Thursday, June 11, 2015

Missing Summer...

Do you ever miss Summer?
For those of us who are no longer in school, summer isn't really that much different than the other 9 months of the year, is it? If you find yourself in that position, do you miss summer? Do you ever miss staying up late with no concern for what time the alarm will go off in the morning, or swimming until your eyes are so over-chlorinated that you see rainbows everywhere?

My wife now works as a school nurse so she actually gets a summer break, and of course my kids are out of school, sleeping in, and enjoying their time off, but as for me, well, things are moving on just as they have before.  In fact, if anything the lack of clear schedules, bedtimes, and weekdays vs weekends has actually made it more difficult to find time to connect with my family at times.

If this at all resembles your life, then I have one challenge for you this summer - Don't MISS Summer! The great opportunities we have to build lasting memories with our spouse and family, and to instill key values into our kids can be easily missed while they are at home lounging and we as parents are off working. It's my goal this summer to capture those opportunities, re-orient myself to the summer schedule, and make the most of these days while my kids are out of school. I know to do so I will have to be intentional! To that end here are my Top 10 Family Summer Ideas, most of which with any luck, I plan to put into practice this summer:

10. Go on a family vacation
While this seems simple, less and less families are taking out the time to get away and spend time as a family for an extended period of time.  It doesn't have to cost a great deal of money, (go on a "stay-cation" in your town), but be sure to take the time away from work to get away with your family.  Ask anyone about their favorite family memories and most likely they will tell you it was a family vacation.  One note here: I try to not "overschedule" our family vacations either. Keep them simple, allow the family to bond, even allow the kids to get bored together - it will lead to a richer more memorable time together.

9. Go to church
Summer time can easily become a time where we disconnect with the regular routine of bringing our families to church because we are traveling, and going. Remember that what we DO communicates more to our familes than what we SAY.  Keep fellowship and gathering with the body of Christ a priority in your schedule.

8. Do a Project (together)
Build something, clean out a closet, re-arrange the garage, but do it together as a family! Not only is completing a project gratifying, but it calls us to work together, take time together, and be together. If love is spelled T.I.M.E. then doing a project together is a great way to demonstrate love to your family.

7. Define Summer Challenges
A few summers ago I realized that if I will lay out a few age-appropriate challenges for my kids it makes the summer an intentional time to teach my kids those things I want them to know before they leave me home. (admittedly, I have done a better job of this with my son) Challenge them to learn how to have a quiet time, to complete a reading challenge, to change a tire, or develop a personal budget. As parents we have the responsibility to prepare our kids for what's coming and to be productive members of society (Dads I really feel you should set the pace here) Don't have kids? Write up summer challenges for you and your spouse and share them with each other.

6. Serve Somewhere
There is nothing that negates discontentment in our lives like serving others. We are reminded of the blessings that God has given us, and that we should be grateful. Serving stirs our hearts for God because Jesus came to serve and not be served. The summer is a great time to intentionally lead our families to serve because we have more free time. Make sure your summer isn't just about you- get out of your routine and set aside a day to serve others (dads this may cost you a day off at work - it's a day well spent!)

5. Go to the Library
That's right, local libraries still exist! They offer great summer reading programs and I'm convinced that my kids will be who they will become in 10 years based on who they meet, where they travel, and what they read. In our society readers are leaders so take the family to the library and stock up on some quality summer reading. (Mom & Dad - set the pace here. You can't expect your kids to love something you will not do yourself)

4. Reach your neighbors
In the summertime warm weather = more people outside. Be intentional. Set aside nights to BBQ and invite you neighbors over. Consider throwing a 4th of July block party. Christ calls us to love Him and our neighbor, so we should be intentional this summer, meet those who God has placed around us, and reach them with God's message of grace.

3. Send your kids to Camp/VBS
When you meet your neighbors a great way to share that message with them is to invite them to VBS at church or to a summer camp...the thing is you first have had to prioritize your summer so that your family can attend! Consider the spiritual development that happens in 1 hour of church for 52 weeks vs an entire week of growth that can happen in 1 week of VBS or at a camp like Second's beach retreats. Looking for something g to participate in? Here is our church summer lineup at Second Houston: 
BONUS: while your kids are at VBS/camp you can clean, catch up, relax, rest, get the picture!

2.  Be spontaneous
Every moment can't be planned. Create margin in your summer to simply be spontaneous with your family. They WILL remember it. Go to the beach, buy snow cones - just do something unexpected.

1. Have a weekly family night
During the year we regularly get up together as a family, sit at the table, discuss a daily devotional thought, and pray for the day. Because my kids are still asleep most weekdays in the summer when I'm leaving for work, I'm going to try planning one night a week where we plan to meet as a family, pray, study the Bible and talk about our week. With camps, vacations, and other summer "stuff", a once a week "family night" can be essential for leading your family, re-directing family focus, and re-connecting with each other. Think: what night would work best for your family?

Sound off: What are your summer plans this year and how have you been intentional with summertime in the past?

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Timeless qualities millennial's must cultivate

What Two Kinds of Executives Say About Today’s Graduates:


  • “These kids are lazy, entitled slackers. They’ve got lots to learn about 
    a job.”
  • “These kids are redefining the workplace. They’ll reinvent what jobs 
    look like.”


In reality, there’s a kernel of truth in both of these viewpoints. No doubt, students will need to adjust as they move from a dorm room to a cubicle. They may not be able to wear flip-flops or shorts when working for a Fortune 500 company (at least right now), but I believe they’re on the front edge of a new “on-demand” workforce that’s more about projects than the clock, who may do their best work at midnight rather than noon, and who communicate virtually more than face to face. I believe management will need to adjust as these Millennials become the majority in 10 years.


The Cultural and the Timeless


The fact is, effective leaders are able to separate what is cultural (trends that change all the time) from what is timeless (the changeless virtues all team members must possess). They adapt to the changing culture—the new rules and new ways to get work done more efficiently—but they cling to the timeless truths that make for a good workplace.


Millennials in the Workplace


Think about it: if leaders never change anything, they’ll become dinosaurs quickly. If they’re always changing everything, they create a volatile and unstable culture at work. Both consistency and change are necessary. So here is my question as we attempt to equip graduates for work: What are the timeless qualities leaders must build into team members in every generation? Let me suggest eight virtues that will never go out of style:


Timeless Traits Regardless of the Generation


1. Discipline 
There comes a time in everyone’s career when the work is no longer glitzy or glamorous — it just needs to get done. We don’t feel passionate in that moment, but we must do what is right, even when we don’t feel like it. This is a timeless virtue. While kids always want to find work they are passionate about, nothing takes the place of grit and old-fashioned work ethic.


2. Respect for authority 
While this virtue may look slightly different in each new generation, civilization will cease to make progress unless each population of workers learns to submit to governing authority. Even if it comes kicking and screaming, growth cannot be achieved without coordination and organization from an agreed-upon leader. Respect for those who cast the vision and manage the progress is essential.


3. Empathy 
Imagine a new population of colleagues who possess zero empathy for their peers. While job descriptions may still be followed, organizational culture would be lifeless. Genuine excellence occurs when people care more about each other than they do about money. This turns a one-mile walk into a second mile and motivates people better and faster than perks. It gives work meaning.


4. Resourcefulness 
More and more leadership gurus are proposing that resourcefulness is the meta-competency of the 21st century. Why? Because information is no longer scarce. Anyone in any position has access to any question. Resourceful team members who can dig and find solutions will be in high demand. Organizations seek out people who can adapt and reinvent themselves because they possess this trait.

5. Delayed gratification
Regardless of what age we live in, team members who are not slaves to instant gratification will be attractive to employers. People perform better when they can wait on solutions they want and perform due diligence on rewards they seek. Delayed gratification is not only a mark of maturity, it is a sign of value. People who embody it frequently get promoted to leadership roles.

6. Self-awareness
This is the first component of emotional intelligence; it is also a rare trait in people. I believe this is a timeless skill or quality because of the pace of progress we are making with technology. Screens don’t cultivate emotional intelligence or interpersonal skills like genuine face-to-face interaction.

7. Teachable spirit
This is all about remaining coachable into one’s later years. It means maintaining a hungry mind, a humble heart, and a growth mindset, even into the second half of your career. Once again, this is timeless because change happens so rapidly. So it’s important for people to adapt and adopt new ways.

8. Resilience
Much is being written about this topic today, probably because so few of us (and the Millennial generation) possess it. Due to modern culture, we’re conditioned to quit early when things get tough or never make a long-term commitment. We are used to a world that is fast, convenient, and full of stimulation. Team members are needed who can bounce back (and even bounce forward) from a fail.

Here’s to balancing the art of adapting to culture and technology—and embracing the timeless virtues that teams will always need.

A great truth borrowed from Growing Leaders 

- See more at:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Beach Retreat 2015 @ Second...a must for your teen!

Is Your teen signed up for Beach Retreat? visit today to ensure your teen a spot in the most significant spiritual thing happening in Houston for teenagers this summer!

Who's going to trim these hedges?

That's exactly what I said today as I walked past the large hedge that sits just outside the front door of my house.  After my recent ACL Surgery I was required to hire some men to keep up my yard because the doctors said I would not be able to do it myself for a few months. Even though I enjoy doing the yard work myself (I know, I'm strange), I hired a crew of men armed with their tools to weekly cut the grass, clean out the flowerbeds, maintain the trees, and yes - to even trim the hedges!  So, today when I walked by the large hedge in my front yard and noticed that it looked "out of control" for the 3rd or 4th times this week I thought, "why are these men, who I'm paying, not doing something about this!"  I was understandably frustrated.
Then it dawned on me...I have a pair of hedge trimmers in the garage, I can now walk well enough to tackle this job, trimming a bush isn't rocket science, so why complain about what someone else is not doing when I can initiate the change myself??

So what did I do? I grabbed my clippers, trimmed the hedges right then and there, and walked away minutes later pleased that I didn't have to be an eyesore anymore!

As someone who serves in the church I see this same scene played out time and time again.  We see something that bothers us, we notice something that needs attention, we can tell that something needs to change, to be updated, something should be started, cleaned up, or just modified, and what is our knee jerk reaction?? "Let's call on the paid guys to fix this thing!" In the American church we tend to think that it's easier to simply wait for the professionals to come in and initiate the change when we have all the tools ourselves to do what is necessary for God's church and God's Kingdom! Tools given to us by God himself to do the work that needs to be done - His work!
Ephesians 4:16 reminds us, "From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."  We ALL have a part to play, and we ALL who know Christ have the necessary tools (gifts) to play that part perfectly.  Zach Hunter as a teenager challenged others to "be the change you want to see in the world." ( -- surely we can be the change we want to see in our churches.

Next time you say, "Who's going to trim these hedges?", consider that God may have placed you there to be the very one to do it!

Monday, May 12, 2014

12 Tips for Seniors as the graduate

My friend Brian Mills (Youth pastor @ Longhollow Baptist in Tennessee posted this - I wanted to give him credit and share it with you. His blog is  I'm personally looking forward to our Graduate's Class for Graduating Seniors this year at HS Beach Retreat here at Second.  If you are a graduating Senior this is a must!

Here are 12 topics to talk about with Seniors before they leave your home or ministry.  

A great verse to center them all around is Matthew 7:24-27

1.  Who you surround yourself with matters.

2.  Leaders are not defined by their position but by their influence.  

3.  Who you date will eventually turn out to be your spouse - Be Wise! 

4.  Networking is a key component on the road to success.  

5.  Gods call is great than man's call.  

6.  Family must be keep at a high importance.  

7.  Never forget where you have come from.  

8.  Pray Continually.  

9.  Your daily time with God will keep you focused daily.  

10.  Travel often on mission trips.  

11.  Be wise financially.  

12.  Never let success be your Lord.  Keep Jesus as your Lord.  

1.  Joshua Code by O.S Hawkins.  52 Verses every believe should know.  This is a great 52 day devo for them to read.  

2.  Best Question Every by Andy Stanley.  

3.  Chasing Elephants by Brent Crowe

Grads Class @ Second!

Monday, April 28, 2014

What to do in the "new"

I love riddles.

"What gets wet as it dries?"

"What appears once in a minute, twice in a moment, but never in a thousand years."

"When you don't know it it's something, but once you know it's nothing. What is it?"
(Answers @ bottom)


I meet with many young adults in the course of my work (college students, young professionals, and young married couples), and as I do I see some trends that emerge.  When you're moving into a new season of life whether it's a new job, a new move, a new school, or a new marriage it's wise to make sure you're grounded in God's lasting truth and not a storm of opinion/advice that tends to accompany our new seasons of life. Why? Because by nature your "newness" makes your current situation somewhat unclear to you - a riddle if you will. I see many young people who, in new stages of life, grab every idea, concept, or opinion that comes their way. During times of change we need good grounding.

Here are 5 "Holy Habits" to build into life's new seasons to help us stay grounded in true truth and not in feeling/opinion.

You need to be reading and hearing from God's revealed Word. Grounding your mind in God's truth keeps you focused on what He says about your situation. If you are new to reading the Bible there are hosts of quality devotional books & plans to start with. 
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. (Psalm 119:9-16 NIV)
Write about what God is doing and what you're doing about it in this new season. Journal your prayers, your concerns, scripture your trusting in, and how God is providing a way. This is healthy now because it makes you stop and reflect, and it's also something you will treasure later.
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV)
You don't have all the answers. Listen to those who have been down this road before you, listen to advice from godly men and women. Fight the tendancy to either go it alone or think you have the tools you need. The skills it took to get you here are not possibly what will make you successful at the next phase of life.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19 NIV)
It's our natural inclination during times of change and newness to turn inward.  The truth is that during transition serving others, and maintaining your commitments to serving will stir up humility in your heart, and humility serves you well in new seasons. Furthermore, we are never more fulfilled (or like Christ) than when we are serving therefore service is a natural confidence and emotional lift.
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, (Ephesians 6:7 NIV)
Doing what you don't want to do so God can do what Only HE can do
When in new waters placing your selfish desires, wants, and ambitions aside and asking yourself what God would call faithful is a path to open doors that only can open when God does what only he can. Because I believe the Biblical narratives are instructive for life I see this in the "life examples" of Moses, Gideon, Joseph the father of Jesus for starters. Fight the temptation to turn self oriented in your new season but instead establish habits of doing what God calls best at the expense of your own pleasures.


See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)

The letter "m"
A riddle

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Passion Week Experience @ Second

When I was young I remember what impact the Stations of the Cross services had on me! They gave me a foundational picture of what Christ did for us, and as a Christ-follower I believe these moments of worship are invaluable. 

This week Second Baptist Houston is hosting an event on all 5 campuses called The Passion Week Experience. It's an interactive devotional exercise for all ages, preschool to adults, to reflect on the importance of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Early believers sought to more fully remember the events of the Passion Week by setting up trails, with guided stops along the way, built to remind themselves of various events leading up to the crucifixion. 

Walk through eight areas displaying items associated with the events surrounding the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus. If you wish, you may touch, pick up, or even smell any of the items. Experience the Last Supper and it’s foreshadowing of the cross; sit in the Garden of Gethsemane and sense the anguish; feel the crown of thorns and spikes and imagine the pain. 

A printed guide (written by Gary Thomas) will help you reflect on each element’s relevance to the story of Good Friday, and how its truth can impact your life today. This is not a traditional rendering of the Stations of the Cross, but a fresh take on an ancient practice to help us prepare ourselves to more fully remember and embrace the Passion story.  

I invite you to join us!

Wed • Apr 16 • 9AM-9PM
Thu • Apr 17 • 9AM-9PM
Fri • Apr 18 • 6:30-9:45AM, 1:30-9PM **Good Friday Service • 12PM**