Archives For June 2012

10 Foot Leader Rule

June 28, 2012 — 4 Comments

One of my favorite things about our team is that we love to be around each other. We have a blast during the week in the offices, we go to lunch together, we do life together and it is incredible. I encourage that in any office until no end. There is only one problem with this and that is when that bleeds over onto the weekend services where we tend to flock to each other and hang out rather than being with the students that are walking right past us.

On the weekend, we should implement a 10-foot rule amongst leaders. What this means is that no leader should be within 10 feet of another leader. In fact, within that 10 feet should be students that we are engaging with.

Benefits of this rule:

  • We are there for the students during service, not each other. We are there to serve the students, to know the student, connect with the students. We connect all week and the weekend services should not be the place to do it.
  • It will spread us out. Clumps of people are intimidating for new students. If all our leaders are spread out, it is less intimidating for a student to talk to a leader.
  • We will cover more ground. One of my goals on the weekend is to make sure that every student that walks in our doors in connected with one of our weekend leaders before they leave our building. Being 10 feet from each other will help everyone spread out and make sure we do our best to make sure every student is connected with.
  • It will help us all remember that church is about people. It is about the relationships and connections we all make. If there was no people, there would be no church and we are not doing our jobs. This will get us out of our comfort zone of people we know and love and help us get out and get to know and love new people.

It is simple but I think it can be really effective if we really focus on this idea.


God Uses Idiots

June 26, 2012 — 1 Comment

Acts 4:13 says, “13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

Peter and John just got done doing a miracle and people were amazed. People were blown away and noted that these men, ordinary, non-schooled men, idiots to the world because they were just fishermen once before, had been with Jesus, and Jesus used them to change the world and perform this miracle. People took note of them because they had been in love with Jesus.

These men were “idiots” of their day. They didn’t meet up to the religious elite because they didn’t go to school for it. But it never mattered. They just lived for Jesus and obeyed, and God used them.

God is looking to use idiots. The “not good enough”. And I am glad… because I am one of them. I’m an idiot, I promise you that. God is in the habit of using people who are willing to follow Him no matter what the case.

People that do not ask, “What do you need me to do? Yes, that sounds good and safe I’ll do that” but rather people that the answer is, “Yes Lord! Now what will you have me do.” And then they do just do it.

People will look at you according to the world’s expectations and qualifications, and judge you off of that. Jesus can and will use you no matter what condition you come in as long as you are willing to obey.

Craig Groeshel said, “You are not who others say you are. You are who God says you are. And He says you are His!” It doesn’t matter what anyone else tells you you are just as long as you know who God says you are. God uses everyone and anyone, no matter the past or future, just as long as we are willing to be so passionately following Jesus that the world thinks of us as idiots.

Is anything impossible for our God?

It does not matter who you are, what you have done, whether you think you are capable or not, God loves to use idiots to move in big ways. I’m glad I am an idiot. I’m glad I realize that I have messed up, done stupid things in the past but know God can still use me in a huge way.

Same goes for you! Be an idiot. We all are, and let God use you and define you.

The truth is we would never be fully righteous enough in God’s eyes. People always say the church is flawed, Christians are flawed. We shouldn’t be surprised. The church is ran by humans, and we are flawed. We sometimes put off the vibe that church is for those who are perfect, can’t have any problems. If that was the case then all churches would be empty. We rely on God’s amazing grace in order to have a relationship with Him.

If we focus on God’s grace:

Your life will continue to change.

Your relationships will be enhanced.

Grace will transform the way you experience God.

Grace will give you compassion for others.

Grace will modify the way you see yourself.

Grace will free you from the view of performance means everything and allow you to walk freely in the love and acceptance of God through Jesus.

Romans 5:1-2

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Like I have said in some previous posts, one of my goals about running a successful service is making sure everything goes as smooth as possible with no dead time. Usually to make that happen you need to have people who are comfortable on stage and know how to work the crowd, someone who feels natural up there and not awkward. But that also means the same people will be up on stage all of the time and that can get real boring. So you have to sacrifice smoothness (until volunteers are used to being on stage) for the development of leaders.

One of the things I try to do is trying to get as many people on stage as possible. If you were on stage the week before, you wont be on stage the next week. New faces, fresh dialogue. Some people are more natural than others but the only way to get better up there is actually be up there.

Having volunteers up on stage can be the best thing for them and the ministry overall, and here is why:

  • The volunteer, even though might stumble through the whole intro or welcome (at first) will get them up on stage and confident that they are apart of the ministry. It will give them ownership of the ministry.
  • Students will see them up there, and know that they are apart of the ministry and it can break down any walls that were there before. I know for me, being on stage makes students feel they can come up and talk to me because they feel like they know me, because I show who I am on stage and it breaks down some barriers. It will do the same for your volunteers their relationships with the students.
  • The students will see you are not the only one they can talk to and that there are other people involved in ministry here.
  • It will give the volunteer more confidence to talk to students who they do not know. They know they were on stage and they were seen by the students so they wont be the “creeper” coming up to them.
  • You will develop confidence in leadership and ownership within that volunteer.

All of these reasons are why I want to get our adult volunteers some stage time to get some face time in front of the students. I think this is important and does some amazing work when it comes to them and ministry.

Lion Eats Baby

June 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

This video is pretty awesome. I have to admit that. But it got me thinking…

What if that glass was not there? It would a completely different kind of video wouldn’t it? It would be a massacre. That baby would have no chance.

1 Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

So let us picture in that video, our enemy is that lion. We then are that little baby, that is dressed to look like a little zebra, whom that lion is very obviously trying to take into its jaws and have a little baby snack. The glass then, that is protecting that baby from the jaws of the lion is God Word, Scripture, the Bible, protecting us from the jaws of the enemy.

In Matthew 4, Jesus goes out into the wilderness to fast and to pray where he is then met with Satan who tempts him to veer off the path that God had for Him. If you were to read Matthew 4, Jesus is tempted 3 times, and you will notice Jesus recites scripture to refute each temptation. If Jesus knew and used scripture to stay out of the jaws of the roaming lion, how on earth do we think we can go on not doing this as well?

To be a Christian means to be a “miniature Christ” on this earth. We are to be  mirror of who Christ is, and if Jesus read and knows God’s Word inside and out to fight against temptation and sin, then we are called to do the same. We are called to know God’s voice as He bids us to follow Him.

Because if we are not following God voice then we are following someone else’s, and that is not the road in which God has called us to go down.

Romans 13:11

11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Some of us, we are just sleeping. We go to church every week, sometimes twice, and we go and listen and walk out the doors and nothing happens. Paul says that it is time to wake up. If you hear God’s Word and do nothing about it. You are asleep.

Think about it, you go to sleep tonight and you wake up in the morning, you are one day closer to dying. Weird to think about. Everyday we are closer and closer to getting to experience the salvation that God gave us through Christ. Whether you have been a Christian for 40 years or 1 day, tomorrow when you wake up you are one step closer to being with God.

It’s time to wake the giant. It’s time to start doing something in the name of Christ rather than just watching others do it. WAKE UP! Our hour has come to make a move. Imagine if everyone woke from their “slumber” and putting what we hear at church and what we read in the Word into practice. It would be an unstoppable force of LOVE and it would change everything.

I would have to say Planning Center Online is my service programming saving grace. Planning Center is an online program that allows you to plan out services for the future, allows you to set up program sheets to the detail, minute by minute account of where you want service to go to make sure everyone is one the same page at the same time.

We didn’t have this when I first came onto Saddleback HSM, and since we brought it online, services have been going smoother because of the communication that comes from everything that Planning Center has to offer.

Here are some of the main reasons why I personally love and use this program:

  • Organization – I get flustered when things are all out of whack when it comes to planning services. Especially when we are a few months out, and things change. I love that I am able to click a weekend, go in and make a change, and that’s it, everyone else gets an update. On a week to week basis, I can write notes to all who are involved in the service. For example, I can write a note to the band on when to come in, or a note to cameras what kind of shot we want to get, etc. It makes it real easy to communicate on all moving parts.
  • It is a one stop shop – all moving parts of our weekend services are based off what is on planning center. This is the central HUB for our entire operation. Our Worship Director can go on and add songs for the weekend (and add the song notes, mp3’s, and chord charts to it as an attachment), all of our tech arts is scheduled from here, our graphics guy can go on and see our announcements and message notes to make sure he has everything we need, and this is the paper I pass out to everyone to make sure we are on the same page.
  • It is hard to mess up – You would have to try really hard to mess it up. When you look at it, it is super clean-looking. It is not confusing at all (at least to me). Everyone can look at it and know exactly where and when everything is supposed to go, especially if I am writing notes to all the different areas of tech, audio, band, and speaker. I can essentially not explain the whole service in person and someone can just look at this sheet and would know how to run the service without any direction.
  • Planning Center Live – We are not here yet, but I want to be able to use the Live version of this program during our services. This is where all areas (band, speaker, tech, audio, lights, etc) are all on the same system online, and it is a live feed of what is happening service. Where I would have my iPad calling the shots moving section by section through the service, writing notes to all areas who need it. It gives the live run down, how you are on time, and so much more which I will be excited to explore hopefully in the fall.

Here is a program sheet from one of our services from a few weeks ago:

If you don’t have it, I would recommend talking to your church about getting on it. It  has helped me be organized, and get all of our moving parts organized as well so we are able to run a smooth but amazing service.

Spiritual warfare is not real. All spiritual warfare is are angels and demons running around with the bad acting of Keanu Reeves in the movie Constantine…NOT. This is not the case. Whether you believe it or not there is a battle going on for your soul, and it is vicious. But we need not to worry. Do you want to know why? Keep reading.

The Dark Knight is one of my favorite movies. I am not a huge comic book movie fan, but Heath Ledger playing the Joker is unreal and the whole story behind it is incredible. The Dark Knight is the classic “Good vs. Evil” plot. Both ends are on equal playing fields trying to stop the other from either destroying the city or saving someone. Both sides have an equal chance of winning but because it is the movies the good guys usually win.

I think this is the way we think of the idea of spiritual warfare.

Whoa Justin! Spiritual warfare? You are kidding. That is not a real thing right? Satan is a liar and con artist and I believe his most successful lie, his most successful con of all time, is to get people to believe that he is not real and this whole idea of spiritual warfare is just a joke. Well, if you have never heard of spiritual warfare, or you feel like there is an inner struggle going on within you right now, I cannot stress enough that right now there is a battle going on for your soul. There is a battle going on right now for your love, attention and affection. We were made to give our love, attention and affection to God but the enemy will do whatever it can to detour you from doing so. Whether through sin, temptation, or business, it will do anything to take your focus off of God. THAT, is spiritual warfare.

With all of this, most people think of spiritual warfare as a really great “Good vs. Evil” movie. That both sides are on equal playing fields and have an equal chance of winning over the other. Fortunately this is not the case when it comes to our God and the enemy. If we look at Scripture at all of the times Jesus interacted with someone who was possessed by a demon or an evil spirit, you will see there is no equality anywhere. The demons are submissive to who Jesus is. Jesus is dominant over them.

Read Luke 4:31-36 and Luke 8:26-33 and notice the language used when Jesus is talking to the evil spirits. Notice how the spirits bowed down, were afraid, and OBEYED what Jesus had to say. There is no equality there. Jesus is superior to them.

If there is battle for our love, attention, affection and our soul, looking at these passages should give us a sense of relief because THE WAR HAS ALREADY BEEN WON through Jesus and what He has done for us on the cross. God is dominant over anything that is trying to detour us away from following Him. The war has already been won but we are still left to fight the daily battle. If we go into a game that we know already what the outcome is going to be, don’t you go in with more confidence? God is dominant over whatever sin, temptation, or battle is going on for your worship, we just need to recognize what He has done through Jesus and the war is over and we can battle daily knowing the outcome overall.

God is bigger than any sin, any struggle that we have. Thank God there is no equal playing field on the battle ground but that He is dominant over anything and everything and carries our soul with tenderness and care.


The other day I overheard a very hard conversation to listen to between two Christians about a non-believing friend and how they disapproved of his life style and were just cutting him down behind his back. It took me every effort in my body to not say anything because I don’t think I would have been “nice”. It bugged me, but it got me thinking.

I wonder what would happen if Christians stopped judging people and started to love people as much as we sometimes judge others. Hear me out on this:

Believe it or not, many non-Christian believe that Christians look down upon them because we don’t believe what they are doing is right. They think we are prideful and super quick to find the negatives in others. (Read David Kinnaman’s bookUnChristian, it’s in there if you want to go into major detail. He does an amazing job).

God’s judgements are perfect, ours are not. Scripture actually warns against us being so judgmental (Romans 2:1,4). I don’t understand how anyone can read the Gospels or look at the life of Jesus, see how He treated unbelievers and “sinners” (because we all are sinners), and realize that Jesus dying on the cross in our place and redeeming us in the eyes of God can produce a judgmental attitude. I do not.

If we were to truly take the Gospels and Jesus seriously, we would not produce judgment but would exhibit the overflowing love and mercy our God provides us each and every day. Instead of focusing on the bad in others and being quick to judge, we need to be able to focus on the good in them and the potential they have to be Christ followers and make a huge impact for the kingdom.

Last week I posted on the first part of our creative process for Saddleback Church high school ministry. If you missed it, click HERE and you can check it out and catch up.

From our big brain storm meeting where everyone is involved, we have a smaller meeting the following week with Josh (high school pastor), Parker (creative master, video extraordinary), Travis (mind can think of anything funny/can literally build anything) and myself (the guy who tries to reign everyone in on one point). This meeting is to take all of the ideas from the big meeting and start the conversations of putting feet to some of the ideas that the students had and make them happen in the services. This is where we talk about what ideas go best in certain services, what sermon illustrations can actually happen, and what videos we think we can actually do make service just that much more fun.

How I process this meeting:

Dont be too specific – This meeting is not to hammer out exactly what we are doing for each service. The previous meeting was to get ALL ideas come to the board for the entire month of services. This meeting is to start to place some ideas (which not all ideas will be used) into the service we feel will best fit for the topic of teaching. This is just to get a basic over view, and a generic plan of action of who, what, and why we want this idea into the service. The specifics will be hashed out in one more meeting (which I will post next week).

Let it soak in – Coming from the previous big meeting, there are a ton of ideas that are being thrown left and right. It can be a lot to take in all at once. I know for me, I let all of the ideas come, and I just sit back and help navigate to make sure they don’t stop. I do better when I have all the ideas and I can look them over and have a few days to process them. then I can come up with a better way of implementing them into our services. That is why I dont like to have a meeting the next day. Give it a week.

Make it intimate – I don’t mean have a dimly lit room and candles everywhere. I mean this meeting needs to be intentionally smaller than the main idea one. I want just a few people, the people who will actually be making the ideas into reality for services. Instead of the bombarding of ideas, this is where you take the existing ideas and talk about what is actually possible. You need to be able to discuss and be able to banter back and forth. This is how amazing ideas come out of good ideas.

Allow discussion and disagreement – A lot of the time, we are left to thinking we are limited on what we can do because we have not tried something before. If one person feels strong for one idea, and I dont feel like I can pull it off, there is aback and forth and a push of encouragement to pull it off. We all push each other to do things we never have done before, or things that have never been done before ever. I’m excited as we keep on pushing each other for the fall. Big things coming out of Saddleback HSM.

Be strategic – At this point, we are a month out. During this meeting we talk about what ideas should go to what service and how we should do them. We know how much time we have and this is the meeting we talk about what it will take to get the idea done. We dont hash out the specifics, but just the general idea for what needs to happen and how much time this will take us. We need to be up on our game and know when to start moving.

Are you a slow processor? A fast processor? Is there anything you think I am missing? Would love to hear your input!