Raking Leaves Has A Purpose

The other day I raked some leaves in my front yard. I wouldn’t say it was a complete necessity. No one asked me to rake them nor did it really make a difference since more leaves are bound to fall again. There was something about raking those leaves though (or really any kind of yard work) that made me happy. At the beginning the leaves were all over the yard, scattered over a wide area. By the end they were were in a neat pile by the curb. I had set out with a goal and it was accomplished in...

An Autumn Drive is Good For the Soul

When someone asks me which of the four seasons is my favorite I can really give good reasons as to why I love all of them. They each serve their own purpose and have attributes that I like about each. Sure, I can come up with a few more reasons that I like summer than winter but I do enjoy the winter as well. Without winter there would be no spring to look forward to. Winter’s cold and darkness reminds me of my need for God’s light in my life. Plus hot chocolate is just better in the cold. Spring...

Youth Ministry Can Be Difficult

Working with teenagers has a lot of perks. It’s generally a lot of fun. It’s much easier to keep up on what is “in” and what’s going on in the youth subculture, if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Teens are spontaneous and that can be a good time. More seriously, teens can be very thoughtful and have a ton to add to any scenario or situation. They have a lot of great ideas and immense amounts of energy to give. Teens in our society are an untapped resource that can contribute in a big way if given the...

It’s Always Good to Visit Home

For fear of going 0-for-August, I attempt to regain some writing momentum… Going into the fourth year of living in Virginia has made me realize something funny about when I go back to Ohio (where I am from). When people in Virginia ask where I am going I will respond with “I am going home”. Then, while in Ohio, I will tell people “I am going home on [insert day].” It seems like no matter what when it comes to Virginia and Ohio, “I am going home.” Of course many of you have had this same experience. Chesterfield County has...

Pray for the United States

It’s an ugly time in the United States of America (and the world, really). To my memory, this is not the same country I grew up in. Perhaps I have a warped thinking of fifteen to twenty years ago but I do not recall this sort of violence and division. I also didn’t have the same sort of feeling that I do today. I sit in movie theaters and take notice of people walking in and out of doors. I pay close attention for things in places like restaurants and malls that some may call me crazy to be looking...

Have Patience, God is Working

Struggling to write about one topic after an absolutely unbelievable mission trip last week.  Have you ever been to a place and never wanted to leave? Maybe a vacation? Maybe a place on the water that your family owns? For sports fans out there, maybe a certain game? Even more specifically, have you ever felt this way about a specific moment? A moment so great that you never wanted it to end. A moment that when you close your eyes you can return there in an instant and remember it like it was yesterday. I think we all probably have...

Parents…Don’t Underestimate Your Influence

Being a youth pastor is a great job to have. Being able to build friendships with students while guiding them and pointing them toward Jesus is a very fulfilling calling. That’s not to say I’m perfect at it or that I have figured it all out. I certainly don’t. It has it’s moments that are very frustrating and maddening to be sure. On the whole though, it is a rewarding career that has highs that are worth the lows. A big aspect of this gig is influence. Over time with people, especially in a position like mine, you gain a...

With Great Loss Comes Great Perspective

My hope was to write in this space at least weekly. Right after I launched this space I got a phone call that jarred my life more than any other call ever had to that point. My father had passed away. Since that call I’ve been back and forth to the homeland in Ohio to take care of the arrangements and be with family. I’m now back in Virginia still picking up the emotional pieces that are left over from this experience. I really haven’t wanted to do anything in the time since I’ve returned. I haven’t wanted to work....

I Believe in Youth Ministry

We all believe in things. I may believe that my favorite team will win the big game. You may believe you have the best car. Another person may believe they make the best food. Believing in things is a natural part of life whether they are trivial things or things of faith. I want to spend this post writing about something I wholeheartedly believe in: Youth Ministry. Youth ministry, in the sense of a ministry geared for teens at a local church, is the vehicle by which I found Jesus. The youth ministry at the church in my hometown did...