California!

Breanna and I had a blast yesterday in Hollywood and Anaheim. It was so fun watching Breanna’s face as she experienced California. Here’s a quick picutre of Breanna by Frank Sinatra and Julie Andrews’ hand and shoe prints in front of Grumman’s Chinese Theater.

You Go, Heather!

I am convinced that I work with the best Junior High Pastor in America. Heather Flies has been at Wooddale Church for 10 years now, and among the students that she loves is my daughter. Heather has been making a huge impact on youth ministry nationwide for several years now. She serves on Youth Specialties national CORE training team, was a featured speaker at DCLA 2006, and is so well respected. Youth Specialties has a monthly podcast that they make available for free to anyone who wants to grow. On the podcast they interview some of the most influential voices in youth ministry. This month’s interview features Heather talking about the unique calling of the middle school pastor. You can check it out here.

Heather is also the author of an extraordiary new book on talking to your teenage daughter. I’d highly recommend it. You can order it here or pick up a copy in the Wooddale Church Bookstore.

Spiritual Moments

It was a profoundly spiritual moment when I saw this picture. 33 years ago there was a swingset in this yard. It was on Easter Sunday after listening to my Sunday School teacher share the story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that I was challenged so deeply in my life. I went home, considered what my Sunday School teacher had said, and prayed in this yard to ask Jesus to become my Savior and Lord. My life has never been the same.

This home is for sale now. I lived there from the time I was 2-7 and my brother Mark recently came across the MLS listing for the home. He e-mailed the photos from the MLS listing to every one of my siblings. I love what God did in that house in my life. He gave me parents who loved Him, brought me to church, and exposed me to the Gospel. Thanks Mom and Dad, and thank you God!

I had another cool spiritual moment recently. Erik and Joel Bakke came into my office and asked me if I had any books by Arthur Pink. Erik and Joel are in high school and Arthur Pink was born in 1886. I was blown away that they would want to read a book by Pink. I had Pink’s commentary on Genesis in my library. It’s called Gleanings in Genesis. When I pulled it off of the shelf, I thumbed through the book. A business card fell out. It said, Ray Schulenburg, on the front. Ray was my Grandpa. He died several years ago. There was a note from Grandpa on the card to me. It said, “Brian . . . some Bible teachers consider this the best exposition there is on Genesis. Study it. Grandpa” I’d never seen that note before. Kind of wierd to get a note from your Grandpa years after he’s died. I let the guys borrow my book, but you can be sure that Gleanings In Genesis is at the top of my reading list.

Thanks God, for my spritual heritage that I take for granted way too much. You have blessed me beyond measure.

Breanna’s Surprise

At 6:30 this morning, my 14-year-old daughter began to open her birthday presents. I know, it’s early, but I’ve been invovled in a conference all week long and don’t get back home until 6:00 PM, and I wanted Breanna to be able to enjoy her gifts all day long. OK, maybe it is less about Breanna and more about me. I really let Breanna open her gift early because I couldn’t wait.

For the past month I’ve had to keep a secret from my daughter. I’m terrible at keeping secrets when I have really good news to share. This weekend I’m speaking at The National Youth Workers Convention in Anaheim, California. I told Cyndi last month that I had throught of the perfect birthday gift for Breanna. I’d cash in some of my frequent flyer miles and bring Breanna with me. Cyndi agreed, and today, while opening her gifts Breanna unwrapped some pictures of California. She immediately said, “I’m going to California?” Then she saw the airplane ticket and said, “I’m going to California on Saturday?” She couldn’t wait to get on the bus and tell her friends.

This weekend Breanna and I will fly together for our first ever father/daughter trip. She’s decided that she wants to visit Hollywood and Beverly Hills. A girl after her Dad’s own heart. We can’t wait to experience this together. She’s also excited about going to the National Youth Workers Convention with me and hearing the David Crowder Band and Jars of Clay in person. Saturday can’t get here fast enough.