Monday, March 31, 2008

God Goes Before Us!

This week a year ago is when my wife and I received the news from a diagnosis that our first child Max was autistic. That was a very tough day for our family. It was as if someone had punched us in our stomach and we were trying desperately to catch our breath. So much has changed in the last year. Through the grace of God, the support of family, friends and wonderful trained professionals our little guy is progressing. We still have a very long road ahead of us, but we know and trust fully that God is in control and He has a plan for our son. Through our son, Max, God has introduced us to a whole new world and a whole new opportunity of ministry. God continues to allow us to cross paths with other families who have a child with autism.

This morning during my time alone with the Lord I was reading my Experiencing God Day by Day devotional and the words for today were so timely.

"God never send you into a situation alone. He always precedes you in every situation. God is never caught by surprise by your situation. He is prepared to meet every need because He has gone before you and knows exactly what you will need...If you are going through a difficult or confusing time, know that your Lord has gone before you and He is present with you. As a child of God, rest in the knowledge that your Savior preceded you and He will walk with you through each experience of your life."

My wife and I over the last year have found this to be so true. God is always present in the midst of every situation we face and He is always ready and willing to meet our needs. We are so grateful to God for His faithfulness and though we do not know what the journey ahead of us will entail we know we can find rest and strength and hope in the fact that God has already gone before us. Pam and I know that we are not the only families that are facing struggles and challenges, so if by some reason you stumbled across this blog we hope that you will find comfort in knowing that God is present in the midst of your storm. Find the strength and peace that you need in Him! (John 16:33) God Bless You!

Monday, March 24, 2008

What a Weekend...

It was a full and great Easter weekend. We had two powerful and very moving Good Friday services. The services truly helped to give a true picture of what Christ did for us on the cross at Calvary. Everyone that attended seemed to be moved by the service. My favorite story from the evening came from a dad who brought his three daughters with him 8, 10 and 12 years old. When they arrived home, the dad asked his daughters what they learned from the evening and what they took away. His 8 year old looked at her dad and said "tonight I realized that I need Jesus to be my Savior" and the dad was able to lead his daughter to Christ right there in their home.

Our services on Saturday and Sunday at both of our locations went extremely well. The services were packed and I was so encouraged that our people had really made the most of the opportunity to invite friends, neighbors and co-workers. Our children and pre-school staff hit it out of the park. Due to the weather we had to move our egg hunt inside and our staff and team of volunteers did not miss a step. Our hospitality team did an amazing job. It was really awesome to see everyone serving and doing their part. The best part of the weekend was that many decided to trust Christ as their personal Savior and that is what it is all about. It is such a blessing to be a part of a team that truly desires to fight for the hearts of every man, woman and child.

Usually after big weekends like this I am usually sluggish and tired but today I had the privilege to be a part of a leadership seminar with Dr Henry Blackaby and Lloyd Reeb from Half-Time Ministries. It was an energizing day for me. Every time I hear Dr Blackaby I am so challenged and convicted. His words are always so powerful and fresh. He truly is a man that walks with God and understands His heart. Lloyd is the author of "From Success to Significance" and he was a tremendous speaker. I left so inspired and encouraged to continue to seek God's will and continue to live on mission with Him. God is so good!

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Good Samaritan...

We had a great weekend of services. Jamin Stinziano who is our worship pastor and one of our teaching pastors wrapped up our series entitled "Jesus Stories." Over the last six weeks we have been teaching through some of the parables that Jesus told. Yesterday Jamin taught on the parable of "The Good Samaritan". It was powerful. It was such a great reminder of the fact that Jesus stopped for us and continues to stop for us when we find our selves in the ditches of life. Jamin challenged us not forget that fact and he called us to live lives of compassion. If the Gospel has had root in our lives then our lives should show that change through the way we respond to those in need. It truly was a convicting message. One that I needed to hear and be reminded of each day. I would encourage you to take a moment to listen to it...just go to and click on messages, I promise you it will be worth the invest of time. God Bless!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Health Notes...

I absolutely love my wife. She looks out for me in so many different ways and cares for me in a way I certainly do not deserve. For the last few weeks she has switched my diet to an all natural, fruits and vegetables no meat, no artificial sugar, no dairy diet. At first, as you can imagine I was absolutely shocked and thought no way babe, but three and half weeks in and I am loving it. I feel great, my work outs and runs have been a lot stronger and now I'm thinking my wife maybe on to something here...especially after I read this article today. I read the article below and all I can say now is "babe, I love you." The article is worth the read especially the part regarding needing assistance going to the bathroom...AWKWARD!!!

Long Term Care NOT Just for the Elderly!By Debi Davis

A report produced by the Health Insurance Association of America provided information about people receiving long-term care. The statistics were shocking. As a society, we are not properly caring for ourselves and, at a very young age, are becoming incapacitated as a result.
Nursing home care is becoming common place, yet it is estimated that a couple with $500,000 in liquid assets will be broke in about 7 years if either one goes into a nursing home. Currently, Medicare and insurance programs provide only about 25% of nursing home expenditures, leaving the balance to be paid by the individual or their family. The average daily nursing home rate in the US is $137.00 a day. Eight hours of home health care runs about the same, $135.00.

Did you know that:
40% of the people in long term care are under 65!
32% of stroke victims are under age 65
The average Alzheimer's patient lives 8 years with an average expense of $214,000 of which Medicare pays about $14,000!
54% of caregivers are between the ages of 35 and 64 and more than half are also responsible for the dressing, transferring or toileting of the person in their care.
It is estimated that, in the next decade, 1 out of every 3 working people will be caring for a parent! Even though more than 50% of the population will ultimately need long term care services, only 25% prepare for it. The saddest part of this tragic situation is that 61% of the family caregivers who are responsible for 20 hours or more of care for someone else each week suffer themselves from depression. Men now make up 44% of the caregiver is no longer just a women's function either. Longevity has progressed more rapidly in our population than the quality of life, too.

What does that mean?
It means that modern medicine is keeping us alive longer, even though we may not be in an active or productive state. The saddest part of all of this... most disease and ill health can be prevented with proper diet. We are killing ourselves with processed foods, too much sugar, excess alcohol, infrequent exercise and over-eating. 81% of Americans report that they would like to 'lose a few pounds' and more than 62% of the population is overweight or obese. This controllable condition that knowingly leads to a myriad of diseases is clearly out of control, yet many people act as if it's not really that big a deal. With a few exceptions, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, stomach conditions, ADD and high cholesterol can all be controlled or even reversed with proper diet. Most medications only address the symptoms of illness, and do not get to the source of the problem. Simply taking Lipitor to lower cholesterol while continuing to eat high cholesterol-provoking foods is incredibly stupid yet people do it more than you may realize. Pills have become today's 'magic fix' to aches, pains and ills. People are taking little or no responsibility for their own health care. In many instances, they expect the pills to keep them healthy.

What should you do?
Asses your life, your health and the preparation you have made for your future care. Long term health insurance is a lot less expensive if you buy it at a young age rather than wait until you are over 65 and potentially in need. Assess your eating habits and commit to the changes necessary to lower your weight and improve your health. Simply ignoring the obvious is not an option. It puts you and your family at great financial risk, not to mention the heartache that goes with treating debilitating illnesses. As a whole, we are not a 'preventative society'. We have grown up in an immediate gratification world that has not properly prepared us to think ahead. Today's actions and choices affect tomorrow. Think about how you live and eat now... only you can be responsible for your own bright future.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Great Day!

I love being a pastor and I love working and serving at Summit. God has been so gracious to me to give me this amazing opportunity. I am always amazed at how God can break even the hardest hearts and open the eyes of those who desperately need to see the light of His salvation, and experience the depth of His forgiveness. Today we had a great day of services. God was truly at work and moving in the hearts of those that were there. It was just one of those days that you really stand amazed by God's goodness and glory.

Then this afternoon we were able to celebrate life change through baptism. It was awesome. It was truly a powerful time to celebrate with these individuals who have placed their faith in Christ and were making their decision to follow Him public through baptism. I left the location of our baptism just thanking God for the amazing privilege to serve Him and partner with Him in this ministry. My prayer is that God would continue to exalt Himself and draw many more, every man, woman and child, to a saving knowledge of who He is through His Son Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 7, 2008


I had the pleasure of speaking at CREW last night. If you don't know what CREW is, it is a ministry to young adults. Crew is a community of young adults whose belief in Jesus Christ is creating movement-towards Christ, each other and the world. It was really cool to hang out with some twenty somethings that are excited about their faith along with some folks who are still searching this whole Christian thing. Chris Shepherd is the founder and director of this ministry and he has a great host of volunteers and lay leaders that help him carry out the mission of this ministry. I absolutely love Chris' passion for Christ and young adults. I was a little intimidated when I first arrived at the gathering last night, because the majority of the people in there looked like a Buckle or Express model, but I was really appreciative of the way my wife and I were received. Crew has groups that meet all throughout Lee and Collier County, so if you are a twenty something and you look for a place to connect, I would encourage you to check out Crew. I know you'd love it. You can check out their website at

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Good Day...

I am so blessed to work with a very committed, very talented and extremely gifted group of young men and women. I love the way our staff functions and works as a team to carry out the mission of bringing the Gospel to every man, woman and child. One of the joys for me has been to see each of our younger staff members develop and grow in their roles as leaders. Today one of the younger guys on staff, Levi, had the opportunity to teach in our two services. We are midway through our Jesus Stories series. Throughout this series we have been focusing on the parables that Jesus told. This morning Levi taught on the parable of the lost son and did a super job! We were all extremely proud of him. The big fun starts tomorrow as we poke holes in his entire message to ensure that his head doesn't start to swell up...just kidding, sort of!