Day 22 - 22 Days to Change

Day 22 already!

It really is amazing ... we've been praying for 22 days.

There's no way to no what's really taken place. Only God Himself understands what happens when we pray the way we have. We do know God wants us to pray and that our prayers make a difference. We do know our prayers are not in vain. We do know our loving God cares. He hears and responds.

As we wrap this up, lets pray one more time. Lets make this another day of thanksgiving. Lets thank God for hearing our prayers. Lets thank Him for the blessing we get to experience by involving ourselves with teenagers. Lets thank Him for His love for us and love for the students we face day in and day out. Lets thank Him for answering our prayers.

He is mighty to save!
Praise be to God for the great things He has done and ... is doing.
Glory to Him.
He is truly good.
He is truly love.


Day 21 - 22 Days to Change

For 21 days some of us have prayed.

We've gone before God on behalf of American students.
We've asked God for all kinds of things.

Now, with just one more day to go, lets spend today and tomorrow thanking Him for what He's been doing and what's ahead. I'm certain great days are coming soon.

Remember, He is mighty to save!
and ... don't forget what God has placed you where you are to make a difference.

Have peace.


Day 20 ... 22 Days to Change

Grace. The story of a God who did what we cannot do.
Think about it for a minute. God - did - what - we - cannot - do.

He saved us! He reached down and made us clean. And — He is still doing that today. People all over the world are coming to know Him, and His grace is alive and well.

Think about that as it relates to the students we love. He loves them as well. He LOVES them. Really loves them. He knows them and He LOVES them. He is a God who is mighty to save and is doing that even now.

Today, lets pray for God to somehow reach down and save the lost students we cross paths with today. Lets ask Him, lets beg Him, lets cry out to Him to reach down and save these incredible teenagers.

Only 2 more days left.

Day 19 ... 22 Days to Change

meditate on these words today ...

everyone needs compassion ... a love that's never failing ... let mercy fall on me
everyone need forgiveness ... a kindness of a savior ... the hope of nations
my savior, he can move the mountains, my God is mighty to save, my God is mighty to save
forever the author of salvation, He rose and conquered the grave, Jesus rose and conquered the grave
so take me as you find me, all my fears and failures, fill my life again, I give my life to follow
everything I believe in now i surrender
shine your light and let the whole world see ... we are singing for the glory of the Risen King—Jesus

— pray for God to help students get it. Ask God to break through and teach students this truth.

Day 18 ... 22 Days to Change

On this day ... 18 days after we began this little experiment, lets pray for students to know the grace of Jesus. They are living in terribly confusing days and they need us to go before God on their behalf. They need Jesus. Do we believe that? Do we really? If you read those words and your answer was no ... then stop now and pray for yourself. If your answer was yes, then stop now and pray! Ask God to soften the hearts of students all over the nation.


Day 17 ... 22 Days to Change

17 days into the 22 Days of Change prayer challenge. Just a few more days to go. We need to pray more than ever. That's clear. Today, let's pray for God to give us what it takes to finish.

Day 16 ... 22 Days to Change

Pray for students to get along with their parents. Ask the Lord to give them the ability to put aside selfishness and focus on being fair and just.

15 Days to Change

Pray for students to have joy. Ask the Lord to help them discover His joy ... The only true joy.


Day 14 ... 22 Days to Change

Pray for students to LOVE.

What else is there to say??? How cool would it be if 2009 was marked by Christians really loving the way Christ loves us? How awesome would it be if non-believers witnessed real love coming from our churches?

Lets bow before God today and ask Him to create loving hearts in the lives of the students we face day in and day out.

"For they will know us by our love."


Day 13 ... 22 Days to Change

Pray for students to BELIEVE.

It is apparent that we are surrounded by students who simply don't believe. Not sure why ... Its just the way it is.
This lack of faith is troubling to say the least. Why are they like this? How did we end up where we are? What is the answer?

I know part of the answer is for people to pray. It is the greatest thing we can do and it makes a difference.

For 13 days some of us have been faithfully going to God on behalf of these students. Things are happening. We are fighting a battle only God understands. Don't quit. Pray and ask God to make you strong and keep you going.


Day 12 ... 22 Days to Change

Pray for students to trust in things that last.

As adults, we model what we trust and we make great mistakes when we trust in things on earth. Our faith has got to be in God.

So ... the prayer, for today is two part — lets pray that we will trust in God as adults. Lets sit before God and worship Him ourselves. Lets ask God to fill us with passion for Him. Ask Him to make our faith strong. Second, lets ask God to raise a generation of students that trust in Him and not the things the temporary world in which we live.

Our world needs to see people who really trust in God ... we need to trust like never before.


Day 11 - 22 Days to Change

God's grace is amazing! Do we believe it? Do we really?
Then lets ask God to open the eyes of the students we minister to every week and show them this amazing grace.

Here are a few things to get you started this morning.

Ask God to slow students down so they can listen and experience His grace.
Ask God to give you a better understanding of His grace so you can share it more effectively.
Take a few minutes today and meditate on the word grace. Journal. Write down what it means.
After you journal, ask God to show you one student that needs this grace.
Drive over to a school where you have students today and pray in the parking lot.

God's grace is amazing! Because of His grace we know Him. Because of His grace we breathe. Because of His grace we experience His great love! Because of His grace we have peace ... love ... and ... joy. Because of His grace we will never die!!!! Students need to know these things. Pray for them to get it.

May God's grace shine in you today!


Day 10 ... 22 Days to Change

Pray for students today to avoid sarcasm and critical spirits.

We all know what its like to be around a room full of students talking about each other and being overly sarcastic. Lets go before God today with this simple little request and see what happens.


Day 9 ... 22 Days to Change


I wonder how many students have an understanding God.
How many know how great He is?
How many really get the truth that the creator of all things is interested in what they do?
I wonder how many even come close to tracking with the idea that God's love is there and, one step further, available to them!?

Lets pray about this. Lets go to God and ask Him to reveal His great love to the students we all love so much. Lets ask God to open their eyes to how great He really is. — Lets really pray though. Lets not lift up a soft little prayer before a meal or before bed tonight. Lets be radical about it. Lets fast through lunch today and pray instead. Lets really pray. Text a friend and ask them to join you in this prayer. Send an email to everyone you know today and ask them to pray with you. Call your pastor and ask him to join in. Get the word out and lets pray.

Think about this as you pray

Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn men back to dust,
saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."

For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
Psalm 90:2-4


Day 8 - 22 Days to Change

Today, as you pray, ask God to give students direction for life and profession. Ask God to lead them into what He wants them to do and nothing else. Lets go to the Father and ask Him to call students to serve Him with all their gifts and talents. Lets ask Him to continue to lead some into full-time ministry and all into life-long commitment to Him. Lets ask God to raise up a generation of radical followers who give God their best and not their last.

Be encouraged ... you are making a difference and this thing you are doing is truly a battle. You are going before God for the lives of precious students. Please don't quit.

May God richly bless you this day!

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:8-10


Day 7 - 22 Days to Change

Its very clear that today we need to pray for students in America to be strong when they are tempted.

Lets go before God today on their behalf and ask Him to give them wisdom to know what to do when they are tempted. Lets ask Him to urge them, through the Holy Spirit, to want to avoid temptation. Lets cry out once more for these students. Lets pray for them to avoid temptation ... and ... of course ... we should pray that for each other as well.

Lets meditate on this passage as we pray.
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
I Cor 10:13



Day 6 - 22 Days to Change

If worship is a full life response to the greatness and the grace of God, then we need to pray for students to be worshipers. Lets ask God to help us lead students to live lives based on true worship. Lets ask Him to lead us to the same kind of life.

This one is essential —as are the others— carrying more weight than we understand.

Ask God today to help you worship Him.
Ask God today to convert students into true worshipers of Him.
Ask God today to move us away from the little g gods that we worship and to focus on the only true God that is Him.
Ask God to clear your life of distractions.
Ask God to clear the lives of students of distractions.

God desires to be worshiped ... Look at what He said to Moses — Then the LORD said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, 'This is what the LORD says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. Exodus 8:20

Pray for students to worship the living God.


Day 5 - 22 Days to Change


You didn't even like waiting to read the next line of this entry.

What would it be like if students had patience? How different the world of a teenager be if they learned the art of waiting? What if they could wait for gratification? There's no doubt that their world, and ours for that matter, would be much better.

So ... lets go to the Father today and pray for students to have patience. Pray for students to wait. Pray for students to have the ability to see the need for them to patiently wait for God to bring things into motion. Pray for a patient generation!

Wow. Now that would be change!

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him ... Psalm 37:7


Day 4 ... 22 Days to Change

God wants us to know His Word!
My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Proverbs 7:1

So — Today lets focus on asking God to lead teenagers to His word. Lets pray specifically that God will open their hearts to what is in His Word and that students will listen. Lets cry out to God today on behalf of teenagers. Lets ask God to give us more passion for His Word.

There is an obvious and even overwhelming lack of Biblical knowledge and Biblical application in the lives of today's American student. Students don't know the Word of God and they don't do what it says — How can they do what it says if they don't know what it says?

We've known this for a long time. We have met about it ... build programs to address it ... written lots of books about it ... conducted research just to make sure our hunches were on track ... even sold more Biblical curriculum than maybe anytime in the history of the world. The one thing we haven't done a lot of — is pray about it! At least I haven't. It hasn't been high on my list and it should have been.

So ... lets go pray! Lets go ask God to break through the barrier that is keeping students out of His Word. Lets ask God to break our hearts for our own lack of Biblical knowledge and application. Ask God to do something big! ( as if He hasn't already set today in motion and is currently keeping all of creation in order )

Today is going to be a great day!


Day 3 ... 22 Days to Change

Today ... take a minute and pray for students to be protected from evil. Ask God to use you. Ask Him for a specific thing to do. Cry out to Him today.

Students in our nation need Him more than anything this Christmas.

God is a Refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 9:9


Only in Texas

22 Days to Change

We have figured out all there is to know about reaching students for Christ. We are doing so well. In fact, there are some churches that are seeing 500 hundred students a week attending their events!

The truth is, there is so much for us to learn, and so much for us to do. We are not doing a very good job of reaching teenagers for Christ. We are not leading them into passionate relationships with Christ. They are not being transformed.

We have even learned that close to 90% of the students in America have no connection with Jesus. There are thousands of teenagers all around us making the few really large youth groups, you know the ones we dream about leading someday, look like drops in a bucket.

Does that bug you?

I’m not sure what we’ve done wrong. Maybe it’s the way students are wired. Maybe we are reaping the fruit of careless generations before us. Maybe some of us aren’t so supposed to be youth workers. Maybe we haven’t stopped and asked God to help us. Maybe we fail to pray.

Something has to change.

2009 is 22 days away. What would happen if we took the next 22 days and got on our knees and prayed? I mean really prayed. I have an idea. Its crazy. Its way out there. Lets pray.

Find a significant amount of time to pray every morning for the next 22 days. Ask God to break your heart for the students you see each and every day. Ask God to open your eyes to what they need. Ask God to give you favor. Ask God to purify your life. Ask God to do something bigger than ever. Pray for names. Pray specifically. Ask God for a lot!

Great things will happen if we pray.

There is so much to learn!


10 Things to Do This Christmas

Click on the image ... it grows so you can read it.


Psalm 100:3

Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His we are his people, the sheep of His pasture.


People ... Life ... God

I'm sitting here this morning in my office ... at my desk ... staring at my computer and wondering about some big things that seem to be pretty serious. Charlie Hall is playing in the background singing God is the truth, You are the light, You are the way .... i'm reading through the current issue of the catalyst groupzine, thinking about the relationships around me, praying for people on our church prayer list .... i probably should stop and focus.

before i do that, i wanted to take a minute and drop an entry on my blog ... i may be the only to read it, but here goes.

there are so many issues facing the people in my life right now. i have several friends looking for jobs, know "lots" of people struggling with the jobs they have, i know people who are sick (really sick), people who are building ministries, people who are adventurous, people who want to escape, people in need of encouragement, people who are alone, people who are lost,people in search.

couple that with the daily issues i find myself facing .... things get pretty crazy. keeps me up at night. fills my mind through the day. kind of makes me look at the life of children with envy ... but ... we're not supposed to do that. i know.

all this drives me to the greatness of God ... He is on His throne. He is in control. His Sovereignty is in tact.

please don't read this and think i'm mad at my boss, upset at work, frustrated with a friend or wondering around in darkness ... its just one entry on a blog few people ever read ...

“And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”- Ephesians 1:9-10

have a great day!!!


Saw this video today ...

would love to know what you think about it


True to Your Values and Passions

At the end of the day I want to be true to my values and my passions. I want to be able to settle into my older years with confidence that I lived the kind of life I was supposed to live. I want to be able to stand before God with boldness and confidence. I want to stand before Him and hear Him say, well done good and faithful servant.

May my life bring Him glory!! May my motives be pure. May my actions be consistent. May I live my life as a living sacrifice holy, acceptable, and pleasing to Him.


Praying for you

Our church is memorizing Col 1:9 ... it has motivated me to pray for you

I am praying for you to have knowledge of the Father's will and to get it through wisdom and understanding from God.
Have a blessed day.


Live a Quiet Life and Mind My Own Business

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all lived quiet lives and minded our own business???? How cool would it be if we simply lived the kind of life that focused on God and kept our eyes off ourselves!!! I don't know about you, but I want this kind of world. I want this kind of life. I want a world where people stay out of places where they don't belong. Where people treat one another with respect and honor. A world where the kind of lives we strive to live for are selfless and helpful to the people around us. I want a world where my kids can grow up and see what God wants and avoid the consumeristic world we are flooded by today. I want them to grow up!! I don't mean get old. I mean grow up and be like Christ. Like the man who lived a quiet life and minded His own business. He never forced His will on anyone. He modeled it. He led by example. He truly led the way.

I know. Its pie in the sky. Its idealistic. Its impossible. No wait ... if all that is true, if its pie in the sky — idealistic — impossible, then why did God put it in the Bible! Why even waste the space on the page???? Why even fill up my mind with the thought???? Why ask me to do something I can't???????

Here's the deal ... It is possible in Christ ... impossible in us. Through the power of Jesus we can do all things ... through the power of us, we can do nothing ... connected to Him, its all in the realm of possibility.

There you go. No what????????

I don't know!

maybe we should go stop and worship???!!!



Seek God and Live

I stumbled on this little verse in the book of Amos .... it is short little verse, but the words ring clear in my ears ... Seek God and live — you don't want to end up with nothing to show for your life.

Seeking God has been the thing I have most wanted to do most of my life. I am coming up on my 30th birthday as a Christ follower. And today ... it is what I want to even more. I pray that today I will truly seek my Father who loves me more that I will ever understand.



Sept 11

Its September 11th. I’m sitting on a plane. I can’t help but think back to seven years ago. On that day people just like me sat on planes on their way to meetings, to visit family, to work, to play, to retire, etc. People just like me. On that day they were forced to be a part of one of the darkest days of our lives. These innocent people were forced to be a part of one of the greatest tragedies we may ever face. It makes me sad and causes me pain to think back on that day. I have often wondered how different my life would have been had that never happened. I’m certain things would be much different.

I feel like I lost something big that day. I feel like part of me died. I feel like I changed.

As a result of the terrible decisions those people made, we are forced into a world that uses words like terror, war, and death like they are just words. My youngest daughter has lived all but one year of here life with this nation at war. She has little to no idea what its like to live in a place where there is no war. How terrible that is!

However, as America moves into year 8, we must do so with hope in our hearts. We must remember God like never before and rely on Him. We must throw our lives on all He is. We must let our souls rest in Him because His love lasts forever. We must trust in Him. We must rely on Him. We must place our faith in Him. We must let the peace that passes all understanding overwhelm our lives. It is essential that we worship Him.

It is true that we are in His hands. It is true that He is in heaven doing everything He pleases. It is true that nothing on this little round ball is happening out of His sight. It is a fact that He is in control!

Like the singer says … it’s a new day, past has gone and life has just begun. He’s given me ways to fly again, strength for today and color for my grey. It’s a new day since you came my way!

The evil one would love for us to dwell on the past and let it steal our joy, peace and life. He would have his way if we focused on the death and destruction we all experienced on September 11, 2001. Therefore, let us lean ino God and worship Him like never before. Lets focus on Truth. Lets fix our eyes on the greatness of Love. Lets shout from the mountains that salvation has come.

Lets tell the world that mercies are pouring down on those who are followers of Jesus Chirst. Lets unite together for good. Lets strive to let the only war we fight on this planet is the one against evil.

I have hope!!!! I know God!!!! He is truly in control!!!!!


God uses all kinds of things to get my attention

today he used a devotional i've had for years ... here's a taste of what i read

"Once Jesus had publicly determined to do His Father's will, Satan was after Him relentlessly."

"Nothing turns the head so quickly, or softens the will as much, as the appeal and clamor of the crowd."

"For my will is strengthened only as I carefully cultivate it in the presence of my heavenly Father. "To pray at all times in the Spirit" is the way to put on the full armor of God and thus be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."

This is just a taste of what I get on a regular basis from this little book. God uses it on a regular basis to point me in a good direction ... you might check it out... Daily with the King, Glen Evans, Moody, 1979 ... its old, but worth it if you can find a copy.



i am sure

i was reading this morning. it was one of those days when the Holy Spirit made it really clear to me that i needed to start my day with Him in the Word. so ... i sat down ... got my Bible, my journal, a devotional book and i start to read. i started with a reading from Glen Evans ... Daily with the King — he was talking about how to handle life when God is silent ...

a few highlights ...
... from the Word
John 13:7 You do not realize what I am doing but later you will understand
Job 23:10 He knows the way I take, when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold
I Cor 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I have been fully known

... from Glen Evans
~ a disciple of Jesus Christ must learn to understand God's silences
~ the life of faith would end if God explained His every move
~ the spiritual man lives by faith and reserves God's right to be silent

refelections ... the year i just finished was so full! beginning with my dad's death, it was truly an up and downhill year. there were times when God was loud and clear — others when i couldn't hear His voice no matter how hard i tried. i journeyed though. i had times of great faith and times of doubt i hope never return. i don't know where i am in light of the big picture of what God is doing. am i coming forth as gold? is it time for me to realize what He has been doing? not sure.

i could feel God talking to me today. i heard Him say that He's here and His work is in full motion. i heard Him gently, i mean really gently, boost my faith in Him and His great love.

i love His word and the way He chooses to interact with me ... may i always follow Him with the faith of a child. He is a mighty King — so worthy to be praised, worshiped, followed, adored, and lifted high!!!!

i am sure of Him ... i am sure of His ways ... i am sure and happy with the way He chooses to do things!


My Dad

One year ago this morning I was sitting in my house dealing with the news that my dad had just passed away to be with Jesus. The news hit me like a rock ... needless to say, my role model, my friend, my dad and — tied with my mom— my biggest fan was no longer going to be with me here on this earth. I sat still for what seemed to be like hours.

I had no idea what this year would bring. I had no idea that so many emotions would come my way. I had no idea I could miss someone like I miss my dad.

As I write, I wonder ... what is he doing right now? What is eternal life in heaven like? How much time does He spend with Jesus? What is he doing in heaven? I found myself earlier today writing a prayer to Jesus and asking Him to let my dad know I am thinking about him today ... I felt strange asking for that ... I just wanted my dad to know I still miss him. I really wish I could hear his voice again. Just one time.

I don't ever want to forget my dad. I want to remember his love, his face, the days at the lake, the times in the mountains, the trips, the prayers, the mornings at the lake, the days in the snow with the jeep, little league baseball games, learning to drive at the terminal, sitting on his couch, getting gum on the way to church, watching him work, hunting, cutting wood, learning to shoot a shotgun, walking along the creek at Uncle Kens, the day he preached at the church, the talks, the drives, the days getting ready for all the fun we had, and spending time with him. The memories go on and on and on.

I hope to be remembered this way. I hope to be half the man he was. I miss him so much!!!

As year two begins, let me pay tribute to a man of God.
James Eldon Burks ... a man of God ... may the things he lived for live forever!


In Flight

I love to fly. I think it so cool to be able to drive my Jeep to the airport, park at the Parking Spot, ride a little shuttle bus to my terminal, wait a little while with the rest of the people on my flight and the get on a plane. It still amazes me that this huge creation ever gets off the ground.

Today I am on my way to San Diego.

I love looking out the window. It’s boring to sit on an aisle and miss everything we are flying over. I love looking out the window.

Flying from Texas to Southern California is such an intriguing experience to me. You leave Dallas with its flat terrain. Move out over west Texas with its brown colors. You quickly and slowly cross over into the mountains of New Mexico (the mountains start small and spread apart, then they grow and seem to join ach other right before my eyes). You then travel across the desert and after about a 2 hours and 55 minute flight, you see the Pacific Ocean. The Ocean! For a Texas boy who didn’t see the ocean until I was 18, the Ocean is a big deal. It was when I saw it the first time and it still is today.

As I fly, I like to think about all the life that is below the plane.

I look at the highways and wonder what the people in the cars are like. What are they talking about? What do they look like? Where are they going? Are they looking at my plane and thinking the same thing about me?

I look at the cities passing below and imagine what’s happening in the buildings. Most of the cities seem small from so high in the sky. Some seem large. Chicago always seems big to me. New York seems massive.

I wonder what animals are sitting in fields, climbing on rocks. When I fly over the mountains, I think about bears! I’m flying over New Mexico right now. I wonder how many bears are down there?

As I look out my window, I wonder what people are thinking right now … about … what God is doing right now. Do they know? Do they care? I wonder how we get the word out and how we can effectively do what God wants us to do with the people living life below.

I also think about the creative nature of God when I fly. Right now, there is a thin layer of clouds out my window. Each cloud is just thin enough for me to get a sneak peak at the ground below. Trees, dirt, roads and a city are below me right now. I think its El Paso. God made all of that! He formed it. He put it all together. Through His words he spoke it into existence and it’s all in His control. He is not spinning around wondering how to hold it all together … He’s in control. He is so creative! Now the clouds are thick, with a hole exposing the blue earth below.

I also think about my life when I fly. Not because I’m scared or anything, I just think about whether or not I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing and whether or not I am fulfilling my life’s mission. I want to. I mean I really want to finish the job God put me here to do. I think about my travels when I fly. I remember trips. God seems to bring back the big moments in my life. I find myself often thinking about salvation and my family when I fly.

I also wonder a lot about where I’m going. No, not where my plane is going to land, but where my life is going. Is it good???? Is my life making a difference? What is my final stopping point? When we buried my dad last summer, I remember thinking — he stopped. He is no longer doing what he did for 82 years. He stopped. I spent a long time at his grave thinking about him the day we buried him. This is random, but on flights, I think about my dad … I think about him a lot.

As I think about my life and where I am going, it makes reflect on things I don’t understand and questions come that I can’t answer.

So … there you go … thought I needed to write some of this down today as I traveled to San Diego. I’ll land in about an hour and a half. I’ve got a couple of days in meetings. I’ll be back on the plane Wednesday night. I’m sure I’ll have these same thoughts again as I return home.



5 encounters mentioned in John 20-21.

Jesus spoke Mary's name at the tomb as she searched for Him
Jesus brought peace to the disciples as they were wondering what to do after His death
Jesus helped Thomas believe and challenged him to "stop doubting and believe"
Jesus proved to the disciples that He was still with them and going to help them meet their needs
Jesus showed patience, forgiveness and grace to Peter

These five encounters are teaching me so much about Jesus right now.


Jesse's Story

i got this message from lanny a couple of days ago .... really wanted to help get the word out .... watch it and spread it!!!!

Facebook message from Lanny .... you got to watch this

lanny sent this message to his Facebook


full circle

in 1982 i went to Camp Ozark with my youth group. the story is long as to why i was able to go, but the bottom line is that i almost wasn't allowed — needless to say, i was a bit of a mess back then. i had a youth minister who took a bit of a risk and it turned out that God has been using his risk for over 25 years now.

that week at camp was incredible. God taught me how to spend daily time with Him — a practice that changed everything for me. i met a guy named Jeff Lake who hired me to the next summer to work as a counselor at Camp Ozark — an experience God used to inject me into full-time ministry. i met another guy named Billy Beacham — a man God used in my life then, and a man he still uses with me today!! God did something in me that week that changed me. He put me there and made me different. i will be forever thankful for what God did and how Camp Ozark played a role in my life.

tomorrow marks the beginning of another Burks encounter with God at Camp Ozark. however, this time its for my girls. through a set of very cool circumstances Bailey and Kori Kate are headed for a two week session at that great camp!! i don't know who is more excited, them or me — Camp Ozark has intersected my life once more!!!

i worked at Camp Ozark for one entire summer and part of two others. the first summer, one of the guys in my cabin was a 12 year old named Scott Torn who's dad happened to own the camp — at least i think he was 12 — anyway, God used our relationship in a lot of ways. now, after all those years I am helping Scott with graphic design and marketing for the Camp. we have spent the last several months working on a few ideas and publications hat are all designed to help the Camp move to a new level. through this re-kindled relationship and experience, my girls are getting a full on dose of what happens through the blessing of God at Camp Ozark.

its about to be full cirlce. God use the camp in my life. He used it in a really big way and i sense He is about to use it again. i am confident in my God. i have seen what He does and the way He moves. i am so ready to see how He uses this experience with my family.

i am so thankful for Camp Ozark and the faithful commitment to God and children those who lead that camp have. i am thankful God allows things to come full circle.


John 20 and 21

i finished another read through the book of John this week ... i am amazed at the great things i'm learning.

for me to say Jesus did amazing things is the understatement of the century ... but ... amazing is the word i want to use as i share with you a snapshot of what i'm learning right now.

amazing ... the way He appeared to people after His death ... amazing, the way He spoke to people who were so close to Him ... amazing, the way He demonstrated His power ... amazing, the way He showed His grace ... amazing, the way He inspired me with this revelation! i'm having so much fun with His Word right now.


the journey

well ... where do i start??? its been a roller coaster of a ride the last few months. today i feel like i'm coming down off the final loop and i can see the end of a really crazy ride in front of me. the end is near. and the cool thing — my stomach feels great.

as most of you know, i left the student life staff a few months ago and ventured out into the world of ministry in ymnow and back on staff at a church. its all really — really — good. i feel so blessed. i am amazed! once again, our loving God has proven himself to be the great God that He is.

as i sit here in from of my macbook, i sing His great praise! i want to say as loud as i can that He is the great God. He is the one worthy of our praise and worthy of our worship. He is truly God. He is the One. He is the Only. As Chris Tomlin wrote so well, He is is the Uncreated One.

i am sure other days will come and my tone will be different. i am sure there are doubt-filled days again. but let it be said that i love God. i truly worship Him and want to live the rest of my life following Him more than anything else.

praise be to the One True God.

check out my church at connectchurch.com .... and if you don't know about ymnow ... take a look at it as well ... ymnow.com


little by little ... part 2

I drove by my neighbor's house today and grabbed this picture. this entire story amazes me. for a lot of reasons, this story gets my attention. so ... it gets another blog entry.

as i said, i drove by today and there it was. an old antique car in the middle of a total model t makeover ... the ty pennington for this old car was not visible but his car was. he must have gone in for a drink, a break, more paint, another piece of sand paper or maybe even a chance to go in and look out the window as people drove by and admire his car. i have no idea what he was doing, but he had to be close. his project was out in the driveway with the doors open and was in full view of us all. his project appears to be moving slower again ... now he's working in the interior.

this story would have been perfect if he had fixed the inside first and then moved to the outside. then it would have been a true biblical lesson ... but ... he's writing this story and he's in charge. he decided to make the outside look new first. hey wait. maybe this is biblical. the Bible says God is in heaven and He does what He wants. could it be that God fixes some of on the outside first??? i know. its probably a bad question.

all theology aside, the man is making bringing this old car back to life ... little by little. i'll keep you updated.


Kobe, Tiger, Phil

what a weekend ... kobe and the lakers blow a 20 point lead friday, tiger makes 2 eagles on the 2nd 9 today, and phil makes a 9 on the 13th hole on saturday.

kobe — after the game kobe says he's going to go drink a lot of beer, wine and maybe 20 shots (not talking about bball shots either). i'm not a kobe fan, and i rarely write anything like this, but this really bugged me for some reason. i guess i just wish things in life were different and that people like him would lead better than they do. i know it was an interview and it was a raw moment talking with a very competitive person — but — come on ... oh and the nba sure didn't need a game like this in the middle of the swirling issues about fixing games. how is it kobe didn't even score in the first half? if the lakers come back to force a game 7, it won't be good for the nba

tiger — wow ... he shoots a 30 yesterday on the second 9. he makes 2 eagles on the back 9 to take the lead today. the shots he hit on 13 and 17 were amazing. i'm not a big tiger fan, but this was amazing/inspiring/unbelievable/on and on. "tiger woods will do something that will make you jump out of your lazy-boy, spill your beer and scare your dog" said one analyst today. i didn't do any of the above today, but i did sit up and shake my head. wow! how cool would it be to be able to do what tiger does??

phil — sigh. i'm a phil fan. for some reason i always want him to win. i like the way he plays. i hurt when he fails. but today was painful. it made me sick. it took 9 strokes for him to finally sink a put on the 13th. 9 strokes. i made a 9 last week at the broadmoor, but i haven't played golf all-year-long! phil has been targeting this tourny for 5 years and it all went down the drain today on one hole. nope. i don't get it.

not really sure why i'm blogging about kobe, tiger and phil. just felt like it.

maybe we can learn how not to handle ourselves as leaders from kobe, to be our best from tiger and how to fail from phil. kobe is sure showing how not to lead both on and off the court, tiger continues to display what it means to compete, and phil is telling us how he blew it yet again.

as a fan ... this has been a good weekend. as a man ... i'm trying to be my best. as a blogger ... i'm wondering if anyone ever reads these things :) i'm having fun.

Got this from Lanny earlier today

after you watch the video visit the official lanny donoho blog ... http://www.lannydonoho.com/


little by little

there's this man in my neighborhood. he's older. he's retired. for close to two years i've run by his house and watched him work on his antique car. its a model t. he stands in his driveway with sand-paper in one one hand a water-hose in the other. he uses the water hose to rinse off the dust he creates on the car with the sand-paper.

when you look at him you can barely see him moving. and as for the car ... you can hardly tell he's doing anything to it. i literally look at him every time i run by his house and think to myself that he's not making any progress. i'm serious, he's been doing this for two years! the car is faded ... covered in old paint ... covered in rust. you never see him make any progress.

then one day there was a change ... i was cooling down from a run, walking by his house, and i saw something different. there was paint on the car! i mean beautiful paint. the old car that was rusty and ugly for two years had paint on it. it was shining! a dark, rich, smooth paint job. i mean this car looks like new. the weird thing about it, the change just happened over night.

no wait ... the change took two years, it didn't happen over night. the change took two — long — years. this older man, living the last stage of his life, standing in his drive-way slowly brought this old car back to life. little steps, taken slowly made the difference.

as soon as i saw the change i felt God whisper in my ear that he wanted me to learn from this man. He had a great lesson for me. one of my takeaways was simple — God is working on me and He's in no hurry. time is in His hands and not in mind. the man in the drive-way never appears to be in a hurry, and please understand, he's living the last stage of his life. it seems like he would hurry up. maybe pay someone to do it for him. instead, he walks at a slow pace. he takes time and meditates on tiny little parts of the car he wants to improve. this cool old man is in control. i think God does the same thing with me.

i am extremely visual. i need God to draw me a picture sometimes and i think he did just that for me with this man and his car. i am learning so much about God and so much about me.

little by little he's making me like Him. i love the way He moves!


: Worship of Technology

Our God is in heaven
doing whatever he wants to do.
Their gods are metal and wood,
handmade in a basement shop:
Carved mouths that can’t talk,
painted eyes that can’t see,
Tin ears that can’t hear,
molded noses that can’t smell,
Hands that can’t grasp, feet that can’t walk or run,
throats that never utter a sound.
Those who make them have become just like them,
have become just like the gods they trust.
Psalm 115: 3-8, The Message

… the success of twentieth-century technology in providing Americans with convenience, comfort, speed, hygiene, and abundance was so obvious and promising that there seemed no reason to look for any other sources of fulfillment or creativity or purpose. To every Old World belief, habit, or tradition, there was and still is a technological alternative. To prayer, the alternative is penicillin; to family roots, the alternative is mobility; to reading, the alternative is television; to restraint, the alternative is immediate gratification; to sin, the alternative is psychotherapy; to political ideology, the alternative is popular appeal established though scientific polling. There is even an alternative to the painful riddle of death, as Freud called it. The riddle may be postponed through longer life, and then perhaps solved altogether by cryogenics. At least, no one can easily think of a reason why not.


Apple is my friend

ok ... so i get out of my jeep yesterday and i feel my phone, that happened to be in the side pocket of my shorts, bump against the door. i didn't think anything of it. i didn't think anything of it until i reached into my pocket and pulled it out to make a call. (i was on my way to the airport, headed to atlanta for an all-day meeting with youth specialties) i took it out and much to my disappointment the screen on my precious iPhone was shattered. it looked like someone had hit with a rock. needless to say, i was sick.

so ... i took my wounded phone and tried to make a call ... it worked! i talked to a friend, who happens to be an iPhone fan, and he told me he thought it would cost me a cool 250.00 to get it fixed. now remember, i'm on my way to the airport for a very important all-day meeting. i had to have a phone.

as i drove up 360 on my way to the airport for a 5:45 flight ... it was 4:06 ... i made a decision to try and stop by the apple store to see if i could get another phone. i was ready to spend the money to get another phone. but there was a problem. i did not know how to get to the southlake apple store. so, i took my broken phone and clicked on the google maps icon. and ... it also worked! i managed to see through the shattered screen and navigate my way to the store. that's right, the phone was working just like new. the screen was shattered!!!

i rushed into the parking lot, jogged into the store, and they put me on the waiting list for the genius bar. then they told me it would be 30 minutes. as i waited, i thought, there is no way i make my flight. yet another surprise was just around the corner. they called my name out after a short 5 minute wait. i went to the counter and an apple genius took my phone, switched my sim card and handed me a replacement phone ... i was ready to pay until i was handed a sheet of paper that had all zeros where the charges should have been ... the guy at the store, handed me my phone, smiled and told me about a shortcut to the airport.

i rushed back to the jeep, drove to the airport and had 20 minutes to spare before my 5:45 flight.

i had time to sync my phone and fly to atlanta!

amazing ... apple knows how to roll


John 13

So I read John 13 this morning ...this study in John has been so much fun
i loved this chapter!

the chapter begins with a simple announcement that Jesus knew His time on earth was done and that He was about to go back to His father in heaven. he knew!!!! nothing caught Him off guard or surprised Him. the chapter goes on to say that judas was led by satan to do his evil deed and then it says that Jesus had all power. i loved that little part — it was a slam on satan and testimony to Jesus' commitment to do His Father's will. Jesus knew he had all power ... as andy stanley says ... he was the most powerful person in the room!

after He tells us about his knowledge and His power, he displays the way he wants us to live. He washed His followers feet!!!!
he was truly showing us the full extent of His great love.

the passage shares a discussion with peter and we get to see Jesus teach peter a great lesson ... i pray i will learn the lesson he is trying teach me through this discussion with peter ...

in verse 12, He asks His followers if they are understanding what He is telling them. then ... He explains in verses 13 and 14. "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."

my prayer is that i can get this ... i lived a long life and its a harder to do the things i know i should than it used to be. i know, if its God's plan, i have a long life ahead of me and i want to live it serving God by living like Jesus.

i finished my time in God's Word with these words from Jesus .... "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."

may i do what He says!!!!!!


Thoughts on John

still reading John ... amazing stuff ... humbling, exciting ... one of my recent takeaways is what i'm learning about the way Jesus taught us about Him and about God ... i'll try and write more later ...


Catching up

had a great weekend. spent some good time with my mom. but ... we all really miss my dad. i think the thing that is so weird is that she is alone and i never got to say goodbye to the most important man in my life. i mean i know it was his time and it was the way God wanted it ... i just wish i could have talked to him. i miss him so much. i think i'm going to go visit the cemetery sometime soon.

i remember him. he was a great man!

i know lots of people feel like me and can relate to what i'm about to write — i wish we would all tell the people we love how much we love them while they are still here. that would be a good thing.

my last memory of my dad was in arkansas. he thanked me for taking him with me to see bailey and kori kate at camp. we had a nice visit next to lake quachita. i used to teach water skiing there. i took a cool picture of him with kori during the closing day ceremony.

thanks for letting me share and allowing me to catch up ... tell your parents you love them


John 12: 23-28

I'm captured by these words ...

Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.

Father, glorify your name!"


What grabs you by the soul

I'm reading a little book today ... the author says we should chase after the thing that grabs you by the soul. As I read those words it dawned on me that the only thing that truly ... I mean truly ... grabs my soul is God. He is all there really is to me. I'm happy when I am with Him. I'm fulfilled when I worship His glory. I laugh the most when I am in His beautiful word. He is what I want more than anything.

May I chase after Him!!!!!!! I want to. I will.


Its Raining Today

I love a rainy day. I even love it when I have the top down on my Jeep.
Rainy days seem to calm me down. They seem to make me feel better about life. They remind me God is near. I love the sound of rain.

I love the faithfulness of God. It is present on a rainy day. He uses a day like today to tell me that He is in control and that help is coming at just the right time. He sends help!

I'm up close and personal with God these days. He is near me and I know it. I spent more time in John 9 today. What a story!!!!! Jesus heals a man born blind. The man had never seen anything until he met Jesus. Jesus met his needs even though it was sure to cause a fight with the religious idiots of His day. I love the way Jesus handled them. So cool. So wise. He is truly transcendent.

Jesus was rain to that man who had never seen. He brought this man rain in more ways than one. I wish I could have been there the first time the blind man got to see rain like I'm seeing today. And what about lightning??? That was a riot I'm sure.

I love you Jesus. Thanks for being there ... for sending rain ... for sending dry times ... thanks for giving us sight.


Reaching out to Cyclone Survivors

go to http://www.gfa.org/cyclone
and donate what you can ... show the love of Christ.

A brief glimpse of the damage at GFA’s Bible college campus in Burma. This building lost its roof.

A Gospel for Asia Bible college in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar), is now a makeshift shelter for those devastated by Cyclone Nargis, which swept across the country early Saturday morning.

James Pinglay, the teenage son of a Gospel for Asia missionary in Kerala, India, was at the Bible college in Rangoon when the storm hit. He was able to obtain information and get on one of the only flights out of the country to deliver a report and photos of the devastation.

Pinglay said the cyclone hit at about 2:30 a.m. By daylight, the full effect of the storm was obvious. Homes were destroyed. Giant trees had crashed through buildings and were lying uprooted, blocking roads.

International news organizations are not allowed to report from Burma, but the news that is trickling out is horrifying. The death toll is estimated to be at least 22,000 and another 41,000 are missing.

"The people in Burma live in clusters of small communities in simple bamboo structures," explained GFA President K.P. Yohannan. "These villages are not made of concrete. I imagine that literally hundreds of these simple structures were just blown away. We are praying here in India and are asking Christians around the world to join us."
We are facing at least six months of continuous work ministering to the people. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to reach out in love to them just like we did after the tsunami in 2004.

Pinglay reports that more than 80 people—along with 70 children from a nearby orphanage that was destroyed—made their way to the Bible college campus as soon as the storm subsided. Buddhist monks are also at the college, seeking assistance.

Local officials set up shop at the Bible college because the police station was completely destroyed. The police have asked for help from the staff at the college. At present, the students are away on their summer vacation. This freed up space to accommodate many who came for help.

GFA missionaries serve at about 400 churches and 250 mission stations in Burma. In 2006, the military-run government of Burma forbade foreign non-government organizations from doing aid work in the country. In the face of this disaster, the government is now relenting and allowing outside aid.

Since GFA missionaries are already in the country and have found favor with the government, they are one of the few groups able to offer immediate help to the people as they begin the recovery process.

"In the past, whenever there was a problem of any kind, our people got involved in helping. That is why the government and the people there look at us with good favor," Yohannan said.

The missionaries and staff at the Bible college are taking care of the people's basic needs by offering meals, prayers and the love of Jesus for those who have lost all hope. They will continue caring for the people, but the task before them is daunting. "Rangoon is in total darkness, and they are estimating that there will not be electricity for at least three months," Yohannan said.

Obtaining enough food to feed all those at the Bible college presents another challenge. At present, the banks are closed and fresh food and water are in short supply. Yet these are simply the immediate problems before the aid workers.
A 2004 photo of GFA's Burma Bible college. Part of the building is now being used to house storm refugees.

"We are facing at least six months of continuous work ministering to the people," Yohannan explained. "This is a tremendous opportunity for us to reach out in love to them, just like we did after the tsunami in 2004."

And while part of one Bible college building is still standing, portions of the campus—including the building where the people are now staying—were severely damaged.

"We will need to rebuild the Bible college, staff quarters and hundreds of homes of those in our churches," Yohannan said. "Also, dozens of churches are sure to have been destroyed."

While many missionaries and staff will remain in Rangoon assisting with the work at the Bible college, many others are already going out into the villages, looking for survivors and surveying the damage.

Yohannan asks for continued prayer for the people of Burma as they come to grips with this crisis. He also asks for prayer for those who are helping them.





Reading John

As I've mentioned recently, I'm reading and re-reading the book of John right now as I seek to know God in a deeper way. And, just like I've written before, its amazing!! I was on the plane this morning and instead of working, I decided to pick up in John 6 where I finished a couple of days ago. So . . . I get my Bible out and a little over an hour later, the pilot comes on to tell us its time to land ... I read the entire flight!

Its really weird, its as if God is speaking to me in a brand new way right now through this book in the Bible. I'm seeing Jesus more clearly. I'm understanding the disciples ... I see myself both in His followers, and the others as they hear Him say these great things. His message is amazing.

I must say, that I totally understand why the religious people of His day wanted Him dead. Just read John 6-9 for yourself. Read it in one sitting. Try and relate to the feelings of the people who were hearing these words firsthand. Can you imagine being a Pastor today and having someone from an unknown place show up and say you are from the devil? And say it where the people in your church could hear him? Can you imagine being a religious leader and having a guy like Jesus end up near your community, take a blind guy that everyone knows has been blind from birth — and give him sight? Wow. Or — what it must have been like when Jesus handled the lady caught in adultery the way He did. I am sure the news of that story spread like wildfire and the people wanted to follow a man who was filled with grace and truth! I am sure the secret church meetings happened all over town after that little experience. Man I would love to have talked to the first guy who walked away from that scene!

I am loving this time in John. I highly recommend reading the Bible. :) Can't wait for the next experience.

AW Tozer Once Said

“Any motion toward God is a forward motion. Even repentance is not a retreat toward the past but a decided march into a more glorious future. Restitution is not a return to yesterday but a step into a blessed tomorrow. There is such a thing as going backward in the spiritual life. There is such a thing as a retreat from a spiritual position once held by us as individual Christians. And there is such a thing as denominations and missionary societies making a wholesale withdrawal from ground once won at tremendous cost. If we find that we have gone back, then we should immediately reverse the direction and again go forward.”


Orange Conference

LIstened to a talk by Reggie Joiner at Orange this week! It was fantastic.
I'm planning on taking the notes and creating a post as soon as I can.


Head Students off at the Pass

Heard a great message today at church . . . it was all about encouragement and what that really means. One of the points the speaker made was that we should head people off at the pass . . . it made me think about our role with students. Many times God puts us in their lives to step in and head them off before they make big mistakes. I hope we all take that role serious.


Youth Ministry

As I sit here tonight, I am confident that there are many youth workers out there right now in need of encouragement. This entry is an effort to help.

Think about these things ...
... you are loved by God
... you are important to Him
... He knows everything
... He knows how you feel
... what you do makes an eternal difference
... the students in your life need you to be there
... people are counting on you
... you are making a difference
... the Creator of all things is on your side
... you are loved
... what you do is noticed and appreciated
... you will not be forgotten
... in Him is true life

I know that what you do is sometimes discouraging ... and ... God knows so much better than any of us what you really need. My encouragement to you is to get alone with Him and let the Spirit breathe life into your discouraged soul right now.

Trust me, the encouragement and love you are seeking is found in Him and sometimes in Him alone. Let these words of our Lord sink in deep. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Be encouraged!


The Work Of God

So I am reading through the book of John right now. Its been really really, really good!
As I am reading John 6, this verse just jumped off the page.

The work of God is this, to believe in the one He has sent. John 6:29 NIV

I must admit, this phrase is stuck in my mind right now and its causing me to evaluate so many things.

Living Bible :: Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
CEV :: Jesus answered, "God wants you to have faith in the one he sent.
Wycliff NT :: Jesus answered, and said to them, This is the work of God, that ye believe to him, whom he sent.
The Message :: Jesus said, "Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God's works."

Jesus could not have made it in any more simple. Could it be that the very thing God wants me to do here on earth is just believe in Jesus?

One commentator put it like this, "Jesus' reply to their question sharply refocuses their attention on trust in God and his grace--The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent (v. 29). Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has finally gotten them to face in the right direction. It is not many works that God requires but one work. And that work is to believe, to trust in Jesus as the one sent from God, as God's unique Son who offers God's grace. Jesus' work is to reveal the Father (cf. 4:34), and our work is to receive that revelation and align our lives with it."


Great Love is Coming

April 18,2008

Its been a couple of days since my last entry. Today is another travel day. Headed up to Columbus, Ohio. Gonna spend the day today looking around Columbus. Planning on checking out Ohio State. Need to see the horseshoe for the first time.

As for the journey, things took a nice turn these last couple of days. I made a decision to stop talking to people about what my next step is and turn spend as much time as I could in God’s Word and with Him in prayer. Its been totally cool. I read the entire book of John. I finished it yesterday walking through the botanical Japanese Garden in Fort Worth. The garden was the best place to walk, to stop, to read out loud the story of Jesus as given to us through the disciple he loved, John.

Its hard to sum up what I felt as I read these incredible words. I was happy as I read. It was if He was speaking to me directly and His presence was really thick. I heard Him call me to spend the rest of my life getting to know Him . . . to believe in Him. As I think back, He did that over and over through the book. He had strong words to say to people who thought they had God all figured out. Those religious leaders were fools. There was God right in front of them and they completely missed it. They heard Him speak audibly, they saw Him make a man see who had been blind from birth, they heard about Him making a dead man live again and they saw how people chose to follow Him. Yet — they chose another way. They made the decision to trust in the knowledge they had in their head instead of God’s gift.

I will say that there were several things that confused me as I read. Jesus talked a lot about people who were chosen by God. I need to pray and figure out what He meant by those words. I was also moved by the Roman leader who seemed to know who Jesus was. He knew. At least I think He knew.

Another moment that stands out to me was when Jesus prayed for His disciples and for people that included me. He loved us. He wanted us to know Him. He even made it clear that our job while we are here is to believe in Him. He really wanted this to happen. He also wanted so much for the disciples. He wanted them to love. He wanted them to be one. He want them to be united together in Spirit just like He is with God and the Holy Spirit. He wanted the disciples to feed His sheep.

Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told me that I could greater things than even He did because He was sending the Spirit to fill me up and help me live on this planet.

Jesus also talked a lot about where He was going. He knew how great it was because He had been there. He left there to come spend a little time on earth. He knew how great heaven was. He made me want to go there now.

I liked the simplicity of the message John recorded. Jesus spoke truth and told us how to get to the Father. He knows what we experience here on earth and He did it all so we could live forever and glorify His Father.

The glory of God was also a major theme of this great book. I remember Jesus saying over and over that it was His Father’s glory that He was doing all he was. Jesus lived and died — for the Father — for the glory of God.

I remember crying when it came to the end as I read John’s words describing the trial and the crucifixion. Jesus took so much for you and me. He just took it. And the Jews really wanted Him gone. They had time and time again to see Him set free, but they chose to take His life. They hated Him and His message. They knew that their power was being taken away. I believe they knew when He died that they had lost, even though he was physically gone.

I especially loved the time Jesus spent with His disciples after the resurrection. He went out of His way to tell them He was alive. The time with Thomas was sweet. I relate to Thomas.

So, here I am, a day later. Sitting on a plane, enjoying writing all this stuff down. I am really glad I spent the last two days in the Word like I did. Now, as I lean into the next step, I can do so with more confidence. He has a plan for me. He is going to be God to me know matter what. I wonder what He is going to ask me to do next? I know it will involve believing deeper in Him. I know it will involve helping people love. I am sure it will circle the principle of unity in the body of Christ.

Thank you un-created, un-ending, always loving great God.

I am certain great love is coming!!!!!!!!!!!


reading today

i took a few hours today and read the book of John. i was in a beautiful park in botanical gardens in fort worth. it was just me and the God. it was awesome!

as i finished the book i was moved to tears as i read the part about Jesus being crucified. wow! what a life! what a sacrifice.

i hope and pray that i live the rest of my life for His glory. i want to be man of love. a person of peace. an evangelist. i want my life to bring Him glory!!!!


Proverbs 16:1-3

To man belong the plans of the heart,
but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue.

All a man's ways seem innocent to him,
but motives are weighed by the LORD.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.

Great Questions and Clear Answers

Today I am flying back from a series of meetings with people who deeply care about what happens with students and what happens in the world of youth ministry. I was impressed by the amount of care and concern that these few people put into the planning and thoughts for an event that is almost 14 months away.

As for me, well, the questions are great right now. What do I do next? Where do I go? What do I do with the rest of my life? What role do I play in the story of God? How do I spend my time really being a great husband and loving father? How do I live out the next chapter to its fullest and do what I am supposed to do with my career? What am I supposed to do as a follower of Christ?

And . . . where do I get the answer? As soon as I asked this question I was reminded of Jeremiah 33:3. Call to me God says. Call to me and I will tell you great and mighty things that you do not know. I know that the other day as I was deeply hurting I found myself quoting passages of Scripture for some reason. It was the right thing to do. It was cool. I left my house and God’s Spirit began to talk to me through the verses I had memorized years ago. Verses I memorized when I was a kid came back to my mind. I heard God speak to me that day and I returned home with a little bit of peace. I am certain that the answer does come in His Word and in the glory found in it. The life found in it. Truly God’s Word is alive.

Now I am 12 days removed form that walk through my neighborhood and through the verses God has placed in my life, on my heart, and in my mind. Today I am filled with pain again. Is this the way it’s going to be for a while? Is this the journey ahead? Is the journey forever? I hope not. I mean I don’t hope I ever stop letting God and His Word be my guide. I do hope the pain I have goes away soon.

As I struggle, as I try and figure out what this swirling situation is all about, I will keep the faith and be as strong as I can. I have confidence in my God and His truth. I will put my trust in God. I know He is in control.

What a glorious day, what a wonderful day, glorious day these dark and mysterious days are. I say that because I know that God is not mean. I know He is mysteriously weaving life in me and He is making me like Him. I know that He is on His throne and He is unchangeable, unshakeable, unstoppable. He is going to do what He wants to do and is doing what He wants to do. His power cannot be held by anything. He is God!

I like the truth that says He has no beginning and no end. God is forever. I love the fact the God who is truly unstoppable is my personal Lord and Savior. Right now in these bad times I am sure that this thing happening in me and to me is making me more like Him and raising me up to new heights.

I also know that I am looking for the day when I go to a place where God is and the old is brand new. I can’t wait until I sit at his feet and enjoy His great love up close and personal. I can’t wait to be in His presence. Oh when will it come? How long will it take for the rest to come?? I want it to come soon.

God, thank you for your Word and for the life I feel when I am close to you. Thank you for letting me into the meeting with you. Thank you for letting me see what you are truly like and thank you so much for not letting me down!

Thank you for opening your hand to me and loving me like a loving Father loves His little child. I feel like a little child right now and I love getting your attention the way you are turning to me.

I’m going to go get your Word out again . . . I can’t wait to see what you want to say to me today. I am sure you will give me the answers I need to have at just the right time.


the 124

124 Things I've Learned About Student Ministry

1. Its Hard and so worth it
2. Its fulfilling ...I don't want to do anything else
3. It takes a strategy
4. It’s difficult to measure
5. Connect with students who are busy
6. Parents are a mystery
7. Volunteers are hard to find
8. Volunteers are a joy
9. Volunteers need a leader
10. Church work is a calling
11. Some things never change, and that’s cool
12. Relationships are central
13. I must be real
14. I must be honest
15. Having fun needs to be a priority
16. Challenge students to dream big
17. Don’t be afraid to lead
18. Spend a lot of time on my knees
19. Pay the price of doing what’s unpopular
20. Get some skin in the game
21. Be committed to keep growing
22. Be a friend to the Sr. Pastor
23. Live in a community and not on an island
24. Take time-off
25. Rest more
26. Play hard
27. Stop trying to be cool
28. Teach deep
29. Take advantage of windows in time
30. Love more than you judge
31. Be patient
32. Partner with other youth leaders
33. Fight for the lives of students
34. Don’t waste time
35. Invest deep
36. Find a mentor
37. Intentionally mentor
38. Think first
39. Ready, Aim, Fire rather than Fire, Aim, Fire
40. Take your job serious
41. Be creative
42. Plan intensively
43. Recruit people to help you
44. Forgive always
45. Practice smiling
46. Be seen
47. Live in community
48. Practice what you preach
49. Get out if, you don’t like what your job
50. Make God first
51. Give God your ministry
52. Serve more than you teach
53. Admit it when you are wrong
54. Seek out accountability
55. Get rid of sin that could take you out of the game
56. Acknowledge the risk
57. Pay the price
58. Sacrifice your desires for God’s
59. Let God own your ministry
60. Be a friend to the community leaders and school systems
61. Volunteer outside your church
62. Let students lead
63. Invest in the leaders and give your ministry away
64. Work yourself out of a job
65. Pray more than you used to
66. I need to ask your family if you are home enough
67. Its good to let students see how much you love your spouse
68. You should bring your kids to youth group activities
69. If it’s a job, the get out
70. Being a student leader is a calling
71. There is no clear age limit
72. Tradition is not a bad thing
73. God’s Word is crucial
74. I need to be a peacemaker
75. Stand up for things that matter
76. Don’t try to fix everything you think is wrong
77. I pays to know your limits and stay home
78. Be honest with your limitations
79. Hire people that are better than you are
80. Make people a priority
81. Be smart
82. Seek out older and wiser people and commit to being with them
83. Never stop learning
84. Be a learner of the world the average students experiences daily
85. Be willing to get off a dead horse
86. Evaluate regularly
87. Do something about the results of your evaluations
88. Be a strong and try to develop thick skin
89. Know there will always people on and off your side
90. A few students will actually remember you forever
91. Remember that students will remember what you do long after they forget what you say
92. Learn from those who have gone before you
93. Remember who’s name is really on the line – “I lead you in the way of righteousness for my name’s sake” God
94. Keep your ears to the ground
95. Look deep in the ocean for what might be stirring
96. Focus . . . What you focus on happens
97. Be comfortable with technology but not dominated by it
98. Get control of your schedule
99. Travel
100. Pay attention to the Spirit more than the voices of people
101. Know the Word
102. Know God more than you know your students
103. Make compassion a priority
104. Live like Jesus
105. The greatest thing I can do is know God
106. Make innovation a high priority
107. Don’t rely on what’s always worked
108. Be willing to use the tools that are all around you
109. Be a good steward of the trust
110. Don’t quit
111. Ask God for vision
112. Ask God for Wisdom
113. Remember and rejoice
114. Trust and Obey
115. Stop trying to do everything and relax
116. Operate in your strengths
117. Be honest with your weaknesses
118. Be physically fit
119. Remember the milestone
120. God does the work
121. Trust in Him and eat Ice Cream
122. Don’t take yourself so serious
123. Stop competing with other Christian leaders
124. Define what you want to be known for


year of the empty hand

I'm watching American idol tonight ... Its the idol gives back show I mentioned a couple of days ago. Its been on for a little over an hour and people have already given almost 20 million dollars.

Amazing ... Where are the Christians? Where is the church? What idol is doing is both great and an inditement on many people who sit in church each and every week.

I'd love for this to motivate all of us and make this the year of the empty hand.

wondering and writing

its another day in the middle of spring storm season in texas. we had a near miss last night with a series of hail storms. anyway. its wednesday. i'm working on ideas for the future. thinking a lot about friends.

it's times like these that i wonder a little more than i should about things. big questions about the future seem to dominate my mind right now.

i would love to elaborate. i am having a hard time though.

i will say that as the next phase of life approaches that i want to be more intentional with relationships and with people. i am convinced that the enemy does all he can to take us down and he often uses the people around us to do so. as i ponder. as i think about the future, i will commit to be more faithful than ever to the people God has allowed me to grow close to. i want to be an even better friend than ever before. i want to be a great leader and faithful steward of those He allows to be under my care and walking along side me on the journey. i want the next phase of my life to be about faithfulness and spiritual depth. as i live. as i move forward in these deepening moments, may God lead me to the place He knows is best for me. may i be known as a man after Him and His causes on earth. may i be known as a man who really loves people. as someone you can trust. as someone you can turn to for help.

if you are a friend of mine, i am here for you. i mean it . . . i want to be the man God put me here on earth to be and part of that is being faithful to the people around me.

the storms missed me last night . . . but that was last night. i am sure they will come again. i hope i am here for the people around me when they find themselves in a storm that is bigger than wind and rain.


Kori Kate Finishes Another Soccer Season

Thank God for mentors and adults who love our children. Kori Kate's coach was just that! I am so glad God led us to such fair and gentle people to lead our girls.


American Idol

Last year American Idol gave 76 million dollars to several causes both here and around the world through the Idol gives back show. I remember being deeply moved last year as I watched the show . . . I'm looking forward to seeing what happens this Wednesday night . . . This year they will probably raise even more.

I read an article on MTV news tonight talking about this year's event. The celeb list of appearances for this event is incredible.

Ephesians 4:1-6

In light of all this, here's what I want you to do. While I'm locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.

You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness.

i pray i live this out today. may we all live this out today.


Brothers In Christ

I've been thinking a lot lately about what the phrase, "Brothers In Christ" means lately.

There are 3 brothers in my family. We love each each other and want the best for each other. We go out of way to stay in touch. We help each other when we can. We stand together in both good and bad times. We talk. There is a blood bond in us and it will never go away. AND — we disappoint and hurt each other every once in a while.

So it is with a brother in Christ.

In Jesus — we are brothers. Because of Him — we love each other. We should do everything possible to be there when one of our brothers is hurt. We should never turn our backs.

As I think about what it means to be a brother in Christ, I think of I Corinthians 13. It paints a great picture of love and I believe it gives us a good model of what a brother in Christ is supposed to be.

One of the words used in this passage is KIND. I think a brother in Christ is Kind.

I long for a day in the Christian community when we treat each other like the brothers that we really are. If we would live and love like true brothers, then the world might take a second look at Christ. If we could act like brothers, we could get so much done and further the kingdom of God on earth!

So . . . there you go . . . I hope there are others out there who agree.


One Man's Impact

I was online today and saw a video describing the story behind the addidas shoes company . . . i'll find the video and post it soon. until i get my hands on the video, you can read part of it here on my blog . . .

read it . . . maybe it will challenge you like it did me.

Adi Dassler makes his first shoe in his workshop in Herzogenaurach near Nuremberg in Germany. The shoe made of canvas was a training shoe for runners and cost two reichsmarks. Adi Dassler followed three guiding principles in his development work: produce the best shoe for the requirements of the sport, protect the athlete from injury, and make the product durable.

Adi Dassler develops the first special shoes for soccer and track & field. For the first time shoes with studs and spikes are introduced. He also constructs different shoes for the different distances and uses state-of-the-art materials to achieve a saving in weight.

Adi Dassler's shoes are worn at the Olympic Games for the first time. Adi Dassler takes care of "his" athletes in Amsterdam and strives to optimize the respective shoes, working closely with athletes.

Adi Dassler makes his first tennis shoes.

At the Los Angeles Olympic Games Arthur Jonath takes the bronze in the 100 m in Dassler shoes.

The Olympic Games in Berlin are the sporting highlight for Jesse Owens. He sets new bests in almost all of the twelve events in which he competes. The black US-American is the most successful athlete in Berlin, winning four gold medals.

Adi Dassler's range now comprises 30 different shoes for a total of eleven sports.

The first Adi Dassler sports shoes produced after the war are made using canvas and rubber from American fuel tanks.


Phil. 4:4-9 the Message

4-5Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.


read this today . . . thought it was cool

Happiness or Misery - You Choose
Dan Miller
There is a story of a ninety-two-year-old lady who was moving into a nursing home. As she was being wheeled down the corridor, the attendant began to describe the room. "I love it," the old women gushed. "But you haven't even seen the room yet," the attendant reminded her. "That doesn't have anything to do with it,"she replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged. It's how I arrange my mind."
There's an important principle in that little story. Much of your success is decided in advance--or "arranged in your mind." Circumstances will never determine your amount of happiness. Circumstances only highlight who you already are. Many times a career path starts because of circumstances, rather than priorities. Family expectations, chance occurrences, a friendly teacher, or the desire for money can lead us down a career path that's ultimately unfulfilling. It's tough to make choices at eighteen that will be meaningful at forty-five. Just recently, I saw a forty-four-year-old client who opened with the comment "Dan, I'm tired of living my life based on the decisions made by an eighteen-year-old."

If your work life is not providing a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment, draw that line in the sand. Decide what your ideal day would look like: How would you spend your time? What skills you would use? Money is ultimately never enough compensation for investing one's time and energy. There must be a sense of meaning and accomplishment. And yet a surprising thing frequently happens on the way to fulfillment and worthy contribution: rather than learning to live on "beans and rice" there is often the release of a financial flood. It's a myth that if you do what you love, then you'll have to be content to never make any money.

I have had the pleasure over the years of working with many people in this process of refocused and authentic direction, where ultimately the flow of money surprised them.


We walk by faith.

and that's a good thing


Trying to get out of San Diego

I tried to get out of San Diego today! I was held hostage by American Airlines as I talked to customer service, looked at AA.com, and starred at the departure screen in Terminal 2 at the San Diego airport. They cancelled over 200 flights today and I think mine were about 5 of them!!!!!

I really want to go home. I miss Kelli and the girls. I hate missing large chunks of their lives like this.


Filipinos warned on crucifixions

Health officials in the Philippines have issued a warning to people taking part in Easter crucifixion rituals.

They have urged them to get tetanus vaccinations before they flagellate themselves and are nailed to crosses, and to practise good hygiene.

On Good Friday dozens of very devout Catholics in the Philippines re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

It is something that has become a huge tourist attraction, although the Church frowns on the practice.


The health department has strongly advised penitents to check the condition of the whips they plan to use to lash their backs, the Manila Times newspaper reports.

A Filipino is nailed to a cross on Good Friday in 2002
Real nails are used in the re-enactments

They want people to have what they call "well-maintained" whips.

In the hot and dusty atmosphere, officials warn, using unhygienic whips to make deep cuts in the body could lead to tetanus and other infections.

And they advise that the nails used to fix people to crosses must be properly disinfected first. Often people soak the nails in alcohol throughout the year.

Every Good Friday, in towns across the Philippines, people atone for sins or give thanks for an answered prayer by re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Giving thanks

In the northern city of San Fernando alone there will be three separate improvised Golgothas - the biblical name for the hill where Jesus was crucified.

Four people there have pledged to have their feet and hands nailed to wooden crosses, while others will flog themselves while walking barefoot through villages.

Sometimes people repeat the penance year after year, like the fish vendor who will be nailed to the cross for the 15th and last time on Friday to give thanks for his mother's recovery from tuberculosis.

With long hair and a beard, wearing sandals and a crown of thorns, he is tied with cloth to the cross but also has nails driven through the flesh of his hands and feet, avoiding the bones.