Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Check out My New Blog

I have finally made the switch. I am blogging with a WordPress powered blog created for me by Jason Loftis. Jason is amazing. You should hire him for your web design stuff. He created our Calvary Church website with Trevor Behrns. My new blog still has a couple kinks to work out, but it already is better than this one. So please change your links over to the new one. I will be posting over there from now on.

The new address is this -

I would greatly appreciate a post on your blogs informing people of my new site.

Complete Body Cleanse Update

Well, I have been taking these pills since Friday night - that's five nights. 8 high fiber, 3 laxatives, and one milk thistle liver cleanser - every night. I honestly thought that I wouldn't be able to leave the house on Saturday, but it was no big deal. This is hard to not be too gross about. But everything is moving smoothly with no effort, but I'm not running to the bathroom every five minutes or anything. I feel pretty good. I feel a little bit of cold-like symptoms, but that is probably just cause my kids are sick. Although, I thought that maybe it's all the toxins leaving my body.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fundy to Emergent on a Map

This was an interesting chart I saw on this guy's blog through Scot McKnight's link to him. It's a link about understanding the differences between fundamentalism, evangelicalism, emerging, and emergent. I think it's somewhat helpful.

I would probably add Al Mohler off to the left somewhere and I would slide Brian McLaren a little more to the right on the chart. There's tons you could add or change. What would you add or change?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Top Ten Leadership Mistakes

I found this post on Tim Steven's blog. I think it has some great stuff.

Top Ten Leadership Mistakes by Tony Morgan

Tony delivered a content-rich talk to open the Church Solutions Conference. Here are my notes from his talk about the top ten leadership mistakes he has made:

1. Hiring Too Fast. Firing Too Slow. Every minute I delay in firing, I take away opportunity for God to work in that person's life.
2. Putting Projects before the People. Embrace the tension and find the balance between leadership and shepherding.
3. Trying to Fix the Problem Rather than the Process. Ninety percent of the time it isn't a people-problem. It is a process-problem.
4. Delegating Tasks Instead of Responsibility. It is hard to delegate, because many times I (wrongly) think I'm the only one who can do it right.
5. Assuming it is Always Black and White. Following rules is a lot easier than trying to deal with relationships.
6. Not Following my Gut. When we stop listening to God, he stops talking to us (consider the 13-year gap when God stopped talking to Abraham).
7. Dwelling on the Worst-Case Scenario. Worry might not be your issue, but everyone has an issue that can derail them.
8. Waiting Until There's a Problem to Provide Feedback. I have to discipline myself to encourage my team.
9. Staying Busy. It is a lie, but I tend to think if I'm staying busy, I'm adding value to my organization. (Fire ? At this point in Tony's speech, the emergency alarms sounded and the Phoenix Convention Center was evacuated for 20 minutes. Yes, I'm serious.)
10. Spending Too Much Time on the Details Rather than the Dreams.

Other notable quotes from Tony…

* "Are you going to focus on changing diapers or potty-training?"
* "I love executing the policy."
* "My dream for years was, 'I want to be a City Manager.'."
* "The sin I struggle with most in my life is worry."
* "I am encouragement-challenged."
* "My title is meaningless, no one knows what it means, which lets me do whatever I want."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Complete Body Cleanse

I popped 12 pills last night to begin this two-week complete body cleanse that I bought at Whole Foods. It includes massive amounts of fiber, laxatives, and milk thistle. The picture isn't the exact one, but it's a similar kind. I was nervous that I would wake up in the middle of the night and never leave the bathroom. I'm still nervous of what is going to happen to my body.

Have you ever done this before? What happened to you?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Preaching Prep Questions

I'm not a huge Driscoll fan like some of my friends. I'm not anti-Driscoll or anything silly like that. I just don't worship him like Matt Doan and Seth Beasley. But I read this list that he taught at his Boot Camp and I loved it.

Six Framing Questions for Preaching the Word

1. What does Scripture say? - The Biblical Question
2. What does the Scripture Mean? - The Theological Question
3. What is my Hook? - The Memorable Question
4. Why do people resist this truth? - The Apologetic Question
5. Why does this matter? - The Missional Question
6. How is Jesus the Hero/Savior? - The Christological Question

These are a great beginning to sermon preparation and a great check when you think you are finished. I'm going to start using them. I think Doan might have showed these to me once before.

Valentine's Dinner

I took Bea out to French 75 Bistro in the Marketplace last night. It was a tasty meal. I haven't been in love with this place in the past, but it was very good last night. It was a fixed price menu with some options.

First, after we sat down they brought us an appetizer of a tasty cream with raw salmon and caviar on an endive leaf.

Then I had the seared foie gras that was served on a big plate with toasts, cooked greens, and blood orange slices. It was my first time with foie gras (fattened duck or goose liver). I liked it mostly, but I wasn't sure of the sliminess of the inside. Bea had a lobster and corn chowder which was good, but more corn than lobster. Then we shared a Caesar Salad which was the kind where they don't chop the romaine spears. They were good, but overdressed.

For the main course, Bea had a filet. I had braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and green beans and carrots. It was very tasty.

Then the dessert was unbelievable. It was a perfect White Chocolate souffle with raspberry sauce and cream.

At the end they brought us "free" glasses of champagne. I'm not a big champagne guy so I had a couple sips and then we left. It was a pretty good meal.

Did you go out or stay home or go out on a different night????

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cooking Shows Make Me Hungry

Ella is sleeping and I'm relaxing for a bit and I'm watching my new favorite cooking show called Jamie at Home with Jamie Oliver who I have loved since his Naked Chef days.

But whenever I'm watching these shows I get starving and I want to cook something fancy. I'm taking Bea to French 75 for dinner tonight. It's what she wanted and I'm very excited to take her there.

What cooking shows are your favorites? Why?

Love Video - WE HAVE AUDIO!!

Here's the video that introduced my sermon this past Sunday. I ran in the back doors at the end of the clip. It was pretty fun. Thanks to Tammy Harris and Dan Parsons for helping make it. Tammy did the editing and some directing and Dan used his amazing steady-cam gear and fancy HD camera to film it. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Quirky Stuff from The Week

Bad Week for Priorities - after a Florida woman was pulled over allegedly with a 24-pack of beer strapped into a seat belt, so it wouldn't be jostled, while a 16-month-old girl was unrestrained in the back seat.

Good Week for Unarmed Conflict - after several Israeli soldiers were caught "mooning" Palestinians in the West Bank in an effort to chase them away from a disputed area.

Only in America: The Mississippi legislature is considering a bill that would ban restaurants from serving food to very fat people. The proposed law would revoke the license of any restaurant caught repeatedly feeding the obese.

This magazine also has tons of good news stuff every week. You should get it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Pro-Life and Pro-Obama?

In no way am I saying I agree with everything in this post, but I do resonate with it somehow. It's by Francis Schaeffer's son, Frank. It's called Why I Am Pro-Life and Pro-Obama.

I don't know if I could actually vote for him, but he is a lot more intriguing than McCain. The whole Supreme Court Justice issue makes me want to stay voting Republican. I will no matter what if Hillary wins, but Obama just feels revolutionary. Could it be more pro-life to vote Obama than McCain when you add up everything related to life? Not just abortion, but war, death penalty, helping poverty issues, gun control, etc.

HT: Zach Lind

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Interesting Church Day

I preached today in both of our services. Celebration (8:45am - leans more blended/traditional) went really well. Our crazy video, that I will post later, was good. The people laughed. I wore a suit and said, "Finally Pastor Dave is gone and I can dress the way that I really want to." They also thought that was funny. I got some great feedback from people that I don't normally hear from, so that was cool.

Then in Elevation I did the same thing and it went well for the most part. I had a person planted in the service that was going to tell what it was like for a new person at Calvary. That was pretty good too. I tried to reduce the guilt trip factor of it a little bit. But then things started to go a little weird. My hands-free mic went out and so I had to use the hand-held one. That always bums me out.

Then this random homeless man with a big bag and an artificial leg walks into the room in the middle of the sermon and walks all the way up the center aisle to the front row. Don't get me wrong. I am very comfortable with people of all different backgrounds and situations coming to our church, but when you are on stage and somebody is walking up to the front row in the middle of the sermon - it throws you off a bit. Especially when they are talking kind of loud and you're not sure if it's to you or to themselves. He took about two minutes to get all his stuff put down and then sits right in the front center seat. Then he starts talking out loud to me. He was being very supportive, but really loud. He starts pulling stuff out of his bag. Remember, I'm still trying to preach. Also, our church has stepped up our security since the church shootings in Colorado on the same day that we had a man come on our stage in the middle of Pastor Dave's sermon. So I see one of our police officers that attends the church move up to about two rows behind the man, whose name I found out after church was Bill. The officer told me later that he was just watching what was being pulled out of the bag in case it was a weapon. Then i see one of our elders come and walk up to Bill. Remember, I'm still preaching. I say, "It's OK, let's keep going. It's cool." So then the elder sits down next to Bill and he was awesome. He puts his arm around him and starts talking with him and is able to help Bill listen without being "too" disruptive. I also see one our church psychologists move up into a position pretty close to the man at this point. Remember, I'm still trying to preach. Then a woman who was friends with Bill walks up the center aisle and high-fives Bill and sits about two seats over and then proceeds to fall asleep. Remember, I'm still preaching.

So at that point I keep preaching and I'm talking about love. Of course. I was proud that our church handled this potentially bad situation with love. We didn't kick him out. We didn't treat him poorly. But we did take precautions. We had an armed police officer and a trained psychologist waiting only steps away with one of our elders lovingly helping the man engage in the service.

I met the man after the service. He was still talking with the elder about 35 minutes after the service. He met another elder who did the same stuff in the Marine Corps as Bill did. Let me just say that this was one of the more difficult preaching services for me. It wasn't bad, but it sure was really distracting to me and everyone else. In the future I think I might address the situation a bit more. Not a lot. But maybe just stop and say. Let's pray and get re-focused. I went way overtime because I was so distracted and slow. I felt like I couldn't remember what was on my notes and what I was supposed to say next. It was weird.

So in eternity's perspective it was a good Sunday. From my communicator's perspective it was horrible. But hey, more people will remember today than most other services.

Thoughts? Were you there? What did you think?

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Handwritten Letters

I'm a huge fan of technology but I have been challenged lately to write more personal, handwritten letters to people. Barry Corey, the new Biola president, is super into writing personal letters on fancy paper with nice pens and writes in a Pauline way. I heard about that when there was all the drama about him being accepted as president or not. I just thought that was cool that he does that. Then I have been reading a Eugene Peterson book called, The Wisdom of Each Other, which is a series of letters he wrote to a friend. Peterson said in the forward that he will open any handwritten letter from a person. That made me think how much I agree and get excited about receiving a handwritten letter in this age of emails, blogs, texts and social networking applications. I love all those things, but a handwritten letter is special - it's personal. It's almost artistic. It also takes me time because my handwriting is so bad.

So yesterday at work I wrote a hand-written card of appreciation to a co-worker that I don't really hang out with outside of work or even at work that much. I want to start writing handwritten letters to people. I just think they are cool and special somehow. What do you think?

Friday, February 08, 2008

XP Seminar - last one

So the rest of the seminar was pretty good. I learned about the 5 Main Functions of an Executive Pastor - Administrator, Catalyst, Mentor, Minister, and Overseer. They were good. I learned about hiring, meetings, and other fascinating things.

It's interesting how in the Exec Pastor world you have half the people who are from the business world that changed careers and half the people are lifetime pastors. Obviously the lifetime pastors are better and cooler, but we can still learn some things from our business world friends.

I met some cool people. I wanted to connect with some SoCal people and we did. Roger Dermody, the XP from Bel Air Presbyterian, was a good guy. We had breakfast with him and drove to the airport together. We also met Rob Faulk, the XP from Church at Rocky Peak, which is up near Simi Vally. Then I connected with a man named Warren Schuh who was the XP of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. He was a speaker and I really liked him a lot.

OK, hopefully this was good bed-time reading to help you sleep. More normal posts to come. But I like being an XP so far. I pray I'm a good one.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

XP Seminar Day One

I'm at the XP Seminar in Dallas today. It's pretty good so far. I'm definitely on the younger end of the spectrum for this group, but there are a bunch of people in their 30s here so I'm not super out of place. They all dress a bit more conservatively than I would prefer, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

We have been learning about conflict resolution and pastoral sabbaticals so far. It's been pretty good. The conflict resolution guy is trying to sell his materials so that kind of bugs me a little, but there have been good points.

We are hanging out with Jonathon and Mark Matlock tonight which should be fun.

More riveting XP Seminar info to come....

Monday, February 04, 2008

XP Seminar

So tomorrow I am leaving for the XP Seminar in Dallas, Texas. It should be interesting. This is a conference just for Executive Pastors and since Michael and I just started this job we thought it might be good to learn a little bit more about it. I'm very curious of how I will "fit in" there. We'll see. I have heard that it is surprisingly younger than you might think.

I have never been to Dallas either. I want to get some Texas BBQ.

I'm also preaching this Sunday in both Celebration and Elevation so the prep should be a bit tough while on the road.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl Commercials (so far)

Best Commercial Finalists:
1. The squirrel screaming with the car coming at him and everyone else starts screaming but the car could move easily around it ws funny, but 15 minutes later I can't remember what car it was.

2. Prince Caspian trailer - I can't wait. I love that lion.

3. Fed Ex Pigeons

4. E-Trade Baby Talking

Worst Commercials:
1. Life Water lizards dancing to Thriller. Lame. Not funny.

2. Panda Sales Genie commercial - verging on racist, lame, not funny, and who cares?

Most Effective Commercial - Chevy's Hybrid campaign seemed to be the most purposeful unveiling of a new brand. The whole world now knows that they make hybrids and are doing the green thing with full gusto.

Tom Petty

He was cool. I didn't realize that Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows was his lead guitar player. I liked the Tom Petty style. Straight-ahead rock. Good songs. Good American performance.

Jordin Sparks - Lip Sync??

That looked fake to me. That stinks if she was really lip syncing on the national anthem.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Super Bowl Prediction

Now, I know this won't be earth shattering or anything, but my prediction for the Super Bowl is this:
The New England Patriots will beat the New York Giants.
Score: 35-17

I know most people don't like the Patriots but I will be rooting for them because I can't stand Eli Manning. He acts like a whiny little baby girl. He was drafted #1 by the San Diego Chargers and then refused to play for them demanding a trade. So the Chargers traded him. The Chargers are actually better than the Giants but they are in different divisions so that's why the Giants are in the Super Bowl. The last two weeks have been more important than the Super Bowl. S.D. vs Indianapolis and S.D vs New England were the true Super Bowls. Go Patriots Defense!! Sack Sack That Quarterback!!
Here's a picture of Eli doing what he does best. Nothing.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Biblical Picking and Choosing

Scot McKnight had an interesting post yesterday on "Picking and Choosing" when it comes to our doctrine and Bible verses that we actually apply to life. He asked commenters to list some. Where do you think we "pick and choose" with Bible verses to follow?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

New Mission Statement

The Strategic Leadership Team met today and we solidified this. Shhh...we haven't told anyone yet.

Calvary Church is a community where we
CONNECT with God and others,
GROW in our faith and
REACH Orange County and the world
for Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Project Hangout

I was recently asked by Dale Hedges to be on the board of Project Hangout. It's a pretty awesome ministry that Dale and Ryan Zeulner are leading. They originated with wanting to create a venue where teenagers can have a good time in a safe environment where they also have a chance to get connected with a lifestyle mentor.

They are focusing now on the Lifestyle Mentoring. Ryan is going around and talking to churches to recruit mentors. Then the mentors get a kid from their church that they have a shared interest with - surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, art, guitar, shopping, scrapbooking, music, sports, etc. Then they get that kid to ask their non-Christian friends to go hang-out and do whatever fun activity it is they enjoy. Then they begin a relationship, love the kid, and can talk about Jesus.

So I'm on the board of this ministry now and it's pretty awesome. Please consider giving to this ministry at Project Hangout.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Shoes for Orphan Souls

Calvary Church is starting a new ministry called Open Arms: Embracing Children Who Need a Family. And, one of the ways you can get involved is to reach out and offer hope to Ethiopian orphans by collecting NEW SHOES in our “Shoes for Orphan Souls” shoe drive. Calvary’s Goal: To collect over 2,000 pairs of shoes during the month of February!

Will you help us make a difference? Here is what we need:

* NEW SHOES (athletic/tennis shoes only)
* They MUST be NEW (customs requirement)
* Size 5 or bigger
* Shoes must still be in their shoe box
* A gift of socks or additional shoe strings in the box

Drop off your shoe donation in the church lobby on Sundays, or in the church office during the week, during the entire month of February.

“Shoes for Orphan Souls” is one of the 12 partnership projects approved by Calvary Church Missions this year. To help support these projects financially, please indicate “missions” on your check and designate your gift amount given.

For more information on “Shoes for Orphan Souls” contact Pastor Matt Doan at 714-973-4800 ext. 378 or Missions Director Liz Gold at ext. 340.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ella's Dedication

Today Ella was dedicated to God formally in church. Of course, I feel like I gave up control over her and dedicated her to God before she was even born, but it was a sacred time of publicly acknowledging that she is God's and not ours. A big thanks to Randy and Michael for praying with us.

Then we had lunch with some friends and family and asked them to write down traits of a Godly woman on a rock. Then we put all the rocks in a vase that we will have Ella keep forever and she can read the rocks to teach and remind her of what it means to be a Godly woman. Bea had a great post about it on her blog. Check it out here.

The service in church today was incredible. I will post more on that later. I was proud of our church today.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sanctity of Life Sunday

That is coming up in a couple days and our church is planning to have a focus that I'm very excited about. Some of the folks in our church, including Erin and Karen, wanted to start a ministry caring for children who don't have families. This includes orphans oversees and here in America as well as foster kids. It's called Open Arms. So our focus for Sanctity of Life is Pro-Life for a Lifetime. I love that slogan. It's not just about being against abortion. It's about caring for all life.

I feel like this really goes along so well with my thoughts on Pro-Life. I want to be Pro-Life for a Lifetime and Pro-Life for All Life. That's why I'm against the death penalty and most forms of war. That's why abortion is still a huge issue to me in politics. That's why I think being pro-life should mean that we strive towards helping those with diseases like AIDS and those in extreme poverty.

My views make it really hard for me politically because there is no political viewpoint like mine. Both Republicans and Democrats don't fall in line with this thinking. I believe we need change in the presidential office, but I don't necessarily buy into the change that Obama and Clinton are offering. I feel like the Republicans running aren't offering any real change. It feels status quo. Hmmmm....

What are your thoughts on this issue of Pro-Life?

Guitar Hero

I have been borrowing our High School Ministry's Guitar Hero game for the past few days and I love it. It's a lot harder than I thought. I had a guitar hero battle with my brother-in-law Kevin last night. We played for a couple hours. He pretty much dominated me. He has been playing for a couple weeks and even with only that much time he was able to crush me.

I don't understand how people do the Expert part perfectly. I know that our HS students can do it on perfect and get 700 note streaks. I don't think I could do that even if I dedicated my life to learning this game.

But it's fun!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day of Prayer for Kenya

I just found out in an email that there is a major effort going on today for prayer for Kenya. So please pray right now peace and for the people of Kenya to be safe, calm, to know the true Jesus Christ, and to have their physical,emotional, and spiritual needs met in this difficult time. The words from the email are below.

Take 59 – 01/25/08: Day of Prayer of Kenya (public)

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and
pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from
heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (2 Chronicles
7:14, NLT).

A call to prayer has gone out through email making its way through
worldwide prayer networks---a call to a day of pray for the country of
Kenya on January 25, 2008. Their desire is to see every Kenyan and every
friend of Kenyans on every continent praying together on behalf of the
people in their country. Would you take some time today and join our
brothers and sisters everywhere in prayer for Kenya? Would you also
encourage others to pray?
Pray for peace in Kenya.
Ask the Lord to strengthen the body of Christ in Kenya and through the
power of the Holy Spirit, extend the love Christ to their fellow

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me
sow love; when there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where
there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is
sadness, joy.” St Francis 1915

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Formal Acceptance on House

We are in escrow!!!

Verbal Acceptance on House

Well, we finally "almost" have a house. We were given a verbal acceptance last night on the home and expect to receive an official one today. The house is in Tustin on cul-de-sac that backs up to a school's field.

Here are some pics. The kitchen has great potential but definitely needs a bit of a remodel which we hope to do.

I thought today about how this means a couple things other than getting a new home. It also means we will get Moses back soon and means we don't have to have upstairs neighbors waking us up. I will never have upstairs neighbors again as long as I live.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


I just got back from seeing the U2 movie in 3D. WOW!!!!!! It was unbelievably good. You were able to see the show from such interesting perspectives. From the front row, from the drummer's perspective, from above the drummer, flying in on the cable cameras, and more. It was perfect looking and the 3D stuff was actually really cool and it was easy to lose yourself in it.

One time Bono is inches from you and it feels like he is looking right into your face. So cool. The sound had great clarity but it could have been a bit louder.

But just seeing U2 on the huge Imax screen in 3D was so awesome.

Even if you aren't a huge U2 fan like I am, I highly recommend seeing the film. It's visually stunning and you will learn why so many people love this band. You almost feel the same emotion as you would at a live show. So you can sit down in a comfy seat and pay only $15 and get a 75% U2 experience. Enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Intense Email from Kenya


Dear friends,

Firstly let me say at the onset that my family and I are safe so far. Its a trying time in the country and I have managed to get to e-mail this am. Kisumu town is littered with dead bodies mostly young people under 30 yrs of age. We have no traffic in or out of town and people have looted all the food stores.
Hospitals like ours have run out of food and medicines and Red Cross are trying their best to share whatever little they have with others.
Things are calmer this morning but the curfew is still on within most towns in the country. I counted 18 fresh bodies this morning on my way here to a mates house to send this e-mail. People are killing their neighbours if they are from a different tribe.
The government sadly has let its people down but we pray that the next few days will bring change. Many towns near me Kisumu, kakamega, eldoret, busia, kericho, aree mostly on fire. the infrastructure is which has taken decades to build is in smoke.
The people of Kenya have spoken through the ballot and we hope the international community will do something to make the head of state concede defeat and prevent Kenyans from killing one another.

Friends, its a bad start to 2008 in Kenya but one must never give up, the power of the people will eventually prevail. I am keeping my head low but staying safe. I am harbouring 5 families in my house who are the wrong tribe in town but are Kenyans who deserve better.
Will keep you updated and many thanks for those who called and/or texted me.

ps: Our local TV and radio have been banned from transmitting live broadcast and we are only relying on the the BBC world service.

WIshing all of you a happy 2008.



How different is our world today because of this man? I grew up with black kids in my class at school and it didn't matter. It's almost weird to me to think of a world where people would be separated and treated differently in an official way. I know that racism exists today and I even know that I have my own prejudices, but a lot of the dream that Martin Luther King Jr talked about has come true. Again, I know it's easy for a suburban white male to say, but I say it to praise his and many other people's sacrifices. The church today needs to continue to put reconciliation (spiritual and physical) at the core of its mission.

Here is a link to a great post about his famous speech.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Only Reason to Root for the Patriots... Eli Manning making the Super Bowl. Go Patriots!!


Show me your lightning bolt!

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Top 10 List to Parents of Teens

Here's the article I wrote based off my talk to Parents of Teens last week.

Dear Parents of Teens,

It has been a sacred privilege to serve as the Pastor of Student Ministries for the last six years here at Calvary Church. I have loved working with you and your students. I am now in the role of Executive Pastor of Ministry which means that I oversee many of the ministries of Calvary Church from Children’s to Adults. I will also be working directly with our Men’s Ministry and still preaching in the Elevation service. Josh Simpson is now our Junior High Pastor and our Pastor of Student Ministries. He will do an incredible job providing vision, direction, and organization to this ministry.
So after 15 years in youth ministry I have a few things that I have always wanted to tell parents. Some are encouraging and some are challenging. These are things I have seen and learned along the way. I hope that you will listen to them and see how they can help you in your difficult responsibility of parenting your teen. Let’s count down my Top 10 Last Words to Parents of Teens!

10. Listen to your kids.
Seriously listen. Stop talking and listen. Try to not react or respond in big ways – even facial expressions. They need to know that they can keep telling you the important events of their life, both good and bad.

9. Love them to the point of embarrassment.
They won’t like it in the moment. They will squirm and be embarrassed. They will love it deep down and they will remember it for a lifetime.

8. Take computers out of bedrooms and any other private place.
Do it now. Stop reading this article and go take them out…seriously, now. It’s just not smart to put temptations right in your kid’s face. I would take out televisions too. And don’t think that if it’s not connected to the internet that it’s safe. Do you really want them up all night playing video games? Also, they are smarter than you. It’s probably connected to the internet through your neighbor’s wi-fi or something like that. Go, now.

7. Take your kid’s small group leader to coffee and get to know them.
This person is spending tons of time talking to your kid about spiritual things and giving their views and opinions on all sorts of things. Don’t you think you should know who that person is? Yeah, we screen people, but so should you.

6. Encourage your small group leader to do extra things with your kid and give them the resources to do so.
Small group leaders are normal people who are busy. They want to serve, but they are going to get busy and end up doing the minimum requirements of just Sunday mornings. A phone call, email, or letter from you will go a long way encouraging them to spend more time with your kid and help them know what your child needs. Give them gift cards to restaurants, bowling, Boomers, coffee, or things like that to help them go have fun and model the Christian life to your students. More is usually “caught” by kids than what is “taught.”

5. Don’t put sports first in your kid’s life.
If you want your kids to not grow spiritually, then have them commit their entire lives to a sport that will take them out of church on Sundays and Wednesdays and show them that the priority for you is the sport and not their spiritual growth. They will probably never play the sport in an organized way after they are 18, but their spiritual growth could be stunted long-term. Seriously, what is more important?

4. Affirm your youth pastors.
They don’t hear it very often. They hear complaints and opinions but not a ton of affirmation. Send them cards, emails, and nice phone calls. And wouldn’t you rather open a card with a nice gift card inside?

3. Encourage your kids to live in a dorm their freshman year of college, if possible. This one is a little bit more subjective and different for some than others. But I just think that they will grow in the ways they need to become a real adult in a college dorm that is somewhat contained and supervised, but it isn’t your house. It will be hard and this can be at a Christian college if you are concerned about the crazy college life, but they need to experience the autonomy. Also, if they go to a secular school, help them get connected with the Campus Crusade or Intervarsity leader at their college. This helped me a ton when I was at UCSB my freshman year.

2. Don’t defend your kids to teachers, small group leaders, and pastors.
Just listen to them. They are trying to help your kid. They want to see them grow – not as much as you – but they do. I have never understood why parents fight back and disagree when we point out something going on in their kid’s life.


1. Make sure your kids see your spiritual life.
Let them see you reading the Bible in the living room. Let them see you praying or carrying a list of prayer requests. Let them see you sign-up for retreats or Bible studies because you value that. Let them see you spend time in solitude with the Lord or fast or practice other spiritual disciplines. When they see you put God first, they will remember it when the time comes.

Thanks again. I encourage you to email me if you have any questions about this article. But if you don’t like something in Student Ministries, email Josh now ☺

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Am I a Hero?

Josh Simpson and I are sitting in his office (my old office) meeting about some Student Ministries issues yesterday when we hear a loud crashing sound. We hear this sound quite a bit in Student Ministries because the intersection outside always has accidents. We rushed outside to see one car across the street smashed into a pole. The other is backwards in the middle of the road with the whole front-end smashed in. Airbags are deployed in both cars. There was that one-second of "What do I do now?" But then we just went for it. Josh went to the car across the street and I went to the one in the middle. There was just one man in the car. I look in the window and try to signal to him, "Are you OK?" He doesn't say anything and looks really disoriented. I open the door while glancing to Josh and his two guys are getting out of their car sort of wobbly.

After the door is opened, the man is coughing from all the airbag dust. He is trying to get out and I say, "Wait a minute. How is your neck? Are you hurt?" He says that he is OK. Another man who witnessed the accident is on his phone and I confirm that he is calling 911. Then we notice that there is gasoline and other liquids flowing out of the car. So I say, "Alright, let's get you out of here." I help him get out and lead him to the curb and tell him to sit down and take it easy. I was hoping for an explosion at this point where we could dive away from the fireball to safety. That would have been sweet, but no fire.

He starts saying that he needs to call his dentist because he was on the way to an appointment - definitely disoriented. I check him out a bit more and he is hurting real bad, but no major gashes. Josh's guy had a cut on his head. Before Matt could even get back with some towels, the firemen had already arrived. They were really fast. We told them who was involved in the accident and then they took over.

Am I a hero? It's all part of the job.

Have you ever had any experiences like that?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Eddie Ray Fisher

This is so weird. I just found out that a friend of ours from back in the Ocean Hills days named Eddie is in a huge and famous band called OneRepublic. They are the band that sings that song "Apologize" with Timbaland that you have probably heard if you watch any tv shows or listen to the radio. It's everywhere right now. They have over 15 million hits on their MySpace. They are big-time.

Eddie is the coolest guy too. I'm so happy for him. He is the second from the left in the photo. He actually played djembe in our wedding and we used to rock out with the Jr Highers together. I was involved with his wedding too. He's just a nice guy. He used to play in a band with another friend of mine and it didn't work out. I'm super stoked for him and I know that people in the "rock n roll" world are having more fun because Eddie is with them. I haven't seen him since I came to Calvary almost 7 years ago so it's been a while, but I'm still stoked.

Welcome Matt Davis...

to the blog world. He has kept a private blog journal for a while now and he put all those posts on this blog. I have a feeling his blog will be good. Hourglass Entries is the name of the blog. Find it here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Strategic Leadership Team

We will have our first meeting with the Strategic Leadership Team of Calvary Church today. It's a group of 10 of us that will help to provide vision and strategy for achieving that vision. Our agenda for today looks like this:
1. Season of Prayer - just some good old fashioned prayer in an open way.
2. Senior Pastor sharing his vision for the group
3. Then we will have each person share their hopes for the group. What would this group ideally accomplish and how would it function?
4. Operating Principles - this is sort of like a covenant to each other of how we will act and respond. This could include many things, but things like We will be open, honest, and direct with gentleness and respect. Also, things like "silence is agreement." This isn't a group for people to just listen and not participate.
5. Vision, Logo, Branding - we want to take our Connect, Grow, Reach vision to the next level. This will begin that and we will probably schedule a half day brainstorm to work on it.

I'm looking forward to it very much.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It happened again...

So yesterday I had about 30 minutes between meetings and I thought I would work on my office a little bit. I'm moving this big bookshelf by myself and just sort of singing to myself. The thing that is so strange is that for some reason I'm singing, "I've found my thrill...on Blueberry Hill." Those are the only words I know to that song so I'm humming and singing those just barely out loud. Bad enough, right?

Then I hear a sound like "mmm, mmm" or something like that, but I don't know what it is. I turn around and there is Victor standing looking at me with a huge smile on his face because he has walked in on me singing another weird song.

I need help.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Potential New House

There is a new house we are putting an offer on. It's in Orange - a bike ride from the Circle - actually only 0.9 miles away. Hopefully, it will all work out. It's on a quiet cul-de-sac and seems like a good house to raise kids in.

Kind of a Huge Day

Here is how today went:
1. In both main services today, my new position was announced to the whole church. Now, it's for real.
2. I preached in the Elevation service today and it went pretty well. I was really pleased, especially with the tough preparation week.
3. Then we went looking at houses this afternoon. We actually found one we want to put an offer on tomorrow. I will do a separate post about that.
4. I went to our Adult Bible Fellowship (ABF) Leaders meeting to check it out and introduce myself to them at 4pm.
5. I spoke at my last Student Ministries Parent Meeting on my Top 10 Last Words to Parents of Teens. It was pretty cool. I will post the text of that later this week.

Pretty busy and eventful day. I'm tired.

Pray for Me if You Read This

I am sitting in my office at 6:45am right now and I got here 25 minutes ago. I like to get to church really early on the days I preach. I look over my notes and my PowerPoint one last time. I practice my "talk" one more time out loud. I love the method of out-loud practicing. Some don't. I think it's a total personal preference thing.

I am about to spend some time in prayer and then practice a bit and then I can go be a part of all the ministry preparation that takes place before everyone shows up. After I'm ready to speak mentally and spiritually, I like to stay busy and not think about it. Usually I will have to make a trip to the restroom. I have done this pretty much before every "talk" I have given for the past 15 years. The body has strange reactions to public "performance."

So anyways, please pray for me if you read this. Pray that God would speak through me and that my flawed and faulty memory would work better than it usually does.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Student Ministries Office Video

Victor finally put this up on his site so I could grab it. This is a video that some of our college students made for our College Ministry Christmas Party that had a theme of The Office tv show. It's a full 20 minute episode of The Office based on our Student Ministries at Calvary Church. I "act" quite a bit in this piece. It's funny and embarrassing. Enjoy. Tell me what you think. It's in two parts to make it easier to view.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Homeland Security and Marko

I started the day at a meeting with Homeland Security which sounded pretty interesting. It's a strange part of the new job that I got a call from Santa Ana Homeland Security and they were meeting with city businesses and non-profits to create partnerships and plan for any future natural disaster or terrorist act. It was actually pretty cool and I'm excited for how we can serve our community in ways that will impact the community now, but will also prepare the church to be a light and a help in any future disaster.

Then my lunch appointment got canceled because he was sick so I just had my meeting at 2:30 with Marko. Mark Oestreicher is the President of Youth Specialties, but that's not why we were meeting. I let him know last month about my new position and he told me how when he was 33 he was the Student Ministries Pastor at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena and was moved into the Executive Pastor position. He was supervising people 20+ years older than him at a large church that was around 100 years old. The similarities are crazy with me being 33 and moving from S.M. Pastor to Executive Pastor of Ministry at a large church around 75 years old. He also used to work at Calvary Church so he knows where I come from.

So in light of all those similarities (and that he seems like an interesting, thoughtful guy) I thought it would be awesome to pick his brain. It was a great time. He had some good thoughts and some great reminders. Here were some of my takeaways apart from just being heard by a man I respect.
1. He asked me first about my non-ministry life which was symbolic to me of what should come first.
2. He said to pursue humility as much as leadership skills or insights.
3. He said to make sure that I had a couple guys who understand my church context well that I can talk about everything I am experiencing and the pressures of my position who I won't have to ever use the "authority card" with.
4. He also had me think through "power" and the proper perspective of it and how to use it properly.
5. Finally, we talked about how to retain who you are in the midst of a "serious" position. I like how he is a bit wild and crazy (maybe more than a bit) while being in positions like Executive Pastor and President. I have felt pressure to dress differently and act differently and he had some good thoughts on it. He said I should still play pranks on my staff and make sure my office and hair aren't too stuffy. I felt a sense of "exhale" for myself in that. Be yourself. Be wise, but be yourself.

We talked about other things, but that was the heart of it. Thanks Marko!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Big Day

I have lots of driving and meetings with fun people today between Santa Ana and San Diego. I will post about it tonight.

I am preaching this Sunday on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12. It's a pretty cool passage where Paul basically says that if you are going to present the gospel to people, you need to do it right, with integrity. No swindling, no flattering words, just be real and self-less. I like that message. He talks about the importance of loving like a mother and caring like a father for the people in our life that we care about. Good stuff. I'm feeling a bit behind and sort of rusty this week in my sermon preparation. I realized that I haven't preached in Elevation since mid-November. That's almost two months. I need to get the cobwebs of my preaching chops. Hopefully I won't suck.

Prediction - a comment by Victor that will say "You probably will suck."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Even More Troubling...

I am getting Ella dressed and I realize that I'm singing out loud Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera and a bunch of other girls. The song from Moulin Rouge.

What's wrong with me????

Best Blogs of 2007

1. - Marko is the president of youth specialties and I love Marko's blog. It's a good blend of theological thought, youth ministry, family life, leadership, and humor. And I like that we get at least a couple posts per day.

2. - Matt Doan has been the High School Pastor at my church for the past seven years and will now be moving into a role pastoring Young Adults and leading Community Outreach for our church as well as our Assimiliation efforts. His blog is funny, self-deprecating, and has some good insights. He posts often enough to get recognized but should post a bit more.

Those are the only two I can give my stamp of approval to. The main problem with others is that they don't post enough. So to all my friends (Bea, Victor, Melissa, Kevin, Jasen, Randy, Laura, Trevor, Tammy, Jolinda, J-Lo, Tim) - start posting more and you can gain the tremendous acclaim of my blog (10 more people on earth will know who you are). I also love Erin, Kim and Karen's blog but I just can't put the "90% posts on my kids" blogs on my favorite list. Sorry. Also, if you start using names instead of weird letters I might bump you up. It's just too hard to read.

My new favorite blog in 2008 is by Tim Stevens - Executive Pastor of Granger Church.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I Started the Move

Today I started my move up to my new office. I need to take some pictures and post them on here. I'm up in the Worship Center of our church. My new office has a big window that looks down on the auditorium of the Worship Center. It's pretty big and cool. I am getting new furniture for it so I'm working from some old crappy stuff in this big office.

I moved up my computer, phone, and my main office supplies today. I got myself situated where I can work from there while getting the rest of my stuff (mostly books) moved up over the next week. Josh Simpson, the guy that gets my old office, wants me to hurry up since his square footage will double with his move.

I am kind of sappy right now over this whole thing. My eyes were getting watery as I was walking with the cart full of my stuff up to my new office. I really have loved my role and the people I work with. It will be weird to not be down there.

I know that the Student Ministries staff is throwing me a "surprise" lunch tomorrow. I'm really excited for that. It's right up my love language alley.

This is troubling...

I woke up today with "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion from Titanic completely in my head. I was belting it out in the shower. I think I might see a therapist today.

Monday, January 07, 2008

College Football Championship

How lame is the BCS Championship Game? I watched a bit of it but it's just boring. They need a playoff. I'm a firm believer that there needs to be more than a +1. There needs to be an 8 team playoff. I don't think people will cry if the Poinsettia Bowl and others like it have to go away.

Do you care?

My Friends Tigger and Pooh

I am sitting here watching this new Winnie the Pooh with Grace. We watch a show in the mornings while we are both still pretty out of it and we eat our breakfast before Ella wakes up.

This new show has Darby, a girl, instead of Christopher Robin. I don't get it. Why? It's some marketing research idiot's decision that a girl would reach o broader target audience. I don't mind that it's a girl. That's not it. It's just why change something that's not broken. The part that makes me mad is that it's a pretty cool show. The music must all be done by the same lady who did the Josy and the Pussycats movie. It's sounds just like it.

Who is against this atrocity of kicking out Christopher Robin?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Blog Goals

My blogging goals for 2008 are this:
1. 365 posts. That will put me just over one post per day. I only had 308 in 2007, but I think I can pull this off.
2. More thoughts on leadership and leading well.
3. A switch to WordPress at some point.
4. More commenting on other sites to help generate readers.

I Stopped Being a Youth Pastor Today

We announced to our volunteer teams today that I am now the Executive Pastor of Ministry, that Josh Simpson is the new Jr High/Student Ministries Pastor, and that Matt Doan will soon not be the H.S. Pastor anymore. It was a pretty big day with those things. I got emotional when I talked to our staff about me transitioning and how it's the first time in 15 years of adulthood that I have not been in youth ministry. It's such an incredibly strange thing for me. It's that weird blend of sadness and total excitement about the future. I will move my office this week and it will feel really official.

I'm very much looking forward to making a positive impact of change for our church in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Joel McHale at the Improv

So we went to see Joel McHale from The Soup tonight. I'm not a huge live stand-up fan. I like comedy, but most stand-up comics are vulgar and not very intelligent. The supporting cast for Joel McHale did not change my mind. A lot of lame comedy that was based on lowest common denominator jokes. But I did like Joel. He seemed liked the kind of guy I would want to hang out with. He is funny and sarcastic about pop culture. The first thing he said was, "Why did this week have to be the one where we don't have a show? Jamie Lynn Spears gets pregnant. Lindsay Lohan is caught drinking champagne out of the bottle. And Britney Spears is smiling at the cameras from a gurney. Why this week? We do 75 shows a year and take two weeks off and this happens this week?" It was funny for anyone who knows how much his show would love that kind of stuff. Mocking self-destructive celebrities is kind of his schtick.
There was this one poor lady who was pretty self-destructive sitting in the front row. She was completely wasted and was wearing all sorts of sheep skin stuff and was practically laying on her back in her seat with her legs on the stage. Every comic completely mocked her. Her date was getting pissed and wanted to fight. She rushed Joel McHale on the stage after the show and security had to take her away. People are strange. I still like Joel McHale and I love The Soup.
This picture was taken with my Treo.

Joel McHale Tonight!

If you don't watch The Soup, you should. Friday nights on "E." It's hilarious and Joel McHale is the best part. I didn't know that he did stand-up, but he is playing the Irvine Spectrum Improv tonight and we are going!! I can't wait. I will report more later.

U2 in the Movies

I can't wait for this movie to come out. Click and hold the U23D logo on the widget for 15 seconds and then let go. A window will pop up. The code to type in is U23D. Then a secret video will come up. I paid $40 for that code with my membership. It's my gift to you.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Kenya Makes Me Sad

I have been grieved by hearing of the atrocities taking place in Kenya. We were told in August that we shouldn't come back in December or January because it would be crazy during the election season, but I would never have thought that this kind of violence could take place in that beautiful country. I have never experienced the love and welcoming spirit from people that I felt in Kenya - from random people in villages and slums to pastors to children to aid workers to missionaries from several countries. So to hear that people would burn a church down with people still inside makes me want to vomit with frustration, sadness, and anger.
You can read about the violence stemming from the elections here

This was an email I received from Christ's Hope - the organization we worked with in Kenya.
Dear Kenya Teams,
Many of you have heard the news of Kenya and the turmoil there. We have gotten updates from Edward in Nairobi and some sources in Kisumu. The Dutch volunteers were sent away due to Martin's forsight. The bottom line is that there is great violence going on in the streets and people remain in their homes unable to access food. Fifty people were burned alive inside a church Jan. 2nd.

Our national director Martin Chamah and his wife Edith are safe so far with the sixteen children that they care for. One source today tells us that they have run out of food. An organized protest is scheduled for Jan. third and things could deteriorate from there.

PLEASE PRAY for Martin and Edith and the children, for the Care and Compassion patients who are not being cared for, for Edward and the ministry in Nairobi. Let us pray for the Lord's mighty protection and miraculous provision for them.

Lord, show Your people Your mighty arm that protects and provides against the odds. May our brothers and sisters there know Your incredible peace that surpasses all comprehension. Surround them with the mighty ones who do your bidding. May the enemy see your sentries and turn away. Speak to the hearts of the C and C patients, may they know the sweetness of Your felt presence. We pray that an outpouring of your Holy Spirit's restraining power will calm the people of Kenya. Thank you Lord that you reign and you are in control, and You will use this situation for Your glory and Your purposes. Burden us with the need to pray for our family in Kenya.

In Jesus' Powerful name,
Becky Kase
Prayer Coordinator
Christ's Hope USA

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Jack Bauer Isn't Real

Why doesn't Kiefer Sutherland just break out of prison like he did in 24 Season 2?? Jack Bauer isn't real.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Resolution

Could my New Year's Resolution be for my kids to sleep in past 6:30am? After being up until about 12:45am it was not pleasant to wake up this early.

We had a mellow New Year's Eve night with a delicious feast of fondue. A classic Swiss fondue with Gruyere and Emmenthaler and then a Pub Fondue with Extra Sharp Cheddar, Mild Cheddar, and a little beer. We dipped with bread, apples, carrots, steak, chicken, Louisiana hot links, and Chicken & Apple sausages. Kevin and Michelle (Bea's sister) came over and we enjoyed the feast and then the boys dominated the girls in a game of Scene It Squabble edition.

Happy New Year's Everyone!! Enjoy the parade and football! We are going to have some Swedish pancakes and relax while watching the parade and playing with the new Christmas presents.