Mentors

Mentor defineA big brother. A father. An uncle. A grandfather. A best friend’s father. A youth leader from church.

Every person, but young men especially, need an older man to pour into their lives. We need someone to help us learn how to be a man. In our society, we put a lot of pressure on young women but there is also a lot of pressure put on young boys to become manly men. There are certain things that men must know. Things it is expected as a man we are aware of. There are also expectations for men which will dramatically change the world all of the men on the planet would get it right. Once these boys develop into men and then as they take on the roles of husband and father, the expectations only get higher.

How do boys learn to be men? How to boys learn the critical ‘man-stuff’ they need to know? The same way any of us learn anything – someone teaches us.

We need someone who will teach us how to treat women. Women are to be treated with dignity and respect, not as objects for our use and abuse. Boys and young men need someone to teach them the proper way to speak to a woman. The proper way to treat a young woman. I am not necessarily a supporter of the whole idea of courting, but certainly something has been lost in the way our youth and young adults are approaching dating. It has lost the special-ness and wonder it once had. It is now a commonplace, ordinary thing and not something that is special. We have lost to excitement and mystery of entering into a relationship with the opposite sex. There are a myriad of societal issues that could likely be traced back to this… that is a discussion for another time! As boys we need someone to teach us how to treat girls and ultimately women.

We need someone to teach us the mystery, wonder and exhilaration that is fire. This is essential to being a man. Other men will immediately gauge the usefulness of a man based on whether he can build a fire. Whether you use raw elements, a flint stone, lighter fluid or straight gasoline a man must be able to make a fire. This ties into a man’s overall outdoorsyness. Men are supposed to skilled outdoorsmen, too. How good of an outdoorsman can you be if you can’t start a fire.

We need someone to teach us how to properly grill meat. Any meat. Dead animal cooked over open flames is quintessential manhood. Without this ability, is a man really a man? Grilling is more than utilitarian preparation of food, it is an art form. It is something special.  Magic happens when meat is grilled.

We need someone to teach us sports. Almost without exception, it is not possible for a group of men to arrive at a park, field, friend’s house or church without some sports equipment. It could be as simple as a football, soccer ball, Frisbee or a baseball and glove. It would seem as though men are hardwired to play sports. In a group of dudes, even the ones that aren’t ‘athletic’ will find themselves getting drawn into the exhibition off sports. While we seem to be inherently keyed into sports, we still must have someone take the time and interest to cultivate the athlete inside of each of us.

Who teaches us these critical life lessons? It is often our father. Sometimes it is an older brother. It can be an uncle. Maybe a grandfather. Maybe it is your friend’s father. Or it could be a youth leader from church. Or maybe it is all of the above. As boys and young men we need someone to teach us important skills and lessons we need in life. We need someone to mentor us.

We all do. We all need someone to pour into our lives and help us to grow. It doesn’t have to be a perfect mentor. It just needs to be someone who cares about us enough to walk through life with us for a season. Mentors change. Seasons and times of our lives change and what we need out of mentors change. But, no matter the season of life we are in we need mentors.

Who has been a mentor to you? What have they taught you? Who have you been able to mentor?

My Neighborhood

Photo courtesy of http://www.agentevolution.com/

Photo courtesy of www.agentevolution.com/

I’m in my car… driving to work. Yes, I shouldn’t be doing this… but I am. Technically, the law states it is illegal to text while driving. There isn’t specific mention of Evernoting. I bet I could find a Davy attorney who could get me off. Anyway, digression.

Several months ago, I began reading a book called ‘When I don’t desire God’ by John Piper. Real heady stuff. I began to read this as we started a life group with a couple other couples. Oddly enough, this life group/small group/missional community/community group whatever you call it initially birthed as three couples from h2o connected with each other, yet didn’t find a home in any of h2o’s missional communities (fancy name for life group). That’s not the strange part… the strange part is none of us attend h2o any longer (all for various reasons, some of which are intertwined but all happened independently of the others). I believe this group or community to be an authentic life-giving community for a number of reasons… but our ability to survive our separation from h2o is one of them.
I have found in my life I have often had two communities. My friends and my church friends. There has always been some overlap. Real, authentic community of friendship transcends church attendance. I count the men in this quorum to be my closest friends whom I can just as easily pound beers with, share my parenting issues with, ask for marriage advice (even though I’ve been married the longest), and share my sun struggles. In all we do together, we are committed to each other and to sharing our lives together… the good the bad and the ugly.
Community is about having people with whom you share common interests, but also a common interest in pushing each other forward and helping each other to be the best person we can be. This seems a little trite, but the reality of authenticity is just this. Community is about being integrated into each other’s lives in a such a way that when we are apart we are missed.
I have experienced this kind of community in the past. Sadly, it has not been a normative experience for me. I count myself lucky to walk alongside my friends in my community.
It is now late in the afternoon, and I finally have an opportunity to bring myself back around to wrapping this up. As i review my thoughts thus far, I realize when I began this morning I wasn’t intending to share my thoughts on the community I have with my friends (and granted, they aren’t even necessarily fulled thought out thoughts). Even so, I want to share a few closing thoughts to attempt to wrap this up in a semi-meaningful way.
We are community-driven creatures. I believe one of the aspects of being made in the likeness of God is this community aspect. We have an innate desire to surround ourselves with others. We thrive on having a group of people with whom we can travel through life. Loneliness is never our choice. As humans we want others around us.
Not only do we want to have a community, but we want to belong to a community. We want to a part of it, be a piece that matters. We want to know others depend on us and need us around. We want to feel as though we are irreplaceable. We long to be indispensable to those around us. Being in a group only brings the fulfillment we crave when we belong to the group.
Similar, yet still distinct, we want to matter. Not just to those around us, but in the larger cosmic scheme of things. We want to know we have a place in a larger story. We want to belong locally to our community, but also globally. We need to know our life matters, that it was for something. We don’t necessarily need to change the world to find this meaning, but we want to know the things we do each day are worth doing. We want to know the days we had here on earth amounted to something of worth. As a child of God, our very existence was worth every drop of our precious savior’s blood he poured out for us. Our very existence is of more worth than we could possibly know or comprehend.
Community, belonging, meaning. These are three truths of existence for every human being. I am thankful and blessed to have a community to travel the road of life with where I find these three basic needs filled in a way consistent with God’s design for me here on earth. I am able to walk through life with a little patience until these needs are ultimately fulfilled by my creator and savior.
I hope you find a community like mine.

My Takeaways from #Catalyst14

catalystI enjoyed the catalyst experience very much overall. I feel like personally, it had much to say to me and where I am in my life currently. It was good to be able to sit in the worship and enjoy the music and to participate in worshipping our Savior. It was also very encouraging to hear all the great sermons we heard in a short time. My friend who picked me up from the airport asked me who my favorite speaker was… I wasn’t able to pick just one! I think they all had some fantastic things to say and were all very challenging of me. So, let me try to funnel that down into a few thoughts of what challenged me the most.

  1. Andy Stanley’s opening message which challenged us to answer the two questions – 1. Who are you? and What breaks your heart?; really stuck with me because I honestly had to really think through the answer to the second one. Not because I don’t know what excites or invigorates me (I hesitate the use the word ‘passion’ since it is so overplayed these days) or what really gets me fired up. I had a hard time with this I think thanks to where I am in my life. I would have answered the questions slightly differently along the way in my life, and as my brain and heart catches up to where I find God has led me in life I found my self searching for what the answer is in this season. Strangely enough, the answer in this season is not very different from the answer it has been in previous seasons of my life. Families. Families break my heart. Families who need help of any kind. I have seen so many families without the resources and tools to do better than what they are doing and this breaks my heart. I realized as I worked as a caseworker, the difference between the families I worked with and me was a very fine line. A fine line of tools that were in my toolbox, but not in theirs. This has been the driving motivator in me finding the path God has set before me for some time in my life. My heart breaks for families in need. This is perfect, considering where I find God has put me. Working with children and families in a local church setting. Working with children and families in the child welfare setting. I guess the first takeaway for me was more of a confirmation or reaffirmation of being in the place God wants me. This has been something I have spent time considering and thinking through recently… just trying to figure out my life.
  2. The second takeaway comes from Dr. Leaf and the small amount of the book we purchased that I have read. This ‘new’ information regarding habit and thought formation has truly revolutionized the way I think about behavioral change. When coupled with what I have been learning through TBRI, I have a new landscape moving forward in the brain and assisting others to make behavioral changes. Not only is it possible to change behavior, but it is possible to change the brain to adjust the thought patterns. This is a total game changer for the way we think about helping people effect change. I am excited to read more in this book and learn more about changing habits.
  3. Robert Madu had words which were very fitting for us at Grace Landing. Being a small organization, it is easy to play the comparison game and look at other agencies and wonder why we aren’t able to do things the ways they are. We aren’t those other agencies, so we can’t do things the way they are doing them. And we shouldn’t want to. God has blessed us in a unique ways to accomplish the ministry he set before us. When I look at the individual pieces of the puzzle we each bring to the table, I am encouraged to see the plan underneath it. We are approaching the issues of young men needing transitional assistance and foster parent training in a revolutionary way! We are coming at these problems in a way that is different than how anyone (in our area, and for the most part throughout the nation) else is addressing them. We are running the race God has set before us and no one else. I also took much comfort in Craig Groeschel’s thoughts on how to experience exponential innovation as they apply to us. The first thing needed to experience exponential change is limited resources. I heard that and thought, well that’s us! Think about how much God is doing through a small, meager organization. We are a part of totally redefining the way foster parent training and recruiting is being done in Florida! Foster care will never be the same thanks to the work we are doing. Are you serious? YES! We are game changers.
  4. The last major takeaway I have is this, we are precisely where God wants us to be. I think we heard that 100 times at catalyst. God has set this ministry before us and we are to run this race to the best that we can, trusting God will provide the resources necessary to finish the race. God is able to accomplish his purposes without or without us, but he has decided to use us to accomplish those purposes in the ministries he has called us to. God has put us here because he has gifted us with what we need to do this work. He hasn’t set before a ministry we aren’t able to accomplish, on the contrary – he has gifted us in a way to accomplish this ministry.
Catalyst was exactly what I needed in life right now. It renewed my mind and reignited my heart.

Fruit of the Spirit

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I sit here in my office and I am reflecting on several things at this moment.

Later today, we are heading to Jacksonville for our first soccer tournament with one of the boys. This is new for us. We have played recreational soccer up tip this point and now we are in a competitive soccer. This is all new territory for us. This is on my mind.
Additionally, I am thinking through the many tasks needing to be accomplished as a part of the job whose office I sit at now with my feet propped on my desk listening to Celldweller’s Purified writing these rambling thoughts about stuff. There always feels to be a mountain of tasks to be accomplished. I guess this is good, because it is rarely that I sit around with nothing to do. Usually when I have nothing to do it is because I simply choose to not do what needs to be done.
I am also thinking through tasks needing to be wrapped for H2O Church. Adding this FT job to my plate has forced me to rearrange priorities and is causing me to have to specifically make time to get those tasks accomplished. We have recruited a bunch of new people and I am in need of connecting with them to ensure we don’t lose the momentum. On top of that, we are having church tomorrow and not on Sunday… and I am not sure we are going to have the staff to really handle the service. It would be a stretch to begin with if all the leadership of the kids ministry were going to be there, but they are not… added to this is a new variable which will significantly impair how we do things up there tomorrow.
Now, We as Human is rocking Sever through my speakers.
It is at times like these I become implicitly aware of my need for assistance in getting everything accomplished. Yes, I need a personal assistant. Wonder what it would cost to hire someone to follow me around and do the things I don’t feel like doing or don’t have the time to do? You know like on Monk…
Anyway, what I mean to say is… it is at seasons like this I realize my need for something bigger than me offering me peace, patience and contentment in getting things finished. I don’t think being a Christ-follower offers me some sort of supernatural ability to multitask or organize my time in such a way that I am more successful. But I do think being able to lean and trust in God offers me the peace, patience and contentment I can’t find elsewhere. My natural bent in life is not to be peaceful, patient or contented. I need assistance from something else, someone else to get these characteristics. I just don’t have them in my toolbox.
What I also realize in these times is how little I rely on God. As I am writing this, I think the fruits of the spirit sure would be helpful in times like this… yet I spend very little time cultivating those fruits in my life purposefully. It is more like i stumble through life hoping along the way I will stumble across or bump into the fruit of spirit and somehow some of them will stick to me, There isn’t the discipline needed to intentionally build these into my life.
At the beginning of August, I began training for marathon number two (the Space Coast Marathon on 11/30/14). I took a couple of weeks to think through the best training plan for me. What was going to be the best approach to training for the marathon so I could do better in this one than I did in the last one. I would never think of haphazardly training for this marathon. I am being very purposeful and diligent in my training. Every aspect of it is being thought through from the running the cross training (which looks like crossfit 3x a week) to the nutritional intake. Why do I approach a marathon this way but not my spiritual life… which has four other people depending on me to have a strong, close relationship with Jesus?
It appears there is no excuse for me. I owe it to Jesus and Ronda, Noah, Hayden and Jagger to be more purposeful… more disciplined… more intentional in my walk with Jesus. My life as a father and husband is just like a marathon… it is a long distance race requiring stamina allowing me to stay in the race when I feel like I can’t go on any farther. The ability to persevere comes from the strength the spirit of God offers me. I must eat more of his fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

Calling

In church/ministry circles we talk a lot about calling. God has called his people out of darkness, God has called his church to be the light shining in the darkness. God has called me to tell you this. God has called us to any number of things.

God has called me to ministry. God has put a passion, a desire and insatiable lust for ministry on my heart. Yes, that’s right I used the word lust to describe the way I feel about ministry. I can’t escape, I can’t runaway from it. I lie awake at night thinking about it.
God has called me to actively be a part of making his kingdom be realized here on earth.
God has gifted me to make this possible.
I’m not tooting my own horn when I recognize this gifting that God has given me. I am expertly gifted to thrive in ministry. Nothing excites me more than using my gifts to further the kingdom of God. Except maybe the thrill of bombing down a hill on my mountain bike or reaching the top of a rock face I just climbed or crashing through whitewater or imparting the skills to my sons so they can do those things.
Obviously, this discussion is huge with tons of ramifications and smaller points along the way… but suffice it to say God has called me into ministry and nothing else I do for a job will satisfy me. Morpheus said it best, “Driving you mad, like a splinter in your mind.”
I have decided to revel in this calling and thrust myself headlong into the grace of God and live the dream.
I am living the dream.

Beat Up, Used Up & Broken

Good Morning! For those of you visiting with us today, my name is Eli. For those of you who are regular attenders… my name is Eli.

I’m super excited about being here to share with you this morning. This is an honor and a privilege to be here this morning.

I am a failure. I’m broken, beat up, used up, spit out, loser, disappointment, inadequate, incapable, insufficient… a failure. Let me try to help you understand how I got here…

I grew up in a Christian home, with an ordained dad & mom. I graduated high school and went to Bible college. You ever notice how when kids who grow up in the church graduate high school and then their faith is challenged? My faith wasn’t really challenged until I was about 30 with a wife and 2 kids. The first time my faith was challenged was as I served at a church in Gainesville that really chewed me up and spit me out. That experience caused me to question who I was, my abilities, my self-worth, self-confidence, my purpose in life, and my calling. I was left without self-confidence, without courage and without belief in myself to accomplish anything (particularly in ministry), feeling like a failure.

Lucky for me, I was pretty quickly hired as a caseworker for DCF, which prohibited me from really processing and working through the feelings of failure this church experience created within me. I really loved working as a case manager, it created in me a passion for the broken and screwed up families around me.

But you see, I sorta felt like Ezekiel. You remember he was in training to be a priest. And before that role could really take off Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 B.C., and his chance at being a priest utterly destroyed when the temple was blown up.

So I got into case management and saw the underbelly of the American family. The abuse that occurs is sickening and inhuman. However, when exposed with this tragedy, I felt like this was my calling in life, that God was calling me to work in this field to be a ray of light in darkness. I felt as though God had prepared me for this role. After about 4 years at this job it was taken away from me, when I had a supervisor that decided he didn’t like me and formed a personal mission to fire me. Finally, when over-worked and stressed out I reacted to him in a way that gave him the opening he was looking for to fire me. I felt like Jeremiah who said:(Jer.20v7) 7 O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.

In case you missed what just happened there, he called God a liar. I felt that way. I had 2 careers taken away from me. When I say they were taken away from me, what I mean is I had failed in both. With ministry, I failed in the sense that I couldn’t play the game in such a way to keep a position successfully at a church and I failed in case management in the sense that I couldn’t get along with my supervisor in a way that would keep him from firing me. So here I was married with 2 kids and jobless. I was broken, beat up, used up, throw out, a failure, a loser, worthless, and depressed. I spent a solid 2-3 years depressed and I mean depressed to the point where I was crippled, unable to move forward in life.

I was a failure.

Slowly, God began to awaken me and assist me in realizing it’s ok to be a failure…

Look at Peter, one of my heroes from the Scriptures: He was a failure’s failure. The only thing he didn’t fail at was failing. A few examples:

  1. Walking on Water – or should we say almost drowning in the water?
  2. Cut off dude’s ear… why the ear?!? Was he was just that bad with a sword, that it was completely accidental?
  3. Denied Jesus 3x

He constantly failed and was constantly re-used by God. Constantly restored, constantly redeemed. As I looked at Peter I realized, even in my failures God didn’t view me as worthless. I recalled Romans 5v8 that says,

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Or what about 1 Cor. 6v20,

For you have been bought with a price.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with a God who loves us, who values us & our failures. God loves us even though we fail. We am his creation, his children and as such he values us enough to do whatever is necessary to restore, redeem and return us to him.

Even though I fail.

And maybe to some degree because I fail.

God uses our failures as the space to make his strength evident. When we realize our inabilities, our shortcomings, that’s when we have the eyes to see the power of God and how it is perfected.

Check out 2 Cor. 12v7-10,

7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Really? Our weaknesses, our failures become our source of strength.

God loves failures.

Our biggest failures often become our greatest accomplishments. That’s how I got to H2O. Orlando was the site of my biggest failure. Where I went deep into depression, where I couldn’t find a job, where I almost obliterated my family, where all of my worst fears about myself became my reality. God is using my biggest failure to be my greatest accomplishment.

I wanna close with this comparison:

You remember Judas, he sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. He failed. Instead of allowing God to redeem him he took his own life.

What about Paul, who made it his life purpose to kill every Christian. He failed. But he allowed God to redeem him and he was the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Are you gonna let God use your failures? Are gonna be a Judas or a Paul?

Beat Up, Used Up & Broken

Good Morning! For those of you visiting with us today, my name is Eli. For those of you who are regular attenders… my name is Eli.

I’m super excited about being here to share with you this morning. This is an honor and a privilege to be here this morning.

I am a failure. I’m broken, beat up, used up, spit out, loser, disappointment, inadequate, incapable, insufficient… a failure. Let me try to help you understand how I got here…

I grew up in a Christian home, with an ordained dad & mom. I graduated high school and went to Bible college. You ever notice how when kids who grow up in the church graduate high school and then their faith is challenged? My faith wasn’t really challenged until I was about 30 with a wife and 2 kids. The first time my faith was challenged was as I served at a church in Gainesville that really chewed me up and spit me out. That experience caused me to question who I was, my abilities, my self-worth, self-confidence, my purpose in life, and my calling. I was left without self-confidence, without courage and without belief in myself to accomplish anything (particularly in ministry), feeling like a failure.

Lucky for me, I was pretty quickly hired as a caseworker for DCF, which prohibited me from really processing and working through the feelings of failure this church experience created within me. I really loved working as a case manager, it created in me a passion for the broken and screwed up families around me.

But you see, I sorta felt like Ezekiel. You remember he was in training to be a priest. And before that role could really take off Jerusalem was sacked by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 B.C., and his chance at being a priest utterly destroyed when the temple was blown up.

So I got into case management and saw the underbelly of the American family. The abuse that occurs is sickening and inhuman. However, when exposed with this tragedy, I felt like this was my calling in life, that God was calling me to work in this field to be a ray of light in darkness. I felt as though God had prepared me for this role. After about 4 years at this job it was taken away from me, when I had a supervisor that decided he didn’t like me and formed a personal mission to fire me. Finally, when over-worked and stressed out I reacted to him in a way that gave him the opening he was looking for to fire me. I felt like Jeremiah who said:(Jer.20v7) 7 O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me.

In case you missed what just happened there, he called God a liar. I felt that way. I had 2 careers taken away from me. When I say they were taken away from me, what I mean is I had failed in both. With ministry, I failed in the sense that I couldn’t play the game in such a way to keep a position successfully at a church and I failed in case management in the sense that I couldn’t get along with my supervisor in a way that would keep him from firing me. So here I was married with 2 kids and jobless. I was broken, beat up, used up, throw out, a failure, a loser, worthless, and depressed. I spent a solid 2-3 years depressed and I mean depressed to the point where I was crippled, unable to move forward in life.

I was a failure.

Slowly, God began to awaken me and assist me in realizing it’s ok to be a failure…

Look at Peter, one of my heroes from the Scriptures: He was a failure’s failure. The only thing he didn’t fail at was failing. A few examples:

  1. Walking on Water – or should we say almost drowning in the water?
  2. Cut off dude’s ear… why the ear?!? Was he was just that bad with a sword, that it was completely accidental?
  3. Denied Jesus 3x

He constantly failed and was constantly re-used by God. Constantly restored, constantly redeemed. As I looked at Peter I realized, even in my failures God didn’t view me as worthless. I recalled Romans 5v8 that says,

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Or what about 1 Cor. 6v20,

For you have been bought with a price.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with a God who loves us, who values us & our failures. God loves us even though we fail. We am his creation, his children and as such he values us enough to do whatever is necessary to restore, redeem and return us to him.

Even though I fail.

And maybe to some degree because I fail.

God uses our failures as the space to make his strength evident. When we realize our inabilities, our shortcomings, that’s when we have the eyes to see the power of God and how it is perfected.

Check out 2 Cor. 12v7-10,

7 Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Really? Our weaknesses, our failures become our source of strength.

God loves failures.

Our biggest failures often become our greatest accomplishments. That’s how I got to H2O. Orlando was the site of my biggest failure. Where I went deep into depression, where I couldn’t find a job, where I almost obliterated my family, where all of my worst fears about myself became my reality. God is using my biggest failure to be my greatest accomplishment.

I wanna close with this comparison:

You remember Judas, he sold Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. He failed. Instead of allowing God to redeem him he took his own life.

What about Paul, who made it his life purpose to kill every Christian. He failed. But he allowed God to redeem him and he was the one who brought the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Are you gonna let God use your failures? Are gonna be a Judas or a Paul?

How did I end up Right Here?

You would not believe where God has taken my family over the last couple of years!
It is my prayer this message finds you well today. I know it has been awhile since we last spoke, but you have been in my thoughts recently. Ronda, the boys (Noah, Hayden, & Jagger) and I have embarked on a new leg of this journey I call being a disciple of Christ. I am writing to you to share a little of that journey with you, as well share my passion for the calling God has given me that leads us to where we are now.

Let me take you back just a couple years… in 2008 my family began attending H2O Church in Orlando. We began attending at a time when we needed something different, something healing in our lives. (You may already know of the mental, emotional and financial struggles our family faced during this time… so I won’t go into the details) H2O was just what we needed. We were afforded acceptance, accountability, love and growth. God blessed us beyond measure through H2O.

After being a part of the church for about a year we felt God calling us to move to Gainesville as a continuing part of our restoration and healing. So we moved to Gainesville again. Going back to Gainesville wasn’t as much of a homecoming as we thought it would be. We lived in Gainesville for around 9 months while Ronda worked at a law firm as a family law attorney and I worked a few different jobs trying to find something I could really sink my teeth into. During this time we began to pray for God to open up a church for us to minister at. An opportunity opened for us in Jacksonville (this move to Jacksonville is why we didn’t stay in Gainesville long this time around).
Moving to Jacksonville didn’t quite turn out the way we had expected it to. What we understood to be long-term move, God only planned to be a short-term move. We moved to Jacksonville on April 1, 2010 and by the end of the year we were moving again. We had the opportunity to serve God at a church, doing some pretty amazing things. It is strange sometimes, how God uses us and prepares us for the future at times when we don’t see it.
While at this church I was called upon to redesign the children’s ministry and implement a new strategy that had never been used at this church before. We were able to restructure the mentality and philosophy of the church into that of a family ministry approach and re-trained and equipped current and new volunteers to the new philosophy of ministry.
As the year came to a close, it became obvious to us through some difficult situations that our time here was not intended to be long. As we prepared to move again, I was able to reconnect with the leadership at H2O Church Orlando and we began to discuss the possibility of me coming on staff with them. As we discussed what this might look like it became apparent that one of the greatest needs for H2O is someone who can restructure, re-organize and implement new strategies within the current children’s ministry. A task I was recently prepared for!
Which brings us essentially to the current moment. H2O is a missionary-style church in the sense that the staff is supported like missionaries by individuals like yourself. My family and I are currently in the initial phase of the work God has called us to at H2O and we are raising support in order to be have a salary to be released to do ministry on the ground here in Orlando. I am reaching out to you at this time to seek an audience with you to sit down in your home, over breakfast/lunch or at a coffee shop to share in person my passion and vision for the ministry God has called me to. I am seeking to build a team of individuals to partner with us in accomplishing ministry in Orlando.

a Philosophy of Ministry

Honestly, right now I am struggling with the timing and placement of a few things that God is doing in my life right now. I was asked to describe my spiritual journey and my philosophy of ministry, so I did. What I realized in doing this was that it helped to clarify in my mind some of the passions that God has given to me. In an attempt to assist you in knowing me a little more, I wanted to share a brief explanation of what motivates me in ministry.

The previous post gives you a very brief snapshot of what the journey of Eli was like.

Say tuned for a post in a week or two that will be more comprehensive in the journey of Eli as I prepare a message to give at H2O Church Orlando on Labor Day weekend.

So here it is, some of my thoughts on ministry.

a Philosophy of Ministry

  • I believe in  family ministry model. I believe the family as a whole needs to be considered and that all ministry needs to be done within the context of strengthening the family as a whole unit.
  • I believe the children need to be taught on a level they can understand.
  • I believe elementary aged kids needs to be spurred on to grow and learn more as they age.
  • I believe the middle school and high schoold students need to be challenged to lead real, relevant lives in our culture today.
  • I believe the families need to be equipped to train and teach their children, reinforcing what the kids learn at church.
  • I believe the parents need better skills to handle the difficult questions in life and how to apply Biblical truth to answer those questions.
  • I believe the key to ministry is to:
    • Create excitement around what God has done for us.
    • Apply the truth of Scriptures to daily life
    • Equip families to weather the storms of life together
    • Equip parents to answer the difficult questions their kids will ask.

This is by no means complete, but it is a start…