Friday, December 18, 2009


I got a Christmas card last night from one of my middle school students. (CLICK CARD TO ENLARGE) I'm going to keep it anonymous, but WOW, this card nearly brought Charity & I to tears as we read it last night!

Being in ministry can be one of the most thankless jobs--but in all the darkness of choosing a vocation that puts me right in the thick of the sin, brokenness, hurt, and crap that students deal with on a daily basis...there will always be a light--the light of Jesus--that pierces through the darkness and brings an overwhelming feeling of hope!

This card was that light! This card was that hope! Thank you Jesus for calling me into Youth Ministry.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jesus is God's Gift for the Naughty

Sorry for the lack of blogging this past month. Welcome to the Christmas season in the life of a Pastor! This is "go-time" for my life and my job. I preached on 1st advent which was an incredible experience!

You can download the sermon here: or you can search "Eagle Ridge Bible Fellowship" at the iTunes store and subscribe to our sermon podcast.

A few weeks ago our Sr. Pastor shared a devotional that really spoke to me and has challenged me ever since hearing it.

"Jesus is God's Gift for the Naughty" (Matt. 21:23-32)

One of the worst Christmas traditions I know is Santa's naughty and nice lists. As the tradition goes, Santa gives presents to good boys & girls on his "nice list" and leaves lumps of coal in the stockings of the bad boys & girls on his "naughty list".

Parents use this tradition to compel their children into behaving in the weeks before Christmas, though I have never known one who has followed through on this threat! Still it has its effect and most children who, when threatened with a lump of coal from Santa, respond by acting nicely in order to get what they want on the big day.

Is anyone fooled?

After Jesus' authority was questioned in our text in Matthew, he told his listeners a parable about two sons--one "naughty" and one "nice"--that turned the lists around. The "nice" son was naughty at first when he refused his father's request. Later he repented and went to work in his father's field. the "naughty" son was nice enough to agree to this father's request though he never did what he was asked to do. The "naughty" one turned out to be the nice one, and the "nice" one naughty.

This season is a good time to remind ourselves and our children that no one is nice enough to deserve God's gift of salvation through faith in his Son. God sent his best gift, Jesus, for the naughty. This season is also a good time to remember that being a Christian isn't just about being nice. Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple, after all! Being a Christian goes beyond believing to yielding our lives to Jesus and to his authority, doing what God asks us to do.

True Christian faith is to be lived, not just believed.

Mark Issac, MDiv
Director of Advancement and Constituency Relations
MB Biblical Seminary, Fresno Campus

So I hope you take away from this message the same challenge that I did. Christmas is about Jesus...a gift that God sent us that we were not, and are still not worthy of....but yet he gave it freely to us! WOW. How amazing is that!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fat Pastor (update #3)

No I am not going to Wyoming. Yes my "weigh-in" this morning has me at 1 pound shy of my goal of 190 lbs. This means I have lost 34 lbs since starting this whole process back in late September.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So my wife told me I should update my blog...

Firstly I apologize to all (likely 2-3 max) my readers for the absence of blog postings this past month.

This month has been a month of re-focus & re-alignment of priorities in my life. So this blog post will look more like a shotgun blast of point-form ramblings, rather than a well crafted & thoughftul piece of prose.

1) I'm loosing weight: of this morning I'm coming in at 193 lbs. That's 32 lbs lost since I began my "fat pastor" weight loss plan back in late September. The amazing thing has been going shopping in MY OWN CLOSET for clothes that I haven't fit into for a long time! I am so thankful to my amazing wife who has been such an incredible source of encouragement and strength through this all. The other day when I tried on a 32x32 pair of pants I nearly passed out (not because they were so tight & I couldn't breathe...but because I actually fit into that small of a waist!) This has been a significant undertaking in my own life to change the way I eat, and to constantly stay motivated to spend 1.5 hrs three days a week at the gym. BUT IT'S WORTH IT!

2) Becoming a Godly Father: This certainly has been a steep learning curve for me over this past month as Noah continues to grow and becomes more aware of his surroundings. I have seen my own selfishness smack me across my face as some moments I'd rather do what I WANT TO DO, rather than what NOAH NEEDS ME TO DO. Taking 30 minutes after bath time to read him Bible Stories has now become such an enjoyable part of our pre-bed time routine! Noah needs a dad who loves Jesus, and who will model that love for Jesus to him. It's a very serious role that I have...and only recently have I begun (with much grace from my wife) to see how much Noah needs me to be a Godly I point him & his life towards his Heavenly Father.

3) Up-coming Canadian Youth Workers Conference: I am VERY excited about this conference coming up in early December. I see that as a Pastor I NEED times to get away and to be refreshed. What's even more exciting is that I get to spend the weekend hanging out and sharing a hotel room with 3 buddies who like me, are in the trenches of youth ministry. Oddly enough, they all have blogs and to give them some props, I'll post them here (click on their names for the hyper-link):

1) Matt Prior
2) Andrew Haak
3) Ryan Cardinal

There will certainly be many more friends of mine that will be there at the conference, but I am especially looking forward to just a few days to be filled, challenged, inspired, etc... I'm staying at the Sheraton Wall-Centre where the conference is taking I don't have to walk a few km's to my hotel like 2 years ago! Not that I'm a wuss, but these conferences hook you up with tons of free stuff, and to not have to lug that around ALL DAY will be a blessing.

4) Christmas in Lethbridge: Yup, it's our turn this year to fly out to the flat-land of Alberta and spend time with Charity's family for Christmas. We're gone for 12 days this year and I'm looking forward to hanging out with some good friends & family out there who I rarely get to see! Obviously the real reason we're going out there is for Charity's family to see Noah. But since he can't fly on his own...they kindly extended the invitation to us as well! (lol).

So there ya go. My blog is officially updated! Hopefully I won't be such a slacker over the next month! If you feel that my postings aren't coming often enough...just fire my wife a message and she'll gladly spur me on in my blogging journey...that you can be sure of.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

loosing weight: there's an app for that!

In response to Ashley's comment on my previous post, I thought I would share a bit into how I've been loosing weight this past month.

Truth be told, it's been kind of fun...and the process for loosing weight has been solely based on 3 iPhone app's that I downloaded.

App #1: iFitness - a great app that allows you to scroll through numerous work out routines, specific exercises for targeting muscle groups, and even allows you to track your entire progress. It's a decent app that only costs $1.99 in the app store.

App #2: Loose It - this FREE app has been at the heart of my entire weight loss program. What I've done is simple.
Part 1: Input current weight, height, age
Part 2: Input desired weight
Part 3: Input time frame to achieve desired weight

The program does the rest. It computes how many calories you can eat per day, provides you with a very thorough database for selecting the foods you ate and adding them to your "calorie count" for the day. It also provides you with the ability to select what exercise you've done and adds that to your daily "log".

I am currently on an 1,834 calorie a day budget. What I eat to meet my budget is solely up to me. It has been quite a learning experience to see before this how many calories of food I would eat in a "normal" day. It was anywhere from 3,000-4,000! No wonder I was getting "husky".

App #3: Restaurants: This free app provides a fairly detailed list of mostly fast-food restaurants that we all tend to frequent. It allows you to quickly look up what the calorie count is that you're about to consume....and then allows you to possibly make a more healthier choice.

I still eat 3 meals a day. I do snack in between those meals....but I am FAR SMARTER, about what foods I do eat, and what foods I've cut out of my life all together: foods such as all Pop (diet & regular), High Fat/Sugar snacks, High Calorie Starbucks beverages (mocha's, latte's) etc...

It's been a sobering experience to actually read the "nutritional label" on some of the foods that I frequently consumed only to be horrified with how fatty & high calorie they are!

I've also made exercise a very regular part of my life-routine. I am at the gym for 1.5 hrs 3 times a week (Monday, Thursday & Saturday mornings). This takes a great deal of discipline, and was REALLY HARD for the first few weeks, when I could barely do anything for more than a few minutes. Now that I can (PHYSICALLY SEE & FEEL) the difference it makes it so worth while...and so much easier to keep going back to the gym. I even when out and purchased an iPod shuffle so that I could have my tunes with me the entire time ('cause I almost shattered my iPhone one day on the treadmill!) Anything technological seems to really help me!

So there you go. That's how I've been doing this for the past month. I'm still only 1/3 of the way through my 3 month process. I would encourage any & all of my "20 something" friends/blog readers to take seriously their health and fitness. Our metabolism's are NOT THAT of what they were when we were in our teens'/early 20's.

The best part about loosing 18 pounds so far--CLOTHES FIT AGAIN! I don't even really need to go out and spend money on clothes....'cause old clothes that I barely wore before I packed on the pounds now fit again! WOO HOO.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fat Pastor (update)


I figured it would be a good idea to give you a quick update as to where I'm at with this journey. Well today I jumped on the scale before heading to the gym...

and that's what it said back to me! 206lbs. WOO HOO. That means I've lost 19 pounds since starting this journey back in early October. And I can really see the difference!

So that's where I'm at.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

a song...

this song by Shawn McDonald echoes my heart today...

Pour out your water, that I might take a sip
Your love consumes me, every drip
It is like honey on my lips
So pour out your water, that I might take a sip

And your words are a lamp unto my feet
And I walk down these dark and lonely streets
You are all I need

Pour out your mercy, and clear this busy mind
Your love is like eating a slice of apple pie
It is like sugar on my tongue
So pour out your mercy, clear my busy mind

And your words are a lamp unto my feet
And I walk down these dark and lonely streets
You are all I need

Your words are a lamp unto my feet
When I walk down these dark and lonely streets
You are all, You are all, You are all,
You are all, You are all, You are all, You're all I need


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Fat Pastor!

If you say it fast enough, my blog title kinda sounds like some other "not-so-nice" word! That's kinda funny. This in fact is round #2 of what I call "Fat-Pastor". My first attempt at this was way back in February 2006. You can see my original plan of attack here:

Needless to say that didn't turn out that great. :-( I ended up getting to 203lbs but never did see myself reach my goal.

Well this time around I've come to a rather honest conclusion that the nickname that my high school students use to refer to me as (XL) has really given me motivation to turn Xtra Large into Xtra Lean! I started this journey back in late September after my gym called to ask if I was still alive! When you get a phone call like that you know you've been away a little too long.

They offered me a FREE 1 hour personal trainer session to get me back into the gym. After much fussing and grunting, I went in. I tipped the scales at a WHOPPING 225 lbs. YIKES!

When I spoke with my personal trainer she asked me what my goal was. I said I'd like to go from 225lbs to 195 lbs. That's a 30 lbs goal. She said then that I'd need to go onto a 1,943 calorie per day intake.

So far I have gone from 225lbs to 218lbs since first beginning. I've got a long way to go...but I'm determined to loose the weight. It's an incredibly eye-opening experience to track your calories every day. I love the fact that there's a great iPhone app called "Loose It" that's totally free, and works incredibly to help me do this!

So that's what I've been up to lately. Sorry for not posting anything for quite a while. Getting to the gym 3 days a week has taken up quite a bit of my free time.

So there you go. Nothing significant to read. But an open and honest look into what's really going on in my life right now. Stay tuned for updates and info from this journey.


Friday, August 28, 2009

What do you do?

In a facebook status of mine the other day I mentioned I was out having coffee with a potential youth leader for our student ministry, and lunch with a mentor/friend. I received comments (obviously sarcastic and said in jest) making reference to every time I update my status it often involved things such as coffee, lunch, slacking. Yes, for me this is part of my job. Yes for me, taking kids to the beach, or camping for a week, or out for coffee is part of my job.


If I wrote of all the heartache & heartbreak that I experience being a Youth Pastor...seeing students turn their backs on Jesus and walk away from their faith...I wonder if anyone would ever want to do what I do? (my exact facebook status)

This is the other side of what I do. This is the side of my job that deals 100% with student's messy & broken lives. At lunch yesterday with Ron (my mentor/friend) we talked about five years ago when he taught me "Career Youth Ministry" while at Briercrest. We laughed at the fact that all the other 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year students who were taking the course were asking such naive and foolish questions about what it would be like to be a Youth Pastor.

- How much will I make?
- How many hours will I work?
- Do I get an expense account?

I was there taking the course already having spent 6 months in the trenches of Youth Ministry. So before and after class Ron and I met to talk about my reality, and what I was dealing with as I journeyed through life with my students.

The life of a Youth Pastor isn't all slurpees and dodgeball. It won't ever be...because lives aren't ever that simple. And for some reason God has chosen a screw-up like me to help students recognize that even if they screw-up...that God has an incredible plan for them, that he loves them, and wants to them to live their lives for Him. But even that isn't that simple to get across.

David Sawler--a Canadian, and author of a book called "Goodbye Generation" says the following ...
"I am convinced that being a minister of youth is one of the emotionally draining jobs in the world. There are extreme highs and extreme lows. Nothing will bring you as much joy as working with this age group, and nothing will bring you more pain."

Yup. You sure got that right David. I couldn't say it any better myself.

1st Thessalonians 2:8 says "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us."

I share my life daily with my students. I need to live a life marked by honesty, integrity, vulnerability, passion, prayer, and the ongoing pursuit of becoming more and more like Jesus.

I can only pray that the students that I share my life with will make that same decision. It's not an easy decision to make. But it's the most important decision anyone can ever make.


Friday, August 14, 2009

God's Chisel

thanks Derian for this one!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Noah's Alberta Trip pt.2 (family)

Like I promised, here are some pictures from our trip to Alberta. Noah got to meet a lot of family that he'd never met before.

Hanging out with Grandma & Grandpa Smart

Waving "hello" with Great-Grandma From

Getting to know Great-Grandpa From

"4 Generations"

Another pictures with Great Grandma & Great Grandpa

Noah misses his family already, but the great thing is that he will get to see many of them again in September when we all meet up at Jesse's wedding in Idaho.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Noah's Alberta Trip

For the past 3 weeks Noah got to travel out to Lethbridge to visit family. We were SO proud that he was a very good boy on both of his flights. A lot of the time spent was meeting family, and visiting with his mommy's friends.

Of course I wasn't with them for the first 2 weeks. But I did get to join them for the past week. Once I had arrived out there we got ready to travel up to Red Deer to visit Noah's Great-Grandma & well as many aunts and uncles. On our way up to Red Deer Noah went to the Calgary Zoo on his mommy & daddy's 5 year wedding anniversary. He had a fun day...but I think we'll have to take him back again soon when he can really experience all the animals!

Here are some pictures from the trip:

I will do another post soon with all the pictures of Noah visiting with his family.


Friday, August 07, 2009

what spiritual life really is...

I received this great quote today and I just had to pass it on...

Then we discover what the spiritual life really is. It is not a matter of doing one good thing rather than another, of praying in one way rather than in another. It is not a matter of any special psychological effect in our own soul. It is the silence of our whole being in compunction and adoration before God, in the habitual realization that He is everything and we are nothing, that He is the Center to which all things tend, and to Whom all our actions must be directed. That our life and strength proceed from Him, that both in life and in death we depend entirely on Him, that the whole course of our life is foreknown by Him and falls into the plan of His wise and merciful Providence; that it is absurd to live as though without Him, for ourselves, by ourselves; that all our plans and spiritual ambitions are useless unless they come from Him and that, in the end, the only thing that matters is His glory.

Thomas Merton

I hope it was as encouraging to you as it was to me.