Thursday, July 10, 2014

Family Update - The Winds of Change are Blowing

For the last five years, our family had the privilege of being a part of Northside Church in Texarkana.  I served as the Student Ministries Director.  We were blessed to be able to serve with great friends and lead incredible students.  This last Sunday, July 6th, we were elected to serve as the new Pastors of First Assembly of God in Sulphur Springs, TX. 

As with any transition, there are a lot of conflicting emotions.  We are extremely excited God has led us to lead a great group of people in Sulphur Springs. We know God has great things in store for His church. I am honored to be a part of His plan for Sulphur Springs. We can't wait to build new friendships and pastor the congregation God has called us to. We love Sulphur Springs! 

On the flip side, we are sad to leave family and friends.  Last night, we announced our resignation to the Oneighty students at Northside.  They will always have a special place in our hearts.  Northside is not another stop, but it is home.  It is the church I grew up in as a kid.  We loved serving with Pastor Jimmy and Renata. They are more than pastors and mentors. They are friends.  I could spend time naming many names, but I know I would forget someone.  I do want to thank Northside for loving our family. You do not know the impact you have made on our lives.  Our last service at Northside is July 27th. 

Another piece of this is Atlanta ISD. Sasha was blessed to work for this great district for seven years.  My girls have attended school there.  Thank you Mrs. Whatley for loving and mentoring my wife.  Thank you to all the teachers, principals, coaches, etc. who have loved and taught our children.  We will miss you all very much. 

We love you Oneighty, Northside and Atlanta ISD! 

"We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work." (John 9:4 NLT)  We know God has called us to this task. We covet your prayers as we move, sell our home, Sasha finds a new job and we start our new ministry assignment.  We can't wait to see what He is going to do through us. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lessons from the Garden of Gethsemane

This last Sunday, I had the privilege of communicating at Northside Church.  Here is the message.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fakebook: How are we portraying ourselves on Social Media?

We live in a social media driven world.  Recently, I read a blog that compared spending time on Facebook to viewing Pornography.  One of the ways this author compares Facebook to Porn is Envy.  We see something on a status and we want to have it. He writes, "The more you look at it the more you want it.
The more you look at it the more you realize you can’t have it. The more you realize you can’t have it the more hopeless you become."

This really got me thinking about how we portray ourselves.  It is hard not to envy someone who is posting about their concert experience, five star restaurant meal or trip to Disney World. The vast majority of the time we don't know what is really going on behind the camera lens.  Behind the perfect family photo, we don't see the couple on the brink of divorce.  Behind the picture of the four course dinner, we don't see the text message that says a dear family member has cancer. I know these exact scenarios may not be played out in every picture. The point is there are things going on behind the lens we don't know anything about.

Last weekend, I went with my daughter on a school trip to the Mavs game.  She earned the trip for being one of the top readers in her class.  We were able to share an incredible experience together.  Going to a NBA game, especially a Mavs game, is one of my all-time favorite things to do and sharing it with my daughter made it extra special.  I posted a picture on my Instagram, tweeted about the game and because my social networks are connected together, it all posted on Facebook.  From the outside looking in, it looked like an incredible night and it was with a few exceptions.

What you didn't see.....

  1. You didn't see I was taking Antibiotics because I had been to the Doctor that morning with a Sore Throat.  Honestly, I didn't feel at all like being there. After driving home Saturday, I spent the rest of the day in bed miserable.
  2. You didn't see I was sitting in the "nose bleeds" (aka upper deck) surrounded by some very excited 5th Grade students who loved the noise makers left on the seats by the Dallas Mavericks organization.  They loved them so much that they used them the entire game even during free throws when you are supposed to be quiet.  :)  It was their trip and they were having a blast.  
  3. You didn't see the guy two rows back who obnoxiously yelled at the players, coaches and refs the entire game like they were sitting in the row in front of him.  He even had cute little nicknames for every player and yelled them constantly.  
Am I telling you these things to make you feel sorry for me? No...please don't...I got to have an incredible experience with my daughter that I would live again ...under the same conditions....if given the option. It was a memorable experience that we will both cherish for a long time. 

I'm putting this out there as an example that what we see is not always reality.  We take the perfect picture, put the perfect filter on it and write the perfect caption and hashtag.  

This post is not about trying to get you to quit posting your vacation pictures or telling the world about the prize you won.  It is a warning against envy and to let you know that not everything you see in a picture is reality. I like to keep my status updates and tweets positive. Well, occasionally there is a sports opinion that gets negative. :) I'm working on that.  My posts about life will stay positive.  I'm not going to rip the clerk that gave me a dirty look. I'm not going to announce on social media that I've had a "disagreement" with my wife or had to punish my kids. That does no one any good.  Just know, Rusty, Sasha, Mady and Kenzie are normal. We are not perfect, but are striving to be more like Jesus every day.  Some days we hit the mark better than others. Some days when we are not hitting the mark that great....we still manage to take the perfect picture.  :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Podcasts - a great tool for Personal Growth

There are several podcasts that I listen to on a regular basis.  One of my growth goals is to listen to at least 104 lessons/sermons in the year 2014.  With a 30 minute commute to and from work, there is a lot of time in the car. Most mornings, I listen to a podcast on the way into town.

I listen to two different kinds of podcasts.  First, I listen to sermons. I get our Pastor's messages every week and it is a great resource as well.  Since I hear it live, I don't download it.  I do have it in my podcast app in case I miss one Sunday. His podcast is available at  Second, I listen to leadership teachings.

Sermons (This is for Spiritual Growth)

The Oaks Fellowship - Pastor Scott Wilson is a great friend and an anointed preacher.  I am always challenged by his messages. Scott is an incredible story teller and he makes the word come alive.

Northplace - Pastor Bryan Jarrett is one of the best communicators of my generation.  He unpacks the word of God in a powerful and elegant way.

First Assembly of God, North Little Rock - I love to listen to Pastor Rod's messages.  His recent series on "How to Ruin your life" has challenged me in my walk with God.  He gives practical advice with solid theology.

People's Church, Oklahoma City - I love Pastor Herbert Cooper's creativity and passion.  He is an incredible communicator.


Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership Podcast - Great Podcast for Business Leaders/Entrepreneurs and Church Leaders

Perry Noble Leadership Podcast - He had a great podcast on hiring people.

Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast - I love Andy's conversational style.

Jesus Culture Leadership Podcast - Great podcast with leadership principles from the Jesus Culture leaders.  It includes book reviews and testimonies from athletes, etc.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to get a post to go viral

Recently, my friend, Brian Dollar, had a post go viral.  Brian, a Kid's Pastor in North Little Rock, presented an approach for parents to talk to their kids about what they are watching on television.  The article was in response to Disney's recent airing of a Lesbian couple on the Television show "Good Luck Charlie." At the time of this writing, the post had been shared on Facebook almost 7,000 times. 

The reason the post went viral is that it struck a nerve. It hit on a hot topic of conversation and answered questions that many Christian parents, including myself, were asking.  It also brought out those that had a differing opinion than what Brian held.

The reality is that anytime you post an opinion or belief, whether a sports opinion or a religious belief, it has the potential to go viral. Your beliefs will not line up with other's beliefs and therefore could put you in the line of fire. Paul, the apostle, felt this struggle when he addressed the church in Galatia.  He wrote in Galatians 4:16, "Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth?"

Before posting your beliefs, make sure you are....

1. Speaking the truth in love.

As followers of Christ, there are times for us to speak the truth in love. Ephesians 4:15 (NLT) boldly declares, "Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church."

I know those on the opposite side of an issue may not feel it is love to tell them our beliefs. Is it love for me to tell my daughters not to stick a fork into a light socket? Absolutely, I love them enough to tell them that what they are doing will hurt them.  Just because I believe scripture teaches something doesn't mean I hate you. It truly means I love and care for you enough to tell you that what you are doing could have eternal consequences. The important thing is that I'm conveying that love when I speak. 

2. Using wisdom

Ephesians 5:15 (NLT) "So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise." There are things, such as some terminology, that needlessly offends those we are trying to help.

3. Never using social media to handle an issue you have with an individual

The Bible teaches how to handle conflict. Matthew 18:15 (NLT) states,  “If another believer[a] sins against you,[b] go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back." 

People cannot read body language over social media.  They cannot sense the emotion behind what is being written.  Therefore, it is best to address an individual conflict in a face to face meeting.