Following the call of the Lord


I have something exciting to share! Two days ago I received a call from the Grace Chapel elders. They were all on speaker phone, calling me from an evening elder meeting. Brian Moe, the chairman of the board, spoke for them all and said, “We are calling to tell you that we have had a unanimous vote to invite you to come as our Senior Pastor.” I was in the car with my family at the time. We had just finished dinner and were driving home. It was a sweet call to receive at a sweet time.

When the phone rang, my heart began to race. Before I answered the phone, I turned to Molly and said, “What should I say?” She said, “Tell them yes!”

We have been praying about this for months. God had been clear in the circumstances both at Grace Chapel and Mission Hills that this was right. God speaks through circumstances, His Spirit, His Word and other believers in Jesus. In all of these, He had been clear that this was the right next move, but He used circumstances as His megaphone to make sure I didn’t miss it.

One more thing has made this very clear to me—Molly’s passion seems to be coming to life in a whole new way. She told me the other day, after many interviews at Grace, that she was “feeling so alive” being with me through the process. She enjoyed standing by me on Sunday, shaking hands, and supporting me before and after I preached. I can tell that she is already loved by the people of Grace Chapel and they are embracing her. In fact, a running joke with some of the elders is that maybe they should hire Molly on staff instead of me—she is just that amazing!

I know that part of stewarding my call is to steward my wife and her calling. She is a gift from God that He has entrusted to me. The fact that she is so “alive” so “at peace” makes it all the clearer that this is the right place for us.

God is good, so good! I can’t believe that I am going to be the Senior Pastor of Grace Chapel. I attended there from 1985 until 1998, where most of my spiritual foundation was built. Now to return and lead, preach and serve will be a high honor. It is amazing to me how life has a way of repeating itself. I have learned the importance of faithfulness through all seasons of life; you never know where and with whom you will find yourself again.

Leaving Mission Hills is hard for me. I love it there. The staff are some of the best on the planet. The counseling center we have been building is in its infancy, and I wanted to see it come to maturity. The congregation are some of my favorite people in the world, and I have love preaching, leading and loving on them. It is with grief and heartache that I leave, but I know that that church is not my church, and my life is not my own. God will move me as He desires, and He will always care for His sheep with grace, gentleness and love. I will miss them greatly but hope that our paths often cross.

So here’s to following God’s will, no matter how comfortable, clear or courageous it may be. We must strive to live a life of obedience in the same direction. As I pursue Christ, I am sure this is the next step He has for me; I will follow, trusting Him with the details and the outcome. I serve at the pleasure of the King!

Here is a message I sent to the people of Grace Chapel:

For more information on any of the transitions for both churches please check out their websites: Grace Chapel or Mission Hills.

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Israel Tour 2015 Update One

Israel Tour 2015 Post

Today we are in the Galilee region staying in the city of Tiberius. We started our time here by having a night out on the town (we arrived late) and grabbing some good coffee at a local shop. The next morning everyone awoke to see the Sea of Galilee out their window with the sun rising and declaring the glory of God. It isn’t hard to understand why Jesus would have risen early in the morning to get away and pray when you see the splendor of this place.


The Sea of Galilee is a beautiful freshwater lake. It is shaped like a harp and its Hebrew name, Yam Kinneret, comes from the word kinnor, which means, “harp.” It was also known as the Lake of Tiberias after the nearby city, built by Herod Antipas. “Galilee,” the name by which the lake is known in the Gospels, means, “ring” in Hebrew. This comes from the surrounding mountains on all sides except the north.

In Jesus’ day the lake was divided between Jewish and gentile populations. Jewish areas were concentrated from the west, around to the northeast. Gentile populations surrounded the rest of the lake. It is important to read the events of the gospels in light of where they took place around the Sea of Galilee. Some locations are important in understanding the context and method of Jesus’ ministry.

Then we went on to the Golan Heights and experienced sites such as Tel Dan, an ancient settlement of the Canaanites and Israelites. We observed an alter platform dating back to 900 B.C. At the time of King Jereboem.

Upon seeing Dan for the first time, you may have to remind yourself that you are in Israel. Visitors immediately notice the tangled jungle of trees, the water tumbling down small waterfalls, ancient oaks and pistachio trees towering overhead, and thick carpets of moss and maidenhair ferns. The spies’ report back to the tribe of Dan was true. It is a land that wants for nothing (Judges 18:10).

We learned about not just serving God out of convenience or comfort, but to obey out of sacrifice and love for God.


We ate lunch in a small hole-in-the-wall falafel place and then we’re on to Ceaserea Phillipi where Jesus asked, “Who do people say that I am?” We saw several other sites and are being transformed by the move of God’s spirit and the truth of His Word.

With this question, Jesus of Nazareth challenged those false gods. Peter answered, “the Son of the living God”. The emperor Augustus, to whom the nearby temple was dedicated, was dead. There were dead gods, and there was the living God. Perhaps there was hope after all.

But the disciples had much to learn about what that meant. The Roman gods came to rule. The Messiah came to serve. The Greek gods came in strength. Jesus came as a baby in a manger. Caesar Augustus had made many suffer. The Lord of All would suffer for the sins of the world.

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Why Joppa (Jaffa) Israel is Important to Our Lives Today

Joppa post

Today I am in Joppa which is the southern end of the city today called Tel Aviv. The port of Joppa was of great significance in both the Old and New Testament because of access that it gave to Jerusalem and other sites in Israel. This would have been the port Herod the Great used to bring in materials for Caesarea Maritima in 10 BC, which is approximately 30 miles to the north on the shore.

There is a Tel located in Jaffa, called Tel Yafo, which is over 130 feet tall. This site would have provided a perfect view of the coastline, which would have been important for military purposes in the past. Archeology shows us that the natural port of Jaffa has been used since the Bronze Age.

Biblically speaking, Joppa is referenced in Joshua 19:46 in the context of an inheritance for the tribe of Dan after the conquests of Israel. This port city most likely was not under Israelite control until the conquest of David. Solomon, David’s son, used the main port of Joppa for importing cedars from Lebanon to build the first temple, according to 2 Chronicles 2:15-16. Then 800 years later, this port was used again to import material for the rebuilding of the Temple according to Ezra 3:7. This speaks to the significance of Joppa over hundreds of years.

Perhaps one of the most well-known stories in the Bible that takes place in Joppa is Jonah’s struggle with God. God had clearly told Jonah to go to Nineveh, located in the east, which was in the Babylon kingdom (located in modern day Iraq). Jonah was commissioned to prophesy to Nineveh concerning their ungodliness, which is referenced in Jonah 1:3. They were evil people and the enemies of Jonah and his people. Instead of obeying God, Jonah headed to Joppa to find the first ship he could find to get away from the presence and commands of God. He paid a fair and caught a ship headed west, and the rest if the story is history from there. I believe it is an easy conclusion to draw that God placed Jonah back near this port once the large fish spit him out on dry land. So where you come by plane, boat or fish, it is very apparent that this small town has a long history with a lot of significance.

After the death of Christ, we are told of a few more biblical stories taking place in Joppa. The New Testament account of Peter’s resurrection of the widow Tabitha (Dorcas in Greek) written in Acts 9:36–42 takes place in Joppa. Also, in Acts 10:10–23, while Peter was in Joppa, we are told that he had a vision of a large sheet filled with “clean” and “unclean” animals being lowered from heaven, together with a message from the Holy Spirit to accompany several messengers to Cornelius in Caesarea. Therefore, we can conclude that the early church had presence in this city.

There are other stories and accounts of great Jewish and Roman history taking place in Joppa. We know that in the 700’s BC Hezekiah had rule over this city and fought against Sennacherib to keep its control. In the 300’s BC Alexander the Great’s troops were stationed in Joppa. It later became a Seleucid Hellenized port until it was taken over by the Maccabean rebels (1 Maccabees x.76, xiv.5) and the re-founded Jewish kingdom.

During the first century AD, Roman repression of the Jewish Revolt, Joppa was captured and burned by Cestius Gallus. The Roman Jewish historian Josephus (Jewish War 2.507–509, 3:414–426) writes that 8,400 inhabitants were massacred. Pirates operating from the rebuilt port incurred the wrath of Vespasian, who raised the city and erected a citadel in its place, installing a Roman garrison there.

Archeological excavations of Tel Yafo have yielded at least seven layers of occupational levels, dating back to the seventeenth century BC. This is not an easy place to excavate because there are many people still living and using this small Tel Aviv suburb every day. While large boats no longer use the port, it is still a hub for all sorts of small aquatic vessels.

So what Can we Learn from Joppa?

Has God even been clear with you about something, yet you chose to ignore Him?


Perhaps God told you to reconcile a relationship, care for someone who is hurting, or share the Gospel with someone who doesn’t know Jesus. Maybe you heard His voice, but you chose to ignore it and run the other way. That is exactly what Jonah did.


Who Was Jonah?

Jonah was a prophet who lived the eight or ninth century BC, during the reign of King Jeroboam II (782-753 BC) according to 1 Kings 17:7-24. His name means “Dove” and sometimes in the Old Testament we see a strong correlation between a person’s name and their demeanor. Therefore, it may be safe to assume that he was a gentle and non-confrontational man who tried to avoid conflict at all cost. Many theologians and commentators refer to him as the “Reluctant prophet” because of the way he avoided God’s command in the book bearing his name.


We know that his birth place was Gath-hepher in Northern Israel because it is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25, “He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.” It is interesting to note that his father’s name, Amittai, means “truth” which adds significance to the call of Jonah’s life to speak the truth on behalf of God. Many believe that He was also the son of his later widowed mother, Zarephath.


Before Jonah was ever born, God knew exactly how He would use him. He even knew the struggle that Jonah would give when commanded to go to Nineveh. However, we can learn from Jonah’s life that God knows our credentials and qualms but chooses to use us anyway. God’s sovereignty will always prevail even over our preferences. We see several times in the book of Jonah that “God made” or “God appointed” the storm to appear, the fish to swallow Jonah, and even the worm to eat the plant at the end of the book of Jonah. There’s no denying the fact that God was completely in control of what was happening throughout the story even though Jonah tried everything in his power to stop. It should be a comfort to our souls to know that there is a God who is in control of our mistakes and sins; He is masterful at weaving them into His perfect plan.


When Jonah came to Joppa, his intention was to get away from the Lord. In Jonah 1:3, we are told that he “paid the price” to jump on a ship headed to Tarshish. The truth for our life is that there is always going to be ship headed in the wrong direction. This begs the question: will you pay the price to try to get away from the commands of God in your life or will you stay the course? Eugene Peterson pointed out that our call as Christians is to “live a life of long obedience in the same direction.”


Hear His Voice and Do Not Run

God spoke to Jonah without a hiccup or stutter, but Jonah didn’t like what He had to say. In Hebrews 1:1-2 it says that “In the past [God] spoke through prophets… But in these days he has spoken to us by His son whom he appointed over all things.” Jesus gave us a clear way to live. The Holy Spirit applies this truth to our live daily, but the choice is our as to whether we will listen and obey. Sure, there are bound to be things we don’t want to do, or things we wish we could change God’s mind on. However, we are not God, nor do we have His view on the greater picture or purposes. Our calling is to trust God through faith and obey Him with our actions. Hebrews 3:7-8 says, “Today if your hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”


How a Trip to Israel Can Change Your Life

03.23.15 Holy Land post

Sometimes the most significant things in life sneak up on us.

My first trip to Israel was one surprising moment after the other. I joined a tour that was already planned and headed to Israel. The fund were provided for me to go, so I packed up and went, not sure of what to expect. Sure, I had studied the Bible before — even memorized hundreds of site names and locations throughout the land of Israel — but I never imagined my life would be changed so dramatically.

As our bus pulled up to each site, I began see the hand of God in a way I never had before. As we studied the Bible stories in the places they happened, a gained a new level of biblical understanding and my relationship with God was impacted forever.

There is something unexplainable about this land. Even if we wrote volumes about Israel, it isn’t until you see it for yourself that you can appreciate just how special this small country is to God’s story. I have a firm belief that God has preserved this land, not just for a place to fulfill future prophecy, but to bring His children on earth into a closer relationship with Himself. Just as any good preacher will use sermon props or stories, so God uses the land of Israel as a visual aid to bring to life the lessons of the past and the applications for the present.

As I enter Israel today, I can’t think of a better way for you to spend your time and money than to study Israel and to see this amazing place for yourself. While it is always good to learn and become educated, gaining greater head knowledge cannot be the mere purpose of studying or visiting Israel. This land stands as a monument to a living God. We don’t worship the monument, we worship the living God! Israel should bring you closer to Him rather than cause you to be distracted by fascinating findings, significant rocks or sacred site. Whether you are a minister or a mechanic, a mom or a medical expert, the call to know God is woven throughout the fabric of our life. Israel has an open invitation for all to come and grow closer with God and bear witness to His goodness through all generations (Psalm 100:5).

Today I have a bus load of people with me as we enter this splendid place. If you have not considered going, I beg you to begin considering it now. No matter how old or how young you are, there is a great necessity for every believer to study their Bible from this land. Of all the places in the world that God could have chosen to send His Son to live, He chose this place. Why wouldn’t you want to see and experience it for yourself? Some people say it is too far, not safe or too expensive. I am telling you, when you value the Word of God as the foundation of your life and Christ as the center of your existence, there is nothing that should stand in your way of finding ways to fall more in love with Him. Find a way to get here, it is worth it!

I lead tours every year to this place, so come with me sometime! Email me if you are interested. In the meantime, pick up a copy of my book “He Walked with Us” and find out why these ancient sites are valuable to us today.

Why Repeating Yourself Can be Worth It

03.23.15 repitition post

Communication is the crux of all relationships. We live with people who we love and some we merely stand. No matter the nature of the relationship, we want to make sure we are communicating for the sake of being understood.

I was recently counseling a couple through conflict in their marriage. As I watched them, I noticed they continued to say the same things more than once. The person speaking was frustrated to continually have to say things over and over. Truth be told, I am sure the other person hated hearing it more than once.

I took some time to evaluate what was going on – why were they continually repeating themselves? I watched them communicate, and it became clear that there were several things going on. It was not as easy as identifying one reason for their repetition. Each time they repeated something, it seemed like there was different nuance or emphasis.

When you think about it, there are three main reasons that we repeat ourselves:

  1. We repeat ourselves to be understood. We say things over and over to make sure the person we are talking with hears us out. All people long to be understood. If we feel like the other person doesn’t get the core of what we are trying to say, we will say it over and again. It isn’t until the person we are communicating to repeats what we’ve said in their words that we can rest assured that we’ve been heard.
  2. We repeat ourselves because we want to be clear. I started thinking about all the time in the Bible where God repeated Himself. Why did he do that? Because he thought we weren’t listening? perhaps. Because he forgot he already said it? Not likely. Rather, the main reason that God repeats Himself in His Word, or when speaking audibly to people in the Old Testament, it was for the sake of clarity. Repetition can guarantee clarity or emphasis of specific instruction or feeling.
  3. We repeat ourselves because we forgot. Humans forget things; this is a part of life. I worked for a man once who, I swear, forgot everything he told me once we left the conversation. The next meeting was going to be at least 50% a repeat of the prior meeting, simply because he forgot what he had said. We repeat ourselves because we are forgetful.

So, while repetition has its place, here are something we do to eliminate redundancy in our conversations:

  • Ask the person to clarify what they heard you say. If they say it back in their words, we can trust they have heard us.
  • When we are listing to someone else, we too can repeat back to them what we heard them say. “So I understand that you _____” This not only brings clarity, but also communicates the value of the person speaking.
  • If clarity is important, repetition still has its place, but we should try to repeat ourselves in new ways, such as writing it, emailing it, texting it, etc. Sometimes the best thing we can do it put a thought in black and white text.
  • If we are exceptionally forgetful (or even busy), we may just need to take better notes. By capturing what was already said, we can eliminate repeating ourselves again later. If you work with someone that is forgetful, write down what they said to you and give it to them before your next meeting.

Repetition is a powerful tool, but when misused it can be frustrating to everyone.

How to Overcome Complacency with Conviction (Acts 17:1-15)

In this message, we look at the Macedonia journey that Paul and Silas took in the first century, as recorded in Acts 17. From their life we can see the importance of conviction when facing opposition. The Christian life is not a life of complacency or laziness but one of transformation and resolve.

My Sermon Resources:

Study Notes on Acts 17.1-15

Conviction vs. Complacancy Sermon Outline

My slides for this sermon:

Four Essentials for Perseverance (Acts 14:8-24)

The Christian life is a journey that requires strength, courage and perseverance. In this message, we will look at the first missionary journey of Paul and learn four key attitudes for our Christian faith: faith, courage, intentionality and determination.

Sermon Resources:

Study Notes on Acts 14.8-28

4 Essentials Sermon Outline

Slides for this sermon:

Is It Safe to Travel to Israel?

2.22.15 Israel Safe post

Listen to an interview I did with Shalom Almog in Israel, the owner of Coral Tours:

I’ve been to Israel many times and never felt unsafe. The times I spent in downtown Chicago were far more frightening to me than any of my night walks in Israel.

But let’s be honest, Israel has never known life without conflict. Israel has been a bridge way between some of the history’s greatest civilizations. The land has been fought over for centuries—the Bible is a historic record of some of these major battles. Even when God commanded Abraham to go there, it was not safe. When he told Joshua to enter, it was not safe. When the Jews returned from Babylon, it was not safe. Jerusalem is the “City of Peace” but it has seen 118 separate conflicts. It has been surrounded by armies 23 times. It has been attacked an additional 52 times and has been captured and recaptured 44 times. Did I also mention it has been destroyed twice? Therefore, we can assume that this small nation knows how to protect its land and people better than most countries in the world.

I like how Chris Davis said it – “Is it safe to go to Israel?” is the wrong question. I think the right perspective may be, “Am I called to go to Israel?” Believers in Christ don’t always make a decision based on safety or lack of risk. Rather, we trust God with the outcome of all our situations, and we obey His call to do things—for our soul and for others—that do not always make sense. I believe that when you decide to go to Israel, you are answering a call to obedience. Yes, it may look like all the right circumstances emerged to make it possible for you to go, but I am sure that God worked through those circumstances to make this happen. Lean into that and trust that God will lead and protect you.

The Middle East is always in some unrest. However, I assure you that if it is ever too unsafe for people to travel there the proper precautions will be made. Our government, their government, the tour company, or the pastor leading your tour, will never put you in the way of danger intentionally. If those leading your tour believe it is not safe enough to take you to this Holy Land, they wouldn’t take you. I am sure of it.

Be praying for the Middle East and the people of Israel. What we may be afraid of or concerned about has become the everyday norm for them. Also, give an answer for the trust you have in your God when people ask, “Are you sure you should be going to Israel?” Let them know that you will be safe but the truth is that everyday you trust your God with your life. Whether you are driving home on the highway from work or walking the streets of Jerusalem, trust God with your life.

Avoid the Tragedy of Counseling Too Quickly

2.10.15 counseling quickly postA few days ago some of the counselors and I were jesting about starting a drive-thru counseling service. We laughed at the thought of people taking advantage of this quick service to get fast answers to life’s problems. “I am sure that already exists in Vegas,” someone said. We quickly returned to the reality of hard sessions that require more than a few minutes of microwaved advice.

Counseling is as much of an art as it is a science. Listening and reacting to the information given, then responding with empathy, wisdom, and understanding – at just the right time – takes precision, skill, and most importantly, a great dependence on the Holy Spirit. Pastoral and biblical counselors can be tempted to abbreviate the process and accept a quick solution to a complex issue.

Let’s face it, life in ministry is very busy. Daily we are bombarded with the urgent requests of those that we are called to serve. We spend most of our days responding to the whirlwind around us, forgetting to stop, pray, and process the deeper details of what or who is in front of us. I believe that busyness may be one of the most common reasons a counselor pushes a counselee through a process to accept a foregone conclusion. I have been this pastor, and I have worked with many pastors and ministry leaders who move people to closure in order to get back to the other demands of their roles.

Another reason pastors and biblical counselors speed through counseling is because they lack compassion. They may care, but having compassion takes a deeper level of emotional energy and involvement. God created the church to have all types of leaders in all types of roles within the church. While this diversity is a strength of the church, it can also be a challenge. People assume that all pastors have a generous amount of compassion, empathy, and skill at counseling; this is not the case. Some pastors are better at administration, so when given the chance to play the counselor role, they push to the “bottomline.” The result is an accidental abuse of the title of pastor or counselor—a role some simply assume because it is presumed upon them by their congregation.

A counselee must work with a counselor or pastor to find the cause of what is going on in their life. When individuals are pushed too quickly in counseling, often they only address surface level issues and may relapse in feelings, thinking, or behavior.

I once found myself doing exactly what I am advising against. I offered premature solutions to a young lady for reasons that are less than acceptable. I was working with a young girl early in my ministry that was cutting. She had done severe damage to her body and racked up thousands of dollars in hospital bills. I quickly assumed this was a control issue and something that could be managed with behavior modification only. I ignored the deeper hurt in her life (ignorantly and accidentally) and did not deal with feelings in her life that needed to be sorted out. We controlled her behavior for a while, and then the next cutting episode occurred. It was not until I sought outside help that we were able to uncover the deep hurt from past abuse in her life.

The counseling relationship with that girl and her parents was damaged, but only slightly (by God’s grace). They understood that I was new to dealing with such deep pain and had not yet learned to unearth the deeper issues at hand. I had to take more of a backseat with the girl and allow someone else to take over. God was good to heal her soul, and she is fine now, but I desired to be more involved. I lost some trust with her and her family when the issues returned, but God had a bigger plan to grow me and grow her as well.

Counseling cannot be rushed. While I do subscribe to a short-term strategic counseling model, we must take adequate time to uncover the deep issues people wrestle with in life. When we gain greater understanding, we can offer wisdom from God’s Word and advice for life application that leads to lasting change.

Why Life without a Mentor is a Bad Idea

01.12.15 mentoring post

Mentoring has always been important to me. My father played a significant role in my development of valuing outside voices of wisdom. Through our man-to-man relationship, I realize the importance of having an older and wiser person in my life to help construct and guide me.

When I turned fifteen years old, my dad understood that his voice was still important but that it would be vital for me to get other men involved. He had me choose five mentors that would walk with me through the remainder of my high school career. All of them were great influences in my life, but more importantly the context for mentoring was established in these formative years. From that point on, I lived a life guided by God’s hand through other godly men. Mentors have always been in my life, and they always will be.

There are many essential elements that make a mentoring relationship work, but the most important is submission. A mentoree must respect the voice and perspective of a mentor enough to trust and apply the advice that is given. Continual hesitation or neglect of what the mentor has said to the mentoree will cause the relationship to be ineffective. The attitudes and actions of the mentoree must show the mentor that he is trusting the guiding relationship.

In his Book “Mentoring,” Terry Walling points to seven items that a mentoree can do to contribute to a successful mentoring relationship. In brief, these seven things are as follows:

1. Accept responsibility for growth
2. Develop a personal understanding of God’s direction
3. Developed personal ministry goals
4. Match mentors with goals
5. Develop mentor eyes
6. maintain a teachable spirit
7. Continue to trust God for development

All of these are important, but they are not all easy to maintain. In the last fifteen years, I found myself struggling with these three things the most:

Developing a personal understanding of God’s direction. Terry Walling explains that it is important for the mentoree to know where he is going so he will be able to identify the mentoring needs. For the most part, I understand my unique calling or direction, but often I wait for a mentor to tell me which way I should go. I need to grow in this area and develop a personal understanding of God’s direction prior to my meetings with my mentors. I can trust their voice will help me on the path and correct me if I get off course, but I should not be so co-dependent upon them that I end up paralyzed without them.

Match mentors with goals. I have many goals in my life. I know that these goals need to be vetted out with the help of mentors. I could be better at finding mentors with specific skills or life experience to match up with my goals; this would better eliminate wasted energy and efforts to accomplish these goals. It may also help me understand if a goal should even be something I actually should pursue by helping me count the costs and not just making an emotional decision.

Developing mentoring eyes. Walling explains that developing mentoring eyes is to gain the skills that “recognize divine appointments and growth opportunities that God puts in the mentoree’s path.” More often than I would like to admit, I count some things are merely coincidental in my life. I do not always stop long enough to acknowledge God’s divine movement and placement of people, opportunities or circumstances that are there to form me into Christ-likeness. I need to increase my attentiveness to God’s actions in my life and bring these things before my mentors so we can talk about them and use these things as a basis for greater development.

The Impact of a Few Great Men

There are two great men that have had deep impacted my life: David Jones and Ken Murphy. I met both of these men as I started my journey into full-time ministry. Though they are different men, they have a few things in common: they both love the Lord with all of their heart; they prioritize family above ministry. They both intentionally seek to give away their knowledge for my improvement; they have made themselves available to me without hesitation. I am forever grateful for the impact they have had in my life.

Ken Murphy
Ken and I met when I was only 18 years old. He came into my life at a time when my theological foundation was being formed. I met him when I attended a young adults Bible study on the attributes of God. That study alone proved to formative of my perspective of God. In addition to that study, we met many other times and opened our Bibles. He helped me understand theological issues that have been important for my ongoing ministry. He also mentored my (now) wife and me through our dating relationship, engagement, and our wedding.

Nearly ten years later, we still meet approximately every two weeks as he mentors me in my calling as a pastor. He has served in the pastorate for twenty-five years. His wisdom and life experience have always added greatly to my life. He has never forced a perspective upon me. He has always been intentional to ask questions, guiding me through hard-to-navigate situations, and encouraging me to keep the Bible as the foundation of my life. A bonus to this relationship has been that his wife and my wife have grown close. This allows our families to interact and for us to see him and his wife raise their kids and see their marriage on display. While Ken teaches me many things directly, there are many things I learn from him indirectly through our informal times together.

David Jones
I met David Jones when I took my first pastoral job at Harvest Bible Chapel in 2006. David has dedicated his life to training up younger pastors. He was gracious enough to take me under his wing and include me in some of his trainings with other men who would eventually take a senior pastor role. I learned a lot from him by sitting in these formal contexts and studying ministry philosophy. This time was shorted by and unexpected move to Colorado. Before I moved away from Chicago, he called me and said he would like to maintain a relationship. Since then, he and I have talked on a regular basis. I often refer to him as my “preaching mentor” because he is the loudest voice in my life as it relates to my ongoing preaching ministry. He has helped me develop processes and paradigms for sermon preparation and sermon delivery. He also gives me access to his personal life, allowing me to see him in his role as a father and a husband. I have learned a lot from his godliness and his dedication to God’s Word. He continually encourages me to keep The Cross at the center of my life. He’s not afraid to give a firm rebuke if he knows it is necessary, but I always feel loved by him no matter how hard he pushes me.

Areas of Need

Mentoring will continue to be a practice in my life. I will never assume that I have arrived or do not have more to learn. At this point in my life, there are five main reasons I know I still need mentoring:

  1. Accountability. I know that I need the voices of smarter and wiser men to look into my life and call me to deeper holiness.
  2. Objectivity. Their objective perspective is needed to help me avoid mistakes and shore-up shortcomings so that I may reach my maximum potential.
  3. Goal-setting. I need to be stretched beyond what is comfortable.
  4. Attentiveness to God’s moving. Just as mentors can help me avoid blind spots, they can also help me see the work of God where I may lack the attentiveness or perspective to see it.
  5. Work and Family Life Balance. Ministry can be all consuming; I will trust my mentors to tell me when I’ve taken on too much and need to be more intentional with my family.

I love that mentoring is a part of God’s design. I plan to steward this gift with the utmost intentionality.

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