Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Suffering for Others

Ministry is a wonderful and privileged thing to be a part of. It is a joy to see God move in the lives of people. It is always amazing to see God's Spirit bring a person out of darkness into His marvelous light. It is powerful to see people struggling with addictions break free through the power of the Gospel. It is great to see couples on the brink of divorce renew their commitment to Christ and from that renew their commitment to one another. All of this and so much more I truly love, but there are parts of my job that I can truly do without. These are the times that when people forget or lose sight of what the church's mission is and they make themselves the center, thus leading them to complain just about everything. Though these times are not many it is amazing how quick these moments can pull you off center. This morning during my quiet time with the Lord I read this devotion from Henry Blackaby...

"Ministry is costly. If Christ is your model for ministry, you cannot avoid going to the cross for the sake of others. Salvation comes with a great price, and if we are going to "take up our cross" and follow Jesus, then we must be prepared to go with Him to the place of suffering if that's what it takes to bring salvation to those around us. If our goal is to bring others to Christ we must e willing, as He was to risk rejection. People may disappoint us, misunderstand our motives, even despise and persecute us. Our Savior did not let suffering prevent Him from being used by God to bring salvation to those He loved."

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me...

Today is my birthday, kind of...Fourteen years ago today I entered into a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. And although I have a long way to go I am so glad that my life is not what it was before I met Christ. God has done so much in my life over these last fourteen years. I have so much to be grateful for. My prayer is that I would strive to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel. God is so good and I am truly grateful for His saving grace in my life. I pray daily that my family members and friends that have not come to know Christ yet would experience His grace soon. I desire so much that those I love and those in my circle of accountability would come to taste and see God is good and come to a place in their lives that they could experience for themselves the abundant life that only Jesus Christ can give.

So if by some way you have come across this blog my challenge to you is that if you have come to know the Gospel for yourself may it never grow wax cold with you. And may the love of Christ compel you to share with others the power of God's amazing grace. Don't waste your days or the opportunities God presents to you. I am so thankful for Abby Montes who lived out and shared the Gospel with me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Last Sunday night my wife and I enjoyed an evening out and caught a movie. We decided to see the movie "Expelled". A documentary by Ben Stein on the controversial issue of intelligent design. I would strongly encourage everyone to go see this movie, it was very well done. Ben did a great job of presenting both sides. It was disturbing to see what our school institutions are propagating as truth and how "intolerant" these atheist who lead this destructive charge are against any other theory. I can't say I left the movie with any new revelation, but I can tell you that God used this movie to reacquaint me with the need for truth and the need for the power of the Gospel to sweep through our community, country and world. So many are still blinded and hardened to the Truth of God's message and to the realization that He is God!

I was forwarded a link by a friend to a story written in a New York magazine on April 21, 2008. If you have a moment please read the article for yourself. It's quite disturbing... The main headline reads "The fastest-growing faith in America is no faith at all. And now some atheists think they need a church." (
That's right the atheists are growing in numbers and now they want to try to mainstream their religion by forming churches. I know it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it's true. As Christians we need to know the Truth, walk in Truth and declare the Truth unashamedly (Romans 1:16).

Paul gave young Timothy some great advise, that we who are living in these times need to take to heart:

2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 2 Timothy 4:2-4

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Race for Grace

This morning I ran in the Race for Grace 5k. It was a fun event. All the proceeds went to help support the ministry of Teen Challenge. I did enjoy getting to meet some of the volunteers and staff of Teen Challenge. I spent all of the time I had before the race talking to individuals and meeting people, that I had not left any time to stretch or warm up. Needless to say that wasn't a good thing. I was running as stiff as a board for the first mile. All that being stated, the time before the race wasn't wasted. Some of the stories of the teenagers that have been rescued, redeemed and restored through this ministry was very encouraging. The picture is my attempt to sprint to the finish. At this point I was just glad to finish...The theme verse for the race was absolutely appropriate at this point...
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What is your life?

Over the last few years the Leadership Team and myself have been coached by a man who really understands and bleeds leadership. He truly has a passion to develop, influence and pour into younger leaders. One of the things that he has always challenged us to do is to prayerfully write a mission statement for our lives and then try our best to keep it in front of us. This morning in our staff meeting we had everyone on our team share theirs and it was a really great time.

As I read the Scriptures I can see that the people that God used lived on mission. It is very clear what Jesus' mission was..."do the will of the Father...bring glory to and save that which is bring and give life." In several passages Paul gives his personal mission statement: in Philippians he says that for him to live is Christ and to die is gain, he also says that he desires to know Christ and be acquainted with him suffering. We could go on and on with biblical examples. I have spent a lot of time wrestling through my personal mission statement. I didn't just want words and sentences but I truly wanted something that reflected God's heart and my personal passion to follow, love and glorify Him.

One of the verses that God has used to convict my heart on this idea of mission comes from James 4:13-15 "Now listen, you who say, "today or tomorrow we will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "if it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."

I truly want to understand that my life has weight and purpose and understand that wasting my life and the time God has given me is not an option. That being said, my personal mission statement is...I desire to glorify God by leading myself, my family, my friends, my church and my neighbors to a growing passionate relationship with Jesus Christ that will launch us to a life of mission that will bring a incarnated Gospel to the circles of accountability that God has placed us in. I know it is long but every word means something to me and I am asking God to cause my heart to live this out daily. If you have stumbled across these ramblings here is my challenge, if you haven't written a mission statement for your life consider doing it. I guarantee you the time will be worth it. If you have written one, how are you doing in living it out daily? God Bless!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Running (part#1)

Since September of last year I have really become interested in running. I have been getting up four to five times a week at a god-forsaken hour and have been going for runs. I have truly enjoyed the time running because I have found it to be a great sanctuary for me to have some time to meditate, reflect and pray. And although I have never, ever enjoyed running I have always wanted to run a marathon. I know sounds absolutely stupid considering I truly did not enjoy running. However, I know have a new found respect and love for the sport of running. Now I am a long way from being ready, but there is so much I have learned through this new found journey that parallel well to our spiritual walk with Christ.

For example it is so much more enjoyable and beneficial to run with a partner. Just in the last few weeks, I have been running with one of my good friends and co-workers, Todd Milby. The guy is truly a machine. Over the last year the guy has lost over 100lbs and has kept it off. He bikes religiously with a group of guys from the Coconut Point Mall Trek store and he has become pretty passionate about it. His goal is to do a triathlon pretty soon. Running with a partner has really helped me. Todd and I push each other pretty well. My times have improved and it has made the runs more enjoyable, not to mention there is greater accountability now. Well it is not a stretch in my mind to look at some of these things and to see the parallel in our christian walk. God did not create us to live in isolation. He created us to live in community. God desires that we run this race together, so that we could encourage one another, enjoy the journey and hold each other accountable.

As a pastor it breaks my heart to see so many people running alone. If by some chance you have stumbled across this blog, let me pose this question to you, "who do you run with?" If by chance you don't have someone, please find a good church or good small group to plug into. I am promise you, it is a decision that you will not regret.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The A-Team

One of my favorite shows growing up was the A-Team, yup that's right baby. Mr. T as BA. He was awesome. I even had A-Team pajamas. One of my favorite parts of the show was when the plot was really starting to ramp up and you just knew the bad guys were about to get their butt whooped. Regardless of the episode, somewhere in this time frame of the show, the leader of the A-Team, Hannibal Smith would light a cigar and say "I love it when a plan comes together." Now as a 9-10 yr old boy, I still hadn't figured out that the ending was pretty much going to be the same every episode. But to be honest I also thought smoking a cigar would be cool. Well I have smoked cigars and I think they're awful, no offense to my cigar lovin' buddies out there...
Now you're probably wondering why the journey down tv land, well I've got to say I love it when God's plan comes together.

Another piece of God's A-Team at Summit has finally arrived. Jay Richardson and his family have finally arrived in SWFL. Jay hails from the great state of Texas and he has come on to serve as the Campus Pastor for our Naples location. We are really pumped about this addition to our team. Jay has incredible leadership skills and he is a go getter. He is exactly what we need to help us rally people around God's mission of bringing the Gospel to every man, woman and child in the Naples area. I am so excited to see what God is going to do in the next few months in and through our ministry. Things are really beginning to take shape and the team we have in place and the lay leaders that are helping us in carrying this vision out are absolutely awesome. God is so good and He is truly able to do more than we could think or imagine. (Eph. 3:20-21)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Super Day

Today was a great day. The last few weeks have been absolutely jammed packed and crazy, so it was good to get a true leisure and lazy day. I was able to spend the day with two of my close friends, Jamin and Nathan. Two guys that I really respect highly and two guys that God has used in my life in different ways to teach me more about Himself. The cool thing about today was that our time together was spent on the golf course...yeah it was sweet. But it gets sweeter, the golf was free; one of those awesome perks of being pastor. One of the awesome people who attends Summit is a golf pro and he had us up come out as his guest. It was really a nice gesture and gift. I shot a 99, not bad for not playing in over a year, but the reality is I still suck. It was really good to be with my buddy Nathan. Unfortunately, I do not get to see him much because he is a part of a team that is planting a church in downtown Memphis (

Then tonight my wife and I were invited to dinner by one of the couples from Summit, Mike and Melinda. Truly a fun and wonderful couple. In the middle of dinner Melinda tells us that it was her birthday. Which right away caught my wife, Pam, and I off guard and we began to explain how we could of gone out on another night and how we feel bad intruding on her special day. And she quickly explains that her husband gave her a list of things that she could have for her birthday and one of the things she chose was to have dinner with us, then she said to us, you guys are my gifts! How cool is that! Not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I'm thanking God for today.

Oh, can't forget to mention that the YANKEES won today as well!!!