Showing posts from 2013

Life Lessons from Breaking Bad

I am a fan of the AMC series Breaking Bad. The show depicts clearly the depth and results of doing the wrong thing for the "right" reasons. It is a tale of consequences. For an overview of the series, go here. Unlike some other headline series I have watched, Breaking Bad came to a rightful and satisfactory conclusion last night. Without over-spiritualizing a TV show, here are a few life lessons the series reiterates in a powerful way.

Sin has severe consequences.
In my opinion, Breaking Bad did not try and sensationalize wrongdoing. Instead the series shows the digression of a life marked by sin and the destruction and death it delivers. As the series ended last night, my mind immediately went to Romans 6:23a ... "the consequences of sin is death." Sin takes life - it destroys everything in its path: relationships, trust, love, moral awareness, and even physical life itself. Sin leaves a wake of brokenness and death in its corrosive path.

Sin will always take you …

Convergence: a light bulb moment

Do you ever have one of those light bulb moments when you realize that years earlier God was shaping a bigger picture you had no clue in the moment was being formed? I had one of those moments last night.

We are being more intentional to attend church with the kids as much as possible. My travel schedule and other factors have hindered our involvement in this area of their lives and I have missed it. However as God has worked in our lives and in the hearts of others, we are feeling more compelled to be as involved as my schedule allows.

So last night we attended Convergence with the kids. Convergence is an occasional gathering that Epic Church creates to bring together their multiple services and campuses for the purpose of unified worship, Communion, prayer, vision casting, and teaching. It is intentional, engaging, and effective.

Convergence is actually a concept that God birthed in my heart years ago when we were leading Grace Point Church in Las Vegas.  At the time, we were lookin…

Dear Kayleigh: a father's thoughts as his daughter turns 16

This weekend my oldest daughter Kayleigh turns 16. I still remember the moment she was born. I cried as much as she did as I witnessed our incredible gift enter the world. It is a moment that cannot be described. It can only experienced. I can hardly believe she is now turning 16.  As I reflect on the past 16 years God has given me with Kayleigh, here are a few thoughts that I have for her this weekend.

1. You are beautiful. 

My daughter Kayleigh is beautiful inside and out. Like any teenage girl, she battles her own insecurities with the unfounded pressures our society places on young people to look, think, and act a certain way. In reality, she is one of the most beautiful 16-year-olds I have ever seen. 

Even more importantly, she is beautiful on the inside.  Kayleigh has an incredible heart for God.  Her inward beauty dwarfs her outward appearance.  She seeks after Jesus. She is a leader. She loves to serve. She worships passionately. She listens to the voice of God. She hungers for…

A Husband and a Dad

My blog has been quiet in recent months. To be honest, I haven't really wanted to write anything which is strange for me.  By nature, I love to write.  I am a fairly gifted writer but recently I have had little desire to write.  I was even asked to write some articles for a widely read website but simply did not have the craving to put together anything.  I even sat down to write a few times but what I wrote just didn't seem that important so I left it unpublished.

What does seem important to me right now is being a good husband and father. For most of my life, I have focused on a number of things that most people consider important: getting a good education, growing churches, networking, teaching, mentoring, leading, and a number of other "important" matters that occupied most of my time.

Don't get me wrong - all of those matters are wholesome and valuable in their own way. And they have their proper place in life.  But they are not the matters that seem most im…

POTSC: unedited version

*This blog is the result of being asked to share my story on People of the Second Chance. What follows is the unedited version. Some of the content has been taken from previous blogs.

--> This is my confession.

Cheater. Liar. Manipulator. Unrepentant. Divorced. Deceiver. Hypocrite. Disqualified.

These labels describe my life at some level. They are an ugly but real part of my story.

Once a recognized church planter, lead pastor, and conference speaker with 2 Master’s degrees and a PhD, I allowed sin to destroy my life. I still remember the feelings of guilt and shame I experienced the first time I was unfaithful to my wife. And yet somehow I convinced myself that I was the exception to the rule. In my mind, my sin would not be exposed. I would survive. Yes I attempted to stop with my own tainted willpower. I hid my sin. I lied. I covered. I did what was necessary to protect my self and my reputation. But eventually my unrepentant sin caught up to me and my world came crashing i…

Unexpected Blessings

I travel almost every weekend of my life. My normal schedule is to leave Thursday afternoon and return on Sunday night.  While this schedule allows me to focus on my children on the 3 1/2 days I have them, it does cause me to miss out on some aspects of their lives as well. One of the most difficult consequences of my choices is not being able to kiss my kids good night every night and the small moments I miss when they are with their mom. It is one of the small things I took for granted during my pre-divorce days.

This past weekend I was scheduled to be in the Midwest but our event was cancelled at the last minute due to the crippling wintery weather in that region so I received an unexpected weekend off. Here are a few of the unexpected blessings I got this weekend that I tended to take for granted in the past.

- I got to hang out with Zac and Ragan on Friday night and watch a movie.
- I got to take care of one of my children when she was sick.
- I got to go on a one-on-one date wit…

Identity Theft

Violated. Vulnerable. Exposed. Afraid.

Last weekend, my computer bag and all its contents were stolen at LAX airport.  The hope that a Good Samaritan had simply picked up my bag and turned it in quickly vanished when I realized someone was invading my privacy and trying to hack into my accounts.  My glimmer of hope was replaced quickly with feelings of vulnerability and desperation - especially considering the fact we have limited access to banks on the weekend.

The next several hours and days of my life brought out a full range of emotions in me but the one overall feeling that I could not shake was the reality of being exposed and vulnerable to the destructive efforts of someone I do not know trying to steal what is mine.

I have to admit that those feelings have not completely dissipated and I still feel a level of vulnerability and exposure.

Having someone steal your identity is a horrible experience and feeling. Rest assured that I will never make the simple mistakes again that I…

(Un)Preferred Endings

"... and they lived happily ever after."

We love preferred endings. We love happily ever afters - the fairy tale endings of life.

Preferred endings...

... and they repented of their adultery and reconciled with their spouses.
... and God heard their prayers and he was healed.
... and she never struggled with her addiction again.
... and he never fell prey to his sexual temptation again.
... and the cancer never returned.

We struggle with endings we do not prefer.

... and they divorced their spouses and married each other.
... and the child died.
... and she ended up back in rehab.
... and he had sex with him again.
... and the cancer returned.

Redemption is the central theme of the Jesus story.  Jesus came on a rescue mission to save those who can't save themselves. He does the impossible - He redeems the non-redeemable. But what happens when that redemption follows a path we don't prefer? 

What happens when he refuses to repent? When she sins again? When death ste…

Two Years Later

January is the month of fresh starts and new beginnings. It is when resolutions are made with gritty determination. January offers new opportunities.

I must admit that the first of the year is a tough time for me. It brings feelings of both positive reflection and deep regret.  It was January 2005 that I moved my young family to Las Vegas with a God-sized vision to create a community that would promote grace to people trapped in sin. It was January 2006 that dream became a reality and Grace Point Church was born. And it was in January each year that we would celebrate what God was doing through broken people to redeem other broken people in a broken city. And sadly it was in January 2011 that my own brokenness and refusal to turn from my sin led to my own demise.  Last January I wrote here and here about my "life outside of ministry" and what God taught me in year one.  Two years removed from that fateful day, here are some things God continues to teach me.

Healing is a proce…