When The Church Empowers Christ’s People, The World Will Change

 “And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”-Luke 10:2
One of the issues churches across America are facing is people either being disengaged in the congregation or not even being a part of the church itself. They are trying to find ways to get people to enter through the doors and step into the congregation through high energy music and activities. However, the question begs to be asked, is that enough?
We can get people to enter into the church, but how do we keep them? If the church is high energy and full of activity inside, then people will come back until the energy dies off, or they find something better.

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Why #METOO Matters

A couple days ago #metoo went viral. It was an opportunity for women everywhere to share their experiences with sexual harassment.

I was shocked and appalled to see so many covering my newsfeed.

I was bothered by it.

Not only because my friends and family had been hurting, but because I know that I have been a perpetrator of it.

Now, I have two sons. I will be demonstrating to them how to love a woman well, how to respect a woman, how to honor her, and how to respect her in his life. The way I treat their mom will teach them the right way going forward.

I have a daughter. She will know her worth. She will see the strength and intelligence of her mother and strive for that. She will have the beauty of her mother, but she will not rely on that beauty to get her places because of her intellect and strength, just like her mom. I will demonstrate to her how she should treated by a man. Her brother will also show her by watching how I do it and following my lead.

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Why Saying No Might Be The Most Freeing Thing You Do

When I first began in youth ministry, I found myself taking on every project and every activity. As a youth pastor, it felt like it was necessary. Many individuals in youth ministry, or ministry in general, find themselves taking on a large amount of work because they feel like they need to justify their jobs.

When young pastors are placed in their positions, the word “no” is very difficult to say. It’s hard because they know there are unspoken expectations. If they aren’t where people expect them to be, then questions arise as to what they are doing in their “job”. Read More

3 Reasons to Take Your Time

Have you ever been in the middle of cooking and you missed an important ingredient in the recipe? So, you go around frantically seeking out neighbors who might have it or if you might have it shoved away in a secret location, even you don’t know about.

How about planning to cook something, expecting it to only take 40 minutes, but you didn’t look at the recipe fully and you missed the fact that it takes 40 minutes to prepare and 4 hours to cook?

Yeah, both of these scenarios have happened to me. It is no fun. Especially when you tell your wife you have a plan for dinner and your kids are sitting staring at you with Oliver Twist eyes expecting you to feed them once they sit down. Read More

A Prayer For Vegas And The World

Lord God,

We seek you in this time of despair and tragedy.

Our world is groaning and longing for healing.

We sit and wait as lives are lost and hearts are broken, waiting for Your return. Read More

For A Limited Time

Have you ever been so involved with an activity, like watching a movie or reading my book (shameless plug), and you look at your cell phone and notice the time has just flown by? Read More

Set Goals and Hold Them Loosely

I’m sure you read the title of this post and said to yourself, “Wait! No! When you set goals, you need to keep them and hold firm!”

To that, I will say, you are correct!

However, there is something to be said about holding on loosely to the goals you set.

I am currently writing my third book. I actually had a goal of completing the first draft to go to an editor by the end of August.

It’s the middle of September, and I am barely through the third chapter.

I can make excuses, but the reality is, but life happened. We had a new baby, we are planting a church, my kids got sick, we went on vacation.

Sometimes, the goals you set won’t work the way you plan. It doesn’t mean you give up, but it means you adjust your plans. 

The goals you set can be adjusted. Don’t feel like they can’t.

Don’t be so tight fisted on your goals that you can’t flex. 

When you are unable to let yourself be flexible, then you will stress yourself out. If you have deadlines that are out of your control, then you need to meet them, just don’t let yourself be defeated by self-imposed deadlines that you have control over.

It’s hard, but it’s necessary.

Allow yourself some freedom. Meet your goals, but be willing to rest when needed.

While my family and I were driving to the beach, we took our time. My wife and I both felt relaxed during the vacation because we didn’t set a schedule.

Our kids needed to use the bathroom, we didn’t get bent out of shape, we went with it. We ate a late lunch and we weren’t concerned since the hotel wasn’t going to lock us out.

We had an idea of what time we wanted to get to our location, but we were flexible with our goal. It made our trip easier and our vacation more fun.

Setting goals is a valuable process, but you need to be willing to accept the fact that life happens, so your goals might have to be reevaluated and adjusted as necessary.

May you feel freedom on your personal goals. May you be willing to hold firm when necessary, but let go of your timeline and trust the process.

Peace and blessings friends.

QUESTION: When have you had to adjust your goals due to setbacks and how did you handle it?

Listening with Open Hearts

One of the hardest parts of dealing with pain and hurt is working towards reconciliation. Especially when both parties can’t see how they are both wrong, and right, in the disagreement.

When the arguments increase and the words begin to fly, without concern for emotions or feelings, it becomes incredibly difficult to build a bridge in the gap that is being formed.

People who have been hurt will take part in hurting others, that is not a new concept, yet many have not worked towards healing the pain.

As people continue to spew hateful rhetoric towards each other and demonstrations are occurring with violence, no matter how peaceful the groups claim to be, we sit at a point in time where text messaging and social media have created a barrier.

I sincerely believe that people have lost the ability to have healthy conversations, whether they agree or disagree, due to social media and smartphones. With all the convenience and connection we may receive, we are growing more and more apart. Read More

An Encouragement For Teachers

It’s that time of year again, where students begin their journey back into the school halls, and into the classrooms with their friends. They reconnect with people they haven’t seen for months and they begin anew with people they have never met.

For some, it’s a time of new beginnings in unfamiliar territory. They are looking for their niche and trying to figure out where they will fit in. They will be seeking acceptance, connection, and friendship. It is a time of transition, and they hope to make the best of it.

As my son prepares for Pre-K, I am still wrapping my mind around that, I am nervous. I wonder if he’ll find his place amongst peers. I wonder if he will be accepted. I wonder if he will be happy or if it will be hard.

Yet, I have hope, because of one thing…

I know his teacher.

She is kind, respectful, genuinely friendly, and loves kids. She loves her role. It is not a job, but a calling. She smiles and speaks softly. She is the one my wife and I will be connecting with to see how my son is developing. I have confidence in her and that brings me peace.

Why?

Because I had teachers like that. I had teachers who truly cared about me and other students. They stepped above and beyond their role as a teacher and became mentors and friends. They loved their position and would do it forever if they could.

Now, let me make this clear: teachers, you are not responsible for raising my child, I am. 

However, you have a major role in defining the future for many kids. Some children are in less than great homes and they are longing for a truly supportive and encouraging voice in their life, and you just might be it.
Some kids are wondering if an adult cares about them beyond their parent that yells at them regularly and belittles them. You just might be that adult.

Your role is vital to our society. You are under appreciated and I, as well as many others, recognize that. Let me say this now, I appreciate you!

This school year, when you experience a difficult student, you just might have the opportunity to encourage and motivate them to be something better. You have the ability to change their direction by merely being a pleasant and supportive voice in their life. 

How do I know?

I was that kid. I was a rambunctious, class clown, low self-esteem, and angry kid. I had teachers who cared. I had teachers who walked and talked with me. Teachers who pushed me to be better than what I thought I was. Teachers who sincerely wanted to make sure I was doing alright. 

Many teachers made the difference in my dreaming. 

I love learning because of my teachers. I love writing because of my teachers. I love reading because of my teachers. 

I still hate math, but hey, my teachers tried.

So, teachers, as you step into your classroom, whether it’s for the first year or your final, be encouraged to know that you are appreciated and loved by many parents. Know that even the most difficult student is worth it. Your role is amazing and valuable.

Remember why you chose to do this. Look at the faces of the students and realize you are influencing their lives. 

Make it count! 

Thank you to my teachers who saw something in me that I never thought could exist and motivating me to be something better.

Have a great year teachers! I’m praying for you!

Peace and blessings!

Question: How have you been influenced by your teachers?

Answering the Why

I have heard people in leadership circles mention this phrase, “Start with the why!” 

Implying, before you begin anything new, ask yourself, “Why are we doing this?” 

This is definitely a fair question to ask, in fact, it’s a valuable question to reflect on and wrestle with as you go forward in your life. 

So, today, I’m taking the opportunity to answer the question. I want to define the why.

I am planting a church in Elkins, WV. I am pretty excited about it. I believe God has called me to this and I trust He will provide the necessary pieces to accomplish the task.

However, I also know I need to be prepared to answer questions and respond to requests. 

Why am I planting a church and why in Elkins, WV?

The answer: 

God is relentlessly pursuing His creation and He needs His Church to be active in revealing His call! 

That is why!

I cannot sit on my hands and wait for other people to reach the broken and lost. I have to act on my calling as a pastor to serve the community, and strengthen the lives of those who are seeking hope in our Savior.

That’s my why!

I long to see people come to be healed in their lives through the love of their Creator. I strive to be light in a dark world in order to reveal freedom from sin through the redemptive act of Jesus on the cross. I want to point people towards Christ and help them understand He is for them.

My why is important. It drives me. It pushes me to be better. It encourages me to love others more and serve people selflessly. It defines my purpose in my journey.

May you come to discover your why. May you come to understand your purpose and why you are designed to go that direction. May you see your why as a part of God’s bigger story unfolding in our lives.

Peace and blessings friends.

QUESTION: Why do you do what you do?