Monday, April 22, 2013

Trains, Trains, & More Trains...

We had the opportunity this past weekend to head down to Indianapolis with 4 student leaders from the Uprising to begin our first annual student leadership trip.  We ventured down to Downtown Indianapolis, IN and stayed at the Crown Plaza Union Station hotel.  If you are familiar with the Union Station, you know that it is a working train station & you can hear the sounds of trains throughout the night (sometimes scary, but very cool) you can also have the chance to stay in a repurposed train car.  Although we did not get a chance to stay in the actual train car we did get to act like we were fresh out of a Harry Potter movie :).

Although the trains were great, we had much more in store with this adventure to Indianapolis.  Starting in January of this year we begin to meet together with a group of student leaders from the Uprising Student Ministries.  We meet once a week to develop and grow as leaders and have the opportunity lead our Growth Groups which happen every other week on Sunday Night.  These are groups that are 100% student led and are great opportunities for students to grow as they are being taught by other students.

In Indianapolis, we were gifted with the opportunity to spend some time with Shane Combs who is the Director of Student Ministries at Bridgeway Community Church in Fishers, IN.  He is not only the pastor at this church, but is a great friend and brother in Christ.  I have had the honor of working with him in the past and could not have been happier to invite him to join us.

Shane Combs had so many great things to share with our students, but I would like to share with you some keys that stuck out to me as he shared them to us.

First of all in order to be a Leader you must first be a follower.  It is important to look at the leaders of the bible and realize first that they had to be leaders in order to understand how to be a leader.  Some keys he had the students write down were as follows

1.  Must be ALERT
        Be aware of What Jesus is doing in your life & your ministry
2.  Must be BRAVE
         What if no one else believes in Jesus, would you still follow him
3.  Committed
          You are so crazy, zealous that you will follow even to the point that it seems crazy

He also shared in our second session some nuggets that were important to keep in mind as our students lead our ministry.  They are as follows:

1.  Leaders Lead
        Leaders do just that, there is no time off of being a leader.  If you are a true leader you ALWAYS      
2.  Law of the Lid
        You will never be able to lead someone past the point of your leadership, must continue to learn
3.  What you allow to be inspected, will be expected
         Must let someone into what is wrong w/ you, a mentor that can push you and teach you

These were just a few of the points that he was able to share with our students and they were so motivated by his wisdom and knowledge when it came to student leadership.  I am so excited to see them implement what they learned into their daily lives.  God is doing some great things in our students lives and I am so excited to be apart of it.

till another day,


Can't stop singing...

As a celebration for the fact that the weather is nice and I just got my driver's side window fixed (now It rolls down again), I wanted to put together a list of songs that I just cannot stop singing.  Some of them are really embarrassing, but that is my life.  Some of them are from some great friends of mine and some of them are from some people I wish were great friends of mine.  Either way I hope you will enjoy them, download them, and support the artists that created them.  Here goes: 

1.  Same Love - Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Mary Lambert) - The Heist 

2.  Mirrors - Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience

3.  10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) - Rend Collective Experiment - Campfire 

4.  Noises - Mike Mains & the Branches - Calm Down, Everything is Fine (Not Yet Released)

5.  Preacher - OneRepublic - Native 

6.  Relentless - Hillsong United - Zion 

7.  My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark - Fall Out Boy - Save Rock and Roll 

8.  Stay - Rihanna (feat. Mikky Ekko) - Unapologetic 

9.  Home - Belle Histoire - Dreamers 

10.  White Sands - Mount Moriah - Miracle Temple 

All of these records are great and I am so excited to keep belting them out with the windows rolled down as the warm weather continues to roll in.  Make sure and comment below with your list of songs you just love to belt out.  Also, an extra shout out to Belle Histoire & Mike Mains & the Branches.  These are two great bands from Cincinnati and Michigan that are trying to make a living doing what they love.  I have had the honor of meeting them before and they are some great guys.  You would never go wrong grabbing any of their stuff.  

till another day, 


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Masters...

If you know me or know a golfer you probably know what the word "Masters" means.  It may seem like a mundane word that describes someone who is at the top of their field (whatever that may be), but for a golfer "The Masters" caps the best week of the year.

Early in April every year the best of the best in the sport of golf are invited to pay homage to the great Bobby Jones as they compete in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in August, GA.  Since 1934, this tournament has invited the best of the best to play in an invitation only event at the most prestigious golf clubs in the world.  Augusta National Golf club is a special place where only the privileged have been given the opportunity to play its beautifully landscaped 18 holes.  It is not like your local club even in the slightest bit, in order to become a member you must be invited.  After being invited the fees are anywhere from $10,000 - $30,000, thus allowing the best of the best in their field to be members.  Each member has the ability to play the course as well as attend the Masters tournament, but they are only able to invite one guest.  The guest you invite must pass a rigorous background check as well as leave all electronics in their room when they go out to play.  There are no cart paths and caddies are given to each member each round.  It brings the tradition back to playing a round of golf and it is truly the way golf should be played.

The other way to become a member at the most prestigious golf club in the world is win the Masters tournament each year.  As a winner of the tournament, you are now a member for life, given a members Green Jacket, and having a permanent spot in the Champions locker room of the Augusta National clubhouse.  So many amazing golfers call that locker room home the likes of Gene Sarezen, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Jack Nicholas, Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, just to name a few.  It is an amazing place and it is an amazing honor to call yourself a champion that every golfer dreams of.

I had the amazing honor of being able to attend the 2008 Masters with my dad and it was truly magical.  My words cannot accurately describe how powerful the experience truly was and I will forever indebted to my dad for giving me that opportunity.  I am going to do my best to describe my experience, here it goes.

You drive up the grounds and cannot see anything by 15 foot tall privacy bushes, not allowing you to see any of what is behind it until you drive in.  You walk up to the course and it is like you are in another world, one side of the bushes is busy streets, city life, then you walk in and you are in a whole new place.   There are beautiful trees as far as the eye can see, the grass is the greenest it can be, flowers in perfect bloom, truly magical.  You then walk even further and you walk past the tournament gates onto the perfectly mowed grass of Augusta National.  You see the putting green to your left, with the clubhouse beside and the first tee just ahead.  The television does not do it justice, because the colors are unlike anything else I have ever seen.  I have played hundreds of rounds of golf and never in my life have I seen the purist color green in my life.  You walk the fairways and you see that they look like they have jumped out of a painting.  Not one blade of grass is miss cut, the pine straw is always in its' place, the leaves never fall where they shouldn't, the sand is as white as snow,there are never divots on the perfect greens, and the water is as clear as looking in a mirror.  The fairways are sloped, the rough is thick, the greens are fast and the water is a factor like never before.  It is a picture of what I believe heaven would be like someday (if God were a golfer).  This is how God would design his course and it is truly an amazing sight to see.  I will never forget the 2 days that I spent walking those grounds.

Below are some pictures from my experience at the Masters in 2008.

Par 3 12th Green

Par 3 16th Hole

Alec in front of the Main Patron Scoreboard near the First Tee

Tiger Woods @ the Short Game Practice Facility

Dad & I
Each it gets more excited to see the amazing golf tournament that is the Masters and to remember the experience I had at Augusta National.  If you are a golf fan, you must find a way to get there someday and even if you are not take some time to sit down and talk with a golf fan about the Masters means to them.  It is truly an amazing week and I am so excited to see it unfold.

Watch full coverage on, CBS, & ESPN.

till another day,


The Bible - Epic MiniSeries...

As many of you may know, The Bible has been center stage over the past 6 weeks and not just because it was Easter two weeks ago, but because the History Channel has aired a 10 part series on The Bible.  Nothing like this has been taken on before by a Director or a group of people, but they decided to take on the entire 66 books of the bible in a 10 hour miniseries.  A daunting task, but courageous to take it on.  

Many of my ministry friends had a lot to say about this series specifically with its' lack of accuracy with the actual scriptures and its' dramatic adaptions, but what I found to be true was that the scriptures were being put on center stage for the past 6 weeks and there were regard viewers like never before.  

As a student minister, I found the Bible miniseries not only to be good, but very beneficial for those I am trying to minister too on a regular basis.  Something that us in students ministries are fighting on a daily basis is the lack of comprehension or understanding of the scriptures.  We are constantly have to communicate and paint a picture from words on a page, that can sometimes be difficult to paint.  But the benefit behind this miniseries is that it does an amazing job of putting faces with the stories.  It allows those that are visual learners the opportunity to engage the scriptures in a new and powerful way.  Thus for those who learn in this way, making the excitement of the scriptures alive and rekindling that fire that may have been lost at a younger age.  

Like everything else that has been produced about the bible or an interpretation of the scriptures, we must understand just that.  It is an interpretation of the scriptures and the directors did not mean for it to be taken as 100% accurate.  They understood that they would be unable to tackle some big sections of the text as well as making some of it more dramatic than need be.  Some of the main concerns I heard from friends of mine was Samson's ethnicity, their accents, & the emphasis on Mary Magdalene.  What I have to say to all of that is that you are missing the bigger picture.  A layperson who has never read the bible in there life is not concerned as to whether Samson was a powerful, white, jewish man or whether Mary Magdalene spoke in a powerful way amongst the disciples, they are seeing the power of God found in the New Testament and ultimately the hope that comes with Jesus Christ.  

What I found to be true was that the powerful picture of Jesus' death and resurrection was depicted in an amazing way for billions of people to see, many of which will be changed by this.  I do believe that God is saying to us that through this series his name is being glorified.  Although there were some minor details that should have been fixed doesn't change the fact that the gospel was being preached in a new and powerful way.  It is important for us as pastors to recognize this importance, despite our scholarly criticism.  

till another day,