Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A letter to an emerging leader

The following is a letter I wrote to one of teens in our church when his dad was having an event to affirm him in his manhood. I know this young man will flourish in his life. I encourage you to write letters and write them often.


“It is not so much what we do in this world that matters, but it is what we put in motion that really matters.”

“My commitment is stronger than my emotions.”

“The extra mile has no Traffic Jams.”

These quotes are things that come to mind when I think of your life and where God wants to take you. God is an incredibly big God and I believe He wants to do His thing in our life. Winston Churchill said that when a man is young he would be foolish to not be a liberal, but when the man grows up he would be a fool if he has not turned into a conservative thinker. I think what Winston Churchill was saying is that a young men have an uncanny ability to take risks, talk big, have lots of energy, and push the envelope in every area of life because of the zeal they have. Kyle, use this zeal you have to run and not grow weary as a young man. Remember that being a male is a matter of birth, but being a man is a matter of the choices we make. Lean into your Dad and Mom during these critical years of life so they will help you make great Godly choices.
The quote above that says “My commitment is stronger than my emotions” is a quote that Jesus lived taking His cross up the hill. He was committed to the plan God had for Him. The plan God has for you will include many hills. One of those hills will probably include a time in college. Make your commitment strong to do well, very well in college. Don’t allow the emotions of apathy or laziness to dominate you during these years like so many other men that have fallen into these emotions. Remember the reason why you are doing something and let nothing sway you from accomplishing it as your are becoming a mighty Man of God.
“It is not so much what we do in this world that matters, but it is what we put in motion that really matters.” I see what you have done in the youth group as starting motions in the lives of the young men and women. Your boldness in sharing your heart has encouraged them and pushed them. Keep starting things like that. In fact, make a plan this year on what things you are going to start to expand God’s Kingdom. Some things you will start and finish and other things you will just begin. I encourage you to write some things down that you believe God would have you do over the next 12 months.
“The extra mile has no traffic jams.” I believe you really want to break away from the crowd of mediocrity. There is an enemy called average. You will not be this way. You will choose the way of influence as you are called to influence. The sins of your past and weaknesses of your past must just be that—your past. King David said in Psalm 25:15 that my eyes are ever on the Lord for He along will release my feet from the snare or deadly trap. Going the extra mile in the Kingdom is always serving God and people a little bit more than you naturally want. I believe in you and know you will keep your eyes on Him.

Kyle, I wish I could have shared this night with you, but I am up in Michigan celebrating a week with my family. Let me leave you with one final thought. Jim Elliott said in his journal around your age that God makes his ministers as fire. He prayed Lord, am I ignitable? Oh God, please take away any water that is dampening my hunger for you, and put your oil upon my spirit that I may burn with your holy desire. Kyle, that is my prayer for you tonight. That you would burn brightly for God and ask Him to remove the chaff from your life.

Our God is a Great God,


Monday, September 29, 2008

Books I'm reading

Boys Adrift--I will be writing a book review on this very soon. This is an incredible book. Very revealing on what is happening to men currently or what they are allowing to happen to them.

A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity--I had to get this memoir from Bill O'Reilly. I have never read one of his books, but I thought this would be very interesting to find out how he became the bull-dozer he is. My wife and I watch him sometimes and laugh, glean, become inspired, and chuckle all at the same time.

Pagan Christianity--As I am reading this book, my brain is being engulfed with a myriad of thoughts from my training at college, training since college, and this book. I will be writing a book review on this in the next couple of weeks, but am quite perplexed at this book. Although well documented with a legion of footnotes, the premise of this book is trying to shift the state of the church by letting the church know that almost everything they are doing is WRONG. We shall see once I am finished.

Simple Church--This was quite the famous book in the last couple of years and I have just started to read this.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

ESOAL 2008 has come to an end

After all of the preparation of ESOAL 2008, I now look back and thank God. I grew up playing a variety of sports including Football, Basketball, and Baseball. I did two-a-days playing Football. I worked hard, but I have never been part of something like ESOAL. ESOAL went for over 74 hours. The people that went through ESOAL are heroes. They are champions. They persevered. They Endured. And, they inspired all of us that were helping run the event.

My wife did it. She is the epitome of a winner. She pushed through the wall of pain, boredom, anguish, discouragement, and completed ESOAL. I am so proud of her. She set her mind back in the spring to completely finish ESOAL and she did it. She had her tough times when she severely hurt her toe. I thought that might finish her. But, she decided to finish ESOAL instead of being finished.

What a woman! If you haven't watched the videos of her, keep scrolling down and watch a mom of 3 kids under the age of 6 live the Scripture that "she can do all things, through Jesus Christ."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

319 Discusses her thoughts on ESOAL

ESOAL Update #3

ESOAL Update #2

This is me interviewing my wife Alisa, #319, in ESOAL.

You can't see her in the video, but here's what she looked like around that same time:

ESOAL Update #1

Here's my first update from last night.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Once they were soldiers...

This is a great story of heroism. It's great to hear about this as we go into ESOAL tonight. I'm so excited to help rescue the participants from being dictated by their emotions as we give them opportunity to overcome them through the adversity ESOAL brings.

Once they were soldiers...

Ed Freeman

You're an 18 or 19 year old kid. You're critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965. LZ Xray, Vietnam. Your Infantry Unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.

You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is 1/2 way around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again. As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day.

Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see a Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because no Medi-Vac markings are on it.

Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were ordered not to come.

He's coming anyway.

And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board.

Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the Doctors and Nurses.

And, he kept coming back...... 13 more times..... and took about 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have gotten out.

Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died last Wednesday at the age of 80, in Boise, ID......May God rest his soul.....

Video Updates Throughout ESOAL

I will be updating this blog about ESOAL starting tonight and continuing throughout Sunday. Please check back to see what is happening.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Men’s Ministry in Your Youth Ministry: The First Experience

Ok, once you make the decision to start an emphasis on training the young men in your youth ministry to becoming the Greatest Sons, Greatest Husbands, and Greatest Fathers, you need to decide how to open it up.

Here is one way I opened it up 2 years ago:

In the circle drive in front of our youth building, I lit tiki torches in 3 different areas along the circle drive while the group was in the youth building during the service’s opening worship. I asked 3 men to share their hearts, each at a one of the different stations I had created. The first shared what it meant to be a great son. The second shared the significance of being a great husband. The last shared about being a great father.

After the worship ended, we walked all the guys outside. As they set their feet out of the door, they saw the tiki torches set up. Immediately they asked what was going on. I then told them of the new direction I was taking the youth group in. I explained what Trailer Club was going to be about and listed the 3 roles of what we would be

In going to the stations, they would soon learn even more about these 3 roles. At the first station, my friend shared from his life and the Scriptures. When we got to the next station, that man shared about preparing yourself to be a great husband. We continued to walk about the circle lot only to arrive at station 3 where the next guy shared about being a father and what that looks like. We ended in prayer; praying over each other that God would give us His power to accomplish His plans for our life.
After you introduce them to the concept, cast great vision to the guys of what they can expect to learn and experience as they become part of the men’s emphasis at your youth ministry.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Teen Perspectives

Today I’ll be interviewing

Natali Nieto

She’s 18 and likes playing guitar, spending time with
the Lord while exploring nature, and having a good laugh with

Let’s see what she has to say:

“I never really was involved with youth group, but I can tell you this…”

At 15 my family picked up its roots and moved from California to Arizona. I had
been involved with a youth group in Cali, but in Arizona, my church experience
wasn’t that great. The first and only youth group I tried was anything but
effective and meaningful. To me it felt superficial. Those same teens I saw
worshipping and praying were also sleeping around, partying, and experimenting
with different illegal substances. I was never welcomed. The YP never wanted to
listen or help me personally.

What did he do that made you feel this way?

I never felt welcomed because he never gave me the time of day. He had his
favorites and if you weren’t one of them, you were invisible to him. I was the
invisible one.

What are some things that YP’s can do to show their sincerity to youth?

I think it’s hard to engage with each and every student in a big youth group,
but they should at least try to make an effort to meet and greet each new person
so they can feel welcome and not alienated.

Not alienated? So, you’re saying it’s very important for youth to feel connected to the group, right? How could a YP make that happen?

Yes. I know that not every YP has the time to have the most intimate
conversations with every single person that walks through the youth room doors.
But someone needs to have these interactions with each individual…someone like a
small group leader. It’s crucial for young men and women to have Godly mentors
in their lives. I remember having someone like this when I was younger and it
made all the difference.

In a small group setting, youth are given more
opportunities to grow. Outside of this they can just go under the radar and not
be noticed. But the thing about small groups is that your leader is there to
notice what’s going on in your life. Youth are challenged to not live a double
life. The accountability offered in small groups would have deterred many of the
teens from my old youth group away from their two-faced life.

Do you have any other thoughts?

I believe genuine youth groups exist. I didn’t experience one and I never want
any other teen to have that same experience. YP’s, take note and be authentic
and sincere with your youth.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Throughout the 5 years I’ve been a part time youth pastor, I’ve used numerous curriculums to share with my students. Each of them has been beneficial in their own ways, but none of them compared to the one I’m using now. The VAULT is a curriculum I started using 2 months ago and it’s proven to be everything I could hope for and some. Packed with Biblical content, great discussion starters, complete sermons, PowerPoint’s, skits, ways to involve parents, and much more, I’ve found that it really is a VAULT of gold for every youth pastor!

The VAULT team is even giving out a month’s worth of material to everyone who emails them at theVAULT@teenmania.org. I’d definitely give it a try.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

ESOAL's Coming!

Every year at Teen Mania’s Honor Academy we facilitate a life-transforming event called ESOAL (Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of a Lifetime). Starting next Thursday I’ll be part of a group of facilitators who push participants to trust the Lord more than they ever have before in their lives. In this optional event, we’re placing the participants in very adverse scenarios to stretch them emotionally and physically. Go to this link to watch a video that describes ESOAL more: (http://www.honoracademy.com/esoal.php).

This year is going to be a lot different for me since this girl is going to be taking part in ESOAL and pushing herself beyond her limits:

My wife’s going through ESOAL!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Leading a Men’s Ministry in Your Youth Ministry

...you and your Senior Pastor are sitting down discussing the youth ministry. He makes the statement, “I’d like to see the youth ministry going in a new direction. How about we only have the regular youth service twice a month? On the other two weeks of the month, we would split the guys and the girls for gender-specific lessons. Let’s teach the young men to be Men and the young girls to be Women."
How would you react to that? Would you be anxious, perplexed, excited, or downright scared?

Take a moment to think about this: What if we as youth ministers brought our young men out of the traditional youth ministry setting and separated them from the ladies so we could specifically target them as men?

If you want to do something like this in your youth ministry, think about these things before you start it up:

1. Name the fraternity:
Yes, you need to think of this as a fraternity where the men will want to be part of it and enjoy it.

2. Main Goals:
What do you want to accomplish in these 2 meetings a month?

3. Tenets/Core Values:
Out of all the things Christians need to develop in their lives, what specific “core values” or tenets will your group focus on?

4. Content:
What resources are you going to use?

We will continue to discuss this the next time I post about men's ministry in a youth ministry.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Teen Perspectives

Today I’ll be interviewing:

Krystal Chan

She’s 19 and loves coffee, talking about the Lord,
and trying new foods.

Let’s see what she has to say:

What were the best things about youth group?

Unity, vulnerability, and keeping a good eye on opposite gender
relationships. I went to a Chinese church where most of the people were
families that recently immigrated to Canada. I liked how my YP never
judged the students (since he was raised in a white/Canadian culture) and took
the time to learn about our culture.
Looking back, what things do you wish your YP focused on?

Teaching us about keeping an eye on eternity. Chinese parents put a HUGE
focus on doing well in school à getting into a good college/university à getting
a good job and making ‘good money’ so they can have a ‘good life.’ I
would’ve liked it if my YP was able to bring all of that into perspective by
teaching us about sowing to reap eternal rewards.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Financial Training for Teens

"The rich plan for 3 or 4 generations. The poor plan for Saturday night."
What can we do to get our teens thinking longer term in regards to finances?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I laughed at this

I grew up watching wrestling and laughed when I first saw this, but now hope that no one got hurt.

(wrestler needs a chair and fans deliver)

Monday, September 01, 2008