Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daily Read March 31, 2011

 5 See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7 What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?  (Deuteronomy 4:5-8, New International Version, ©2011)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Daily Read March 30, 2011

 1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
   sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
   proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
   his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  (Psalm 96:1-3, New International Version, ©2011)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daily Read March 29, 2011

Psalm 95:6-7 (New International Version, ©2011)

 6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
   let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;
7 for he is our God
   and we are the people of his pasture,
   the flock under his care.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Daily Read March 28, 2011

 12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
   they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the LORD,
   they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
   they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright;
   he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”  (Psalm 92:12-15, New International Version, ©2011)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daily Read March 27, 2011

    A psalm. A song. For the Sabbath day.

 1 It is good to praise the LORD
   and make music to your name, O Most High,
2 proclaiming your love in the morning
   and your faithfulness at night,
3 to the music of the ten-stringed lyre
   and the melody of the harp.
 4 For you make me glad by your deeds, LORD;
   I sing for joy at what your hands have done.
5 How great are your works, LORD,
   how profound your thoughts!  (Psalm 92:1-5, New International Version, ©2011)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Daily Read March 26, 2011

Psalm 91:1-4 (New International Version, ©2011)

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
   my God, in whom I trust.”  3 Surely he will save you
   from the fowler’s snare
   and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
   and under his wings you will find refuge;
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I missed this year's Simply Youth Ministry Conference.  I missed the training... I missed the challenge... I missed connecting with youth workers that are friends from around the country and meeting new youth workers... I missed being part of the conversation.

Yesterday, I got some of what I missed...
And more!

Yesterday, Cincinnati Christian University hosted it's 5th Youth Ministry Summit on campus of CCU.  They invited Doug Fields to speak and speak he did.

But definitely... without a shadow of doubt (and seeing Doug... who has been a friend for a while... and Chris Reed were both incredible), hands-down, the best part was hanging out with my team.

I was privileged to take four members of my team down for the training... my lovely wife, Diana, Julie and Katie.    It was an amazing day for a couple of reasons...

First: conversations.  The teaching provided by Doug, CCU and other speakers created conversations.  Conversations about ministry, vision and direction.  Conversations about students.  Conversations about what could be, might be and what we would like to see be.  Doug and the gang gave us something to chew on together.  It's one thing to read a book and discuss ideas with someone who hasn't read the book... it's an entirely different thing to read it together and have conversations about it together.  Yesterday we had a chance to have conversations sharing a common vocabulary.

Second: relationships.  My wife is prone to say... especially before long youth ministry trips... "There is something magical that happens when people get in a van together and ride."  She's absolutely right (and smart... and cute... and great... and... (you get the picture)).  There is something magical that happens when people ride in the van together, eat lunch and dinner together and spend time together.  That something is a deepening of relationships.

Third: training.  Doug and the gang reminded us of some things that we needed to be reminded of.  They didn't blow us away with deep theological principles that will need to be mauled over for the next six months and then implemented.  They reminded us of what we needed to be reminded of: the importance of youth ministry and what we're doing.  It's great when I get reminded of those things.  But it's incredible when others are reminded of those things.  Yesterday, not only was I reminded, but members of my team were reminded too.

Fourth: dreaming.  Maybe the best part of the day for me: listening to my team discuss, bounce ideas and dream together on the way home.  I don't remember where I heard this fact... I don't even know if it is a fact... but I remember hearing once that John F. Kennedy, former President of this great nation, would call meetings of his cabinet and advisers, throw out a topic, problem or issue and then sit back, listen, and soak in what was said.  I've heard that often he wouldn't say a word the entire time just listening to his team talk, argue and dream.  As I drove the van home from Cincinnati last night, I just listened to my team talk.  I didn't say a word... I didn't enter the fray... I just listened and took mental notes (because I was driving and couldn't write things down).  It was great to listen to a caring, driven group of people talk about something that they deeply care about: our students. 

All in all... yesterday was beyond my expectations.  Conversations, training, relationships and dreaming.  It was a good day! I can't wait for another opportunity to go to a training day with my team!!  I'm so glad that we had a chance to talk it all in!


Daily Read March 25, 2011

Psalm 86:11-13 (New International Version, ©2011)

 11 Teach me your way, LORD,
   that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
   that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
   I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
   you have delivered me from the depths,
   from the realm of the dead.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daily Read March 24, 2011

Psalm 84:10-12 (New International Version, ©2011)

 10 Better is one day in your courts
   than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
   than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
   the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
   from those whose walk is blameless.
 12 LORD Almighty,
   blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Daily Read March 23, 2011

Psalm 84:1-2 (New International Version, ©2011)

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
   LORD Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
      for the courts of the LORD;
   my heart and my flesh cry out
       for the living God.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Fun - Lego Music Video Tonight - Toby Mac

A little Tuesday fun...
Toby Mac's song "Tonight" in Legos...

Check it out HERE


Daily Read March 22, 2011

Psalm 78:1-4 (New International Version, ©2011)

1 My people, hear my teaching;
   listen to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a parable;
   I will utter hidden things, things from of old—
3 things we have heard and known,
   things our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their descendants;
   we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
   his power, and the wonders he has done.

Monday, March 21, 2011

10 Miles Baby!!

Today, I hit a bit of a running milestone. 

The last time that I ran double digits was when I completed my first 1/2 marathon in Akron, Ohio on September 25, 2010.  So it's been nearly 6 months since I last completed a run longer than 9.99 miles. 

Being someone who typically looks forward to the next challenge rather than reviewing the past, I thought it would be fitting to take a quick look back... Before I charge forward with a couple of 11 mile runs coming up in the next couple of weeks.

(My Flying Pig Half Marathon training is going well... thanks for asking!)

Today, I ran 10.04 miles in 1 hour, 39 minutes and 18 seconds.  (Check it out on RunKeeper HERE.  And add me to your street team if you're a RunKeeper runner as well!)  That's a 9.53 minute per mile pace. On September 25 of last year, under race conditions I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 40 seconds.  (Check it out on RunKeeper HERE... unfortunately I had to enter it manually because Nike+ messed up on me...)  That's a 9.40 minute per mile pace. 

Now, I realize those number might not make that big of a deal... but to a runner... those are some gooooooood numbers.  That means that under training conditions... which are not nearly as adrenaline-filled as race conditions... I almost ran my 1/2 marathon pace!  Which is excellent considering how early in the year it is. 

Additionally... Today's run was only 3 seconds slower than my last 10 mile run (on RunKeeper HERE) and that run featured no hills (unfortunately it was entered manually after I gave up Nike+ and went completely to RunKeeper).  Today's run featured two of the biggest hills in town: Sunset Hill (which I did twice) and Woody Hill (which I did twice). 

Translation: 40 days until the Flying Pig Half Marathon (May 1), I'm stronger, faster, skinnier (weighed in at 236.5 today) and more prepared than I was 6 months ago!  It's making that PR all the more attainable.  Additionally, I'm hoping to do the Pig in less than 2 hours!  That would be huge!

Just thought I'd throw out a little look back as I charge into the last 5 weeks of 1/2 Marathon training!  Keep running runners!


TL/DR: Training is going well and my times are almost as good as my 1/2 marathon times!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Fun - Emerson - Mommy's Nose is Scary! (Original)

Just a fun little video... Check out this kid's reaction!

Watch it HERE!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My 120 pound journey.

Good video. Truly inspirational!
Check it out HERE.


Monday, March 14, 2011

I love spring (running...)!

My favorite season of the year is fall.  For sure.

But I really, really love spring!
It has been a cold, snowy and long winter.  It hasn't been as bad as the past couple of years, but still pretty bad. 

As I'm hitting the stride of my half marathon training (prepping for the Flying Pig 1/2), I'm loving the spring weather that is popping up outside. 

  • Grass is starting to green up.
  • Temps are starting to come up into the upper 40s and 50s.
  • Less chance of snow!
  • Less need to layer... 
  • More sunshine!
Next week will see my training hit a double digit run for the first time in a while (10 miles).  With that looming, daylight savings time kicking in and warmer temps is making 1/2 marathon training fun! 

Love it! 

Keep the great temps and sunshine coming!


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Daily Read March 9, 2011

Psalm 68:32-35 (New International Version, ©2011)

 32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth,
   sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens,
   who thunders with mighty voice.
34 Proclaim the power of God,
   whose majesty is over Israel,
   whose power is in the heavens.
35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary;
   the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people.
   Praise be to God!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Daily Read March 8, 2011

Numbers 6:22-26 (New International Version, ©2011)

22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:  24 “‘“The LORD bless you
   and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine on you
   and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
   and give you peace.”’

Monday, March 07, 2011

Daily Read March 7, 2011

Psalm 66:1-4 (New International Version, ©2011)

1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
 2 Sing the glory of his name;
   make his praise glorious.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
   So great is your power
   that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
   they sing praise to you,
   they sing the praises of your name.”

Stay Classy - Jake Rutenbar

Stay Classy from arielamaro video on Vimeo.

My boy Jake Rutenbar has done it again!!!
Stay Classy!


Check it out HERE!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Daily Read March 4, 2011

Psalm 59:16-17 (New International Version, ©2011)

16 But I will sing of your strength,
   in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
   my refuge in times of trouble.
 17 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
   you, God, are my fortress,
   my God on whom I can rely.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Daily Read March 3, 2011

Psalm 53:1-3 (New International Version, ©2010)

1 The fool says in his heart,
   “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and their ways are vile;
   there is no one who does good.
 2 God looks down from heaven
   on all mankind
to see if there are any who understand,
   any who seek God.
3 Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt;
   there is no one who does good, not even one.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Daily Read March 2, 2011

Psalm 51:1-2 (New International Version, ©2010)

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
   according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
   blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
   and cleanse me from my sin.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Book Review: Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick

I'm usually late to the party.
I usually get books and read them later than many others.  I like to read... but my backlog of books to read is quickly overwhelming me.

When I got a copy of Steven Furtick's books... "Sun Stand Still"... it jumped to the top of the pile.  Check out Steven Furtick's page for this book with a video HERE.  I had read and heard a great deal about this book when it was released last fall.

But to be honest... I was skeptical.
Even after I got it in my hands, I was still skeptical.

I didn't read this book fast.  This 208 page book would have taken me about 3 days to read if I read it at my normal pace.  But I read it slower.  I wanted to take it in and digest it along the way.

For much of the beginning of this book, my skepticism remained.  I kept thinking, "I've read books like this... with big promises... big ideas... that ended up on my shelf without impacting my life in the long run."   But I kept reading.

Steven's book was captivating.  He encouraged me to dream in a way that I haven't dreamed in a while.  When I finished the first couple of chapters, I sat for about an hour and wrote down ideas.  I had thoughts about my current ministry that I hadn't had before.  I dreamed dreams about our youth ministry that I hadn't dreamed before.  And honestly, that was almost six weeks ago and I'm still thinking about those dreams and thoughts.

Steven's book challenged me with Biblical ideas, stories and illustrations that challenged me.  Steven challenged me to approach my prayer life differently.  Steven challenged me to think about my ministry and leadership position differently.

This book is a book that church leaders should read.

Far too often, we find ourselves with small dreams... thinking about things that we can accomplish... and not relying on God to do what only God can do by dreaming big dreams.  Steven encourages you to dream big audacious God-sized dreams that only He can accomplish.  Over the past couple of months, I have found Steven's words popping up in my mind as I have sat in meetings, retreats and other planning functions... and I've been challenged to pray things that I probably wouldn't have prayed before reading this book.

On the flipside, Steven is honest.  He acknowledges that it isn't easy (something that many who write books like this don't do... they paint a 'pie-in-the-sky impression and don't paint the flipside... that it's hard and some times doesn't work out as planned).  Steven tells it like it is.  And he shares enough stories from his current ministry that give him credibility.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  It will be interesting to read more from Steven over the years to see how God continues to work in his ministry.

To pick up a copy of this book for yourself, you can go to AMAZON or WALMART.  Happy reading!


FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

New Spider-Man!!!

This looks awesomely, awesome and intense...

A new Spider-Man movie!!!

Info HERE and HERE!

The Amazing Spider-Man looks like it's going to be... well, Amazing!


Daily Read March 1, 2011

Psalm 47:5-7 (New International Version, ©2010)

 5 God has ascended amid shouts of joy,
   the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
   sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the King of all the earth;
   sing to him a psalm of praise.