Friday, December 21, 2012

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Here is a great video we used in one of our Advent Services. This is my favorite Christmas hymn as well.

Christmas Remix

Funny video done by the youth team at Saddleback. This is a remix for Drake's song "Forever." If you don't know who Drake is then you are too old to watch this video. 

Funny Christmas Pics

Here are some funny pics...hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Don't Mess with Saint Nick

Two interesting facts about the original Old Saint Nick who inspired the tradition of Santa Claus. 

1. Nicholas accepted Christ at an early age and was the Bishop of Myra in the fourth century. While serving as bishop, he learned of three girls who were going to be sold into slavery by there father due to money issues. Saint Nick ransomed the three girls by tossing three bags of gold through the family's window. 

2. An even cooler story has to do with what Saint Nick did at the Council of Nicaea. Numerous bishops were debating about the Trinity. Another bishop, Arius, was fiercely opposed to the idea of the Trinity and continued to debate his point. Eventually, good ol' Saint Nick became so angry that he got up and slapped Arius in the face! Saint Nick apologized, but he and other bishops won the debate.

Moral of the story. Saint Nick is a nice and jolly guy, but don't push him too far. So in honor of Christmas this year, I'm going to slap someone I disagree with. Just kidding...but seriously.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nerds Unite: The Hobbit is Here!

I fully own my nerdiness on this...but I cannot wait to see the Hobbit this weekend! I even re-read the book in anticipation. Don't make fun of me.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent Info

Here is a quick break down describing the season of Advent. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I am thankful for many things...

I am thankful for my wife and child. They are the loves of my life.

I am thankful for my parents and siblings. They've always supported me. I can always count on them.

I am thankful for my friends. I've had many friends to laugh cry share life with.

I am thankful for the pastors who have mentored and encouraged me. I have been blessed to work with great Senior Pastors.

I am thankful for my church. They have loved my family in amazing ways. I am thankful for my youth team. I have no idea what I would do without their help.

I am thankful for the teenagers in our youth group. I've seen many of them grow and mature over that past several years. They inspire me and don't even know it. I am so lucky to be a youth pastor.

I am thankful for college football, southern food, laughter, great music, and nerdy books.

I am thankful for the opportunities that have been given to me. The opportunity for education. The opportunity to preach. The opportunity to adopt. The opportunities to do mission work. The opportunity to be a husband and a father.

I am thankful for Jesus...for saving me...for calling me...for not giving up on me.

"Give thanks to the Lord because he is good. God's faithful love lasts forever!" Psalm 136:1

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Upside Down

Here is a video about a couple whose lives were turned upside down by Jesus. Life with Jesus is upside down because it seems so opposite of our world's values:

Forgiving instead of getting even.
Serving instead of controlling.
Giving instead of getting.
Grace instead of earning.
Peace instead of hate.
Love instead of fear.

I am so thankful Jesus turned my life upside down!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

5 Things Youth Volunteers Need to Hear

My youth team is great and I have no idea where I (or our youth group) would be without them. honor of them and volunteers everywhere, here are five things every volunteer needs to hear.


4. Don't take things personally...teenagers by nature make all of us feel stupid from time to time.

3. It's ok to be weird...that's why you serve in the youth ministry. 
(see photo to the right)

2. Don't forget to take a break occasionally...the youth group will survive. (come back quickly though!)

1. You ARE making a great impact in the lives of young people, and in my life...even if you don't see the outward results all the time.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Beyond Guilt

WARNING: The video below is amazing but also challenging. However, I'm not big on guilt trips. I think when God pierces our hearts it is an opportunity to repent, not just to feel guilty. Repentance is a good means to turn change the way we think or act. It is letting go of self and allowing God to shape us. Repentance is the opportunity to walk with see the world as he sees partner with him in his mission of redemption. Repentance is a big part of the gospel! The good news is that we have a second chance at life. We get a new start and a new way to live! May God help us go beyond guilt and lead us to repentance! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Politics (and Adoption)

People get pretty heated about politics so I do not usually say too much about them. I do think politics are important and I do think people should vote. However, I do not believe politicians or government will ever solve the real problems in this world. Governments cannot transform hearts. Politicians cannot redeem our communities. It seems people believe that if "their candidate" or party wins everything will be right in our country. I think that is overly optimistic. On the flip side, people believe if the other party wins then we are all doomed. I think that is overly pessimistic. Maybe are passions are misguided.

What if all the passion we had about politics was directed somewhere else?

What if we used our energy differently? What if we did something?

What if being pro-life was more than just a political slogan? What would happen if we were really pro-life? What would change if we all cared for orphans? What would happen if we actually lived out James 1:27?

What if we stopped talking about the poor and entitlements and instead actually served the poor (Matthew 25)?

What would change if we lived the gospel and didn't just preach it? What would happen if we followed the example of Christ and didn't just call ourselves Christian?

What if we stopped getting angry at other people and got angry at our own sin?

People do get heated about politics...and sometimes rightly so. But why are we not "heated" about the thousands of children without families? Why are we not "heated" about kids sold into slavery? I don't think we should stop caring about politics, but I do think we should care about other things more. And if I sound preachy, please know that I am preaching to myself as well. (Plus, I'm a preacher so I can't really help it.)

I pray God would break my heart for the things that break his heart. I pray I would share his desires and passions. I'm not always there, but I'm getting better. I realize that many people are already doing the very things I mentioned. I know many people who are loving orphans, serving the poor, and living the gospel. I am very grateful for these individuals. God's kingdom work is being done, we just need to join the movement.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Youth Training

Fellow youth pastors...I need your help! I am working with the conference on developing a certification school for youth workers. This training would be similar to the training of local license pastors. 

Full-time youth ministers could certainly attend this training, however, the main goal is to help small-ish churches in equipping their youth workers who are typically part-time or volunteer. This certification would also give these youth workers some clout and respect as well. Below is a tentative description of the program. We are very early in the game. In fact, nothing is in stone and no one has even agreed to be a part of the program. I just want to get some initial thoughts from friends. Thanks for your help!

Is there anything missing in the curriculum? 
What books would you suggest as reading material before class sessions?
How does the daily schedule look? Would you add or subtract anything from it? 
If we proceed with this program, would you be interested in helping?

About the Program

The youth ministry certification school would serve to equip youth workers and provide value to the youth worker’s resume. In addition, the school will hopefully provide an affordable way for churches to assist and support their youth workers. The program is especially designed for lead youth workers who are either volunteers or part-time. The ten courses give a foundation for youth ministry education. Individuals would meet on 5 Saturdays within a 6 month period. Each day the student will cover two courses. There will also be reading assignments before and after the on-site classes. Upon completion of the ten courses, a certificate will be issued to the student.

About the Curriculum
  • A Foundation of Youth Ministry: Planning, Purpose, Resources, and Goals
  • Culture and Youth Ministry: Understanding Teenagers
  • The Family and Youth Ministry: Partnering with Parents
  • Building a Team: Recruiting and Keeping Volunteers
  • Wesleyan Theology
  • Speaking to Teenagers: Preaching 101
  • Counseling Youth: Helping Hurting Kids
  • The Other Side of Youth Ministry: Administration, Safe Sanctuary, Conflict Resolution, Working With Your Pastor, and Fundraising.
  • Leadership Training
  • Soul Care: The Personal and Spiritual Life of a Healthy Youth Worker


9:30am-12:00pm--Course 1
1:00pm—3:30pm—Course 2
3:30pm-4:00pm—Devotion and Communion

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Haiti Mission Trip

“Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father 
means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles…” –James 1:27

When? June 15-21 2013

Where? Haiti

Who? 9th-12th grade students

What? This Caribbean country is known for its vast poverty and devastating earthquake in 2010. However, it is also a place with amazing people who are currently in midst of a national revival. Our team will have the opportunity to participate in this beautiful revival through leading church services, construction projects, and ministering at orphanages.


Be a Blessing
·         Fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
·          Invest in the lives of others (Philippians 2:1-4)
·         Care for people in need (Matthew 10:42, Matthew 25, James 1:27)
·         Use the gifts God has given you for his purposes (1 Peter 4:10)

Be Blessed
·         Deepen your walk with Christ
·         Build lifelong relationships with your team members
·         Experience a new culture and the worldwide body of Christ
·         See God’s grace and power in a new way

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3 Reasons I'm Excited about Youth Ministry...and a Funny Video

As another school year begins, here are 3 reasons why I am excited about our youth ministry!!! (The three exclamation points show my excitement)

1. Our youth ministry has really grown the past couple of years and so has our number of volunteers. We also have awesome facilities now. Thus, beginning this year we will now be able to offer some separate ministries for middle school and high school students. Our Sunday night small groups will have separate times for each age group and a curriculum that is specific for them. In addition, we will have separate trips in the winter and separate mission trips in the summer. I cannot wait to get started!

2. We are really pushing for our youth to attend Sunday morning services with their families. We are going to try something new in terms of Sunday School in order to really emphasize the importance of being a part of the larger church. This thought process is the result of recent research coming from books like "Almost Christian" and "Sticky Faith." Our concern is that many of our students are only attached to the youth group and not the church as a whole...we want to try and change that.

3. I love our Wednesday night services. We have youth from various ages and backgrounds together in fellowship and worship. More importantly, the students are beginning to run most of the service besides the message. We have a youth-led praise band, youth working the computer and sound board, and youth reading the announcements and scripture readings. Sometimes this means things aren't perfect, but I love to see them taking ownership and I hope that we continue to improve in this area. 

I'm in my 11th year of working with students and still love every minute of it. Although, sleeping on the floor is not as much fun. 

Oh, and here is the funny video. I don't think I fit any of the youth pastor stereotypes except for the facial hair one. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Football Predictions

College football is back and here are some of my predictions. What do you think?
 Let the trash talking begin!

ACC Champion--Florida State

Big East Champion--Rutgers

Big Ten Champion--Wisconsin

Big 12 Champion--Oklahoma

Pac 12 Champion--Oregon

SEC Champion--Alabama -yes, I'm a homer...leave me alone! :)

Heisman Finalists--Matt Barkley (USC), Denard Robinson (Michigan), Tyler Wilson (Arkansas), Landry Jones (Oklahoma),

Sleepers--Geno Smith (West Virginia), EJ Manuel (Florida State), Marcus Lattimore (South Carolina)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sticky Faith

Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids
Presented by First United Methodist Church Crestview
Reverend Brandon Dasinger (Associate Pastor and Student Minister)

When: This Sunday (2pm-3:30pm)
Cost: Nothing! ...and free child care is available.
Who: This seminar is for parents (and grandparents) of kids of all ages. No matter the age of your kids, it's never too early or too late to build sticky faith.
Why: As a student ministry our desire is to minister to students AND their families. We know it is not easy being a parent and we want to do everything we can to help.
Where: Crossroads Center (youth room)

Summary: Research shows that almost half of graduating high school seniors struggle deeply with their faith. Many drop out of church completely. However, the news is not all bad. Research also shows some things that we can do as parents to encourage our children's spiritual growth so that it will stick with them in adulthood. 

Please feel free to share this event with others. No registration required...just show up! 

Here is a video that gives some more info...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Kenzie...Healing...and Jesus

On Monday Kenzie had another EEG. The results came back completely normal! This may not seem like a big deal, but a year and half ago Kenzie's EEG was anything but normal. At 6 months old, Kenzie was having infantile spasms and her test results were not good. A year and a half later, Kenzie is no longer having seizures and her EEG looks great. She will remain on medicine for another year and if everything remains positive the doctor will take her off. However, Kenzie will always have the potential for seizures and she may have to stay on medicine for the rest of her life. We will wait/pray and see.

Nevertheless, the doctor considers her a miracle baby and so do we. We are very thankful (and amazed) at how well she is doing.

With that said, I realize for every family that receives a healing, there is another family who does not. Any time I hear someone celebrate the miracle of being cancer free…I think of those in the congregation who have lost loved ones due to cancer. Why are some healed and others not? There are faithful Christians who receive a miracle and some do not. Why? I will not pretend that I have the time or the smarts to answer that question fully.

However, one thing that may help is understanding the WHY of miracles. The point of miracles is not the miracles themselves. Our moments of healing are actually small previews into God’s future. In other words, the miracles of Jesus show what the future will be, what his complete kingdom will look like one day.

For instance, the raising of Lazarus from the dead reveals that one day all will be called from death to life, but of course Lazarus did die again. In the same way, Jesus multiplied bread and fed the hungry, a sign that one day stomachs will never be empty, but certainly there were other individuals who went hungry that night. You see every child cured will one day be an adult buried. We live in a world of death and disease. This is why healings are rare and unique. 

The miracles of Jesus are not the point of the text; they are not what is most important. What is most important is what these miraculous healings point to: they point to Jesus. They show us who he is. They reveal his compassion and kindness. They show us what his incarnation is all about. That we worship a Savior who has entered our world…who has entered our mess…who has entered our lives and made us whole. You see, our rare moments of healing give us a taste of God’s future reign. One day there will be no disease, or sickness, or sin, or death. One day God’s peace and God’s shalom will be complete. And all that is broken will be made whole. 

So if your family is rare and has experienced the miracle of healing, then rejoice and be thankful. However, if your family has experienced the norm of sickness and suffering, be assured that one day this too will pass. Be comforted by a Savior who is always with you and who has personally experienced the suffering and disappointment of this world.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Missing the Joy--Religious Chores

"Return the joy of your salvation to me!" -Psalm 51:12

Every now and then I need God to restore the joy of my salvation. When we first begin following Christ there is a sense of enthusiasm and passion. What we lack in knowledge at that point is made up for by our joyful spirit. We are astonished by the grace and mercy of God. We are amazed by the truth that God not only loves us, but wants to use us in his kingdom!

However, after a few years this joy can become dulled by the stress and temptation of the world. Suddenly church becomes a chore that we feel obligated to fulfill every now and then. We fall into the dangerous trap of self-pity. We begin to see service as something we have to get through as opposed to something we get to do. I have often fallen into this type of thinking: Only two more crazy weeks of summer and then I'll get a break. After I finish writing this sermon I can get some rest.

Ministry becomes a burden instead of something that is life-giving and sanctifying. We begin to believe that God owes us for all that we have done for him. We forget that our very lives-and our own ability to serve-is a gift of grace.

In these moments we must remember. We must remember the joy of our salvation. We must remember who Christ is and all he has done for us. We must repent of our self-pity and rejoice in the truth that God has both saved us and called us. Religion is a with Christ is a joy-full blessing.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Made Perfect in Love

"God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. This is how love is perfected in us..." -1 John 4:16-17

"We trust to love the Lord our God not only as we do now, with a weak though sincere affection, but with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Indeed, we expect to be 'made perfect in love.' We look for power to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in everything."-John Wesley

Lord, help us to trust in your power and grace. Help us to love you with all our heart, soul, and mind. Grant us the strength to rejoice always and give thanks in everything. You are working and with you all things are possible. Amen.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Orphan Ministry in Haiti

Here is a short testimony about the Life is Hope orphanage in Haiti. I have been to Haiti once and our student ministry may be going there next summer (still working on the details). Another example of James 1:27 being lived out!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adoption/Kenzie Update

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to give you some quick updates:

1. Our daughter Kenzie, who was diagnosed with epilepsy, has now been seizure free for over a year. She is on medicine and has not had any side effects. However, on August 13th her neurologist scheduled an EEG just to get an updated look. Otherwise, she is doing great (except now she is a crazy toddler!) Thank you for your continued prayers.

It's tough living in Florida, but someone has to do it...
2. We have completed our home study paper work and our home study interview went very well. We passed! Now the hard part...waiting. In the mean time we will be looking to raise more funds and checking different places for interest free loans. The good news is that several banks and adoption foundations provide interest free loans. And Florida has a great tax credit after you adopt a child which we will use to pay most of the loan back. Adoption is expensive but we are finding numerous "helps" along the way. Thank you again for your prayers and support. Below is a great adoption verse which reminds us that adoption is at the heart of the gospel.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” Galatians 4:4-7

Hide that truth in your heart from Galatians: You are no longer a slave--you are not a slave to sin, you are not a slave to your past--you are a child of God. He is your Abba father. This is who you are and this is what God wanted from the very beginning.