Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Leadership is influence. Any person who has had a significant influence on those around them has been in some sort of leadership position. Take the president of the United States, for instance. He has is in a large leadership people, being the president over a large nation, and therefore he is a very influential leader. On the other hand, Adolf Hitler also had a great deal of influence on those in his country. So was he a leader? A very corrupt one, but yes. Leadership is influence any way that you twist it. But what separates a great leader from an Adolf Hitler is the motives behind that influence. Are you influencing those around you for the good of mankind or for the kingdom of God? Or are you influencing those around you to manipulate them to fit in to the mold of your own personal agenda? This is the main difference between a servant leader and the type of leader that today’s culture teaches us to be.

Somewhere along the line in our culture’s history, it became more important to have the skills to get what you want rather than to maintain your integrity as a leader. One of the most important skills they teach you to have is the ability to manipulate others into jumping on board with your vision or agenda. Now, they do not phrase it this way, but when you put all “cuteness” and politically correct language aside, it is the message that they are teaching. But Jesus Christ gave us an amazing example of what it meant to be a servant first, and then through that servitude, allow his influence to effect others in a positive way. Doing this is an expression of love, and in my opinion we can use Jesus life to guide us into become Godly leaders who understand the importance of fulfilling Luke 9:23 where Jesus states, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and pick up their cross daily and follow me.” (NIV)

Jesus understood something that many people don’t. In order to be an effective leader, you must be a servant first. Too often leaders of today try to implement servanthood into their leadership style. They take the time now and then to serve others in order to gain the respect of those who follow them. But at the end of the day, their number one priority was leading. The example that Jesus gave us was the opposite of this. He chose to be a servant first. A true servant leader leads from the overflow of their servant-hood. They understand that they are a servant to God above all else, and that through being a servant to God and others they might be blessed with the opportunity to lead those who are willing to follow them. At the end of the day, they are a servant first and foremost and they understand their place in the Kingdom of God.

A great way to tell the influence of a leader is to look at the lives of his/her students. When you see the direct influence their teachings have had on those who followed their leadership then you can truly see whether they were effective or not and also the true motives behind their influence. I look at the life of Paul. Paul was one of the most effective evangelists in the history of Christianity. Why is this? Because he took the teachings of Christ and the examples that he gave and he accepted them into his own belief system.The Scripture that came to my mind was 1 Corinthians 2:1-5.It states:

"And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power."

Here Paul was making the claim that he didn't come and teach the Corinthians with a greater wisdom then they had or by any of his own power. The reason he came to teach them was because of Christ and it was through the power of God and the work of his Spirit that made him successful. Paul wasn't excepting the earthly role of leadership. He was giving all of the glory and recognition to God. But we can all agree that Paul was one of the most influential Christian leaders of all time, yet he didn't try to become this leader. He just became a servant of Christ and others and the leadership followed suit.

The conclusion that I want to draw is this: Where did Paul learn to be this kind of leader? Through the teachings and influence of Christ. If you compare Jesus’ teachings and example of being a servant first to the teachings of worldly leadership today, it seems nothing short of radical. But think about this. Jesus Christ was the most influential man to ever walk this earth. Whether you believe he was the Son of God or just a crazy lunatic, you cannot deny his overwhelming influence that has spread throughout the entire world. And he didn’t do it through any public form of leadership. He didn't do it by learning how to manipulate others according to his own agenda. He did it by teaching us to be servant’s first and allowing God to work through the leadership opportunities that will arrive from that servitude.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Vision is a tricky thing. It is a sense so vital to our existence, so essential to the way that we live out our lives, and yet so often people don’t remember how important it really is. Through vision we can see what is front of us. We can recognize the people that we know and trust, and we can identify those that we can’t. We can see the path that appears hundreds of feet before us to make sure we aren’t walking towards something dangerous. But it also allows us to experience aesthetic beauty, which is one of my favorite ways in which I feel God’s goodness and grace. And all we have to do is open our eyes and make sure there is enough light in front of us to see our way.

And yet people continue to live there lives in darkness, not looking for a light switch to light up the path of where they are going.

How can you go somewhere if you cannot see the path to the destination? Better yet, how can you go anywhere if you have no idea where you are going in the first place? It is like blindfolding a child, giving him a grocery list, and pushing him out the front door to walk to the store and find the items that you need and return safely. It doesn’t make any sense. And yet so many of us live our lives that way.

Proverbs 29:18 reads, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (KJV)

If you cannot see, you cannot live. Now I understand that there are many blind people in this world who have very fulfilling lives, but that isn’t really what I am talking about, and that is for sure not what this verse is telling us. What I am saying is that if we want to get anywhere in this world, we have to have a vision of where we want to go. We have to have a picture in front of us of where we want to be and we have to have enough light to get us there. Without it we are just running around in the dark waving our hands in front of ourselves, hoping to grab ahold of something that will sustain us through the night. But this is not a way to live! And yet so many of us do when it comes to our spiritual lives.

We have all gotten to a point during our time here on earth where we feel completely broken and lost. For many of us we have searched for God’s wisdom and grace to get us through the many dark nights we have faced. But it seems that no matter how hard we try we always end up feeling empty and hopeless. We try our best to live a godly and moral life but we slip back to our old ways of living. We give into the temptation that has haunted us for years and it always seems to get the best of us. We cry out for help from God to come and restore us and to take these trials away, and yet there they are again, whispering in our ears once more.

How many of you have desired to become a better man or woman so you can conquer these chains that have bound you up for what seems a lifetime? I would venture a guess that it is all of you.

So how do we get there? How do we get to that place that we desire to be where the only passion that we have in our hearts is to love and obey God? Well we have to know where we are going first. We have to know the destination that we are seeking out. We can’t just wander around aimlessly in the dark hoping that some day you will stagger into such a place of refuge. No, we have to have a vision of where we want to be someday. We have to know where we want to go and we must have to courage to walk towards that vision.

I think back to my own life and the journey that I have been on as a follower of Jesus Christ. There have been a lot of ups and a lot of downs. And for a long time I couldn’t figure out how to fully mature myself to a place where the only desire I have in my heart is God. And I am not there yet. But what I have discovered is that it is impossible to get there without a vision of where I want to be. I have to know where I want to go and I have to keep that image dangled in front of me like a carrot. I have to have the courage to take those steps toward that destination, even if it feels like I am carrying a million pounds on my shoulders. But I know that this vision of where I want to be, this ultimate destination, is worth every step that I take on this journey.

I work with teenagers for a living. I try to be a guide to them on their spiritual walks with Christ. I do my best to help give them advise when they need it and to shed biblical insight into the issues that they are having. I love my job dearly because I have the opportunity to help shape the future of these students, these young adults, that I believe can change the world. But they will never get there if they don’t have a vision for their life. I know that they are hungry for truth and for full dependence on God, and yet so many of them don’t have a clue where they are going. They continue to wander around in the dark, hoping to stumble upon something good.

The conclusion that I want to draw is that if this is you and you fall under this category, then realize that you need to know where you are going before you can get there. The Bible gives us countless insights on how to live a holy life and to survive and thrive as a follower of Christ. But you need to have a vision of where you want your life to be in the future, and you have to give everything you are to get there.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I recently attended the Catalyst leadership conference in Atlanta, GA and was challenged with a number of different thoughts and ideas that have begun to reshape the way I think about the world. There were a number of amazing and inspiring speakers who tried to push the minds and spirits of the 15,000 attendees. One speaker talked about an issue that really challenged the way I view my ministry and the opportunities that I have in life to make an impact. This speaker was Seth Godin, who is a world renowned author, blogger, and entrepreneur. He has written a dozen best selling books and has also spent time as the VP of Direct Marketing for a little company called “Yahoo!” Needless to say, the guy knows what he is talking about.

The thought that he really challenged me with was the difference between creating “art” and creating a “painting.” He stated that there is a big difference between a work of art and someone painting a picture. There is a city in China that accounts for one-third of the worlds production of paintings. There are painters who make 10 Mona Lisa paintings every day and turn around and sell them for $40-$60. He challenged us with the question of whether or not these paintings created in the masses are “art” or merely just a painting. The answer was fairly obvious. They are simply just paintings. So I started to think about that concept an how it plays into my life and my ministry. What is the difference between the two? And does that difference really make a difference? In the end you get the same beautiful painting that everyone recognizes. So what does it matter? But then it hit me. And it was the idea of taking a risk, putting something on the line, and chancing the fact that you might fail if you try to create “art” rather than just a painting. What I realized is that the difference between the two actually make all the difference.

Is anything really worth doing if there isn’t a chance that you will fail at doing it? If you think about it that is really what separates our lives from being more than a production line or a computer. We have the chance to make “art” not just a “painting”. We have the chance to make a difference and connect people when we make “art” with our lives. A piece of art is something new, something fresh, something that inspires people because it is ground breaking. But simply making a “painting” is just complying to the mold that this world and the people in it have already made. That mold is acceptable and it has a very minimal chance of failure. And even if you do fail, it isn’t that big of a deal because you didn’t create enough change for anyone to really care either way. There is no risk. But if we break the mold and dare to make something new, something that makes everyone question what else is possible in the world, we are on an entirely different level. It causes people to ask themselves, “If that person can create something like that, what else is possible?” This is the beauty and excitement of someone who pushes the envelope, someone that dares to succeed with the possibility of failure, who creates, inspires, and causes change.

God never once called us to be mediocre Christians. He called us to be world changers, disciple makers, and risk takers. Paul stated that we are "more than conquerors" because there is nothing in this world that can separate us from the love of God. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Christians took risks to create “art” with their lives rather than just regurgitating a painting of what they have seen before? It is nearly impossible to measure the amount of change and inspiration a piece of art causes on the world. When one person creates something, it inspires and motivates others to look at the other possibilities that are out there in the world. It challenges others to think, “I wonder what I can create? I wonder what kind of difference I can really make if I just took a risk?” We need people in this world who will bring change, even if it means that they will fail. Without the possibility of failure, change cannot happen, because nothing is being challenged. The thing about art is that it is a human act that changes something. It connects people together.

The conclusion that I want to draw out of this is that it is about time that we start creating art with our lives. God doesn’t need people to just stick the the status-quo and just be average. He needs people to step up and go after an idea or an opportunity with so much passion and focus that the thought of failure isn’t a deterrent, it is an inspiration to succeed. God needs those who care enough to take a risk with their lives and impact the world with ideas and passions that will never leave it the same as it was before. Let us ask God to give us the opportunity and direction to create “art” with our lives starting right now.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The sounds. The smells. The sights. The emotions. The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat.

The cluttering of footsteps as fans are herded into the stadium. The scent of bratwursts and mouth-watering burgers penetrating the appetites of all in the vicinity. The overwhelming glimpse of one of college footballs greatest and most historic sanctuaries, towering over you as you stare up at its beauty. The energy of thousands of devoted fans whose hearts literally beat for the Big Red. The consuming sense of pride and honor when the team marches off the field victorious. And the heart ache when they collapse in defeat.

This is game day at Memorial Stadium.

There is almost something spiritual about game day in Lincoln, NE. Now as a pastor, I know I need to be careful when I say things like this. But to me there are very few places or events that I have been to where are I have felt such an overwhelming sense of purpose and devotion directed towards one epicenter. You can literally feel the sense of pride on your skin as you walk throughout the stadium. You feel like you are a part of something bigger, and yet something so small because you are all focused on one goal: victory.

I have been a devoted Husker fan all of my life. It has been a huge part of who I am. There are few things that get me as pumped up or as beat down as does watching a Nebraska game. Some may say that I have a problem, and maybe I do, because it brings into discussion the idea of worshipping something other than God. Now most of you know that I love Jesus more than anything, and that I truly try to live my life for him. But do I get as jacked or as devastated over the things he tries to convict my heart of? I really don’t think I do. I don’t believe that I am at that point in my faith and in my walk with Christ.

Some of you may suggest, “Well why don’t you stop watching Nebraska and focus on more on Jesus with your life?” But I do not think that is the problem. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a fan of a sports team as long as you don’t make it the focal point of your reason for living. What I DO think it is about is where I am at with my relationship with God. See faith isn’t about an experience, or about a feeling. It is about a person. Faith is about the thing that you have faith in. In my case, it is Jesus (...and Husker football). I need to become more in tune and in love with Christ in my life so that I can be fully on board with the way the Spirit is trying to move me. How can I hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance if I am not really listening? (Especially since I am a guy! We can only focus on one thing at a time. Ladies, you might be okay in this area!)

The conclusion that I want to draw is this: Nebraska Cornhuskers are the greatest college football team in the history of sports....oh wait I forgot what the purpose of this blog was....awkward.....What I meant was that we all need to focus on the person we claim to have faith in. We need to fall in love with him every day. We need to focus on his teachings, on his example, and on his sacrifice. Why can’t the church have the same feel as Memorial Stadium does on game day? Well it can! But the people attending it need to be so amazed by the one being worship in the church that they feel that same kind unity among one another. What would our worship services look like if we did this?

I would love to experience the sensations that would come along with that.

The sounds. The smells. The sights. The emotions. The thrill of victory. And the understand that we never have to feel the agony of defeat.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


What makes us human? Is it the blood running through our veins? Maybe. Is it what we look like or how our bodies work so perfectly in a world of such chaos? Perhaps. Or at least that is a small part of what makes us human. But if you think of that question and give more than just a surface level answer then I think you can find a connection to God unlike anything else in this world. We are his creation. Every beat of our heart speaks to the rhythm of what his hands can create. Every sight that we see and process in our brains is an image of inspiration that magnifies the glory of an all powerful God. Every step that we take, every word that we say, and every breathe that we breath all give evidence of our God.

But is being a human being more than just sharing the same DNA as that of other humans? Or does it go so much deeper into our souls that the only thing that really makes us human is our dependency on God’s goodness? Hmmm. If we depend only on God, and God is good, then everything in this world should be a result of that perfect humanity that God created.

But wait, Drew. We don’t live in such a paradise? You mean things aren’t perfect? So if we have an omnipresent, omnipotent God that is perfect and holy in every way how can there possibly be evil in this world? If God is so good and glorious then why is there suffering? Why is there death? Why is there pain, grief, loneliness, guilt, and sorrow? Hmmm.

If all things are possible with God, then why didn’t he create a world without sin?

Well....He did. Remember Genesis chapters 1 & 2 where God created everything around us, including humanity in general, and he repeatedly said, “And it was good”? Well if you don’t, go back and look! God did create a perfect world where sin did not exist and where humanity lived in the harmonious state that it was intended to be lived in. But somewhere along the way we messed it up. God did not give up on humanity, humanity gave up on God by putting our dependence on something other than Him.

When you live in the world that we live in, it is so easy to lose hope and faith in God. The world we live in is very broken and distorted compared to the world that God always wanted us to live in. But remember this: Evil’s source is not of God’s power but of man’s freedom.

God gave us free will. It is a part of who we are and of our humanity. Without it we wouldn’t be able to love, have happiness, or worship. Without the freedom of free will, we wouldn’t be humans. We would be nothing more than robots that lived according to a biological code within ourselves.

Yes, God created everything, and yes there is evil in the world. But God did not create evil because evil is not a “thing”. A gun isn’t evil. A sword isn’t evil. They are nothing more than a construction and manipulation of various materials to perform a certain task. But what is evil is man throwing his humanity aside and abusing his freedom by performing a selfish and inhumane act. Nothing about that situation has anything to do with an all powerful and good God. That has everything to do with someone who has alienated themselves into another species by disobeying the order in which God created each and every one of us.

God created us as good and perfect creatures. When we stray away from that we stray away from our humanity. We stray away from what we were created to be. God never wanted us to feel pain, or suffering, or guilt. But because of our own selfishness (as a human race) this is now the world we live it.

The conclusion that I want to draw out of this is that we can no longer blame God for the evil things in this world. That is the most cowardly and foolish thing we can do. What we can do is take responsibility for our own short comings, seek out God’s forgiveness, and do whatever we possibly can to share that message with others.

I know this seems like a very depressing and I apologize. I am not saying that if we sin then God is going to do something bad to us. That is the opposite of the point that I am trying to make. I have just felt convicted lately to stand up for God against those who want take the easy way out and blame him, and even more so deny him, because of the evil things that we see in the world. God has some really big shoulders and can handle all of our doubts and questions that we have. In fact, I think that is when we grow most. But if you are doubting God because of the evil in this world, remember that evil isn’t something of God’s own heart or his goodness. And also remember that his grace covers all who seek it.

Feel free to add comments, questions, or insight.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This is a hard blog to write because I know that I am not in a place in my faith where I am as obedient as I should be on this particular topic. It is also a hard blog to write because it will hit home in a personal way with every person that is going to read this, or at least it should.

We in America live in the wealthiest country in the world. I know this is not a shocker to any of you, but it is a fact none-the-less. We have more money, more cars, more clothes, more food, and to put it simply, more stuff than anywhere else on this planet. And we like it that way. Why is this? Because it makes us feel secure. It makes us feel in control. It makes us feel that we have the means to not only take care of ourselves and our families but to provide higher quality of living and hopefully happiness. I want to say something that might make a few of you mad, but that is ok! It is not acceptable in God’s eyes to be living this way.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'" (Matthew 19:23-24)

I have read this passage a countless number of times in my life but never really considered how it played into my own life. Jesus is teaching us here that it is next to impossible to get into heaven when you are rich. Why did he say this? The Bible also teaches us that God’s grace is available to anyone who wishes to seek it, that includes those who are rich. Jesus wasn’t teaching the disciples that God’s grace doesn’t extend to those who are wealthy or that they aren’t loved as much as those who are not. What he is teaching here is that when you are rich, it is so easy to get wrapped up in yourself because you have security and comfort in your life. Money does provide these things in a number of different ways, and it is so easy to adjust your mindset to the idea that you do not need God in your life because you already have everything that you need. Why would you need to worship God when you are already have the security and control in your life that you desire and even need? The fact of the matter is that when you have these things in your life it often hard to see a need for God. You can become so wrapped up in yourself and in your own pleasure that you are completely going against the purpose that God created you, and this can lead you down a dark and very dangerous road. This is the message that Jesus was teaching his disciples.

When do you feel more compassion for those who are suffering and in poverty: When you are living in comfort and security, or when you are experiencing what it feels like to live that way? Maybe another lesson that Jesus was trying to teach is that when we are rich we lose the compassion and the heart that Jesus himself had for those who are poor and weak. You have to see that it is not about being wealthy. It is about being righteous in the eyes of God. It is about striving to have a heart like Jesus and to live your life like he would live it if he were standing in your shoes.

"Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."

(Proverbs 11:4)

Like I said this is a hard blog to write because I haven’t figure this out completely in my own walk with Christ. But I do realize this: I believe we live in the hardest place in the world to evangelize. It is a lot easier to share the hope of Christ to a country that is so desperate and hopeless than it is to a country full of people who do feel that they already have all of the hope and security that they need. We have become so corrupted and mesmerized by a sense of false wealth that it has almost completely blinded us from the true riches that God offers to those who follow and love Him.

The conclusion that I want to draw is that we need to rethink what it means to be wealthy, and what we should do with the wealth that we are blessed with. It is not a bad thing to have money. In fact, it can be a great thing for God’s kingdom if you learn to be generous like Jesus taught us to be. But if you do not learn how to do this in your life, Jesus’ teaching speaks for itself: It is almost impossible to get to heaven. But the great thing about my God is that through Him, nothing is impossible.

"Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all." (Proverbs 22:2)

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have." (Hebrews 13:5)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


When I was a little kid, before this world cursed me with an abrupt sense of “reality”, I used to love going on adventures. Whether it was building a fort out of the trees in the back corner of my yard or it was pretending I was riding away from the bad guys on my bike, I loved making my life feel exciting. I loved pretending that I was part of something bigger than the circumstances that were actually surrounding me. But recently I have had a very depressing realization in my life:

Somewhere along the way in life I have lost this sense of adventure.

I don’t know what it is about our culture but once you reach a certain age you are supposed to put your imagination and dreams aside and become a “grown up”. I do understand that the older you get the more responsibilities you acquire, but what does that have to do with living a life with adventure and an imagination? Without these two elements in our lives, day to day life becomes BORING. And in my opinion, I don’t think that God ever intended our lives to be BORING! In fact, it is quite the opposite.

In my last blog I talked about purpose. I mainly focused on discovering the purpose in our own lives, but what would you say was the purpose of Jesus’ life? Well of course he came here to die for us on the cross so that we may have eternal life with him in heaven. And that is HUGE! But when thinking about this idea of adventure, could it be possible that another purpose of Jesus’ life here on earth was to teach us to be followers who live a life of adventure? I think so! Look at the numerous crazy things that he did throughout the gospel. He hung out with a prostitute, he ate dinner with sinners, he raised someone from the dead, he took on the high priests and challenged everything they were doing, he healed the sick and lame, etc. All the while he did this with his students near by, teaching them that there is power when you carry the name of God with you.

Then Jesus gave what we now call the great commission, which states:

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20)

Jesus was sending his disciples on an adventure! An adventure that was going to take them all over the world spreading the news of Christ and baptizing people in his name. This concept is commonplace today but this was a huge and dangerous task for these men to take on. A task that in the end took many of their lives in very violent and cruel ways. But I can guarantee that if we could ask the disciples today if they would do it again that they would say the adventure was worth it.

The conclusion I want to draw out of this is that we need to live our lives like it is an adventure. And a forewarning that goes along with that is it wont always be safe. What kind of adventure doesn’t include a little danger? But God never calls us to be safe in our faith. He calls us to be bold and to trust in Him to lead us to do what He knows is best. But are we brave enough to follow? I just pray that we approach our walks with a more childlike sense of adventure and to break away from what this world tells us it means to be a grown up.

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)