Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It's been a while since I did a list, so I thought I would list the things I am thoroughly enjoying in this season. These are in no specific order...hope you enjoy and I would love to know what you are enjoying right now as well.

#1. The Word of I know that sounds extremely cheesey and even churchy, but let me explain before you go on judging me...As a teaching pastor it is easy to fall into the trap of reading the Word just for the sake of the next sermon. That trap tends to lead you to frustration and staleness. My speaking schedule has not changed but God has certainly changed my heart. God in this season is removing me further away from what I do and pulling me closer to who I need to be. In this season of insurmountable pressure and decisions it has been refreshing to read the Word for all it's worth and find the encouragement and strength I need.

#2. My family...if you frequent this collection of ramblings you have probably read my posts lately concerning my time with my family. Again, in ministry if you are not careful your family can take a backseat to the "doings" of the job. Right now God has me focused and I pray it stays that way on my amazing wife and beautiful kids. I am truly enjoying the "snap shot" moments I get to spend with each of them. I feel so blessed to have such an incredible family and every moment we get to spend together is awesome!

#3. The Dolphins...that right baby. We are 6-4, a long crawl from the 1 and 15 we posted last year. By this time last year I was upset and uninterested, but today I can say playoffs and Dolphins in the same sentence without people thinking I am crazy. That is a huge step in the right direction. I know there is a lot of football to still be played, but I am enjoying my Fins right now. And I will tell you right now, there is plenty of room to get on the band wagon...

#4. Kodiak Cakes...if you don't know what those are, it's probably because you are a normal human being who is not on the Hallelujah Diet. This discovery has probably saved my marriage...I am kidding of course. You see my wife has us on this life style which I have come to respect and enjoy, because we should be good stewards of our bodies, but I can tell you at times I do pout because I miss certain foods. Well, Kodiak Cakes are Hallelujah approved pancakes, which in fact are one of my favorite foods. My sweet wife, Pam, is so awesome that
she even makes these delicious creations for me for dinner, that's right for dinner! Aunt Jemima has got nothin' on my Kodiak Cakes! Can you smell 'em?

#5. The Worship Services at Summit... I have always enjoyed the weekend services at Summit, but I truly feel God is doing something very fresh and real in this season. You can honestly feel the Spirit of God at work in and through the lives of our people and the fruit has been obvious. It has been encouraging that even in these tough times our people are still seeking to live missionally, as demonstrated in their willingness to step up to the recent challenges whether it be the Walk Now for Autism Event, our Food Pantry Drive or our Safe House adopt a child program. God is good.

#6. My friend, Jamin...the last time I blogged a list he was ticked that he didn't make it, so Jamin here you, but seriously Jamin is my neighbor, co-worker and a good friend, who makes me laugh. Jamin's office is also next to mine and the continual shananigans that go on between our walls helps to keep my stress level down and my gut busting from the laughter. Jamin if you are reading I do hope that you make the two man luge team, I know it is a dream of yours.

#7. The thought of going on may sound stupid because it has not happened yet, but you have no idea how much I am enjoying the thought of getting off of this treadmill of life in a couple of weeks and getting away with my family. Even though that at times can be crazy, there is quite no refuge like the one of being with my wife and kids, and to top it off we will be at the happiest place on earth for five days...yup, Disney World. Right now my daughter Emily is absolutely addicted to Mickey and Minnie so I am enjoying just imagining what her face is going to look like when she sees them...that is priceless.

Yup, life is good and the reality is that all these things aside, God is good, thus I have so much to be thankful for, but that's another post. Hope you are enjoying this season of your life as well. God Bless You!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pump It Up

Pam and I took the kids to "Pump It Up", an indoor inflatable bounce house, fun land. Once a month "Pump It Up" has a special sensory night for children with special needs. Our kids had a blast and I would be less than truthful if I did not say that I enjoyed it as well. By the time we were done I was exhausted and the kids looked like they had not broken a sweat. It was again one of those times where I just had to step back and acknowledge the faithfulness and goodness of God. Months ago our son would of never been able to adjust or function in a place like Pump it Up, but on this day, Max enjoyed the play-land just as much as any other three year old would of. The picture was an attempt to capture him coming down this two story slide like a bullet. It was just a great night.

Weekend in Miami...

This weekend, Pam and I and our kids were able to get away and go back home to Miami and see our folks. It was a great time for us. Our kids love their grandparents, both sets, probably because with them they can do no wrong...It was truly a nice break and a great time for us to not only connect with our folks but also connect as a family. On Sunday we took the kids to Aventura Mall to see Santa and their amazing train display. Emily was not wanting anything to do with Santa, she found that joker to be totally scarey. Max on the other hand loved Santa and especially loved pulling on his beard...a trick his Uncle Rick taught him a couple of weeks ago. Poor Santa, I am sure he did not sign up for that part of the gig. This weekend reminded me of the importance of just maximizing the time you have with your family. Every smile, every laugh, every silly moment was priceless. I could not help but to think, I better eat this up because the day will come when my kids will no longer think sitting on Santa's lap or riding in a train in the middle of the mall is fun anymore.

I thank God for my family and for the gift that they are to me. I pray that He will continue to give me wisdom and strength to steward them wisely. If you've stumbled across this rambling, I pray the same for you. Don't squander or leave those special moments to chance. Relationships be it with your spuse, kids, family or friends are a gift, so steward them wisely. Make it a great week. God bless you!

Friday, November 14, 2008

YMCA Prayer Breakfast

This morning I went to the YMCA prayer breakfast. The Summit Band provided the music and as always they did an awesome job. This year the YMCA did not hold the breakfast in a country club as in years past but they held it in an airplane hanger at the Naples Airport. It was a pretty cool ambiance. I kept waiting for the Back Street Boys to come walking out because it looked like something straight out of a music video. The reason for the venue was because the keynote speaker was none other than three time world strongest man, Bill Kazmaier.

Bill did a good job sharing his story and the miracles that God has done in his life. The highlights of the day was when Bill rolled a steel frying pan like a burrito in about four seconds and then he closed the event by pulling a leer jet, it was pretty cool.

Click this link and catch a quick story about today's breakfast...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What's Love Got to Do with It?

What's love got to do, got to do with it? If you've been around as long as I have and you just read that line, then your mind had to quickly go to that old school jam by Tina Turner...come on now. She was the bomb back in the day. Whenever she wasn't dodging punches from her broke down husband Ike, she was making hits. But, this post is not about Tina, her life or her music. This post, this jumbled rambling of thoughts does have to do with love and that question.

My Life Journal reading plan had me in 1 Corinthians 13 this morning. It's a very familiar passage that most of us know and are probably tired of hearing read at weddings, and yet it is that type of familiarity that can cause me to forget that the Word of God is alive and active and sharper than any two edged sword. This morning I got to be honest I was not thinking that there would be anything earth shattering that would jump out to me, but I was wrong. I could not get past the first three verses. The Apostle Paul before he gives some of the attributes of love states the fact that even if I can do great things like speak with angelic tongues, or uncover and explain deep mysteries or even have faith to move mountains, if I do not have love, I am nothing! Paul goes on to say that even my generosity and hardworking service is nothing without love!

So of course this got me thinking and thinking specifically about what Jesus said was the greatest commandment, "loving God and loving others." Basically what I was left with today was the reflection that I better make sure that the things I do, I truly do out of a sincere love for God and a genuine love for others. God is not impressed with my doings or my stuff, He is far more concerned with the sincerity of my heart. So anyway a great litmus test to use would be to honestly answer this question repeatedly, are the things I am doing being done in love? If there not I better quickly check my motives. I don't even want to know how many things we do in the name of Christ that when we truly take a deeper look at it, we find it wasn't for Christ at all...yikes. My hope is not to allow that sad fact to become a pattern in my life. Let love for God and love for others be the reason behind the things you do, because if it's not, well it basically means squat. Just a rambling. God Bless!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


This morning I was reading in Matthew 6 and I was so encouraged as read through the Lord's prayer. God reminded me of the simplicity of prayer and about it's raw unmatched power. Prayer is not us bending God to our will, but God bending us to His. Prayer helps us to put everything in proper perspective and that is in the perspective that God is King and He will never give that place up. I was also reminded that God is not impressed or moved by my form or my words, He desires honesty and humility from my heart. I love that Jesus says in verse 8 don't pray like these clowns who essentially make it about them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask Him! So before I close this rambling with Jesus' words let me challenge you to take a moment and reflect on the fact that your Heavenly Father knows what you need, so go to Him, not with your religion, or your righteousness, but go to Him in humility and in faith that He will act according to His will. Take a moment to pray and reflect on the heart of Jesus' words...

9"This, then, is how you should pray:
" 'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
11Give us today our daily bread.
12Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another Great Weekend...

This past weekend was so encouraging for me on many levels. This weekend was the Southwest Florida Walk Now for Autism Event at the Estero Community Park. It was a great turn out and a wonderful day. There were in the upwards of four thousand people that came out. As a dad of a child with autism it was truly an encouraging day. It was a pleasure to meet other families who are walking a similar path. It was a joy to watch my son and daughter enjoy all of the games and bounce houses. As a pastor I was once again amazed by the people of Summit. We had over 300 of our people participate. Many walked, many gave and many served. It was incredible to look across the park and see so many yellow Team Summit t-shirts. It was wonderful to see our people live missionally and serve our community. I feel so humbled and blessed to be a part of a church that gets it. Team Summit also raised just over $20,000 for autism research. Money aside I was just so proud of our people.

The good stuff did not end there. We had a great weekend of services. God was moving in such a powerful way in each of our services. I was reminded of what C.S. Lewis said "the perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of, because our attention would have been on God." I felt like that this weekend. I truly could sense that people were focused on God and were enjoying His presence. This weekend we also had the privilege for the first time ever to baptize folks right on our property. The church purchased a baptismal pool and we were blessed to baptize nine people in it this weekend. It was a blast. I also got to baptize a 7ft giant of a man, who in turn baptize me by pulling me down with was hysterical. God is so good. I pray that as a church we will continue to keep Christ as our ultimate priority, our greatest need and our greatest delight. I pray that the mission of presenting the Gospel to every man, woman and child never grows cold in our hearts, but that as followers of Christ we would strive to live loudly for God's glory. Make it a great week...God Bless You!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mixed Emotions

There is no doubt that as I sit and write this blog my emotions are many and my heart is torn. The votes have been counted and America has clearly we have a new president, he is not the candidate that I voted for, but nonetheless, Barack Obama will be the 44th President of our great United States.

My emotions are mixed because whether you voted for Obama or not your heart had to be moved by the fact that our nation has made history by electing it's first ever black president. That in so many ways is a milestone and a great turn from some of the ugliest scars of our nations' history. We are forty years removed from the assassination of one of America's greatest heroes Dr Martin Luther King and you can not help but to be happy as an American to see how far we have come. This election will stand as monumental moment in history, not just for democrats and even republicans who ended up voting for Barack but for every American, because last night history was made.

All that being said, as much as I can be happy as an American to see history be made and hopefully see a path to even stronger race relations for this nation, my heart is still heavy, because the some huge issues are still left on the table. When we look at how strong the Democratic victory was, we can not help, but to see how dramatic the political landscape of our country is going to change. Just quickly think of some of the issues that are on the table, the voice for the unborn just got a lot softer as we have just elected a president who by his own admittance declared his intent to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law. We saw in Florida that Amendment 2 passed, praise God, but with the election of this president we can also see that biblical marriage will still be attacked as we have heard Obama say on numerous occasions he will repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. All the way down the line you can see that the issues that should be central to every born again believer hang in the balance with this new president.Yet God is still in control and He is sovereign. As Christians we can not lose sight of that.

As Christians we must continue to pray for our leaders and our nation. The thought that God arrested my heart with this morning was this; now more than ever followers of Christ must allow their LIVES to be heard. Now more than ever we must incarnate the Gospel and do everything we can to move God's Kingdom forward. There is no time to hang our heads and whine about who won this election, Barack Obama is our president and we still live in a great nation. Now more than ever we must seek God in prayer. Now more than ever we must beg God to send His reign and blow fresh wind and fire on our nation. Now more than ever we must be committed to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth and have no rest until the whole world hears. Now more than ever it is time that the people of God be the church and stop hiding in one. Now more than ever it is time for followers of Christ to stop complaining about the lack of change and get busy being a part of it.

There is no doubt that as evangelicals our fight just got harder, but we take heart in the fact that God's grace is sufficient. So let's pray for our new president elect Barack Obama, let's pray for his wife and two precious girls. As Christians let's do everything we can to make America one nation under God. Avoid godless chatter and aimless disputes. Thank God for the privilege in living in such a free and blessed nation and seek to strive to make it better.

God is on the throne and He will never relinquish that spot. God is still good. God bless you and may God bless America.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Knowing Christ Produces Generosity

This weekend we continued our series entitled "Knowing Christ". Originally this series was designed to be an in depth look at the book of Philippians. This weekend as a Leadership Team we decided to go away from that particular book and use 2 Corinthians chapter 8 as our text. Our aim this weekend was to challenge our people to be generous. Knowing Christ should produce generosity, considering that stewardship is a direct response of Lordship. We had a shortened service with a 20 minute message and instead of responding in worship as we usually do, we asked our people to respond in a different way. We handed out a food list to every person, and on it were the items that the local food pantries that we partner with both around our University and Naples' campuses were in need of. We had trucks and trailers waiting at Publix and asked our people to be generous and seek to be a blessing. It was AWESOME!!! I was absolutely blessed to step back and watch our people "be the church." It was incredible.

Once again I was so amazed and blessed by the people of Summit. They knocked it out of the park. At the University Campus alone we filled two trailers and two trucks and together with the Naples Campus we were able to fill four food pantries. God is good! Our prayer is that as a church even in spite of a down economy we would continue to be generous and in doing so, show the love of Christ to our community.

"But since you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, and in love we have kindled in you-see that you also excel in this grace of giving." (2 Corinthians 8:7)

Here is a link to the piece that NBC-2News did: