5 ways to help your children live out the gospel

This is the goal for Cannon. To live everyday with a knowledge of the gospel and to approach life with the mission to fulfill the call on his life. After watching numerous parents at different age levels, there are a few things that I see in common of the parents that seem to have children that are living out the gospel.

Just to clarify, what I mean when I talk about living by the gospel:

  • Knowledge of the Redeeming work of Jesus Christ (creation, sin, fall, redemption, completion)
  • Changed life (looks different based on age)
  • Good works (fruits of the spirit, serving others)
  • Desire + Choices that match with living for Christ

This list of tips isn’t meant to be exhaustive, but it is meant to be helpful. I’ve listed a resource that I believe will help you figure out how to improve upon these areas of your life.

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Bullying video from the Mormon Church

I continue to be impressed by the way the Church or Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are using technology to fight against culture. I hope that there are some Christian filmmakers out there that take on the challenge to fight against culture with bravery and talent.

I pray that we challenge our students to make a difference in the world and not just let the world pass us by.


Cannon jumpingYou know it’s something that as a kid, I longed for. Funny thing is that the desire for Adventure never goes away. It changes faces and destinations, but I’m always longing for an adventure. The more I’m in student ministry, the longer I realize that we don’t tell a very good story of what God is doing in the world. We don’t cast a vision large enough to challenge our students to walk into their schools and seek to change the world. It’s just a bunch of principle based, write this down, talk about this in small group going through the motions.

I think it’s one of the big reasons why manhood has taken such a turn for the worst in this country. It’s time that the leaders in youth ministry paint an accurate, yet incredibly big picture our of powerful God. And it’s time that we challenge our students to do good. In fact, to conquer evil by doing good.

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books,

‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.’ – Bilbo Baggins

I wonder what type of adventure we want our students to be “swept off to”?

The gospel is worthy of brave souls to live it faithfully in all walks of life. The only story worth dying for.


mauldin miracle league

It’s been interesting how being in the role of High School Pastor is changing me. I’m more interested in developing people (or students) that are interested in changing the world. It’s such a different goal than in Preteen Ministry. It’s just as important but the sense of mission in me is growing.

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Focusatwill Giveaway

I recently posted about a new service that I was using and how much it was helping my producitivity. It really has reshaped how I use an hour. Shut the door, put on my huge headphones and dig into my work.

With focus@will, I’ve gotten much more done than previously, especially when I think about my study/writing time.

So I contacted the wonderful people at Focus@will and they offered me two premium accounts. I really wanted to just take one for myself but I’m offering it up to you guys.

I highly, highly recommend trying this thing out!

Imagine, sitting at your desk and getting more productive just by changing the sounds that come through your earbuds! It really has been working for me.

So enter the giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What is usually streaming to your ears when you are working?

Vision Casting alone

I was going through my blog drafts this week and found a few posts that never saw the light of day. Sometimes, that’s just because they are for me to think about and might be a bit too personal for me to share, but I’m learning, those are the things that I need to share the most. So I’ll be posting a few older thoughts that haven’t seen the light of the internet yet.

Here we go.

One of the things that you hear so much about is the ability to cast vision. You must be able to describe the vision/mission in such a way that people are compelled to action. Painting a desirable picture is only the first step. But have you ever thought about some of the pitfalls associated with an incredible vision?

Recently, I was chatting with the father of one of my volunteers, who is from Germany. He was talking about how different church was in Germany compared to what he just experienced. I told him that it’s very different and that we love what we have going here. I also expressed that Boenhoeffer is one of my heroes who made a huge impact in Germany. He shared that yes, but after he died, there was no one to take his place.


One I was shocked… I love Boenhoeffer and reading about his life and his accomplishments. His comment made me think about my leadership. What a difference it would have made if there was a successor to Dietrich Boenhoeffer in Germany. But it’s where most leaders fall short. He also made similar remarks about Luther.

I think you can argue that the work, or the picture that you paint, will by it’s own merit bring the next leader, but we all know that leadership is more complex than just a great mission. However, I think for whatever reason, we spend less time on the people taking our place, rather than the work itself.

Very interesting to say the least.

We consider our day to day work more important than the work that will last beyond us.

So don’t just paint the picture, get others to paint it with you. It will help others dive into the vision and will allow you to see who is in it for the long haul.


A new vision

So this blog has been in existence for a long time. Since high school, long time… yikes! I’ve been toying with the idea of doing something new for some time and there is a little bit of fear involved and also some obstacles that are personal and hard for me to overcome.

But I’ve decided to go for it. My wife has probably been waiting longer than anyone for this to happen, as she is my biggest fan and most loving (including some tough love) companion. 

So I’m not ready to totally reveal it yet, but I will have a new project coming soon that has been brewing for probably the last 2.5 years. It’s going to be a resource for leaders in ministry. Not necessarily pastors, but those that lead in ministry. I’m excited to share what I’m learning and how we can lead more effectively as leaders of the greatest message in the world, a loving God who redeems sinners.

As for this blog, it’s not going anywhere. The focus will be shifting a bit and I will be introducing an email list soon so you can keep up with my family and me and get some advice on being a young leader.

But I’m excited and incredibly nervous. Putting this in blog-o-sphere makes it more real and makes me more accountable to people. 

Any advice for someone taking on a new venture? What are some things that I need to know and prepare for?

Want to see your team grow together, faster? Here’s how

Everyone wants their team to be on the same page. However, sometimes it seems like we just don’t have the time or the margin to make that happen. In my experience there is one thing that can help bring your team together in an unbelievable way, pretty quickly.

Reading a book together.

I know it might seem like pulling teeth, but if you lead the charge (and buy the books for your team ;) ) they will follow suit.

Orange has written a few new books that released earlier this year that would be a great start to getting your team together.

My friends over at Orange Books are offering some great deals this week. You can get any of the deals, but only through tomorrow. Here’s one that’s sure to help you get your on the same page and growing together:

Buy the Book Club Bundle (5 or more copies each of Creating a Lead Small Culture, Make Believe, or Married People), and get all of the following:

  • “What Is Orange?” (Orange Conference 2014 breakout by Reggie Joiner, audio file)
  • Do for a Few: A Training Event in How to Lead Small (a training and event guide)
  • One ticket to Orange Tour 2014

Plus, when you tweet or share on Facebook any of the deals using the hashtag #OrangeBooks, you’ll be entered to win a prize.

Go to OrangeBooks.com to learn more.


I’ve recently been toying with a few apps/websites that have me really excited. I’ll share one with you today.

It’s called focus@will.

This site has dramatically increased my productivity over the last week of trying it out. I’m currently on a 30 day trial.

Here’s the thing about it:

Focus@will designs playlists of music that will increase your focus. It doesn’t use music that will distract you.

Here is an explanation from their website:

Here’s how it works:

Most people can only concentrate for a maximum of about 100 continuous minutes before needing to take a quick break to stretch, move about, maybe get a drink of water, and so on before they resume for another session.

The focus@will system makes it easier for you to get into the concentration flow, and then keeps you there. It works in the background by subtly soothing the part of your brain, the limbic system, that is always on the lookout for danger, food, sex or shiny things.

We’ve learned that people working or studying tend to take about 20 minutes to acclimate to their environment enough to really focus on the task at hand. It takes time for your brain to get used to a stimulus and start “tuning it out” in a process called “habituation”.

Each piece of music phase sequenced by focus@will has a specific role in influencing how your brain habituates, enhancing your focus and reducing distractions. Characteristics such as musical key, intensity, arrangement, speed, emotional values, recording style, and much more determine what is played where and when.

And I can honestly tell you that it has increased my productivity, especially when it comes to writing. So I’m pumped about it and you should definitely check it out.


Camps are over. Can we all just let out a collective sigh of relief? I love camp but they are energy draining events. 

I’ve had a few days off and am getting ready to roll into a new year. Just some encouragement. Take some days to unwind. Listen to some good music. Eat some good food and hang with the people you love.

Looking forward to a new year of ministry!