Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Weekly Wrap.

The past few days have been this really odd turning and twisting path of thoughts and emotions. I've simultaneously had some of the most fun times ever in Charlotte as well as some of the more lonely times as well. For starters I've worked a good amount this week and am even getting ready to head into work today at 1. It's a nice short shift today, as we're only open until 5 on the weekends so I'm looking forward to making plans for the rest of the evening as well. In case you're wondering, I think I'm going to do some laundry, play the guitar, and depending on the temperature outside go for a run. I'm pretty excited to get after these things and wish I didn't have to work so I could do them now. (Obviously I want to watch the Bengals beat the Browns as well, but I suppose I have to go get paid to pour coffee...)

Anyways, back to this week.

Sunday, a week ago, my friend Brandon came into town from VT and it's always good to hang with him. We often joke about being the same person, and in too many instances it's proven to be true. Well we went to the Bobcats game with a large group of my guy friends here in C-town and it was a blast. We saw Michael Jordan, UNC coach Roy Williams waved to us, and we goofed with Rufus the Bobcat...who wears wrap around shades. Rufus is awesome. Then Willie got us lost getting home, and I'm not sure I've laughed more in my life. Dinner afterwards, a great time. It was just fun to hang out with a bunch of guys, and have it have the feel of being back in Columbus.

Monday we were supposed to have club, but that didn't end up happening because there was a conflict with a home AK basketball game. In hindsight though it was amazing time with the few kids that were there for Jaclyn, Courtney, and myself. My time chilling with Madden was great. That kid is the man.

Tuesday I worked, but then later that night my buddy DC introduced me and some other friends to a great little indie coffee shop called Amalie's in NoDa. We had a blast.

Wednesday I worked, and was supposed to be the Caribou mascot but definitely pawned that off on someone else who ended up almost passing out because of how hot the suit was. Excellent choice by me, and hey don't get upset; the other guy actually wanted to do it! Wednesday night I had dinner with a great committee family and really enjoyed my time with them. Just another great blessing from our adults.

Thursday was interesting. Because of work I wasn't able to head home for this great eating holiday. I definitely missed my family, especially because of the makeup of family that was going to be together at our house for the first time on Thanksgiving. My brother and his family came over and I haven't seen them in almost a year now, since last Christmas Eve. It'll be exactly one year between us seeing each other unfortunately. I was incredibly blessed to have dinner with three families all together and have a great time in doing so. Of course it wasn't my mom or aunt's cooking, but it was still fantastic and a wonderful substitute for being home.

Friday was more work, and then really nothing but Friday was for whatever reason the most difficult of the days surrounding Thanksgiving. I got really homesick while at work thinking about all my friends who were hanging out together back in Ohio. Fortunately I was able to talk with some friends on the phone that night and they really encouraged me and reminded me that they even still love me.

Saturday I worked a little bit, then napped. Naps are wonderful, are they not? After the nap though, I headed up to Huntersville to hang out with Ashley and some of her friends and roommates. It was an incredible time because we all hung out playing games for about 9 hours straight. I had more fun than I've had in a long time just being with people. I met about 10 new friends and it was just so encouraging to be hanging out with a whole new crowd of people. I sincerely hope I get to hang out with all of them again soon.

So that's my week. Now you know. I liked this post because so often I feel like I have to come up with some profound revelation in my life about Christ or ministry to write an entry on here but that isn't true at all. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and that you're getting your Christmas shopping done.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I know I have a ton of things to be thankful for. Everyone always challenges people to stop on this day and weekend before all the craziness of Christmas begins to think about what and who they are thankful for. So I'm going to do that, and of course I'll challenge anyone who reads this to do the same...

Jesus Christ, my savior. The Cross.

My family - Mom, Dad, Jerod and fam, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces. Mammaw. My friends. Comets {ctid}. Golden Bears. Knights. Buckeyes. Young Life. Hofmann. Lake Champion. Committee. Charlotte. God's provision. God's love. God's mercy. God's grace. God's word. God's power. God's sovereignty. My faith. Material things. America. Those who have gone before me. Those who will come after me.

The more I write on here, the more I realize that I have to be thankful for and that I couldn't possibly list all of the things that exist.

Praise be to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Amen, and thanks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This world is not our home?

Every time that I fail to write in my blog for an extended period of time, I feel as though I should apologize. I just decided that I'm not going to do that anymore. Now that's we've gotten that out of the way...

It's really weird as I sit here contemplating what to write about my recent experiences here in Charlotte, there is a sense of this all being temporary. Granted there are still a couple boxes in my room that remain unpacked, and pictures still to be hung on the walls and whatnot. I don't think those are signs of me wanting this to be temporary but more a testament to my amazing ability to collect things that at one point I think I'll need and use a lot in the future but never end up doing anything with them. Regardless of those things though, there is this weird feeling in me though that perhaps because I'm still learning my way around, perhaps because everything has happened so fast, perhaps because there's eventual truth in it; but that eventually I am going to be leaving Charlotte. Now I feel like I must say this next statement with absolute clarity: I have no plans in my own head of leaving Charlotte. I love the city and what God has called me to do here.

I just thought I would throw that thought out there. What brings on such a feeling of "for now"? I wish I knew the answer, but I really have no experience delving into such an issue before now.

Other than that, Young Life at Ardrey Kell has been up and down but that's just from a numbers standpoint. I think my wonderful co-leader Jaclyn and I would agree that the building of relationships with kids and the deepening of those relationships is going great and that we look forward to and eagerly anticipate times when we can further our relationships with the high schoolers. A few guys in particular that if you read this you want to pray for that I'm really connecting with: Mike, Max, Luke, Madden, Myles. (Lots of M names...weird)

Overall though, God is good. Moving my whole life to Charlotte is the most difficult thing I have ever done but in such a good way. It is stretching my faith in Christ so much, and I am learning about His character and His love and His provision in crazy new ways. I love it so much, seriously. That doesn't take away from how difficult it is though.

I definitely feel like a missionary...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Ordinary.

I must again beg for apologies that it's been a few weeks since I've updated my blog. Things have been crazy down here, but overall been amazing. It has been funny though, I've actually sat down to start writing an entry or an email to close friends multiple times over the past three weeks but just never finished them because I just never felt like I had something to say. I have since been reminded though that we don't just have to share on God's faithfulness in the valleys or the mountaintop moments, but rather that His grace extends to us and if fully evident in the mundane and the routine.

So here goes, a bit of the ordinary...

Young Life at Ardrey Kell has been up and down over the past couple weeks but mainly up. God's continuing to do great things there and through our team. One huge praise is just how my co-leaders and I have really begun to be united. Love it. As far as the things of YL go, club has been going alright as kids have been up and down with their energy and involvement. One battle I go through with that, is that I don't think the kids know that they can trust us yet as leaders and so we are still earning the trust that A.) we won't put them in truly embarrassing situations and B.) we are just as willing to make ourselves fools for Christ. The kids don't truly know what club looks like down here and so that will be a continual process that is both fun and frustrating. Campaigners has been going decently, with a whole group of freshmen guys coming around, yet none of them are coming to Club. There is literally one senior girl who comes to both, and she's a pastor's kid; so you know haha. As far as deepening relationships with guys though, it continues to be both exciting and frustrating as most of this ministry ends up being. There are a couple junior and sophomore guys that I've really been connecting with and so I'm looking to just further those relationships and see what God can do there.

Work at Caribou has been absolutely mundane. It's the easiest job one could ever do. It allows me some pretty good flexibility with my schedule, but really it's just a job. Not one that I really enjoy, but I am thankful that I have it for sure.

It's been great to be a part of the intern group in the Carolinas Region, and get to hang out with Steve Gardner again. I've made some great friends already through and from the staff and I'm really looking forward to continuing to get to know them and work alongside of them, hopefully for a long time. It's really challenged me to be in a room of such sharp people and has pushed me to do what I do better and to look for ways to improve what I do; realizing though that ultimately it's God who makes it go or not and that it is His work that He merely allows us to be a part of. For that, I am thankful.

That's all for now...hopefully some more in the next couple days as I'm processing some thoughts I've been having.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Be strong and courageous.

In following up with the last post from last week...I didn't pack my things up and move back to Ohio. I was in Ohio this past weekend, but I hadn't moved back. Just fyi. Ya know.

Last week at club, it was absolutely amazing. I was petrified for the first time in a long time to give a club talk. Alright that's a lie...I was petrified to give my last one at CCHS, but that's because I didn't want to cry during it. This was different though, because these kids don't know me, and for that matter because I've only been around a couple weeks they have no real reason to desire to hang out with me or even listen to me. The kids at CCHS know me and I know they care about me in return for my care for them. Usually I wouldn't let a new leader give a club talk for some time after they start leading at a school but in this situation I suppose it really isn't an option. In fact, for those keeping score at home and who will truly understand the gravity of this next statement: I'm giving 4 more talks, those being a Need, Sin, Cross, and Appropriations. Yikes. Better hope I earn the right to be heard before I tell kids they're going to hell because of their choice to sin and not follow Christ. Oh well. But back to my original statement, guys were flocking to me like they haven't before after a club talk. Conversations were had off of that. Phone numbers were exchanged, hang outs were planned, God was showing how if He wants something to happen it truly will happen. And when it does, y'all better look out. Loved it.

This past week...freaking horrible; in my opinion at least. Music didn't go well, no one wanted to sing, no one seemed to care about the games, and stuff with guys definitely did not go how I wanted it to especially given the extraordinary strides made after last week. I wanted to quit, I wanted to pull the plug on AKYL, I wanted to move back to Ohio. Basically I wanted to take the easy route, and no more was it  tempting than after having an amazing weekend back in my home state, then a crappy club, and feeling absolutely inadequate as a leader.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." ~ Romans 8:18

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:35-39

Take those verse in if you're reading this, and especially if you are being discouraged through things going on around you and the situation that you are in. "Be strong and courageous."

Looking back on this post, it isn't exactly what I had set out to write, but it certainly is what I need to continue to preach to myself and I know that whoever is reading this will take encouragement from such powerful verses.

"Be strong and very courageous."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

That Borden kid was onto something...

Read the story of William Borden. Then return to your regularly scheduled reading of CRASH. 

Done? Good.

Let me tell the middle of the game on Friday, I wanted to turn around, drive back to my house, pack all my things, and retreat back to Columbus, Ohio. Yup. I really wanted to pull the plug on the whole dang thing right then and there. Somewhere though, in the midst of my despair, I remembered this story. Obviously the song by Needtobreathe helped as well, like I already posted about, but the words written in the back of William Borden's bible rung in my ears.

No reserves. No retreat. No regret.

And they didn't just ring for Friday night, they stayed there Saturday, and Sunday, and thru today while I was putting the finishing touches on the club talk I was giving at the 3rd AK club of the year. 3 weeks ago I was fighting back tears at my last talk at Central Crossing, and now I was being thrown into the fire. It's what I asked for, isn't it? I mean I'm the guy who went to the AK football game less than 24 hours after I got into town with all my stuff.

So there really is no other option out there, other than to get rid of the reserves. Even Christ tells His disciples in Luke 9 when He sends them out that they need to take nothing with them. Good enough for me. After that, I already talked with so many people about the point of no return that I experienced in last club at CC. With a point of no return, obviously comes not being able to retreat. Any thoughts of that are foolish, and are weak attempts by the devil to distract me from my calling. Now I have to seize the attitude and spirit of being one who is already dead; dead to the world, dead to myself, dead to my desires, dead to my reputation, dead to sin. I am alive in Christ, I am made alive because of Him who died. There can be no room now for regret, because if I am going with God I am going with the ruler and creator of the entire universe. He's got my back, and therefore I can step out in faith time after time after time when it comes to sharing Him with kids at Ardrey Kell High School.

So in the immortal words of the's time to "open the gates, and seize the day!" (Man I love that song...and movie.)

Carpe diem.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Outsiders.

"Shortfalls and little sins
Close calls where no one wins
Stand tall but running thin
I'm wearing thin
Oh, why are we keeping score?

'Cause if you're not laughing
Who is laughing now?
I've been wondering if this starts sinking
Would we stand our ground?
After everything we've learned,
We've finally come to terms;
We are the outsiders.

I'm not leaving without a fight
I've got my holsters around my sides
Just cause I'm wrong that don't make you right,
It's not right.
Oh, what are we fighting for?

'Cause if you're not laughing
Who is laughing now?
I've been wondering if this starts sinking
Would we stand our ground?
After everything we've learned,
We've finally come to terms;
We are the outsiders."

When I got down here to Charlotte, I was very fortunate to be able to move into a house that for a while has been guys in their mid-20's, all Followers of Christ, and some associated with Young Life as current leaders or previous leaders while in college. It's interesting because it's kind of like the graduated, Charlottean (like that?) version of The Brickhouse at Ohio State where I lived for so many years. Anyways, it's been absolutely fantastic living with these four guys so far and I've really enjoyed getting to know all of them. 

Shout out to Bill, Tanner, Matt, and Justin. You guys rock.

Well, soon after I got down here to Charlotte Tanner introduced me to this group called Needtobreathe. I had heard of them before, but I'm pretty sure I had never heard of any of their songs. One day while driving around and showing me cool places Tanner had them on in the car and I fell in love with their sound. Well what do you know, there was a concert coming up just a week away that wasn't sold out! It was at a small venue called The Visualite (don't ask, don't know), and there were a bunch of people in their (my new) group of friends that were going to dinner and then the concert. Well who am I to turn down a good time with a cool group of people? Especially when I need friends...

I get a ticket, head to dinner with everyone, and then go to what turns out to be one of the absolute best concerts of my entire life. This band really knows how to entertain, unabashedly love the Lord, and on top of that they are ridiculously talented musicians. Drums, lead guitar/banjo, bassist who everyone develops a man-crush on, keyboardist, and of course the lead vocalist who really has a great voice. Without going into a ton of detail (ask me and I'll tell you more) I was blown away by them, and had a great time with everyone that I went with. Fun fact: I was one of two guys amidst about 10 beautiful and amazing Jesus-loving Southern women. Boo yah. 

Well you might be wondering why I put the lyrics to "The Outsiders", which is the title track off their similarly named newest album at the beginning of the post. As you know, I'm leading Young Life at Ardrey Kell HS in southern Charlotte. It's a far cry from Central Crossing, mainly because I at CCHS I could walk around the grounds, the halls, any event at the school, and be known. It felt like I truly knew every kid in the school even though we all know that's near impossible. That was the feeling I would get. I knew I belonged there, I knew I was called there, I knew that I could be quite bold in ministry and getting to know new kids. Maybe more importantly, I knew I was "in" there.

Last night I went to AK's homecoming football game, where we defeated the Myers Park Mustangs where Justin Robillard and Steve Gardner both lead. Big stuff. Unless you count that MP has only won one game this year. Anyways...even though I've met a decent amount of kids through club the past two weeks and have met some parents as well, I walked around that game in a daze. I can't say I was overwhelmed, because high school kids that need Jesus are the same everywhere. No one can ever argue that with me. However, for the first time in a long time I felt like an "outsider". Not only did I feel like one, I am one. The more I started to think about that fact, the more I know it was good for me to move. Doesn't take away how difficult it was to leave my Comets {ctid}, but I know that I need to feel like this. As a follower of Christ, I am not someone who is "in" with the world or what they do. I am "in" with the God of the universe, but to this world I am definitely an outsider. 

So I'm definitely laughing at the foolishness of the world, I know that even if things start sinking I'll still stand my ground. I will not leave AK without a fight, I didn't leave CC without a fight. A fight for the souls of high school kids. I might be wearing thin right now, but I'll stand tall and I'll stand in the gap for these kids. I've finally come to terms with being an Outsider; and I'm excited. 


Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Well here I am...almost a week into this new adventure in Charlotte, North Carolina. First off I want to say welcome to my new way of doing things in that you won't ever have to make a trip (it's like two clicks of the mouse but who's counting?) to my blog in order to feel connected and be able to read what's going on! From now on, my posts will be sent straight to your email if you like! Also, if there's anyone out there reading this that wants to be added to that list just let me know your email address and I'll add you lickety split!

Onto the more pressing matters...I realize that it's been seemingly forever since I last wrote a post. This is due to many factors, most all related to the craziness of packing my life and moving it to a place I've been once. This journey has already been quite eye-opening to my walk with Christ and yet I have absolutely loved it because it has drawn me so close to Him...closer than I ever have been. I'm so encouraged and excited to see what God does in me and through me during this whole process.

Right now I just want to leave a couple small points with y'all (I can say that now! I live in the south!) of things about this move. Don't worry though, I'll expand on them soon...

1.) Leaving the ministry at Central Crossing was the most difficult thing I've ever had to do in my entire life. When I think about my Comets, there's times when I doubt what I did in moving. Also though, I'm encouraged by the relationships that were built and knowing that it was never me or about me, and God will continue to work through the incredible team there.

2.) I love the weather down here, and Ohio weather sucks. That pretty much goes without saying.

3.) I have been placed at Ardrey Kell High School, which is a school of about 2,000 kids and with quite well off families. The school itself is only starting it's 4th year of existence but club work has been going on for about a year. I am quite encouraged in what is going on at this high school and can't wait to regale you with stories of the Lord's work there.

4.) The people down here are so far incredible. Everyone has been welcoming and friendly and I've enjoyed lots of hospitality. My roommates are great guys and I feel blessed to live where I do.

That's about all for now. I've got to get ready and head out to my first Campaigners down here!

If I have ever in my life felt like a is these past few weeks. I love it, and I wouldn't have it any other way.