What I never expected to hear coming out of my own mouth…


It is an amazing thing what happens when we grow up, isn’t it? My senior year at Mason High School I got into a fight with my best friend about something that I can’t even remember, but how it ended I will never forget:

“You think you know everything, Larry!”

Not an exact statement but one that has stuck with me for the last 10 years. Back when my friend said this, I thought he was hugely mistaken…I didn’t think I was always right, I just never spoke up when I was wrong!

10 years later I realize how little I truly know. Everything that I thought was the way to do things, wasn’t even close. How to treat women, wrong on that account (thanks for setting me straight over the years Heather)…Preaching the Word of God wasn’t being accomplished in the right way, how I “did” Church didn’t yield the results I wanted, and how I lived my life for Christ was definitely on the wrong track.

And it all comes down to one, very big, reason…


What I have found is that even when I have “learned” how to do something, my pride often got in the way and screwed it up beyond recognition. Now that I realize what my pride has done, I get a chance to fix it, to learn from it, and to be transformed by whatever ending comes out of this new journey I find myself in. I “know” how to do a lot, but without a key ingredient, all of those things I am supposed to excel in will never be accomplished in the right way…


Yep, the one thing I never thought I would have to learn about is the one thing I’ve been missing all of these years. Now I have an opportunity to make things right, to fix the things that I’ve been neglecting in my life. I’d say that I’m excited, but I think “nervous” would be a better word.

And don’t worry, you will share in this experience with me. If one person can change their life because of the journey I find myself on, then all of this is worth it (I just hope I have one person reading this!).

My next post will be on defining humility and how I see that operating in my life and in the life of the church. Until then…

Peace, Love, and Soul.


Taking Prayer to the Next Level

Talking with Jesus

On Tuesday mornings, I have the distinct pleasure of leading a Bible Study with a group of guys who have a desire to follow Jesus, followed a time of mentoring with an individual guy who has the same desire and passion. Well, today’s conversations really touched my heart, because we talked about making Jesus more of a priority in our lives and how prayer is really the key for making that happen.

I haven’t been praying like I should.

I know, I know…”You can’t be so hard on yourself Larry.” I realize that, and I don’t think I am. See, I have the same desire and passion for following Jesus that every Christian has, and there are times when that passion and drive for Jesus takes us to the next level of a deeper relationship with Christ.

And now it’s time to take prayer to that next level.

Because of today’s studies, I was able to discuss the Lord’s Prayer with the man that I mentor every week. As I talked about Matthew 6:9-13 with this guy, I realized the depth and passion that is needed to make that prayer meaningful to our daily walk with Christ. So, in response, I decided to write a teaching that breaks down the Lord’s prayer, line by line, and applies to it our everyday lives.

My “prayer” (yes, I meant to use that word) is that our prayer time with Christ would have more meaning and depth than it ever has, and I believe that this teaching of Matthew 6 will help (if it only helps me, then it was still time well spent) do just that.

Take the time to look this over, practice it in your own prayer life, and comment back to me on how it impacted (or even transformed) your time of conversation with your Father.

It’s time to go to the next level…will you join me?

Peace, Love, and Soul.


Here’s the Teaching:


Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

  • The Term “Hallowed” means holy or sacred; in essence, this means that we are acknowledging God for who He is.
  • The very first thing we do in our prayer time is to thank God for being God.
  • BE SPECIFIC…Thank God for being the giver of all things. Thank God for giving you another day of life, for your family, for your friends, for your job.
  • Thank God for who He is.Thank Him for Jesus Christ, for His death on the Cross, and for His Resurrection. Thank God for the Holy Spirit who lives inside of you, and how through Him, you can live the life God has called you to live.

After you thank God for who He is and how He operates in your life, move on…

‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

  • In order for this part of the prayer to be powerful, we have to first realize that God has complete control in Heaven. Is Will, is always accomplished in Heaven. Thus, in asking God for His will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven, we are asking God to have full control of our lives, just like He has full control in Heaven.
  • In this part of your prayer, pray for God to take control. BE SPECIFIC…share with God those areas of your life where you struggle to give Him control. Submit your will, your choices, your control over to God and let Him know that you are willing to listen to what He has to say. That you are willing to follow His commands, because you Love Him and you what to do what He asks.

‘Give us this day our daily bread.

  • The daily bread spoken of by Jesus is a call for God to take care of our basic needs. What are your basic needs? Most Americans today have the same needs: Shelter, Clothes, Food, a Job, Money to pay bills, and a means of transportation (your list may vary).
  • God wants us to ask for those needs, because He is our loving Father and wants to treat us like His children. God promises to take care of our needs, so at this moment in your prayer time, share with your Father the needs of your life and thank Him for taking care of those needs.

And forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.

  • This is perhaps the most intimate part of our prayer time, because we are being completely transparent and honest with God. Share with God your struggles, those parts in your life where you fall, and ask Him for Forgiveness. BE SPECIFIC…let God see your pain, your issues, and ask Him to make you clean.
  • The second half of that line is also important. Not only are you asking for God’s forgiveness for your faults, but you are also asking God to give you the strength to treat others in the same way. What people have wronged you that you are struggling with forgiving? Ask God to help you overcome your anger, your bitterness, and whatever other emotions you are experiencing so that you can fully forgive the people in your life that have sinned against you. This is vitally important because it means that you realize that if God can forgive you for what you’ve  done to Him, you should be able to forgive others for what they’ve done to you.

Once you have accepted that forgiveness and are working towards that same attitude with others, you can move on to the next part of this prayer…

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

  • Notice how this says, “Don’t lead us…”. That means that we don’t even have to be tempted, that we can ask God to take us away from the areas of our lives that cause us to stumble. In this time of prayer, ask God to keep you away from the temptations of your life…to not even bring you close to that temptation. By doing this you are recognizing that God is the only one who can save you from yourself. God wants to deliver us from the evil of our lives, but we have to ask Him to help. That is why we pray for God to do just that.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

  • Finally, you go back to where you began: by recognizing that God is God. When you finish with your prayer time, Thank God for being God. Because God is who He says He is, your sins can be forgiven, your attitudes can be changed, and your temptations can be taken away. Because God is who He says He is, you can have a better life and an eternity of life in His presence. Because God is who He says He is, you are loved, accepted, and desired. Take the time as you finish this prayer time to thank God for the impact He has on your life and ask for His continuing presence on your journey through this world.

In Jesus Name,

Living Life…

Today I lived life and I didn’t even mean to.

Now that I am closer to home, I try to make visits to Cincinnati every couple months or so. Today, was one of those trips so I decided to spend most of the day with Chuck, my oldest brother on my mom’s side.

That’s where the living life came into play.

Chuck is the owner of La Terza Artisan Coffee Roastery and every week finds himself delivering all over Cincinnati. I joined him today and got a chance to meet all of the people that he meets on a regular basis. One of those people, named Doug, started a conversation with me about being life and eventually we found ourselves talking about finding a new style in the way he performs music. I normally don’t get into conversations like this, but I couldn’t help myself today. Soon I found myself lost in the conversation and passionately engaging Doug in dialogue.

And that’s when I felt alive…

I know that sounds kind of silly, even a little touchy-feely, but for me it was very serious. As soon as Doug started talking I felt the urge to just share life with Doug, and in the process be a light of Jesus Christ. Our conversation didn’t go very long, but as soon as it was over I started dialoguing with the other lady in the shop…we talked about children and how through them we can learn how to be passionate about life. It was a great conversation with complete strangers and I have to admit, I enjoyed every second!

After the conversation I reflected on what had just happened. How through two meaningful conversations I can feel so alive and passionate about my calling and my life. I soon realized that this is how I was designed to live: A servant of God going through this world engaging people right where they are…and in the process have meaningful conversations with a purpose. Even though Jesus was mentioned by name, He was certainly brought into the conversation.

We all are meant to live this way. Not merely going through life trying to survive, but living life to its fullest so that the glory of Christ can not only be taught, but be shown in our everyday circumstance. Here’s my challenge to you today: Live Life and Live it abundantly. Enjoy the conversations of everyday life, meet new people, engage them, and show them the love of Jesus Christ.

As soon as I get home, I will introduce this concept to my family and we will start living life together as a family. Will you join us?

Peace, Love, and Soul.

Never Give Up

Hebrews 12:1–3 (NIV) – “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

Never Give Up. That was my main message last week as I went to help the 7th and 8th graders at Pine Haven Christian Assembly. That was also my message last night as we celebrated our last Youth Group meeting at Forest Lake Christian Church. Take a look at these verses and you will know exactly why we are never to give up.

God has given us a path to run, and because of our sin and the influence of Satan in this world the race is a little harder to finish then it should be. Yet when we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, we can finish the race ahead of the pack.

Think of it this way: When I was preparing to go to Iraq I was told that we were going to be running at least 3 times a week. All of us were put into three groups, the fast runners, the average runners, and the slow runners; I was put in the average runners. Not to be outdone by anyone, the next morning I ran with the fast group. “I Can do this,” I thought, and so I began running.

What I didn’t realize is that I was really slow compared to the fast group, so I quickly fell behind. After the run my senior officer, the one in charge of the fast group, came up to me and said, “You have one week to prove that you belong here or you go back to the average group!”

Tuesday came and I didn’t get any better.

Wednesday came and I didn’t get any better.

Thursday came and I ran a little faster, but could not catch up. The time of day that we ran was so early, the sun wasn’t even up yet, and so I had a horrible time motivating myself to finish any faster. I remember as I approached the finish line that morning that I needed some motivation if I was to stay with the group, so I burned the image of the finish line in my head.

Friday came and the entire time I ran I thought of that finish line and how badly I wanted to get there with the group. I was in the zone that day and didn’t see anything but that finish line the entire run. When the finish line actually came I found that no one else was there. “Oh great,” I thought, “I was so slow that the rest of the group went to breakfast before me.” But as I looked back I saw the rest of the fast group coming in behind me. I didn’t just stay with the group I had finished faster than anyone in the company.

God taught me a lesson that day that applies to my spiritual life. As long as you fix your eyes on the finish line, You will always finish strong. As long as we, as Christians, fix our eyes on Christ… we are ensured that we too will finish the race strong.

Never Give Up.

The Faithfulness of God…

As I normally do on Wednesdays, I found myself sitting at a round table of some of the most intelligent minds that the Twin Cities have to offer… me and three other ministers (I hope they’re reading this). It is this time of the week that I have the great opportunity to join my sermon group (which we affectionately call “The Sermonators) and collaborate on what we are going to be preaching in the Sundays to come. Well, since I am leaving in just over a month I didn’t need to go to today’s group as we would already be talking about the next series… but since I am going to eventually preach this series, I’d thought I’d give it a go and join my friends.

And boy am I glad I did! Reggie, the youth minister at New Brighton Christian Church was there and gave a very interesting perspective on God’s faithfulness. So I don’t bore you with theological babble, here’s the short version:

God is completely, 100% faithful. That means for the promises we enjoy (like eternal salvation) and the promises we don’t (judgment and condemnation). When Reggie brought that up, I had to think about it for a second… especially when it came to how to reply. But you know what…. he’s right. In today’s postmodern world we seem to concentrate only on the aspects of life that make us happy… and yet we tend to forget that God does have a side of Him that causes fear (or at least should) in the hearts of all men. As Jesus put it,

Matthew 10:28 – ““Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

We don’t fear God enough in this country… but we need to. Now I’m not saying that all we should ever do is fear God, because Love is just as perfect in God as His justice. What I am saying is that we have got to get a balanced view of who God is. He is Faithful and whether we like it or not… He is faithful to both save and destroy.

But what do you think? I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.

Another Tuesday Night…

This arm wrestling match is a symbol of the tension rising on Tuesday Nights

Whenever God removes you from a place, everything seems to blow up during the transition process.

I say this because that is exactly what has happened during the last 22 days since I officially resigned from Forest Lake Christian Church. Most significant of these issues is the Youth Group.

Every Tuesday night we have a great group of kids come to our church to learn more about Christ. Since I started this group three years ago, 18 or so kids have joined our group, became Christians, and are still growing in their faith. Yet, as soon as I told them I was leaving… chaos ensued.

It’s not as if they did things on purpose in response to my resignation… instead life did things on purpose. Relationships have been cracking at the seam and all I seem to be doing is trying as fast as I can to bring the pieces together.

As I ponder this situation I have to wonder what God has in store for this group. It seems to be a big plan, because Satan is attacking from all sides. I’m praying for them… would you join me in that prayer?

Peace, Love, and Soul