Category Archives: My Life

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!

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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: 

Fast Food Life

We did a series a few years ago with the title “Fast Food Life”. It hit on how crazy paced the world and life can get. How amidst our own agendas we can easily push God to the side. Not that this post is dealing directly with that but it is definitely true!

But I do want to vent about my observation of Fast Food in America. It’s something that has been churning in my heart for a while but today was the last cut. I am giving up Fast Food for my own until…

The goal is truly a month, but I’m hoping that after a month I’m in a habit of not having it and seeing the benefits not just physically, but financially and even spiritually. What did it for me? Hardees. I don’t eat at Hardees often and it’s nothing against the brand or the store, in fact I had a short stint where I actually worked at one during college. But I wasn’t really digging fast food today anyways, but due to time constraints and lack of preparation on my part, I had to settle for it. Instead of running to get my usual sub at Harris Teeter, I drove to Hampstead to see what they had to offer. Hardees was the farthest I had time to drive to and China Garden just wasn’t cutting it for me. Upon entering Hardees the line for drive-thru was packed, so I walked inside. There must of been a van of construction workers that just beat me in line. It actually was probably two vans, because I was number 20 or so in line. So I get back in my car and wait in the drive-thru, that is now longer than when I entered.

I begin to make observations of the people around me. I began to wrestle with the thought of the “blessing” we have in the United States to just pull up and get food. I know the large percentage of the world spends way more than a quick drive to get a meal. I’ve bever experienced it but I’ve heard of people within nations or tribes where their jobs are delegated to prepare the meal. That is it the whole day, to prepare food for the people they love so they can survive. To grow or hunt their own food to survive. Maybe they are working hours in a day for cents to buy rice for their family. Yet I’m sitting in a line waiting to pay $6 and then some for a meal that is in no way at all healthy for me.

So with that I’m going to try to live as best as America will allow me in the shoes of those people. Again I’ve never experienced it, but I do know it will require some change within me. I never prepare food a day earlier, but I’m going to start. I’m honest in saying I’m lazy and don’t always complete things that I have urges to do after a few days. But I want to work at this. I believe it will help in my world perspective of, well food. I also hope that it helps financially in being a good steward of the money God has blessed me with. I hope to save some money not eating out! Finally not only will it help physically in getting more well-balanced meals, but I hope to branch out a bit in my taste buds. Any one who knows me knows that this is huge and I don’t go out of my shell to try foods. It might be a slow transition but I hope to push myself to try new foods as I prepare for myself and for my family.

Much love and please pray for me. Any help or thoughts are appreciated! Comment below. Laters.

wow. time flies.

man it has been a while since I’ve updated this thing! boy have many things happened and I have done a horrible job of updating you guys on all of them. but now time to pick back up on them! so look forward to a few more good posts to come real soon!

right now a quick update revolves around the craziness of last week. it was a super packed week but awesome nonetheless! we kicked off an awesome night of Re[ACT] at Detour on Wednesday! the band did a great job changing up a few favorites and it was a sweet night helping us look at the needs of the world. a great presentation of ways we can help out even in the smallest way here in Wilmington locally, nationally, and globally.

we then had an awesome Benefit Concert at Thalian Hall raising money for a partnership in Buffalo, NY. it was a sweet night of music and fun! Renovation Church explained all the awesome things going on within their walls and their new Excel program. the financial need was displayed and the response was $9,000 donated that night to help the Excel program! a great success and then an awesome closing concert by Thad Cockrell and then The Leagues.

the weekend brought an awesome day of paintball fun at the Simpson’s house, an amazing morning at Scott’s Hill, and a great night at Echoloud Worship. all in all it was extremely busy but definitely fun! i will try and update more so i can go in a bit more detail! stay posted! much love.

Camp Electric – Day 3

awaken. tired. it’s early. back on bus. morning worship session. gungor brings it! big-group sessions. Tom Jackson session. lunch.

then as we walk back into the main worship facility for large group time, again, we are slowly awakened by laughter. it resounds all over. are glum of a rainy morning is broken by joy. an Improv group called 321 Improv bring an awesome, amazing, and hilarious time of improvisational comedy! once our brains are now awakened we enjoy our favorite session with Tom Jackson! pretty much a repeat of yesterday.

we again spend free time at the Jam Session provided. continuing to meet musicians both professional and student level. they even give us a chance to rock on our own! before we know it the Detour Worship band is up on stage rocking out We Shine! it was fun. we did the freeze and trash can jump at the end. as well as got about 13 people involved in some fist pumping action!

after dinner i had to run to the worship center, because i was on “merchandise duty”. it ended up being pretty awesome. i slivered my way inside the facility to sell shirts and CD’s for Gungor, rather than kill myself in the multitudes of the lobby, buying Decyfer Down and Pillar gear. i met a pretty awesome “Camp Electric mom” and we both got to share our stories. it is always awesome hearing how God transforms someones life. we chatted all night, and sold some mad gear. almost every kid walked away with BOTH Gungor albums, instead of just one. i did my magic.

our boys were tired that night, but the concert was good hearing Wilmington local, Decyfer Down. i also realized how good Pillar was, how many songs of theirs they played on 88.5, and how in tune with God their hearts were. it was a good night. back to the hotel, back to sleep.

Camp Electric – Day Two

barely woke up with time to spare. rushed all my guys out the door, but the food from the day before hindered that a bit from being on time! but we caught the “overflow” bus back to campus.

a morning worship session with Gungor, a quick message from the speaker/hype man for the week.
breakout time for all guitars, all basses, all vocals, and all drums in their respective locations followed the morning worship. the guitar sesh was ok, featuring Jeremy Camp’s guitar player. named slipped my mind, but thats cool.

we then ran over to another building joining our full group for our favorite session. Tom Jackson leading a session on engagement and stage presence. he took the school’s worship band and they performed the song “Our God”. he then takes it and chops it up, adding this and that, working on their overall appearance, stage presence, song arrangement, and spiritual engagement with the audience. today he just worked out the “intro” and tomorrow we’re looking forward to what he has in store to continue to change this up.

lunchtime could not come sooner. then we ventured into individual classes. this differed from the previous sessions because they broke into smaller classrooms and got one-on-one with the artist or teacher present. i was assigned to chaperone the entry-level bass class “A”. was looking forward to some time catching up on work and having the headphones on. until i walked in the classroom. i first noticed one of my guys somehow ended up in there (even though he’s no beginner), but secondly the teacher for that day was ToddieFunk from TobyMac. so i definitely was engaged as he taught the kids how to thump a bass, play some “funk” and just talk about bass fundamentals. it was pretty sweet!

free time followed after that, and other classes were offered like “Songwriting” and “Jam With the Band”. i walked around campus with a few boys, getting into a bit of mischief here and there. but ended up in the “Jam With the Band” session. it was awesome as members from all different bands (Mandisa, Salvador, Pillar, TobyMac) go on stage and help a set of students rock out to a song! it was cool to see the kids work together, learn new stuff, and play on a stage with other professionals. i know we get to play on “stage” every week, but it easily noticed in talking to kids that we are maybe one youth band, in the top 1% of all youth bands in the U.S. that get to do that! so it was cool to see gets get to do that!! dinner gave us a break and we headed back to the jam session after that to just listen and worship with the students/peers.

after all the food had settled we made out way to the night concert. Gungor opened up once again with worship which was a consistent awesome. his style is so different from mainstream, and though not so engaging superficially or outspokenly, the music and lyrics engage the heart in a way not so common in worship music today. definitely calls out the heart and not the emotions of the room or the moment.

an artist named b. reith came out next. he rocked his songs and a very eclectic style from rap to Jason Mrazish to pop. then… yes… then came an awesome end to a productive day. we got blessed with the presence of some partyers. these guys go out and go hard. every song is pumping with energy and Southern-rock, mixed with hip-hop and dance. with names like Crouton and Phatty, these guys rocked.

Family Force 5 came out and killed it! i’m talking a solid hour of dance tunes. we were all about to pass out as our entire row of guys engaged in constant “random dancing”. we have many moves to bring home. we got fatigued one or two songs in the middle of the set, but out second wind kicked in and we rocked it. not only that but everyone around believed we were from Australia, and then we danced awesome. instantly we had fans all over camp. it was awesome. but more importantly we did just what FF5 wanted us to do. we partied for Jesus and it was awesome. to be with a bunch of guys you love and hang with, who love Jesus and love music. to all be together just being stupid and dancing and jumping and not caring at all what the person in front or beside or behind is thinking about the stupid dance moves you are making. just to worship free and enjoy that God rocks! it was an awesome night.

sorry this is a long post, but it was a long day. after that awesome set, yet again it was raining. we ventured out into the parking lot, loaded the bus (after waiting 30 minutes) and headed to the hotel. we hung out for a bit, shared a bit about the day just hung out. we almost went to bed, when the power went out. which caused chaos once again in the hotel so i had to play chaperone (and a few pranks) and get everyone back in their rooms. let’s just say the hotel got hot, but after about 30-40 minutes, the power was back on.

to end this blog i will add one bad and one good thing about the night.

the disappointment was due to the bad weather and the outage of power. i had planned on going back to the hotel, rocking everyone into bed/rooms and sneaking out with a friend who plays violin for Owl City to an Apache Relay show. a guy i grew up with in high school, was his drum major in band and bandmate, best friends with his older sister, and family. he actually recorded with me back in the day in Nashville and played a few gigs with me, so it was crazy we were in the same town once again. plus the crazy awesome Thad Cockrell was attending and it would’ve been awesome to hang with him and see these guys play.

the good thing of the night, well it was also due to the bad weather and the outage of power. despite missing that show and seeing a friend, i got to hang out with some awesome guys. guys who are young, but amazing musicians. their hearts are geared to grow in Christ and follow Him. they want to not just lead in worship, but BE worship in motion in their community and life. it’s awesome to joke and cut up with them, but to be here with them and hang with them ended my night awesomely! Camp Electric Day 2 officially over. ciao.

Camp Electric – Day 1 Official

so it’s now Sunday morning, we all roll out of bed tired from the night before. we are anticipating a great breakfast provided by the camp for the counselors and students attending. we all hurry to shower up and pack our stuff back up because where we are staying from now on is a different location. we then begin to head to the locale of the morning meal and walk into munchies of doughnuts, muffins, and Purity milk. now besides the milk being super fresh (the plant is literally right across the street), us growing boys really had no desire for muffins. so we sought out for some real breakfast. after looking for a while and my contacts still being asleep (we got up early for this awesome breakfast that failed) we settled for hotcakes at McDonalds and hung out a bit there.

we then had to find a church to attend and my friend Laura who got to tour with Owl City attends an awesome church called The Village church in Nashville. so we drove around town some more (it was still early, we had time to spare even after breakfast before church), and rolled into The Village section of NashVegas. the church was in an old monastery. it was raw and awesome.

from there we grabbed some lunch and headed to campus for the official check-in and beginning of camp. we checked in and had joined in the campers in corporate worship, Michael Gungor and band leading us. David Nasser brought an amazing message definitely quarrying the soul. caused everyone to check their life, and their relationship, “relationship”, or lack of relationship with Jesus. few of our guys responded and the talks afterwards were amazing.

we then got a chance (just because being outside) to personally hit up Gungor’s band and ask some awesome technical questions about drum tuning! it’s what we’re here for… missed out on some Disciple, but it was worth it gaining some knowledge! rocked.

finished out the set of Disciple, walked into the rain, shuttled to L’hotel and crashed hard. day 1 officially done.

Camp Electric – PreDay One

so Detour Worship headed to Nashville early early Saturday morning! after spending the night together hanging out, we journeyed across the entire state of NC and halfway through the mountains of Tennessee!

a few necessary Chick-Fil-A stops, a few bathroom breaks and we made it in record time. Jon and I had a meeting that seemed to last forever while the boys were pretty bored and ready to hit the town. after riding forever in a car, the last thing anyone wants to do is sit in a meeting or wait on someone who is in a meeting.

but we finally got in our rooms for the NIGHT, changed and headed downtown. it was a Saturday night and it was hopping in Nashville! i began texting all my contacts in Nashville for some good eatings and we ended up at Jack’s BBQ for some Smoked Brisket and veggies. it was awesome eating out back on the porch hearing all the music ringing down Broadway and just enjoying each others company! we walked around the city for a long while, hit the “walking bridge”, took lots of pics, grabbed some ice cream, then headed back to where we were staying.

pooped out of our mind we called it a night! that sums up OUR first night at Camp Electric!

My Wedding Day

So the day has come and gone. Elizabeth still wants to continue to visit it because… well it was just awesome. The ceremony I heard was awesome. It was a total blur to me but I remember these things: she was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, Phil talked a lot, I didn’t pass out, and we got to take communion together and pray together after our vows. The reception was baller, even though I was flat worn out by the end of it all!

It was a sweet time of friends and family! Thanks to all who came out to support us and celebrate with us! For those who missed it, well here are a few pics from our awesome friend and photographer Keith Ketchum:

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The Hollands

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