December 14, 2014

Waiting and Wandering

A couple of friends and I decided to go backpacking earlier this week. It seemed like a good idea when we made our plans a couple of weeks ago. And while I love being on the trail, the cold weather really has a way of putting a damper on things. We knew it would be cold, but we didn't expect the wind, fog, mist and ice that we encounterd…after the first night we were done. We headed back to the car and went home.

I continue to wonder what God has next for me and my family. Waiting is difficult. The hardest part is being sure that we are supposed to be waiting. If I knew how long I had to wait, it wouldn't be so bad. I could easily sit back, fill time, and anticipate the day when the next step, or phase of our life, is revealed. But that probably would not be healthy. If we had known our backpacking trip would be cut short, would we have even gone? Waiting with anticipation, not knowing when or what, prompts me to stay alert, stay on my guard, always looking for what might be the next opportunity. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, not knowing whether or not it is the destination. Life is not so much about the destination as it is about staying the course.

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV)

It's all a part of the process. The waiting. The wondering. All the while preparing, or being prepared, as we continue down the trail of God's plan for our lives. I have no doubt that God has something for us. My biggest fear is that somehow I will miss it.
Things don't always go according to our own plans. Sometimes the weather of life forces us to go in a different direction. Sometimes we are forced to rethink and reevaluate the trail we are traversing. Sometimes we may even wonder what it would have been like further down the trail, if we had not been forced back!

"Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:17)

God has me here, right now, to accomplish His purpose, here and now. Rather than wondering what might have been if things had gone according to my plans, I must trust God's plans.

November 29, 2014

The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me." - Psalm 50:23

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. I hope you were able to celebrate with loved ones, spend some time with good friends, and reflect on the abundant blessings in your life. We are blessed, far beyond what we even realize most of the time. Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on those blessings.

Psalm 50:23 says that "the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me." When's the last time you offered thanksgiving as your sacrifice? But what does that even mean?

Thanksgiving equals gratitude. Gratitude is acknowledging appreciation for something someone has done for you. What kind of sacrifice does that really require?

Sacrifice implies surrender, suffering, giving something up.

When's the last time your thanksgiving was a sacrifice?

Here are three things to keep in mind as we consider the sacrifice of thanksgiving:

1) The sacrifice of thanksgiving is to be a lasting sacrifice.
Hebrews 13:15 says "through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God." Through Jesus Christ, we are to continually, without stopping, offer our thanksgiving to God. It is to be a continual offering, a neverending thanksgiving. More than one day a year set aside to eat turkey and watch football, our thanksgiving is to be lasting, non-stop, continual praise for all that we have received from God.

But how can we offer thanks even when we don't feel like it, when things are going all wrong, when there is so much to complain about all around us? The answer is simple, yet extremely difficult. "Count your blessings. Name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done." When you're feeling down, lonely, sad, as though everything and everyone is against you, stop, think, count your blessings and thanks God for each and every blessing in your life.

That requires surrender. That means looking beyond yourself, beyond your self-pity, and being thankful for all with which you have been blessed.

2) The sacrifice of thanksgiving is to be a living sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 says "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

As we continually offer our thanksgiving to God, we are to live our lives in such a way that we reflect the God we are thanking. Holy and acceptable means that we surrender what our flesh desires, instead chasing after our holy God with everything that we have. To be a living sacrifice requires that I offer myself completely to the Lord. I give Him total control of every area of my life. Everything that I say and do and think and desire ought to be holy and acceptable to him. That takes sacrifice. That takes surrender. This requires that I continually check my heart and my motives, that I continually monitor my thoughts and desires. Live your lives as continual and daily worship to God.

3) The sacrifice of thanksgiving is to be a loving sacrifice.
Hebrews 13:16 says "Do not neglect to do good, and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." This is where our sacrifice of thanksgiving intensifies. It goes beyond ourselves. It requires that we lay not only our thoughts and desires on the altar of worship, but our actions as well. 

It's easy to say "Thank you" with our mouths, but to actually get out of our comfort zones and say thank you with our actions is tough. Do not neglect to do good. Share what you have. How many times do we pass on opportunities to help someone who needs a hand? How often do we neglect to share our finances with someone less fortunate? It's not enough to say "I love you." It's equally important to get out and show your love to others.

When's the last time you offered thanksgiving as your sacrifice? 

Are you offering yourself as a lasting, living, and loving sacrifice?

"The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me." - Psalm 50:23

August 04, 2014

Guest Blogger: Kelsey Janes

Kelsey went with me on this trip to Mexico last year. She had a really amazing time, and is looking forward to going again.

Here are Kelsey's Top Ten "Reasons why I want to go back to Mexico:"

These are the reasons I want to back go to Mexico:
1. I want to go to Mexico because I want to help the people there.
2. It will be a good opportunity to learn another language.
3. The food and fruit juices are delicious.
4. Sleeping in a hammock is fun.
5. Its fun to see the different villages and how they live.
6. Meeting the people is fun because they are very different.
7. Its a good way to make new friends and try new things,.
8. The fruit there is really good and fresh.
9. It will be fun to do all the different things in all the different places.
10. Last but not least, being with my family.

Thank you to all of you who have helped us by financially supporting this trip. What seems impossible with man was made possible by God working through you. Our family is fully funded, and then some - Praise the Lord!

Our team is still short, so we appreciate your continued prayers as we look to our God to provide the rest. If you'd like to support the team, you can give online here:

July 30, 2014

One Week To Go!

Time flies! I am blown away that 1 week from tomorrow we leave for Mexico! It seems we've been talking about it and planning it for so long, and in just 7 days we will be boarding a plane heading out on this Family Missions trip together.

There are 23 of us going. 7 families. What an opportunity to see God work in the lives of each of these individuals, and in each of these families. The thing is, God is going to work in our lives. He is. He always does. What I love about trips like these is that it forces us into a deeper reliance on Him. We are removed from our comfort zone. We are removed from what is familiar to us. New language, new food, new sleeping conditions, new culture. Some may feel unprepared, even scared. But it's ok to have these feelings, as it leaves us with no choice but to trust God and His plans for this week.

For some on this trip, this is the first time leaving the country. For some it may be the first time on an airplane! For all of us, it is a new experience, no matter how many times we may have traveled overseas, or even to this very same location. God is planning an amazing adventure for each of us. And I cannot wait to see it unfold!

Please be in prayer for our team as we make our final preparations. Pray for us as we finalize shots and other travel needs. Pray for us as we begin packing, that we will have what we need (which usually turns out to be a lot less than we think!)

And please be in prayer about our finances. I have led over 17 missions trips over the past 3 years, and I have never seen a trip come up short financially. I fully believe God will provide for this trip as well. As of today, as a team, we have raised just over 50% of our financial need, leaving us about $15K short. If you would like to make a donation to the team to help make this trip a success, you can give securely online here:

Thank you again for your faithful prayers and support.

July 23, 2014

Guest Blogger: Garren Janes

As I mentioned earlier this week, our family is heading to Mexico for a Family Missions Trip. We are all super excited. God's provisions have already started coming in amazing ways! We are over half way to our goal of $7250 to cover the costs of this trip.

Today, Garren is going to share why he is looking forward to going on this trip with us:

I'm looking forward to this trip for multiple reasons:  
1. Experiencing new things is fun - Why stay in your same state or even town your whole life? The adventure of going out of your comfort zone and learning about how others live is fun and can be eye-opening if you travel to countries with critical poverty.  
2. To prove doctors wrong -3 years and 5 months ago I was laying in a hospital bed without my loved ones having the security that I would wake up from my coma. I did. But, even then, the doctors told my parents to start looking into nursing homes because based on my MRI, I should not be sitting up, typing this on an iPad, or going into 12th grade next year. My dad and two sisters went on this trip a summer ago. I can remember thinking how awesome it would be to go on this trip. When they arrived back in the states my dad mentioned that it was pretty manageable and he thought my wheelchair would be able to get
around fairly easily. So when he finally asked if I wanted to go excitedly I responded "Definitely!".  
3. To spread what God has done in my life and so many others -This, by far, is the most important part. I've recently come to like Christian Rap. The rappers that I like most are part of a group called '116 Clique'. 116 simply stands for Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (ESV). Because I do believe that The Bible is 100% true, I am not ashamed of the gospel. Period.   
4. God works -God can take a stone cold heart and open it up to do anything. My prayer is that God will take mine and the families hearts and open it up to whatever needs to be done to further His kingdom.  
Thank you for your continued prayer and financial support as we quickly approach the date of our departure. If you are able to help financially, you can give online right now at

July 21, 2014

A Family Missions Adventure

God is good. He promised in Scripture that He would supply all our needs. And He continues to faithfully do just that. Having recently been laid off from my position as Missions Pastor at Southbrook Church, it would be easy to question God's plans for our life. It would be a natural response to question God's provision in our life. Even though we have struggled emotionally with this decision, we continue to trust God's sovereign plan for our life.

As a family, we had committed earlier this year to participate in a missions trip to Mexico, coming up in August of this year. We are still fully committed to this trip, and I am blessed to be leading this trip. We are looking forward to working with 6 other families from Southbrook as we travel to Xcan, Mexico, for 5 days of ministry. We will be partnering with local Mayan Christians and The Message of Mayans to evangelize and help out with some light construction and painting projects. We are really excited about this upcoming opportunity, for several reasons.

First, we love serving together as a family. Eight years ago we had the privilege of traveling to Ethiopia together as a family where I was able to teach in a local Bible college, while Nancy and the kids helped out with a VBS at the local church. This is a trip that has been eternally imprinted on our hearts.

Second, we are so grateful to God for allowing Garren to progress in his healing to a point where he will be able to participate in this trip with us. From watching Garren fight for his life in a hospital bed 31/2 years ago, to getting on a plane to fly to a foreign country for a missions trip is truly a miracle. We are so thankful, and are looking forward to seeing God work in and through us.

As I mentioned above, we serve a God who has promised to supply all our needs. As we prepare for the trip, one of the biggest hurdles we will have is finances. The cost of the trip is $1450 per person. Multiply that by 5, and we are looking to raise $7250. While that seems like an enormous amount, we believe that God will supply. We would love to invite you to partner with us to help make this trip possible.

Southbrook Church has a link available where you can give online securely toward our trip. Simply click this link, scroll down and click on our family name, and follow the instructions from there.

Thank you for choosing to participate with us in this trip.

June 24, 2014

A Difficult Announcement

This past Sunday we had to make a very difficult announcement. After 8 years of ministry service at Southbrook Church, I have been let go due to organizational restructuring. While I understand the purpose of this decision, and while I trust God's Sovereignty in the midst of this time, it is a very painful and difficult time for both Nancy and myself.

You can watch the announcement here:

Southbrook Church is planning to host a reception and take a love offering this coming Sunday, June 29, at 6pm. If you are in the area, we'd love to have you join us for this time.

May 11, 2014

What a Great Week!

This week has flown by. At the same time, so much has happened, it's hard to believe it's only been 1 week! We were so blessed and humbled to be able to participate in just a small way in help TWR with a few projects. While this missions organization is located on one of the most beautiful islands in the Carribbean, it is perfectly positioned to broadcast the message of Jesus Christ to millions throughout the Carribbean and South America. And although we did not come into direct physical contact with any of those millions of people, we did have a direct and significant impact on the continuation of this ministry.

TWR Bonaire is in the process right now of preparing to celebrate their 50th anniversary. In August many former missionaries will be visiting, and we got to help prepare for that by cleaning, painting, and renovating some offices and work spaces. TWR Bonaire is also in the beginning phases of uprading their power in order to be able to extend the reach of their broadcasts, reaching many more with the message of hope. Our participation this week helped lay the foundation for this future exapnasion.

It was great, not only to see some of our projects get started and completed, but to see our team work together so well. Ross and Jeff had just the skills needed to move these projects forward. James was able to lead the charge in replacing toilets and pipes in the bathrooms. Clint and Dave were the paint crew, repainting the offices and hallways. Nancy and Brandy are now experts and cutting and replacing ceiling tile. Everybody found their place and we got quite a bit of work accomplished.  

Another really cool thing for us was to see the staff's excitement as we made progress on these projects. These men and women who live and work here have given up a lot in order to serve our Lord as full time missionaries. We were able to encourage them in what they are doing, and they were truly thankful for our part. And we are truly thankful to have been used in this way.

What's next? There is already talk amongst the team about going back next year. I am sure that once word gets around, many more will want to join in the future as well. Thank you to all who made this trip possible through your financial and prayer support. Without each of us playing our God-given parts, this trip could not have happened.

May 07, 2014

Hard at Work

Monday and Tuesday have been very full and productive days for the team. We meet each morning at 7am for breakfast, team devotional, and debriefing from the previous day. Then at 8am we meet at the transmitter site with some of the staff there. We have a short devotional and prayer before the work begins.

Our team is blessed to have Ross and Jeff, who have the experience needed to run several of the projects we are working on. We've been rerouting electrical cables, reparing drywall, painting, cleaning, replacing toilets, adjusting and replacing ceiling tile, and much more. We are helping TWR prepare for two major events: one is their 50th anniversary celebration in August, the second is the transmitter power upgrade project, which will allow TWR to broadcast further, reaching more people with the good news of the Gospel.

Today we have another full day ahead of us. Thank you for your continued prayers for safety, team unity, and that we will get a lot accomplished.

May 05, 2014

Island Tour

Sunday we were priveledge to worship our Lord together with fellow believers at IBS (International Bible Church). It was quite a different style than we are used to at Southbrook, but it was worship. We learned about what it means to be a member of a church. Each member has a unique contribution, but at the same time, we all have common responsibilities that we are supposed to contribute to the body. Namely, we are to spur one another on to love and good deeds.

Afer church we went into town for lunch at a nice little restaraunt on a pier. The food was good. The view was amazing. After lunch we went on a tour of the island. The island of Bonaire is only 25 miles long, and about 5-7 miles wide, so in an afternoon you can drive around the whole island, and see many amazing sights. We learned some history, some culture, and saw parakeets, flamingos, goats, donkeys, and iguanas.

After the tour we headed back to the guys' duplex for dinner - leftover pizza and sandwiches.

Today we start working. We are all anxiously looking forward to the ministry God has planned for us. 

May 04, 2014


It was a bit surreal as we stepped off the plane and walked across the tarmac toward the airport. I could taste the salt in the air. I could feel the humidity. The breeze blowing behind as the sun was setting in front of us.

As we picked up our luggage and walked through customs (with no problems), we were greeted by a very excited Pedersen family, along with Brandon who works with TWR as well. After a few minutes of greetings, we headed off to get our cars, and drove to the duplex where the 4 men on our team are staying. 

We had some pizza for dinner, went over a few logistics with Brandon and Dave, then the 2 couples on our team went a few blocks down the road to check in to the hotel where we are staying. Putting us all in the duplex with one bathroom to share between 8 people would have been a little much.

After everyone was settled, I was still wired. So I dragged Nancy outside (not literally...) and took her for a walk down the road. I found the house where I grew up. Memories began to flood my mind. We walked a bit further down the road to an empty lot and we walked down to see the ocean. More memories. I could have stood out there all night...

We walked back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep.

Today we are going to church in the morning. We have an island tour scheduled for this afternoon, and this evening we will get to experience first hand what TWR is all about. We will be onsite at the transmitter site when they go on the air with their first broadcast of the evening.

May 02, 2014


I'm looking forward with much excitement to what lays ahead. I will be traveling with a team from Southbrook Church on a missions trip to Bonaire, a small island off the coast of Venezuela.

This trip is exciting for me for several reasons. One of the biggest is that I used to live there. My parents moved there when I was 12, and we moved back to the U.S. when I was 18. It's been 25 years and I cannot wait to see what my former home looks like. 

Another exciting thing about this trip - Nancy is going with us. Of course, having Nancy along on any missions trip is amazing, but being able to show her where I grew up will be pretty cool. 

Our team of 8 will be helping TWR, a Christian radio station that broadcasts Biblical teaching into South America and throughout the Caribbean. We will be working on several renovation projects. There is sure to be a lot of sweat and hard work involved. We are also looking forward to growing as a team and in our personal relationships with Jesus Christ. 

We would appreciate your prayers. There will be, as with any missions trip, many unknowns and many opportunities to be flexible. 

Lord willing I will be updating you with our progress as time and wifi permit. 

Thanks again for your prayer support.