Have you ever had people in your life that you connected to in a special way? Did you think they would be apart of your life forever? Where are they now? There are a few special people that I have connected to through our student ministries that I am totally missing today. I thought a year ago things would never change, but Life happened and things drastically changed. So does this mean I failed as a friend? a person? a minister?

Through my nostalgic morning, God has reminded me of some principles that I had forgotten.
1. Connections require effort on both people. We all have the free-choice to chart our pathway. Does this mean we always make the correct decisions? Nope, we get it wrong sometimes and hurt others. Should we keep trying to get connections with people right? Absolutely, even when its tough and demanding.
2. Connections should be without agenda. Sometimes relationships don't work out for whatever reason. I believe it is okay to remember the past, mourn for the loss, and allow God to point you in the next direction he has for you. This is the hard part . . . . don't give up on new connections because you can't let go of the old ones.
3. Connections are vital to survival. In ministry, we always judge the success of a minister by their fruit, but is it really their fruit? No, it is God's fruit and God's success, not ours. I believe that we have distorted our view of the Kingdom and as such hurting people go unnoticed and seasons disappear. When you lose connections, does that mean that you failed? I believe that God has given us seasons and some connections are lasting, while others are temporary.

So God's question to me this morning is . . . . Were the connections that have been lost worth the heart-ache and the grief? Do those memories and opportunities make a lasting impression on your life? The answer is yes. Even though I grieve for those lost connections, my life has been changed due to the season I shared with them. Yes, every opportunity to invest in others and to connect to something larger than yourself is ALWAYS worth it! It is all a matter of perspective . . . what season are you in? Are there connections you are mourning? I challenge you to look for new connections and investments to be made today.

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Monday, June 29, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Happy Father Day Dad.  Thank you for being the greatest Dad in the world.  There is no doubt in my mind that you are Super Man.  Thanks for being my hero, loving me, guiding me, being someone I can grow up to be like, and being my best friend.  Hope you have an awesome day, wish I could be there to spend it with you.

P.S. Your card should be there Monday....sorry.

To all your other Dads out there, thanks for all you do.  Happy Father's Day!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009 Posted in | | 1 Comments »

As you have read on my here all week, Week 1 of camp was a success.  I am very excited about next week and getting to hang with our students all week.

Got to do some yard work today.  Not looking forward to mowing Mt. Gordon.

Going to hang with some awesome friends tonight. I am really looking forward to that.

All my camp clothes are washed, I just have to fold them and pack them for next week.

The AC is messed up in the house, that was fun to come home to yesterday when the temperature was 100 degrees.

I enjoyed blogging from each day at camp last week.  I am going to try to do it again this week, if I can.  To be honest I am doing it for me more than anyone else.

Thursday, I watch as Stephanie pulled out of Camp heading to her Convoy of Hope internship.  So proud of her.  I have already and will miss her the rest of the summer.

I have to confess that we got our Father's Day cards in the mail a day late because of camp.  Sorry Dad.

My Pastor will be speaking at church in the morning.  He has been on vacation for a couple of weeks and his back.  I am excited to here from his heart.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

This week was fast and slow. Friday is my favorite day of the week once it gets here. The Camp Champs have been crowned, the voices have been lost, the party has been thrown, and the packing has began. In less than three hours this place will be a ghost town. In less than three hours everyone will be on the road.

This week will hold a lot of memories. One that will always be special is Thursday morning I watched one of the most awesome young ladies step into her destiny. Stephanie pulled off from Camp to catch a flight to report for her Convoy of Hope internship. I have to be honest, I cried. Not that I was sad or will never see her again. I was proud and happy. This young lady IS changing the world and I am so glad that I get to cheer her on.

Fridays are bitter sweet days. We have to clean, we have to rest but we really do not want this week to be over. So, we will take a couple of days and plug back into reality and charge out batteries and do it all again on Monday.

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Friday, June 19, 2009 Posted in | | 3 Comments »

The greatest camp game in the history of the world is Tube Mania. It has evolved and the legend of Wednesday mornings. Nothing like 110 degree heat, hundreds of students running and trying to drag an inter-tube with whatever is attached to it across their team's line. This year we kept the injuries to a minimum and that is how we really judge the success of the game.

Today is Thursday. That means we are going to have worn out counselors, a chinese math relay that no one can figure out up front, and lots of students wishing we had one more day. Today will be a long day and turn into a longer night. We live for Thursdays. No matter how long the week has felt at times, we look back on today and ask where the week has been.

I have been super fortunate to have a couple of good friends working with me this week. They have worked hard and this week has been a success so far. Today is Thursday and it means anything can happen.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Day 2 is behind us.  It feels like we have already been here for two weeks.  Not in a bad way.  Actually in a good way.  We are making the most of every opportunity that we have.  Yesterday I was reminded of why I love camp.  I love camp not for camp but for the people at camp.  The workers, who we have watched grown up and grown into Godly young men and ladies.  We have become closer of the years and some closer than family.  The counselors that chose to give up a week of their life to see students lives changed.  Some Youth Pastors, some parents, some volunteers, but all united for one cause. Then last but not least, the students.  The ones we are here for.  Love to watch what God does not only in the service, but all over the property.  I love to see their lives transformed.  This is the generation that WILL change the world.

It is kind of like the old Toby Keith song, "I Love This Bar."  I know that is not very spiritual but that is the best way I can describe it. We have all kinds of people from all kinds of places.  They have come to this patch of property in Forsyth, GA for one cause.  They unite for one purpose.  To see God and to see Him change lives.  Through this experience friendships and bonds have been made that will last a lifetime.  I love camp!  But I love the people at camp more.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Trying something a little different this year. I am going to try to record camp on my blog. This might only last a couple of days. It will either get old or I will run out of time. These are the weeks that I live for every Summer and I just wanted to share a little with you.

Monday might have been one of the smoothest Mondays in camp history. That could mean Tuesday is going to be a disaster but we will see. I love watching students roll in, some camp veterans that look forward to it every year and some rookies with fear and wonder in their eyes. See camp is really about two things. Seeing God move in such a way that only He gets the glory and watching students have an encounter with Him that will change their lives forever.

The best part of yesterday was last night. Last night I watched as God invaded a place and met with hungry students that would not be satisfied with anything else. I watched as the atmosphere shifted and expectancies changed. Last night I got to pray with one of my hero's daughters. He has been my best friend for 12 years and last night was his daughters first night at Youth Camp. He has poured some much into me over the years and last night I got to make a small return.

Afterwards I got to watch and cheer on two people that I love in the journey of their life. Watching God move them and mold them. Challenge them and stretch them. I love late nights at camp. This is going to be an awesome week.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Well it is that time. Time to pull out the big duffel bag and ratty old hat. Time to sleep for 4 hours a night for the next 3 weeks. Time to sweat in the armpit of Georgia for the rest of June. It is time for camp. There is no place on earth or nothing that compares to camp. There is nothing that drains me and recharges me at the same time. I have seen thousands of students saved, healed, delivered, and called over the last 7 years and look forward to see many more.

Camp is special to me for several reasons. The next three weeks are my favorite of any all year!

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Sunday, June 14, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Paige and I have taken a little get-a-way before the camp season starts. We got out of town Thursday at lunch and will be back tonight sometime.

It has been good to get away. I have slept 26 hours out of the 48 we have been gone. I guess I was a little more tired that I thought.

Wednesday night blew my mind. When attendance usually drops in the Summer, Thrive has been up the last two weeks.

Great kick off to ThriveXL Wednesday night. We went and watched Night At The Museum 2. There were 55+ students and leaders. We took over The Great Escape in McDonough.

One of the things that I love about Summer is that students are out of school and come hangout all day on Wednesdays.

Camp starts Monday. Very excited about camp this year. I will be driving back and forth on Wednesday nights for Thrive.

Blogging will probably be slow over the next 6 weeks or so. Not that I am burned out or tired of blogging, but I will not have time.

Then the next week we will be taking over 20 students to camp. That is going to be an awesome week.

Our Bogota Mission's Trip is right around the corner. Really looking forward to that, but I have to be honest with you. I am a little nervous.

Thrive's leadership team met Sunday night. I believe it was the best meeting yet. Got some good stuff that came out of it. I love the people that we get to lead with.

Had coffee Tuesday with a good friend that is a church planter, I love getting to watch what God is doing in his life and his ministry. The are some big things coming their way.

Hope you are having a good weekend.

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Saturday, June 13, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

The older I get the more that I realize what rest is and is not. Rest is not sleep, though that does help. Rest is not how much time you do or do not spend in front of the television doing nothing. Those things are good and necessary at times. It is good to check out of reality every now and then. But the problem with "just" checking out of reality is that when you check back in, you have the same issues that you had before.

When you just hide from your problems, your body may get rest but your mind and soul will not. You get on the merry-g0-round from hell and you can not find your way off of it. When you do not find real rest, you begin to wear down and wear out quicker than before. You loose your fight and your ability to press through to the other side. Jesus talked about this in Matthew 11. Here is how the Message Bible reads:

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. The natural movements of the love that God has for us and for everyone else. Let Him work out your problems and deal with your circumstances. Remember that it is all His anyways. Lay them on His shoulders for a little while. Sit back and let God work it out. Trust Him to handle the tough stuff.

I have learned that when I do it on my own, I just make it worse. I can only see life from my perspective and I do not have all the answers.

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Friday, June 12, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

  • I love the fact that Youth Ministry shrinks in the summer yet Thrive is growing. Our averages over the last two weeks have been the highest to date.
  • Loving our Sumer Survival Tips Series. Watching God do some awesome things as we go back to the basics.
  • One of my favorite things about summer is students are out of school and come up and hangout on Wednesdays.
  • Worship last night was rocking. I love how the band is gelling better than ever.
  • We kicked off ThriveXL with a bang. After Thrive we headed to go see Night At The Museum 2.
  • Looking forward to heading to Taco Bell next week and hanging out.
  • Summer is very busy but I am very excited about the things that are coming our way.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Tomorrow night after Thrive we kick off ThirveXL.  We will be heading to watch Night At The Museum 2 and hanging out.  ThriveXL will run every Wednesday night after Thrive during the Summer.  Check out Thrive's web site for the complete schedule.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

This is Paige and I just returned home from a much needed beach vacation and loved every minute of it. It was an especially great trip due to my beach buddy that went with me. We had a lot of interesting conversations about love, life, and relationships. She asked me some very poignant questions that I almost did not have the answer for. The conversations have challenged me to re-evaluate my own life to truly see my connection to God and others.

Are Christians accepting of others or are they just judging others according to their rules?

As I began to talk, I realized that Christians are like the seashells on the beach, each one different and beautiful. Some were very hard and indestructible, while other shells were broken and tossed to the side. All of the shells were being scattered on the beach; some were challenged by the tide while others were out of reach. Christianity means different things to different people; however, the central focus are loving relationships with God and with others. Just like the shells, no two people are alike, so how can we as Christians judge others. We are all different, but we are all here to serve His purpose for us. Do we turn others away by our attitude or by our lifestyle? What would a non-believer say about you?

Why are your religious convictions strong and where do they come from?

There was a time in my life that I believed in the same things my parents believed in and my grandparents, only because I was told to. Its like the story of the ham that has been told often. The lady cut the end of the ham off because her mother and grandmother did it that way. When challenged about this, her grandmother revealed she only cut the end of the ham because it did not fit into her pan. How often are we like this? We are not sure why we believe in the things that we hold dear. At the first question or challenge, we fold and break down.

All of these responses are my opinions, but I wanted to share them with you. Hopefully, these questions will prompt you to evaluate yourself and your beliefs. It's easy to only fellowship with like-minded people who believe the same way we do, but what happens when you step out of the box?

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Sunday, June 7, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

This week might have been one of the busiest weeks of my life.

I am so ready for camp.  There is nothing that I love more.  There is nothing that wears me out and recharges me at the same time.

Our missions trip to Bogota Colombia is in 6 weeks.  I am nervous and excited all at the same time.  We have our training today for the trip.

Got my new glasses this week.  Still trying to get used to them.

Paige has been in Myrtle Beach, SC for the latter part of the week.  I am glad that she was able to get away for a couple of days, but I am ready for her to be home.

We are going on a little get-a-way next week and I am excited to unplug for a few days before control chaos ensues.

So proud of our students in Thrive.  When Youth Ministry is suppose to shrink a little in the Summer they decide to invite more friends that ever.

Yesterday I was in full on bum mode.  I needed it really bad after the week I had.  Caught up on some episodes of West Wing.  I love that show.

Tomorrow is my favorite twins birthdays.  We get to hang out with them tonight and celebrate for a little while

We have our Leader's Meeting tomorrow night and I am really excited to sit and brainstorm with those guys about things to come in Thrive.

Hope you are having an awesome weekend.  Thanks for taking this journey with us.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Over the last couple of years I have noticed that leadership is changing, it is shifting.  I am seeing that leadership is fluid, it is constantly moving.  People who try to master it or conquer it find that it is like trying to bottle the wind.  Leadership is not something that you wear on your chest like a metal, or put in a case like a trophy.  Leadership is something, in my opinion, that when you think you have it figured out, you are out of touch with it.

  • Leadership is more about what is done when no one is looking, as much as it is about the spotlight.
  • Leadership is as much about the individual as it about the crowd.
  • Leadership is about compassion and passion as much as it is about education and experience.
  • Leadership is about actions more than words.
  • Leadership is just as much about the unseen as it is the seen.
Wayne Gretzky was once asked what made me him so good on the ice.  He said that when every player is skating to where the puck is, he is moving to where it is going.  I want to move where the puck is going!

Where do you think leadership is moving?

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Thursday, June 4, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

  • Tonight kicked off Thrive's Summer.
  • If tonight was any indication of what the Summer holds, then it is going to be an awesome Summer.
  • Our Luau was a great way to get things started for the summer.  We decorated with an island theme, we had our island music, and so awesome burgers and dogs off the grill.
  • It was good to see students still bringing their friends.
  • I am convinced that Thrive has some of the most awesome students in the world and that I am the luckiest Youth Pastor alive.
  • Next week we will go and see Night At The Museum 2 after Thrive Youth Church.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

The other day I looked over on my arm and there was this huge bruise. I do not have a clue where it came from or how long it had been there. My mind went to racing, trying to figure out where it came from or how it got there. It was a deep bruise and it hurt. Still to this day, I do not have a clue where it came from.

This made me start thinking. How many of us have had our soul bruised and we really do not know why? How many of us have gotten hurt and really do not have a good explanation of what happened? Too many times we do not notice the injury until after it happens. Too many people carry around bruises on their soul and they do not let them heal properly.

I have found that people in ministry that are hurt (emotionally or spiritually) can not really help anyone. They can comfort and cover, but not help. You have to help yourself first. That sounds really selfish but it is true. Today, look around your life for bruises. What needs some time to heal?

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

Camp - There is no other event that wears me out and recharges my soul at the same time. Over 700 students lives will never be the same. Camp has brought a group of people that have bonded like family and I am so grateful for them.

Bogota, Colombia - July 17-25, myself and 6 other members of Thrive will be heading to Central America to share the love of Jesus. This is going to be a week that is going to change our lives forever.

ThriveXL - Every Wednesday in the Summer after Thrive Youth Church we will be hanging out. We will either catch a movie, go to Taco Bell, or go bowling. This is going to be a great Summer.

Summer Time - I hate hot weather, but I do love students being out of school. I love the opportunities to hangout more, I love summer movies, and a lot of other things.

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Monday, June 1, 2009 Posted in | | 0 Comments »