200TEN Challenge

If you don’t know, then you should read about it.
I am running the Chicago Marathon with World Vision (and NorthRidge Church).
It’s something I am excited about
Nervous about.
Even scared about.
But at the end of the day I am stepping out on faith that this cause is greater than my fear.

I have been thinking about how I’m going to raise the support I desire.
I have pledged to raise $1,310.
That’s a chunk of change!
But I think we can do better.

See, I have 2,359 people on Facebook that call me friend (as of the time I’m writing this blog).
I also have over 800 people on Twitter that follow my tweets.
So it’s safe to say I have over 3,000 connections over the Social Media sites.

The challenge is fairly simple.
I’m asking 200 of you to step up.
If 200 of you give $10, my goal will be SHATTERED.
And because $50 provides clean water for one person…
we will have provided FORTY people in Zambia with clean water.
Not bad for running a few miles.

So will you support me?
Will you join me in this cause?
Help me raise money so that people on the other side of the world can have clean water.

Let’s do this.
Join the 200. 

Code Orange Goodness – Part 3

This is part of a blog series about the Code Orange Revival.
Read Part 1, and then Part 2.

Today the lesson is simple, yet profound:

Emotion to Devotion
Conviction to Commitment

Again, not sure who said it.
But it relates to the first part I posted.
There are so many moments where we get emotional about our faith.
Those moments must be turned into practical steps of devotion so that our faith can grow.
Much like our emotion, our convictions can be many…
but unless we take steps to turn our convictions into commitment to follow through,
we will stay in the land of “someday I’ll stop doing that” or “someday I’ll take a risk for God.”

Some questions I’m asking myself:
Where has God moved in my life?
What has been my most recent conviction?
Am I willing to take some action towards devotion and commitment?

Code Orange Goodness – Part 2

I’m in sort of a blog series about Code Orange Revival.
Read the first learning here.

Today I want to focus in on another learning.

“You have no room to doubt your worth…you’ve already been purchased. Your worth is SET in Jesus’ blood”

I’m not actually sure who said it
(after 12 nights, they all kind of blend together)
But isn’t it good?
It’s quite simple too.
If I buy a product for $20, then that product is worth $20 to me.
If I think it’s worth it, I’ll buy it.

How much more for our heavenly Father,
who thought it right to send His son as the rescue plan to provide redemption for us all.
He thought you were worth it, so He purchased you…through Jesus.

So how dare you say you’re not worth anything.
Your worth is actually not up for negotiation.
It’s been settled.
For some time now.
You’re worth a lot.
Don’t let anyone tell you differently.


Code Orange Goodness

Elevation Church just got finished with 12 nights of revival.
12 different preachers.
12 worship experiences in a row.

So the next few days I thought I would share some learnings from the 12 nights.
Today I want to focus on something Steven Furtick said during night 12.

“God can inspire a moment, your obedience creates momentum.”

The past 12 nights for Elevation have been “retreat” like.
I’m in youth ministry, so I’ve been on countless retreats.
There are inspired moments, to be sure.
Moments of clarity.
Moments where conviction is strong and the Holy Spirit is working overtime.
But as I’ve seen time and time again,
those moments will pass.
And the only thing that remains is the steps of obedience you take in response to the inspiration.

What has God inspired in you?
What are the correlating steps of obedience that He wants you to take?
Will you take them?

The Gospel

We started a new series this past weekend at NRSM called “Truth Is.”
To answer your question,
It is not based on the Facebook status phenomenon.
Rather, it’s based on the most important truth in history.
The Gospel.
We started the series out with a talk that was centered around finding a working definition of The Gospel.
And thus this creative element.
We spent a lot of time coming up with just the definition (circled in red).
Then we spent more time developing everything that would go around it.
Although some of the things written were not bad, our point was they are not essential to what the Gospel really is.

What are your thoughts?
What would you have added?
What would you have left out?


This past weekend in RustProof was a special one.
To have church on the first weekend of the year is just cool.
It brings focus.
It brings a spiritual energy.

The RustProof directors brainstormed a talk that would use the significance of the weekend to our advantage.
Hence the title.
Our main idea?
No matter what happened the past 365 days, God always offers a day one.
Makes ya wanna stand up and yell doesn’t it? (oh wait, that’s for the Pentecostal churches, my bad)

We encouraged students that we serve a God who starts EVERY DAY this way.
His mercies are new EVERY morning.
No matter what their past was, there’s always a fresh start.

What if we all chose to live with this in mind?
What if we lived like we believed this?
What could we accomplish if we believed God was on our side?
Neat to think about.
Praying that I live it.

Students: 4 questions ya need to answer

It’s Throwback Thursday – where I go back a year or two and grab my favorite posts.
Since posting this…I actually had the honor of giving a talk based around these 4 questions to our high school students.  

Still today I believe that these are four of the most important questions a student can answer. 


heard a sermon preached on this subject, and it was worth blogging about.
below are four questions
every teenager needs to answer

What’s in your hands?
what has God wired you to do?  when God interacted with moses, He asked, “what’s in your hands?” for moses it was a staff that eventually got turned into a snake (rad). what has God placed in your hands that can be used for his glory?  Is it a talent? a passion? a gift?  what gets you mad? what breaks your heart?  the thing that’s in your hands is God-given…and if you’ll give that gift back to your creator, then he’ll use it (along with you) to do some amazing things!

Am I know trying to win the approval of men or of God?
this question is taken from Galatians 1:10 – paul is addressing the issue of acceptance. “if i were still tyring to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  as teenagers, you have to choose who you’re going to live for.  which audience are you going to try and please?  living for the approval of men is a waste of time…because ultimately it’s God who is going to judge your life…no one else.  it’s God who has placed HIS value on you…no one else. live for the right audience!

How can a young man keep his way pure?
Psalm 119:9
this is a question of integrity.
the answer? – “by living according to Your Word.”
you’re going to live your life according to someone’s plan…it may as well be God’s perfect plan for your life.
how often do you spend time in God’s word?  what’s the last verse you memorized? a lot of us have junk in our brains. images that we wish we could erase.  truth is we can’t erase them, but we can dilute them. spending time in God’s Word is crucial if you are striving for purity. after all, how do you renew your mind? by putting NEW things in it.

Who do you say I am?
this was a question that Jesus asked his disciples.
this question deals with our eternity.  who do we say Jesus is?
is He the son of God? just a prophet? a crazy man? our savior?
every person must answer this question. and in the context of this blog…every teenager needs to come to grips with this question…how will you answer it?  will you submit to Jesus now, and pursue his calling early? will you “put it on the back burner” until you’re grown up and filled with regret?

there ya have it.  4 questions every teenager needs to answer.

taken from a message given by Steven Furtick to a student audience (@ Elevation Church)

Don’t pull a Kanye…

Remember that one time?
When Kanye ran out on stage and interrupted a tremendous moment for Taylor Swift?
You can find PLENTY of coverage of that here.

A while back the NRSM team at NorthRidge put on Fall Retreats for both High School and Middle School and our theme was “In Lights.”
The question we asked as “Who is really in the spotlight of your life?”
We all have the tendency to want center stage…but God might be calling us to be on the stage crew and open/close the curtains.

And to use the Kanye analogy loosely…we encouraged students to watch out for the tendency to steal the spotlight.
I especially have this tendency.
I love to get applause and affirmation.
But if I’m truly living out a Jesus-centered life, then everything I do will simply be a reflection of what Christ is doing through me…and all the applause and glory will be directed back to Him!

So, in your own life, don’t pull a Kanye.
Make sure God stays where he belongs.
Center stage.

Who I’m listening to…

As some of you know, I enjoy listening to sermons.

I believe that what you put IN is what you’ll get OUT.
So I choose simply to listen to a lot of people who love God and like to talk about Him.
Even though it’s not a huge list, I figured I would let you in on who I’m listening to.

Brad Powell (NorthRidge Church)
Andy Stanley (North Point Community Church)
Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)
Craig Groeschel (LifeChurch.tv)
Steven Furtick (Elevation Church)
Carl Lentz (Hillsong New York) 
Pete Wilson (CrossPoint.tv)
Perry Noble (NewSpring Church)
Matt Chandler (The Village Church)

Who are you listening to?  Anyone I’m missing out on?


This past weekend my good friend Josh spoke at NorthRidge.
As always, he nailed it.
He started a series called “Chill” that’s gonna last until Christmas Eve Weekend.
The title was “it’s under control”
You can listen to the whole thing HERE.

One of his main points was that it’s an illusion to think that we have any sort of control in this life.
My favorite concept was this:
Often times we mistake influence for control.
They are quite different.
There are seasons in your life when people may listen to you.
Your kids may do what you say.
Your boss may listen to your ideas.
But those seasons come and go.  They are never permanent.
And because the seasons come and go, we should not leverage the influence we get as if we are always in control
Instead of leveraging our influence to “press our thumb” down on someone,
we should use it to serve those God has given us influence over.

So, when you find yourself in seasons of influence, don’t mistake that for a false sense of control.
And when you find yourself in a season where nothing seems to be in control, rest in the fact that the God who created you is able to sustain you…and He has control over everything.