Friday, December 18, 2009

The Merge

Sarah and I have been discussing whether or not to merge our blogs and we decided it would be better for everybody if we did...I know, what you're thinking: this is a big step in our cyberspace relationship but I believe that after five and a half years of marriage we are finally ready for this level of unity! :-D From now on you can find BOTH of us at

See you over there!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'm very excited about where we're at right now and where God is leading us (me, my family, the church). There are great things going on on every level. I have already heard some great things from the Life Group times on Sunday mornings and about some awesome outreaches and servant times that have already taken place or are coming up soon! I believe that God wants us to be intentional about community and missional in our outreach. I think those two things even compliment each other. When we talk about being "a house of prayer for all nations" we MUST be a house for ALL People and one of the ways that we do that is through intentional community and missional outreach. As we are sharing life on every level (community/fellowship) we begin to position ourselves to share HIS life on every level (missional outreach). God is putting OPPORTUNITIES before each of us, let's continue to pray for the courage and obedience to make the most of every opportunity that He gives us.

One opportunity that I am VERY grateful for is my job with T-Mobile! I am enjoying it because of the technology (yes, I'm a nerd) and the problem solving involved, as well as getting to know my co-workers. I keep praying for God to help me see what He is doing in the lives of my co-workers and how I can help bring His life and joy to every situation through my actions and my words. I have been looking forward to the opportunity to serve in the church AND in the workplace for a couple of years now and am very thankful to have the opportunity. I pray that you will see the opportunities that God has for you as you look around where God has placed you as a representative of His Kingdom.
May His Kingdom justice, peace, joy, and power come and His perfect will be done IN and THROUGH our lives!

Monday, October 26, 2009


This Sunday James Underwood from Bethel St. Paul shared in Minneapolis. It was a great word about our true identity. In life we all wear different kinds of hats and those things aren't what truly define us. He had an awesome way of illustrating that with a bunch of different literal hats that he wears as part of his life and what they represent, but how those things don't define him. He read from Ephesians 2:11-15 and pointed out that God has bought the naming rights to our lives...just like big companies pay big money for the right to put their name on a building or stadium, in the same way, God has bought the naming rights to your life as Creator & Redeemer!
1. He Created us! (Genesis 2:6)
- Very personally: Formed us with his hands & breathed into us!

2. He Redeemed Us!
- He purchased us with His life and has the right to name us (Revelation 2).

There are many voices trying to label you, but only one has the right to name you and be the source of your identity. At the time of Jesus there were many voices labeling Him, but He looked to the Father for His identity ("this is my son in whom I am well pleased"). It was as people saw who the Father said Jesus was that they truly knew Him. Jesus asked His disciples "who do you say that I am?" His disciples picked up on what God the Father said and answered that He was "the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Jesus asked them for their good not His. It really should have been them asking Jesus "who do YOU say that I am?" Because being who God says you are is more powerful and more important than trying to be who others say you are or should be.
What about you, are there old "names" or labels that someone else put on you, or you put on yourself, that you need to get rid of today? Take off those hats!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Last year I read this GREAT book called "Boundaries with Kids." I wish I had read it before I started youth ministry because it makes the shaping process that kids need to go through so clear. It provides good ways to put boundaries in place for your kids no matter what age they are. I felt like I had learned some of those things along the way by trial and error (because nobody else was teaching this stuff) and other things I saw that I had totally missed (many "aha!" moments). Now that we have Abby I need to go back and read it and work on applying it to the stage she is at right now.

I want to read one book on parenting each year, but I also want to review this book each year because what it contains is so simple and powerful, yet easy to forget over time. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to ANY parent, no matter how long (or little) you have been parenting or grandparenting. You can take this and apply it to any stage of development in your kids' lives. You will probably have a few "aha!" moments along the way and be encouraged to keep pressing on as you train up your children in the way that they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Seven Practices of Effective Ministry

Last year I was privileged to get my hands on an awesome book that summarizes a lot of what I learned in my Organizational Leadership studies: 7 Practices of Effective Ministry.

It takes some fairly complex concepts and puts them in ways that are easy to understand, communicate, and apply. This is something that we were working through in Breckenridge when I left and something that we have started working through with our leadership team at Bethel Minneapolis!
Here's a quick summary. I highly recommend this book to you if you are in leadership.

Practice #1 – Clarify the Win: Define what is important at every level of the organization.
  • As long as the win in unclear, you force your team to guess at what a win looks like.
  • If the win is unclear, you may force those in leadership roles to define winning in their own terms.
  • When you clarify the win on every level you help your team stay on the same page.
  • When you clarify the win you can manage your resources effectively.
Practice #2 – Think Steps, not Programs: Before you start anything, make sure it takes you where you need to go.
  • Every step should be easy
  • Every step has to be obvious
  • Every step must be strategic
Practice #3 – Narrow the Focus: Do fewer things in order to make a greater impact.
  • Churches feel constant pressure to provide programs on the basis of needs.
  • Resist complexity and pursue simplicity.
  • Choose what potentially works best over what is presently working.
  • The more you focus the environment, the greater the relevance, the better the connection, the higher the quality, and the stronger the impact.
Practice #4 – Teach Less for More: Say only what you need to say to the people who need to hear it.
  • Decide what you are going to say
  • Decide to say one thing at a time
  • Decide how you are going to say it
  • Say it over and over again
Practice #5 – Listen to Outsiders: Focus on who you’re trying to reach, not who you’re trying to keep.
- (we really miss the boat the on this one sometimes)

Practice #6 – Replace Yourself: Learn to hand off what you do.
  • Prepare someone to do what you do and strategically replace yourself.
Practice #7 – Work On It: Take time to evaluate your work, and to celebrate your wins.

I highly reccomend you read this book if you would like to know some of the details involved in this process. You may also find it helpful to go through this with your leadership team and apply this to every level of leadership.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Goals Update

At the beginning of the year I set some goals of what I felt God wanted me to do as a steward of what He has given me this year. I share them with you briefly. I hope to get better at dreaming God's dreams for the future and moving towards what God has.

- Read Through the Bible chronologically in the English Standard Version in a year.

  • This is going great, especially now that I switched to an RSS feed.
Get Back in Shape
  • I've lost 20 pounds so far this year and am hoping to lose 8 more by the end of the year.
Finish Graduate School
  • I was blessed to complete a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership AND Practical Ministry. By starting at Regent University and completing at Beacon University I was able to get a dual emphasis in practical ministry (specifically small groups and other ministry things) as well as Organizational Leadership.
Work on Book:
  • I put a basic outline together last year. Unfortunately I haven't done any work on this in 2009. I do want to work on refining the outline and beginning to put content into the right spots.
  • Work on transitioning Valley Christian's worship and student ministries to continue strong after we leave. I was able to work with Dean and other staff members to setup some systems to keep things running smoothly and set the stage for MORE growth in those areas.
Work with a Church Plant that is an Intentional and Missional Community:
  • Sarah and I dreamed of doing this for a while, but it was a "some day" dream and god has blessed us to begin leading a church plant with Bethel Christian Fellowship.
  • The first thing I wanted to do was to work to clarify the "wins" and define our steps for implementing the vision and "win" in the ministry. And it's been awesome to begin this process.
  • One of the things we really wanted to make a part of our church life was to do small groups as part of the service after the message on Sundays and then to also meet outside of the church to DO ministry.
Message Series Prayer and Planning:
  • I have been working on praying and planning out the series of sermons for at least a year in advance; including concepts and images used in the messages. This is still a work in progress, but I am working towards it: I have sets of series plans, but need to work harder on filling in the message titles and contents farther ahead of time.

To Grow as an Effective Communicator:

  • By working on how I prepare and deliver messages using more than just words.
Lead My Family:
  • I decided a while back that I will not sacrifice my family on the altar of ministry! This is something that takes work and I have to move towards this intentionally (word of the week) by spending more time with my family by using the free evenings we have and by guarding my day off. I am a work in a progress, but I am looking for progress.

  • My goal is to read all of the books I own that I have not read yet...this has been a problem as I have continued to add books to my collection.

These are the goals I have been working towards this year and as the year ends I will be looking at what God wants for next year!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I saw this as I was walking around Catalyst. The title jumps out to me :-) Here's what I firmly believe: I believe that the major problems & injustices of the world (hunger, AIDS, poverty, human trafficking, etc.) would be solved if the church as a whole cared about what God cares about as much as He cares about them! What if we united with others & with God in the advancement of His Kingdom, which is defined as justice (righteousness), peace (!), joy (in the Holy Spirit), & power!

I believe God has given us the power to do this with the Holy Spirit & the Body of Christ! May His Kingdom Come & His will be done in & through us!