Saturday, October 25, 2008


I just finished a great book entitled, TRANSLATION NATION: DEFINING A NEW AMERICAN IDENTITY IN THE SPANISH-SPEAKING UNITED STATES. It is written by Hector Tobar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning jounalist. Hector went around the U.S. and several countries interviewing Latin Americans who have come to our country. He gives us an insightful picture of how our country has changed with the flow of immigration from Spanish-speaking countries.
In the last twenty years I have had the privelege of spending time in Mexico, Ecuador, Antigua and most recently Costa Rica. I have grown to more deeply appreciate the culture and values of Latin America. God has taught me much about myself and His love through my experiences. Their strong sense of family, rest and commitment has influenced me for the better.

When I first moved to Santa Barbara in 1984 it seemed there were just a few pockets of Spanish-speaking people in our country. Now they can be found in Alabama, Indiana, Montana and more. Latin America has come to us and we can be thankful.

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Generation

For the last twenty-four hours I have been hosting several Free Methodist youth pastors and a few interns from our churches in the Los Angeles area. They arrived here noon on Thursday and will leave about 1pm on Friday. Thanks to the generosity of our denomination their hotel and meals have been covered during this time.

In our time together we have had the opportunity to talk about life as a youth pastor with all its joys and challenges. I am humbled and honored to shepherd and mentor a new generation of youth pastors who are coming behind me with fresh insights and new energy for serving Christ.

Our focus has been on our character in Christ. From that flows everything we do for Him. The passion they exhibit in loving youth is inspiring, the challenges they face in time, finances and team support border on discouraging. One thing is consistent: together we are committed to investing in the lives of teenagers so they may grow into the people God has created them to be!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


This morning I was busy preparing for an upcoming Youth Pastor's retreat I will be leading. In the midst of my work I was skimming a book I plan to use as a part of the content. The title of the book is THE REST OF GOD by Mark Buchanan. One particular quote looked huge especially in a day when we don't know where our world is headed. It read: "Sabbath is preparedness training of sorts. It gets us ready for a time, a time we can anticipate but can’t predict, when the world as we know it will fall to pieces. It trains us in practical wisdom, clear judgment, skillful response. It slows us down enough to notice what truly matters." (p.59)

Ponder that for a few seconds, minutes or the rest of the day. Being a pastor I have had to re-train myself in taking a sabbath. Sunday is when I work. I confess I'm not always great at resting and trusting God who really is in control.
Busyness is now adversely affecting adults, youth and children. I see people with very little time to rest, be quiet and enjoy the life God created them to live. Getting more done is not the answer.
How would you describe your Sabbath?

Sunday, October 5, 2008


No, I am not changing my name. This morning I had the opportunity to teach our youth from Luke 5:27-28. I had intended to use more verses but discovered these words said plenty. You might remember it is the story of Jesus stopping by Levi (Matthew)'s booth. He said,"Follow me" and Levi did just what he was told. While there were several applications to these verses I was impressed that if Jesus could and would call Levi he would and could call anyone.

He spoke to me late in my senior year and asked me to consider being a youth pastor after years of thinking I was going to be on the high seas studying the ocean and hanging out with the Cousteau family. It was a simple and non-dramatic invitation. I had grown up in a ministry family but not seriously considered that as a career. Jesus showed me differently.

This morning I had the opportunity to tell a room full of students how God can use them no matter what their career choice may be. I also encouraged them to count being a youth pastor, missionary, pastor or other ministry leadership position as a valid choice among the options. It certainly was for me.