Tuesday, December 1, 2015

People Plan Final Video

Just worked on this for a class. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, February 10, 2014

So today I saw my baby.

There's a reason this post has to be done at 1 in the morning, though the reason's a complicated one. Twenty weeks ago, Bonnie and I learned that we are to expect an addition to our family. Two times, previously, I had seen my baby. Today, I saw my baby again.

Today, for those who were previously unaware, is the day we found whether our baby would be reading Pride and Prejudice (when she's a bit older), wearing dresses, and using hair ties, or if our baby would be reading The Lord of the Rings (I would read him the Hobbit when he's younger), wearing ties and suspenders, and using hair gel.

Seriously, I couldn't even focus during my classes today because I knew the appointment was coming. I wrote a poem. I drew this:
(Left side boy things: Sword, Dog, LOTR...Right side girl things: Dress, Pride and
Prejudice, a Trellis w/ vines. Baby in the hammock under branches that spell "or.")
I don't really write poems. And I don't really draw. Today I did.

And herein lies the complicated reason which has struck me speechless this evening: my baby is incredible. I mean it. Completely unbelievable and unreal. I know everyone has a cute baby... my baby is cuter. I know everyone thinks their baby is the cutest. They are wrong. It is my baby. I could not speak solid sentences for hours after the appointment, because our baby is too real, too able to rub their little eyes and kick their little legs. My baby is smaller than a ruler in length, and is still capable of being more important than anything I've ever seen.

And let me add there - not many things make me speechless. I love writing, reading and talking. I have seen miracles - healings, an exorcism, and (not the least of which and certainly not the end of the list) many, many people find freedom in Christ. I have seen other nations - England, Armenia, the Dominican Republic. They were wonderful.

These things make me want to talk.

My baby makes me speechless.

And then we found out she is a girl.


I was hoping for a girl. I cried. Thrice. SHE is beautiful. I cried thinking about reading Pride and Prejudice with her when she's a teen. I cried thinking about little bikes with tassels and a horn and pink. I cried thinking about holding a baby. I may have cried about crying. In short, I cried.

My tears should not be mistaken for words, though. I was silent. Bonnie was smiling, laughing, joyful. I was staring, imagining, lost. Completely and totally lost. I'm not afraid, nor was I then, but I was in shock. It had simply never been more real.

I asked if the nurse could be wrong. Is there any way we would find out near June 29 (the due date) that we were wrong the whole time, and instead of Bekah we'd get Ben? She said no way. Unless there's some crazy malfunction with the machine, which their wasn't, she was sure.

We called our family, Bonnie laughed, I cried and talked as little as possible. We have all that on video, and that was fun.

We went to Target to buy Bekah a dress. I didn't buy her a dress. I bought her something better.

To fully understand why what I bought her was better, there are a few things you need to know. First, that face. Look at it, and look at it good. It's cute. Look at her nose. Look at the lips both the nurse and the doctor told us were beautiful (at separate times, without the other in the room). Look at the ear. Oh, and don't forget that crazy cute hand. Second, you need to know that nothing was good enough for her. Nothing in the baby clothes section, nor the baby books, nor the baby toys, were good enough for Bekah. I refused to buy her things that were not good enough. It's so serious to me that I'm tearing up a little now. Can't help it. Bonnie felt the same way - nothing was good enough for Bekah.

But when we thought about it, there was one, and only one, thing that fit Bekah as we know her. We bought it immediately and without hesitation. These pictures only meagerly capture its greatness.

After we bought this perfect stuffed animal for Bekah, because none of the small ones were good enough, we came home. Immediately, and surreally, and totally unexpected, we received three gifts in the form of dinner, "It's a girl!" balloon with card and some quite adorable little Bekah hair clips, and a very sweet picture frame from a few of our friends. Then, I ate, while watching the beginning of Pride and Prejudice. Then, I slept. Then I woke up, and thought of Bekah. Then I couldn't imagine how to do anything else. That's pretty much what I'm at right now - not knowing how or why I would do anything but think of Bekah. 

Rebekah means captivating. I feel like I met her for the first time today. 

I love you, Bekah.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Few Notes About Discipline, and Why Teens Are They Way They Are.

Hey all - so I was thinking today about youth ministry, and even though I'm a teen myself (19), I feel like God gave me some insight into how teens being raised by their parents think. Even further, I feel like I got some awesome truths about discipline.

I like these truths most because their word-pictures.....and I like pictures. =]

So let's start with one about how teens think. Every teen's life is a bit like a long hallway, with tons of doors on either side - the doors are labelled stuff like "boring", "how to gain power", "popularity" or "friends." The doors aren't labelled the same in every teen's life, but the labels are determined by the teen's life experiences. So to some teens, a door with church behind it might be pre-labelled "boring" and a door labelled "exciting" might have partying behind it, or jumping off of tall stuff (for boys), or something else! It's our job to help them change the label on the door to a more accurate one. Give them the example to follow, because we can't lock any of the doors for them. Just because we know behind one door might lie pain, doesn't mean they won't open it anyway. It's all about helping them see things in the right light.

As for the second one, about discipline: I want to caution parents, teachers, politicians, and et cetera to be careful about how we cut off access to things we know will hurt our community's youth. We have a couple of choices - we could build a wall or fence around them, that cuts them off from all outside evil and gives them complete security, or we could draw lines in the sand around them and make sure they know why they shouldn't cross it. If/When they cross it, they would need to be given the consequences. With the choice of crossing the line, they get the chance to see WHY not to go past the line drawn. With the wall or fence option, they're given the chance when they're 18 or older to go about the world with no lines, no disciplines built into their life, and no one they want to go to, because they don't want to be put into a box again - which will be their view of leadership/parenting. And living that life - they're likely to be parents themselves soon after they get that freedom, and restarting that cycle.

Anyway, that's a nineteen year-old youth pastor acting like he knows what's up with parenting...just take it for what it's worth. I'd love to hear what you think of it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teen Leaders

So I'm reading a book called "Ministry by Teenagers" and it's awesome. It's really helping me clear up some thoughts about student leaders and what that should look like. I wrestled for a while with trying to get my students to be leaders, thinking, "Not everyone can be a leader, one out of ten at the max could be!"

Now, however, I find myself defining what leadership is. It's like the first or second chapter in this book. Who's stoked? This guy. Leadership in youth ministry doesn't have to mean that they lead groups of people -- maybe leadership can be self-leadership. Leadership defined as exampleship. Better yet - leadership defined as Godliness.

Leaders can be anyone who's a true friend, an honest competitor, a stout-hearted weatherer of storms. (man, I've made up like three words already in this blog.) So why limit the teens God blessed me with? Why not let them test out self-leadership, and promote them to leadership of many if they manage leading themselves well? Doesn't that teach true leadership - the kind you earn?

I dunno. Just thinking out quiet.=]

P.S. I want to have a student leaders retreat. People who want to learn to be leaders can come. That'd be cool.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Thoughts That Give Me The Creeps

Some thoughts just blow my mind.

Like me. Leading Freedom Valley.

Yeah, right....I get it's my calling and all, but sometimes it seems MASSIVE.

There are some awesome people, far more qualified than me, who could have that job. Marvin Stanley, Wayne Redding, Lorrie Redding, Jason Fitch, Jeremiah Herbert....etc, etc. Particularly the visionary of those could do the job awesomely.

I know what you might say: "They're in your dad's group, though! They're like....older. In his generation. When he's done, they'll probably be done, too." Not that I think my dad will ever be done pastoring, far from it. I think he will have a time when moving on from FVC is the right way to go though, and maybe...MAYBE, they'll move on with him, to something else, whatever.

As soon as that thought is clear in my mind I go to the next one; this one is also about who's better to lead FVC than me. What about people in my generation? For instance, my sister. Candace is a leader I respect more than possibly any other I've ever seen. She works hard, and without relenting. If she wants something to happen, it happens. She will make it happen, or deem it unworthy for the ministry God does through her. "Give up" is found next to "Something I hate more than death" in her book; I'm pretty sure. I looked it up once. =]

So why not Candace? Or what about people like my best friend, Jordan, who's the best leader I've gotten to work with. He's talented, with a "disturbingly steep learning curve" (I watched the first episode of #Bones this week for funzies), he's got more people skills than I do (and I'm a people person...it's kind of like my thing), and his vision always seems not only more doable, but bigger, better, and stronger (blast you, "b" words for not including a synonym for stronger I could easily think of).

So why lead Freedom Valley Church one day? I have no idea. All I know is that God's going to have to direct my every move. Maybe that's why. Blind obedience is another strong suit of mine when it comes to God - if I can justify it Biblically, and I think I heard it from God, It's MINE, you know what I mean?

Anyway, pray with me this week. I feel like I'm learning some stuff about how to step into a role of influence when I'm not even sure I'm the best influencer. I guess whenever I'm following God, I'll be the best. Just pray that I do that, and do it well. Love you guys (especially Bonnie. =), thanks for reading and joining with me in my life stuff. =]

Monday, November 7, 2011


Hey all!

You know what? I'm noticing something cool. Something that will change me.

What's the thing? Growth.

I've been discouraged as of late. Feeling a little down on where we're at with growth in the students at The Edge.

That was until I saw the prayer requests this week. There's only a few, and they're nothing RADICAL, but they're deep, and meaningful. Check these out:

Emily Gouker - stress with school and family
Kylee Davis - my mom who has been really frustrated lately and I want to pray for her to heal in God's word
Jose R - I would like to pray for people to change and for me to change. I stay true to my word.
Leah Rinaldi - mama's health, guidance, focus to be a better friend to people, communication
Kirsten Owings - Lancaster stuff for Whitney and me

Mike Watson - school work and that I can reach students and that I can let the name calling not get to me.

I love these. They have so much truth in the back of the requests. "heal in God's word", "Stay true to my word", "focus to be a better friend", "that I can reach students", and really going after the truth in God's word. I love growth.

I'm growing right now. Maybe that's why I'm seeing it and able to bless it. Help me always be growing. =]

Let's Become Strong.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Lately, I'm looking at youth ministry in a different light - especially at The Edge.

If I haven't talked to you yet, and you're a leader at The Edge, then I am now, please read and consider.

I don't think I should be the main "pastor" at The Edge anymore. I also don't think I should be the main one people think of when they think Edge thoughts. I've been putting a cap on how much our ministry can grow. I'm one kid - we have about 70 regulars at The Edge.

What if our leadership team (more like ten kids) started really ramping up their ministry? What if it turn into the next 12 apostles, and became something just as powerful? What if Emily Gouker, Leah Rinaldi, Mike Watson, Brittni Blank, Hannah Weisensale, Dylan Morris, and anyone else with a heart for kids to come to God got together and changed our county, and then tried to figure out where to go from there? What if this youth group eventually sent out missionaries like Stod, Leah, and Emily? Just from youth kids who care about the world.

What if schools had to plan to around Wednesday night - "aw, crap, we wont be able to get anyone there, that's youth group night." How cool would that be!! I want us to flourish so much that the youth groups around us grow in strength and size.

Guys, help me do life changing, big-dreaming things. I want to make a The Edge that everyone knows about and wants to see for themselves.

Can we join in pastoring these kids? Here's the deal - I want to coach you while you pastor students. That should be so much me right now - it should be you. If you want coaching, I want to help, just comment saying so. Lets blow the cap off of this thing.