Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What truly makes you happy? What brings true joy?

Last night I gave a talk on the difference between happiness and true joy. It started out pretty somber and emotional. But, towards the latter half of the talk I could definitely feel the Holy Spirit move through me. The students were attentive which really encouraged me. They are really great students.

All I can say is that Christ is pure joy. I hope and pray that these students find their true joy and happiness in Christ.

"You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy..."

much love,


Monday, July 27, 2009

Good morning Pittsburgh

This morning I awoke to coffee, sunshine, and three year old Jessica dancing to single ladies by Beyonce....perfect. I love how God uses the joy of a child to bring a smile.

I love that I am sitting on a chair on Nathan's porch looking out over the town of Canonsburg,PA. It's just really good to be in the hills. The midwest has left a pretty distinct picture in my mind...yeah... I forget.

Please pray for Teen Madness! God is going to do sweet things this week!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New journey

As I type this I am sitting at Nathan Lee's house (youth pastor at South Hills). I just left Green Lake, Wisconsin where I was able to minister to an awesome group of students. God is doing incredible things in the lives of youth!

On the way down and across I listened to a sermon by Senior Pastor John Piper on the supremacy of Jesus Christ. One of the hard hitting statements he said was, "As Christians, we need to be salty and our saltiness will be made salty by the radical living sacrifice we become for Christ." I love this statement a lot. I have been praying that God would give me a vision for how to lead his people. I want the students I interact with to rise to the call of Christ. I pray that they will pick up their cross and follow hard after Christ. I pray that they will live as living sacrifices for the gospel and minister with saltiness.

I'm super pumped that God has led me to Pittsburgh,PA. There is a work to be down here.

13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:13-16

Be salty!!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

9 days left...

Hard to believe that I have been in Green Lake, WI since June 7th. Upon realizing this I have also been reminded that I am NOT GOING TO SCHOOL this fall. It is so crazy that this day is finally here. I am about to travel ten hours to Pittsburgh,PA to work as an associate pastor of student ministries. This is so tight!

9 days...

I feel like I have just finished my lego castle (complete with mote and bridge of course). But then I look at the castle and see that there is still much more to be done. I could add more towers, put a dining room in, and probably give the serfs more than a tent to live in and a cow. Seriously, even though I feel so completed I still feel the need to grow.

9 days...

Being here at Green Lake I have felt the importance of being thorough in what I know. My undergrad studies really helped me unpack a lot of my leadership skills and knowledge of God's Word and the role I play in ministry. This summer, God has basically told me that I don't know everything and that I have much more to learn. I believe it!

Basically, God is still growing me and pushing me to become the man he is calling me to be. I really hope that this has been a wake up call for you all who are reading/stalking my blog. God doesn't stop teaching or growing you just because you are out of school. I believe that we need to do God's work to the fullest. Keep learning and growing!

9 days left till I am in Pittsburgh

much love,


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Living in freedom

The past several days have been interesting. I say that knowing that 'interesting' is an understatement. One of the biggest roles of Satan is to hit us when we're weak. Satan also knows where to pull out our footing in hopes we might fall off the path. Here in Green Lake I have been planning ministry classes and worship services for the upcoming weeks. Planning has been going really well and my relationships with the staff have been growing. Basically, life is great.

Just this past Tuesday I received a message from the dealer I bought my car from saying that Capital One can't finance me because I'm a 1099 worker. I knew from the start that was wrong, but it continued to bug me. Even with the encouraging voice of my mother and friends I still found myself stressed. The more I thought I found that my stress derived from the thought that I might have to return my car or drive back to Chicago. When the problem should have been that I would miss at least two days of ministry with the students. Gosh darn-it! I can't believe I let my focus slip just because of a material possession.

Unfortunately, this is where we slip up the most. This my friends is when and where Satan attacks. He goes for the thing that will make us most mad and then he twists the knife around to agitate it. The agitation for me came when I couldn't get a hold of the people that I needed to contact or when the person I called couldn't even speak English. I let all of those things bother me and strip me of grace.

But! God's awesome timing left me feeling encouraged and uplifted. About the same time I received all this bad news I received an email from a friend. This email was so encouraging and exciting. I walked away ready to face this mess. I felt like a stoked 5th grader who just chugged a bottle of Sunny D'. I felt great.

The lesson from this story is that Satan always comes after God's children when they're at their best. He tries to make us feel alone and unloved. Anything we do, he tries to play ourselves against ourself. Satan is the master of lies and he is constantly trying to defeat us. He sneaks in and stabs what seems to be the only vulnerable spot. Satan is not stupid. That's why it's pertinent that as Christians we pray that we continue to pray through these attacks and praise God even though things are not so great. Anyway Satan can get to us he will, it's our job to face him headfirst and worship God through everything...even the frustrations of dealing with car dealerships and financial departments.

Just this past week I had a student come to me with struggles of lust and sexual impurity. He told me that the as he began to accept Christ's redeeming love he felt the filth of sin leave him. This is the freedom Paul speaks about in his letter to the Romans. Paul speaks directly about the bondage of sin being lifted to those that receive God's grace. What an amazing claim to pray over a student. I was so encouraged by the Holy Spirit. Praise God!

We are no longer bound to sin's chains. We are made alive through Christ's sacrifice. Rejoice in knowing that Satan has been defeated!

Live in the freedom we have in Christ!

Romans 6:6-14

"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin."

8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11"In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."

Claim this in your life!

much love,


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer....aww yeah...

Today was the fourth day of Quest. O yeah, you have no clue what I am talking about. Quest is the summer youth program at Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake,Wisconsin. My role is to teach ministry classes to junior and senior high students, which is awesome! The first two weeks focus on training and then we have camp after that. I will update later on in the summer when the students get here.

The major thing I want to talk about is the growth that this team has experienced. Everyone with their strengths, abilities, experiences, worries, concerns, passions, and pains has been laid out on the table. I have never experienced such vulnerability and openness in my life. With each new day I have experienced more and more of what the body of Christ looks like. I have witnessed first hand the life changing power of God in the community of believers. Through conversations, God has allowed us as staff to share our hearts in all its beauty.

I will continue to blog these experiences along with the sweet stuff that I experience with the students (yessirr!). Be encouraged! The power of God is real and is moving. I pray that those that read this blog will feel the presence of God as I am now. Quest starts in under two weeks, please be in prayer for the lives that will occupy these grounds.

-much love


Monday, May 18, 2009

Last finals....the end of my college career

I just wrapped up my spanish education...for life. The feeling is similar to rapturing out of your diaper when you were young, and jumping in the mud.

Okay, I'll get serious. The feeling is liberating though,diapers and mud,beautiful. Anyway, I have been thinking about how I want to conclude my time here at Taylor University. I want to do this by thinking through many conversations, dreams, late night talks, heart aches, tragedies, etc.

Throughout the next months or so, I will be blogging about my time here at Taylor. Some posts will be light and some will be rough to read. I want my debriefing blogs to be an encouragement to my fellow Taylor buddies as well as college students to come.

2 more finals to go and then it's graduation time!

-Much love