Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Laborious Task of Writing

Today I met with my friend and managing editor of the project I am working on for Youth Specialties, Jack Crabtree. It was a great meeting, and he really helps me to stretch and grow as a leader and writer. I appreciate his wisdom, experience, and insight. I want to be like Jack when I grow up. (lol) I am really excited about the resource that we are putting together, and I know it's going to help thousands of youth leaders. I also saw my friends at Long Island Youth For Christ, and got to visit for a few minutes with Sean Hannity's wife.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Worship Band From Start To Finish

Hi Friends! I just got my first look at the new product from Simply Youth Ministry called Worship Band from Start to Finish. Check out this video interview with author Jason Carson -youth pastor and former member of the band Supertones. It gives a good glimpse into the heart of this resource and also allows you to hear a great story about preaching the gospel during skinhead gang fighting in Germany. Excellent!

To receive 10% off this and other youth ministry resources, use the 10% Off Link at the top left hand corner of my blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Proud Papa!

Today I was super proud of my daughters! My wife brought them out to join me on our missions trip to NYC on Saturday, and they were full-functioning members of the team while here. Today was their most involved day of ministry. This morning we headed up to the Bronx to work with the New York City Relief Bus. It was a tough area, and we were serving and ministering to hundreds of people. My daughters' job was to do face painting for the children who were there with their parents. They were a bit apprehensive at first, but it didn't take them long to embrace their assignment and their creative juices started flowing. They both painted dozens of children's hands, arms and faces. They brought smiles and hope to all of the kids they touched today, and my wife and I were so proud to watch them serving Jesus in this way. This afternoon my wife took our youngest daughter home on the train, but my oldest daughter stayed here with me and will return with the team tomorrow. During our time of sharing this evening, she talked about the joy she experienced as she saw the kids light up when she painted their faces. She said it felt good to know that she made a difference in their lives today. Tonight before bed, I sat down with her to unpack the day and ask her what she felt the Lord was speaking to her. She said that she felt the Lord tell her that she is going to work with children. WOW! I told her she can be my children's pastor someday. We prayed together, and asked God to seal this moment in her heart.
Proud Papa,

Friday, July 18, 2008

Sex God by Rob Bell

A few weeks ago I picked up Rob Bell's new book Sex God. It was an incredible, insightful, thought-provoking look at sexuality and its intricate, endless connections to spirituality. Bell is a poet and teacher who has a tremendous ability to weave words together in such a beautiful way, painting a picture of understanding as well as challenge. He is also very well versed in Jewish thought and history, and uses this knowledge to shed light on original understanding and helps us get closer to the intended meaning of passages and words. I so enjoy this aspect of his writing. He causes his readers to think in terms of Jews in the original context before making the leap to modern day application, which is the essence of trying to stay true to the text. Many times I was envisioning the scenes he was painting, and it was very helpful. Another great thing about Bell is that he is not afraid to stir things up, offering possibilities and asking questions that few evangelicals are daring enough to ask. I appreciate his willingness and even his desire to get his readers to think, not just give them nicely packaged theology and thoughts.

My intern Josh saw me reading this book. When I finished it, and before leaving for our Mexico missions trip, he asked me if he could bring it along to read on the plane. It was funny seeing the students' reaction to the title of the book he chose to read. After a few hours on the plane, he came to me, his eyes as big as saucers, and he said that it was the most incredible book he had ever read. I highly recommend that you pick it up and give it a read. It will really cause you to think deeply, and to be stretched in your thinking in this area. I also recommend his other book that I have read, Velvet Elvis.

Off On Another Missions Trip!

Today I brought a team of 23 to Brooklyn for our first Jr. High Missions Trip. Among my leaders are two twenty-something emerging leaders whom I am actually mentoring in leading missions trips. I am allowing them to lead the trip for all intents and purposes, and I am giving oversight and coaching them as they lead. Very excited about that! Also have along two Sr. High Student Leaders who are being discipled as well. Praying for God to use us to show His love. Read detailed accounts of our adventures daily at:


Excited for My Wife!!!

I am so excited for Adriana! This week she received great news on two fronts. First, after a 2 1/2 year wait, she finally got the date for her oath to become a United States citizen. Now we're just praying that she'll be able to get her passport in time for us to go on vacation. Today she got news that she passed her test and will be going to school in the fall at the New York Institute of Beauty. This is a perfect gift-match for her, and I know that she'll love working in this field. Yeah for Ady!!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home from Mexico & Citizenship

Yesterday we returned home from our Mexico missions trip. Here are some pics of Adriana and I as well as our team. My wife was my/our interpreter, so it was a lot of fun for us to work together as a team. It was also a great privilege to reconnect with Adriana's youth pastor Emilio, who was her youth pastor when she was in Jr. High and his ministry Adulam ( I blogged in detail at if you want to read specifics and see more pics of our team in action. Another exciting thing is that Adriana received a letter from Homeland Security today stating that she will be taking her oath to become a U.S. citizen on August 4th! YEAH! We are very excited that our long ordeal is finally almost over.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Pics & Blog Post from Mexico

Check out the latest pics and reports of my Mexico adventure at



Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In Mexico ...

Hey everyone! I am now safely in Mexico City and our work here has begun. You can read about our adventures and see pics at:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Enjoyed One More Day of Rest & Time With Family

Well, after yesterday's dramatic adventure, it was nice to have one more night of good sleep in our own bed and some time with our daughters and my mom before heading out. Also got another workout in the morning, so that was nice as it will be difficult to be consistent while on our trip, although I will try. I did good last year in London, but after my back surgery I am limited in terms of the exercises I can do. Praying everything goes smoother today. Off soon.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Believe it or Not, We're Home Already!

Yes, it's true. I am sleeping in my bed tonight. Click here to read the details of our adventurous day:

Last Minute Stuff

Got up. Packed. Worked Out. Took a Shower. Running to the Office to Take Care of Last Minute Details. Going to Kiss My Girls a Whole Bunch & Pray Together. Then We're Off to the Airport. Yeah!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gearing Up for Mexico

Tomorrow I am heading off leading a team of 28 to Mexico City where we will be working at an orphanage and doing street ministry. I am very excited about returning to the country I love so much! It's been too long - 5 years since I was there last. So looking forward to the Lord doing good stuff through us and in us.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Craziness & Miracles

It's been a slamming last few days. I am actually about to run out to watch the UFC fights, but let me briefly explain. On Tuesday I went back to work after having a fun day off on Monday. On Tuesday evening my wife went out with a friend, so I just stayed home and chilled with the girls. At around 10 pm my wife returned home. When my 6 year old heard the car pull in, she got excited and went running to hide so as to surprise mom. All of a sudden I heard a loud, crashing thump, and I knew she had fallen. Immediately I heard that blood-curdling scream that says, "This one is for real and I'm not going to just brush it off." I jumped out and ran into the hallway as did my wife who was coming up the stairs, my 10 year old, and my mother-in-law. When these things happen I usually have to take over because the rest operate in quite a panic. I picked up my daughter and saw a pool of blood. I quickly got her into the bathroom and we began trying to calm her down and clean her now bloody face and clothes. When she was finally able to tell us what happened, she explained that she had tripped over her pajama pants and fell smack on her face on our wooden floor. Her lip and gums were bleeding and very swollen, and her new adult tooth in the front was loose. We were able to get the bleeding to subside for the most part, applied some ice to her lip, and she was able to fall asleep. After she was asleep I was able to get a little bit of a better look at her injury, and her tooth was still loose. I was hoping it was just that initial looseness, but it was not. So I called our dentist in the middle of the night and left a message that she needed to be seen right away on Wednesday morning. They were fantastic. They were on the phone to me before 9 am, and asked me to bring her right in, which I did. After an x-ray confirmed that the tooth had not been fractured, they determined that she needed a splint which would need to be done by a dental surgeon. They said I would have to schedule an appointment. When I explained that we would be leaving town on Monday, they said they would see what they could do. After a few minutes they came back and said that they had a surgeon in the office, and that he would try to get her in. He did so, and we were done in less than an hour. (Miracle #1) My daughter sat so still and did so good! I was very proud of her! We then went out for a steak lunch. No! Just kidding! We went out for McDonald's, and she was able to eat some nuggets.

When we returned home, I decided to grab the mail on the way in. I noticed that we had a letter from Homeland Security. I was so exited to see this, because my wife has been waiting for a notice to come and take her oath for citizenship for over 2 1/2 years! I thought surely this was the letter! When I opened it, it stated that she needed to report next week (while she will be out of the country on a missions trip, of course) to have her biometrics (fingerprints) done. She had already done her biometrics two years ago. Why were they asking her for them again? It also stated that if she did not report, her case would be considered abandoned, and she would have to begin her citizenship process all over again. Yikes! We couldn't believe it! We got on the phone right away, and after 3 frustrating phone calls pushing buttons in response to an automated voice system, she finally got through to a real person. The person explained that there was not much she could do except mail a letter explaining her situation and asking them to reschedule her. She asked if this was a guarantee that her case would not be thrown out, but he could not affirm. She hung up and was about ready to cry. I told her to call back and try to talk to someone else. She gave me the phone to call. After a few prompts, I got someone on the line and gave her the phone. She explained that she had received this letter - to which the officer said, "Oh, this is really good news! That means they're ready to move your case forward." She explained that she had already had her biometrics done - to which the officer said, "Well, that's because they're only good for 12 months." She then explained that she was going to be away on the day of her appointment - to which the officer said, "Well, you can go on any Wednesday when they take walk-in's." This was Wednesday at 2pm, mind you - the only Wednesday we would be here before her scheduled appointment. When we told her we were about 45-minutes away, she said she would suggest that we go for it, and just hope that the line was not out the door and that they could squeeze her in. We immediately thanked her, rounded up the kids, jumped in the car, and began the race to the location. When we arrived, my wife jumped out and ran to the office while I looked for a parking space. When I finally found one, I put a quarter in the meter and waited. It was not 10 minutes before my wife called me asking where I was parked because she was done. When she got in the car, she said that there was not one person in the usually jam-packed office. (Miracle #2) It was a stressful day, and, of course, as always, it was on a Wednesday which is the biggest day of the week (a couple of years ago, I was walking out on stage to start youth group when my older daughter was brought to me with an obviously broken arm, and I had to give the service to my team and take her to the hospital). It was amazing to see God's providence in the midst of these two crisis on that day.

Thank You, Lord, that my daughter was not more seriously injured, and that you got us to that office at the exact moment on the exact day that the surgeon was able to get her into his busy schedule. And thank You that I opened the mail (which my wife was intentionally not doing (unbeknown to me) because she was fearing that they would call her when she was going to be gone), and that we had that 2-hour window of opportunity to get her immigration issue dealt with. You are so amazingly faithful! Amen!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rockin the Bronx!

I took today off and spent the entire day in the Bronx with my family. My intern and one of my students also came with. We went to the Bronx Zoo until closing and then hopped a few miles down to Yankees Stadium for a game against the Texas Rangers. It was a close game, but the Rangers won 2-1. The thing that I was most excited about was that we got to meet up with two of my childhood friends whom I hadn't seen in 17 years. They flew out from Nebraska to take in a series at Yankees' Stadium since this is the final season that the Yanks will be playing there before moving into their new stadium in 2009. The last time I saw them they were 7 and 2 years old! Crazy! Their dad and my dad were best friends when we lived in Texas. Their mom was my first grade teacher. They also have a brother in between them - Bryan Frew - who was unable to join us because he was drafted a couple of weeks ago by the Phillies, so he is actually playing baseball in the minor leagues. The most awesome moment during the game was when my daughters made it onto the jumbo tron! That was fantastic! (See Picture!) It was a 14-hour, fun-filled family day. Even the traffic was almost eerily smooth.