Family Outing to Joshua Tree National Park

Yesterday after church our family packed a lunch and headed to Joshua Tree National Park for a picnic, some rock climbing, and a beautiful sunset drive. We bought a season pass and are looking forward to many returns to this gorgeous place!

Some rock climbers (unfortunately, not us.)

See the full album here

Daddy-Daughters Hike

Yesterday was a beautiful 80+ degree day. Adriana had to work, so the girls and I packed a lunch and headed to The Living Desert and embarked on a hike of their longest and most rigorous trail, The Wilderness Loop. It was strenuous, but we all made it. I was so proud of the girls! See the full album of pictures here.

How to Use Your Head to Guard Your Heart

This weekend we will be wrapping up a series on media in our middle school ministry. We played a popular music video then took time to engage in dialogue that took students behind the music for a deeper look at the messages being communicated both explicitly and implicitly. We have had some fantastic, lively interactions about pop culture and the biblical worldview.

A few years ago I picked up the How to Use Your Head to Guard Your Heart: A 3(D) Guide to Making Responsible Media Choices by Walt Mueller, founder of the Center for Parent and Youth Understanding. We have been using this resource to help steer our conversation, and it’s amazing how engaged our students have been. 3(D) is a sweet little resource that will empower you to help your students in the high-speed, ever-changing world of media. The 3(D) approach stands for Discover, Discern, Decide, and is a practical tool that parents, youth workers, teachers, and other caring adults can use to engage students in discussion about media. Rather than just telling kids they can or cannot watch or listen to or play something, this tool encourages discussion about how to make wise choices in terms of what we should and shouldn’t be embracing from the media. Only 12 pages long and small in size, it is a great little booklet to keep handy next to your computer or television. Dirt cheap at only about $1.50 each, youth pastors would do well to purchase them and give them to parents … Perhaps as a little Christmas gift. (Hint! Hint!) Parents will get involved in their kids lives in a deeper way. What could be better than that?

Ordering Information: Use the 10% Off coupon on my blog to get a discount on this and other great resources from Simply Youth Ministry.

7 Things I’m Thankful for from the Past Year

We have much to be thankful for this year. Here are 7 things I am thankful for this year:

  1. I’m thankful for family. I am so grateful for my heritage and the privilege of having a beautiful wife and daughters to share life with.
  2. I’m thankful for a good ending to our season of ministry on Long Island. I was able to secure my successor for the church so that the students would not be without a pastor.
  3. I’m thankful that God provided a new ministry context for us in California. Being part of a team, a family-friendly, grace-filled church that is all about reaching people with God’s love is an exciting thing to be a part of.
  4. I’m thankful for the cross-country journey that our family was able to experience together. 9 days seeing some of the incredibly beautiful landscape of the United States, and more importantly, seeing several family members and friends along the way was a great joy.
  5. I’m thankful for God’s grace and provision. Beginning a new job, finding a new home, learning a new culture (both geographically and church), the girls beginning at new schools, etc. was challenging and stretching, but we are thankful that God strengthened us and has faithfully supplied for our needs.
  6. I’m thankful for friends. Moving caused us to see how dear our friends in New York are to us. It has also been neat meeting new people and making new friends here. Just today I was appreciating the fact that we have such wonderful friends all around the world from all walks of life. 
  7. I’m thankful that I was able to go on a missions trip with my daughters. A few weeks ago we were able to join a team from our church and venture to Ensenada, Baja, Mexico to build a home for a family – one of five our church built that weekend. How special to be serving the Lord with my own children.

    2011 Middle School Turkey Bowl

    My Squad. Claudia definitely won the most stylish outfit!
    The Trophy!

    Notice that I fixed the typo on my jersey so that it said COWBOYS baby!

    Neat getting to meet Steve Garvey who was there watching his son.

    The 2011 Champions!
    See all the pics here