Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Ministry Opportunity: Same old me

It is with mixed emotion that I announce to you that Tessa and I have moved to First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas where I am now serving as the Student Pastor. On one hand, we are incredibly excited about what God is doing in and through the fellowship here at First Dallas and how we get to be a small part of God's plan for the future of First Dallas Students! Yet, on the other hand, we are extremely sad to leave the fellowship of excitement at Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.

In our 4 years of service in Katy, or West Houston, we were so blessed to work with one of the greatest teams and in one the greatest churches in America today. Even more so, we had the pleasure of making some incredible friends who became like family to us in our time in Houston, and we will sorely miss seeing those friends on a weekly basis. At the same time, we have already been incredibly blessed with more friends and great fellowship in our new church home at First Dallas.

We have been so blessed by God to have served at Second Baptist Church and then to be called to another of the greatest churches in America today, First Baptist Dallas! Please look us up if you are ever in Dallas!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

"American Teenager" series in our High School Ministry

We started a series in our high school ministry this past Sunday called "American Teenager" (graphic by Brett Davis) based off of the hit TV series "Secret Life of the American Teenager". Our goal with the series is to challenge some of the myths that are so pervasive in teenage culture today.

The first myth that we dealt with was "Live for the moment, don't worry about consequences."

You can hear our week 1 message, click here and selecting "Podcasts" from the middle of the page.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heidi Faul shares her story in the high school ministry!

Heidi Faul is one of our volunteers in the high school ministry at Second Baptist Church's West Campus. She is a Collision Group Leader with our Cinco Ranch girls group. Watch this video as Heidi shares some of her story in the beginning to our new series in the High School Ministry called "American Teenager" which started this past Sunday.

Watch her testimony!!!

Thank you for allowing God to use your story Heidi!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hypocrisy: the excuse of the unchurched

Hypocrisy, our ability to live 2 different life styles in one lifetime, is definitely not a new phenomenon. Jesus talked a lot about hypocrisy and was very harsh toward those he felt were hypocrites. Matthew 23 is full of his thoughts about hypocrisy if you want to read just a little bit of what he has to say about hypocrisy.
One of the major thoughts I have had about hypocrisy, in my own life, as well as in the church at large, is the fact that hypocrisy in the church has lead to an overwhelming generalized excuse of the unchurched. You have probably heard it as much as I have...I refuse to come to church or to give God/Christianity even a moments notice...but why...Christians are the biggest hypocrites in the world and I want nothing to do with them. Don't get me wrong, this isn't the sentiment of every unchurched person that you meet by any means. Nor do I buy into the "over-played media driven" negativity towards the church and Christianity as a whole. At the same time, I have come to realize that there is a significant amount of truth to the claim of hypocrisy in the church.
Jesus says in Matthew 23:13 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." Jesus is talking to the elite leaders and teachers of his day. These guys had the corner on the market "religiously" speaking. I hope and pray that our religious leaders are not guilty of the same deception as those Jesus is addressing here. Media has exposed many great leaders to be living 2 life styles, even their sin won't change the fact that they are leaders. As the examples mount, I won't mention any names, the unchurched world grasps at any excuse it can to deny Christ. It is incredibly sad that most often the greatest excuse of a dying and lost world is the people in the church.
I say it is high time for leaders in the church to rise up and call hypocrisy to account within the church so that the world will no longer have an excuse that will never hold water when our time is up.

Here are some practical thoughts you can use to help fight hypocrisy in your own life:
Realize that its what's in your heart that counts: T-shirts, Christian music, and church attendance have many times been confused with a true relationship with Christ. We, me included, have helped to raise up a generation of "Christ followers" who easily confuse the "stuff" of church and the appearance of faith with really living it out 7 days a week 24 hours every day. There is no alternate lifestyle option when it comes to living for Christ.

Put God in his rightful place in your life: Israel is a prime example of our ability to see what God has done in our lives and then to go right back to worshipping other gods. When Israel was brought up out of Egypt they saw God do insane things, plagues, parting the sea, they followed a cloud at day and a pillar of fire at night...but they soon forgot and fell into hypocrisy. They wanted God's blessing and the freedom that he brought them but they also wanted to worship the idols they could see and touch every day. I'm guessing you probably aren't worshipping any wood carved idols, or golden calfs but if you are like me you struggle with your own idols. Whether it be excuses like "God I just don't have time to worship you," or "God if really surrender that part of my life my career will suffer," or some other god like success, money, relationships, or worldly possessions...if God isn't in his rightful place in your life you don't have a fighting chance against hypocrisy. Jesus says of the spiritual snobs and the self righteous leaders in Matthew 23:5a "Everything they do is done for men to see..." The obvious problem was that they no longer cared what God thought and it was all about what other men could see and how they were perceived by others.
Be honest with God about your hypocrisy: Without a doubt hypocrisy is a struggle that, on some level, every single one of us will carry with us for the rest of our lives. I don't think its something that we outgrow, or move past, we will most likely have to be in the fight against hypocrisy forever. One of the hardest things in fighting hypocrisy is being willing to admit that it is a struggle for you. In Revelation 3:20 it says "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent." I'm always dumbfounded by my thoughts about hiding from God what I know he can obviously already see. Nothing is hidden from God, yet so many times I will go to great lengths in my attempts at fooling him. If we are going to effectively fight hypocrisy in our lives we will have to start being honest and repenting.
The unchurched are depending on us to take his love and truth of the Gospel and put it on display as Christ lives and moves through us each day. God will not accept the hypocrisy in the church as an excuse by any unbeliever...nor can we accept hypocrisy as a standard for living in Christ. It is time for Christian leaders and earnest followers of Christ to rise up and deal squarely with hypocrisy...a dying world is counting on us to show them the love and mercy of Christ, even if they don't know it!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Simple thoughts about management...

My campus pastor, Keith Carmichael, made a great statement today. He said that "management is about knowing yourself and then knowing the people you are managing." I guess it doesn't sound all the profound...I mean obviously you should know yourself, your leadership style and management style and you should know the people that you are managing and their different strengths and what they bring to the table in your organization. Still, I can't get his statement out of my mind. As I mull over my own leadership I realize that there are little nuances that I can make when leading my team that will make me a much more effective leader.

Determine the ultimate goal: This can be a lot harder than you might think. Narrowing down everything that you do in your organization so that you understand the ultimate goal of what you and your team are doing can take a lot of self discovery. Ultimately the goal of a manger is to empower and develop a passion into those being managed toward the ultimate goal and purpose even if it is something they might not have taken personally in the beginning. In other words, am I able to help my team grow passionate about the ultimate goal and the part that each of them plays in reaching that goal?

This task becomes even more convoluted when I factor in my desire to see my team develop and grow as individual leaders as well as team players. I am not naive enough to believe that everyone who I work with now will always be working with me. I hope and pray that this is a grooming time for each of them and that eventually they will move on to more influential and bigger roles whether in ministry or in the business world. I guess what I'm saying is that my ultimate goal for each of them as leaders is that they become better finishers and that they gain the confidence to replicate and reproduce themselves. My hope is that every leader I work with will grow and gain as a result of working around or with me. However that might be, I don't want anyone to have worked with me for any length of time and not have taken some benefit or growth in their leadership from our time together.

Put leaders in places where they will win: Recently the manager of the Yankee's brought back a starting pitcher who had been injured for some time. The outing he opened him with? An away game against the Boston Redsox...what a bad move. How was the young and newly healed pitcher going to regain all of his lost confidence in a hotbed of a game like the Yankees vs the Redsox? Wouldn't it have been better to get him a start against a team that he was more likely to have a measure of success against so that he would have at least some success?

It is so important to do this with leaders as well...put them in spots where they will succeed. Success breeds more success, and winning breeds more winning. Once you have established a level of confidence and success in your team they will gladly take on tasks that are much larger or more difficult knowing that you have confidence that they will succeed!

Be humble enough to do what you ask your team to do: There is nothing worse than following someone who will ask you to do the worst things in the world and you know that they have never and would never be willing to do those things themselves. It is so important that your workers know that you aren't above doing anything that you would ask them to do. Look for ways as a manager to take on some of the dirty-back breaking work and you will earn the trust and confidence of your team. They will be far more willing and hard working when it comes the menial tasks involved in accomplishing the goal if they know that you are willing to get in there with them!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Maximizing Your Leadership

I'm takes time, but I am learning about being a leader. One of the things that I've become convinced of is that your circumstance cannot and does not determine how great of a leader you are or that you become. Long story short there are a lot of reasons that people supposedly become great leaders, excellent mentors, great parents, opportunities to lead at a young age are all linked to the development of a good leader. Circumstances that call for leadership often reveal great leaders, some people believe that leaders rise up when they are needed most and that's what forges leadership. I know all of these factors help develop and grow leaders, but I have to believe that no matter where you're coming from or what your beginning looks like, it's not what's outside of you that makes you a great leader. It is what you do with what Christ places in front of you that makes you a great leader.
Personally, I have come to believe that great leadership supersedes any circumstance or opportunity. It has everything to with what you do with the opportunity and circumstance you have been given. I hate the over-used illustration of the "street sweeper" but I can't think of a better one. The point is that a street sweeper should endeavor to be the very best street sweeper that he can be if that is where God has him. Don't get me wrong, I pray you aspire to become more than a street sweeper although God may have you sweeping streets for the time being.
The NBA draft reminds me of the all important 6th man awarded to the best bench player in the NBA every year. I mean they give an award to a guy who doesn't even start on his team. In essence the 6th Man is the MVP of the "non-starters" in the NBA each year. He is the guy who does the most with whatever minutes he gets and whatever opportunities come his way. He may play 12 minutes one night in a game where he doesn't fit into the match ups and the next night be called upon to score 20+ points and grab 10 rebounds. He has to do whatever he can with the place he is given, no more, no less. Some other great leaders started out doing carpentry, fishing, tent making, collecting taxes, or shepherding thing was true of all of them...they were pretty good at what they did.
I am guilty of always wanting to taste that next level of leadership in my life. I look here and there for the next great opportunity to lead when in reality I probably have a lot of leadership to learn right in the spot I'm in. My team can use a better leader, my church can use a better leader, and my wife can absolutely use a better leader. If you are like me and you want to maximize your leadership the best thing you/I can do is become better at leading where we are. If we allow ourselves to think to much about what we hope to do some day, who we hope to speak to, who we hope to lead, we may very well miss the lessons of leadership we need to learn to get us to where God is taking us in our leadership!

Ministry booming? how to stay connected...

the problem: As our ministry grows, my team and I, find it ever more difficult to connect in a meaningful, spiritually motivated way with students. There is so much activity that involves such a large group of students that it's very easy for us as a team to lose touch with our students. You can only go so far connecting with students when they are in a group of 4-500 students. That being said, we have determined to fight "disconnectedness" in a few specific ways...
personal mentor groups: This is probably the single best thing that workers in any size ministry can do to stay connected. Grab a small group of students who you can personally mentor into a deeper walk with Christ. You take it personally upon yourself to encourage, hold accountable, and challenge spiritually a few students and you're sure to stay on-fire for the students in your ministry.
Bible Studies: This summer in the 210 High School Ministry we are doing 2 Bible Studies on Thursday mornings. They are "guys only" and "girls only" Bible Studies lead by our 210 high school staff. Both studies meet at 11:00am at the church. Following the time of study we all head to Chick-fila where we fellowship and hang out for a while.
This format has really given us a great opportunity not only to challenge the students who are desiring to go deeper but also for our team to get to know them better. Obviously, students who build a meaningful connection with a staff person or an adult volunteer in our ministry are incredibly more likely to move forward in their walk with Christ. Thursday morning isn't the most popular time to do anything so we can be sure that the smaller group of students in attendance are desiring more depth. The fellowship after the Bible Studies allows students to connect with people that they can aspire to become. It gives them precious time to get to know our team better. It is a win-win for our students and our ministry!
invite students into your life: Do you have to make a Sam's or Costco run this week? Call up a students or two and invite them to come shopping with you. You might think, "students are going to be offended that I asked them to go shopping with me," but I promise you, students will do whatever they can to get into a more personal setting with you or your team. Call students and have them stuff envelops, stick labels, write postcards, make phone calls with you any and every time you do these things. You will be amazed at the response and buy in you will receive from your students if you extend opportunities for them to step into your world...even if it is to work or serve! They love it and your ministry will reap a great benefit from it!
in short: We only have a few short precious years to step into the lives of those we serve in ministry...and that's if we're lucky and they don't move or leave the church. We, you and me, have to make the most of every opportunity with our students. If we get disconnected we will lose our effectiveness dramatically. Do everything you can to stay connected to your students!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

iPhone 3GS

Do you buy into the hype? I can't lie, I love just about everything that Apple does these days. I am an iPhone user and have been thouroughly satisfied with my 3G. I blogged about getting my first ever iPhone and leaving my Blackberry in the dust (I still love Blackberry) once the iPhone became compatible with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. Before those upgrades I felt that the iPhone lacked the compatibility I wanted in a device used mostly to meet the demands of my job.
Even still there were little things that made me miss my trusty old Blackberry like "copy-and-paste" capability. It drove me absolutely mad when someone would text me asking me for a couple of cell phone numbers and I couldn't just copy them and paste them in a text message! Well gone are those days with the 3.0 Software Upgrade released last week. Not only are there a sleugh of new features and capabilities but Apple actually took into consideration the faults any business minded person may have found and tried to meet those demands!
Now to the real you buy into the new iPhone 3GS? I have to admit, I'm dying to experience the "twice as fast", which is hard to believe since I don't find the iPhone slow in 3G! I can't wait to try out the upgraded camera and the new video recording and editing tools. I know it's not some totally different new phone and it sort of feels like they have just released more of the capability of the last iPhone edition...but I cannot lie I'm intrigued.
Who says that Apple hasn't earned the right to make moves like this one anyway? I mean the world is obviously "bought-in". Apple sold over 1 million new iPhone 3GS's in the first 3 days of availability. That's somewhat comprable to what the 3G did except the 3G was released in 21 countries and the 3GS in only 8 countries!!! Apple has created a marvel to behold in the iPhone and iPod series and I cannot wait to see what will be next.
Are you an Apple fan?

Teachability and Humility: the killer combo

In today's leadership driven culture words like "teachability" and "humility" get thrown around like they are going out of style. And...they should get thrown around in leadership circles. None-the-less, I have become incredibly aware in recent days just exactly how important it is that followers of Christ truly do pursue humility and teachability. I am convinced that God will use those who possess humility and teachability to do huge things.
The Danger of Self-Promotion: It is so easy to become self promoters and to become obsessed with making our own names known. The challenge lies in the heart of all that we do for Christ. At times it is necessary to do some self promotion when it will directly impact the Kingdom but so many times we make excuses and attempt to disguise our selfish promotion as doing ministry.
The reality is that when we become selfish and we are passing off our self promotion as our humble efforts at advancing the Kingdom, the ministry suffers. Not only do we lose the passion and fire that comes from a white- hot commitment to honor Christ and advance him, but we eventually miss out on being used by God in his plans.
The Myth of Humility: There are a lot of misconceptions about what humility really looks like in a Christ follower. The answer lies in scripture. Philippians 2:3-4 talks specifically about humility, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Paul makes it clear that we are to never act simply out of our own ambition or to puff up our own ego's.
At the same time, humility is not what some Christians make it out to be, weakness (that's the myth). There is nothing worse than a "tail-between-the-legs, scared-to-death of confrontation, back-boneless person" claiming to be humble but lacking any strength of conviction. Christ, who was the perfect fulfilment of all of the fruits of the spirit including humility, gave us a beautiful portrait of what true humility should look like. Consider when Jesus cleared the temple (Matthew 21). He was obviously a man of action and had every intention of making a statement for sure. But when we unpack the motive of Jesus' bold move in the temple we see what true humility looks like. His actions were in every way a direct reflection of his love for the Father. HUGE POINT: When we put God into the most important spot in our lives our hearts will overflow into action and concern for the things that concern Christ.
The Success of Teachability: One of the most attractive fruits of true humility is a "teachability" that transcends age, level of success, status, and skill. A truly humble person is willing to learn. You will see a teachable person looking for opportunities to learn. They will usually speak later rather than sooner, ask more questions than give answers, and seek to pass on credit any time they get the chance.
I know a gentleman who volunteers in the high school ministry of Second Baptist Church who expresses this teachability often and in heavy doses. This guy is an incredibly successful individual, he has a great family, a successful career, and a huge heart for Christ. This guy, to be honest, really doesn't need to ask questions about how to be more successful in his ministry with high school students, or what he can do to serve his teenage children in a way that will allow them to see Christ...he already has the corner on these things. Truth is, I learn more from watching him and probing him then I would ever be able to teach him! But again, true humility in the follower of Christ breeds an incredible teachability.
I hope you will be as challenged as I am to be humble and to be teachable in your life. It's not easy and it takes the working of the Spirit in your life, but if you will trust God and ask Him to lead you, you can grow in your humility! For today, remember Christ and the fact that He was equal with the Father but was in submission to him.
Philippians 2:5-8: 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and become obedient to death--even death on a cross!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"The Fight" Teaching Series

The life of a follower of Christ can be characterized many different ways, glorious, full of joy, exciting, even romantic...but what it really a FIGHT!
In this series I have challenged students to fight temptation and to stand up under peer pressure. It is high time for followers of Christ to rise up and meet the darkness of this world with some resolve and some fight. At the same time, only a fool walks into a fight without being prepared for what is going to come at them.
I hope you will check out this series. You can podcast the first two messages, "The Fight Against Temptation" and "The Fight Against Peer Pressure" at or searching the iTunes Store for the "210 high school student ministry" and subscribing to our high school podcast.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Leaders Know How to Finish

One of the things that I have become convinced of in recent days is that every leader needs to know how to finish things. Are you a young and aspiring leader? Do you really want to show up big for your team, organization, or ministry? Then learn how to finish projects, events, and tasks well.

*Warning*Warning*Warning*Warning* If you read this, decide you want to be a finisher, and put these things into will most likely be given more work, pushed as a leader, and given a lot more responsibility..So read at your own risk!

5 things that will help you become a leader who finishes:

1. Always ask yourself the questions you think your boss/supervisor is going to ask you before they ask you...if you can learn to answer probable questions before they arise you will find that your boss/supervisor will eventually stop asking you the "devil is in the details" questions because they believe and know that you are already thinking of those questions. Bosses love, I mean really love workers who don't need a lot of "hand-holding".

2. Communicate your progress along the way...If you can learn to communicate your progress will help to elminate the amount of checking in your boss/supervisor will have to do. If you don't communicate your suprevisor may percieve you to be procrastinating instead of working ahead of schedule. If you let your boss know where you are on a project then they won't have to percieve anything except that you are a "go-getter" and a "finisher".

3. Ask a lot of question...You can never ask to many questions about what the expectation for your work will be upon completion. If you will ask good questions you will display to your supervisor that you are into the details and that the quality of your work matters to you. There is nothing worse as a boss to believe that someone on your team really doesn't care how well they do their work.

4. Remember that your work represents more than just you...Sometimes leaders forget that the work they are entrusted with reflects on more than just them. You always, always want your boss/supervisor to feel like they can trust you to carry the banner for your organization or ministry. There is no higher honor than for your boss to believe and entrust to you the responsibility of completing and finishing work that will be on display representing your organization or ministy.

5. Do what is expected of you, then ask for more...If you can accomplish what you've been assigned well before it must be completed, go back and ask for more responsibility. Leaders who are "finishers" will always be asking for more work and responsibility so that they can grow in their leadership.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

iPhone3G: Hello to...

Fine! I give up...for the past year my wonderful wife Tessa has been telling me to do what I've been talking about doing..."Go get the iPhone!" Christmas 07 she got the original iPhone and I stuck to my Blackberry Curve 8310. I did though, land a sweet iTouch. Secretly I would play with it at night while my wife slept. Sometimes I would even undock it in my car and hold it up to my ear just so other drivers would think I was actually using the iPhone. I almost even tried that in starbucks but I didn't want to get caught posing.

My excuse for rejecting the iPhone was the inability of the original email software to support Microsoft Exchange server which is what I needed for my work email service. Then Apple released an updated iPhone software which allowed compatibility with the Microsoft Exchange server...but I still had the excuse of the iPhone not really being that much quicker in the browser than my 8310...

Then, along came the iPhone3G eliminating my excuses all the more. With its increased browsability speed over the 3G network its allure became almost undeniable. Yet still, I held to my Curve 8310 supposing it be a "far superior work phone." I mean after all, you can cut and paste on the about that iPhone?

Who was I kidding besides myself? The iPhone kills my Blackberry Curve in just about every way possible. It browses incredibly faster, it is Wi-fi accessible, I download lots of free but valuable apps right from my iPhone, 8 gigs hold more music than anyone could ever listen to in a lifetime, I can stream video, manage contacts, manage my whole financial portfolio, open pdf and jpg files, compile 3 different calendars into one incredibly efficient reminder capable Calendar, all while jamming to 8 gigs of more music than anyone could ever listen to in a lifetime!!!

It's not about what iPhone3G cannot do, its about what it can do that most phones can only dream about. Also keep in mind that Apple is probably the most innovative company that we may have ever seen. If there is one or two nit-picky things that you don't like, wait a month, you can bet they will fix that as well!!!

So here's goodbye to my faithful old Blackberry Curve and hello to the sexy multi-media savvy, fully business capable, coolest phone on earth...iPhone3G.

What will they come up with next???

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

laughing at the disciples...

I can't lie, I was really encouraged by some of the reading I have done this week. The disicples once again make me laugh, but oh boy do I ever see how much I struggle even more than they did!!! Check out my thoughts:

In Matthew 14 Jesus feeds 5000 men + women and children with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 if that wasn't an incredible enough miracle Jesus then preceeded to walk out to the disciples on the water. Wow! I mean that is one heck of an amazing day right? First you get to pass out the bread and fish to the multitudes and then you have the horrific, yet-I'm-sure-thrilling-in-a-good-way, opportunity to see the exchange between Jesus and Peter as he stepped out of the boat, and even more so the chance to realize that you were worshipping the Son of God in that little fishing boat!

Then just a few short days later in Matthew 17 the people are again hungry and Jesus doesn't want them walking a long distance home after 3 days without food. "Jesus called his disciples to him and said, 'I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way.'" (I know there is a lot of great stuff I'm skipping over).

This is where it gets funny for me...the disciples pipe back to Jesus "Where could we get enough bread in this remote place to feed such a crowd?" ARE YOU SERIOUS??? Can the disciples really ask that question when they just worshipped the Son of God in a little fishing boat that he walked over the water to get to after he broke 5 loaves and 2 fish into food for several thousand people? I mean its unthinkalbe right? Jesus, we're in a remote place where can we possibly get that much food on such short notice here in the mountains? Funny right!

Jesus goes on to feed the crowd of thousands with 7 loaves and a few fish just like he had done a few days before. As I was laughing at the disciples for being that dense and forgetting that Jesus had fed thousands just days before with fewer loaves and fish before walking on the water and saving Peter from drowning...I realized that I often times forget the miracles that God has worked in my life and I wonder how in the world I will ever survive some situation or trial. I guess it comes naturally to me and probably to us to give ourselves a free pass for doubting that we serve and worship the same God that walked on that water who healed the lame, blind, and sick, and even fed thousands.

Our all-access pass hasn't been changed or rejected. We just need to open our eyes and pay attention to what God has done and is doing for us. He's still in the business of blowing us out of the water with what He will do. I guess what I'm trying to do is learn to look for the miracles instead of forgetting them because of whatever new challenging circumstance I'm facing. Oh yeah, and I probably better not laugh at the disciples anymore!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Collision Groups this Wednesday at 6:30pm!!!

Would you like for your High School student to be encouraged and supported in his or her walk with Christ? By more than just you as their parent? How great would it be for them to have a network of support and encouragement at their school and from another mature adult who is following Christ? This Wednesday in the 210 High School Ministry we are having Collision Groups in homes throughout the Katy area from 6:30-8pm. Click here for a comprehensive list of Collision Groups locations.Collision Groups are divided by school and by gender and they meet every Wednesday night excluding the 1st Wednesday of each month for Collide (at the church).

These groups are lead by volunteer leaders who have a heart for pouring into the lives of high school students. They involve hanging out and fellowship in the beginning of the evening as well as something to snack on in case you are coming straight from practice. Then there is a time for the group to come together and to begin to discuss relevant issues that every student is facing on one level or another.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Deep End Discipleship Class

Discipleship has got to be more than just a program that we role out for our students and for our own lives...we get that. BUT, I have to admit that there seems to be a dramatic struggle around the country with truley deep and impacting discipleship. This 6 week program called "Deep End" is our attempt at getting students fired up about learning the basics of following Christ. We are going to be using media to help us challenge our students and parents to grow deeper and not stay in the 'shallow waters' of faith.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Check out these YouTube Video Challenge videos:

The YouTube Video Challenge: To participate the group was required to create a video that would promote our 210 High School Sunday mornings! The group that gains the most hits on YouTube by October 26th will win the challenge. The winning group will be awarded $500 to put toward their choice of fun for the group as a whole.

Each of the videos below represent a Guys or Girls Collision Group. Collision Groups are home groups divided by school and gender. These groups are lead by the most amazing adults and individuals who sacrifice their time and energy to invest deeply into the lives of teenagers throughout the Katy, TX and surrounding area.

Taylor Guys Collision Group (above)

Private/Other Guys Collision Group (above)

Mayde Creek Girls Collision Group (above)

Seven Lakes Girls Collision Group (above)

Mayde Creek Guys Collision Group (above)

Morton Ranch Guys Collision Group (above)

Katy Girls Collision Group (above)

Monday, October 6, 2008

"The 71's" in the 210 High School Ministry yesterday!!!

Wow!!! That is all I have to say about our guest band yesterday. "The 71's" are an incredible group and they really did an outstanding job on Sunday morning in the 210 High School Ministry! I was left only wanting to hear and experience more. These guys rock and they are even better people than they are a band. If you are looking to book an awesome band for any event, I highly reccommend these guys!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Katy back on the rise to prominence with 31-6 route of Cy-Bay Florida school...

Watch out Texas High School Football!!! The perennial powerhouse Katy Tigers are back on the rise to prominence as they soundly defeated the previously 3-0 Cypress Bay Lightning from Florida.

Katy, now 3-2 enters their conference play having played what most consider to be one of the most difficult pre-season schedules ever to be played. There has been a lot said about the Tiger's beginning this season 0-2, but I'm willing to bet that this win will silence a lot of critics.
To be totally honest, I'm not sure that anyone should be terribly shocked by the way that Katy dominated Cy Bay today. The Tigers lost a lot of senior firepower and leadership with last year's championship team graduating. Every skill position is now manned by a first time starter in the Katy program. Most of the skill position players last year started for at least 2 years. Bo Levi Mitchel (FR QB at SMU, starter) left after holding down the QB position for a couple of years along with a host of other 2 and 3 year starters. This left the Tiger's a little bit lacking in the area of experience.
It seems like finding the character and resilience that it takes to claw back into the conversation after going 0-2 has brought out the leadership in the young team. I would look for Katy to quietly work its way through the conference with relative ease until they face conference foe Cinco Ranch on November 4th at Rhodes Stadium. The sparks will fly as Cinco appears to have its best team possibly ever. Katy and Cinco will most certainly round out the conference with a tough race for 3rd.

"The 71's" and "Sho Baraka" this Sunday!!!

Check out this Promotional Video for our Sunday morning ministry at Second Baptist Church in the 210 Student Ministry!!! We will have "The 71's" as well as "Sho Baraka" this Sunday morning...everyone is invited, don't miss it!!!

1st Ever Fall Riot is a HUGE Success!!!

Check out the slideshow above! We had 1600 high school and junior high students at our 1st ever Fall Riot event this last Wednesday in our Worship Center at Second Baptist Church. Fall Riot was an event focused on bringing students in from all around the community. We brought in Planet Funk a professional dance crew, they were off the hook! We also had the Mayde Creek Cheer Leaders perform at the event and they were exceptional. My personal favorite part of Fall Riot was the QB Challenge that we issued to all of the local JH and HS QB's. We had like 15 JH QB's and 12 HS QB's come out to compete in our Challenge, it was a blast.

Most importantly we had a captive audience, and Brian Mills preached the Gospel and we saw over 200 students make decisions for Christ, God is amazing. There were several members of the Planet Funk Dance Crew who also got up and walked forward to make decisions for Christ. It is so awesome to see how God has honored all of the hard work and diligence that went into planning and executing an event like the Fall Riot!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cinco Ranch defeats Mayde Creek 42-14...

In another early season-soon-to-be conference matchup, Cinco Ranch took it to Mayde Creek in a big way, 42-14. This game was a last minute replacement game for both teams as the fallout from Hurricane Ike destroyed the local non-conference schedules that included opponents from Houston's Bay Area.

Cinco ranch flat out had too much fire power for Mayde Creek and proved much stronger in the running game. It was fun to be able to see so many of our students at this game on both sides of Rhodes Stadium in Katy, TX! They really do love their teams and showed up in full force to support them even though they haven't had school for the last week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Morton Ranch defeats Seven Lakes in surprise matchup...

The Morton Ranch Mavericks defeated the Seven Lakes Spartans 21-20 in a surprise match up on Thursday evening at 7pm in Rhodes Stadium. Both teams had no idea that they were going to be playing in the non-conference game against a conference foe until Wednesday morning.

Each school only had one day to practice and prepare for the game. You can imagine tensions and nerves were running high as both teams came in feeling less than prepared to play on one day notice.

I have to give both teams a ton of credit for coming out and playing hard-nosed ball. The game was close all the way through and there was no giving up or laying down by either squad. Seven Lakes went to the locker room at half time with a 7-0 lead. Morton Ranch rallied quickly and reeled off 3 straight touchdowns including an interception return for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked by Seven Lakes on the second touchdown so MR was forced to go for the two point conversion. They got the conversion on a fancy form of the flea flicker thanks to a nifty play call by Coach Scott Svendsen. The game was at 21-7 before Seven Lakes could even blink.

Then like true warriors they fought their way back into the game. A long pass play brought the score to 21-14. Then a stand on 3 and 5 forced MR to punt the football. Seven Lakes quickly navigated the field and threw a beautiful pass with no time on the clock and scored. With no time left, and the score at 21-20, Seven Lakes coach Coach Kevin O'keefe opted to go for the 2 point play. The put their best player in motion across the field but were unable to complete the out pattern and lost the game.

What a battle! Both teams should be equally proud of their resilience and fight after this great game!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Living like somebody whose been healed...

It seems like anymore it is just crazy to hear somebody talk about how God has brought them from despair, or healed them in one way or another. I mean people who really do realize what God has done for them have such an advantage, they often live like today is their last day left.

As I was reading this morning in Luke 17 about the 10 Lepers that Jesus healed I was reminded of how important it is to remember how much God has done for me. The reality is that those lepers suffered from a very nasty difficult physical ailment over which they had no control. I mean none of them brought their sickness upon themselves but yet they were forced to deal with their sickness every moment of every day.

When Jesus healed all 10 of the lepers while they were on their way to show themselves to the priests only one of them came back to fall at Jesus' feet.

'One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”'

How sad was it that only 10% of those who were begging Jesus to have mercy on them because of their sickness were willing to come back to him and worship him?

Honestly, as I read this story, I got very convicted about the fact that I can live my life for days, weeks, and even months without falling at his feet to praise him and thank him for what he has done for me. Sadly, I often live like the 90% in the story. Crying out for help and mercy when I realize that I'm sick and in need of a major healing but then failing to continually live a life of gratefulness.

I'm so humbled by what God has done for me, I realize right now that I don't really deserve all of his grace and mercy. I pray that my life will be like that of the "1 healed leper" of worship and praise to our God for all that he has done!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What things are most essential to the spiritual growth of teenagers?

Post your comments about "what things you believe are the most essential to the spiritual growth of teenagers?" Your responses will be compiled to help gather information about what things are most essential to the spiritual growth and development of teenagers.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My apartment sign among the Ike sign casualties...

The sign that sits off of Mason Road between Grace Fellowship and my apartments, the Alexan Downs, took a hard hit from Hurricane Ike. After driving around Katy just a little bit, it appears that the hurricane did damage in my area mostly to signs, trees, and fences.

Galveston and Houston were just destroyed by the hurricane. All 16 services on the 6 campuses of Second Baptist Church have been cancelled this weekend due to Hurricane Ike. That is just insane.

There are many fences throughout the surrounding communities that have fallen due to the wind or to trees that have crashed over. I can tell you that it will take a very significant amount of time to get all of the debree cleaned up from the roads throughout the Katy area. Even just little limbs, leaves, and then on up to some smaller trees are on every single road way. It doesn't seem like anything is too serious, but I can imagine that the cleanup will have to be a major undertaking.

Hurricane Ike hits hard and devastates...

Hurricane Ike has come and it has gone, but in its wake it has left devastating damage to Galveston and Houston and the surrounding areas. Galveston is largely under water and what isn't under water has been basically destroyed by the storm. Ike caused tons of fires which were unable to be put out due to the danger of the storm. Emergency workers were frustrated to have to watch from a distance as buildings and houses burned.

Thank the Lord that there was a very large and effective evacuation plan carried out. Let's be honest, if you wanted to get out of the area, you were given every opportunity. Local officials bussed out thousands in the days leading up to hours before the storm hit.

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million people in Galveston and the areas surrounding Houston are left without any power. Approximately 60,000 people were left without power do to Hurricane Gustav and will most certainly not be getting power any more quickly after the fallout of Hurricane Ike.

Please continue to pray for those who have been hit hard by Ike. The devastation has been pretty signicant near the coast and many families will be rebuilding their homes and lives for some time. Pray that nobody has been lost to this storm and pray for those families who may have suffered loss.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike is bearing down...

Here comes Hurricane Ike! It is quickly descending as I am typing. Prayers go out to all of those who are waiting out the storm. Not in a way that would offend those who may be in danger or who have been hit with significant loss because of the Ike...I can't lie I am intrigued by the magnitude of this storm.

I have never been through anything like this and it is exhilarating on some level. Again, I am in a safe spot where I'm protected from the storm and from flooding, and I don't take this storm lightly for those who are in harms way. I'm chilling in Michael Head's house with Shannon Self, and Kate McCay. Earlier we all had dinner with Brian Mills and Keith Carmichael at what must have been the only open place in town, Orient Cafe. Now we are just watching the Kansas vs USF game and watching the weather-tracking news.
We are wondering when we will lose power here at Michael's house. I will try to post again in the morning if we have power then. Keep praying that the storm won't bring casualties and that not too much damage will come out of this!

9/11 and the human condition...

September 11th has come and it has gone. I have waited until today to make my post about the events of that day 7 years and 1 day ago until today because I wanted to see the reaction and response of our country.

When the fallout from 9/11 happened there was an outcry from those who lived through Pearl Harbor. They suggested that we, Americans, had forgotten Pear Harbor and that had left us vulnerable and open to the attack we received on 9/11.

We lost over 2400 soldiers on December 7, 1941 in the attack on Pearl Harbor compared to over 2900 civilians on September 11, 2001 in the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Both of these attacks being very serious and coming at a great expense to our country but 9/11 was focused on American civilians. The question remains, have we forgotten the loss resulting of Pearl Harbor and 9/11?

If I had to be totally honest...I would say that we as Americans have largely forgotten. Not to say that there weren't several meaningful remembrances that took place yesterday, there were. Major League Baseball issued special hats in remembrance, there were some nice political remembrances done at the site of the attack, and there were several televised tributes made. Still, I can't fight my feeling that these remembrances were largely token. Don't get me wrong I'm not innocent of the same sentiments. I forgot about 9/11 until September 10th when I was reminded by a text message that read, "don't forget."

I believe that our inclination to forget is much more deeply rooted than just our American culture and society. I believe that it is rooted in a common human condition we all have, good old selfish human nature. I am reminded of the most significant thing in my life at this moment. That is the reality that Jesus gave his life for me so that I could truly live. I pray that my "good old selfish human nature" wouldn't allow me to forget the most important event in history, the death and Resurrection of Christ.

My plea is one of remembrance on a daily basis. Let us not forget what Christ has done for us so that we don't get caught in the habit of token remembrances that lack any true relationship. He died for you and he died for me, now lets live like we remember his death. May we let our lives be a daily remembrance to the world that we have not forgotten the death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

YouTube Video Challenge

Check out the YouTube Video Challenge promo/how-to video that we have put out to inform everyone in our ministry of the details of the YouTube Video Challenge!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jonas Brothers Respond to Russell Brand's Comments...

I can't believe I'm doing this, I'm going to talk about the Jonas Brothers. Not that I don't like the budding starlet boy band of brothers, I do. I think they have captured the hearts of young women accross the country and maybe for some good reason.
After watching the VMA's and how Russell Brand made himself look like the biggest bully and jerk in the world I wondered what kind of fall-out we would see from Hollywood, if any. Sure enough several well known, much more so than Brand anyway, have spoken out in defense of the teen stars and their pledge of purity.
Even more impressive though, was the light hearted response of the Jonas Brothers who refused to give much warrant to Brand's mocking comments. When asked about Brand's comments on their purity rings, one of the brothers politely said something about the short attention spans of Americans as if to say, in the nicest way possible that Brand kept kicking the dead horse and people didn't find it very funny. Another Jonas Brother gushed about how funny Brand had, emphasis on 'had' been, on the Conan O'brien show.
All of this to say, I just have to hand it to the Jonas Brothers. They have made themselves look marvelous in Hollywood once again and for all of the right reasons. I mean there hasn't been anyone in Hollywood for a long time who has been able to speak openly about abstaining from sexual activity and still hold any sort of star-status. In my opinion, like their teen pop music or not, you have to respect the Jonas Brothers for standing up for some sort of moral compass and then being 'big enough' to not bash back at the guy who bashed at them.

Monday, September 8, 2008

VMA's and a disappointing emcee...

I'm not going to lie, I usually really enjoy the VMA's (Video Music Awards). Every year and look forward to the dazzle and the production aspect of the show. BUT...this year I was extremely disappointed. Russell Brand was a super poor emcee for the VMA's. Even outside of his obvious discontent with anything even resembling a moral compass much less his obvious dislike of Christianity, I just found Russell Brand to be a very pessimistic-and-over-the-top-in-a-negative-way host for what is usually one of the most incredibly programmed and well put together shows that Hollywood has to offer.
Self proclaimed 'Hollywood funny man'
Despite it's obviously carnal and sex-driven approach to everything (this culture is hooked) the VMA's offer an unusually entertaining hour with some of the most famous young stars in the world. I was bummed by the overriding agenda that Russell promoted against all things pure or good. I mean, the guy made an awful issue out a pledge to stay pure. I find it incredibly disturbing that this self-proclaimed "Hollywood funny man" couldn't find anything in his whole bag of tricks more funny that mocking purity in a world filled with awful examples of sexual promiscuity. Isn't it incredible that our society has taken up the cause for our planet and for things like global warming (don't get me wrong, I'm willing to 'go green' when I can and where it makes sense), but I value the health of our planet far less than I value the health of our teenagers.
No moral compass
It is a sad day in this world when popular media not only doesn't support any moral compass at all but when they have been allowed to rewrite the book of morality. There is no longer any sense of living a pure life. Unselfishness is preached only as a marketing scheme to lure in those who have been lead to believe that the value of their life is now found in driving a hybrid vehicle or being 'socially aware' of world issues like hunger or poverty. Your 'sex life' is only as important as the person that you give yourself to for the first time. Fun, and the feel goods are the God of this age.
Thoughts from Scripture:
Reminds me of some scripture: Philippians 3:18-19 "For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things."
In the next 2 verses Paul tells us how followers of Christ ought to live. Philippians 3:20-21 "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Speaking to Area Football Teams for Pre-Game...

Brett Davis, my high school associate, and I spent the afternoon with the Morton Ranch Football Team yesterday. I got to speak to the team for their pre-game motivational time. Last Friday, Brian Mills, Brett and I spent the afternoon with the Katy Football Team where I also had the opportunity to speak to their team. More and more lately our Friday afternoons are filled with "team-time" appointments. It is a lot of fun to be able to talk to high school players about attacking not only the field but their life with principles from the Bible.

Friday I talked about Benaiah from 2 Samuel 23:20-23 yesterday. Benaiah is not a well known character from the Bible since he is only mentioned a hand full of times in the the Old Testament (8:18 20:23 1Ki 1:8,26,38 2:29-35,46 1Ch 18:17 27:5,6) and the only significant mention as a great warrior is 2 Samuel 23:20-23.

It is encouraging for me to be able to use all of the football experience that I have had in my life to influence these high school students. Its really exciting to see some of them begin to make life changing decisions for Christ. I have seen a few student athletes really step out and use the influence that God has given them through their athletic ability to impact their teams for Christ.

Please pray that God will continue to give us opportunities to speak to football teams and school groups throughout the Katy area.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Thoughts about networking...

With all that has been said and written about networking in today's culture...I was reminded of some very simple and practical networking truths this past week. Networking is all about expanding your sphere of influence and opportunities for growth in your community.

I have been trying to get several different high profile community leaders to sit down and have lunch with me over this summer. I have left several voicemails with each of these leaders as well as emailed each of them at one point or another. So with the beginning of the school year, I simply set out on a mission to meet up with these leaders.

Here's what I learned about networking:
1. 10 Minutes of Face-Time is worth 1 million emails/voicemails: After all of the time that I spent sending emails and leaving voicemails I really didn't get as much response as I had hoped. The second I got face-time with these community leaders I almost immediately got the connection I was hoping for and the assistance I needed to accomplish my purpose. As it turns out, just a few minutes of "Face-Time" is worth waaaaaay more than voicemails and emails.

2. It's harder for someone to refuse you if you're standing in front of them: Let's face it...its just more likely that you are going to get the desired result from your communication if you can get that "face-time". If you have specific requests for those you are working at networking with, you will likely not get much response through an email or voicemail. It's just harder for someone to look you in the face and tell you that they don't have time to help you.

3. Face to face enteraction gives you the opportunity to connect beyond just text in an email: An email is what it is...words in a document. There are no non-verbal cues, smiling faces, or hand shakes. Seeing someone in the flesh can really give the opportunity to leave a lasting first impression.

Networking in your community can really change the face of your ministry. Good luck getting in touch with those influential leaders and expanding your sphere of influence in your community.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

High School Football Season kicks off to a great start...

These are new days in the world of high school ministry and I'm excited to be working on the front lines. With the start of football season it is hugely important to be on campus interacting with with students as much as possible. I have had the pleasure of connecting with several area football teams already this preseason. Brian Mills, Brett Davis, and I have been at many football practices already this fall.

3 things to think about with on-campus ministry:
1. You will never be given access if you don't ask: Let's be honest, there are a lot of rules surrounding access to local high schools and that can be intimidating to youth pastors across the board. You will never get opportunities if you don't ask to be involved. You will see incredible growth in your ministry if you can get involved.

2. You can't be too available: I've found that a phone message with a request for a return call often times falls right through the cracks. Community leaders and administrators simply cannot manage the call volume they receive day in and day out. Henceforth, I've learned that a quick 'drop-in' visit is extremely effective in most cases. If you want something, you will probably have to go and ask for it in person.

3. Follow through with what you say you will do: Don't tell students and community leaders that you are going to be around and then go 6 weeks without visiting. If you say you are going to be there, you better be there. Good intentions don't get it done in the world of student ministry. If you do a poor job of following through you will make a bad name for all of those who come after you and attempt to reach students for Christ in that program.

YouTube Challenge...

This September we begin our "YouTube Video Challenge" in our High School Ministry. The objective is for every sinlge Collision Group (home group) in our ministry create and edit a Promotional Video as a group for our Sunday morning High School Ministry. The videos cannot exceed 3 minutes in length and must be created and edited soley by the group's members. Videos must be submitted by Sept 21st and we will post all videos for viewing on Sept 28th on our YouTube Page. Their will be a few factors in determining the winners; among those will be the number of hits the video recieves on YouTube, as well as the creativity of the video, and the quality. Obviously we love this idea because it gets students working together in their Collision Groups with their leaders building comradre and fellowship in the groups as well as providing a huge amount of free Promotional Footage for our High School Ministry!!! The winners, tba Sun, Oct 26th, will recieve $500 towards something of their choosing as a group. So be watching our YouTube site for these videos in the month of Sept and Oct!

210 High School's Best Dance Crew Competition...

This past Sunday my dance crew, "Jeremiah's Dance Crew," did a dance in our High School Ministry to promote our 210 HS's Best Dance Crew Competition. It was pretty funny because my dance crew forced me to dance with them. I try to get out of it, but they weren't going to let me off the hook. The dance featured me standing on a chair behind the four of them; Stepheon, Brandon, Ali, and Chris. I was the puppeteer and they were my puppets. I controlled their movements until the end when they all simultaneously pulled me from my perch to the front of the stage where I closed out the dance with some silly moves. This competition should be a lot of fun. Students have made dance crews and will be challenging my dance crew for the title of "210 HS's Best Dance Crew"!!! This contest will go at least all the way through September and perhaps longer depending on the number of teams that want to compete.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beach Retreat 08 Promo

High School Beach Retreat is only 4 weeks away, get signed up quick!!! Check out this Beach Retreat Promotional Video shot by our very own Dr. Young! Don't forget to watch the outtakes at the end.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Freshman Luau: Sunday, May 18th

All 8th Grade Students entering their 9th Grade year after this summer are invited to join us for the Freshman Luau immediately following church on Sunday, May 18th. We will grill out lunch, swim, and just have fun. Your student will have the opportunity to meet and greet the high school ministry staff and volunteers. Girls please wear modest one pieces and guys no speedos (haha)! For more information on the location of the luau email me at and will give you the address.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

"Bored?" Series beginning Sunday

We begin a new series in the High School Ministry this Sunday. It is called "Bored?" and is meant to get your students fired up about siezing every opportunity and moment of ministry this summer! We want them to know that God has a plan for redeeming every second of this summer and being bored is not part of that plan.

Youth Sunday 08: Awesome Success!

Liz Schusterman
Our annual Youth Sunday was this past weekend and it was incredible! Check out these pictures of our 8 Speakers and podcast their messages here. I applaud these students for their hard work, they spent countless hours in preparation. Late nights and lots of constructive criticism combined with about 3 weeks of personal time is no small sacrifice in the lives of teenagers.

Bethany Robinson

Carolina Del Canto

Ian Shows

Matt Skopak

Kyle Ramsey

Grace Messenger

Morgan Warner

Monday, April 28, 2008

True Life Series Comes to an End

True Life: Story of Daniel
To check out this weeks True Life Podcast click here. This week's True Life Testimony was done by Michael Garcia. Michael has seen more in his 17 years than most people see in an entire lifetime, including losing his mom unexpectedly. Michael's faith has grown leaps and bounds through the trials and hardships that God has brought his through. Check out his video testimony below.

Thoughts about Daniel and the Lion's Den
As I began to study Daniel 6 God showed me some things that I had never seen before.

One of the coolest things that I discovered as I began to study was Daniel's age when he was thrown into the Lion's Den. Daniel was 83 years old when Darius was manipulated into sealing him into the Lion's Den. This is interesting because I had always thought of Daniel as being a relatively young man when he got thrown to the lions. The reality is that Daniel was ready to face whatever came his way even at 83 years of age.

I love how upon hearing Darius's vain decree that no one be allowed to worship any God or man other than he himself for 30 days, he simply goes right home and does what he was in the habit of doing every day any way, he prays. Dan 6:10, "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before." Some have mis-interpreted Daniel praying on the second floor with the "windows open" to mean that he went and made it obvious that he was opposing Darius's decree. In my opinion, this is way off base. Daniel went upstairs to pray, it's not like people were in the apartments accross the street from his palace peeping in his window each day as he prayed. Upstairs would have been a quiet and undisruptive place to carry out prayer. He opened the windows towards Jerusalem because of the sentimental value that it held to him and his faith. He was probably still praying that God would restore Jerusalem somehow during his lifetime. He was after all a form of a savior for the remnant of Israel while in exile.

Some have taken Daniel's defiance to the decree to validate their desire to stand and fight for their rights with respect to prayer in school or saying 'merry Christmas' instead of 'happy holidays.' Don't get me wrong, I'm not making a statement about whether or not it's right for the government to legislate prayer in schools or matters of religion at all, but I am saying that it is ironic to see people get so fired up about something that they have no commitment to otherwise.

Daniel didn't get fired up about prayer because of the decree, he was so fired up about it that he made a habit of doing it at the same time everyday, three times a day, and in the same location. The decree didn't change a thing for Daniel, he wasn't willing, even though he had to know that it meant certain death for him, to waiver from his conviction of prayer.It's important to be people of great conviction without question, but it's just silly to get angry about the restrictions on prayer in public schools if we aren't committed to praying every day that God would work in our communities and our schools.

I'm convicted as ever after this study in Daniel because I know that I have a long way to go when it comes to living a life that is marked with prayer each day. I have to wonder that if we, those of us who follow Christ, prayed everyday, even just once (as compared to 3 times), that God would work miracles in our communities and our schools that we would see miracles like we can hardly imagine. All the lawyers in the world would not have been able to save Daniel from those lions, but our God closed their mouths and saved Daniel's life and he will do the same for us.

Are you ready for the Lion's Den? Find your knees and start listening and talking to God and he will do the rest!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Peer to Peer Evangelism

No doubt about it! There is nothing in the world of students that is more powerful and impacting than "peer to peer evangelism." The stories have been multiplying like crazy these past few months in the Student Ministry here at Second Baptist the West Campus. We now have students who have only recently come to know Christ because of one of their friends, who have already begun to reach their friends for Christ. The impact has been incredible. I have seen 17-18 year old young men, who really don't cheer about much, screaming and jumping up and down with excitement as their friends are baptized in the fountain here at church.

I love it, this is how it is supposed to happen. Sometimes even I forget that in our walk with Christ the goal is not that we become super intelligent, over-developed, ultra-spiritual Christians. Instead the goal is to mobilize the workers, who Christ reminds us are few in Matthew 9:37-38. "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field," to do the work of taking the love of Christ to the world. I talk with students week in and week out who believe that is necessary for them to obtain some higher level of spirituality in their walk with Christ before they can begin to be effective in doing his work. It's just not true. Take the woman at the well, she knew Christ for a whopping 30 seconds before she went into the Samartian village and began to tell people about what he had done in her life. There is no time, age, ability, intelligence factor, vocabulary or any other limitation or requirement to be mobilized in the army of Christ.

It is this thought about evangelism that scares me to death about what we have done so many times to make evangelism what it isn't in the church. As hard as we, me included, work to preach the Gospel from the stage, we need to be working even harder to mobilize those workers who God has put right into our laps. Students, adults, and children alike have to begin to understand that the church (the people), are the ones responsible for bringing the lost. Be as creative as you want with your teaching series or your plans for bringing in the lost...if we aren't mobilizing followers of Christ in our ministries, or spheres of influence, we are missing the point.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"True Life: story of Daniel" Teaching Series on HS Sunday Mornings

I'm teaching a series in our High School Ministry called "True Life: the story of Daniel". You can podcast this series here. The series is Sunday, April 6-27!

Check out these Video Introductions to True Life Testimonies, this week Kian will share his true life story about coming to know Christ. Corey & Sydney shared their testimonies in our High School Sunday Mornings these past two Sundays.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

5 Keys for Success in Collision Groups!

Here are 5 great thoughts about running Collision Groups! (Collision Groups are the home groups of the 210 High School Ministry of Second Baptist Church the West Campus. They meet every Wednesday (excluding 1st Wed's of each month for "Collide") from 6:30-8:00pm in homes throughout the area.)

1. Your ability to teach is secondary to your ability to LISTEN.
-Often times, we as adults, get “teacher happy”. The reality is that we have more experience than students do, and they can learn a lot from us, BUT, “students don’t care what you know, until they know you care.” You will earn the right to be heard by students when they believe that you will listen to them, then and only then will they listen to you. Collision Groups are not driven by a teaching time, they are driven by the conversation that flows from life experience and God’s Word as it relates to Christian living.

2. You are a FACILITATOR and never an orator.
-Your main function and role in your Collision Group is to “facilitate conversation and discussion.” If you get up to teach at your Collision Group for 20 minutes, you have already lost even the most dedicated student at around 3 minutes or even less. The lessons are long and contain a ton of great information that will have you well prepared to lead a phenomenal discussion about the subject matter. As you walk through the lesson you should be sharing personal experience while asking students to think of and share their own personal experiences. The more you can get students talking about their own experiences and the less you have to talk about the lesson, the more your students and you will get from your Collision Group.

3. Strike a BALANCE between deep conversation and relational time.
-There is nothing worse than going to a seminar on the ‘deity of Christ’ and finding out that you are going to play card games when you thought you were going to get challenging and in-depth teaching. At the same time, there is nothing worse than showing up at a party thinking you are going to play card games and having to sit through a 1 hour sermon the ‘deity of Christ’. You want there to be an ample amount of relational time before and after you Collision Group. You want students talking and chatting with you as well as with one another so that you can all get to know one another much better. After all, the goal of these groups is to foster relationships with students that will ultimately allow all of you to challenge one another to grow in your faith.

4. If you don’t CONTACT them, they won’t come.
-I hate to harp on this point, but I mean it! Students might just randomly show up once or twice, but they will not consistently come unless you are extremely intentional about contacting and encouraging them. Want to grow your Collision Group? Try calling your students every week and reminding them about your group, I promise you, I’m 100% sure your group will grow in number, and in consistency. Set up a schedule for contacting your students, for instance, call/facebook/email/text them at the same time every single week. You will find that if you set apart 30 mins one day each week you will consistently contact your students. Also, if you have a co-leader, or host home leaders, ask them if they will help you contact students. Work as a team.

5. Physically get into THEIR WORLD.
-It can be painful to watch some adults around high school students. Often times they will cower in the corner waiting for a student to pull them out of hiding, or make themselves so busy with the food placement that WW3 wouldn’t even interrupt them, or even worse, focus all of their energy on that one student in their Collision Group that they know well and are comfortable talking with. Listen to me friends! Students aren’t stupid (most of the time), they know what they are getting themselves into when they come to your Collision Group, and they want, no, dare I say, they need you to notice them and speak to them, and enter their world. They aren’t there for the cute boys/girls, these groups are gender specific, they are there because they want to be known and to know God. Out of all of the other things they could be doing, they have decided to show up to your group…they need you! Get into their world.