Showing posts from February, 2017

Winterfest 2017 | IDENTITY

Here's the highlight reel from our trip to Winterfest in Gatlinburg, TN. I couldn't have asked for a better group of students and adults to work with. Thanks for an awesome trip!


You can read Rahab's story in Joshua 2.

1. Can you think of an instance when it would take courage to show kindness to someone?

Due to the political state in our nation right now - the divide between liberal and conservative, left and right, democrat and republican - it takes courage to show kindness to those on the "other side of the aisle." For some reason it has now become a political statement to show kindness to illegal (or legal!) immigrants and refugees. It is seen as a political issue to show kindness and compassion towards those in the LGBTQ community. If we as a church began welcoming these people in with open arms, we could be ostracized from our entire faith community. But if there is one thing Scripture is clear on, we are to show love and kindness to EVERYONE - we are all neighbors.

2. Read 1 Corinthians 6:8-11. How do you treat your past mistakes? Do you forget them or embrace them? Why does it matter?

I tend to want to forget my past mistakes. Who I am is n…

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT | Joshua (from Feb. 15)

You can read Joshua's story in Numbers 13, Joshua 1-6, 24.

1. Who would you consider a mentor like Moses and a friend like Caleb? How have they encouraged you in your faith journey?

I definitely look up to the preachers I have worked with during my time in ministry. Both Lance in Moline and Allen here in Mitchell have been extremely positive influences in my life. They have both taught me valuable lessons about how to do ministry, how to relate to people, how to approach the Word, how to work well with other church leaders, and much more. They are the Moses to my Joshua or the Paul to my Timothy.
And I would not be the man I am today without close Caleb-like friends in my life - like Bryson, Jordan, Michael, and others. These guys in particular have been there for me in tough times to encourage me, to laugh with me, and to help me see things in a new perspective. I thank God for the fellow godly men he has put in my life.

2. Read Galatians 5:22-23. How might fear keep you from exper…

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT | Miriam (from Feb. 8)

You can read Miriam's story in Exodus 2, Exodus 31, and Numbers 12.

1. What's something you've done that took a lot of courage to do? How did you feel afterward?

I remember giving a speech at Grandparent's Day in 6th grade (I think). It was in front of hundreds, and I was terribly nervous. But I did it, and I did well. It taught me that speaking in front of crowds is not that scary. There's not mush that could go badly. After doing it once, I was more confident to do it again and again.

2. What do you think are your best skills, talents, or personality traits? How can God use those in his kingdom?

God has blessed me with leadership skills, a relaxed personality, organizational abilities, the ability to understand Scripture and make it relatable, public speaking skills, and a decent singing voice. All in all, I feel like I am doing the best service to God's kingdom that I can do with the gifts he has given me.
But I also have a passion to help men become better hu…


You can read Moses' story in Exodus 1-4.

1. Write down as many labels for yourself as you can. Which ones are most important to your self-identity?

ChristianHusbandFatherYouth Minister     Sci-fi Nerd     Book Worm     Science Enthusiast     Worship Leader     Coffee Snob     Whovian     LearnerPerformer (3 on Enneagram)     Music Lover     Cat Person     Football Fan     US Citizen     Southerner     Son     Brother     Fixer     Planner/Organizer     Teacher     Wannabe Guitar Player     Pizza Lover     Thinker     Theologian     Disciple     Movie-Goer     Harding University Alumnus     Church of Christ member

2. Has God ever used "wilderness" times to shape you? How?

I can think of 3 times God used wilderness to shape me. 1) Right after high school when I stayed home for a semester while most of my other friends went off to college. God taught me the value of true friendship during that time. But I also learned to be less trusting and open with people. 2) After college …

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT | Joseph (from Jan. 25)

You can read Joseph's story in Genesis 37, 39-50.

1. In every situation, Joseph did his absolute best. Are you that kind of person? Why or why not?

I am definitely that kind of person. I always have felt the need or the drive to be my best. Not really better than others, but the best I can be. I'm always concerned about what I could do better, what could be improved, etc. And I find myself wanting to impress people - or at least give a good impression. I like to be known, respected, looked up to. I really try to be the best version of myself so that God may be glorified, but often that feels like justifying my own self-aggrandizement.

2. If you had the chance to sin/break the rules, and no one would find out, what would you do?

I hope that I've grown and matured enough to do the right thing even when no one is watching. I believe it's a lie that no one would find out. That's a lie perpetuated by the "father of lies." I'm not sure anyone sins and expects

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT | Jacob, Rachel, & Leah (from Jan. 18)

You can read the story of Jacob, Rachel, and Leah in Genesis 29-30.

1. Who do you most identify with in this story?

I feel that I identify most with Rachel, especially when she names Joseph. She finally gets what she wants - a son - but doesn't even enjoy the moment. She immediately says, "May the Lord add to me another." She's seemingly never satisfied. And I can relate! I often find myself saying/thinking, "Ok, that was good, but it could have been better. What's next?" I catch myself always wondering what's ahead rather than enjoying God's blessings in the moment.

2. Why is it so tempting to seek love and validation in our relationships rather than from God?

I think our sense of physical presence has a lot to do with it. Katelyn (my wife) is there. She is physically present. She can hold my hand, kiss me, talk to me. God almost never seems quite as present or tangible. I know Katelyn loves me based on her words and actions. I have to take God&#…

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT | Hagar (from Jan. 11)

Each week at the end of our Wednesday night class, I am challenging students to reflect on and even journal through some deeper questions that arise from the stories of these characters. I call this exercise "Character Development." Not only do we look at how each particular character grows, changes, and develops through the narrative, we also ask ourselves how WE are growing, changing, and developing. But this isn't just an exercise for the students. I am participating, too. In a show of solidarity (and some vulnerability), I am going to post my answers to these Character Development questions for all to read. Though I am a minister, I am far from perfect. I wrestle with many of the same issues that our teens and their families are wrestling with.

You can read Hagar's story in Genesis 16 & 21. (Our class on Hagar was from January 11.)

1. What problems are you running from?

I feel like I am constantly running away from my past. Like if I can somehow put enough dist…