It’s Been A While.

I bet if you searched, this is the most used Blog Title of all time.  There is just something about our culture in starting things and forgetting about them!

Well I’m guilty of this again.  I started a blog and rocked it for a bit.  But then life gets busy, yada yada yada.  Well, I’m hoping to get back in it and here’s why.  Liz and myself have gone through some awesome things since the last time I blogged.  Recently, we are striving to do less TV and more studying, writing, creating.  This I’m hoping will be an outlet, as well as a showcase of what God is doing in this season of our life.

Quick recap:  Africa was awesome even though it was a year ago!  Christmas was fun and 2013 so far brings some awesome times!  Summer was fun, busy, and not that hot this year!  School starts around the corner for New Hanover and Pender, but hasn’t stopped with me.  Start yet another course tomorrow!  DNow is in a month. Detour is kicking back up. There is a lot of busy things happening around the office in preparation for a new school calendar year.

Now, to find a way out of P90X that Liz is rocking out to right now.  Umm… I gotta read?  Laters.

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Dream On Dreamer.

I love dreams.  I love dreaming.  Not just in the unconscious, but the conscious.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep.  I love a good dream that takes one to a world of unknown or even so real you believe it when you wake.  But what’s the difference in a dream of the unconscious and of the conscious (separate from the fact that you’re awake, duh).  Don’t you want you dreams of life to take you to a world of unknown?  Yet at the same time they are controlled and so real that they are reachable.  You can’t dream for invincibility or flying powers and expect to have them.  But you can dream for the unknown, yet desirable.  You can work towards something that you feel you should be a part of or do.

These thoughts were spurred on by watching a news cast of James Cameron’s recent adventure to the depths of the sea.  Here a guy has spent his life making films and movies, but he still lives out his dreams.  He loves exploring and diving to a place mankind knows or has seen little about, and filming it.  He has left his mark on this earth by making some of the greatest movies of all time.  Yet he wants to further on and spearhead things he wishes he would be a part of.  He’s not just content with living off his earnings and being the James Cameron everyone knows him as for the rest of his life.  He wants more.

I’m in the process of dreaming and living out dreams a lot.  I love it!  I love the process of vision casting and putting forth effort towards something, not knowing the exact end result, but trusting God that whatever he has laid on my heart, in the end is going to be awesome!!  What captured me the most though about this news report was something the reporter said, almost in passing, about the venture.  7 years.  This moment of victory as Cameron hit the ocean floor was a climax to 7 years of planning and dreaming.  Actually the dream probably was a few years before that!  But 7 years of planning and precision led to a moment Cameron has wanted for a long time.

So for those out there who dream, dream big.  Put it into ACTION!  Dream bigger than big and work for it.  Cameron knew that he would be on the ocean floor one day, and he worked for it.  I’m not sure all the odds up against him, but I’m sure he had to work through some of them.  But it was all worth it in the end.

I Give Up.

This is a follow up post to my previous story of where we are in learning what it means to live “radically.”  There has been this challenge from my great leader, co-worker, and friend Jonathan Cockrell (also the Youth Pastor here) to give something up for a year and see how it changes your life.  He gave up buying new clothes for a year and his view on the whole food industry and necessities in life have definitely changed.  I wanted to experience that understanding as well, but when the challenge was placed before us during our Re[ACT] month of November 2011, I choked and got selfish and never took action.  I did think about it though and obviously felt a tug to do something, but never did.

Well that tug got greater and greater, and as we are reading this book, and preparing for Africa, I have decided to act now.  First off it’s never too late.  Sometimes we get challenged with something by someone and think that if we don’t do it right then and there, then why ever start?!  But just because you miss the 10am train doesn’t mean a 2 o’clock ain’t coming for you!  So I jumped on the 2 o’clock tracks and have decided to give up eating out for a whole year.

Now there are a few things here that might keep from doing it but I am going to try my hardest.  If there are special occasions (specifically ones that are mandated by my wife) then I have to honor her and take her to dinner.  If there is a particular celebration of someone close and important and the only option is to eat out, I will do so as to not disrespect them.  BUT for the most part, unless someone orders for me, if I go out socially, I will choose not to eat.

I hope this shows me if only a glimpse into the fact that there are many others out there who have to daily prepare their food to survive.  This can get lost in our society where we can walk into an almost endless supply of food in a supermarket and the only thing holding us back from buying everything in the store is our wallet.  I hope this helps with my often laziness in preparing food.  I hope to learn responsibility as well as grow in nutrition knowledge.  Some side effects I hope that I gain as positives will be healthier food intake, an expansion of my sorry childish food palette, as well as a growth in culinary skills!

Is there something that you feel you could give up for better understanding of who the rest of the world feels?  Act now.  If not now, I’m sure there is a later train to jump on board.  BUT why wait, the 2 o’clock isn’t fully out of the station, jump on!

That’s So Radical Dude.

Yeah this is a term used by many within our community here (or it used to be in the 90s), seeing that we live at the beach.  When a large swell comes in it’s “radical,” or when a bro shreds a great line you hear “radical dude” screamed over the sea.  But that’s not the association in which I write this word.

Dictionary.com’s second definition to the word radical states, “thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards changefrom accepted or traditional forms: a radical change in thepolicy of a company.”  This is the radical I speak of.  Changing something about oneself, to the extreme.  Making changes within yourself or on the exterior and the way one lives your life, to the extreme.

The group of students and leaders preparing for the trip to Accra, Ghana in Africa have been challenged to read David Platt’s book “Radical.”  It has been an awesome read so far and has created even greater discussion within our group meetings.  Understanding what it means to look within oneself and really give yourself completely to God.  In order to do that certain “radical” changes have to be made within yourself in abandoning things that you might hold on to.  This easily could be looked at as just material possessions, giving up certain things one does not need and learning to be thankful for the things one does have.  That takes a lot of change, especially in our culture and country.  It often places you swimming against the stream of those around you.

There is also a way to give up things within your soul; fears, mistrust, uncertainty, discontent, etc.  These things are sometimes hard to let go of and live completely at the hand of God the Father and His will for your life.  But what was awesome in reading the book, it begins looking into giving up these things radically.  But the second chapter focuses on the need for filling yourself back up with the Word of God.  His scriptures show us that these things we often struggle within ourselves with, God is there to be them for us.  Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength.”  1 Peter 5:7 reminds us to “Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”  Then there is Philippians 4:6-7  “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ.”  There is the icing on the cake.

It has been cool to me to just be in thought of the things within my soul that often keep me captive every day.  While there are some constants, there other many of these that change every day.  But just making myself aware of them has helped a ton.  Even more powerful is the fact that as I let go of them, God strengthen me and fills me up directly with these specific thing using His word and His promises.  It has been amazing thus far preparing for Africa across the board of my life.  Continue to lift up all the students and team members that are preparing for this trip!  Much love.  Live radical dude (and dudettes)!

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I Am Going To Africa!

I’m excited to announce I get to be a part of a team from my church that is going to Accra, Ghana this August!  What is even more exciting is that the majority of the team going is under 21!

My church community has been sending teams to Ghana for a few years now and developing relationships with the local Bissa people.  They have been paving the groundwork for our trip this summer.  We have had two members from our Youth Staff that have had the privilege to go out there and see what the need is in regards to reaching the youth.  From their experience we know that there are a lot of children to young adults.  There are also a great amount of them that have converted from Islam and are wanting/needing training on how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

So that leads us to the purpose of our trip.  Although we are still figuring out the finite details, we know we will be very busy in our week there.  There are opportunities just to one on one evangelize; we will also be holding an event or two on the large scale; and throughout the day also training others to be able to lead and share Christ after we are gone.

I ask that you just pray for the group as we prepare.  We know that God is at work (there is a team heading to Accra right now) and is continuing to work in Ghana.  We know we have a part to play in that, so just pray as God reveals that to us and we obey His calling.

Here is an old video of our of our Youth Staff, Emily, and a part of her story from her visit: 

Your Church Building: A Blessing or Curse?

It was almost 5 years ago I walked into the Crosspoint Center at Scott’s Hill Baptist Church.  I had been offered an internship there, and felt lead to take it.  These were all blind decisions and completely in trust of what God had before me.  But the whole thing was just confirmed as I walked into this building.  I knew I wanted to be a part of a community that valued its youth and would raise money to build such a feat.  You walk into a gorgeous welcome area, then look to the right and a fully functional Cafe is reaming with snacks.  In the back right corner are five pool tables decked out in the thematic bright orange dawned on Detour’s logo.  The back wall is full of bright television screens, and a large circular stage that dawns 10 or so big screen TV’s.  XBox 360s and Playstation 3s accompany the tube sets, with the most recent sports games available.  There is a space that has since been filled with a very popular Inflatable Velcro Wall.  Finally the back left corner houses a single ping-pong table, for the elite of paddlers.  Walking back to the front there are bright red couches where many conversations seem to be held, if only they could tell me what I was getting into.  There is a “spot” separated by glass panels that house stations for listening to music.  But the big show happens in the caged basketball court that fits right in the middle of the room.  Sound is being racked out from an upper level DJ booth that towers of the cage.

I was blown away.

Five years later and I still love giving the occasional tour around the place to Youth Pastors or friends in the ministry that come by.  But there is this idea or phrase that has started to haunt me and only recently surfaced into my heart.  As I walk the guest around, or as there have been others that have visited or heard of the building’s resources, there seems to be an equivalent expectation that with a building like this comes numbers.  Like because we have a building like this, then this is why we have as many students.  The building is the reason we have such great staff.  The building is what brings students to church every week and in “church” terminology, the building would be the backbone to our “successful Youth Ministry.”

But you see, it’s just a building.

Last week we held our weekly Student Outreach service on Wednesday night.  We had around 300 students show up as we finished a series of messages talking about Heroes from the Bible.  We finished the night off talking about the greatest Hero of all time, of course, Jesus.  I got a front-row seat at seeing God do amazing work that night as 23 students committed their life to His will, and to following Jesus.  There were four times that much that stood for accountability in their faith as they desire to continue to grow closer to God in the relationship they already had.

But was it because of the building?

This little rant is more of an encouragement to those who are a part of churches or ministries where it seems you don’t have all the resources you need to get accomplished what you feel you need to be getting accomplished.  This little rant is more of an encouragement to those who are doing great and mighty things for God’s Kingdom, while working one or two other jobs.  This is an encouragement to those who I have personally shown around this building I sit in right now and type this out.  It has nothing to do with the building.  God is great and can move in mighty ways no matter where you are, how big your building is, or how much “cool” factor there is!  If you have a calling and you put your all into it; if you pray without ceasing and obey as God works in Your life, they will come.

Now I know this building we have helps us out a lot.  It plays to our advantage, and don’t get me wrong, we as a team and staff are thankful for it day after day!  But we also know the Truth, that God does the work, not the building.  The students come for a few weeks maybe for “the building,” but they continue to come because they want to grow and learn more about Jesus.  For it was He who did a mighty work in them, and they want to grow in that.  God is the reason behind “our numbers.”  God is the success of our ministry.

If there was one thing to take away from this, here it is be:  Be thankful for the resources God has given you, but never use them as an excuse as to why or how God is working, or is NOT working.

Much love.

I Hate The Devil

You know sometimes in life you just got mess you’re dealing with, and you know the only thing you can blame at that moment is Satan?!  I’m sorry for a minute, and coming off a little sabbatical, but let’s get real!  I’m talking internally I’ve been getting anxious and having dumb thoughts recently about life and the lack thereof.  Not that I’m afraid of losing my life, but it is not an absolute desire of mine at this point in my life.  But then I just hear a voice being so blunt and evil, that I know it is the devil trying to play tricks and be stupid.

I don’t have time for tricks!  I’m trying to live my life and do crazy awesome things, for His Kingdom come!  So get out of there, stop it, in Jesus’ name.

Anyone else struggle with just blunt happenings of darkness lately?  What are you going through, because I want to lift you up and be there for you.  I know what it is like.  Man.  (comment below)

Much love.

CPC Set List 3/27/2011

Say So – Israel Houghton
Day After Day – Kristian Stanfill
Forever Reign – Hillsong
You Alone Can Rescue – Matt Redman

CPC Set List 3/20/2011

Where The Spirit of the Lord Is – Passion
The Highest and The Greatest – Tim Hughes
The Stand – Hillsong
No One Higher/ The Stand – Northpoint Music
The Church – Elevation Worship

CPC Set List 3/13/2011

Rise and Sing – Fee
Our God – Passion
Give Me Faith – Elevation Worship
Psalm 62 – Aaron Keyes

The Hollands

our life. our ideas. our struggles. our thoughts. our dreams. in words. for you.