Thursday, October 30, 2008


I was on the Deadly Vipers website this morning, and watched an interview with Jud Wilhite and Mike Foster from Catalyst last year.  Something they said just kind of stuck out to me so I thought I'd mention it here.  It was a statement that is simple, yet profound and worth repeating to lots of people, but especially myself.  They said, as leaders, we need to be people of "radical grace, and radical integrity."  As I thought about that, I realized you can't really add much to that.  Show people grace, and act with integrity, both of which we get from God.  Everything else falls under that umbrella somewhere - being humble, honest, preaching the Gospel, etc. - all of these happen, and happen well with people who are full of grace and integrity.  The further I go into this calendar year, the more the importance of our relationship with God is being brought to my attention.  And, the more I see people living without it.  As pastors, or leaders - we can't do this in the lives of other Christians - we can't make them have a good relationship with God.  They have to want to.  And since everything else (integrity, grace, etc) comes from having a relationship with God - it seems like that better be at the top of our priority list - for ourselves and for those around us.  

My first 5 days of 60 minutes for 60 days has gone pretty well.  When I am out on a photo shoot, I am realizing that I don't hear the little chime sometimes (too engrossed I guess).  But I can already tell that I am much more constantly connected to God than I was a week ago.  This has been a great decision and already I am feeling much closer to God, which is helping in my daily living.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008

60 Minutes for 60 Days

While I was at Catalyst a few weeks ago, I had some very amazing men speak to me about their churches and about God, and I was positively impacted by many of them.  One such man is John Burke, who is the senior pastor of Gateway Church.  He also wrote "No Perfect People Allowed" which is in my library, and on my short list.  He told us how one of the things his church is doing to bring people closer to God is a 60 Minutes for 60 Days campaign.  During this time, everyone in the church sets a time telling device (watch, cell phone, etc.) to chime every hour, and when it does, you stop and take a moment or two to acknowledge, talk to, worship, etc. God.  Once we hit the door for the way home on Sunday morning, we begin immediately getting distracted from God by the rest of the world.  This is a great way to be constantly reminded that He is right there all the time, and that He desires relationship with us all the time.  

They began this a few weeks ago, and I am starting mine today.  I wanted to do the 60 days leading up to Christmas as a way to build my relationship up between now and then, and hopefully enjoy an even more meaningful Christmas celebration.  I don't usually wear a watch, so it will take a little time to get used to having it on all the time, but I really think it will be worth it.  It's a modern day way to begin practicing the presence of God, like Brother Lawrence and so many others have done in the past.  And hopefully, my paying more attention to God will conversely make me pay less attention to other things that are the sinful distractions in my life.  Try it for yourself!  

Monday, October 20, 2008

Standing in the Gap

Ezekiel 22:30 "I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one."  This is one of the saddest commentaries on the Israelites from the Old Testament, but is it a relavent commentary still today?  God had said that the land was thick with cheating and murdering, lying and stealing, and all kinds of wickedness - so there needed to be someone or some people to rise up, and build the wall back up in order to protect the land from evil, people to stand in the gap and keep the Enemy out...but He found no one.   My TNIV note said God was looking for people of integrity.  John Maxwell says you have integrity when your deed matches your creed.  There is still a need for men and women of integrity today who will stand up and begin to build a protective wall around this land, who will fight to keep the Enemy from advancing to the inner regions.  I'm not talking about publicly condemning sin and telling everyone how evil Satan is.  I'm talking about not being a channel through which those things flow.  Being instead a wall that doesn't allow it past.  God is looking for you to stand in the gap with integrity in order to be part of the wall that protects His creation instead of helping to destroy it.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


To say the least, the three days I spent in Atlanta last week are going to play a HUGE part in my future.  I attended Catalyst, a conference on Christian leadership.  It was so awesome.  I couldn't possibly talk about all the things I heard and was influence by, so I am updating my links on this page with some blogs and homepages of the guys who really made an impact on me.  I encourage you, for the good of the Body of Christ and how it will be carried on into the future, to check out some of these sites and open yourself up the be influenced by men who are doing huge things for the Kingdom of God right now.  My only challenge to you is to think about this:  what year is it?  Now, what year is your church operating out of?  If your church has been doing things the same way for 10 years, it has probably lost quite a bit of relevance to today's culture.  Never would I suggest we change our theology, because God and His Gospel never change and are always good.  But in order to reach people that nobody else is reaching, we might need to do things nobody else is doing.  Reread these words and let God work in your heart and challenge you.  Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but our ONLY goal here is to reach more lost souls - not to preserve the past.  But neither should any church seek to be so relevant that they become disconnected.  The Gospel is our message, and it needs no help - we only need to bring it, to people, today.  We've been changed to bring change.  Are we trying to preserve tradition at the risk of losing the Gospel?  

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Becoming a father has been one of the biggest challenges of my life so far.  And he's only 4 months old!  I can't begin to tell you how I am worried already about broken bones and trips to the dentist and his defiant attitude that is only so far away.  But, I think I'm doing alright.  Taking the first week of his life off from work was a great decision and I was really able to take care of my family and bond with Ross, and not to mention I got to change a couple hundred diapers!  It was hard to go back to work, but not nearly as hard as when Sarah went back to work.  She only works about two days a week, but on those days, I hardly see Ross at all.  And I hear storied of how he is doing all kinds of neat stuff at grandma's house that I never get to witness.  It's pretty hard sometimes.  But only in that I miss him, and want to hold him and interact with him.  

The first several weeks, all the constant crying was hard, but I got some good advice from two people that really helped.  First, a coworker said (from experience) - you need to get some good earplugs, to take the edge off of the screaming, allowing you to calm down enough to still do what you need to do.  See a baby's cry is designed by God to absolutely shoot right through a man like nothing else, and that's so we'll do something about it.  But the earplugs were great - I only used them twice, but both times I was able to not get SO tense that I got frazzled.  The other advice came from Sarah, and she said, when you start getting upset, just hand him off to me.  I at first wanted so much to be able to "handle it" that I would fight the urge to call her in - like I couldn't take care of my own crying baby!  But she was right, sometimes you just need to switch off - when you are tense, the baby senses that and you won't be able to calm it down because you're not calm.  (Coincidently, I got to be the calmer one once recently, and now I understand the full circle of it).  

It is difficult, but I wouldn't change a thing!  I love Ross, and I like having a baby around, and I can't wait for the things he is going to do in the future (famous last words, I know).  But I was quite surprised to hear a piece on the morning news this morning that suggested that new fathers are very susceptible to depression because it's so hard, and you should seek counseling and anti-depressants to handle it.  They even recommended visiting a website called .  That IS sad.  I wonder if some of the dads who are that depressed were actually ready (commitment wise) for fatherhood, or if they sort of became daddies and it wasn't their desire at that time.  My advice to anyone out there thinking of becoming a father soon - go spend some real time with couples who have infants and young toddlers and talk to them.  Hold their babies and play with their kids, and maybe even change a diaper (although really, it's not nearly as bad as you think it will be - honest!).  Sarah and I have kept up good communication since Ross was born, and we have been able to alter things for the family as needed.  I was spending Saturdays golfing for a couple weeks and then studying in the evenings, and wasn't really spending quality time with the family.  We talked about this and I changed my priorities and schedule and it's been better for all of us.   And future dads, talk to other dads, and ask them the questions you really want to know, and how they have dealt with things.  Most assuredly every couple benefits from having God in their relationship, and having access to his counsel and love and peace.  This is a vital part of our family life and should be yours too.  God can get you through anything, even being a father, without resorting to the internet or pills.