Alright time for me to get fired up for a second….a soapbox of mine if you will. I have a heart to speak to high schoolers and specifically girls on dating as they navigate this world and all that the media and expectations throw at them.  

Dating and love are the biggest hurdle that trips up high school students and I am tired of seeing awesome people be drug down by some tool with sex on the brain.  Here are some things I wish I could tell every teenage girl in America…


  1. You are a beautiful, valued, daughter of God
  2. You do not get your value from a guy
  3. Any guy who wants you to full around is selfish and is putting his desires for you above your own and God’s.
  4. You don’t need to date right now.  All it will lead to is heartache, regret, and a dash of nothing to write home about in the long run.
  5. Run after Christ.  That is not some cheesy cliché, it is God’s way to find a mate.  


  1. I despise video games.  Other than Tecmo Bowl, Tetris, and Madden 98 for a half, I suck and don’t’ have the attention span to care.
  2. I tasted an energy drink once…and didn’t like it. I don’t drink pop either
  3. I rarely go to movies.  I used to at least go to dollar movies, but since the boy I am pretty much out of touch.
  4. I don’t listen to rock, so while I know way too much about pop culture and country and hip hop artists, I don’t know squat about your average rock band.
  5. I am organized and love to plan  


I shared in previous posts that this has been a tragic, blessed, and eventful week.  Powell and Liberty high school lost two students and realized that life on Earth is frail and doesn’t last forever.  I had some great opportunities alongside our other pastors and adult staff and students to walk through open doors and counsel, pray, and share out faith with people.  This week was nothing that anyone would have picked and yet had positives.

Someone joked with me that pastors always feel unqualified in situations like this and I must admit that is true. I heard time and time again from parents, administrators, and others that there just isn’t a manual for this sort of thing.

I was able to respond but to pretend I have ever gone through this before in ministry or will even see it twice a decade would be lie.  I did receive a little advice long ago about tragedy and so I thought I would roll that into my five things I learned this week to apply toward teen death/tragic community events. Hopefully this list helps anyone who may ever have to minister or lead as they face the death of teenagers and the aftermath with their students.


  1. BE IN THE SNAPSHOT-This is the one thing I did have in my back pocket. I remember John Teevan telling me this while I attended Winona Lake GBC in college.  He said that people will not necessarily remember what you said or did, but they will remember that you were. Imagine that your response is a snapshot and be in the picture when they look back.
  2. PRAY WITH PEOPLE-I had groups of traumatized students coming to me saying, “will someone pray with me? I just want someone to pray with me” before I could even meet them.  People do still value talking to God and want to do it.  Although they may not be seeking God day in and day out there is an undertone that still values prayer deep down in America.
  3. OFFER YOURSELF AS A RESOURCE-I called the local high school the minute this happened and offered myself to come in and pray and counsel with students.  They seemed to value me and really opened up their doors to do what students needed.
  4. BE SENSITIVE-Our ministry tried to make sure that we didn’t put our “ministry” agenda above others needs this week.  Even before we announced we would have a service that students could come to this Wednesday, we waited to see how the school would respond, what students needs were, and when calling hours/funerals would be scheduled.
  5. RALLY THE TROOPS-Myself and our adults tried to really speak into our students and let them know how they could lead.  They needed to grieve, they needed to cry but we didn’t want to not let them know the opportunity this was too.  We told students that this was a watershed moment that we could exercise boldness, leadership, and influence in.  Don’t ever miss and opportunity to speak to potential so know you were clear and addressed what could happen.  


So much going on right now it can’t even be put into one blog post…but I am gonna try anyway. Here is the life update!


  • First of all today is my lovely wife Kristin’s 26th birthday.  We are still young enough that I can put her ageJ  My wife has had a hard couple of months and has given so selflessly.  I have a massage scheduled for her at noon and her Mom is here to watch Malachi all day.  Give Kristin a call today and sing her Happy Birthday.
  • For those who prayed for me and our church/ministry this week thank you so much, we have felt your prayers!  The ministry that has taken place this week can only be explained by God.  This tragedy is nothing you want to happen but I have seen it used it incredible ways and seen students share their faith and lead with boldness. We saw over 210 high school students come to our Wednesday night service and have reports of at least 15 responding by putting their faith in Christ.
  • One highlight for me was a guy who I shared with came up to me and told me that after we talked he prayed and asked Christ into his heart. I don’t ever want to be pressuring someone to pray a prayer so it was so neat that he told me the decision he had made and how it had made all the difference in his life and he could feel God in him.  Stuff like that gets me jazzed and explains my previous gushing post of why I am so excited by what God is doing right now.
  • Keep praying the calling hours and funerals continue through the weekend and there are still many conversations and divine appointments taking place every minute inside Liberty high school.


  • Had an awesome time getting together with the youth leaders of the Northeast Ohio Grace Brethren Churches last Sunday night.  I shared 6 things I learned in school and 6 things I didn’t

6 Elements of A healthy ministry

(I don’t know who came up with these or I would give them credit)

    1. Atmosphere of love
    2. Healthy group image
    3. Effective prayer base
    4. Positive contacts/relationships outside the church walls
    5. Proper understanding/excitement of Jesus Christ
    6. Clear communication into the word

6 Things I have learned since school

1.     You are doing a good job when you aren’t doing “anything” -delegate

2.     If you are overseeing more than 6-8 people it is too many

3.     Focus on your strengths

4.     Activity doesn’t mean health

5.     You can learn anything from anyone and everywhere-Check out blogs, etc.

6.     Systems Create behaviors-Andy Stanley Catalyst 07

  • TK went and got old on us
  • The Cavs are winning baby! Slipped up last night but we are looking good
  • Check out these pics from Malachi’s photo shoot on Friday. He is good looking like his dad.  The pics are under gallery and portraits.
  • I am excited that Facebook lets me permanently block all the stupid applications now
  • Did anyone else notice that Facebook added chatting? I didn’t…until I saw a message pop up.  Haven’t decided if this is good for all in one shopping or if it dilutes their brand.
  • I think this is funny. I love you Macho Man!
  • Call my wife and sing happy birthday to her!!!


I am so excited to be me right now. I love my church and the direction it is going and I love my ministry and the direction it is going. Just thought I would gush for a minute.  Tonight was great.  I will have to recap it tomorrow when I have energy or can stay awake.


The greater Powell area (Olentangy Liberty High school) was rocked early Sunday morning by the news of an accident that claimed the life of two students.  Story 1, Story 2, and Story 3.  The three students didn’t attend our ministry but many of our students are hurting. 


It was a busy day of responding to felt needs and just trying to be light inside the school.  I was at the school the minute it opened talking, praying, and counseling with students.  I was glad for relationships built through coaching soccer at the school and the doors it opened.

There was also a candle vigil tonight for students.  One of my big, hairy, audacious, prayers for this year was that God would help us share the gospel with all of Liberty high school.  I am assuming this is that opportunity. 

Our students are being so strong and stepping up in huge ways. I already know of so many great conversations and prayers that have happened along with two students who prayed with friends to receive Christ.

Please join with me in praying for these families in tragedy, our community and school. Pray also for our church and high school ministry as we respond and live as salt and light.

We are having our normal meeting Wednesday night, which I know will be greatly attended by people seeking for answers. 



Last weekend my friend Dave Nicodemus (fellow Grace pastor in greater  Columbus) had a surprise 30th birthday party thrown for him by his wife.  The Artrips RSVPed and said we would be in attendance and never showed.  I am mad for many reasons but another one is that a bunch of people I wanted to see and hang out with were at that party. 

Not showing up is pretty crappy so I thought I would explain myself in a top 10 list of reasons I missed Dave’s party.  This is also my way of begging for forgiveness from him and his wife hoping that we are all still friends.  If your name is Nicodemus, give me a call because I owe you a birthday dinner at my place.


  1. I was at a Browns backer’s meeting.
  2. We drove to your old house in PA and couldn’t find you guys.
  3. Birthday party? I thought you said Earth Day Party.
  4. We caught the bubonic plague
  5. We got lost……..36 times.
  6. 4PM…..I thought you said the party started at 4am
  7. We were just too busy planning your 31st party
  8. Speaking of business I usually fill my days reading Dave’s riveting personal blog and Pittsburgh Steelers blog.
  9. Two words: Sleep deprivation
  10. My wife wrote the party on wrong day on the calendar. She can’t remind us to go to a party on Saturday when she wrote it on Wednesday night (besides Dave and I are pretty busy on Wednesday nights anyway).  Turns out even though we both talked about going to the party the night before we somehow forgot it existed and sat at home all afternoon evening actually talking about how we wished we had somewhere to go.

One of these answers is really true, you all get to play detective and figure it out.



  • Woke up late
  • Went on a walk with the fam
  • Our friend Ashley came over and did a photo shoot of Malachi rocking an Ohio State outfit, in the nude, and his preppy Pottery Barn outfit.  He was so stinking cute and I can’t wait to put some of the pics up here.
  • A few hours later, Shannon came over and brought Malachi’s girlfriend Joselyn with her.  We of course had to strip them down to their diapers and exploit them with some pictures to use later in life.  We also made this video
  • Shannon even gave me a free haircut!
  • Grace Group tonight!