I’m going to be a dad + the most amazing last two weeks in HSM

1 02 2012

There are a lot of exciting things going on right now in my life. My wife is pregnant, 36 students accepted Christ two weeks ago in Student Ministries, and 105 students expressed interest in going to Haiti with HSM this summer this past week. I feel like there is a movement going on in Student Ministries and there is definitely a bunch of new and exciting adventures going on at my house (like not getting any sleep because my wife moves around all night trying to get comfy. She is so insensitive!).

Here’s the story I shared with HSM two weeks ago:

Back in September of last year my wife and I realized something was missing from our life. We were really happy with how everything was going. We both had great jobs, awesome friends, an amazing marriage, a cute dog, and an unwavering faith but we still felt like something was missing.

 November rolled around and I went on a mini vacation with a few friends and when I got back my wife told me that she bought me something. I asked her what it was and she said a new shirt. I was thinking, “man she is excited about this new shirt she got me.” But my wife loves buying people gifts so I kind of brushed that aside. As she went to go get the shirt she told me to close my eyes and when I could hear that she was about 8 feet away from she said, “alright open them.” There in front of me was my wife holding up a little baby outfit. 

 The first thing I said was “that’s not going to fit me.” And she said “Can you just be serious for once?” So I focused in and asked her if she was pregnant. She said yes, we hugged, texted our parents and a few friends and sometime around July 20th I’m going to be a dad. The thing that was missing for us was a kid. We were ready to be parents, we felt like God was pushing us in that direction and the thing that was missing for us will no longer be missing in a few months.

This then led into a message about something missing in our lives and for a lot of people the missing component is Jesus Christ. This has been one of the most exciting couple of weeks in my life and I still feel like the best is yet to come!

Here’s a little recap of the lat two weeks.

Series: We are in the middle of our series on the Armor of God called “Ridiculousness”. On Jan. 8th we taught a message right out of Perry Noble’s (senior pastor at Newspring Church) book telling our students that Found People Find People. We encouraged them to invite their friends back on January 22nd. (We also started a pretty big buzz on social media surrounding that day by asking our students to hash tag everything with #J22. It was really cool to see them rally around that.) They responded in a huge way and that weekend 36 students that we know about texted us and told us they were ready to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The following week we encouraged students to move forward with what God has equipped them with and serve. In response to a one of our three new service initiatives in HSM that were presented to our students this past weekend, 105 of them said they wanted to go to Haiti with us this summer. They responded to the vision to take action.

Worship: Jan 22- The team opened with a song by Rhianna (We Found Love) and played Awake my Soul by Mumford and Sons halfway through the message. Kevin and I had a blast incorporating music into the message and the students really responded. They then finished with an awesome song of celebration called Freedom is Here.The goal was to create an environment that a student who has never been in the doors of a church would feel comfortable in.

Jan 29- Hear the Sound. Oh My God. From the Inside Out. One Thing Remains. Tyler led and did a great job!!

Fun: Jan 22- Played a couple Minute to Win It games that went really well. Jan 29- Played a game that ended with Steve S. (one of our apprentices) with whip cream all over to him. The students lost it!!

Areas of Improvement: We need to bring this energy, excitement, vision, etc. EVERY WEEK! We saw our potential and now we know we can make that happen week in and week out. Time to get to work.


Mother’s Day Letter

31 05 2011

Here is the letter I wrote to my mom for the 2nd week of our “Modern Family” series:


I don’t think there would be a better way to start this letter to you than to say “Thank You”. I cannot begin to tell you how much I respect you, appreciate you, look up to you, and love you. I feel blessed to grow up in a home where I had a mom who really loved me. You provided, cared for, watched over, released, and waited for me. You’ve taught me a lot and I won’t forget any of it.

You’ve taught me what it means to conquer. You’ve always been authentic and transparent with Brittany and I when it came to the eating disorder you struggled with for so many years. We didn’t really see it when it was bad but because you are so open and honest with us, we knew it was difficult. Now when I see you invest and care for people all over the country who struggle with the same issues I know that God’s using your experience to advance His Kingdom. You overcame a huge obstacle in your life and that means a lot to me.

You’ve taught me what it means to persevere. When Aunt Jen died I was only in third grade. I didn’t quite understand what it would mean to lose a sister well before it was her time. I know you had questions and you were angry with God but you made it and you were a rock for the rest of our family. I don’t think Grandma and Grandpa would have gotten through that without you.

You’ve taught me what it means to love. You’ve always put the rest of your family in front of yourself. There is nothing selfish about you. You and dad have shown Amanda and I what a healthy marriage looks like and I hope we love our kids as much as you love us. (Just a side note, there still isn’t a kid on the way quite yet, sorry). You’ve laid down your life for me and helped me understand Christ’s love in a way that I wouldn’t have experienced with you.

And with that love, you’ve taught me what it means to forgive. I know I kept you up late at night because you were worried about me. I know I caused arguments between you and dad and I caused a stress on your relationship for a while. I know you knew I was going down the wrong path and I know somehow you allowed me to fail. Thanks for that. I can’t tell you how sorry I am for letting you down so many times. I wish I never caused you pain but I know I did.

But with that, thank you so much for not giving up on me. Thanks for challenging the lies I lived. You were a constant example of what it meant to follow Jesus Christ and I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Your purpose was to bring me back to my Maker. God used you to bring me back to him.

Thank you for helping me realize that where I invest my love I invest my life and I desperately want to invest my love in Jesus Christ and you helped me get there. God used you to awake my soul. I love you mom and I will forever be grateful for you and all you’ve poured into me.

Parenting (No we’re not having kids…yet)

7 01 2011

I figured with a title like “Parenting” I would get a lot of questions about our plans to have children. We’re still waiting Mom. The way I look at it I already have 200+ kids and I don’t have to change their diapers.

With that out of the way, it seems like parenting has been a fairly large topic in my life recently. My best friends in San Diego are pregnant, my good friend and mentor just adopted a beautiful girl from Ethiopia, and then there’s my job. If you are in student ministry or have ever worked with students, you know you are working with FAMILIES. Parents look to YOU (mid 20’s with no children) for parenting advice. It feels a little weird but everyone involved knows you actually have something to offer. You are relevant, you understand the culture, and you can even figure out what is going on in the mind of a teenager from time to time. YOUR insight is valuable and parents trust you because you love part of their family.

Students are difficult creatures to work with and parents LIVE with them. I remember hearing my folks remind those around them “there is no handbook for parenting.” I understand that and my heart breaks for parents in difficult situations. In the last two weeks here at Cornerstone, I have heard about a family dealing with suicide, a family finding out about an affair, and many families experiencing broken trust because of decisions made by their son or daughter. Students go through addiction, abuse, messy relationships, ridicule, loss, manipulation, and so much more hurt on a daily basis. As parents discover these pains and burdens they have us to turn to.

My hope and prayer is that those of us that work with students and families will be present and available. I pray we will be wise, humble, and loving as we meet with and care for the people God has put in our lives. I pray we have individuals to confide in who love us and care for us as we minister and lead. And I pray God will flow through us as we counsel and advise in areas we have yet to experience ourselves.

“That’s all parenting is. Pretending you know what you’re talking about and then jamming it down their throats.” -Danny Devito in “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Jujitsu Leadership

16 12 2010

Every Thursday I have the opportunity to meet with a solid group of guys to go through The Good and Beautiful Life by James Bryan Smith. This past week we studied a chapter entitled “Learning to Bless Those Who Curse Us”. As we went through examples of how Jesus reacted to injustices Smith stated:

“This way of responding to injustice reminds me of jujitsu…jujitsu teaches a person how to overcome an armed opponent with no other weapons than intelligence.”

My cousin recently moved to Thailand to learn Muay Thai and teach jujitsu. He has been involved in Mixed Martial Arts for a few years and every time I see him I am captivated by his training regimen, dietary restrictions, and discipline. The stories of victory and defeat and certain situations that occur outside of the gym are fascinating to me. I absolutely love hearing how my cousin reacts to different circumstances. Here’s a pic of him breaking someone’s arm or something:

While thinking through what we discussed in our life group about jujitsu and about my cousin, I began to wonder how this applies to leaders. What would a jujitsu leader look like? How do we overcome our opponents or problems “with no other weapons than intelligence”? I’m reminded of three qualities a jujitsu leader would exemplify…

1. Security– Someone practicing jujitsu has confidence in their abilities. Insecurities give way to envy, jealousy, and pride. A lack of security causes decision making that is not beneficial to the leader or the organization. Consequently, our greatest mistakes can come from insecurity. Lead with boldness, conviction, and honesty and know you are in the position you are for a reason.

2. Awareness– I feel any individual involved with martial arts is very aware of their surroundings. For some reason I automatically think of the Karate Kid (Ralph Macchio, not little Will Smith). Leaders are aware of their surroundings socially/economically/culturally, they know when morale is up or down on their team, and they are able to discern when change or movement is necessary.

3. An understanding of limitations- Even the best MMA or UFC fighters have a weakness that their opponent will try to attack. When you have an understanding of your limitations you have options. You can protect yourself and your organization from those weaknesses and limitations and can make sure they aren’t detrimental to your leadership abilities. To do this you must ask for help, seek training, and surround yourself with individuals that make up for your deficiencies. Even the best jujitsu-ers have coaches; we could use a few too.

Christmas Memories

3 12 2010

The other day in our staff meeting Pastor Steve challenged us to rethink some of our Christmas memories.

I immediately thought of the year that my sister got a present and after ripping it open proclaimed, “I love it! I love it! I’ve wanted it for so long!!…What is it?” I know, she’s weird. We still let her come around during the holidays though.

I have a lot of great memories from Christmas and it’s interesting because most of them stem from traditions. I really like traditions. For some reason I get really proud of my family when I think about all of the traditions that we have. Some of my favorites include:

Grandma Ingold’s bag of gifts- Every year Grandma sends us this giant bag of little presents. I loved it growing up because I was guaranteed to get a pocket knife, every little boy’s dream and mother’s nightmare. Each gift costs no more than $1.25 and there are like 10 gifts for each person in the family. Dad sits on both knees by the tree and throws them around. We grab at them like we are trying to get the T-shirts they are shooting out of a cannon at Major League Baseball game.

Mom’s food- Every year Mom makes THE BEST breakfast and dinner. Egg Casserole and homemade cinnamon rolls  for breakfast (Cinnabon wishes they could get this recipe), and then HOMEMADE MAC AND CHEESE and Dad’s Tri Tip or honey baked ham for dinner. I gain 6.7lbs every Christmas day.


Luke 2– Reading the story of Jesus’ birth is actually a Christmas Eve tradition, but since we have moved away it has kind of merged into another thing we do on Christmas day. It’s just really cool and we’ve been doing it since I can remember.

Christmas traditions and Christmas memories aren’t something I talk about too often. I am kind of a scrooge when it comes to Christmas. But, this week I was challenged by my pastor and it really made me think about how much fun this is. Christmas is a time to celebrate and party and enjoy one another. I’m looking forward to partying with my family this year and upholding those traditions.

What are some of your memories or traditions?