Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Putting the “ING” in Christmas

It's not only the season "to be jolly" but there are a few other things that we can do. Here's a few.

Tis the Season for…
Luke 2:4-7
He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

Today I counted that over the Holiday Season I will attend 12 Christmas parties. Even as a Pastor it's easy to lose focus of what Christmas is all about. If were not careful it becomes more about parties and presents then about the birth of the Jesus, the Savior of the world. The Media has wagged a war to take Christ out of CHRISTmas and public school teachers can no longer say things like "Christmas Tree" but have to say "Tree of Illumination". We have to fight back and REMEMBER to keep Christ in the center of Christmas. After all, "He's the reason for the season!"

Colossians 3:15-16
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

This is a great time of year to appreciate how blessed we are. We all have a lot to be thankful for. Here's just a few things that I appreciate in my life: my salvation, my wife, my family, my friends, my job, my church, my health...I could go on all day. When we focus on what we DO have, what we don't have does not seem so important. This Christmas be aware of your blessings.

Acts 20:35
And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Matthew 20:28
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.

The true meaning of Christmas is the GIFT that God gave us in his son Jesus. The most famous scripture in the bible says, "For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only son." When we remember what Christmas is all about and appreciate what we have the next step is to start giving it away to others. Albert Einstein said, “The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” What a joy it is to be able to bless other this time of year.

Lamentations 3:40
Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD.

With New Year's resolutions just around the corner it's always good to look back over the year and reflect on what's happened, what you've learned, how you've grown, etc. Then it's great to set goals for the New Year on things you want to do and new ways God wants to grow you.

Make the Holiday Season great by putting the "ING" in Christmas!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time Flys

It really is crazy how quick the time has flown by this past year. It's been a big year for me. I moved to Springfield, MO in August of 2007 to be the Student Pastor at Central Assembly, got married November 10, 2007, and bought my first home August 22, 2008. God has been so faithful to me and has blessed me beyond what I deserve.
Jess and I celebrated one year of marriage just a couple weeks ago and I can't tell you how thankful I am for her. She is my best friend, my biggest supporter, and my encouragement!
With the Thanksgiving Holiday coming tomorrow let me encourage you to take some time to reflect on all the things you are thankful for. You'll be surprised just how many there are and how it can change your attitude and add a smile to your face.

Be thankful for and enjoy all the blessings you have because time truly does FLY!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Holy Discontent

Just been dreaming about the future of Fusion. Andy Stanley described vision as what could be, should be, and will be. I've been challenged today to dream a little bigger. To not be satisfied with where I am personally or where Fusion is as a ministry. I know I can do more and Fusion can do more. And not so that I or Fusion can become successful but because there are lost people that are searching for a hope that can only be found in Christ. We constantly need to challenge ourselves not only to dream but do what it takes to see the dream become reality. There are no limits with God but only the limits we put on ourselves.

God help us to dream big and sacrifice to see the dream become REALity! Amen

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Faith and Finances

Faith by definition means to have complete trust in someone or something. As Christians we are commanded to put our faith in God. To trust him with every aspect of our lives. I find it easy to completely trust God with some areas in my life but hard to completely trust him with some other areas. One area I think we all can struggle with is finances. America has taught us to put our trust in money, or as I call it the "Green God." Our culture pulls us to put our hope and faith in our paycheck, stock market, and retirement rather than God.
With the current economic troubles we are facing in America I'll have to say that my faith has been put to the test. I have had to ask myself, "Do I completely trust God with my finances?" Thankfully since I was young my father taught me to always be a faithful tither and giver. I have always believed that if I'm faithful to God He will be even MORE faithful to me. Although my faith has been tested it has remained strong because of those values my dad instilled in me.
On CNN last night they did a report on church offerings going down and how many churches are cutting back in order to keep the doors open. This troubles me. If we really have our faith in God and trust him with our finances our giving should be going UP not DOWN. God desires to bless and take care of us, but this only happens when we in faith obey his word and continue to give even in tough times. We can not be gripped by FEAR but must let go and trust God by FAITH!

Many will say, "I just can't afford to give." But I say, "We can't afford not to give."
Praise God that we don't have to worry about anything because he promises to provide!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dead Zones

We've all heard over a hundred times the Verizon Wireless slogan "Can you hear me now?". Their most recent marketing commercials are all about the "Dead Zones" we hit in our cell phone service, and with the Verizon Network you don't have to worry about ever loosing your connection. Check it out...

In our most recent sermon series Fusion HD (Highly Defined: a detailed, clear look at our mission at Fusion) I preached to our students on how we "connect to God". One of the biggest responsibilities we have outside of a consistent devotional life full of prayer and God's word is to Keep a Clear Connection. There is nothing worse then hitting the "Dead Zones" in our walk with God. Areas where there is static and interference between God and us. The good thing is that God always gives us great reception and we can always have full "God Bars" when we need them. However, the bad thing is that God gives us free will and we often CHOOSE to bring things "sin" into our life that causes the connection to go bad.

Isaiah 59:1-2 says...
Listen the LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But there is a problem- your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.

The old Roman Catholic Bishop, St. Alphonsus Liguori, said "Nothing but self-will can separate us from God." We have to make sure that we don't choose to allow things to bring static into our connection with God. As the scripture says, he can always hear us but we can't always hear him. We can go places and do things that cause the "God Bars" to drop too low. Just like we would do with the dead zones in our cell phone coverage, we have to avoid people, places, and things that cut us off from God. We have to get rid of all the junk and sin that causes us to lose our connection with God.

What are the "dead zones" in your relationship with God? How high are the "God Bars" in your connection with God?

Monday, August 18, 2008

House = Done!

On Friday August 22 Jess and I will close on our first home. We are very excited and can't wait to finally be in it. We looked consistently for almost 3 months before stumbling upon "the one". We are so thankful for how much God has blessed us. I've been at Central now for over a year (hard to believe), we've been married for over 9 months (even more harder to believe), and things can't be going better! I am honored to serve at such a great church, work with such great people, and lead such an amazing student ministry.

Life is GOOD!

God is always faithful and never fails!

More posts coming soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Risky Business

I got the amazing opportunity to preach a message entitled Risky Business in "Big Church" last weekend at Central.
If you'd like to listen click here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Words from comedian George Carlin

A friend forwarded me this message from comedian George Carlin and I thought I would share it with all of you. Sorry that I haven't posted much lately. I've been super busy with the summer schedule of Fusion and buying my first home! I promise to post more regularly once it all slows down.

George wrote...

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

- George Carlin

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Little Things = Big Fall

I heard yesterday of another Pastor that has fallen into immorality. How does this happen? How can someone with so much to lose be willing to throw it all away? The more I think about it the more I understand it starts with the small things. A late night program that shows a little too much, a click on a web site, or an extra look at the magazine rack....and then a few years later a full blown affair. Ministry gone, church in turmoil, family crushed, and more importantly another blow to the Kingdom. The enemy is looking to destroy us all (especially those in leadership) and if we let the little compromises creep into our lives we could just as easily be the next one to fall. I'm humbled every time I hear a story like this and convicted even more to protect myself from the "little" things that can lead to a "big" fall.

What is done in dark always comes into light. We better turn the light on ourself before someone else does.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

House Hunting

Jess and I have been on the hunt for a house for the past few weeks now. I have to say that it has been really fun! We are in a great situation where we have been renting and therefore have nothing to sell and are in one of the best "buyers market" in recent history.
I'll admit it has become a little bit of an obsession for me. I have been looking at houses on-line, in magazines, and driving around town during my free time. I'm searching all over to find best house at the best price. I'm determined not to settle for less than the absolute best!

I wish I had this much passion and determination in every area of my life...

ps- let me know if you know of any good deals on a house :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chipotle Church

Today I ate lunch at one of my favorite places, Chipotle. Almost always a line in that place but it's well worth it. I love a burrito bowl with rice, pinto beans, chicken, fajita veggies, corn salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and topped off with some smoked chipotle sauce! It doesn't get much better than that.
I've been thinking about what makes Chipotle so good, besides the burrito bowl. I've narrowed it down to a few things (values) in no particular order.

1. Simplistic: They keep it simple. Their menu is basic, they offer a few things, and they focus on their main thing, the burrito.

2. Environment: I love the look, the feel, and the overall aesthetics of the restaurant. I hope to have a student center cafe that will resemble it one day.

3. Fast: Customers are important, and they want to get their product to them as quick as possible. Being quick and efficient is the most over looked marketing strategy. People's time is valuable. Getting QUALITY, QUICK, is important!

4. Excellence: They do things right and they do it right consistently. That alone keeps me coming back.

If we can incorporate these values into our churches, maybe people would wait in line to get what we offer. We need more Chipotle Churches!

Monday, May 12, 2008


19-18 was the final score of our softball game tonight and for the first time all season we were on the losing end. I guess the old saying goes, "You win some and you lose some." So I guess everyone has to lose every now and then and losing is just a part of life, but I still hate it!

Losing stinks!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I just finished watching American Idol, go David Archuleta!, and it is down to the final four contestants. The thing I like about this season of Idol is that all of them are very different. One is a rocker, another is R&B, another folk, and another pop. It's great to see such a blended group of talented people all coming from different genres. Millions of people vote on their favorite Idol every week and their are millions of crazy girls in love with David Archuleta. But if he was the guy that sat next to them in class, would they love him as much? Would they scream for his attention everyday?

Growing up in middle school and high school DIFFERENT was bad. The "different" people didn't get to hang out in the "cool" and popular crowd. They didn't get to sit at the "right" lunch table. They didn't have a lot of friends. They didn't wear all the right clothes. They usually were mistreated and out casted just because they weren't like everyone else. The sad thing is that things haven't changed much since I was in school 10 years ago. What a shame!

Now, just to clarify, I wasn't very different growing up. Looking back I wish I were. I tried to blend in and be one of the crowd. I was a follower and not a leader, and I did it all for the sake of popularity. I now know I was created to be different. Paul tells us in I Corinthians that God has given us all a unique gifting and we all play a different and specific role in life.

You're different, God made you that way. Show it off!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Kickin' the Bucket

Tonight Jess (my wife) and I went to the Palace Theatre, the cheap $2.50 theatre : ), to see the Bucket List. This movie was in the main theatre's a few months ago and starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The movie is about two men who find out they are terminally ill with cancer and only have 6 months to a year to live. They then create the "bucket" list of things they want to do before they "kick the bucket" and die. One of the men is a billionaire and they can literally do everything and anything they want. They climbed the pyramids of Egypt, sky dived, went to the Himalayas, and many other things. However, after 3 months they realized it was the simple things in life like family, friends, joy, love, and faith that really mattered.

How often do we take advantage of the little things? Today, call a friend you haven't talked to for a long time, hold the hand of a loved one, laugh until you cry, and share/show the love that God has placed in each one of us.

Don't wait to live. Live everyday like you're dying!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's a Game of Inches

Today I played with some friends in the AGTS Golf Tournament. It was a beautiful day (very windy) but a great day to play a great game and enjoy the company of friends. As we were playing I was reminded how tough golf is and how just the slightest mistake can make all the difference. Golf really is a game of inches. If your club is off just the least bit when it connects with the ball, the ball will not go the direction you intend it to go. If your alignment is off just a hair to the right the ball will not go in the hole. To be successful you really need all aspects of your game in line down to the last inch.

In life, if we compromise just a little bit, even just an inch, it WILL make all the difference.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I am Spam, Spam I am NOT.

I started my blog last week and then received a notice from Blogger that I was flagged as SPAM and "under review." After I took a few minutes to follow the link and ask for my blog to be unlocked, it was taken care of within 24 hours. They apologized and assured me it was necessary to make sure that SPAM didn't compromise the integrity of their site.

This made me think about filters. All e-mail providers have filter systems that they use to keep "junk" mail from entering our inbox. We have the ability to set the filter on high (only allowing people we have approved to send things to our inbox) or low (allowing just about anyone to send things into our inbox). We ultimately determine what we allow the filter to stop or let in.

As Christ followers we all need those same type of filters to keep the "junk" out of our lives. Proverbs tell us to guard our heart for it affects everything that we do. So let me ask you, how well do you protect yourself? What setting do you have the filter to your heart (inbox) set to, high or low? Have you made sure the integrity of your life hasn't been compromised?

Maybe we all need to clean out our inbox.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is this thing on?

My first official blog, I'm wondering if I'm cool now?
Hopefully this works!