I’ll Never

Everyone has a pop culture blindspot.

Whether it’s for lack of time or lack of funds or just a general lack of interest we all have those movies or tv shows or books that it seems like everyone in the world has experienced except for us.

spectre1208141280jpg-398894_1280wOne of my biggest pop culture blindspots is James Bond.

This may come as a shock to you, but it’s true – I, a 29-year-old red blooded movie-loving male, have never seen a 007 movie.

I don’t really know how it happened. Maybe watching wrestling satisfied all my testosterone needs in pop culture. I don’t have any moral objection to the Bond series.

If someone were able to make a case for wanting to show me one of the movies I think I would sit down and watch one. But there’s no way I’m going to ever dive through the entire Bond history.

At this point in my life I know I’ll probably just never start watching a James Bond movie on my own. I’ve come to the realization that – even with hopefully many more happy and healthy years in front of me – I just can’t experience everything this world has to offer.

With the amount of quality entertainment in the landscape today and the incredible ease of access we have to it, at a certain point you just have to resign that there are some pop culture phenomena you’re never going to get around to experiencing.

I’m ok with never watching a James Bond movie. But there are some things that I’m not ok with never doing. Continue reading

11 Lessons From My Resume

photo 2-7As I enjoyed the Labor Day holiday this past weekend I had a chance to read an article in my hometown paper where the great columnist Bill Kirby shared lessons from some of the many jobs he worked over his life. I thought it would be interesting to go back and do the same for my years in the workforce.

Though I’m only 29-years-old at the moment I’ve amassed a good size resume and I believe there’s at least one lesson to be learned from every job I’ve had over the years. So, with full credit to Mr. Kirby for the idea, here’s one lesson from every job I’ve had since I started working at age 16:

1) The Masters Tournament (First week of April 2002):

The Job – 4 straight 14 hour days in a concession stand at the most popular golf event in the world.

The Lesson – The paycheck is not always worth the work. Continue reading

When Your Story Goes Up In Flames, Remember This:

IMG_5092This past weekend my wife and I got the incredible opportunity to spend some time working at Pioneer Plunge, a majestic Young Life camp in Weaverville, NC.

If you’re not familiar with it, Pioneer Plunge is unlike any other Young Life camp. Nestled high in the mountains and hidden away at the top of Windy Gap (another Young Life camp), Plunge consists of only 3 minimal cabins, a pond and a garden. There’s no electricity or amenities of any kind.

The purpose of the camp is to provide young people with a chance to live in the wilderness for a week and discover God’s calling unhindered by any distraction.

Kate and I met as Young Life leaders and look for any chance we can to give back to the ministry. We never had the chance to visit Pioneer Plunge when we were leaders so when the chance came up to participate in a Work Crew weekend at the camp we jumped at the opportunity.

Unfortunately we didn’t see the camp in all it’s glory. In August of 2014 the main cabin at Pioneer Plunge burned down in a tragic accident. No one was hurt by the fire and it was miraculously contained to just the one building. Continue reading

How SNL Made Me A Better Youth Minister

As SNL celebrates its 40th Anniversary this weekend, I just wanted to take a few minutes to say thanks.

You see, I’m not a funny person.

I’ve said funny things before, and I’ve gotten a few laughs in my lifetime. But the truth is most of those funny things were stolen. And most of them were stolen from Saturday Night Live.

635583156024811072-ConeheadsI think it’s perfect that as part of the new SNL app there’s a whole keyboard of SNL-inspired emojis. After all, for my friends and I SNL is its own sort of language of catchphrases and inside jokes.

I’ve never been good at quoting classic movies, but I can recite for you Matt Foley’s entire speech about living in a van down by the river and tell you why there needs to be more cowbell and shout out all of the Spartan Cheerleaders’ routines. Continue reading

The 3 Best Words Of Advice I Have To Give

FullSizeRender-8The other day a friend asked me for the best piece of advice I could give someone going into youth ministry.

Her daughter was about to begin an internship with a ministry program so she reached out to an expert in the field. Haha just kidding she asked me.

Seriously though – I was honored she thought to ask me such a question. So I racked my brain for something profound and insightful and deeply spiritual to write back to her. Everything I typed up sounded recycled from someone smarter than myself.

Finally, I just shot off the 3 best words I could think of:

Keep showing up. Continue reading

POP GOD POPcast: Episode 24 – David Keel

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Welcome to the POP GOD POPcast – an exploration into the lives of people seeking God in the present tense.

This week’s guest is David Keel. David is a teacher, speaker, scientist, youth pastor, legendary coffee drinker, and most importantly my former Sunday School teacher. David shares openly about his journey to meeting Jesus at rock bottom, his on-and-off youth ministry career, and how he comes up with his offbeat analogies. We also get real about the struggles of joblessness and how to keep the faith when the paychecks stop coming. Plus David offers a look behind the scenes of Fort Discovery where he worked for over a decade! Enjoy this deeper look inside the life of a teacher who made a true impact on my life.

Listen to the podcast here:

Or Download on iTunes or Listen on Podbean

Check out David’s website to book him for Speaking Events

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, rate it, leave a comment, listen to all the other episodes, share it on Twitter and Facebook and anywhere else. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

I love sharing stories of people seeking God in the present tense. Let me hear your feedback. Leave me a comment and let me know how to improve things, what you’d like to hear discussed, and give me your ideas as to who you’d like to see on the next episode of the POPcast.

 

Do Small Things Matter To A Big God?

***NOTE: For me, 2013 will always be the year I stepped away from my position as Director of Student Ministries at The Hill Baptist Church. Working at The Hill was a incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding experience, one that taught me countless lessons I’m still being transformed by. As 2013 comes to a close, I thought it would be fitting to share the article I wrote for The Augusta Chronicle on the eve of my final day on staff at The Hill. As you reflect on the year that was and make plans for the year to come, I can only pray you’ll believe the small things really do matter to God. 

IMG_1524“Does it matter?”

Every morning I make the drive down Central Avenue, turning onto Kings Way and into the parking lot of The Hill Baptist Church, thinking to myself, “Does it matter?”

For five years I have served as the director of student ministries at The Hill. When I began I was a 22-year-old student in my final semester at Augusta State University. I was a fresh-faced intern with adventurous faith who dreamed of changing the world through youth ministry.

Though I thought I knew it all (as most 22-year-olds do), I never could have predicted what the next five years would hold. Today, as I prepare to step down from my position at the church, I am questioning if anything I did mattered.

Did picking up and dropping off students for an hour before and after church matter? Did the conversations over late-night fast food matter? Did silly Facebook wall posts matter? Does small ministry with a small group of students in a small church with a small budget matter to an incredibly big God?

The Hill Baptist Church is a small church. The Hill Youth is a small group, about 20 active students. When I see some of Augusta’s most vibrant churches bringing in hundreds of students to camps and lock-ins, I sometimes wonder if I’ve been doing something wrong this whole time. Continue reading