3 Ways to become a retreat speaker

This morning I finish speaking at a great weekend retreat.

Honestly, I have spoke on hundreds of retreats, camps and conferences over the last 17 years and I am so humbled God still gives me these opportunities.

I may have given close to a thousand, if not 1500 messages over the years. That’s just crazy to think about! So often I ask, ‘Why me God?’

I really never thought that I would have all these opportunities, but God had other plans I guess.

My first time every as a retreat speaker was in 1996 and I definitely caught the bug to be a retreat speaker way back then.

Pretty frequently I receive emails and messages from people asking me how I got started and how they can get asked to be a retreat speaker. And, I get quite asking me about communication stuff. Honestly, it’s really fun! I love, LOVE, talking about preaching, speaking and teaching! And, it’s at the point that I’ve thought about starting a coaching group. Well see!

But, if you’ve ever asked God to give you opportunities to speak and teach at retreats and conferences, here is a bit of advice for you.

3 Ways to become a retreat speaker

1. Be faithful where you are. Stop trying to leave your place, wherever that is. If God has given you people to teach every week at your youth ministry or church, teach them. Stop thinking about doing it at a retreat or a conference.

I’ll be crazy honest with you, it is awesome being the ‘speaker’! But, it’s also crazy scary and it’s a HUGE responsibility! The first 5 or 6 years of speaking, I didn’t respect the responsibility like I should have. I really wanted to speak and so I tried way too hard and when I did get asked, I was always thinking of the next place.

That’s just wrong! It wasn’t until I was asked to speak at a very large student ministry conference that the weight of the responsibility hit me. I was back stage, about to go in front of a few thousand students and leaders and it was like God dropped a bucked of bricks on me. The weight and privilege of teaching God’s word hit me and I was just crazy humbled.

I know I tried too hard back then. I just wanted people to like my speaking. Again, just wrong.

Stop dreaming of speaking other places and just be faithful where you are.

2. Stop pimping yourself. I know we live in the world where we’re suppose to build platforms, but I think there is a difference between what kind of platform you build.

So often, we’re trying to build our own kingdom. We try to increase our blog presence, our Facebook friends and Twitter followers. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, we just have to be careful  to not let the lore of building our kingdom overcome what we should be playing a part in…building God’s Kingdom.

Again, stop trying so hard.

3. Get around other speakers. This was probably the biggest help for my speaking, outside of actually speaking. I spent a lot of time sitting down with people who were at the place I wanted to be. I brought a legal pad and I just asked questions and took tons of notes.

If you can’t sit face to face, watch them. Take notes. And read everything you can on speaking.

This year I’ll speak less than I have in the last 5 years and I’m great with that! Why? Because I have the AMAZING Privilege of speaking at Thrive Community Church on Sunday’s!

If you ever want to talk speaking, let me know! I would love to help!


A Super GREAT DAY to Check out Thrive Church…

Ok, I think you get the hint from me, especially if you read my blog, that I think you should be a part of Thrive Church!

I think because…A-Christmas-At-Thrive-Santa

  • I love this church
  • It’s the kind of church I’ve always dreamed about being a part
  • We make welcoming and accepting everyone the priority…no matter your background
  • We’re super casual
  • Thrive is Modern…all that means is that there is…


  • We’re not a ‘churchy’ kind of church
  • We’re fun and we laugh
  • We don’t take ourselves too seriously
  • We’re centered on Jesus…He’s all that matters
  • You will pushed to take your next step towards Jesus

We exist to help people find and follow Jesus

So, today is a GREAT day to check out Thrive Church! I know it’s snowing, don’t let that get in the way. Just get up, get the kids ready (if you have them) and head to Celebration Cinema (4395 E. Pickard).

Today, you will experience…

  • A Hot Cocoa Bar…with a ton of amazing toppings!
  • A Christmas Cookie Decorating Station
  • Tons of people that can’t wait to greet you, smile, learn your name and tell you all about Thrive
  • Super fun songs by Matt Moore
  • A look at the real meaning of Christmas with the help of the best Christmas movies of all time
  • A message that you will be able to understand



I can’t wait for that part!!!!

Ok, see you in a few hours!!

Pretty worn out from the pain

Have you ever been in pain?

There are lots of kinds of pain…physical, emotional or relational pain are the biggies.

But, I’m assuming you have! I mean, who hasn’t been in pain?

Over the course of my short 38 years on planet earth, I have experienced my fair share of pain as well.

I’ve lost loved ones. Things have gone wrong. Relationships have been severed. Pain has happened.

Specifically, the last couple of years, I’ve experienced my fair share of pain. Here’s what I know about pain…

It’s exhausting.

It hurts.

It sucks.

It’s not fair.

It’s always hungry for more.

For me, as I think about the last couple of years, emotional and physical pain top the list. Emotional pain from worry and stress and anxiety and honestly, some loss of friendships. Physical pain from a back injury.

But, right now, December 21, 2013 I can honestly say…

I am just worn out from the pain.

Here’s a little back story. I’ve always had a bad back. I was hit by a car when I was a jr higher and I was really tough on my back growing up. I fell a lot. Then, I lifted a lot…the wrong way. I worked as a high school student for a mentor of mine doing construction stuff and then I roofed in college and I was tough on my back. After that, as a youth pastor, I always seemed to want to move stuff around. So, me and a group of guys were always lugging around sound equipment and playing shows in our band. Again, tough on my back.

On top of that, I have been overweight and obese most of my adult life. As much as 75 pounds overweight for my short frame and it has taken a toll on my back.

I have learned to live with the pain. I just always expect that it’s going to be there. I wake up and 98% of the time, bending is just not an option. It has held me back from a lot! From playing with my kids to a list of other things.

Needless to say, I am pretty worn out from it.

And, on top of all that, the last couple of years have been stressful. Almost two years ago I launched out on my own to travel and speak and raise my own salary doing that. With 4 kids, yeah, that’s stressful. Then, this fall I started a new church after going through a lengthy assessment process. Again, lots of stress and anxiety.

I’ve read and been told numerous times that we carry a lot of the stress in our lower back and so on top of the pain I already had and the stress, it’s been a rough road on my back.

In the past, two things have made it feel better: losing weight and warmth. My weight has fluctuated like crazy over the years. I can lose 30 pounds and then put it back on in the same year. Not great at all. but, obviously, the weight loss is good for my back.

And, the warmth feels amazing on my back. Every chance I have gotten to spend time in the warmth, I take it because I feel like a new person. I really do! The hotter the better! I was in TX for a week in July and felt like a new person! I loved it!

But, lately, either of those things just don’t help. This fall, again, I lost 35 pounds and with each pound I lost, my back got worse. It’s kept me from running and it’s kept me from walking. It keeps me from getting on the ground and playing with my kids. It keeps me from doing a lot.

The pain has just become unbelievably bad. Everything hurts. Getting up in the morning is not fun. Trying to stretch is excruciating. Putting on socks is out of the question. Putting pressure on my left leg is crazy painful at certain moments of the day. Walking up stairs is like climbing a mountain.

So, I am sorry that this post has become a whine session, but I just needed to get it out.

Here’s the good news…

In the midst of all that, I have experienced incredible blessing and unexplainable joy and ridiculous peace. I can’t even begin to explain how blessed I am and how unbelievably humbled I am with the story that God has me on and how He has moved in my life.


The last year has been amazing! I am truly blessed and so love the journey God has me on!

But, I believe this to be true…

Great beauty comes from deep pain. 

So, I don’t why I’ve had to experience all this pain but I do know this, something good will come from it. That’s just how I choose to look at pain. No more being in down in the dumps. No more being pissed off at life.

Nope. Bring it on. Because I know it’s teaching me something amazing and molding me into the image of God.

HUGE Day at Thrive Church…A Great day to check us out


It’s a beautiful day for Church!!! Can’t wait to see you!Balanced-WS

I woke up this morning just overwhelmed with the privilege we have to be a part of Thrive Church and I can’t wait to see what God is going to do this morning.

I just have a feeling that today is going to be one of the amazing days!!!

  • Families get to decorate Christmas ornaments together…
  • We have donuts from Robaires…
  • A guest worship leader, Jennie Wellsand
  • A message titled…”What interrupts Heaven?”…
  • Amazing lesson and crafts planned in Thrive Kidz…
  • Our first ever Christmas Offering…
  • Communion…

Yeah, I can’t wait! It’s not to late to pray for Thrive this morning. Pray for people who’ve decided to not come. Pray for families that are hurting and that they will find peace. Pray for people to trust in Jesus. Pray for our Christmas Offering. Pray for the worship. Pray for our teams. And please pray for people to find and follow Jesus.

I can’t wait to see you!

Get there early!! Meet new people. Say hi. Sit by someone new. Sit up front. Sing loud. Clap and cheer. And dive into the Thrive Community.

See you soon!


PS…WE could use your help with set up this morning or tear down afterwards!! Thanks

The power of Sunday’s

I so love Sunday’s.

I always have. I know I always will. I have been a part of going to Church, serving at Church and leading at Church for as long as I can remember.

Honestly, there have been seasons of my life when I have been burned out from Church. And seasons, where I wanted to be done with Church. But, thankfully, they have only lasted about a half a blink.

Here’s why I love Sundays, and specifically, the gathering of Jesus Followers:

Because of possibility.

Because of the power.

Because of the catalytic experience.

Because of the unity.

Because of the love.

Because its a tremendous time to get the body together and encourage people to live out what they believe.

I really believe the Church becomes a country club when those things don’t happen. And, I know of churches where they don’t. Sunday’s are dry. Sunday’s passionate less. Sunday’s are just another check on the list.

If you’re headed to Church this morning, know it’s just a part of your week.

Lean into it. Meet new people. Pray before you go, while you’re there and when you leave. If your church sings, sing. If your church worships, worship. Give. Serve and then give some more. Look for people who look like they need community and be there community. Invite someone or a family you don’t know to lunch. Ask questions. Go home and pray for them.

Then…spend the week putting into practice what you learned at Church. See, the Church is not a building, it’s a gathering on Sunday’s, it’s not following a list of ‘we’ve always done it this way’.

The Church is you, it’s me and its us being Jesus to the world around us. To your family, to your neighbors, to your co-workers and to the strangers you’ll come across everyday.

But, I believe that Sunday can help lay the foundation for week. I believe that Sunday can be a power boost and give you  the tools you need to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus.

So, get up, put your feet on the ground and give this day to Jesus.


Thrive Church…3 musts for this Sunday

It’s Thursday and Sunday’s coming! I couldn’t be more excited! Balanced-WS

I just can’t wait for Sunday’s! I love everything about them!

Except that they go by way to quick!

Someone recently said to me…”You’re almost too excited about Thrive Church”. I was puzzled and I asked what they meant. They said, it’s impossible to be that excited, all the time!

I simply replied…NOPE!

Not when you get to see the culmination of a 15 year dream come into existence. Not when you get to see lives changed. Not when you get to gather together with people that you just love. Not when God is doing something in your midst.

I am simply that EXCITED about what is happening at Thrive Church!

That being said, here’s what you need to know for this Sunday…

1. Get on your knees

Seek God. Pray James 4:2

” You do not have, because you do not ask God”

Thrive Church…let’s ask God for…Unity, Compassion, Love, Mercy, His Grace and His Blessing on our little Church.

Let’s ask God to move in peoples hearts. Let’s ask God to wreck lives. Let’s ask God to heal marriages. Let’s ask God to restore friendships. Let’s ask God to provide financially. Let’s ask God to bring people to HIM!!!

2. Wear an Ugly Sweater

That’s right, it’s Thrive’s 1st Annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Sunday! Do your best! Do your worst! Get a picture in the photo booth. And, if you seater rocks like crazy, you will get a prize!


3. Bring Someone

That’s right, all this isn’t all that special if we keep it to ourselves.

So, pray about who to invite, invite them, bring them and then sit by them.

Introduce them to people, show them around and pray the entire time for God to move in their hearts!

One last thing, know you’re loved and prayed for!

Just imagine if we all lived this way…

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” ~Luke 6:37-38 (msg)

Is this not the most amazing 2 verses ever?

Or at least in the top 10 of amazing verses!!!

Let’s live this way!

Just imagine…