Friday, February 27, 2009


                                  Wonderful chocolates from Branson

Congratulations to Pastor Brian for being our random correct comment chosen as the winner from Tuesday's trivia. Pastor Brian (formerly BK) has a whopping $4 in prize money. Way to go. He'll catch up to the others soon.

Here's today's challenge. Earlier in the week I posted a picture of Dan Courtney and Mark Entzminger. Can you tell me which two NE cities Dan used to youth pastor in? (extra credit - what South Dakota city did Mark used to youth pastor in too?)

Have fun in the snow.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies - KLOVE

Dan Courtney (Trinity rep) and Mark Entzminger (SD DYD) - Virtual Twins

I had a wonderful time being with the students and leaders at Abundant Life Christian Center last night, in Grand Island. I spoke about students stepping up into leadership, and gave a list from the Bible of certain leadership positions they can fill. I'm excited to see how they follow through with it.

Last week, I got a great email notification from Tim Lillard, youth pastor in Norfolk. They have a family in their church that helps lead the kids ministries, the Wedel's. Paula is the church secretary and Scott works 2 or 3 jobs to help with income as well. Their daughter entered the KLOVE 'uncommon heroes' contest, citing her dad as a hero because of his hard work ethic for his family. They received news back that she had won and her dad and her won a trip for a reward. What a great recognition for a family that has faithfully plugged away in ministry for years. They truly are NE heroes in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner - Thieves

                            My son Eric, not a thief

Jesus - 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise' (Luke 23:43)
Jars of Clay - 'I am a thief, I am a murderer, walking up this lonely hill' (song THIEF)

Have you ever had something stolen from you? It's the worst feeling. A few years ago, when I was a youth pastor in Bellevue, I came home from a morning meeting, and saw that my house had been burglarized. It really frustrated me, and I still sleep a little uneasy because of it. 

I had a student once named Vanessa. She became a Christian in our jr. high youth ministry. After one year of attending, she finally confessed to me that she had stolen almost 100 of my ministry CD's. I helped her overcome that issue, but it wasn't easy. 

Yesterday, while at the gym, someone broke into my locker and went through my stuff. They didn't get anything (I had my wallet with me), but again, it upset me to think that someone violated my privacy. I looked through the locker room, and many lockers had been broken into as well, so I informed the front desk. 

As I was walking out, I thought of my past experience with thieves. Then I thought about the song THIEF by Jars of Clay. I felt like I should pray for that thief, that God would bless him, but I didn't want to. Then I thought of how Jesus treated the thief on the cross. I decided to pray that God would bless him ... bless him with correction!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

                                             My son's 2 headed friend Jeffrey

Congratulations to PASTOR MIKE for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from Friday's trivia. Crete and Milford are the two cities with A/G churches outside of Lincoln in the capital section. I would have accepted Friend for extra credit. It's not an A/G church but they associate with us as well. 

Here's today's trivia: Salt and light. On the Speed the Light tour, I had the saltiest nachos at an Applebee's in Norfolk that I've ever had. Can you name a passage in the Bible that mentions both Salt and Light? Maybe Tim or BK or Larissa can get back in this competition on this one.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Hold hands, take the shot

                    Ryan's photoshop picture on his school locker

1. This past weekend, we had a slumber party for my daughter, who turned 7 on Friday. She had 8 different 1st grade girls over and we took them to the skating rink, which was jam packed with teenagers. I put on skates to help the girls, and I'm glad I did. They were extremely hard to pick out on the rink with all of the teenagers skating around. When I found them, they would look at me like a little lost puppy, and I'd hold their hand to take them around a few times and get their confidence up. Later on, little girls would just come up to me and hold my hand while I was skating around on my own. It reminded me of what it's like when God moves us to a new place. At first, it's kind of scary. But He guides us around, holding our hand, until we gain the confidence to step out on our own. And even then, He's still nearby, with His hand ready in case we need it.

2. My son Ryan had his second to last basketball game this past weekend. They haven't really enjoyed it that much, though they've been good sports each week. They both prefer soccer over basketball. Usually, they are excited about how much time they sat on the bench, as opposed to how much time they actually played in the game. Not so this week. Ryan was passed the ball down low and he took a shot, his first shot of the year. He was so excited about it that he couldn't stop talking about all day. Instantly, he looked at us with proud eyes to see our cheering reaction. The funny thing is - an extremely tall kid was guarding him and he blocked the ball as soon as it left Ryan's hands. The ball never even got near the hoop - but that didn't matter to Ryan; at least he took the shot! Sometimes, we need to stop worrying about making the basket so much and just enjoy the chance to take a shot.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Congratulations to THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW on being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from the trivia on Tuesday. They are now up to $20.50 in prize money. Great job.

Last night we were at Lincoln Christplace for the last stop on our 2 week District Tour. I got home about 1:30 this morning and was thrilled to finally be with my family. The last tour stop was for the Capital section. Most of the churches are from Lincoln, but there are a few from small cities near Lincoln. Can you name a city which has an AG church which would have been there last night at the Capital section district tour? (Hint - Braunberger, Geary)

Have a great weekend. Tonight is my daughter's 7 year old birthday party. We'll have 8 girls over for a slumber party. No sleep for me.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

Tonight is our last night on the District Tour. We've been on the road the last 2 weeks and I can't wait to relax and get home. I've actually been on the road the last 4 weeks, so home is definitely calling my name.

On one of our first stops, we did our normal set for the tour. I take the youth and children's leaders to a separate area for a breakout and we talk about BGMC and STL. Byron Riddle will join us at one point to talk about how we can partner together in ministry. One of the ways we can is a STL project for a trailer, worth about $2,200. He promoted that, and then we continued on with our night.

Later, when I made my way back into the room to tear down my banners and clean up, someone who had been in the session came to me and gave me a check for the trailer. They paid for it entirely on the spot! 

God can do amazing things. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner - Manny

No, not Manny Ramirez, Manny Prabhudas, our missionary on the District Tour. He went to Madagascar when it only had 40 AG churches and has built a network with over 600 churches. Yet he comes to NE and travels with us around the state as 'one of the guys'. He sits in the back of my van, shares a hotel room with a pastor, carries packages into the churches, sets up my banners - he works and serves even though he's the 'featured' speaker. He's humble and a servant. 

Reminds me of Ephesians 4:1, when we think of Paul - 'As a prisoner for the Lord then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you've received. Paul communicated with the Ephesians as a prisoner of the Lord. (v.1) He didn't come to them as a celebrity apostle, or an esteemed leader; he came to them as a humble servant of God. People will be more receptive to us when we come to them in humility and authenticity.

Let's strive to be humble and serve our best as leaders in the church today!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello from Norfolk! We had a great stop last night with about 60 people at the church. The only negative was that our expresso machine wasn't working too well. Hopefully, we can fix it up before tonight.

Congratulations to LARISSA for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from Friday's Trivia. Dale Williams is the pastor of Valentine, and incidentally, Mike informed me that the picture from yesterday's blog is actually Dale's mug as well. 

Here's the trivia for today - many people have commented that they like my name, TOBY. I admit, most of those people like it because it's the name of a pet that they love, but still, they admire the name. Can you find my name, or a version of my name, in the Bible? Happy Searching!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Stay Clean

Last week, I was on the road with some good friends: Mike Maroney - youth pastor at Valentine, Leroy Wyre - senior pastor in Scottsbluff, Don Chester - Camp Operations Director in Lexington, and Byron Riddle - Chi Alpha Leader at UNL in Lincoln. We had a great time going from place to play on the district tour. About two days in, Mike started sniffing and coughing with an apparent cold. We stopped to get him some medicine, and he fought it the best he could the final 3 days.

I made a point to wash my hands and try to stay away from him as much as I could. I'd been on the road for 4 weeks straight, and around countless sick people, but without any incident myself. We finished the tour and I had no signs of sickness in any way. On friday, when it was snowing like crazy, I took some time to clean out the van. I moved around a few boxes, some trash, one of Mike's coffee mugs, and some other things. 

Well, somehow, someway, I caught the rhino virus and have been stuffed up for two days. I think it was that coffee mug. It's interesting, because I had done such a great job of washing my hands and abstaining from being near Mike too much, and then I absent minded grabbed that coffee mug without even thinking about it. God asks us to get the sin out of lives completely, and if we leave even a hint somewhere, it will come back to haunt us, much like an infested coffee cup on the floor of my van.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Last night, we finally finished up our District Tour for Western Nebraska. We met in Hastings for the Tri-City section and we had a wonderful time. I took some of my men to the campground for the night, and then made it home by 2:00am. My plan was to wake up and drive to Bellevue to be with my family for Valentine's Day, but I woke up to a blizzard. I'll take off when I can.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, I wish everyone a weekend full of Godly love and fun with family and friends. Congratulations to THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW on winning our $2 prize from Tuesday's trivia. You are now up to $18.50 in prize money. Great job.

With such a wonderful holiday on the horizon, which NE city is most associated with this holiday and who is the senior pastor there? Have fun in the snow!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

The District Tour has been great. Last night we were in Ord and again, we had an excellent time with churches from Burwell, Taylor, Ord, and Thedford. I got us lost on the way home, but we made it to Grand Island by about 11:30pm.

On the tour with us is Leroy Wyre, senior pastor at First Assembly in Scottsbluff, and also our men's ministry leader for Nebraska. He's been a tremendous amount of fun, hanging out with the young guys in the DYD van. On the way to Bassett a few days ago, he told me about his church, where he's been for about 3 years. 

When he first arrived, there were about 25 people involved. In about a year, they had grown to over 50, and now they have almost 100 people actively involved in church ministries. They have youth and children's programs up and running again, and they've even started a young adult small group for college students from the school next door. Being a pastor for a revitalization project isn't easy, but Leroy and his wife Michelle have done an incredible job.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

I am on our NE 2009 District Tour. Yesterday, we were on our way from North Platte to Bassett, about a 4 hour drive. I had Mike Maroney (youth pastor from Valentine), Leroy Wyre (men's ministry leader from Scottsbluff), Don Chester (camp director from Lexington), and Byron Riddle (Chi Alpha leader from Lincoln). Don was driving and we pulled up behind Pastor Dwight and his entourage. Don didn't like how slow they were going, so he asked me if he should pass them. I gave Don the option, and we passed them shortly after that.

Our speaker for the tour is Manuel Prabhudas, missionary to Madagascar. He is a hilarious communicator. He got up to speak about Speed the Light, and mentioned that our DYD (me) really speeds the light on the road, passing him earlier in the day. About 4 different times he mentioned my speeding from earlier, even though I wasn't driving. The people loved it and were laughing up a storm, as was I. Later on, I kept saying that I hadn't driven that day, but then it hit me - I gave Don permission to pass. Whether I was driving or not, I'd given the go ahead to do the dirty deed. 

Whether you are driving or not, if you are the leader in the speeding car, you're the one speeding all the way. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Congratulations to Pastor Tim for being the correct comment chosen as our winner from Friday's Trivia. He is now up t $8 in prize money. Picky comments though, as hwy NE 2 does go on the outskirts of Nebraska City, which might be considered in city limits though.

Here's the trivia for today: Last night, the missionary Manuel Prabhudas joined us for our district tour stop in North Platte. It was a wonderful time with about 50 people there from all of our churches in the Rebuplican Valley section. He quoted a verse from the Bible that spoke of having an undivided heart. Can you quote a verse from the Bible that speaks on the same subject. This should be easy - there are many that could tie in, but it must mention the 'heart'.

Happy Searching! See you in Bassett tonight, if you can make it

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons

Hello from Scottsbluff, NE. We just finished out first District Tour stop last night in Bridgeport and we're staying with Brian Korell's grandmother - Honey. It's been great. We had about 80 people in church last night representing about 10 different churches. Today we are heading to North Platte for the Tour stop for the Republican Valley section.

Last week, when I was in Branson, I had some time before the conference started and I went shopping. I picked up a Starbucks coffee for my walk, and then wandered into the Disney outlet store. My wife called and we were talking about the sizes of our kids, for T-shirts and stuff, when I accidentally knocked over my coffee and spilled it over 3 or 4 nice outfits. Instinctively, I looked and no one working there noticed that I had spilled my coffee. Without thinking, I quickly bolted out of the store to my van, prepared to make a 'clean' getaway. Then, the Holy Spirit convicted me! Thank God for the Holy Spirit, I knew that I wouldn't be able to make it through the conference with the conviction of my wrong actions on my heart.

I went back into the store and confessed my crime. Incidentally, they had uncovered it and were cleaning it up as I approached. I apologized, and asked to pay for the damaged goods, but the manager said that it was OK and she was impressed that I came back. I bought a few extra items to reconcile the situation, and I'm sure my kids were OK with that as well.

The conviction of avoiding the possibility of paying for the damaged goods would have been much worse than paying for the goods in the first place. God taught me a lesson, one I've learned plenty of times - don't run away from problems, face them head on.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Congratulations to LARISSA for being the correct comment randomly chosen as our winner from Tuesday's Bible Trivia. She is now up to $14 in prize money. Great job.

I'm excited, because I get to go home today. I've been traveling so much that I seriously miss my family. As I come home, I will take Interstate 29 north out of Kansas City, get on Highway 2, which connects with I-80 in Lincoln. 

Here's the trivia: which NE city with one of our A/G churches will I pass through first on Highway 2, once I enter Nebraska? (here's a hint, it's not Lincoln)

Happy Searching

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

                   Paul Hinzman, Illinois, excited at the BGMC banquet

Yesterday was a great day in Branson. We had our final day of CE director meetings, and then I had some time to play some basketball with a few of the guys. Last night was the BGMC banquet and NE brought in over $50,000 last year, praise the Lord!

Our Trinity Dean of Students is Keith Elder, former DYD of Montana. Last week, he hosted a DYD week at Trinity, and I had the chance to be there. Many DYD's came together and gave him a significant financial gift to honor him and help him in a difficult time. He and his wife had a major car accident in Minnesota about 8 weeks ago, and his wife had been in the hospital from that day until now. This week, she is expected to come home. Also, he didn't know anyone in Minnesota when he had originally wrecked there. After being there for a few weeks and working with the Minnesota DYD, he spoke at a few churches and handed out some Trinity scholarships, which he would never have done before. Even in the middle of horrible circumstances, God will get the glory in all that we do and are.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday - Leaders Corner - Raising up Leaders

            More great action from the CE Directors Conference in Branson
          Kent - South Idaho, Dr. Strom - Trinity, Tim - Arizona, Mark - SD

Ephesians 6:21,22 - 'Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you may also know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you'

 1). Paul sent Tychicus to them. (v.21) Here was a man that Paul was discipling personally. Now, it was time for him to go on his own mission, and Paul sent him out under his authority. We need to raise up our followers to a place where they can lead on their own and carry on the work that God has given us to do. 2). Tychicus was sent to update the Ephesians, and to encourage them. (v.22) Paul gave them this great letter, but he also sent a servant to help encourage them as well. He realized that a big part of His ministry was helping them stay strong through words of instruction and personal care.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Live action at the Discipleship Conference
Paul, Illinois - Darin, Kansas

Hello from Branson! I hope everyone is having a great week. Yesterday, I spilled a cup of coffee inside a Disney outlet store. Not my best moment.

Congratulations to BK for the correct comment chosen as our winner from Friday's trivia. BK is now on the board with $2 in prize money, to be used towards any NYM event or piece of merchandise. Larissa had a good guess, just a little off.

Here's today's trivia: What is the shortest verse in the Old Testament? Hint - It's in a book that is the first of a series.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Leaders

                     My pirate boys, in honor of the pirate superbowl

Hello. Hope you enjoyed the Superbowl. I'd love to do a little quip about the game, but I'm sure most people will, so here's something a little different.

I'm in Branson at the National Discipleship Conference (as well as the National Children's Leadership Conference). I'm also going to get a chance to hang out with Rod Whitlock, our former NE DYD and one of my good friends. I have travelled with Rod often in ministry, and I used to tease him about his over emphasis on staying clean. He'd wipe down the remotes and doorknobs in hotel rooms, use hand sanitizer after shaking hands with strangers, things like that. 

I went through a drive thru early for breakfast, and the lady with the money coughed like crazy. I stopped quickly to wash my hands, not wanting to deal with a sore throat all week. I got to my hotel room and the remote was filthy. I went to Walmart, got some disinfectant wipes, and went to work, cleaning everything I might touch in my room. Somewhere in the middle of that, I realized, I'd become Rod. OH NO!!!!

Being clean is valuable, but learning to emulate your leaders is truly an art form, especially when you don't even realize that you are doing it.