RSS

The Great Adventure: 20 Years In Ministry

Earlier this week my wife and I had a uncommon occasion where we were alone in the car while we drove to my parents to spend the evening with them at a couple of different events.  Since my mom keeps Bo and Lorelai during the day they were already there.  Stephanie and I took advantage of the rare drive with no DVD blaring from the backseat (I can probably quote all three Madagascar movies in their entirety even though I have never actually watched one of them) and at one point listened to a really old Steven Curtis Chapman cd.  This particular cd came up because Stephanie had tried to accuse me of singing the wrong lyrics to The Great Adventure right before we left our house.  Now I may have no clue who Justin Bieber or Drake or Ariana Grande (sounds like a Starbucks drink, I mean should I be ordering that right now instead of a venti pumpkin spice latte with two pumps hazelnut and two pumps cinnamon dolce?)  are and wouldn’t recognize a single song from any of them, but I do know old school contemporary Christian Music.  As we sang and laughed and told stories of growing up in our different youth groups I began to reminisce.  The next day I listened to the song some more, as well as a bunch of other music from that time in my life and from the last almost twenty years since high school.  As I did so I began to reflect on the past twenty years since September 04, 1994.

September 04, 1994 was a Sunday.  I remember it well.  It was Labor Day weekend.  My sister was home from college for the first time.  I had just started my junior in high school.  We (the MHS Buffs) had lost to Enid on Friday night.  On Saturday I had gone to a third birthday party for my pastor’s son at the caboose in the McDonalds parking lot in McAlester.  It was one of my Dad’s weekends to stay with Grandpa and take care of him.  We sat in a different place at church that Sunday.  It was just Mom, Julie, and me (dad was bringing Grandpa from Haileyville to our house in McAlester for lunch).  We were a typical Baptist family and had our normal spot; it was on the section to the right a few rows from the front.  But that Sunday we sat in the middle even closer to the front, right in the middle of the youth section.  I couldn’t tell you what we sang or what Dr. Adams’ sermon was about but that day I quit fighting with God about the course and direction of my life.  For over a year I had been wrestling with God over ministry.  The previous summer I had gone to Centrifuge youth camp at Glorieta New Mexico with a small group of youth from the church.  In the prayer garden one night I began to feel God tell me that I would be used by Him and be in ministry.  I fought that hard for the next 14 months.  On that Sunday I said yes to God and publically surrendered my life to ministry and it has been an adventure ever since.

I began meeting with my pastor (Randy Adams) once or twice a week and learning from him.  We would talk about ministry and life.  He would take me on hospital visits and he helped me increase my prayer life with how he drove his 1964 Mustang.  I learned so much from him.  I have continued to learn from him over the years and am thankful for God using him in my life.  One thing he told me back then that I have never forgotten is that ministry is not about the glamour or prestige.  I have not always lived that truth but it has been in those times where I have learned the depth of this truth in at times painful ways, but more on that later.

Besides meeting with Dr. Adams I was also one of the youth leaders of a local youth breakfast we had at our church every Thursday morning called Good Morning World.  An older Italian gentleman (Art Quadracci) in our church led Good Morning World and he would always pick one or two youth to help find devotional speakers and to invite groups like the football or basketball teams.  I also was a leader for our local FCA and help organize events and huddle group activities, although looking back we did not meet nearly as often as we should have.  During my senior year I started teaching in the RA’s and helping with the kid’s ministry.  I also had the opportunity to preach my first two sermons that year.  My first sermon was at First Southern Baptist Church Crowder, Oklahoma, which is where I was baptized in 1986.  My second sermon was at First Baptist Church Haileyville, Oklahoma.  It was the church where my dad grew up, where my parents were married, and where my mom’s dad that I never got to know, my grandpa Jim Boyd, preached.  Having that opportunity to preach in both of those places was a tremendous blessing.

When I graduated high school I went to Oklahoma Baptist University and continued my adventure in ministry.  I had my first few ministry positions while at OBU which included serving as a youth minister at a rural church about an hour away from school, working at the largest youth camp in the USA, and working at my parents’ church in Ardmore, OK with the youth and college students.  Since college I have served in full time roles, bi-vocational/part time roles, and unpaid/volunteer roles.  Some of the time I have found my income from sales and retail management jobs during the latter two seasons.  I have learned from and been blessed in every season of ministry I have experienced.  I have worked with kids, youth, college students, young professional singles, married parents, and senior adults.  I have been a youth minister, college director, intern, interim, missional pastor, and senior pastor.  I have preached to a congregation of 4 and been on stage to lead a prayer in front of 7,000+.  I have shared the Gospel with groups while sweaty and dirty on a high element ropes course, preached in a suit and tie, and everything in between.  I have had the privilege to marry people and the responsibility of bringing comfort at a funeral.  I have held young babies and sat with those taking their last breath.  I have baptized young and old including in a pond that might have had snakes in it.  My first sermon was a ten page typed manuscript that took just over 5 minutes, and I have shared with no notes at all for over an hour.  I have worked in really small churches, really big churches, really old churches, and with one church from the birth of it up till it was ready to launch.

Some of the greatest high points of my life have come from ministry as well as some of the lowest of low.  Apart from my wedding day and the birth of my kids the greatest memories I have are from ministry, but also a few years ago as I had an almost complete nervous breakdown on the side of the road while driving to children’s camp I thought ministry was going to kill me.  As I reflect back to those highs and lows I really see something profound.  The lows came when I started to think too much of myself and forget what ministry is about it.  They came in part because of my own pride and my own issues with control and power.  The highlights of 20 years of ministry are definitely people I have gotten to know and spend time with.  That Thursday morning breakfast I helped lead, Good Morning World, well one of my tasks was to find speakers.  A lot of times I didn’t find anyone and I would wind up speaking.  I cannot tell you a single thing I talked about or a single verse I used.  I know I used scripture each time.  I can, however, tell you the names of three younger guys I gave rides to each week – Adam, Ben, and Stephen.  Adam kept doing that after I graduated.  He would go and pick up other kids and give them rides.  He is married and is a dad, he has been teaching in Korea and is in the process of moving back to the US.  Ben is a great dad and just moved from Michigan to Austin.  Stephen, he was the annoying kid I was never excited about having to take, he was Ben’s little brother.  He is now a tremendous worship leader and an author too.  God has used him amazingly since Jr. High.  There is also the group of guys I used to hang out with at Ardmore FBC and spend time talking and sharing about life.  One, Matt, is a worship leader at a church campus here in OKC and is just a great young guy.  Another, Brett, is a pastor and church planter in Muskogee, OK and if it was not over an hour away I would go to his church to hear him preach and have him as my pastor.  God has used these two and others from that small group of guys immensely and it has been my joy to watch.  A few of them are struggling in life and not living for God and I pray for them daily.

Now I am not taking any credit at all for Stephen or Matt or Brett.  I doubt I had anything to do with their spiritual development.  I just hung out with them.  On the flip side the times I have been power happy and concerned with my image too much and wanting to be seen as a leader because of my title or position have brought about those low and gut wrenching times.

So to bring this all together I would unquestionably say that if I have learned anything over the past twenty years it is what Dr. Adams taught me all those years ago.  It is that ministry is not about the glamour or the prestige.  It is about loving God and loving people and seeking to love people by serving them.  Jesus told us this when James and John’s mother wanted them to be the greatest.  He replied:

You know those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  But it shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:42b-45.

The last twenty years have without a doubt been a great adventure and I hope the next twenty years and the next twenty years beyond that are even greater still.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Bible, Family, Friends, Life, Ministry

 

You Can’t Lead – Guest Post From Mark Miller

This post was originally published on Friday, May 16, 2014 at http://www.greatleadersserve.org

 

YOU CAN’T LEAD!

 

I was recently asked the question: How do you tell someone they are not a leader – without crushing them?

 

I have several ideas that may help with this question, but first, I want to relieve you of the anxiety you may be feeling regarding how someone will receive truth. You cannot control, nor should you assume responsibility for, their response. Your role is to share truth in love. They choose their response.

With that backdrop, I have four suggestions…

Always show honor, dignity and respect. Choose your words carefully. Try not to inflame the situation with trigger words or exaggeration. Even if the person cannot lead, they still possess immense value as a human being. Being in the wrong role does not diminish a person’s value. Treat them accordingly.

Ask thoughtful questions. Find out what they believe about their leadership quotient. You may be surprised. They may already be aware of their leadership gaps. It’s also possible they have huge blind spots. If they do believe they are leading well, ask them for their definition of leadership. Ask them to give you examples in which they feel they’ve lead well.

Pinpoint the issues and concerns. After you know where they stand on the issue, be prepared to share your point-of-view. Be specific – vague statements such as, “You just can’t lead,” are not helpful. If you have a clear point-of-view on leadership, it’s much easier to pinpoint your concerns. Is the predominant issue a skill gap or have you detected issues regarding their leadership character? Both can be addressed, however, the action plans are very different.

Tell the truth. Your integrity is on the line in this conversation. Don’t sugarcoat the truth – that’s just another form of dishonesty. When we choose not to tell the truth, we ultimately hurt the person, the organization and our own leadership. If a person is on the wrong career path, you do him or her a great service by redirecting them. Truth is a leader’s best friend.

What’s next after a conversation like this? You get to decide. Your next steps will be affected by how far along you are on this journey. Is this the first time you’ve discussed the issue with this person? Is it the third time? If you’re early in the dialogue, you may want to help the person build a development plan to close the leadership gap. If you’re late in the game, you may need to talk about a transition plan.

 

mmMark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.  In the tenth anniversary edition of The Secret, Miller reminds readers of a seemingly contradictory concept: to lead is to serve. With more than 600,000 books in print, Mark has been surprised by the response and delighted to serve leaders through his writing.

The 10th anniversary edition of The Secret will be released September 2, 2014.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Leadership, Uncategorized

 

Burger King, John Piper, & Worldview

I honestly thought about titling this post “Goodbye John Piper” but wisdom and an already nervous state about the reaction as to what I am about to write convinced me otherwise. You see through the rest of the post I am going to be calling out and correcting someone that has influenced and impacted my theology and preaching more than just about anyone. I also highly suspect he will continue to positively influence and impact my life and ministry after this. However a recent tweet by John Piper showed just how badly we as Christians don’t get it at times.

The tweet in question simply said “Goodbye Burger King” and included a link to an article about a new Whopper burger and its wrapping. The tweet echoed a similar tweet from Dr. Piper that almost crashed the internet, at least for evangelicals. The tweet “Farewell Rob Bell” was posted in late February 2011 and caused a firestorm in blogs, sermons, books, articles, interviews and others that centered on a response or reaction to Bell’s book Love Wins. I weighed in on that issue on this blog and in sermons at the time. It was a big deal. Bell was attempting to rewrite the history of Christian thought and theology and challenging the very nature of what we believe about God and eternity. But is the issue with Burger King as serious.

Well what is the issue? Burger King is releasing the Proud Whopper which will feature rainbow colored packaging and promote the LGBT agenda. I am not sure this is a good business move by the fast food chain, however I live in the Bible Belt South and this move will play worse here than in other parts of the country. Whether you should eat that particular burger or any food from the chain is between you, God, how you read 1 Corinthians, and your cardiologist. My issue and where I think Piper misses it is in response to the tagline that the Burger chain is attaching to this promotion. That tag line is “we are all the same inside”. Their focus is that no matter the wrapper, their whopper is the same inside, and then the associated extrapolating of that thought onto humans.   You know what, they are right! We are all the same inside. We are all totally depraved humans in desperate need of God to save us. I think this is where we should focus our efforts in response to this news. Instead of weeping or calling for boycotts or doing any of the other silly things we do as Christians, how about we respond with love, tell them they are right in what they are saying, and then tell them how they are right about it.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Culture, Current Events, Theology

 

Todd’s Spicy Dirty Red Beans & Rice

Todd’s Spicy Dirty Red Beans & Rice

I thought for the fun of it I would put a recent recipe I created on my blog. I hope you enjoy this.

Todd’s Spicy Dirty Red Beans & Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra lean Ground Meat
  • 1 Package Sausage
  • 2 Cups Dry Rice
  • o    4 Cups Water
  • o    4 Teaspoons Butter
  • 1 lb. Red Beans
  • 3 Cups Water
  • 1 Rib Celery
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Cup Minced Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Parsley
  • 1 Crushed Large Bay Leaf ½ Teaspoon Cavenders All Purpose Greek Seasoning
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ground Cumin
  • Ground White Pepper
  • Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • Rajun Cajun All Purpose Cajun Seasoning
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  • Lawry’s Seasoned Salt

 

Directions

  • Beans
  • o    Wash the beans
  • o    Soak red beans in beer (overnight).
  • o    Drain the beans
  • o    Cook Beans in water 1 ½ – 2 hours
  • o    Add In
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Rice
  • o    Combine water and butter in pot.
  • o    Boil water
  • o    Add in Rice
  • o    Season Rice
  • ½ Teaspoon Cavenders All Purpose Greek Seasoning
  • ½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Rajun Cajun All Purpose Cajun Seasoning
  • o    Simmer for 20 minutes
  • o    After 20 minutes stir in 1 Tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce

 

  • Meat (I like to use a combination of breakfast sausage, ground beef, and deer meat)
  • o    Season the meat
  • ¼ Cup Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • ½ Tablespoon Cavenders All Purpose Greek Seasoning
  • ½ Tablespoon Rajun Cajun All Purpose Cajun Seasoning
  • ½ Tablespoon Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cummin
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground White Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Red Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • o    Work seasoning into meat by hand
  • o    Spray or coat skillet with olive oil
  • o    Brown the ground meat
  • Combine the meat and rice together
  • When beans finish combine the meat & rice and the beans into a crock pot
  • Add water
  • Add in Parsley
  • Add in Crushed Bay Leaf

 

  • Sausage
  • o    Brown sausage in olive oil in skillet
  • o    Cut up sausage
  • o    Stir into crockpot
  • Cook in crockpot on low for 8-10 hours.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Recipes

 

Crying Abba

My daughter,IMG_2136 Lorelai, is 18 months old and is the cutest most adorable and lovable little girl ever. When her older brother, Bowman, was born I was not sure how I would be as a dad, but both of my children have captured my heart and I love them dearly. Being a dad has taught me so much.

 

Recently Lorelai has started screaming my name whenever I get home from work and running to me saying “DADDY”. This got me to thinking about how we relate to God a lot of the time. When Lorelai runs to me she just knows I am her daddy. She doesn’t know how I am her dad and what went on biologically for me to be her dad. She just knows I am her daddy. She does not know how I work to make money to pay bills and buy groceries and diapers and clothes and toys for her and her brother. She just knows I am her daddy. She doesn’t know how I watch my diet and stay active and healthy to be around a long time for her. She just knows I am her daddy. You see to her the whys and the whats and the hows don’t matter. All that matters is I am her daddy.   It is that simple for her.

 

Shouldn’t it be that simple for us and our relationship to God? I mean why do we try to make it so complicated when He is our dad. Perhaps today we just need to remember that He is our dad and run to Him screaming out his name!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Family, Gospel, Life

 

Preaching – Jason Meyer – A Book Review

I recently read Preaching by Jason Meyer. I try to always read with a completely open mind and I did so with this book. I did not try to go in with any preconceived notions or expectations. However if I had started this book with extremely high expectations I still would have been blown away. This book completely altered the way I look at preaching through all of scripture. There are several things that leap off of the pages of this book. One is how devoted to quality exposition of God’s word that Meyer is. He loves God’s Word. He loves sharing it and teaching it. He wants others to share in this love and to be continually growing in their ability to preach God’s Word. A second thing that leaps off the pages is how committed to basing his ideas in God’s Word the author is. He backs everything with scripture and shows his points through faithful exposition of God’s Word. This makes this a book that is easy to read yet challenging. It makes this a book that everyone that is involved in teaching the Bible needs to read. I hope you will read it.

I received this book from the publisher, Crossway, for the purpose of review with no requirement to write a positive review.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 8, 2014 in Book Review

 

Crazy Busy – Kevin DeYoung – A Book Review

I recently read Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung and I was glad I did.  I have tried to de-clutter and simplify my life over the past few years and I have been rather successful.  However it seems that I am still always busy.  There is work.  There are the never ending errands.  There are responsibilities at church.  There are the kids.  There is my wife.  There are things to get done at home.  There are bills to pay.  There are broken toilets to fix and walls to paint.  My car is low on coolant.  There is the ever growing do-it-yourself project list thanks to Pinterest.  This is not even to mention my spiritual walk.  I do not say all of this to say I am alone in this issue.  DeYoung, the author of this book, takes the same approach.  He does not write as one that has mastered the problem of business.  Rather he writes from a pastoral heart to help people learn how to biblically deal with the issue, just as he is also learning it.

I would encourage all of you to read this book, even if all you read is the chapter on parenting.  I would say to read it all, but I know you are probably so busy it will talk you awhile to do so.

I received this book in from the publisher, Crossway, for the purpose of review with no requirement to write a positive review.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Book Review

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 495 other followers