sitting around a table and leading a small group.  Now I say that but something inside in me is changing.  Starting back in May I began to think that we (explode high school ministry) needed to revamp the way we are leading small groups.

Through months of thinking, planning, and praying we have successfully done that.  Last week was week four of our new small group format and I am totally loving it more than I could imagine!  I don't think I am naturally wired to lead a small group, which doesn't mean I am exempt from the call to disciple, but we have about 10 leaders that love to disciple students and we have turned them loose to make that happen!

We chose to use the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan for this session and the book is rocking the way I think about Christ and helping students understand more about this God they have chosen to follow.  The format is different than we have ever used; this is the first time we have all our small groups using the same format since 2005 and its working!  We moved all the small groups onto the church campus for the 10 weeks of this study to get some unity and critical mass going.  We are also seeing how girls and guys relate being in the same room during a study.

The leaders are the ones who make it!  The leaders are the ones who create the environment at the their table; they are the ones being youth pastors to the students at their table.  The leaders are the ones who are praying for their students, inviting them and even picking them up so they can come and its working!  This is the first time we are not basing success on numbers but health and its so freeing to see Jesus work in that room on Sunday nights.  If you haven't had a chance to come to small group; hope to see you this week at 4pm in the Student Ministry room!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Image is Everything (but really false)

Ever since I can remember image has been huge for me!  I have done my best, since about the 9th grade, to look my best in dress and self image (no one looks good in middle school and that is given).  It started with making sure I had the "cool" snowboard and snowboard boots.  Then I needed to make sure I got a "cool" truck when I was in High School.  It didn't stop there; I always wanted the "cool" girlfriend but the sad thing is that I didn't fit in any of their class bracket.  My family was never poor but we were never rich; we had food on the table and a roof over our head, we played sports, we had money to go on vacation but we never had that much.

When I first game my life to Christ I remember looking into my closet one day and thinking that I need to get rid of some of these clothes; especially my Bad Religion t-shirt.  I never really cared what others thought about me (it sounds contradicting and I know that) but I always wanted to make sure that in my mind I looked how I would prefer to look.

This image has stuck with me into my adulthood and recently has been bugging me deeply.  I constantly think about how I look and want to make sure that I look like I have it all put together.  What's been bugging me is that I have a great family, a wonderful wife, two beautiful kids and a growing relationship with Christ so why does this bother me?  I think I figured it out the other night on the plane when this verse came to mind:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Matthew 23:25-26
This verse is it!  Jesus nails it on the head and brings the truth to my situation; I just needed to be open to seeing it in scripture!  See the problem for me is that I need to focus more on my inside being taken care of and less about what my outside looks like.  One thing that I have learned, and haven't totally figured out yet is how to really connect well with Jesus in this new stage of my life.  This is what I am going to work on now; connecting well with God being a husband, dad and pastor.  My focus will not be on how to be the best pastor but how to be the best follower of Christ that leads and loves his family well; I think the rest will fall into place when I focus on that.