Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday - Leaders Corner

Ephesians 3:7-9 - 'I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.'

1). Paul considered himself a servant of the gospel. (v.7) As leaders, we are God's servants, working to do as He pleases. We should strive to work hard for our King. 2). God gave Paul a gift, the grace of preaching to the Gentiles. (v.7,8) God had to powerful change Paul to make this happen, but that was all part of God's grace for him. When God makes us a leader, it changes our lives for the better, and is a tremendous sign of His grace. 3). Paul remembered that he wasn't worthy of what God had done for him. (v.8) He considered himself the lowest of all God's people, because of how he had acted before he was a Christian. Yet God, in His grace, made Paul one of the most effective disciples in his church. 4). Paul wanted to make God's mysteries plain to the Gentiles. (v.9) It was important to him that his followers understood what God was teaching them. As leaders, we must be sensitive to the cognitive abilities of our followers, as well as the student friendly material we deliver in our messages. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

What a day. Yesterday I took down my outside Christmas decorations, but I also helped my kids make a miniature snowman. Somethings not right with this picture...

Anyway, congratulations yet again to Larissa. She is in fact 'on a role' as the chosen correct comment from Friday's quiz. Yes, Wayne Nestor is a pastor in Columbus. Larissa is now up to $6 in prize money to be used towards any NYM event or piece of merchandise. Great job. For all of our users, since it is year's end, please let us know exactly how many dollars you've earned to this point, so we can start off the new year with accurate amounts.

Here's today's trivia: Special year end prize!!!!! Every correct comment will be a .50 cents. Name as many events in the Bible that lasted for only one full year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday week last week. I had a great time visiting family and friends in Bellevue. 

Christmas Eve night, we were sitting around the tree with my in laws and other relatives. My father in law opened a gift from his son in Toledo: it was a new cell phone. His son manages a Verizon store in Ohio and he had setup the phone entirely for his dad to make it easier for him. You could tell that my father in law wasn't too excited about it, probably concerned about the learning curve with new technology. But he knew that he needed it.

Just the day before, he was heading out the door to get a root canal, when my wife handed him her cell phone, just in case. Well, he only got 6 blocks away and his car konked out on him. Without that cell phone, it would have been a very cold walk home. So as we sat around the tree, he tried to think up a reason that he could stall with the adaptation of cell phone use, "This won't work for me. At work, I'm always bending over to pick up things and the phone will fall out of my pocket" The next gift he opened from his wife, a cell phone holster. No excuses now!

It's funny how things work out for good in the end. Soon, I'm sure I'll be receiving texts from my father in law, or at least, sometime before next Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Hello everyone! I hope you had a holly, jolly Christmas. Mine was joyful and triumphant. Leading the carols at our Christmas Eve service was great, but my daughter did a great job on a solo, and it stole the show! My kids got a new Wii system from their mom-mom and we've had a blast playing on it since. 

Congratulations to Larissa for two in a row! She was the correct comment chosen to win this weeks $2 prize. the VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW got very theoretical on us, but still answered correctly as well. Larissa is now up to $4 in prize money, but at the rate she's going, she'll have a 100 by camptime.

Here's the trivia for today: I got a message on my phone from an old Master's Commission student of mine, Beth Nestor (maiden name). She was in town visiting some old friends and homeopeners from her Master's days. Her father is a credentialed minister with us, Wayne Nestor. He formally was a missionary to Europe, and now he is a pastor at Lutheran Church in central NE. Can you guess what city he pastors in:

A) Holdrege
B) Grand Island
C) Broken Bow
D) Columbus
E) Funk

Have a great weekend

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Here is a testimony I received in email from Amandi Graf. Merry Christmas everyone!

 i just wanted to tell you about a praise report that happend this last week. well, my 3year old cousin got a hold of one of my aunts medicen patches, and know one knows how long he had it on, he passed out and they rushed him to the emergency room. Afterr about 3 or 4 hours of prayer we got a call that he had waken up and is perectly fine with no side affects. it was a complete God thing, and we are so amazed. God is great!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday - Leaders Corner

Matthew 2: 2,11 "They asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and the bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh."

1). The wise men came to worship the king of the Jews. (v.2) They loved the stars, they looked to the Scriptures to find out the meaning of different mysteries in the stars, and it led them to Jesus. They realized that Jesus was the reason the stars were as beautiful as they are. They worshipped God for the beauty of His creation, and so should we. Even these old, wise, rich, kings were bowing in worship to the newborn babe surrounded by farm animals in a smelly manger. Remember that every knee shall bow. It doesn’t say that they bowed to Herod, but they did bow for Jesus. 2). They were there to worship Jesus. (v.11) They had brought gifts, but instead they first presented themselves. God wants you more than your gifts. You are on His 'Christmas wish' list.  If you give Him all of you, then and only then will you fully appreciate the gifts in your life and use them for His glory. 3). They brought gifts to Jesus. (v.11) Giving is an act of worship. We can give money, give time, give advice, resources, commitment, etc. What do you have that you can give to God as an act of worship this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello everyone! Congratulations to LARISSA for being the chosen correct comment from our trivia on Friday. Yes, Pastor Dwight was a pastor in Minatare before coming to the District Office. You won $2 in prize money to be used towards any NYM merchandise or event. Keep track of your winnings and we'll see how you do down the road.

Today's trivia: (without looking) Which two gospel books contain the story of Jesus' birth? See ya tomorrow, Merry Christmas Eve Eve.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

This past Saturday, my brother Corey had his 19th birthday. My wife and I were in town for the holidays, which is nice because we almost always get to see him on his birthday. We have a couple of nephews whose birthdays are right around Christmas as well, so we had one big birthday party together for all of our holly birthdays. Since we have so much gifts floating around, we decide to do a gift exchange for the adults as well, with a ten dollar limit. 

The gifts are never anything that I had on my list, but there are not necessarily that bad either.  A starbucks gift card, a men's shampoo set, candle, etc. My brother in law James was almost last to pick a gift in the exchange. About 6 months ago, he was working on a ladder at his job, and was electrocuted. He pulled himself away from the shock and fell two stories to the ground, severely injuring his lower back. He has not been able to do any physical work since then and he is still bothered by it immensely. 

There were only a few gifts left, and one was from my brother Corey. Most people didn't pick it because Corey isn't exactly known as the best 'gift giver'. As a young recent high school graduate interning in Grand Island, we figured he found something in his churches storage closet, wrapped it up, and brought it to give. James lucked out and picked Corey's gift, being a good sport. He opened it up, and it was a professional strength back massager, especially highlighting it's ability to work on the lower back, JUST WHAT HE NEEDED.

There's a lesson to be learned here; don't judge a gift for it's packing, or even, for the reputation of the one giving it. Wait to open it to see what you think. You never know, it might be just what you need.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Sorry that we didn't get Todd's picture up yesterday, but it is now on the post below. The pic is from Thanksgiving with us back in November.

Congratulations to Pastor Tim for being the correct comment chose to win our trivia from Tuesday. He earns another $2 in prize money to be used towards any NYM event or piece or merchandise. Please inform us where you are at in your winnings to the present time...

Today's trivia - our illustrious leader for Assemblies of God churches in NE, pastor Dwight Sandoz, will have a crazy and exciting holiday. His oldest daughter, Bethany, will be wed in Grand Island. It should be a great affair, with plenty of family and friends coming in for the occasion. Here's the question: at what western church did Pastor Dwight serve before coming to the district office?

A) Oshkosh
B) Minatare
C) Bridgeport
D) Ogallala
E) McCook

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Todd Mohrmann (established youth leader from Columbus, will have a picture up later this afternoon) works for a large manufacturing company. They send him out on deliveries and many weeks, he piles up more miles than I do. On one such trip, he was driving near his hometown when he saw a car pulled off the road and into the ditch. He stopped to help, and the owner of the car recognized him; it was someone who had just started visiting his church. Todd helped him out and became a great example of the church being the church.

Make sure to take advantage of your opportunities to help others out when they come your way. It's a chance to be the church again!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Matthew 2:3,4 'When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.'

1). Herod was disturbed when he received news of Jesus' birth. (v.3) In the same verse, we find out that Jerusalem was disturbed along with Herod. The nation followed their leader, showing the effectiveness of that leader in his leadership. Even though it wasn’t the right behavior, this act shows that Herod was a strong leader. The large group should take on the identity of the leader casting the vision.

2). Herod pulled the leaders together to discuss the situation. (v.4) Knowing that the people were disturbed as he was, he brought the leaders together to discuss a plan. It appeared that he didn’t just step out in his own direction, but he sought the counsel of his leaders and wanted to move together. Instead, he just wanted to find out where Jesus was, because he already had a plan to kill him. Sometimes, leaders appear to be doing their job well, when in fact they have ulterior, selfish motives that aren't right. Don't use your position of leadership to secretly advance your own cause. Great leaders have tried to do the same thing and taken a hard fall because of it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Congratulations on the winner of Friday's trivia challenge, A VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW. I think you are now up to $12 in prize money; great job. Nice try to Pastor Mike. The church is definitely Lyons, in the Northeast corner of our great state.

Here's our trivia challenge for today: Can you name the 3 different places that Jesus lived as a young person?

Happy Searching!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Last week, Kim and I had the chance to take our kids to Kearney and experience the infamous 'Disney on Ice'. It was a blast. We love Disney films and our kids have had the chance to visit Disneyland, so it reminded us of great memories.

As we first came in, we went to find our seats. We were having a hard time so we asked a helper nearby, and we found out we were in the bleachers above the seats in the arena, about as far up as you can get. I asked Kim what had happened, and she has quickly bought the least expensive tickets, without looking to see where they were located.

We considered moving, but then the show started, so we figured we'd wait a bit and see what seats were available. Very quickly, we came to the realization that we had some of the best seats in the house; though we were up high, we had a great view of everything going on around the ice. Later on, during a break, we walked up close and saw that you couldn't see everything in that way, so we really did have good seats.

Sometimes, we need to wait a bit and experience something before we just rule it out based on our expectations. Sometimes, the cheap seats might be the best seats in the house.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Congratulations to Pastor Mike for submitting the only correct comment from our Trivia Challenge on Tuesday. Archaleus took over after Herod died. Pastor Mike is now up to $8 in prize money. Way to go Pastor Mike, (by the way, he is not an outcast, he's a winner)

Today's trivia challenge is this: Look at the church building above. What wonderful NE city is this church located in:

A) Ord
B) Beatrice
C) Aurora
D) Holdrege
E) Lyons

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

1). Brian Korell, youth pastor at Gering, told me this story. He and his wife also oversee Children's Ministry and they have plenty of students coming that aren't church kids. One kid was in worship holding his I-pod up, evidently playing with it, which is against the rules. Just as Brian was about to tell him to stop, he realized that he had been recording the worship so that he could listen to it again. Not up to copywrite standards, but pretty impressive nonetheless.

2). Mike (the guy I picked on from yesterday) Maroney, youth pastor at Valentine, told me this story. One of the young ladies in his youth ministry was interested in attending a school function with a boy from the city on a date. Mike's rule is that he has to meet the young man first. So, she brought him to youth group. God took over and that young man became a Christian that night.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner "OUTCAST"

1 Samuel 22:2 "All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him."

Do you ever feel like an outcast? Are you having money problems, never feeling like you've got enough? Do you have ongoing issues that cause you much stress? Are you unhappy and uncontent with where you are in life? Take heart, there's hope for you.

God sent David these kinds of people, to be his army. David kept them in the cave and trained them to be warriors. From this group would come great leaders, generals for the future exploits of Israel.

When forming our leadership teams, don't neglect to consider the outcasts. Remember where God called you from, and don't be afraid to take a chance on a few people. Who knows, you might find a great leader like the one pictured above in their ranks. (Mike Maroney, youth pastor of Valentine, former outcast, executive youth committee member)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello everyone! Today was officially the first day that I had to scoop my driveway because of the snow. Fortunately, it was only a few inches, and that's pretty good for central Nebraska.

Our WHERE IS THAT IN NE? trivia challenge from last week wasn't answered correctly. Thank you to THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW for trying. The correct answer was Clinton, close to Crawford, but not quite.

Today, here is the Bible Trivia challenge. Joseph took baby Jesus and his mother to Egypt to escape King Herod. God told him to do this through an angel in a dream. Herod was so furious he killed at the baby boys in Jerusalem and it's vicinity. Joseph stayed in Egypt until Herod had died. Who replaced Herod, reigning over Judea (no looking!)?

A) Zeruiah
B) Gamaliel
C) Archelaus
D) Pontius Pilate
E) Achish

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

God speaks to us in many ways. 7 Major Ways are 1) The Bible, 2) The Holy Spirit, 3) Leaders, 4) Family, 5) Friends, 6) Circumstances and 7) Supernatural. Not many times have a I experienced a 'supernatural' voice, but I recently had that opportunity.

The other night I had a strange dream. I was in a school, in front of a some bleachers full of students. In the middle at the top was Barack Obama. I was explaining that churches can sometimes struggle with judging others. Barack stood up and said that the issue of judging would make it difficult to connect with Muslims and Mormons. Then, I began to preach. I was trying to tell the people where to go in their Bibles, but I had lost my reference. I stalled by asking them to talk with each other about their favorite book of the Bible. While thumbing for my place, I looked up at Barack, hoping that he wasn't noticing my mistake. Then, I woke up.
Strange! I guessed I had been a little too involved in political talks to that point. But then, I had a meeting with a friend of mine who was concerned about certain issues with spiritual gifts. As we were talking, I was becoming agitated; frustrated that he wasn't seeing things my way. The problem was that I kept quoting verses, he would ask me where they were found, and I couldn't give a reference. Suddenly, I remembered my dream and the themes of judging others and losing my Bible reference.

I couldn't figure out what Obama had to do with anything though. I figured it must have been something to do with sitting before leaders, hidden in the crowd of students, leaders that can change the world. Soon after, I found out that my friend was the president of republican's at his Christian College in the Midwest.

God still speaks through dreams and the supernatural and I encourage you to be open to that means of hearing from Him in your life.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Hello, and welcome to the weekend. (Pray for my daughter Abby, she's sick today) Congratulations to an old friend who apparently forgot about us, PASTOR TIM, for being the selected correct comment from Tuesday's Trivia. Unfortunately, I lost the record of how many dollars in prize money he had earned, so we will give him a total of $10!!!! Way to go, and stay in touch.

Almost one month ago we finished our Fall Youth Convention (pictured above). Many of you might remember that we had a snowstorm Thursday night and many were concerned that they might not be able to come. In spite of the weather, only one church wasn't able to make it. Can you name what city they were from?

A) Clinton
B) Crawford
C) Butte
D) Coleridge
E) Omaha

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

In a recent post from a few weeks ago, I wrote about an interview I had the opportunity to do for a 700 club piece on Nebraska residents opinion of the old Safe Haven Law. Here's the link to that interview, if you'd like to see it:

Also, Chris Puccini, our youth pastor from Kearney (pictured above) told me a great story about an instance in his youth ministry, IMPACT. During a recent service, a popular student was worshipping near the front. The service had just started but Chris noticed a commotion and went to see what was happening. This student was praying and many other students had gathered around him and were praying for him. That moment, he accepted Christ as his Savior, and Chris hadn't even preached yet! Isn't God awesome?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

My wife and I at youth convention
Psalms 16:11 - "You have made known to me the path of life"
Recently, I had the chance to attend a church that had just changed their mission statement. The new statement showed an increased emphasis on reaching out to the community. After the service, I was having lunch with some of the members, and they were concerned that the new mission statement wouldn't work. They felt that the statement was too forward thinking, arguing that most of the people who come to church do it to make themselves feel better and aren't concerned about helping others (thus, showing the need for a new missions statement).
Then, the most amazing thing happened. The waittress came to take our order and struck up a conversation. One thing led to another, and we found out that she had a mother who was battling cancer. Well, one of the people in our group had just fought that battle and so he encouraged her with her ordeal. We prayed for her before our meal and then invited her to the church for the next service. Surprisingly, we didn't talk much anymore about the vitality of the new missions statement.
God knows what HE's doing! How could we argue against a mission statement that just proved its purpose in our lives? Let God direct your paths, and you can be sure you are right where you need to be.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello everyone! Our WHERE IS THAT IN NE? challenge from Friday went without comment, so unfortunately, there are no winners. Incidentally, the correct answer was SOUTHRIDGE church, which meets at Twin Creek Cinema in Bellevue, and is only about 3 miles away from the mall.

Here's our trivia question from today: Where is the shortest verse in the OLD TESTAMENT found?

A) Ezra
B) 2 Samuel
C) 1 Chronicles
D) Psalms
E) Hezekiah

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

This past weekend, I had the chance to go back to Bellevue and visit family and friends for Thanksgiving. We had a great time eating turkey, talking about what we are thankful for, watching the lighting of Christmas trees across town, and of course, shopping. We also enjoyed a Sunday morning service at my old church, BCC.

I loved everything. The worship, the message, the announcements video, seeing old friends. But something happened in worship that I particularly enjoyed. Since becoming the DYD of NE, I sit in Sunday services across the state and see the service from a totally different perspective. I see it as one of the members of the congregation. I see different people struggling to stay connected because of various distrations, and wonder what we can do to help.

Well, the same thing began to unfold this past Sunday. A young man in front of me, with his wife by his side, was trying to stay connected during worship, but having an obviously tough time. Evidently, he was visiting and wasn't used to such charismatic praise. When the pastor got up to transition, I glanced forward to see if he had completely disengaged by this point. To my surprise, he was sitting down and completely focused on the cover of the bulletin. Somehow, someway, God was getting through to that man. It wasn't with the worship, the message, the pastor, etc..; it was with the bulletin.

God speaks to people through a large variety of ways in our churches. We need to realize that and make sure everything we do is of the best quality we can produce. Who knows when someone will come in our church and be completely changed because of what they saw on the bulletin?

Friday, November 28, 2008


Congratulations to A VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW on a correct comment from Tuesday's Bible Trivia. Truly, there were turkeys on the ark. We can also assume there were turkeys in the Garden of Eden and possibly in Peter's dream of animals falling from the sky in a sheet. Anyway, congratulations, you are now once again up to $6 in prize money. That money can be used towards any item of merchandise or event promoted at our website:

Yesterday, I posted a picture of the tree lighting in Papillion, NE. Someone commented that they liked the name, and yes it is a butterfly. In fact, one of the Papillion school's mascots is a monarch. Here's the question, which of our A/G churches is closest in proximity to the new Shadow Lake mall?:

A) Omaha Pacific Springs
B) Bellevue Christian Center
C) Omaha Glad Tidings
D) Southridge Church
E) Omaha Southside A/G

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Happy Thanksgiving. Above is the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Shadow Lake Mall in Papillion.

A few of my NE friends had a birthday today as well. I commented on their profile pages a jumbled message - Thanks happy giving birth day.

A few blogs ago I wrote about my trip to Hebron. The pastor is named Tim. Tim is also the FCA leader and they have the Christian Athlete meetings at their church. They have about 15 students that come every week and work with them on their faith. Their influence has extended far beyond just the youth who come with families on Sunday mornings or Sunday night youth ministries. What a great job, and remember, he works a fulltime job outside the church as well.

We should all look for ways to get involved in our communities and extend our influence to the people God has called us to.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

(The entryway at our house!)

Ephesians 5:16 "make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

A couple of weeks ago, I had a youth pastor coffee time in Omaha. About 6 or 7 of us came together and connected at Panera near Saddlecreek and Dodge. After we were finished, Brad Harder, Cory Demmel and I were walking out to our cars, ready to leave. A lady and a camera crew approached us. They told us they were from a Christian TV station in Virginia and were interviewing people on their thoughts about the current Safe Haven Laws. Cory and I were both interviewed. I said briefly that my wife and I couldn't fathom dropping off our kids, but something needed to be done to fix it.

I quickly forgot about it on the 2 and 1/2 hour drive home. A week later though, I got a funny text from my mother. She had been watching the 700 club, a popular Christian TV show with Pat Robertson, based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. They brought up a piece on the Safe Haven Laws, and suddenly she saw my face come up and heard my interview. She helped us find the link online as well. What a surprise to see her son on the national broadcast!

The next week I heard from many people who heard the interview and agreed with my stance. The Safe Haven Laws had concerned me, but little did I know that God would use me in a small way to help change things. Remember, make the most of EVERY opportunity; you never know what God might do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

This past weekend, my family decorated our house for Christmas. It was great, though it isn't even Thanksgiving yet. This is a wreath on our front door.

Congratulations to our winner from Friday's WHERE IN NE TRIVIA, Pastor Mike. You now have over $6 in prizes money. Great job

With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought I'd do a trivia today around the holiday event. Can you mention an instance where a turkey is mentioned in the Bible? Happy Searching!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Last night I spoke at the Real Youth Ministries of Northridge Assembly in Grand Island. It was a wonderful time hanging out with some old friends and students from my hometown. Brian Whoeppel is doing a great job providing leadership for this youth group in transition and I'm excited to see where they go from here.

I was prepared to speak a message I've spoken often to youth groups around NE this fall. The focus is on reaching out to your friends, with a smaller emphasis on being right with God yourself. We had one of the recent youth sponsors (Chris, a policeman from GI) give a testimony in the middle of my message. During his testimony, God changed the direction of our service. Chris finished his story, I sang a song, and gave an altar call for getting things right with God. It seemed like over half the group came forward to pray. We plan and prepare, but God does what He wants and has full permission to come change our plans when He sees fit.

Barack and John getting into it by the diner

John and I, with John

Anna and Casie

Worshipping Faces

Real youth, truly

Friday, November 21, 2008


Thank you to everyone who commented on our Tuesday's Bible Trivia. Special thanks to mc4jc247 for their first comment in. The correct answer was letter C. 595. The winner is THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW. Thanks for hurting your brain for the cause. I believe you are now up to $4 in prize money, once again.

Today, where is this picture from in NE?

A). Broken Bow
B). Mitchell
C). Hyannis
D). Crofton
E). Red Cloud

Have fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Last week I heard about two great stories from youth groups in NE:

1). Susan Payne is a student from Omaha Glad Tidings LIFT youth ministries. She attends Benson High School, in North Central Omaha. LIFT has been doing some outreaches and she has been bringing her friends. She was personally responsible for bringing 42 students from Benson to Glad Tidings. WOW.

2). Our youth group from Friend, NE is pastored by Ryan and Rachel Conner. On the way home from convention, they couldn't stop talking about what God had done at the event. The next day, Rachel was supposed to speak in church, but before she got up to speak, she allowed students to testify about convention. These 9 students, normally shy and not willing to speak, ALL got up and told about what God had done. That was the message for the day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

1 Kings 3:11 - So God said to Solomon, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth FOR YOURSELF, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked."

God had given Solomon a wonderful opportunity - ask for whatever you want me to give you. The ultimate 'genie in a bottle' moment. If you could have anything in the world, what would you ask for?

Solomon didn't become selfish, like most of us might in that moment. He thought of his people, the ones he was called to lead. He asked for a quality that would make him a good leader for their sake. God was pleased to give him his request when he saw his unselfish heart.

Many aspire to be a leader, but what they don't realize is that in becoming a leader you are losing more rights to yourself. You begin to make decisions that aren't necessarily your preference, but best for the ministry. What is best for the ministry becomes your desire.

Leadership is the ultimate test of humility. Can you truly put others before yourself?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Last Friday, we posted a trivia challenge to WHERE IS THAT IN NE? Only one person commented, and unfortunately, they had the wrong guess. Because no one else commented, and no one correctly answered the challenge, the $2 prize money CARRIES over to today. By the way, the answer was B) Lexington. And, remember, even if somoene comments and you believe it is the correct answer, you still can comment in because a random selection of all correct comments will win the prize.

For today, Psalm 117 is the middle chapter of the Bible. If you wanted to open up to the middle, you'd need to open up to the book of Psalms. What number chapter is that:

A) 395
B) 495
C) 595
D) 695
E) 795

Have fun! I'm at a camp board meeting today

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

This past weekend, I had the honor of ministering in York and Hebron, two cities somewhat near the interstate in between Lincoln and Grand Island. Saturday, I was in York with my sister Jenny and I facilitated a Teacher's Training Session, covering material from our National Office. We've done this same training before in O'neill, Norfolk, Cozad, and Dalton. 4 churches came out to be with us: Red Cloud, Hebron, York, and Fairbury. Sunday, I drove down to Hebron and spoke to the youth group, while meeting with the leaders before service, to strategize for the future.

The pastors of Hebron New Life Assembly are Tim and Karen Boatright. Tim works a full time job outside of the church, to help with finances. They've been there for 8 years. When they first arrived, there was only about 6 people, all near 80 yrs. of age. Now, after faithfully serving in a bi-vocational role, they have a healthy church, full of young couples and lots of kids. There were about 20 students and leaders there last night, and many were from outside the church.

During our leaders meeting, I brought up some stats about our churches, and my goal that each church would be impacting at least 5% of their mission field. When I showed them their mission field (4 schools nearby, close to 600 students) they realized that they were already very close to their goal. Being from a smaller church, in a smaller city, with a pastor who works outside the church, they didn't think of themselves as doing that well; when in fact, they are one of the better effective youth ministries in their section of the state!

It's not always the most gifted, celebrated, honored, admired, and available leaders that thrive. One trait you will always see in those that are used by God - FAITHFULNESS.

I don't know who might be reading this and where you come from, but here's a word for you today: Don't give up, stick it out, be faithful, and God will see you through!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Hello. Yesterday I had the chance to connect with a bunch of our youth pastors from the Omaha area. Cory, Kevin, Jesse, Jeff, Jay, Brad, and I connected on some good issues for some possible plans in our future. I'm excited!

The winner of our Tuesday Bible Trivia is THE VIEW FROM MY WINDOW, who now has a total of $4 in prize money. Way to go!

This is a sign that was posted on a door at a church that I spoke at. It was the last youth group I spoke at before convention. Can you guess what city this church is from?????
A. Gering
B. Lexington
C. Hastings
D. Friend
E. Lincoln

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Last night, I had the chance to visit Omaha Christian Center with Brad and Kristina Harder and they're youth group - Frontline. We had a wonderful night, and plenty of the students were at convention, so that was awesome. I can't wait to see what they come up with for Fine Arts next March.

I got an email online from a student who came to convention. They had been to a lot of events and figured that this would be just 'another weekend'. She said God completely outdid Himself and she heard His voice in many ways. A youth pastor also told me that God was doing incredible things with His students, even on the way home, speaking to them and showing them things for their lives.

We also had a youth ministry that had a STL banquet on Sunday night. They were able to raise over $2,000 to help reach their goal this year.

Let me know if you have any testimonies, especially from convention. I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Most always, during this day's blog, I pull out some nuggest of truth from Bible passages. Today, I want to look at our example of convention. One of the main reasons convention was such a wonderful event was because of LEADERSHIP.

Now, I'm not trying to say I deserve all the credit. Sure, I'm the DYD and responsible for the overall convention, but I have a team of leaders helping me organize everything we do. Our state committee gave many ideas for convention, and analysis from the previous years, to help shape this one accordingly. I also used every member of the committee in some way during the weekend, further stretching their influence in our district.

Friday, all day, a team of workers came to New Life and helped setup the entire convention. Lights, cameras, merchandise booths, projectors, video screens, smoke machines, prizes, lounges, etc. etc., etc. Over 40 people were running all over the building making things happen. These same volunteers stayed at the church after convention was done and helped tear it all back down, and then setup the church again for their Sunday morning services. All the fun and atmosphere of convention would not have been possible without their help as well.

And then we have the staff from New Life. They manned the video booth, the screen consule, the sound board, the phones during the day, the shop for construction throughout the event. They were wonderful to work with and had the best attitudes as we came and invaded their space. Again, convention wouldn't have been the same without them as well.

And then of course all of our colleges and Master's Commission groups that came and set up their promotional booths in our exhibits area. We had more booths this year than any other year since I've been the DYD. They gave out all kinds of prizes and scholarships, and interacted with many people before and after services. Some of them also came early or left late, in order to help with the behind the scenes details as well. They were a great assett to our convention, and a priority to me because I want to provide our NE students with the best opportunities available for them upon graduation.

Then, we have all the pastors and leaders that brought students from churches. They drove vans and buses, shared beds and slept on floors, and prayed for students all throughout the event. They took time off work, spent time away from their families, all to oversee a group of students becoming who God called them to be. They provided much needed oversight for a gathering of this magnitude. Convention would definitely not occur without them.

And lastly, we have my office staff. Many months ago, we started planning for this event, calling churches, colleges, hotels, etc. Putting together the theme and using the national office resources. Sending out promotional materials months in advance. Numerous phone calls, hours of data entry, and then some. And as soon as we were done, we were already working on the next event coming up. Convention isn't the same without them.

SO OVERALL, you can see it wasn't just one leader that made it happen. It was host of leaders, all working together for the common purpose of seeing students in NE grow in God. What a challenge, and yet, what a success. When we work together, much can be accomplished for God's kingdom, much more than if we try to do things completely on our own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello again. It's good to see that more and more people are logging in to check out the blogs and stay in touch. There are TONS of convention pics and comments on facebook, if you have an account with them.

Last Friday, we had a trivia challenge where the last two conventions had been held in NE. It might have been a trick question, because I was not including the convention from this past weekend, since my blog was entered before the event. That would have made the last two conventions in Kearney, and then Hastings, at the community college. The random winner from correct comments is THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW! Thanks for entering. You are now back up to $2 in prizes. Way to go

At convention, we honored students of NE who had done amazing feats for God this past year. The first night, we honored our Bible Quiz team from Grand Island who qualified for the National Bible Quiz festival. Here's the question - what book of the Bible are the Bible Quiz teams of NE memorizing for this year?

Have fun looking! (HINT - Linda Parker is our BQ director, from Gering. She could help, if you know where to find her...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

What an incredible weekend! Our NE youth convention was amazing. We had a total of about 750 people involved and Kearney New Life was packed. Ben Shafer and Rod Whitlock were a great ministry team, and all of our colleges and master's commisssion's did an excellent job helping us out. Many people have asked about pictures, and they will be posted at our website ( later today. Also, many have commented that they loved our videos - most of the videos can be found on the national STL website ( to use in your churches and youth groups. The countdown videos and EXTRAORDINARY loops were made by 5am productions (the kids kamps evangelists from this past summer!) and I have copies of those that you are more than welcome to use in your church as well.

One of the things that I try to do with convention is make sure that money issues don't keep anyone away. That's hard to do, because it takes a lot of money to bring in the lights, cameras, videos, speakers, worship team, effects, prizes, t-shirts, etc.,etc.,etc. It's also challenging because you have to plan these details out far in advance, before you know if most of your churches will be at convention or not. But it's better for NYM to have students there for less money than to not have them at all. I work with youth pastors and leaders to help them provide scholarships to students in need.

Well, one of my youth leaders did all that he could to help his students get to convention. We worked together, and we saw 4 of them there, all of them non-Christian (or rather, pre-Christian). The first night, all 4 of them came forward and gave their lives to Christ! That's what it's all about, drawing people closer to God. Money should never keep people away from the most important relationship in their lives, a relationship with Jesus Christ!

Many of you might be first time bloggers from convention. Make sure to sign up for an account, and then you can post comments and be available for prizes as well. Tomorrow is a trivia day, so do it soon. A random drawing of all correct comments will decide the winner, so even if you see someone that already answered correctly, comment on! You still have a chance, (with God, nothing is impossible)

Friday, November 7, 2008


Hello everyone!

Tuesday's winner is Pastor Mike.

Today is our Fall Youth Convention in Kearney, NE. Can you name what cities we had convention in the last two years?

See ya at convention!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

We have almost 600 pre-registered for our statewide convention this weekend! That's a great number and we should have a great crowd tomorrow night! To register, go to

I heard a great story from my sister-in-law, Tina Moen, the DYD's wife in Southern New England. She was at the mall with her daughter, who accidentally opened her car door very hard. It hit the car next to them, and left a scratch and slight paint transfer. Tina decided to leave a night with her contact information to help the owner with the repair.

It took a few months, but eventually, she heard back from the owner. They told her that they were so amazed that someone would actually take the time to leave the note and be responsible. They weren't asking for any money to fix the damage, and we're keeping the note to show people that nice people do actually exist in this world. Doing the right thing is always right, even if the results don't look like it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Yesterday, we elected our next president, Barack Obama. I read one of his books, 'Dreams from my Father'. It discussing his childhood and early career. I'm excited to see what kind of leadership he will bring to our country.
1. 1 Samuel 23:19,20 "The Ziphites went up to Saul...'Is not David hiding among us'...'we will be responsible for handing him over to the king.'"

Saul was searching for David, to kill him. The Ziphites knew that he was looking for David, and they wanted to help their king. We may look at this as if the Ziphites were evil for trying to hurt David. We know that King Saul's motives were wrong, but we don't know if the Ziphites had that information. For all we know, they were faithfully trying to help their king. We shouldn't judge the actions of others without knowing their motives, and we should alway follow the Lord in obeying the leaders He's allowed over us. It's hard to say, but hopefully, if I was one of the Ziphites and unaware of my king's true motives, I would have been eager to help him as well.

2. 1 Samuel 24:5,6 "David was consience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his (Saul) robe...'the Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed.'"

David had a chance to kill King Saul in a cave. His men encouraged him to do so. He knew it was wrong, so instead, he cut off a small piece of Saul's robe. Later, he was even convicted about that. Again, God has allowed the leaders in position to rule over us and we are to obey them in the Lord. Not even a small amount of mutiny will be acceptable in God's eyes!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

I'm getting ready to go vote. Today we have some winners. The winner of last Tuesday's Bible Trivia is Pastor Mike! He was the closest answer of 900 chapters (there are 929 chapters in the Old Testament). He wins $2, and is now up to $6 (Pastor Mike, correct me if I'm wrong?) The winner of Friday's WHERE IS THAT IN NE? challenge was The View From My Picture Window. She guessed Broken Bow and Thedford, which is true. She's won so many, I've lost track. Let me know where you're at!

Today's question - with such a big vote in our country today, can you remember at least 2 different instances where a vote took place in the Bible. Remember, try to not to cheat and look!

Be sure to pray for our convention this weekend. See ya tomorrow! (BONUS TRIVIA QUESTION - who is the man under the mask in the photo above???)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

I'm so excited for our NE Fall Convention this weekend (

Tomorrow, we will announce the winners from both the trivia challenges last week on Friday and Tuesday. You can still comment in on EITHER one of those to receive the $2 prize.

This past weekend, I was at North Central. On the way home, I was trying to hustle so that I could see my kids before they went to bed. This would be my first year SINCE THEY WERE BORN that I missed being with them at the church party on Halloween night. I had two flights, one into Denver, and the other into Omaha. Then I had to pick up an art piece in Bellevue before coming home. As I was ready to board the flight from Minneapolis to Denver, they announced that the mechanical team found a flat tire and it would be an hour delay.

That didn't bother me much, I had a lot of work to catch up on. But my connecting flight would be in jeopardy. As I was waited in line to rebook, they announced that they could shorten the flight and it appeared that everyone would make their connecting flights, so no need to wait in line.

We got on the plane and headed out. I wasn't worried at all. Now, I wouldn't have to jump out as soon as the plane landed and budge in front of other people to get off fast. I never like when people are impatient like that.

Well, we landed, and as soon as we reached the gate, an announcement, 'please let the individual headed to Omaha off first, his flight is ready to leave without him'. YIKES, I jumped out of my seat, grabbed my stuff, and made my way forward, through people that were looking at me, disgusted.

I realized I had become the 'impatient' person that couldn't wait for others. The very thing I had looked down on was now my label. But it wasn't my fault. Surely everyone on the plane could understand that, couldn't they, especially after being singled out like that? I learned a lesson - don't judge people, especially if you don't know where they are coming from.

When I got to the Omaha plane, I was just in time. I boarded, and could see the people's joy over my arrival. They were glad this lazy, slow guy finally made it there. If only they knew...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thursday and Friday on Saturday?

Hello everyone. I'm sorry that I didn't get my blog in the last two days. As some of you know, I haven't had a laptop to work with the last two years, and unfortunately, my palm phone was acting up and not allowing me access to the internet as well this weekend. I was on the road at North Central University in Minneapolis.

For a testimony - we heard from Dr. Gordon Anderson about the financial problems at the school. Unfortunately, the economic circumstances have not been absent from our great north central university. Had this occured ten years ago, we would have been in jeopardy of losing the school But today, because of great financial saving the last few years, we were able to withstand the storm. PRAISE THE LORD!

Also, my flight was a challenge. Normally, I would have a direct flight on Northwest into Minneapolis. But because of Northwest's recent buy-in with Delta, that flight was too expensive and long. So, instead I flew with United through Denver. After it was all done, I realized I could have driven to Denver and made it to Minneapolis in the same amount of time. Here's my trivia question:

Can you name at least 2 NE cities (of 5,000 people or less) that have a functional airport?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday - Leaders Corner


1 Samuel 21:7 indicates that while David was on the run from King Saul, he stopped at a place called Nob. He deceived the priests into helping him, believing that he was on a mission from the King. The King's head shepherd Doeg was there as well.


1 Samuel 22:9 reveals that Saul was asking his men if they had any news on the whereabouts of David. Most of the men had fought with David, admired him, and did not want to betray him. But Doeg, who had seen him in Nob, told King Saul what had happened with the priests there.


1 Samuel 22:18,19 show that King Saul asked his men to strike down the priests, but they wouldn't do it, because they knew it was wrong. Then King Saul asked Doeg to kill them, and he willingly obliged. Not only did he slaughter the entire priestly family, he also destroyed the city of Nob, 'it's men and women, it's children and infants, and its cattle, donkey, and sheep'

I find Doeg's actions a lesson in leadership. He had been detained by the priests at Nob, so it is clear that he had negative feelings toward them and happily obeyed King Saul's demand to annihilate them. But why kill the rest of the town, the babies and children, the animals, and more significantly, the SHEEP? Wasn't Doeg a shepherd, someone who would love sheep, and be willing to lay down his life for their safety. Now, because of a grudge against the priests and a desire to be successful in the eyes of his king, he destroyed the very creatures he was created to protect.

As leaders, there will be times when others will hurt us. We will be tempted to hurt them back when we get the chance. There will also be times when we could do selfish acts to make ourselves advance to higher positions in life. If we give in to either one of these desires, the selfish pride will take control and cause us to hurt the very people we are called to protect. Selfishness and pride make us enemies to God's will.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello everyone. Congrulations to Pastor Mike for being the winner of our $2 trivia prize money. That money can be used towards any Nebraska Youth Ministries item of merchandise or event. He barely edged out Jen this week, though he didn't feel right about commenting the right answer after she already did. This is becoming quite a contest. Our fall convention is rapidly approaching, and that is a wonderful opportunity to use this prize money.

The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testament. Each testament is divided into books, and those books are divided into chapters. Some books have only a few chapters, while other books have many, especially in the Old Testament. Here's the question (and don't look this up, take a guess!): how many chapters are in the Old Testament? Hint - the number will be between 800 and 1000.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

This weekend, I took a few Grand Island interns with me to Gering. We had a Kids Fun Arts Festival on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon I helped distribute awards for our Teen Bible Quiz meet for Western Nebraska, and Saturday night I spoke at the contemporary service. Sunday morning, I did a brief spotlight about Nebraska Youth Ministries in church, then we went to a birthday party and the monument. Last night I spoke at the youth ministry, and then we drove home so the interns could be at work today. We arrived home at 3:30am, so that's why I'm a little later than normal today. Thanks for your patience.

While in Gering, I had a young man that performed in our kids Fun arts. He painted a picture with water colors. As a young man of 5 years of life, he had much to say about his painting and how he enjoyed doing it for God. At the end of our conversation, I asked 'How long did it take you to finish this painting,' and without skipping a beat, he said, 'Oh, about a minute'.

We laughed. It was so honest and genuine. We cheered for him. His quick work didn't diminish how much we enjoyed the final product.

On the other hand, I was working with the interns to do a funny sketch for the contemporary service featuring a debate between Barack and McCain. We had the masks, the suits, and the scripts. We had a boy playing Obama, and a girl playing McCain. There was a funny moment where Barack was going to say that the Straight Talk express will take you straight to the bathroom, and McCain was supposed to say something about leaving his prostate out of this, a reference to his old age. It was an akward line for her to say, and gave us the most difficulty in practice, so we spent most of our time with it.

When we got to the service, we started the sketch, which quickly gets to the point where she makes the line about the prostate. The practices paid off and she did a great job, but nobody even heard it because her microphone wasn't on. All of that time and hard work, and it didn't matter that much in the end.

We should always do all that we can to be our best for God; He's worth it! But when we present our gifts to Him, it's up to Him how he wants to use them. We can't be responsible for the results, but for the process. Do you best, and leave the rest to Him.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Congratulations to Jen on being picked as the winner of our $2 prize for our Tuesday - Bible Triva. Mike had a shot, but Jen was chosen at random and she has now earned a total of $4, which I'm sure she'll try to use at convention in a couple of weeks.
Today, a few interns from GI and I will be traveling to Gering, to partake of a weekend of ministry. We have a fun arts festival (fine arts for kids), I'll be speaking at a contemporary service (mostly for young adults) and then also ministering at a youth group. It should be a wonderful time.

The picture above is of a National Monument which is located near Gering. In fact, the church we will be at is literally at the base of the monument. Can you name the monument AND the Assembly of God Church?
See ya on Monday, after a long drive home the night before!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

I have a friend named Cassie. We connect on facebook. She was a Master's Commission student when I was overseeing the program about 12 years ago. She wrote me this paragraph, and I thought it would be good to post as a testimony today. Enjoy!

"hey when i was in masters you told me that god showed you that i would be a mom with kids around me. that you seen me at home doing crafts with them and that was my ministry. let's say i was mad at you because i felt like god had a bigger calling for me than staying home with a bunch of kids.....and well here i am! i have my 2 kiddo's and a foster kid we are hoping to adopt. and when our habitat haome is done we want to finish the basement and bring in teens. i feel like this is really what god has called me to. to bring in kids whith distroyed lives and with gods help make them whole again. i have changed and matured since masters and learned that even though i went through hell as a kid god can use it to minister. these kids who come from abuse, neglect, and poverty, just like i did..... so in a weird way...thanks"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

The past two days, I was at our campgrounds in Lexington for a meeting with key leaders from across NE. We discussed many topics from church planting, to coaching, to finances, etc.. We also interviewed certain candidates for credentials. It was a blast to see these youth/children's workers in that process: Jenny Schneckloth, Janelle Norton, Brian and Julie Korell, and Arjay Johnson.

I was sitting at a table, for most of the sessions, with my former senior pastor Gary Hoyt, of Bellevue Christian Center. I was on staff wtih him for about ten years, and we worked closely together the last year and a half as I was the worship pastor. He taught me many things I know and use in my ministry and spiritual life today.

At that table, we were discussing our upcoming district tour in Feb, 2009. Our plan is to combine all department tours with this tour, so that it will literally be the TOTAL district tour. We'll have senior pastors, youth and children's workers, men's and women's leaders, etc. all together. Last year, our district tour was entitled "The Listening Tour." It was with the intent to bring people together and get some discussion around the topic of being a missional person. The problem was that many pastors felt with the title, it would be a time for the district to sit back and listen to issues that were important to our pastors. Our hope is that we can facilitate more of that on the upcoming district tour next year.

As I was mentioning that, I looked over to Gary Hoyt, and remembered a lesson he taught me "Be very careful when you NAME things'" A story he had told me long ago was about a missions trip he took to England. The group, without his involvement early on, had named the team the TWINKIES, which was an acronym that stood for a good slogan, though I can't remember what it was. They made shirts with that title on it and wore them around England. The missionary was uncomfortable with it, and when Gary asked him why, he said 'It sounded a bit twee'. In other words, "flamboyantly feminine", at least, in that culture.

As I was sitting at that table, near Gary, remembering that story, I mentioned that a leader once taught me to be very careful when naming things. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him smile, as he caught the hint.

I can't tell you how many times I've remember lessons taught to me by Gary Hoyt. It's been great when we've been in meetings together, and he's heard me say things that he told me long ago, 'Be very careful when naming things', 'Sometimes, it's better to be polite than to be right, ', etc. God puts our senior pastors over us for a reason; I encourage you, in whatever position you are in, to take full advantage of your opportunity to learn from that man or woman of God. Who knows - there may be a time in the distant future when you're sitting at a table with them and remembering those lessons for a great cause as well!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I am at our campgrounds, in Lexington, NE, for state presbyter's meetings. We had interviews yesterday for credentials and it was exciting because 5 out of the 6 were either youth or children leaders that work with me on a regular basis. One was my sister, Jenny, and I was supposed to be in the interview group, but then they switched me out, because of the family connection. Not to mention, she's also my secretary...

Today, it's only 40 degrees and later, we have a chance of possible snow or sleet. Winter, here we come. I enjoy the cold, just not when I have to be on the road. Here's the question - is there any Bible stories that involve snow or ice, and if so, can you mention one?

Our Friday WHERE IS THAT IN NE winner is Jen Busch. Great job, and enjoy your $2 prize money.

See ya tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons


This weekend I had a great time with my boys. Ryan and Eric were with me at home while Kim and Abby were at the camp for the ladies retreat. We watched Speed Racer, had lots of food, and did lots of BOY stuff together.

Saturday morning, Jay and Emily Warriner came over with their kids, Kaden and Isabella. We were watching the Husker game together, in which the Big Red finally got another win and stopped our 3 game losing streak.

I had set out a bunch of food and let people come and grab it as they wanted. I didn't even stop to think about the kids doing this. Suddenly, one of my sons came upstairs and told Jay a secret. Emily quickly ran downstairs and I could tell something was a little off. I asked Jay, and he finally confessed to me that Bella had accidentally gone to the bathroom on the floor. She had been eating so much food she had to go to the bathroom very badly, but she didn't know where it was, and she was afraid to interrupt us while we were watching the game.

It's fun to have friends over and enjoy some good time together, but even in those moments, make sure to take care of business and continue doing what you are supposed to do. You never get a vacation from being a parent.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Hello everyone! Congratulations to JOYFUL MOTHERHOOD! Her correct comment was chosen at random for the winner of our Tuesday Bible Trivia. Thanks Jen for participating as well, Joyful Motherhood won another $2 of prize money towards any NYM event or item of merchandise. I believe that she is up to $6, which could come in handy at our upcoming Fall Youth Convention (see for details)

The picture below is a famous attraction in Western NE. What city is it closest to, and who is the pastor of our A/G church in that city? See ya on Monday

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Hello! I had great time speaking last night at Impact Youth Ministries in Kearney.
I heard from one of my youth pastors yesterday. They have a bus ministry that goes out each Wednesday and picks up numerous students from a nearby town and brings them to youth ministry. The bus needed some repair so they took up a church offering. Though they did get plenty, it wasn't quite what they needed. Later in the week, a man called the youth pastor and asked how the offering went. The youth pastor explained that they were still several thousands short. The man generously told him that he would make up the difference. Wow.

Also, I heard this story. Recently, my family enjoyed the Harvest of Harmonies parade in Grand Island, with almost 100 bands. Many small town bands came by, and you could tell that they didn't have much money, with the instruments quite banged up. I heard about a young man who played the Soosaphone, the big wraparound tubas. Anyway, the instructor asked for them to drop their instruments, so he did, literally, and it cracked the big head. The school didn't have any money to fix it, so he had to use some duck tape. It stuck out as they marched through the parade like a soar thumb.

But sometimes, that can be a good thing. He was a good tuba player, and eventually made it to the All State Shrine Band, which played at the halftime of the Shrine Bowl. He was one of 30+ tubas, and in a band with hundreds of instruments. His parents looked on the field for their son, who normally would have been hard to spot, but once they found the duck tape, they knew exactly where he was!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

1. Support your leader - Ephesians 1:3

Paul thanked God for sending Jesus. He loved Jesus and lived for Him. But he also realized that Jesus was sent on a mission, so he thanked the person behind Jesus, God. In this sense, Paul supported the 'parent organization' (Father God). It is one thing for us to properly follow our leaders and support them. But we must remember that by supporting them, we also support who sent them and empowered them to minister to us. Sometimes, students don't see themselves as part of the church; they think they just come on Wednesday nights, and aren't involved as much on Sundays. But if they support the youth pastor, they are also supporting the pastor, who empowers the youth pastor to be there in the first place. The youth pastor is AN EXTENSION of the senior pastor. That's why it is so important for both pastors, though on different levels of leadership, to be on the same page. It's also important for students to respect their senior pastor and support them as well!

2. Bridge Builders - Ephesians 1:10

Jesus was called to bring all things together in heaven and on earth. He was placed in charge of two kingdoms, very different and far apart. By coming to earth, he focused all of heaven's attentions on earthly things. Also, by being God among us, he connected us with heaven. He was reaching and dealing with both groups of individuals in both kingdoms at the same time, bringing them together. As leaders, we need to learn how to build bridges between the ministries we oversee which tend to compete against each other. We've got to make clear paths from one ministry to another, and help people understand and value of both programs in their lives. We need to follow in Jesus' steps and be bridge builders in our churches today

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello again everyone from wet, rainy, Grand Island. My kids soccer games were cancelled the last two days, so we've been enjoying ourselves indoors.

Too bad that once again no one commented an answer for our trivia from Friday. I guess no one likes Aaron. NO WAY, but just in case you were wondering, he is the youth pastor at River Hills Church in South Sioux City, in the northeast corner of our state.

In 1 Samuel 20, David and Jonathan are discussing whether or not King Saul wanted to kill David. David felt that he was, but Jonathan couldn't believe it. David hid in the field and sent Jonathan to go and see for himself with King Saul. When Jonathan returned he was going to give David a signal by shooting something towards him in the field. Here's the trivia: What was the item that Jonathan shot and if it went beyond David, what did that mean?

Have fun, see ya tomorrow

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Last week I had the chance to go to Springfield, MO, representing NE on a national steering committee for fine arts. I'm excited for what next year will hold for us in this exciting department. I also spoke at New Creation Community Church in Omaha and Sunday, and had a good time connecting with the people there once again.

I love churches that have coffee for their members. Not every church does it, but for those that do, I always grab a cup or two. So many of my meetings involve coffee that it has become a very normal part of my life. I took my cup and wandered around the room chatting with different people. At one point I set my coffee down and kept talking, walking, talking and walking. Eventually, during a conversation, I reached down to a cup of coffee, picked it up and took a swig.

WOOPS! I didn't put any creamer in my coffee, and was that lipstick that I tasted on the lid? At that moment, a friend I had met earlier came up to me with a cup of coffee in her hand. I found out that she had done the exact same thing I had done, so we had shared coffee. Embarassed, we exchanged cups and went about our way, secretly hoping and praying that the other person didn't have a cold that morning.

It's good in church to move around and meet new people, greeting newcomers and veterans alike. One piece of advice though, remember where you put your coffee!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday - Where is that in NE?

Congratulations to Pastor Tim for the correct comment chosen for our Tuesday Bible Trivia winner. Others could have had a chance by commenting, but he was the only one! He has now earned up $10 in prize money towards NYM merchandise or events. Congratulations Pastor Tim!

This morning I had the privilege of meeting with Aaron Bade, one of our outstanding youth pastors here in NE. His father pastored in Nebraska and he has a rich history of involvement in Nebraska Youth Ministries. He has personally attended at least 4 different NE fellowships, that I know of. Here's the trivia: in what church does he currently pastor and what city is that in?

Happy Hunting. Have a great weekend

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

I'm in Springfield, MO on a National Steering Committee for Fine Arts. Just two months ago, we were in Charlotte at the National Event. We had one of our best year's for NE students. Many of our students did quite well. Next year, we'll be in Orlando and I've got plenty of great things to plan for our NE event at Lincoln in March.

Rod Whitlock is our national FINE ARTS leader and he does a great job. I enjoy working with him as an old friend and mentor of mine. He used to be my pastor at BCC when I was a Master's Commission student. I remember working with him on many of our large dramas that the church would host during special times and holidays. We'd spend many hours talking while I was on the genie lift adjusting lights, he being down below on the stage with the AIM directions.

What an incredible thing, when I was looking across the table at Rod, seeing him move from one position to another in the last ten years. I wonder how many of our pastors who are working with dramas now, will be directing national dramas later? How many who are discipling students now, will be discipling their leaders later? How many are writing messages now, will be writing national bestsellers later? Dream.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wed - Leader's Corner

1 Samuel 19:18. David had to flee King Saul, who was trying to kill him. When he was running for his life, he ran to Samuel, the man that had anointed him to be the future king. When Saul sent men to come and kill David while he was with Samuel, God protected him and led those assassins to begin prophecying. Saul came himself, and the same thing occured with him.

David ran to a spiritual father in times of need. As leaders, we must have mentors in our lives and run to them often, not just in times of need, but in times of success as well. And when we do, God will honor that time and allow us to grow immensely. God protected David and his time with Samuel - He wasn't going to let anything disrupt it.

1. Who is your mentor?
2. When was the last time you got some good time together?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

It's too bad - nobody commented in a guess on the Trivia from Friday. The dam will remain a mystery. You could have guessed and at least had a chance, but it's gone now.

Yet, here's another chance! It's Bible Trivia today, and it's a simple question really. We all know the shortest verse in the Bible - 'Jesus wept'. Do you know where that is found.

EXTRA CREDIT - What's the next shortest verse in the Bible? (Hint it's between Genesis and Revelations)

Have fun!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

You have one day until we announce a winner from Friday's WHERE IS THAT IN NE? Trivia. Make sure to comment in today with your guess!

This past weekend, my mother and father in law came to visit from Bellevue. We went to the Harvest of Harmony parade in Grand Island, with about 500 bands, and then we went to the Hastings Museum. On Sunday, I helped a church across town by filling in on guitar while there guitar players were away. I was going to play in worship and then head back to my church with my family.

I got to practice at 8:00am and things went well. After some coffee and Sunday School, I came back to the stage for worship during service. During the first song, only 30 seconds in, the third string on my guitar snapped. It wasn't a clean break, so it was hanging in the way of my strumming. I pulled it out, but when I did it completely DE-tuned the rest of my strings. I haven't even thought about the possibility of a broken string, it's happens so infrequently with me, that I had put my tuner back in my case in the back of the stage. I tried to adjust on the fly, but I could tell it was creating a distraction, so all I could do was put my hands over the strings, stop playing and start singing.

In retrospect, it's funny how the only reason I was there was to play and I couldn't do it. I remember driving away, praying, 'Well, God, I'm not sure what that was about, but it was all for you'. Sometimes, things won't go right. The key is for us to do what God says, do our best, and leave the results up to Him.

Friday, October 3, 2008


Last night, I had fun with some guys that came over to watch the Cubs playoff game. Incidentally, the Cubs were defeated 10-3 by the Dodgers. Not looking good for the Cubbies, but we still had a good time anyway. My mother and father in law will be in town this weekend for the parade in Grand Island.

Congratulations to Pastor Mike for his correct comment to the Bible Trivia on Tuesday. To this date, he has earned $4 towards any NYM merchandise item or event. Go to for more details.

I've often said that the founding fathers of NE put the interstate in the wrong place. It is very convenient for a nice flat straight path, but NE has much pretty scenery off the beaten path. If you travel along the northeastern part of the state, you'll see some gorgeous hills and greenery surrounding the Missouri River. This picture is one of our states large dams, providing power for thousands of customers. Can you the name the dam?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday - Testimones

Last night, I had the chance to visit Lift Youth Church, the youth ministry of Glad Tidings in Omaha. Jesse Norman is the youth pastor and he spoke a message about being reasonable. The only reasonable thing to do in light of Jesus' sacrifice is to lay our lives down completely for God. The worship was dynamic and the students were all very hungry for God. It was great to connect with some of our national qualifying fine arts members, and I'm proud of their youth for doing so well in STL this year. I was also very excited to hear about their 5 campus clubs starting up this month at Papillion South, Papillion, Benson, Central, and Millard West.

Lift Youth Church

Worship Team

I gave a welcome and threw out some shirts

Jesse Norman - "Be Reasonable"

Altar Time

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leader's Corner

Many of you have figured out that I've been doing some intense study of 1 Samuel. So, once again, today is another nugget from that great book.

In 1 Samuel 18, we see that David was still playing the harp for King Saul. Even though he'd slain Goliath, and was now sent out on military missions, he continued this 'lowly' act of service for his king. Saul, enraged by an evil spirit, picked up a spear and threw it at David while David was playing for him. David was able to avoid the spears, twice.

That's interesting. It means that Saul threw a spear at David, David avoided it (no small thing to do while playing a harp), and DAVID STILL WENT BACK TO PLAYING THE HARP AGAIN. I like to think of myself as a pretty good leader, but it would probably only take one time of my youth committee throwing spears at me for me to leave and never return. But not David; he continued on in that role for his king, even when it almost cost him his life, even when the king didn't fully appreciate it.

David's service cost him something. He had 'risky worship'. He laid his life on the line to be obedient to His God.

God should be so important to us that we are willing to risk our lives in order to serve Him, worship Him, and be obedient to Him. Think about it: it should be easy to risk our lives when they aren't ours in the first place.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Congratulations to Pastor Tim. He commented in correctly with our Friday Trivia - WHERE IS THAT IN NE? Beatrice is the home of the National Homestead Monument. He wins another $2 towards any NYM piece of merchandise or event. I think he is officially up to $8, getting real close to a T-shirt or DVD.

Today is Bible Trivia. Remember, comment in, and we'll pick a random comment from those that are correctly answered. The winner gets that $2 prize. We give away 2 of these prizes every week, over $100 for the year!

There are many books of the Bible, but only a small portion have 2 or 3 editions. Please don't look at your Bible first, but how many pairs (2 or 3 pair) of books are there in the Bible? (Example, 1st and 2nd Hesitations would be 1 pair, and that's not a real book, just in case you didn't know that.)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Hope you had a great weekend. This past weekend, we had our fall edition of Camp Work Days. We didn't have a huge turnout; only 6 people came to help. One might think that's no big deal. But we got a big job done. There is a piece of land just northeast of our shop on the campgrounds that I refer to as the "Mosquito Breeding Grounds". It's full of old metal equipment that was thrown out years ago. It's been there so long, whole trees were growing out through this junk. We cleared that area so that we can put a new storage facility there before the winter. If Don Chester, our camp director, would have tried to do that on his own, it would have taken over a week, but our small group finished it in a couple of days. Working as a team can always be more productive than working as individuals.

We also had the chance to go the Husker game, which we ALMOST won! We saw Kim and Rod Whitlock there, and they say hi to everyone in NE.

Matt Johnson on the New camp tractor

Jay Warriner tearing down an old building

Amber Castagonuay holding an old heating element

Jay Warriner is actually quite strong!

My brother Corey loves the Huskers!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday - Where is that in NE?

Hey everyone,

We have a big camp board meeting today, talking about our new name at the campgrounds, THE CROSSING at Lexington. We're trying to come up with a cool logo for it. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Congratulations to JOYFUL MOTHERHOOD. She had the correct comment about our trivia question on Tuesday. The correct answer was 9-11. Way to go JM. You've got 2 wins to your credit, $4 to be used on any NYM event or merchandise.

This picture is the National Homestead Monument. It is one of the few National Historical Sites in NE and a fun trip for history buffs. Can you name the city of NE in which this monument is located?

Have a wonderful weekend. Go Huskers!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Big stuff!

1) A couple of weeks ago - we had our STL/BGMC bike ride. This is from a student at our first stop in McCook, Autumn: you know when you came to mccook for the bike riding thing....for stl?....ya on friday i saw you guys riding past our school when i was on the bus! that really made my day...everyone at school was asking who you guys were and if you guys were crazy riding in that weather...i told them that that is toby and jenny for ya....and told them about stl and wat it was used for....they were really suprized that you would go out and do that in the weather....

2) This is from Mike Maroney, youth pastor in Valentine, on a regional outreach they did this past weekend: We had a concert in the Valentine city park where we had two of the district inflatable's, thebungee run and the joust. We also had the gyro from the campground at theoutreach. We had two bands come for the concert...We had over 300 people attend the outreach and the inflatable's and the gyro were a big hit amongthe middle and high school students. However, the greatest number to reportis that 25 people responded to the altar call for salvation.

3) And finally, a true story of inspiration and courage from Tim Lillard, youth pastor in Norfolk: This is Richard, a student from Victory Road Assembly. He just came to youth over the summer and gave his life to the Lord in church and was baptized. The friend that initially brought him moved away, but Richard is still strong in serving the Lord. Yesterday morning, he was the only student out of 925 that had the courage to stand at his pole and pray for his school. It reminded me of an old song by Al Denson, will you be the one:

"Will you be the one to answer to His call. Will you stand, when those around you fall. Will you be the one, to take His light into a darkened world. Tell me will you be the one"
Richard took a stand. Alone. Potentially facing ridicule from his fellowclassmates, he still stood. Alone. He was the one. "I was scared, but I knew that this is what Jesus wanted me to do. I prayed that as I stood there, people coming by would either join me or come to know Jesus themselves." God is so good, so awesome, and so merciful. Only He knows what will happen because one student, Richard, chose to stand.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

This morning I had the privilege of meeting with Joe Marino, YFC leader from Hastings. I also got a little time with Arjay Johnson, youth pastor at North Shore in Hastings, and David Warriner, and old MC student of mine. Hope everyone's SYATP went well this morning.

Joe told me a great story. He has a girl in his youth ministry who plays guitar. He found out because he saw her profile picture on myspace. He asked her if she'd consider playing for youth, and this morning, she led some worship songs at the pole with her classmates. All because of her Myspace picture. See, Myspace can be a good thing!

1 Samuel 17:38-40 (paraphrased) David is ready to face Goliath. Saul, Israel's king, gives him his armor, but it's much to large for David because he is only a boy. David then goes and picks up 5 smooth stones from a river, and with no armor, goes to face the giant.

LESSON 1 - Saul should have faced Goliath himself. He tried to put his armor on David, when he should have put it on himself and faced Goliath for his nation and God. Saul was willing to put his responsibility on someone else, because he was afraid. The real leader of Israel stepped up here. This is a symbolic 'passing of the mantle' from Saul to David.

LESSON 2 - Saul's armor didn't fit David. Sometimes as adults, we try to teach the truths of the gospel to students in a way that an adult would enjoy, but a student wouldn't. We need to package it in a way that a student will be drawn in, enjoy and understand. They won't wear our religion the same way we do, it won't fit quite as well.

LESSON 3 - David grabbed 5 smooth stones. He faced Goliath with nothing but a childs toy (slingshot) and rocks. Goliath ran to face him with a huge spear, a huge sword, and his armor bearer carrying his huge shield. Yet, David won and Goliath died. Having the best 'stuff'' in ministry doesn't matter as much as doing the best you can with the 'stuff' you got.

LESSON 4 - David grabbed 5 smooth stones. We know from the story, he only needed one shot to hit Goliath in the forehead and knock him down, but he had 4 more stones just in case. He was prepared for a long battle. Sometimes, we plan for the immediate and ignore the future. Sometimes, we put all our hopes in ministry in one event or one program. We need to learn to plan ahead, prepare for growth over the long haul, and be ready to pick up another 'stone' when the first one misses.