A Small Thing That May Get You Called Out In Church

I knew I was in trouble when I saw my pastor look directly at me in the middle of his sermon.  

Trust me when I tell you your heart starts pumping pretty fast when in a church of 8000 members, the attention is on you.  But it wasn’t out of embarrassment or fear of getting exposed for something I did wrong, it was because I knew I was about ready to ball my eyes out.

You see my pastor was preaching out of John 6 where Jesus used the “five SMALL barley loaves and two SMALL fish” that a boy had, to feed over 5000 people. He shared that the small things we give to Jesus and we do in His honor to serve others, God will multiply and do great things from it.

And so when my pastor looked at me and told the congregation who he really loved and appreciated..and that it was me…my eyes started welling up tears. He mentioned the “small thing” I had done to impact his son Josh back when he was a teenager, and how even today it has impacted his son. 

You see Josh was a PK. He absolutely loved..and dare I say almost worshipped the band Pearl Jam and Eddie Vedder.  We were introduced when his father first came to our church as the pastor back in 1993.  Josh was incredibly smart and generally cordial to everyone but you could tell he had some reservations about who he let into his world.  

I intentionally started trying to connect with him. We would go to the gym regularly in the mornings, grab lunch and even one time we drove to St. Louis for a concert of another favorite band of his.  We had many great conversations where we talked about his life and spiritual things.  He thought deeply about all these things and it required great discernment, love and patience to take care of what God was doing in his heart.  

As he went off to college we only saw each other every once in awhile.  I do remember a time when he was back working at the church part time on the custodial staff. He shared with me how much it meant to him and that out of all the people he knew, I showed him the love of Jesus like he had never experienced.  

And recently, 26 years later, as a husband and father himself, he reached out to me to tell me how he realizes even more the impact our time together had back then on his life.  What a treasured gift that was to have Josh share those words with me!

I share this not to call attention to myself, but rather to highlight what God taught me again that day…and when his father called me out in church as well.  It is this…

that small things matter.

Small things. That is, seemingly little, perhaps mundane or obscure things we may do, can have lasting impact well beyond their initial act.  

Getting called out and encouraged like this in such a public setting, I knew God wanted me and others to always remember that  “the small things” we do in love that honor Him, He will multiply. 

So what “small thing” do you feel God calling you to do.  Whatever it is….do it.  Do it and know He will multiply it many times over!


  • Read John‬ ‭6:1-13‬. Put yourself in the interaction. How would you feel if you were the boy or others…before and after…after the miracle?
  • Reflect if there was time you did something small for someone else.  What kind of evidence of God’s multiplication happened because of your small act.  Give thanks to God for that!
  • What small thing do you sense God might want you to do for Him and others this week?

Don’t Fail the Growth Test

So have you ever bombed a test?

Well your not alone.  I did it just the other day.

Now the test I’m talking about isn’t a school test…God knows I have struggled a lot with those in the past.  No, the test I am referring to is the kind that helps us grow in character and our calling.

The other night, a few of my friends and I were in the kitchen talking. One of my friends saw that he had not shut the door fully behind him as we came in earlier. He, with a rather direct tone said, “Todd shut that door will ya?” Now I know that seems like a simple request, and honestly as I write this I feel like even more of a dork, but guess what I did?  Instead of fully shutting the door, I closed it only half way to where it was not fully latched.  Needless to say, he noticed as he stared me down with a look that urged obedience while at the same time wondered why I did the job only half way in the first place.

So what was I thinking?  And why did I behave like a jerk you ask?  Well, in only one second, I thought three things:  1) “I don’t like his direct tone toward me”  2) “I prefer the door partly unlatched anyway so that when you come in from the garage it is easier to just push open than turn the handle too.”  3) “I will just close it half way like I like it.”

Do you see why I know I failed my test? To state the obvious, it was about ME and what “I wanted.”  It was a test to help me overcome my own pride and selfishness.  You see that same morning in my devotion time I read the verses in Philippians chapter 2 where it talks about imitating Jesus’ humility, valuing others above yourself and not looking to your own interests but the interests of others.  God trained me up with this scripture and got me ready for the test, but I bombed it.

Retakes for Growth

The good news is that God allows you to retake the test if you want too. The bad news though is that if we don’t want to retake the test, you and I will remain where we are….in the same grade.  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love us, it just means He can’t advance us.

You see God doesn’t want us to just know something; He wants us to become something. And by allowing challenges to come our way, He desires that those circumstances help define and build our character. And when our character grows guess what happens?  Our life grows.

When our life grows it means we have moved to another level in our journey to become all that we were created to be.
Ephesians 2:10 states that we are God’s handiwork:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

We were created “to do”.  So that means it has to be more than just knowing some scripture. It is there for us to know so that we become it.

Plants just like people have stages of growth, we can’t skip any stages. We can’t fool ourselves to think that God’s spiritual growth design can be bypassed. We must be mature at each stage of growth before we can move onto the next.

What area in your life have you sensed you have failed to pass the test? Will you allow God to show you what you need to do to move forward to your next growth level?

Fathers [special video]

Fathers. We have seen good and we have seen bad.

Society is hungry for strong fathers; men who selflessly lay down their lives for the sake of their wives and children; men who forsake self-interest to support their families and their neighbors; men who encourage and discipline; men who laugh and cry; men who know that, to do these things well, Jesus must be their ultimate treasure.  -Humble Beast Records

Some of us can celebrate those men who have poured in our lives and modeled well positive attributes of a true loving father.  Others either cringe at the thought or mourn the failings of the first male in our life.  Even then, most of us probably land our sentiments somewhere in between.

So if you are a young man reading this, may you either be encouraged by this video and be sure to thank your own dad or pray to God to help equip you to be the kind of man portrayed in it.

Whether you like rap or not, I believe you will love this video!

Please stop saying your too busy

Note: This an adaptation of a blog written by Jon Acuff by the same name.  You can check it out here.

Please stop saying your too busy

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to spend time alone with God and then show me your perfectly detailed fantasy football team.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to read your bible everyday and then give me intricate plot details about the six shows you’re watching.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to pray and then update your social media accounts incessantly.

We are a busy people. Our clocks are thin and tired, our schedules full and bloated.

But somehow we find a way to give our time to a host of wonderful distractions.

There is a reason the average 21-year-old has played 10,000 hours of video games.

There is a reason the average American watches 35 hours of television a week according to Nielsen.

There is a reason American companies lose an estimated $6.5 billion during the 15-week fantasy football season.

Time is a squirrely thing. It only goes where you tell it to go. It has no mind of its own. It won’t naturally gravitate to things that matter. It always looks for the easy way out.

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This summer, I dare you to not waste it.  What if not waisting it meant only doing 15 minutes more of something meaningful for your growth with God?  I’m talking about 15 minutes. I don’t care how busy you are, you have 15 minutes hidden somewhere in your day.

I dare you to rescue that tiny amount each day and then watch what happens this summer.

Time won’t find you. You have to find it.

And when you find it, you will find more of God in that time.

Boys, Men & Mentoring

The Man Card

I have to admit, when I was younger, I was totally impressed how certain older men in my life handled themselves so well in a crowd of people.  It seemed effortless to them as they made people laugh or shared a touching story or calmly gave a cool response to a heated situation.  I thought, “how do they do that?”  Was there a magical time in my life that same ability would click for me?  What was this “man card” everyone was talking about and how do I get one?

I realize now, this is pretty much how every young guy feels most of the time. And if I’m honest, as an adult I still feel that way at times. What we forget is that what we see in others we admire is that they didn’t just start talking and acting that way overnight.  They had to grow into it.

By design we are meant to be in relationship.  We grow into and learn social norms by observation and teaching from others.  When we are surrounded by people who speak and live great examples of godly characteristics, we tend to absorb those same qualities as well.  This is why we need godly role models to help us grow.

God’s original built-in intent was to place us in the best environment to help us grow. As males, we are naturally inclined to need another male who is older to show us how to live different aspects of our maleness out in real life (this is true for women as well).

Closing the Gap

Unfortunately, as you and I both know, we live in a fallen world where many times the male figures in our life have given us a distorted model by either plain ignorance or inadequacy on their part.  This is why there are many great organizations and ministries now that see this gap and hope to redirect the trend in a positive direction. That is what we are trying to do here with Champion Builders.  Many leaders such as Cory Smith, who has a mentoring ministry called Training Ground, see that many young guys will have to be very intentional in seeking out help if they want to grow.  This is what he says,

“In a perfect world, every older man should see a younger man’s need for mentoring and step in. The sad reality is that most the time a young man will have to initiate the relationship.” – Cory Smith

Lack of mentoring may not be the case for those of you in high school now.   Most students are surrounded by built in systems in school and church.  But you can be sure as a guy graduates, he has to learn to diligently seek out other older role models to help in his growth as a man.

Again I know from personal experience how inadequate you may feel about who you are as a young man right now.  I also know the prideful flip-side of that in thinking that we know everything we need to know already to get by.  Wherever your thinking is right now, will you at least admit you want to get better?  If so, will you or have you already taken the big step to seek out an older man in a mentoring relationship?

I know it is intimidating or awkward at first.  But, can you get a vision now of maybe one day, a young man saying of you, “I want to be like him.”

  • What man is being intentional now to mentor you that you need to thank or be more intentional towards yourself?
  • If you don’t have a mentor now, who could you contact to ask them if they would consider mentoring you?

New Believer’s Devotions

Welcome to the Family!

Just so you know, this Family is all about adventure!   The more we learn to love and follow the leader of our lives…Jesus…the more Real Life you and I will experience everyday. (John 10:10)

Below is a series of devotions and scriptures to help you to really understand WHY we need a relationship with Jesus, WHAT has happened in our hearts and HOW we are to live from this point forward.

Be sure to not just skim through these.  Make sure you spend most of your time looking at the scripture by reading…then re-reading…then thinking…then asking (praying to) God to reveal the truth of what you should gain from His words speaking to you.

Lastly, be sure to TALK, SHARE and/or ASK QUESTIONS from what you are experiencing with someone who is encouraging and mentoring you in your faith.   They will want to guide you and be encouraged themselves by your journey of faith!  Also, you can use the “Ask Me Anything” link on the right if you have a question or just want to post what you learned.


Searching For Jedi’s and God

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis

If you find in yourself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy… then maybe there are some definite parallels to our life and the latest Star Wars movie.

If you haven’t seen it…then my question is why not?!   I must admit that despite being a part of the epic movie franchise all my life (I was five years old when the first Star Wars came out in 1977), I had no idea why I was drawn to the story so much.  That is until only recently when I ran across a recent NPR podcast that explained the whole “hero’s journey” concept.   Apparently all the great epic stories of old, and new, have a common theme that echo’s in the characters and structural concepts of the tale.

The question that I have is namely a “chicken or the egg” concept question:  So is the hero’s journey template in Star Wars and other stories something we WANT to believe is true about life or is it instead a deep understanding of the fabric of life struggles and how our TRUE HEART finds redemption in it?

To explore this idea, I want to take you to a piece written by one of my favorite writers.  He casts light not only on the insights gleamed from “Force Awakens” but he tells of the most epic of all ancient Christian monastic sites and the wild brave Christian Celtic men who occupied it.


Searching for Skywalker | AndSons Magazine


What is God’s Idea of a Champion?

But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.   – Luke 22:26

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.   –1 Peter 2:21

A Champion literally translated is one who “stands in between the two middles”.   He stands in the gap.   He fights for those he cares about.   His cause is great.   In fact, it is greater than himself.   Most people think of a champion as one who wins in a sport.   And in many cases, it is only about that individual or team rising above the other opposing team to prove that they are greater.

God’s idea of a Champion is greater.

God’s Champion is a God seeker, fighter, lover, and servant.
  • SEEKER:  First and foremost, a Champion seeks after God.   His ultimate goal is being so in tune with God that everything he does flows out of that relationship.  He hears, feels and knows God’s heart and desires.   He is guided by God’s spirit and longs for God’s ways and love to be known and experienced by all.  He wants joy and happiness for himself and others and he knows that seeking God is the key.
  • FIGHTER:   Yes he competes.  He strives.  He works to get better.  He wants all that he does to be the best because he knows his life, others and the Cause are at stake.   His fight however is for God.   And his number one enemy is satan and his own flesh that keeps trying to feed him lies of doubt and unbelief.
  • LOVER:   The great drive to protect and fight comes from his deep love.   It wells up in him so much that he does things any ordinary person would instinctively turn and run in fear.  A champion is the greatest lover on earth!
  • SERVANT:  A true leader is a servant leader.   Jesus himself said, “the greatest one among should be…like the one who serves.”   And a leader by definition champions others by serving and using his life… skills, talents, personality and resources…to help others.
We want young men to not just be another winner of a game…we want them to be Champions in life?

Click below to see a visual presentation we are using during our gatherings with our young men and coaches:

Who Are You Following?



Everyone follows someone. Even if you think that “someone” is only yourself, all of us have admired certain people along the way and either intentionally or unintentionally modeled certain aspects of our life after them. A wise man eventually evaluates on a daily basis from whom is he is…

More thoughts…

When John the Baptist called out “look, the Lamb of God”, that was a bold and world altering statement.   You see if you grew up in that culture you would know that the Jewish people throughout history where hoping for God to do something big.   And before God did this, He told to them to perform a ritual that would cover over their sins and help them remember what God was going to do.   This ritual consisted of finding a perfect unblemished lamb and sacrificing it.   They had to do this over and over again for the sins they committed.   Imagine if you and I personally had to do that for the wrong we have done; that would be a lot of lambs!  So, it was a big deal that John declared Jesus as the Lamb of God because that meant that God was bringing a Lamb instead of them bring a lamb to be sacrificed.   It was no longer what they were doing, but what God was doing!  That’s a big deal!
Our motives in anything are important.   So, when Jesus asks what Andrew and John wanted, He wanted to see what they would vocalize as their motive for following Him.   Their response showed that they wanted to be with Jesus.   They wanted something different for their life.   And they sensed that Jesus could be the answer for that.
Do you believe Jesus is worthy enough to follow?  If not…why not?  If so…are you?

Who Are You Following?