I had the honor of speaking at a fund-raising dinner for the Boy Scouts this week. I received my Eagle Scout award back in 1991, and Scouting was a big part of my teenage years. I loved the hiking and camping, and was even able to go backpacking in New Mexico at Philmont two times. In thinking through what I learned from scouting, I remembered one experience from my freshman engineering class.

I had good grades and was blessed to have a major university scholarship to Virginia Tech. I was in a special scholarship section of my freshman engineering class with a bunch of people that were smarter than me. The professor went through a series of questions about our backgrounds. He asked how many straight A students, how many perfect scores on SAT, how many valedictorians, and finally how many Eagle Scouts were in the class. Over half the class raised their hands and shared that they were Eagle Scouts and I realized that scouting had prepared me to be a leader. That one incident gave me the confidence that I belonged.

This week at the dinner, I shared some of the leadership lessons I learned from scouting. These have helped shape me into the leader that I am, so I wanted to share these lessons with you. I learned …

  • The importance of discipline – There are constant goals you are working towards, and it takes discipline  to meet the requirements. You can’t quit until you reach your goal.
  • The importance of working together – When you are backpacking, you have to work together and learn to get along with the people you are with. You learn a lot about conflict resolution and teamwork.
  • The importance of responsibility – When teaching younger scouts or leading the group, you learn the importance of taking responsibility.
  • The importance of being prepared – You never know what to expect, so you learn to always be prepared.
  • The importance of ingenuity – Scouting teaches you how to be a problem solver. It’s a skill that defined my career as an engineer, and it definitely helps me in ministry as well.
  • The importance of worship – You can’t help but worship when you see God’s beautiful creation. Hiking through pristine mountains teaches you to slow down and simply worship God.
  • The importance of service – You learn how to serve others. The Scout Oath teaches you to “help other people at all times”

Scouting is so much more than hiking and camping, because it is a place where young leaders are developed.

Here’s a great use of the internet. Most churches spend a lot of time trying to organize meals for people who are sick or in need. But it’s always confusing knowing who is bringing what, and when they are bringing it. Recently we used Take Them a Meal to help organize meals for a family at our church for over a week.

Simply create an online signup form on the site, then send it out for people to view and signup. It’s easy to use and it works great. It’s crowd-sourcing on a whole new level. There is also a companion site for organizing potluck dinners – check it out at perfectpotluck.com.

For those times in life when filling their table will warm their hearts.
Simplifying meal coordination so friends, family, neighbors and co-workers can show they care.
Create a customized online sign up sheet to include phone numbers, driving directions, food allergies and more that makes it easy for friends and family to take meals to those in need.

I shared a video in church last week that a lot of people have been asking me about. The video has received over 20 million views over the past few months on Youtube. It’s titled, Why I hate religion, but love Jesus. The focus of the video by Jefferson Bethke is to highlight the difference between false religion and a relationship with Jesus. The video seems to have hit a nerve, with many critiquing it and criticizing it, but I think the video serves as a wakeup call to the church. We do have to be careful in defining what we mean by religion, but I think Bethke defines it accurately in the video. He says that religion is man searching for God, while Christianity is God searching for man.

Are we inviting people into a relationship with Jesus Christ, or are we inviting them into our system of rules and tradition and religion? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Replacing my Macbook Pro

March 15, 2012 — 2 Comments

My Apple Macbook Pro is almost 5 years old and is starting to show some early signs of motherboard problems, so I decided to make the plunge and replace it. This time, I decided to go with a refurbished 13″ Macbook Air. It’s cheaper, lighter, faster, and just plain awesome. I went with the i7 model with 4Gigs of RAM and the 256Gig Solid State Drive. There are a lot of rumors about new larger Macbook airs that will be released soon, but it’s hard to beat the deal I got on this refurbished one. I’m really looking forward to having a computer this fast and lightweight. I’ll post a longer review after I get it and start using it.

Live Bible for Teens

I’ve seen a lot of teen Bibles over the years, but the Live Bible by Group Publishing has to be one of my favorites. My two oldest children are now in youth group and are spending a lot of time reading their Bibles. We bought them each a copy of this Bible, and they both love it. I grabbed their Bibles and took a quick picture with my cell phone. Not only do they look cool for a teen, but they truly have helped my children get in God’s Word.

My thirteen year old daughter just finished reading through the entire Bible, and my eleven year old son has finished the New Testament and is working through the Old Testament. The graphic design is contemporary, the content is applicable, and the translation is the easy to read NLT. If you are looking for a good Bible for your teen, then click here for more information from the Publisher.  You can click here to purchase from my amazon estore.

I’m recommending this because I’ve seen how it has helped my own children. I love seeing teenagers develop a hunger to read and learn from God’s Word.

From the Publisher,

Most youth Bibles are just teen versions of adult Bibles. Live takes an all-new, teen-centered approach. It includes a wealth of experiences and activities that help teens discover surprising things about God, see God involved in their lives, and express their faith creatively. Teens will see how God works in the lives of other teens and be encouraged to express their faith, too.

I wanted to share this online conference for all of my ministry friends. Preaching can be tough. Every week you have the responsibility to share multiple messages with the people of your church. If you are like me, you appreciate all the help and training you can get. Here is an opportunity to learn from great communicators and pastors who do a great job each week preaching God’s Word.

On March 15th, from 1-4pm, you can watch this free online conference to learn how you can preach better sermons. Just go to the website and signup, and then login on the day of the event to watch and learn. For my local friends, if you would like to come join me, I’ll broadcast it on the big screens at Cornerstone. Let me know if you can join me for this. Here’s more information about the event

After talking to hundreds of pastors, we’ve realized that while preachers love preaching, it’s the preparation that often hurts.  So we’re going “behind the scenes” with some of America’s best preachers to find out how they bring great content week in and week out.

Would you like to hear how Andy Stanley, Perry Noble, Dr. Charles Stanley, Louie Giglio, and Vanable Moody prepare their messages?  How would you like to learn communication principles from one of America’s best comedians…Jeff Foxworthy?

All of this happens on Thursday, March 15 at 1pm EST.  And best of all, it’s 100% free. Preach Better Sermons is a free, three-hour, online conference focused on helping communicators prepare and deliver messages that matter.  Some of the best communicators in the world will unpack these seven preaching principles.

  1. Start with the Scripture.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Make it portable.
  4. Show it, don’t just say it.
  5. Find common ground.
  6. Finish early in the week.
  7. Preach with the end in mind.

It’s 100% free and since it happens online, there are no travel costs.  Register for the free event here.


Last year, a group of community leaders came together to host the Chick-fil-A Leadercast here in our own community. We are excited to bring it back this year. The Leadercast will be on Friday May 4th, and will be from 8am to 4:30pm at the Crossroads Institute in Galax. Speakers include: Soledad O’Brien, Tim Tebow, Patrick Lencioni, Marcus Buckingham, John Maxwell, Angela Ahrendts, Roland Fryer, Urban Meyer, Andy Stanley, and Sheena Iyengar. Click here to order tickets or find out more information about this great webcast.


I just updated the site for Because We Care Ministries. I moved the site over to WordPress so it would be cheaper and easier to maintain. Don and Pam Gillette do an incredible job of ministering to the people of Nicaragua. Our church has been on numerous trips there to work with them, and I highly recommend that you check out their ministry and see how you can partner with them. I’m planning on returning in April for a week of training local pastors.

If you are interested in any website work, check out my other site at FEDesign.net.

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