Rob Bell & Brain Cramps

Tonight I will be sitting in a very peculiar shaped auditorium, listening to a fairly odd pastor, speak a relatively unique message.

As I listen to Rob Bell speak I expect my mind to be stretched beyond that of a normal college lecture class. I plan on walking away from whatever he has to say with a mind full of questions eager to investigate the truth. Whether I agree with everything Rob says is beside the point.

You see, Rob Bell has stepped where far too many pastors shy away from. He has gripped the intellectual side of Christianity and forced people into a deeper knowledge of who God is and what He is saying to us.

Many of us have become comfortable with a 4th grade understanding of God: He died, rose again, and now we live for Him by making wise choices. The truth is that God transcends even the mind of a genius; so then why do we dumb down His word?

I like Rob Bell because what he has to say actually seems like it took thought. I like Him because He has challenged other great leaders to deepen their understanding and knowledge of God.

I've never heard him claim to know everything, but I know from the way he writes and speaks that he is working to know as much as possible.

Who stretches you to think outside of the box?

Who are the people you surround yourself with that constantly cause your brain to reach it's intellectual border and then cause you to jump past it?

God created nerds in more of his image than you think.

Do Not Fear Intellect,

Be A Common Creative

Is our ability to create stagnated by our ability to understand creativity?

I have heard the statement "I'm just not creative" way too many times. The truth is we are all creative. We create on a daily basis. Every time we get ready in the morning we create something. Whether it's our hair, our style, our wash routine, our breakfast, or the way we sing that hit song in the shower, we are constantly creating.

The problem with creativity is that we always expect originality.

We think creativity is the art of forming something the world has never seen. In many ways this is what creativity perceives, but the truth is creativity is something common being used in a form that is new to humanity.

STOP trying to create from nothing and begin to create from everything.

Our creativity is using the materials of old to supply the needs and provoke the minds of today.

King Solomon (the wisest man ever to live) puts it this way in Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 (NIV):

9 "What has been will be again,

what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,
"Look! This is something new"?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time."

Maybe the reason you struggle with "being creative" is due to your definition of creativity.

Perhaps you've been striving for originality by removing yourself from the common.

I want to challenge you to gaze upon the world with creative eyes. Look at the world around you and begin to use it in new ways. Start to adapt what is already there to enhance the lives of those around you. Be creative by using what God has already created in a way to bring Him the overall glory.

True creativity is hidden within the common.

You've Been Trying Too Hard,

My Weekend In Pictures

I may have left LA but my heart is still in town.

It Really Is The City of Angels,


My weekend looks a little like this:

And this:

For the next 4 days my incredible fiancée (1 point Shane), Heather, and I will be in LA hanging with some great new friends. We are going to experience as much of the city as possible. We will be hanging with the Red Eye Inc. crew who are currently pursuing an agenda of love for all people. I am hoping for big things from this weekend trip.

I have always loved the people of Southern California. Every vacation I've taken to LA has been eye-opening and thought provoking, but every trip has been a vacation.

This time I'm ready to serve. I'm ready to have fun and enjoy the excitement of LA, but I'm also ready to experience the hurt. I am asking God to break my heart for the things that break His and for my eyes to be focused through His lens. I want my passion for the hurting to cause my heart to beat right out of my chest. I want my love for an amazing city to seep from my pores. I want this weekend to be everything it could and should be for a God-fearing, human loving man.

If what I am expecting is what God is planning, things could get interesting.

Southland Is Waiting,

This Little Thing Called Love

What's getting in the way of God's love in your life?

Do you hide behind Bible study materials, a hearty to-do list, or volunteer opportunities because they make you feel important?

What if i told you that you couldn't do anything to make God love you more?

This concept has completely blown my mind. For years I have been trapped in this corrupt idea of God's love. Reading my Bible more, spending more time at church, or being more "holy" would trick me into believing I was earning more love from God. I felt more loved when I was in a place that required me to do something. I had no idea that I could feel love better within the silence of my devotion time.

Here's the big idea:

"But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him." (Romans 5:8 MSG emphasis added)

Whoa, is that really in the Word?

We bring nothing to the table in our relationship with God, but for some reason He still loved us, He still loves us.

There is nothing we can do to earn God's love. He has been giving it unconditionally since the beginning of time. The time we spend devoting our lives to His cause are greatly blessed, but they don't submerge us in any more of His love. We had His love from the moment He created us. Before we were placed in our mother's womb He loved us. Before we had even taken our first breath, His love for us was just as great as it is now. We can never destroy God's love in our lives. Whether we reject Him or accept Him, His love remains the same.

God's great love stretches us in our personal love for others.

God first loved us while we were of "no use whatever" to Him. That requires us to love everyone around us. People don't need to earn our love, they should receive it simply because they exist. Everyone is someone, they breath, they sleep, they eat, they have a soul, that means they are worthy of our love. If we love other people before they offer us anything we will better understand exactly how we are loved.

Love is deep. Love is beyond rational thinking. Love has no boundaries. Love is the answer to all of our problems.

Love without thought today and every day of your life.

Shattering Misconceptions,

History Changed, Again

Apple has live events that single handedly change the face of technology history. They happen about twice a year and draw more attention than a a chimp riding a unicycle blindfolded. Seriously, they're that good.

Why do people always watch?

What is it about a computer company that has totally changed history?

Is there anything your church or business can learn from this example?

There has to be something about what Apple does that requires the attention of the world.

Maybe we should pay closer attention.

(p.s.-Can't wait to see how my blog looks on an iPad.)


Wanted: Opinions

I need your help blog readers.

Next Monday I have the privilege of speaking to youth leaders from all over the country. Our Youth ministry, ThreeSixty, is holding a conference ( prior to Pastor's School at Phoenix First.

(I may have just broken the link per sentence world record)

Anyways, back to the point. I NEED your help. Jesse Watson and I are doing a workshop on ministry in the 21st Century. During our "allotted time frame" we will be tackling the topics of social media, dynamic services, and personal networking. I have my personal opinions of what works and what doesn't, but I also realize I don't know nearly as much as I think I do.

That's why I want to know what you think.

If you are willing to help, leave a comment with your personal answers to these questions:

1. What is the most creative/off the wall idea you've ever seen/experienced in a church service?

2. What would make you more eager to interact with a church via FB, Twitter, YouTube, etc.? Do you believe that online ministry is an effective way to connect people with the local church? Why/Why Not?

3. Would you be willing to interact w/ a church that offers mobile notes, polls, and key scripture references during service? (i.e. and interactive service)

4. What is your purpose for personal networking? What drives you to read blogs, follow people on Twitter, and add friends on FB? (Be honest, I won't judge, other readers might, but not me.)

Your help and honesty will help me better equip other leaders that attend this workshop. I believe all of the principles Jesse and I will be discussing have a very important role in The Church and it's mission. The internet is becoming it's own nation so we have to find a way to share the gospel within it's borders.

Again, I value your opinions and want to learn from the people that stop by Revamp.

You are all awesome and I appreciate the help.

Happy Answering,

The Parable Of The Talents & A Life That Splatters

What are you doing right now?

Are you currently using the gifts God has given you to glorify Him?

Are you currently part of a career, church, school, or network that is pushing you to be your best for God?

Do you take your ministry seriously?

Are you chasing after your God-sized dreams with an unstoppable passion?

As I was reading the Parable Of The Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 (Go read it) I couldn't help but feel challenged by Jesus' teaching.

I have heard/read this story countless times but this time the Holy Spirit led me to see where this story applies in my own life. I am in a place of life right now that is absolutely crucial to my story. I know that seems pretty broad but I believe you are in the same place as well.

There is a reason why you are where you are right now. There is a reason why you have been entrusted with the influence, abilities, and blessings that are a part of your life right now. God has invested in you so that you may invest in others and glorify God. It's time that we start taking our situations seriously. Whether you are in a climbing phase of life or you are in your mountaintop experience, God has surrounded you with people, places, and situations that need your attention. God may currently be transitioning you to greater things but until that transition is complete you are to fully invest in your current situation. After all, sometimes we need to shows God that we can be entrusted with a few things before He trusts us with many things.

Give everything you have to be the best for God. Use all of your blood, sweat, and tears to fully invest in seeing His purpose throughout your life. Be relentless about pursuing His BIG dreams for your life but make sure some of that fervor splatters on the steps that lead up to the fulfillment of that vision.

I wouldn't want hide what God has given me for a fear that I may lose it...

Things didn't go well for that guy.

Invest Wisely,


Two nights ago ThreeSixty JV/Varsity held it's first outreach service of the year. Students from all over the Phoenix area gathered in The Stadium at Phoenix First for a night of complete mayhem. We worshiped, danced, partied, and responded all for the glory of God. Here is a a little clip from one of my favorite moments of the night:

There is something awesome about students getting pumped during a church service.

I Love What I Do,

(PS-Please excuse the Cloverfield style camera work and the really excited kid in the hoodie. Thanks.)

Knowing People vs. Meeting People

Do you like meeting people or knowing people?

If you answered yes to either there is a chance you're a networker. Maybe you have had coffee meetings with more people than you have in your church on a Sunday morning. Perhaps you have met some of the greatest influencers in the world today. You may have even expanded beyond the array of church leaders and crossed over into the business world, sports world, or entertainment industry. You may have met with a lot of people...

...but how many of those people do you really know?

Something I strive for is to learn from every person I encounter. I may get a new perspective of God's personality, His creativity, or even His wisdom if I prepare myself to learn from everyone. Every person walking on this Earth has something about them that reflects a fragment of the image of our Creator.

When you take the time to ask personal questions, listen, and dig deeper into what makes a person who they truly are, your understanding of God begins to grow.

The next time you sit down and connect with a person at any level, take the time to see them for more than what everyone else does.

If you do this the money you spent on their coffee will always be worth it.

Take Time To Discover,

3 Things Hollywood Can Learn From The Church (Part 3)

There is a reason why Hollywood has numerous residents that are constantly spiraling downward.

There is no hope.

There is no freedom.

There is no restoration.

The third thing I believe Hollywood needs to take from the church is the restoration process.

I don't understand how celebrities that fall go through rehab and then wind up in the tabloids 2 weeks later because of a relapse.

Hollywood needs to learn restoration rather than normalization.

When a celebrity falls it seems as though the main goal is to get that person back to a functional level and get them back in the party scene.

Am I the only one confused by this methodology?

What will it take for the famous to truly turn their lives around instead of getting back to a place where they can easily stumble again?

I know that there is a way to restore the broken people of Tinseltown.

I believe that the negative situations covered by the tabloids are a cry for help from the fallen individuals.

Hollywood needs grace just as much as you and I do.

The people within it's borders need the same healing as the people within your church.

Restoration should be for all people. Healing is something we all deserve.

Hollywood may be the source of numerous forms of negative influence, but they still need a Savior.

It's time that we restore the people in the lime light, rather than laugh at their mistakes.

"I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness." John 12:46 (NIV)

He wants to bring people out of the darkness...

Shouldn't Hollywood be brought out too?

It's For All People,

3 Things Hollywood Can Learn From The Church (Part 2)

Why is is that young stars and starlets are constantly falling into some of the worst conditions of today's society?

Almost every week someone is Hollywood is divorced, over dosed on drugs, involved in a social scandal, or arrested from some alcohol related issue.

I know that these issues are widespread but in Hollywood it is constantly happening to the same people group.

Something I have noticed is that famous people hang out with famous people. They marry famous people. They live with other famous people. They party with other famous people. They stick to the Fame Flock.

If we can all agree that famous people stick together, doesn't that raise the question as to why famous people keep falling?

The second thing Hollywood can learn from The Church is the principle of accountability.

Though not everyone in The Church lives an accountable life, it is still a commonly taught principle of a Christian's walk.

Hollywood has one form of accountability, TMZ; and once it has reached TMZ it's already too late.

What if the friends of one fallen individual stepped up to warn others of imminent danger. What if great falls weren't commonly accepted as the norm in Hollywood? What if one star or starlet stood up to change the perceptions of fame? What if one Christian decide that it was time for Hollywood to change?

I believe that when Hollywood learns accountability we will see TMZ covering more weddings than divorces. I know that when someone steps up to say enough is enough we will see a revolution in the influence that seeps from that town.

I feel that soon Hollywood will understand that failure shouldn't be so common among it's people.

Eventually someone will step up for change and Hollywood will learn accountability.

I pray for the day Hollywood grasps it's opportunity for good and God revives it's people.

It Could Be Sooner Than You Think,

3 Things Hollywood Can Learn From The Church (Part 1)

Hollywood: the center of influence in our modern world.

It's the place where dreams come true and harsh reality becomes public.

Creativity sores while real lives are left at stake.

Fame is the measure of success and body image is the drug of choice.

Everything within it's city limits has become a standard of greatness in today's modern world.

Having said that, Hollywood still has a lot to learn.

I believe there are 3 key elements that Hollywood can learn from The Church.

Element 1:

Substance is the key to captivating an audience.

In today's Church performance has become a vital part of the service. As soon as we walk into a church we are bombarded with music, video, hard copy marketing, and social media connections. All of these aspects of the church play a key role in how we engage our audience. Hollywood already understands how to do these things. We are driven to have the best presentation possible because the tiny town in Southern California has set such a high bar in that area.

What is different about the church is the substance of the video, music, marketing, and social media connections. The Church understands that what we have to say can potentially change lives. We are aware that a 2000 year old message is still relevant in today's world and we want to present it in a way that will draw people in. If we do anything less than the best in our media and marketing departments I believe we are doing God an injustice. We must present the message in a way that people will relate with. The message is what captivates the heart of the audience, the presentation is what brings them there to hear it.

That's one idea Hollywood has missed. They believe that attracting an audience, getting them to pay $8 for a ticket, and then giving them a movie that causes an adrenaline rush is enough to impact a life. Though a person may leave a movie theater with a sense of motivation or excitement, reality soon sets in that they are no closer to the life portrayed on the screen than they were prior to taking their seat.

When a person comes to church he or she can be forever changed by the message that is presented.

When a person goes to a movie he or she can be temporarily appeased by the inspiration of a fairy tale life.

One thing I must add is that there have been movies throughout time that have truly touched the hearts of their viewers, but what they all have in common is the fact that they are reality.

Movies that truly inspire are ones filled with heroics that are truly obtainable. Without a true message the presentation can only serve as a agitator of human emotions.

Maybe less sex, less drugs, less violence, and less money would actually bring more people to the movie theaters.

Substance Is Key,

Time Crunch

There are not enough hours in the day.

No matter how many times I ask God to extend the length of a day, it never happens.

I'm feeling it right now. Between work, school, church, wedding planning, and exercise almost all 24 of my hours are taken up.

I've been stressed, exhausted, focused, and distracted all at once in the past 2 weeks or so.

(That last sentence won't make sense unless you're in the same boat as me.)

Even though life has been non stop lately I wouldn't trade it for anything. Every day=progress. The wedding is sprinting closer, the ministry is taking off, the payroll hours are building, and I like to believe I'm gaining a little muscle.

I guess what I am trying to say is that my busy schedule is a blessing. Even though I've had some major stress moments (to put it kindly), I still know that God is the God of my schedule.

He has marked all of these locations on the roadmap of my life and I know there is a purpose. I truly love knowing that hard work will pay off. I believe that God has something in store for every area of my life I am currently pursuing. Some are obvious. Some, not so much. But at the end of each day when I rest my head I know that for the most part I moved closer to what's in store for tomorrow.

Do you feel progress in your life?

Keep On Truckin',

I'm So Annoying

There is one person who annoys me beyond anyone in the world...

Shane Sanchez.

I get so frustrated with myself when I know I can do better. I get upset when I'm late for something. I'm an angry person when I forget to set my alarm. I'm annoyed when something I do doesn't turn out the way I expected. I stress myself out by procrastinating.

The good thing about all of this is that I can fix it.

With God's strength and correction, I know that I have the ability to gain discipline, wisdom, and patience in this new year. If I set my mind to something I know that I can reach it and to be honest, in the past, I haven't made some of the little things my priority. I have taken for granted my ability to succeed where it counts and because of that I've done a poor job of smoothing out the edges.

Having said all that, I want to focus on the little things in 2010. This year I will gain discipline, wisdom, and patience because I care enough to work at them. I am thankful of God's grace as it's been extended to me many times through bosses, teachers, leaders, etc. but now it's time to do what Christ would do and live a more intentional life.

Maybe you are in the same boat. Maybe it's chronic tardiness that wears you down. Maybe it's constant procrastination that stresses you out. Maybe it's horrible time management that wastes your time. This is the year to change it. Step up to the plate with me and make 2010 a year to focus on the little things that mean the most in the long run.

I don't just want to be a great husband, leader, pastor, worker, and someday father. I want to be someone who lives like the Jesus I talk about constantly.

Here's To Intentional Living,