Thursday, November 30, 2006

My Work Week Is Done

Here is a rundown of what the last 4 days were like for me:
  • Monday - (Christmas Decorator Hat) We decorated the church for Christmas and I created a ticket for a radio station promotion we having for our Christmas Concert with "Butterfly Kisses" Bob Carlisle. I also pulled down a ministry promotion table and set up the room we have our youth meeting in. There were some other minor things that don't need to be discussed.
  • Tuesday - (Graphic Designer Hat) I finished working on the "Get In The Game" CD covers and CD labels for our Sr. Pastor. That took most of the morning. In the afternoon I created and finished the CD covers and CD labels for our Unquenchable Series. We launched our first podcast with that series. More minor things this day as well.
  • Wednesday - (Pastor of Student Ministry Hat) Started the day putting together the Powerpoint, note handouts, and created a logo for the message for the youth meeting for my boy Juno. (As a little side note...he is going to have to get up to speed on doing these things...I rib him a lot about it in our next Elevate Podcast. During this time I am in a lot of thought about my message for the adult service I did last night. In the afternoon I typed out my entire message, created the graphics and Powerpoint for it, and lastly created note handout sheets. I then checked on how the youth pre-service was going and how our adult pre-service were going. Both services went excellent. Afterwards we recorded the talk show part of our podcast. All in all it was an 11 hour day for me.
  • Thursday - (Computer Tech Hat) Edited and mixed our podcast...this week I changed up a lot of the music and intro. Took me the whole morning. In the afternoon I think I had a memory lapse cause I don't remember much...either that our the excitement of scheduling our main speaker for our March Youth Conference has made me forget everything else. OK, OK...I know you want to know who it is...go check out his website and be surprised. For those that might not know who this is...He brings it. The absolute #1 service I was ever in...and I have been to lots...big time preachers, mid-level, name it...He rocked it. Tonight, the family and I lit our first fire (in our fireplace) for the season, cooked some stew (yummy) and watched Monday's episode of Heroes. It was a good night...and since I already put in 40 hours this week I get to spend the day tomorrow shopping with my hunny. Oh yeah I took the Heroes Quiz...guess what..."I have not yet taken the next evolutionary step" (now come on...I don't really believe in the whole evolution thing...just having fun with the quiz...)

I'm Out...

The Elevate Rundown 11-29-06

Here is how Elevate went down last night, November 29th.

Worship Set:
Salvation Is Here
The Time Has Come
Take It All
From The Inside Out

This was a message on Pride by our very own Click here to view other posts on Elevate.

Click here to view all my current posts.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

God Dwells In The Darkness

OK, OK, I know that might be an extreme title for some people...I mean we all have heard the scripture God is Light and in Him is no darkness...that is 1 John 1:5 for those that like to look it up themselves...but I want you to hear me out.

Yes, I know theologically that God is light and there is not darkness in Him, but the darkness I'm talking about is the dark times of our lives. I believe that we are all destined to go through some type of dark time...for some it may be darker than others.

Let me give you a few before I get a huge response from people about which scriptures I'm using and how the background of those scriptures means this and that (by the way I do encourage you to respond to all my posts) just be patient and hear me out.

Exodus 20:21 says "...Moses approached the thick darkness where God was."

Deuteronomy 5:22 These are the commandments the LORD proclaimed in a loud voice to your whole assembly there on the mountain from out of the fire, the cloud and the deep darkness;

Deuteronomy 5:23 When you heard the voice out of the darkness, while the mountain was ablaze with fire, all the leading men of your tribes and your elders came to me.

2 Samuel 22:12 He made darkness his canopy around him— the dark rain clouds of the sky.

There are lots of other scriptures and I don't want to get bogged down on all of them go to Biblegateway sometime and do a keyword search on darkness.

There was this time that my wife and I got this phone call at about 2:00 a.m. when we were pastors of a student ministry in Kingsville. Now when you pastor teens there are only two reasons you get calls at that time of night. Either it is a crank call or it is trouble. Well this night it was trouble. Five teens from our youth ministry were involved in a car accident and two were being lifeflighted to Corpus. Those are not the words you want to hear. My mind originally thought the worst.

One of the teens who was with them ended up breaking her pelvis and had to be in the hospital for a couple of weeks. This was her senior year in high school, obviously some dark times for her. Prior to the accident she was really questioning if God was around. Where was He? Was He out there? Even though she was in church and did have a relationship with God she felt all alone in at this phase in her life.

After getting out of the hospital she spoke about these times to the teens we were pastoring. Her message was that she felt God was not around but realized laying in that hospital bed that God was closer to her during the accident than ever before.

See many times we think that God is not around. We question why are these things happening to me? Where is God in all this? Let me tell you that God is right there with you. Scripture says that He will never leave you nor forsake you. That even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death...He is with you.

My number one favorite scripture is Micah 7:8 it says "Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light."

I firmly believe that God dwells in the darkness to reveal His light and glory to us and those that are lost around us. It is a light that shows the world that there is someone out there that cares deeply for us.

God is going to allow dark times in our life so that His glory will be revealed through them. It is through these times that our faith is released. Scripture is full of examples of people who travel through dark times in their life. Joseph, Job & Paul are just a few men that endured times of darkness only to have God do great things through them.

So when you are experiencing some dark times in your life just know that God is there. He always has been and He always will be.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Building Team Leaders

The value of having a competent team does not go under-rated here in our youth ministry and the same should be true of any church or business. It is not something that develops overnight though. It is a process that is on-going and requires much diligence to a team concept. Teamwork is just that "work".

For example, this Wednesday I get the privilege of bringing the message to our Wednesday night adult meeting. Our youth meeting is still going and will be led by a great team. I can honestly sit here and say that I am not worried. One of my good friends and right hand man Juno will be delivering the message. My wonderful wife will be overseeing the meeting while I am in the adult meeting. I have even thought about not even going over there. Of course I will be checking in before the meeting cause the whole pre-meeting is just as important as our meeting.

This wouldn't happen if we weren't diligent in creating and taking care of our team. One of the main ways of accomplishing this is by hosting a monthly team leader meeting. This is on an off-night and during this time my wife and I really pour into them. My ultimate goal is always on replacing myself. On this leader meeting we will feed them. Then I teach them some principles they can put in place in their life that will enhance their leadership skills and their careers. We will then spend some time discussing and our planning events. It is a great night where we can bond together and I can impart our lives to them.

I believe that every department in churches should have a department leader that is pouring into their main leaders. People don't want to just come and volunteer. They want to come and be part of a family...especially one that bonds together. People will serve when they know you care about them and are imparting your best in their life.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Christmas and Finances

Seeing this is the Christmas season I know many people will be spending lots of money on goodies for friends and family. It is also a time that many people will stretch themselves financially.

I recently came across a great blog site by Joseph Sangl. This site has great tips on finances and looks like a blog I will be tracking daily. Go by and check out the site.

Thanks to Perry Noble for the link.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's Over

So it's over...IT'S OVER...

No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving...Although it is through and it was really good...especially that fried was the best...

No, I'm not talking about Friday's Christmas shopping...thank God that it is though...3:15 a.m. came really early and we were at Wal-Mart by 4:00 that morning waiting in line with hundreds of other Christmas crazies taking advantage of all the deals...the store we were at was pushing over women...people cutting in line...all to be the first to get that bargin...WELL THERE I wife drug me out there.

What I am talking about is the Longhorn's...ok here it is it might be the only time I ever put this out for the world...the aggie's beat the Longhorn's...aaghh...that was horrible...I can't believe that even came out...but it's horn's lost and to top that off Oklahoma State couldn't pull off the win by a finger tip. No BCS bowl, no big twelve, no, no...all that's left is to wait and see what bowl we will get...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Just a note to everyone who reads...I hope everyone has a great Thankgiving Week. I will be spending time with family and hope that everyone is safe and blessed.

Elevate Podcast #5 - Faithcast

Here we go...Faithcast...Podcast #5 for Elevate Student Ministries. This week our host Juno Garcia, Gilbert Herrera and I talk about our night with our guest Jerad Day. This week Jerad brought us a message on Faith. Check out The Elevate Rundown 11-21-06 for meeting & message details.

FYI - I thought I would make everyone really happy and get this out before thanksgiving. Next week, I will go back on my regular schedule of posting on the weekend.

To read all the posts on Elevate click here.

Download the MP3 directly here.

Listen online here.

To check out all my posts click here

The Elevate Rundown 11-21-06

Here is how Elevate went down last night, November 21st.

Worship Set:
What The World Will Never Take
The Heart of Worship
Jesus Lover of My Soul
Your My Everything (This is a song by Pocket Full of Rocks that has not been recorded. We heard it this weekend at MWC and learned it for tonight.)

This was a message on Faith by our guest speaker.

Sermon Title - Faith

Sermon Scripture - Hebrews 11

Total Attendance-56, Total Teens-41
First Time Salvations - 1

Service Notes:
This was a switch for us. Due to Thanksgiving we had our meeting on Tuesday instead of Wednesday and we brought in a guest speaker, Jerad Day, who is a Master's Commission student in Oklahoma at Journey Church. Jerad brought us a message on Faith and it was awesome. Check out the podcast in future posts for a funny and insiteful interview with our guest as well as his message.

Click here to view other posts on Elevate.

Click here to view all my current posts.

The Flip Side of "Just"

"Just a Youth Pastor" again is term that I established that I don't like. I still have not and don't know if I ever will.

This is what I do know. Thriving youth ministries always seem to help a church thrive. You will see their influence from ministry structures to music. There are many "youth pastors" that have gone on to build thriving churches.

Is the whole "just the youth pastor" a perception brought on by uneducated church people? (By uneducated I don't mean stupid, just not taught.)

Is it a perception from a business world concept? Oh you're not the ceo your just a middle-manager, I want to speak to someone on the top.

I believe there are some things that a "youth pastor" could do:

1. Keep having fun with teens. Don't ever change that. Of course you don't have to act stupid and infantile but have fun. People that laugh together bond deeper. Some of my greatest times in ministry have not been on the platform speaking. They have been on the church van having pillow fights or in the bus having an all out wedgy-wrestling war at a McDonald's. But when I am in public I conduct myself as an adult even when the teens are around. It is knowing when to have fun and when to be an adult.

2. On Sunday's connect with adults in how you dress. Look & carry yourself as a professional and you will garner respect for our profession. You can look professional and look young and hip as well...(My daughter's and wife always are attempting this with me.)

3. Plan & strategize everything you do. Most people work at or for businesses that do this on a daily basis and understand and see when you do things that way. You will also gain a stronger team from doing this.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Why Jesus Could Not Have Been A Pastor

Wow...go read Perry Noble's post on Seven Reasons Why Jesus Could Not Have Been A Pastor In Many Churches. Ouch...

Eight Countries

That's right I said eight countries. What does that mean you say? Since, October I have gotten real serious about blogging. I think it is a great tool to collect my thoughts as well as connect with a larger community. On October 20th of 2006 I started tracking my blog statistics with a too called Google Analytics. I had always seen the map in it that showed all the different places of where people are from who read. It puts a dot to show me and then I can see the city.

Today though I found a feature in there that lists out the countries, states, and cities. Here are the countries my blog has been read in:

1. United States
2. Canada
3. Belgium
4. France
5. United Kingdom
6. South Africa
7. India
8. Spain

Now I don't know if all you guys dig that but I do. It is so cool to see what you do being spread around the world.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Just The Youth Pastor

My wife says if she hears that again she is going to rip the hair out of the person's head. Not really but it really irritates her.

It irritates me as well. And I was thinking about it lately. I know a lot of "youth pastors" who run their ministries better than their "Sr. Pastors". OK y'all don't be hatin' on me just yet. I can hear you already, "that's coming from a guy who's just the youth pastor."

Hear me out. Youth ministry has come a long way from back in the day. Many pastors of youth ministries are and do run sharp programs. But many are just modeling what is modeled to them. And the main thing is that the church needs to wake up and treat these men and women as more than just "youth pastors." These guys have a great calling and a great responsibility seeing that many parents are dumping off their kids saying, "fix 'em for me".

Yeah, I can see that really happening. Here these pastors have maybe 2 to 3 hours a week with your teens and you are expecting a lot and to boot many people have the attitude that these men and women of God are "just". Many of these pastors are pouring out all they can to inspire, motivate, disciple and help you raise up a mighty child of God. Think about it. The public school with its philosophy has them for about 35 hours a week. TV, music, and internet have them for another 40. Their friends some more. All that and you expect a "youth pastor" to do what.

Listen folks it is time we partner together. Sr. Pastors, parents, teens and yeah "youth pastors" (I hate that term...I know some of you guys out there embrace it but I think we are more than that)...need to work together and realize that the future is right in front of us and it is our responsiblity to shape and mold it. We need to work together to ensure that the future of our country and the future of our chidren is a bright one. Things are a changing...let's change them for the better.

Grab Life By The Mane - 2

Of course by now I am deep into the book "In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day" by Mark Batterson. As I go back and review I notice that on the second page of Chapter 1 I underlined, "Normal people run away from lions...But lion chasers are wired differently."

What is it about Christians that makes us so timid at times? I know a lot of people that acted so crazy when the weren't saved and now that they are it's like "lame". You know what I'm talking about? It's like all of the sudden they get life...and then they let life suck it right out of them.

God has wired us different and we should be chasing lions. Last week we were talking about decisions in our meeting and I love that topic. Decisions will determine our destiny. What you decide today will determine what your future is like. Sometimes though I think we need to quit thinking it out. You know if you sit down long enough you will rationize yourself out of chasing that lion. You will start to think about just how big that lion is. All of the sudden when that happens we make our lion bigger than our God.

I imagine Benaiah did rationize it at all...cause what "sane" person does when they are faced with a lion. What "sane" person sits down and looks at the doctors report and just trashes it and goes to God in thanksgiving. What "sane" person looks at where they are going to get their next meal if they tithe and goes ahead and gives it. Lion chasers are so different. They grab life by the mane and they take it before God. They go ahead and put their foot on the enemies neck and give God the glory before they ever "think" about it. So go ahead...grab that obstacle...stomp down on it...and see if God doesn't come through for you. Grab Life By The Mane.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Out For The Weekend

So it's been since like Thursday or Friday since my last post. I think I'm going on withdrawals. Actually we have been out of town and I had no (and I mean none) computer access. The hotel we were staying in didn't have a business room. See if we stay there again. Where were we? In Houston at the Mighty Warrior's Conference but on by STXYM.

It was good. The band "Pocket Full of Rocks" rocked. If you haven't heard them go to their site or their myspace. The two speakers Brock Gill and Allen Griffen were both excellent. Brock Gill is an illusionist who brings a gospel message.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Elevate Podcast #4

Here we go...Decisioncast...Podcast #4 for Elevate Student Ministries. This week Juno Garcia, Joann Clouse, Gilbert Herrera and I talk about our night. This week we tag teamed for a message called "Decisions 2006." Check out The Elevate Rundown 11-15-06 for meeting & message details.

FYI - I usually post the podcast on Saturday nights...but due to being out of town I got it up early this on the lookout for it each weekend.

To read all the posts on Elevate click here.

Download the MP3 directly here.

Listen online here.

To check out all my posts click here or click to subcribe to this feed.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Elevate Rundown 11-15-06

Here is how Elevate went down last night, November 15th.

Worship Set:
Salvation Is Here
Take It All
What The World Will Never Take
Empty Me
This Is Life

This was a stand alone message called Decisions 2006. Our Decisions determine the quality of our life and our destiny. Therefore we must make sure they are quality decisions.

Sermon Title - Decisions 2006

Sermon Scripture - Joel 3:14

Big Idea - Our decisions determine the quality of our life and our destiny.

Total Attendance-54, Total Teens-48

Service Notes:
This was a stand alone message that Juno, Gilbert and I gave this night...the night went really well...our music team is sounding awesome...I am still excited about all the possibilities that stand before us...the altar was full of many teens choosing life week we will be having our service on Tuesday and will have a guest speaker.

Click here to view other posts on Elevate.

Click here to view all my current posts.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Turkey Giveaway Outreach

Yesterday, our church gave out over 400 turkeys to the community. It was exciting to be able to be an extension to the community. This is the second service outreach project my wife and I have led. The first was giving out 500 backpacks to area children. We had a great team of volunteers who helped us pull this off. We had two great teamleaders, Lee Enderle and Ann Bleakney who helped organize our volunteers. Our church is really starting to rally around these projects.

Most of my ideas come from Mark Longoria at Faith Family Church who I know as one of the top outreach pastors in the country. What he has done over there with his teams is awesome. He leads over 100 volunteers and 25 outreach teams that minister to over 1,000 people a year in their community and much of what he does is getting the community behind these projects. So he is just facilitating much of the community in reaching and changing their city. That's my boy.

Outreach isn't my main thing but reaching the community is one. When I do service projects like this it really feels awesome to know we are making a difference in peoples lives.

The Mystery of Faith On The Today Show

Segment on NBC's Today Show called "The Mystery of Faith - Evangelicals in America" it has a segment on Lakewood and Joel Osteen and mega-churches.

HMMM...what are your thoughts? I really noticed how they dropped in at the end about how evangelicals are now voting democratic...Was this whole thing really a political segment or what was it?

Significant Church Pastor's Conference

Yesterday, I went back to Victoria for one night to Faith Family Church pastored by Jim Graff. They are hosting the Significant Church Network Pastor's Conference. This conference is about helping pastor's in small counties across America. More than 90 million people live in small county America. I was on staff at Faith Family for 5 years and much of my ministry DNA is due to them.

For me what makes FFC so unique is that they have been able to build a church of 4,000 in a county of 85,000, a county that is not connected to a metropolis at always amazes me that I was a small part of that.

Here are some great highlights that Pastor Jim and Tamera discussed last night:

  • Are we making it clear in our region that devotion to Jesus makes a life-changing difference in every life? (Acts 1:1-24)
  • Are we maturing believers who connect with the unconverted? (Acts 2:1-4)
  • Are we turning our church from an institution into a fellowship? (Acts 2:42-47)
  • Are we focused on people more than on programs and property? (Acts 3:1-4)
  • Do we have enough unity with God and His people to overcome problems and possess promises? (Acts 4:32)
  • Do I have the right leaders in the right places? (Acts 6:3)
  • Are we doing all God's called us to do in our area, our region, our nation and our world? (Acts 1:8)

One of the things he always says that has one of the greatest impacts on my ministry and thinking is, "If our church was to be closed down today would the community feel it, would you be missed by the community."

Not just by the members but is the church making such an impact on the community that it will be missed.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Grab Life By The Mane - 1

Yum, Yum, Yum…today I just got my four books I ordered from Amazon…they are going to be the latest books to add for my bookshelf…I am so excited and have been especially waiting for “In a Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day”, by Mark Batterson of National Community Church. You can find out more about the book at the Chase the Lion website.

I have already begun reading it and it has already go me thinking and I’m only on page 12. Here are some of the things I’ve underlined:

“There was also Benaiah son of Jehoida, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds…” p.9

Now I know that was just the Scripture text on the first page of Chapter One….but this got me thinking about being valiant.

Valiant means 1) boldly courageous; brave; stout-hearted, 2) marked by or showing bravery or valor; heroic:, 3) worthy; excellent.

So I’m reading this and thinking does this describe me. To my kids am I marked by bravery…am I their hero… Sometimes putting aside the things I want to do to spend time with them is a heroic act. It is easy in life to run and do the things that “I” want to do but I only have one shot at their childhood. I only have one chance to truly make an impact on their life. Am I going to make that impact at work, or in the gym, or on the golf course? No, I will make that impact walking my life out in front of them. Being a hero to them is sometimes being home when the get home, cooking them dinner…jumping on the trampoline with them. (Getting off the computer sometime…LOL…that one’s mine)

So Benaiah was a valiant warrior…he did many heroic deeds. Make it your purpose to begin your start at being valiant…start at home…start at work…start at church…start in your relationships…just start… GRAB LIFE BY THE MANE!

What other books did I get today???

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Church Out Of Control

That is their growth. If you haven't checked out Newspring Church you need to. They have doubled in size since January. Now that feat alone would be awesome...our youth ministry doubled since April when we came in. But this church went from averaging about 4,000 in their service to 8,000. Go check out their Pastors blog Perry Noble Dot Com and read about how they are doing it.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Oh So Tired

Well I am flat out tired...I spent all day Friday getting ready for our S.H.A.P.E. is 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning and I am forcing myself to stay up. The conference was yesterday or today, I don't even know anymore. I will try to update it tomorrow...after we give out 500 turkeys at Church of Hope.

By the way I am tired cause I was up till after 2:00 last night typing out and printing all our material for the conference. It went great and I will try to give more details on it in future blogs...

I also spent tonight getting Podcast #3 posted...I really am forcing myself to stay up right eyes are getting all droppy and ..... I . .... .. am. .... 2 ..... fall ...... aslee

Elevate Podcast #3

Here it is...Podcast #3 for Elevate Student Ministries. This week Juno Garcia, Joann Clouse and I talk about the service and we have the concluding message for our Unquenchable Series entitled "I Must Worship". Check out The Elevate Rundown 11-8-06 for service & message details.

To read all the posts on Elevate click here.

Download the MP3 directly here.

Listen online here.

To check out all my posts click here.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

5 Questions for Today's Youth Pastor - Tim Schmoyer

For our second installment of On The Edge With Youth Pastor's, I had Tim Schmoyer answer five relevant questions for today's youth pastor's....ok well maybe four...although I think ribs are a very relevant questions.

1. What are your details? Located, church, website, name of youth ministry, how long, etc…

Redeemer Covenant Church
Carrollton, TX
Name: C.R.E.W. Christians Reaching Everyone Worldwide
I've been the youth pastor here for 2.5 years.

2. What do you see as the state of youth today?

Students are searching for a place where they belong, feel safe, are understood, cared for and loved unconditionally. They'll even do whatever is necessary in order to gain that approval, which is why we see students wearing one mask at school, another at church and yet another on the athletic field, for example. They'll conform to the environment in order to feel like they fit in and are accepted. Youth ministry today needs to respond to this by creating an environment of safety, unconditional love, acceptance and a sense of belonging. So when I look at the state of students today, the only way I can see us effectively responding to this is by creating a place where genuine and authentic relationships are key and biblical community is intentional.

3. What is your unique way of doing ministry? What do you focus on the most? Examples: small group, technology, dramas, worship, speaking, creative, etc….

My style of ministry is based heavily on relationships. Almost everything we do revolves around that core value. The main context for these relationships takes place within small groups. Most of our discipleship takes place there, along with our outreach, worship, and fellowship.

4. What kind of technology do you utilize most in your services?

None. We don't have the resources to utilize much as far as video projection and sound is concerned. However, services aside, we do use our website on a daily basis, text messaging announcements, instant messaging, and other great Internet-based communication tools for ministry.

And on the lighter side:
5. Pork ribs or Beef Ribs?

Dude, beef all the way!

A true Texan all the way...beef..oh yeah baby...Thanks Tim great answers...

You can read more from Tim at his blog Life in Student Ministry.

Read all posts on this topic at 5 Questions for Youth Pastors

Or click here to read all my latest posts.

Milestone #100

Wow...number 100...I guess you know your into it if you hit your first milestone...of course over the past month I have really upped my contributions to the whole world...I have been thinking about what to post for this first milestone...hmmm...since it is the holiday season and thanksgiving is right around the corner how about what I am most thankful for...

1. God...first and foremost...without Him nothing is possible.

2. My Wife...she is the sugar in my koolaid, the cherry on my sundae, the apple of my best friend...she enables me to be able to do so much in my life...I am so thankful she is there...she complements me in many of my weaknesses.

3. My children have to share their Dad with other I am so thankful that I have three of the best girls in the is a joy to watch them grow up and become all God has planned for them.

4. My Parents...they were great examples to me...and it is still through their love and support that I am who I am.

5. Friends...Mark Longoria, Juno Garcia, Steve Solis, Arnie Silva: Over the years you guys have allowed me to lean on you when I needed to lean and kept my arms held high when I needed strength...

6. Pastor Ed Cann...because of his faithfulness I am saved today...he is one of my spiritual fathers and I will always be blessed because of him.

7. Pastor Jim Graff & Larry Helms...who for the past 5 years stretched, prodded and pulled greatness out of me. They helped take me to a higher level and put a desire and passion in me for excellence.

8. Pastor Rod Young...for giving me the opportunity to take COH to a higher level.

9. Elevate Team Leaders...Elevate would not be possible without you...Robbie, Juno, Crystal, Gilbert, Carolina & all the students in leadership...Together We Have Achieved More...ok so that didn't spell team but it does comes close to spelling awesome which is what you guys and gals are.

10. The blogging community...I read and track over 40 blogs that challenge me to be more strategic, creative, innovative, professional, and humorous...

To live the life I am living is a tremendous honor and blessing and I look forward to where this will take me...Everyone out there be blessed...

The Elevate Rundown 11-8-06

Here is how Elevate went down last night, November 8th.

Worship Set:
Take It All
Salvation Is Here
How Great Is Our God
Jesus Lover of My Soul

This is the last message of the Unquenchable Series. This message was about choosing to focus on God or Focus on our problems. Having a heart of worship keeps our focus on God. A heart that has a "must" desire is one that draws God's attention and brings Him on the scene.

Sermon Title - I Must Worship

Sermon Scripture - John 4:23-24 ...worshipers must worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth.

Big Idea - Worshipers who “must” worship God bring God into focus as they respond to God’s reality thus magnifying Him above their problems.

Two ways to Magnify God:
1. Focus on God - Worship in Spirit
2. Respond To God - Worship in Truth

Total Attendance-45, Total Teens-39

Service Notes:
This is the completition of this series...the night was full of little things...little problems...which was perfect for the team cause it was what the message was all pointed out that we had the choice of two things, either focus on the problem or focus on God. We chose God. And the service went great. Be on the lookout for the third podcast coming this weekend...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Stalk Wars

Nope that's not a mispell...I wrote it...STALK WARS...Apparently I'm now being stalked...Do a guy a favor and what happens? I thought this guy was feeling a little lonely so I would send him a little email to pep up his spirits and now...STALKED...

What's will I do? Erik Bramlet, Eric's Eddyfications, from Community Christian Church, has put the word out on me...where can I's not like I can just stop writing my blog and crawl back into a hole in life. I could change my whole blog and...aghhh...the thoughts....

Maybe I can call the CIA or the Secret Service...I have a few friends in low places that I still know. They might even drive all the way up to Naperville, Illinios, if the price is right. What's a guy to do???????????

I got it...retaliation....everyone, if you are reading this...if there is a single breath in your living soul, you need to go to Eric's Eddyfications and leave a comment on his blog's...tell him I sent ya...Tell Him THE WAR is on.

The Stalk War Begins

Eight Things That Excite Me

There are a lot of things that excite me that probably don't excite others and vice versa...

For example, when people come up and ask me if I watched the latest pro football game on the weekend. Usually I tell them, "nope, I don't watch pro football." In fact, I haven't watched the Superbowl in the last 3 or 4 years. (Whole Janet Jackson thing...missed it.) Now don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-pro football, they are a bunch of overpaid jocks kinda guy...oh no...I think they deserve every bit of the salaries they get. In fact, they should probably get paid more. It just I enjoy the college game a little more. The atmoshere at those games is a little different. Ever since I played ball in college, I can relate to the thrill of the rivalry of the college game. On top of that, college football has been marketed very well over the past few years and although the play on the field is not at the professional level, the excitement is definitely there.

So what does excite Jason Curlee...well here goes

8. A big stack of ribs from Smitty's in Lockhart, TX. I know it's debatable, but I stop there every time I go through.

7. When the Longhorn's win. (They still have a good shot at a national championship. It would be really cool though to win the Rose Bowl three times in a row.)

6. Reading a great book on leadership, church growth, business, etc...and learning that one concept that is going to take myself or my organization to a higher level.

5. Getting our Elevate Service out in a podcast. (My wife was so bored when I was telling her about how we did it.) Here is the latest.

4. Seeing our team at Elevate pull off a great service.

3. When my children succeed in whatever they are doing. I want them to be the best.

2. Of course I couldn't write this post without saying my wife excites me...even after almost 15 years of marriage she is the one I look forward to seeing everyday.

And the number one reason....(drum roll)

1. When I see God change people's lives. I love the fact that God uses me in all my imperfections to do something great for Him. I know you're probably saying this just cause you are a Pastor and you're supposed to say that. But I do what I do for this very reason. Not for the pay..(although more would be nice) but for the thrill of seeing people move forward in their lives.

What are the things that excite you? Leave me a comment I want to hear what some of yours are.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Must Worship 3

Make God Bigger Than Your Problems...that's what tomorrow's message is shaping up to be about. When we have an attitude of attitude that says "I Must Worship" then we begin to magnify God, giving us a new perspective on our situation.

This is a perspective with God in front of our problems. Whenever you look at something, whatever is closest to you is bigger in perspective. So begin to frame God through worship, through having an unquenchable spirit of worship that will never die.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I Must Worship 2

So how can I develop an attitude of attitude that says, "I Must"? Can I even develop it?

I have heard everything...even probably tried it all at one time or another.

When we are born, we are born with this longing for something more. Something that we fill with people and things. As we choose God we finally bring our life to a focusing point. A point is now filled with the ultimate reality of eternity.

But can I develop or stir up that passion for God? Paul wrote Timothy and said, "stir up the gift that is in you." Jesus speaking to the Church in Revelation said, "return to our first love."

An attitude that says "I must" is Unquenchable. It is an attitude that can't be put out. An attitude that can't be doused no matter who many waves crash into it in life.

Jesus said it best there in John 4:24 when he said that "Worshipers 'must' worship the Father in spirit and in truth." Two very important components. This Wednesday at Elevate and on our next podcast we will be talking about these two components of an attitude that says "I Must Worship".

Staying on Focus

Here's a quote from GSDM's Roy Spence:

"The 'invisible' decisions that you make to stay on purpose can be ten times more important than your visible decisions. Nothing is more difficult than saying no to an attractive opportunity. And nothing's more important."

Great Quote

Life and ministry are so much about staying on focus. And our most important values will drive the "invisible" decisions we make. What are your values? The values that will bring success in your life. These values will bring us to the focus we need to stay on purpose..

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I Must Worship

As I sit here meditating on this weeks message, (we conclude our Unquenchable series this week) I am thinking about the last portion of our series scripture.

John 4:23-24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Our first message was "True Worship Never Dies." Last weeks message was "Who God Seeks." This weeks message is "I Must Worship." The last part highlighted above is what we are going to focus on this week.

This set of scriptures has always been one of my favorites cause I have felt one of the things that has always defined who I am was worship. That is I always felt I have worshiped God wholeheartedly. If you were to go through my music you would see that 90% is praise and worship music. My favorite songs in church are songs that include "You" in them.

Now when we started this series my original thought was that I would teach them about "worship." I was going to focus on the kind of singing kind of worship, teaching our teens to push in to a deeper level in their worship during our service.

Of course you know God...He always has a way of teaching what He wants to teach. This series has focused more on "giving our whole lives to God." So this week I sense God is saying that a person who worships has an attitude that says "I must worship." I must have a total and passionate devotion to God. An attitude that starts deep inside that sometimes I can't even understand.

When that attitude is present then God becomes bigger than our problems and our problems kind of disappear under the magnitude of His presence.

Read more on Elevate here.

Elevate Podcast #2

Here it is...Podcast #2 for Elevate Student Ministries. This week Juno Garcia and I talk about the service and we have the second message for our Unquenchable Series entitled "Who God Seeks". Check out The Elevate Rundown 11-1-06 for sermon message details.

To read all the posts on Elevate click here.

Download the MP3 directly here.

Listen online here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sexual Sins In Ministry

Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill Church, had a great post today that I thought is great advice to any level pastor in ministry. Here are a just a few excerpts:
  • The only way to stay away from sin is to stay close to Jesus. Colossians says that we are prone to making a lot of rules but that if we don’t deal with the issues in our heart, we are fooling ourselves; holiness cannot be obtained by the sheer force of white-knuckled will power. More than anyone, a Christian leader needs time with Jesus in repentance, for their own soul and not just to make them a better leader or teacher. Death comes to every Christian leader who goes to Jesus and Scripture for purely functional and not relational purposes.
  • Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives...It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.
  • Every pastor needs a pastor. Too often the pastor is seen as a sort of little God and his wife as some glorified First Lady. Every pastor needs a pastor with whom he can regularly have accountability and the confession of sin. Every pastor’s wife also needs a godly woman chosen for her maturity and trustworthiness.
  • Pastors have the right to protect their own home. This means that if someone keeps dropping by unannounced and is unwelcome, or a flirtatious woman shows up to a Bible study at the pastor’s home, the pastor and his family have the right to request that they never return. The pastor’s home simply cannot be viewed as yet another piece of church property that is accessible to anyone who desires it. Rather, the pastor’s home must be a safe place for the pastor and his family without the wrong people rudely calling and dropping by.
  • Pastors need to protect their email and have it screened for accountability. For me, this means that no email but an email from one of our pastors comes directly to me. This also means that I leave my email account open at home and my wife regularly checks it to get schedule information, etc., because I have nothing to hide. I also do not have a secondary email account from which to build a secret identity.
  • Pastors must not travel alone; the anonymity and fatigue of the road is too great a temptation for many men. A pastor should take his wife, an older child, an assistant, or fellow leader with him. If this cannot be afforded then travel should not be undertaken.
  • Lastly, the big issue is a love and fear of God. Only a man really knows his heart and whether or not he loves and fears God above all else. Without this a man will fail to live for God’s glory, and it is only a matter of time.

Doing A 5th Quarter

Our latest 5th quarter is tonight for our youth ministry Elevate...for those that have never done one and are interested in what we do, the format is pretty simple. There are many ways to do it, here is ours:

We give out free food (tonight we are doing sausage in bbq sauce & pizza and giving out free lemonade), turn on all our video games and Playstations (If you don't have any buy a couple.), and we have a concert (we are having a rap group called Jabez Entertainment come...they are great). Then we open up our coffee shop and sell coffee/drinks...

We do all this from 10-12 and it has gone great...

On purpose I don't try to make it so in your face Christian...I am just trying to get kids in to our facility and see Church from a different light.

Oh yeah...we promote, promote, bulletin, our youth bulletin, announcements and lots & lots of flyers.

For other youth ministry ideas check out my other blogs on Youth Ministry.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Full Experience

So I'm sitting in the drive-through lane explaining to my wife why I want to go in to Chick-fil-a. I don't want to go through the drive-through cause I'm not going to get the full experience. I eat partly for the experience, the taste.

When I go inside I get to put ketchup on my fries. I get to add salt and pepper. I get to enjoy my meal. But no...she has to make me go through the drive through. She gets to enjoy her meal, dip her chicken in Polynesian sauce, and sip real slow on her diet coke. While I have to juggle traffic, fries, chicken burger, coke...hey you want to stop honking at me I'm doing the best I can...oh yeah, your number 1 too...Just Kidding y'all...I did have to juggle all that though.

How many times in our life are we juggling everything and God kinda becomes just a small piece of what we are doing. Neither Him nor us get the full life experience that each of us has to offer. Many times we are just leading an ordinary life...going through the motions. But God died to rescue us from all of that. He died so that we can have a better life than we ever dreamed could be possible. So go for the full experience with God.

BTW...I didn't get any ketchup, no salt or any mustard in the bag. It was definitely not the experience I was looking for...I will get my wife back for that.

Be A Success or Be A Blessing

I was over at Mark Batterson's Blog and he had a great quote on there that really got me thinking this morning.

He wrote:
I was listening to the Willowcreek case study on Matthew Barnett and the Dream Center in LA. He shared a defining moment where he felt like the Lord spoke to him: "I want you to die to the dream of being a success and live to the dream of being a blessing!"

Sometimes one of the hardest things with being a pastor is that we are people as well and we want to be a success or successful. But then there are the times where we have been taught that that is pride and with that pride we can't ever be used by God.

So then where is the line. How can you live the dream of being a blessing without having the thoughts of being a success? What really is the true measure of success?

We were having a meeting one night with some fellow youth pastors and one of them shared that them being faithful and being there even if only one or two showed up was good for them. For me I'm a numbers guy because I feel there are numbers of people that are lost and need to hear the "Good News." So my defining level of success is based on whether we are reaching students.

Now here is the big thing. My definition of success is not a fair measure to judge others by. My initial thought when she made that statement was, "Are you kidding me?" I wouldn't know what to do if only one or two kids were in my youth ministry. But then we are working at two different places. We are two different people.

So then how to die to the dream of success. We basically know that the way up is down. To be exalted you have to lower yourself to servanthood. When serving others and being a blessing are our priority God will bring us the level of success He knows our sometimes "prideful" selves can handle.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Elevate Rundown 11-1-06

Here is how Elevate went down last night, November 1st.

Worship Set:
What the World Will Never Take
Take It All
Beautiful One
The Heart of Worship
Empty Me

This is the second message of the Unquenchable Series. We believe there is a great reality in most people’s lives. Most people’s lives are empty…their lives are crying out for something bigger than themselves. That is what pushes all of us to fill our lives with something. God is watching and waiting for us to fully devote our lives to Him

Sermon Title - Who God Seeks

Sermon Scripture - John 4:23-24 ...for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Big Idea - Someone who is passionately devoted to God, living a life of true worship, is someone that attracts the attention of God.

How to attract God.

1. Complete Trust
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (NIV)

2. Acknowledge Him
Proverbs 3:6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV)

3. Stay Hungry
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (NIV)

Total Attendance-47, Total Teens-39

Service Notes:
This was one of the most powerful messages I feel we have ever done. This series has turned out to be awesome. The worship team flat out jammed. It was like everything fit. From the worship to the message to the altar call. On the next podcast we talk a little bit about it (be on the lookout for it this weekend.) Not one person stayed in their seat for the altar challenge. Everyone came up and went after God. The line in the sand is drawn...which side are you on.