Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

I am getting ready to speak at Southridge church Bellevue this weekend with Troy Vandament. He has a church of about 250 people and a majority have been involved for under 6 months. They have a lot of new people coming and they've done a great job reaching out to the 'unchurched'. 

He was walking through a Sam's Club the other day and a lady stopped him, "Pastor Troy!" She went on to tell him that they've been coming since Easter and they love it. They've given their lives to God and she couldn't say enough good things about Southridge. She was standing, testifying, in tears, in Sam's Club. Isn't that great. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

                          My friend Samuel, not the original prophet

In 2 Samuel 5:22-25, David is called by God to attack the Philistines. Just a few verses back, he had already attacked and defeated them. Now, they have returned to the exact same battlefield for more war. David could have easily just ran out to attack them the same way he had just done, but he chose to inquire of God for the proper strategy. Good thing he did! God changed his plans and helped him to be successful again. He had just continued on like normal, doing the same old things, he probably would have lost and been out of God's will.

This past week, we had three different groups prepared to come to the campgrounds and work. Throughout the last few days, all 3 groups cancelled their meetings and rescheduled for a different time. We had to adjust our plans and prepare accordingly. The work will still be done, but it will have to be done a different way than we originally had thought.

As leaders, we will have many moments when we have to adjust our plans. Our original strategy and vision is very important, but we must be able to adapt as we go because things will change. If we just do what we've always done, we'll miss God's will. The flexibility with the strategy is just as important as the original vision. The draft is very important, but so are the trades made throughout the year...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Congratulations to Pastor Mike for being the correct comment chosen at random as our winner from Friday's Trivia. Mick is definitely from Chappell, though Manley would be a better fit. Mike is now up to $18 in prize money.

Here's the trivia for today: Which books of the Bible have the name 'MIC' within their name? It doesn't have to be in order; the letters M, I, and C must be in the name.

Happy searching!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Leadership

This past weekend, I was talking with my son Ryan. He has a best friend at school named Noah. Noah is a nice kid, but a little wild and always running around crazy, sometimes saying bad words. Though we like him, we didn't want Ryan to become too much like him, so we encouraged him to hang out with other kids too.

Ryan has done his best, but he didn't want to lose his friendship. So, he came up with an idea. Noah and Ryan both like to play club penguin on the internet. Ryan arranged a setup with Noah; for every day that Noah goes without saying a bad word, Ryan will give him a certain amount of club penguin coins to be used in the game online. 

What 4th grader has enough maturity to come up with a great idea like that? I see leadership in my son coming out in unique ways.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Hello everyone!

Well, I am finally home from District Council this week in Omaha. It was a great time, but now I get a few days with my family, and then it's off to work for camps, which are only !!! 45 days away!!! Congratulations to LARISSA for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from Tuesday's Trivia. She is now up to $10 in prize money.

The picture above is two of my talented youth pastors, Mick Olsen and Steven Striker, deflating a big Buddy Barrel. I must say that it was fun to watch them work on that task. Gave new meaning to the term teamwork.

Mick is ready for more teamwork, because he is bringing a team out to the camp next week to start on some work projects before the summer. Can you tell me what NE city Mick ministers in?

A. Surprise
B. Worms
C. Funk
D. Chappell
E. Manley
F. Gurley

Have fun with this one!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies - Servando Perales

Yesterday afternoon, for the last day of District Council, I took various ministers on a tour of some great ministry plants for Omaha. One location was Victory Boxing Club, led by Servando Perales in South Omaha. 

He was a gang member and drug dealer as a teenager. Then, God got ahold of his life. Now he runs this boxing club as a ministry to students in the gangs of that neighborhood. It's free for students, and he runs completely on donations from others. It's located right behind the YMCA in south Omaha. He has police officers with offices in his building. They are the exact same men that used to arrest him and deal with him when he was a gang member. Now, they are helping him make a difference for God.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Hello again.

On Monday, Pastor Dwight Sandoz, the superintendent of NE (and incidentally, my boss) spoke the opening message for District Council. It was a message about being bold and courage, and to go and play to win, not just to 'not lose'. It was a passionate plea to go and do something new to reach our world. 

We had both arrived at the church earlier that evening at the same time. We parked right next to each other. As we were walking in, I asked him how he felt about his upcoming message that night. He said, 'Pray for me, I'm nervous.' 

First, I was encouraged that the leader of our state still gets nervous. I guess it's not so bad that I do it too. Second, as he spoke, I realized - not only was he preaching about being bold, but he was living it out at the same time. 

What a message. Whenever we can preach a message that carries much more weight than the words which are spoken, it's a message that will last in the hearts of listeners.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello Everyone. Congratulations to THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from Friday's trivia. Remember, even if someone else has a correct comment, you can still comment in and have a chance to win. I need THE VIEW to let me know where they are at in their prize money when they can...

We had a great day yesterday, meeting with my youth committee in the morning, and then beginning District Council last night. Pastor Dwight spoke the opening message.

Can you guess what book of the Bible his main text came from in his sermon?

A. Joshua
B. James
C. Judges
D. 2 John
E. Joel

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Removing Paint

This past week, on Thursday, Mike Maroney and I went to the camp to work on the gym floor. We are working on a project to repaint the floor so that it will have more regulation lines and more traction. The paint people suggested we try to get the paint up if possible. There are places where it is chipping away, so we figured that would be a realistic possibility.

We tried a power sprayer at 3400 volts. We tried a floor buffer. We tried a grinder with a wire brush on the end. We tried a floor sander with 24 grit sandpaper. We tried for about 6 hours, and all we accomplished was about a six foot area, and even then, it was only about 50% removed. The gym is a total of 9000 square feet, so it became obvious we weren't going to get it removed.

Sometimes, we have things in our lives like that paint. We've allowed it to rest in our lives for so long that it's taken root and it will be next to impossible to get it out. Only a supernatural act of God can remove it. Make sure you be careful if you are messing around with sin - the longer you dwell in it, the more it takes hold in your life. 

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday - Where is that in NE?

Yesterday, I spent some quality time with PASTOR MIKE, the winner of our trivia from Tuesday. We gave it our best attempt to remove some strong paint from a concrete gym floor. It didn't work too well, but at least we tried. Though hanging out with me might be considered prize enough, Mike is now up to $16 in prizes. Way to go!

Another man was at the camp with a group of workers putting up a new storage building. His name is Dan Zitterkopf. Can you guess which city he is a pastor in?

A. Bassett
B. Bayard
C. Beatrice
D. Burwell

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

!! Only 53 days till camps begin !!

Before I became the DYD of NE, I was the worship pastor at Bellevue Christian Center. I don't get to do too much worship anymore, but the last few months I had been filling in occasionally at Hastings Northshore. The youth pastor there, Arjay Johnson (above) was praying for a new worship pastor. 

He had a song from Hillsong that he'd been listening to quite a bit in his prayer time. He looked it up on Youtube to see the music video, but found a video of a young man playing the song at his home. Arjay wrote him offhandedly, just asking if he'd ever thought about being a youth pastor.

Well, actually, he had. They began to talk and eventually, he found his way to Hastings from Florida, coming in for an interview. The church and Pastor Tony loved him and now he is their new worship pastor. Isn't it great that God even chooses to work through youtube to complete His plans. He truly is in control.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

              MC's praying before worship: they are leading worship at Youth Camp 1

!! Only 54 Days until Camps Begin !!

In my devotions recently, I read about Ish-Bosheth, the King of Israel for a short time after King Saul died. David was the king of Judah at the time, but this man was Saul's son and pronounced king after he died, though he wasn't ready. He struggled greatly, and couldn't keep his people loyal, evident when Abner, the general of the army, switched sides and went with David.

Ish-Bosheth was lying in his bed, when some men came in that looked as if they were just looking for some food in the house. But they snuck into Ish-Bosheth's room and stabbed him in the stomach, killing him. (story found in 2 Samuel 4) 

It was the heat of the day, and it was most likely the habit in that culture to rest during that time. But Ish-Bosheth was without his greatest warrior and ally, Abner. He wasn't protected well anymore and his kingdom was in danger of falling apart. Rather than resting, he should have been more cautious and working towards a solution. 

Sometimes, when we should be working hard, we are found resting, because that's what we've always done before. We've got to learn how to force ourselves to work a little harder in difficult times, and stay cautious when the enemy is trying to be on the rise.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

                             Infamous Chi Alpha Bishop, Byron Riddle

!! Only 57 days till camps begin !!

Congratulations to Larissa for being the correct comment chosen as our random winner for the trivia from Friday. She is now up to $8 in prize money. Gering was the only city that I struggled with having my YMCA membership honored. Still love that city though...

Yesterday, I had a great young adult committee meeting in Lincoln. We had lunch at the famous Ali Baba's, and then met over coffee at a great new coffee place on 14th street, NuVibe. Highly recommend it! We discussed a some possible events down the road, and some great ideas for pastors to involve young adult leaders in their ministries. 

Can you name a young leader from the Bible? Please explain how you deciphered that they were young as well...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Dreams

                                   Drawing from Worship Stations at Fine Arts

!!On 56 days until camps start!!

This past weekend my son Ryan was talking to my father-in-law. They were talking about school, and Ryan mentioned that he didn't like social studies too much. Then, when my father-in-law asked him what subject was his favorite, Ryan mentioned science. 

He said that he thinks up inventions all the time. He doesn't always know what to call them, but he draws pictures so he can remember. He took my father-in-law into the bathroom and shined a flashlight into the mirror. He said that just as the light reflects off of the mirror across the room, he'd like to see the image reflected off of the mirror as well. I'm not sure if something like that already exists or not, but I was pretty impressed with such a smart dream from my ten old son.

Don't be afraid to dream. We should dream up new ideas and inventions often, maybe with the goal of a new dream once a week. We should write them down, even draw them, if it helps. Who knows what would happen if all of us would dream like a 10 year old again...

Friday, April 10, 2009


Unfortunately, we don't have any winners from our trivia on Tuesday. Thank you to Larissa for taking a stab at it, but the correct answer is that all 4 Gospels mention the death and resurrection of Jesus. That's what helps make it such a solid part of our doctrine.

I just finished a fabulous workout at the YMCA in Papillion, which is near the home where we are staying for the Easter weekend. I love to visit the YMCA's across NE while I am traveling for ministry. There is only 1 YMCA that hasn't honored my membership and still charged me for a day's rate. Can you guess which city that YMCA is in? (one of the guys above lives there)

A. Omaha
B. Sidney
C. Gering
D. Elkhorn
E. Funk

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

Hello everyone. I hope that you are ready to have a great Easter weekend. We're going to be with family back home and we're pretty excited about it.

Here's a couple of great testimonies from last week:

1. Pastor Gary from Ainsworth reported that they baptized 6 people last two Sunday's ago, in church. Since February, they've had 10 people saved in services, and most of them are now attending regularly. Ainsworth is a small town, so 10 people saved since February might be equal to about 100 or more in our larger communities. That would be a huge amount of growth.

2. At Fine Arts, we gave away a free camp to the winner of the fine arts challenge. It' s a contest of fun action point to keep people involved during the long performance day. A teen from Lexington won the free camp. She has wanted to go to camp for 2 years, but she couldn't afford it because of finances. It was a huge blessing. She even was at Fine Arts because someone blessed her and paid her way. God has a way of making sure the blessings get where they belong!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner - Help someone else

                    One of the paintings from the Fine Arts Worship Service

1 Kings 22:7-9 "Jehoshaphat asked King Ahab, 'Is there not a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?' The King of Israel answered, 'There is still one man through whom we can inquire of the Lord, but I hate him because he never prophecies anything good about me, but always bad. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.' 'The king should not say that,' Jehoshaphat replied."

Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and Ahab, king of Israel, were working together, trying to expand the kingdom. Jehoshaphat wanted to work with the prophet, but Ahab didn't, because he never had good things to say about him. Ahab wasn't a King after God's heart, so Micaiah, the prophet, would prophecy negative things for him. Jehoshaphat boldly told Ahab that he shouldn't act like that towards a man of God. 

There are some leaders that are 'lone rangers'. They like to do things on their own, instead of working with leaders God has put in place to help them. We need to help those leaders around us and assist them in partnering together as a team. We must understand that they may have had bad experiences in the past that obscure their vision. Stay true to them, give them time, and help them join the team.

Who is a leader nearby that could use your help to 'join the team'?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

                                        Yours truly, at 70 yrs old

Hello everyone. I'm REAL excited about camp after some meetings yesterday to plan for Middle School and Kids Kamps. They are going to be SO much fun.

Easter weekend is rapidly approaching. I love this time of year because focus once again on Jesus, and the weather will finally warm up. 

Here's the TRIVIA: (without looking) can you guess how many of the gospels actually mention the story of Jesus' death and resurrection? 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons

                                              My magazine cover

I had a camp meeting at our campgrounds today with our kids camp/middle school camp leadership team. Sorry my blog post is so late. 

This past weekend I had my draft for the CE fantasy league I am a part of. The last two years I placed 2nd, so I'm hoping to go over the top in 2009. My chances aren't great, with a baseball expert joining our league, in Jay Warriner. We will see.

Last year, the draft was planned to take 2 hours, but we went 3 and the guys who were meeting together in Springfield, MO, were kicked out of the Panera Bread for closing time. This year, we planned a little more time and did the draft in the middle of the day. We added one player for 11 total and took 5 1/2 hours. 5 1/2 HOURS! 

Plan ahead, and be prepared for things to go long or wrong. 

Friday, April 3, 2009


                             One of the art projects from Fine Arts

Congratulations to Pastor Brian for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from Tuesday's Morbid Bible Trivia. Way to go! You are now up to $10 in prize money. 

WHERE IS THAT IN NE, or rather, WHO IS THAT IN NE? Yesterday, I mentioned the church in Ainsworth. The pastor is a wonderful man, former presbyter, and a minister who used to pastor two different churches in the area, at the same time. Can you name him? BONUS prize - can you also name his wife?

Have a great weekend (hopefully, snow free, or at least, snow free in Grand Island)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

During our Friday night service at Fine Arts, we had worship stations. One of the stations was a prayer station, where students and leaders prayed for different churches and schools across our state. We encouraged students to let us know if they felt that they got a word from God during their prayer time. Here are some of the things we recorded from those prayer sessions:

'I feel the Lord is telling me that if we could have more people witness then we could have the ministry spread along so that our faith could grow larger'

'God has raised up ambassadors. We need to show our classmates the fire He has given us. The schools are spiritually dead zones, and we need to be a fearless generation and just allow God to spill out of us. They are broken and we need to show them a God that mends broken hearts and sets them free. When we do this, then we will see God's fire upon the schools and there will be breakthrough!'

'Class of '09 = Look for God. Class of '10 = Search harder. Class of '11 = Look for loopholes to God, through Satan's grip. You don't have to be bound. Class of '12 = Find leaders that will help you come to Him above. Sabrina De Sundro = Keep Going Strong...Never stop.'

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner - 'strong' leaders

                       The food and smoothies at fine arts were amazing

2 Samuel 3:27 ' Joab took Abner aside...Joab stabbed him in the stomach, and he died.'
2 Samuel 3:39 '(David) I am weak, and these sons of Zeruiah are too strong for me.'

In this chapter, Joab killed Abner, and David regretted it. Joab was David's chief military leader. He had helped David gain prominence, into the position of the King of Judah. Abner was Saul's chief military leader, and he had done incredible exploits on behalf of Saul. David had recently welcomed Abner into their kingdom, but Joab had a vendetta against him because Abner had killed his brother. I also think it had something to do with the fact that another chief military leader had just come into the camp, threatening his own position. 

Joab is probably one of the most prolific, yet unsung warriors in the Old Testament. He was crucial to the success David experienced. Yet, David admitted that he couldn't control Joab; he said that he was too weak for the job. 

In each of our ministries, we will have 'strong' leaders like Joab. They are not afraid to tackle huge obstacles and take big risks. Because of that courage, they will win great victories. But that same courage will tend to drive them to decisions outside of our leadership that may also lead to bitter tragedies. 

Joab was punished by David and by God, but David continued to lean on him. David knew that he wouldn't be where he was 'today' with Joab. We need to embrace the JOAB's in our midst. We must realize that there will be fires we'll have to put out, but the victories will outweigh the trouble. If we don't utilize them in leadership, our enemy will. In fact, if we look around our world, we can find many JOAB leaders being used by the enemy for victories on his side. I'd much rather have them fighting for God, even if we have to work through some junk to get there. Just think about it ... maybe you're a JOAB leader too. Are you worth the trouble?

You are to me.