Spending a week in Colombia really shook my perspective on somethings. I realized that I have been complaining about the dumbest things. It has got me asking...

  • Why do we complain about the food we eat when children are going to bed hungry?
  • Why do we complain about the car we drive when 98% of the world has to walk?
  • Why do we complain about our clothes being out of fashion when people kill to cloth themselves?
  • Why do we complain only having water to drink when their are countries that do not have any drinkable water?
I am ashamed about how spoiled I am and how I complain about the smallest things. I am going to make a better effort not to take simple things for granted.

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Monday, July 27, 2009 Posted in | | 3 Comments »

It was sad leaving this morning, but it is good to be home. I missed Paige, my family, and friends.

My life will be forever changed by the things that I saw, did, and experience while in Colombia for 8 days.

The Missionaries that we worked with are some of my heroes. They are giants of the faith and it was an honor to work along side of them.

Made some awesome new friends while we were down there. People that I will pray for on a daily basis. People that are changing a nation.

Very proud of my students. They work very hard. Watching their hearts break for students that they have never met broke my heart. They never once shied away from any work, the never complained about anything they had to do, and they did not whine any of the time.

I will blog about a couple of things that God has challenged me about while I was gone and share more pictures next week.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

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Thursday, July 23, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

My computer is jacked up so I have limited internet access and cannot update often. This will be my last blog from here in Bogota. Tomorrow is our free day and then we fly out early Saturday morning. I have had a blast and seen awesome things but I miss Paige and home and I am ready to be back.

Words cannot describe what I saw today. I saw things that you only see in movies. We ministered in the poorest part of Bogota. Families move here after they are run out of their villages by drug lords. Most of the kids in the community are already hooked on drugs and taught how to steal before they are taught how to read. Their houses are built out of whatever they can find. As we hiked, we had to walk through raw sewage and wait for cows to cross the road. This gave the whole team a HUGE reality check.

I had the privilege to speak at this outreach. I talked about the extraordinary love of God and how much He loves us. As I spoke, it was all I could do to control my emotions. As I closed in prayer, they got the better of me. As we closed out our last outreach, a lot of our students got really emotional. The weight of what was around them had become a reality. I am so grateful that God allowed our students to be apart of something so awesome.

This week we have done 9 outreaches, 19 school assemblies, and 3 services. 6 straight days of ministry have been very awesome. I will blog more when we get back. Thanks for all your prayers and support.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Today was a really incredible day.  We spent the day in the schools of Bogota.  Conservative counts say that we ministered to over 1300 students at 8 schools.  I got to speak at one of the assemblies at a Middle School.  I talked about good values and making good choices.  It was a really cool experience.  Every school we were met with open arms.  At one school after the assembly was over we spent twenty minutes signing autographs and hanging with the kids.  It was a neat experience.

Because we are at such high altitudes it is really easy to get sunburned.  We have worked really hard to put on sunblock and take all the precautionary measures, but the things is my hair is short and I forgot about my scalp.  My head is burnt.  It hurts!  Okay I am done whining for the day.  It is not that bad, I will survive.

Tonight we ate supper at the Bible College and some local vendors came in and sold some of their jewelry and whatnot.  It was really cool and we got some really good deals.  It was a great end to an awesome day.  I am so proud of not only our Thrive Students but all of the students from Georgia.  They are working extremely hard and keep great attitudes.  They are so stinking awesome.  Tomorrow is another early morning and then we are back in the schools. Again.

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Today I got to sleep in a little.  I did not get up until around 7 a.m.  Probably one of the best nights sleep I had since I have been here.  I love breakfast time.  I get coffee.  It really is awesome coffee.

Today Colombia celebrates it's Independence Day.  We continued to work with a local church and do several outreaches in neighborhoods all over the city.  The last outreach was the best one yet.  Our team knocked it out of the park.  They were dead on with their skits, dramas, and testimonies.  There were over 100 kids at this park and tons of parents as well.  There was such an air of expectancy.  The kids were hanging on every word.  There was a little boy about 5 there with his Dad.  When the program started he was sitting in the back and no interacting at all.  Something about him caught my attention and I went and hung with him.  Once we started singing I brought him up front and danced with him (the thought of my dancing is very funny, I know).  By the end of the program he is dead in the middle of all the kids and his dad could not get him to leave.

I must be one of the biggest people these kids have seen.  The boys today asked was I the WWE Wrestler, "The Big Show."  And everyone wants a picture with the giant American.  It strange because people do not look at you in judgement here.  They greet you with a smile and most of the time with a hug.  They are so receptive.  I really wish I could understand what they were saying but they lose me after "hola."

Tonight we went and ate at a Mall here in Bogota.  A very nice Mall.  It was an extreme difference to where we have been ministering.  I realized tonight that for the last few days we have been ministering to the forgotten.  To the ones that Jesus would have hung out with if He were here.  It has made me question how many people I have forgotten in the States.  I can truly say that I am falling in love with a Nation.

Tomorrow we are doing School Assemblies all day.  I have been looking forward to this all week.  We have breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and then we are off.  Again, thank for the love and prayers.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Today started earlier than yesterday. We had three services today and our first one started at 7 a.m. The services were really cool. They did a missions emphasis service. Our team sang a special, gave testimonies, and preached. Their worship was really cool. It was very energetic and very authentic. The church was so excited and received us with open arms.

I had the privilege to preach in the 9 a.m. service. I was scared to death. I have never spoke with a translator before and I have heard a ton of "lost in translation" stories. I think that it went well. There was a great response from the crowd. The church was full, there was not a seat left in the house. I talked about seeing the world through Jesus's eyes and loving people with His heart no matter where they are from or who they are. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that a boy from Adel, GA can stand on a stage and proclaim the gospel in Bogota, Colombia.

The only real stumble came with a balloon that popped and scared me while I am speaking. I almost broke camp and left the stage. The translator was really awesome and did a great job cleaning my message up. After service, I took pictures with a ton of people. That was really different for me.

We spent the afternoon at the Bible College training for our School Assemblies Tuesday and Wednesday. That is going to be a really awesome experience. We actually got back to the Hotel early. It is good to be able to relax a little. Thanks for all the prayers, love, and support. I am blown away.

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Today was a very long day. It started at 7 a.m. with breakfast here at the Hotel and then we walked to the Bible college. Bogota is a very interesting city. There we started our training. We learned songs, skits, dramas, and human videos. I have to brag on my students for a minute. They stepped up this morning in training. Not only did they not whine, but taught the whole team a song with motions, including the team from here. Training did get long but we hung in there.

After lunch we headed out into the city. Traffic is very different. Evidently signs and laws are only a suggestion. We are partnering with a local church and we set off to do street ministry. We set up on the soccer/basketball court of one neighborhood and we began to draw a crowd. As DC Talk's version of "Jesus Is Still Alright With Me" starting playing, students from our team and kids from Bogota began dancing and singing together. I know that is what Heaven is going to look like.

During the presentation I arm wrestled a little girl named Stephanie. She could not have been more than 4 or 5 years old. She beat me. It took two hands though. Afterwards she came and found me. I had made a friend. Our program lasted about 30 minutes and honestly no one wanted to leave. Something inside of us connected with that place and with those kids. The Jesus inside of us crossed over every cultural barrier and loved on them.

We ended our day by attended a Youth Rally. They let us give a testimony and we gave everyone there an extraordinary missions bracelet. They called the whole team forward and prayed over us. Very powerful moment.

Words can only cheapen what happened today. Tomorrow is a new day and holds new adventures. Pray for me. I will be speaking about 10:30 a.m. EST. I am posting some pictures as well tonight. Thanks for the love and support.

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Well we made it. The plane ride was long. The longest I have been on. Which I have only flown one other time. Planes were not built for a big boy in mind. Made it through customs and security without any major issues. Then checked into our hotel. Everything and everyone is extremely nice and going out of their way to help us.

The Missionaries here are some of my heroes and I am really excited about working with them this week. Breakfast is at 7 a.m. in the morning and I am up working on Sunday's message. I am having trouble turning my mind off really. I have a lot to process today. I am in unchartered territory for me, but it feels right. I know that I am right where I am supposed to be doing what I am supposed to do.

I will take a lot away from today. Nothing major happened but it was the little things that stand out. Like how all my students looked after each other. Thrive is a family. All the people that have called and responded with love and prayers. That means the world to me. Seeing familiar faces when you land in a foreign country. I will check back in tomorrow night if I am able. Thanks for all the love and support.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009 Posted in | | 1 Comments »

Don't know when I will be back again.  Well, actually I do.  I will be back next Saturday.  Today we fly out to Bogota Colombia.  I can not express to you how excited I am.  I am still nervous and anxious as well, but my excitement is overriding everything right now.  I am excited to get to work with some heroes of mine.  I am excited to see things I have never seen before and do things I have never done.  I am excited to be able to preach in a different country.  I am excited.

I am going to miss Paige.  I wish she was able to come with us.  I am going to miss my family and my church.  I am going to miss my students and my friends, but in the end it will be worth it.  I will blog as much as I can while we are down there.  Thanks for praying for us and supporting us.

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Friday, July 17, 2009 Posted in | | 1 Comments »

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Thursday, July 16, 2009 Posted in | | 1 Comments »

Have you ever felt like you can not keep up?  Like you are always running behind?  You are always behind the curve?  You can never get ahead or catch a break?  My question is a simple question.  Who are you trying to keep up with?  Who are you trying to catch up with?  Who is setting the standards in your life and setting the bar?

Why aren't you being a standard in your world?  Why are you trying to live up to everyone else's status quo?  When we allow someone else to set the standard in our life then that means we do not have any standards at all.  There is an old songs that says that you have to stand for something or you will fall for anything.

Chasing after someone else's status quo is like chasing after the wind.  There is no way that you can truly catch it.  Think about all the energy that you are wasting.  Think about all the other things that you could be doing.  The impact and change you could be making.

What are you chasing after?  Who are you trying to keep up with.

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What if we memorized Scripture like we have memorized song lyrics?

What if we focused as much on a legacy has we do on traditions?

What if we did what we said we were going to do and lived up to what we believed?

What if we worked as hard to advance the Kingdom of God as we do our own agendas?

What if we valued a soul as much as we do a piece of property?

What if we loved people more than programs?

What if we God got all the credit instead of a leader?

What if we did not judge people by their appearance but truly could see their heart?

What if we got as excited about Worship as we do a movie or a concert?

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

We fly out this Friday for Bogota Colombia and our Missions Trip.  I am excited, anxious, nervous, and a lot more things.  It is strange because I am finding my heart burdened for a country that I have never been to, a city that I have never stepped foot in, and for people that I have never met.  People have been asking me for months if I was excited and I can say that I was not until Sunday.  Sunday something shifted.  All I can think about it Colombia.  I believe that God is going to do some awesome things down there and I believe everyone from our team will come back changed.

I need your help.  I need you to pray for us and pray specifically in some areas.
  • Pray for safety for our team.
  • Pray for open door and favor with the people of Bogota.
  • Pray that God not only changes our team but changes a Nation as well.
  • Pray for finances.  There are a couple of students on our team that need a financial miracle.
Thanks for your prayer and support.  I will try to blog as much next week while I am down there.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Where are you going?  Even if you do not think so your life is heading somewhere.  Where?  What path are you on and where is it going to take you?  I am convinced now more than ever that every decision effects the path that I am on.  Every actions will move me forward or backwards on the road that I am traveling.  It may even take me to another road.  When we start taking for granted the small decisions, they will start taking us down a road we do not want to go.

  • If you have to chosen a destination then you are going nowhere.
  • If you are not paying attention to your direction you will get off course.
  • If you are somewhere you did not plan on being and do not know how to get out of you are lost.
  • If you are not planning ahead then you are not planning on doing much when you arrive.
  • If you are not enjoying the path that you are on, then you are on the wrong one.
You are going somewhere or you are going nowhere in life.  The choice is yours.  Hows the journey working out for you?

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Monday, July 13, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

My Pastor spoke yesterday on commitment and really challenged me.  I just wanted to share some highlights with you:

  • As Christians we have made decisions and not commitments.  Decisions are about words and commitment is about actions.
  • We are committed to the wrong things.  We are committed to a song instead of a Savior, a building instead of a Kingdom, a messenger instead of a message.
  • Too many times our commitments are attached to our emotions instead of our emotions being attached to our commitments.
  • If you want to commit to learn how to fly, then do not pack a parachute.
  • Commitment is always accompanied with boldness and creativity.
  • Everyone wants the blessings of the Promised Land but no one wants to find the battles of the Promised Land.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

I find myself from time to time asking myself questions.  If you have read this blog long enough you know that.  This morning in my quiet time, there are some things that I keep asking myself and God over and over again.

  • Am I dreaming big enough?  Am I limiting God by how small I think and dream?
  • Am I living my life to the fullest of my call or am I living it in such a way just to say I am called?
  • What does it take to live a life totally sold out and committed to the Cause of Christ?
  • What changes do I need to make in my personally life so I can better serve God?
  • Am I more worried about being a leader than a follower of Christ?
  • Is being a full time minister making me a part-time follower of Jesus?
Understand that these questions come from a desire to be all that God has called me to be, so that He gets all the glory from my life.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

It was strange not being at camp this week after spending the last three weeks there. I was glad to be home and getting back into my routine though.

Being fighting a cold all week. I think I about kicked it.

I had the best 4th of July ever this year. Spent the 3rd with our students in Stone Mountain and then the 4th with Steven, Nikki, Mary, and other really awesome friends. God has blessed me with some really awesome people in my life.

We leave for Bogota Colombia in 6 days. I exicted to see what God is going to do.

Paige and I left Thursday and came down to visit with my family in Adel for a couple of days. Love being back home. My mom threw down in the kitchen last night and I almost made myself sick. It has been a while since I have eaten homecooking.

Wednesday night was awesome in Thrive. I love watching God change our students lives. I am convinced that I am the luckiest Youth Pastor alive and God has called me to the greatest students in the world.

I have not blogged a lot over the last two weeks. I have been really tired. Going to try to catch up next week on some thoughts.

Some of my good friends have been changing the inner city of Atlanta for Jesus this week. You can read about what God has been doing here.

Love reading about Stephanie's adventures in El Salvador. So proud of her.

I am going to spend a lot of time resting next week in preparation for our Mission's Trip. I have got to shake this cough some how.

Hope you are having an awesome weekend.

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We took a break from our busy schedule and came down to Adel to visit my family for a little while. Today I spent some time with my dad and a couple of old family friends. Men that I grew up admiring and respecting. People that have really spoke into my life and had a huge influence on my growing up. I can look back on a lot of things and remember many valueable life lessons that are priceless to me now.

While sitting in my Dad's man cave this afternoon I heard one of them say that he was a wealth of knowledge. He went on to say that when he died that we would be coming to dig him up to ask him questions. He was kidding of course, but it got me to thinking. How much information is buried in cemeteries around the world? How many people have died with what they know still in them?

You and I have a choice. We choice every day whether or not to take the information and knowledge that we have and invest it in other people. To pass it along. A grave yard should never be the riches place on the earth. We should intentionally be finding people to pour into and invest our legacy in.

When you die, will people be coming to dig you up to ask you questions? Or will they know. An insecure person keeps knowledge to themselves for fear that they will not be wanted or needed anymore. A person that cares more about others, that lives selflessly, is finding anyway they can to pass along what they know.

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Friday, July 10, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

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Thursday, July 9, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

How much time do we spend trying to go back to the way things used to be? How much energy do we waste chasing after yesterday? How many times do we chase after what we thought was awesome in the past and miss what God has for us in the future? I have learned that the only thing that stays the same is that everything changes.

I am not who I was 5 years ago or even last year. I have even changed from a month ago and possibly even a week ago. We are continually evolving and maturing into who and what God has called us to be. For us to fight change is to fight God. Yes He is the same yesterday, today and forever, but we are constantly changing.

As we are on this journey that we call life, God is using circumstances to mold us and shape us into who He has called us to be. He is using the good times and the bad times to place things in our lives and also take things out that do not belong there.

What would the world be like if we never changed? If nothing ever changed? I imagine that this would be a boring place, a predictable place, and a place where not a lot of things happen. Today I will not spend as much time chasing after the way things used to be and chase after who God called me to be.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

So this was the longest stretch of me not blogging since starting challenging normal almost a year ago.  We have a lot go on in the last couple of weeks and a lot more left to go.  I am going to try my hardest to catch you up.  I will also post some pictures from camp and Stone Mountain.  Here are some ramblings:

  • I was a counselor for the first time in ten years at Youth Camp.  My students had a blast and our team won.  I loved watching God transform my students lives.
  • We watched Transformers 2.  Really good movie but some of the humor was inappropriate.  I was a HUGE transformers fan as a kid.
  • I caught a cold the last week of camp and some sort of virus half way through the week.  It was a really rough week.  
  • Got to hang out with camp legend and good friend, Lee "The Big Kahuna" McBride for a couple of day week 3 of camp.  It was good to see him.
  • Friday was Thrive's Stone Mountain Trip and a marathon day for me.  Got in the bed at 4:30 am Friday morning.  Woke up at 7:30 am and left the camp grounds at 8:00 am.  Spent the morning getting ready for the trip.  Students met up at the church at 12 p.m. and then we returned around 12 a.m.  One of the longest days for me EVER.
  • Stone Mountain was awesome!  Got to hang with 60+ students, leaders, and parents.  The laser show was neat and the fireworks were really good.  It made for a long day but a good one.
  • Saturday I finally got a new phone.  I decided on a BlackBerry Storm since Verizon doesn't have the iPhone yet.  Really like it so far.
  • Spent the 4th with friends.  We ate some good food, laughed a lot, saw some awesome fireworks, and really enjoyed the day.
That is all for now, I will catch you up some more later.

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