Saturday, December 30, 2006


I can hardly believe it has been almost one year since I pulled up stakes and moved east. But it has, and it has been quite eventful I must say. Allow me to recap some of the events and highlights of 2006:

I started the year with a baby (almost, she was born hours before 2006, thank you Tori for the tax deduction) and a move. I came out before Missy and the kids. I used that time to meet with many of you and get the “pulse” of the church. It was enjoyable for me, I hope for you too.

Finally, in February, Missy and the kids made their way to Texas and we found a house and settled into our new surroundings. The kids were taught by the best teacher in the whole world, my wife. They enjoyed it even if Missy was less thrilled about it than were they.

Soon after the family arrived, I plunged into my youth responsibilities. Below are a few of the highlights 0f 2006:

Carmen Concert
Captive Free Concert
Led High School Small Group
Youth Alpha
Restarted Confirmation
Held a Last Supper Reenactment
Had numerous Supper-for-Six’s
Led Service on Mother’s Day
Held several Movie Nights
Holy Spirit Retreat
Schlitterbahn Trip
Held Lock in
Attended Hallowed House
Attended Rock the Desert (almost didn’t make it back alive)
Thanksgiving Servant Event
Numerous gatherings and parties
Knocked down wall in youth room
Taught Sunday School
Redesigned Crosseyed on Sunday Nights
Watched Janet Rutledge grow Lunch Bunch into over 130 kids on a regular basis – way to go Janet!!!!
Grew about 15 percent, and,
Got to know the kids and loved it!

In addition to all of that stuff I managed to make several conferences, visit most of you, preach several times and did a little personal study.

Why tell you all of this? You do not know where you are, until you know where you have been. So I am looking backwards with an eye toward the future. I am eager to see what and who 2007 will bring.

The beginning of the year is a perfect time to look at things afresh, anew and make several “resolutions.” The problem is we seldom keep these resolutions, you know what I am talking about, good intentions followed by reality, little or no change.

So I encourage you to set goals as you venture into 2007, goals are specific, measurable and time oriented. Break down what you want to do this year into several “doable” steps that allow you to win. Here are some of my suggestions:

Read more books this year, attend church more this year, help your neighbor more this year, volunteer in an area you are not comfortable with this year, spend more time with your loved ones this year, forgive someone who did you wrong this year, develop a hobby you always wanted to try this year, love like you never have before this year and pray like your life depends on it, because it does!

I have several goals this year, both personal and professional, set your own. As I look at what I want to accomplish this year I am grateful I serve a loving and forgiving God. My failures and sins are not tied around my neck to remind me of my unworthiness. No, my sins are cast as far as the East is from West. I can start anew, I am a new creation in Christ.

This year I want to grow our church (actually God grows it, but I want to do my part), both numerically and in Christ. I want our youth to grow into a faith that is their own and does not depend on myself or their parents or anyone else, other than Jesus.

I want to grow myself, be a better husband, a better dad, a better son, a better brother, a better friend and someone who stands for the truth of the Bible. It will not be easy, growth never is, but it will be worth it!

Join me this year and do not resolve to do something, just do it!!! We serve a mighty God who gives us more than we deserve, serve him with gladness and sacrifice this year. Try it and see if he will not pour out more blessings than you can contain.

As we begin a new year, I want you to know I am honored to serve God at OSLC, it is a privilege to be called your pastor. Be Blessed. See you on the web:


Monday, December 04, 2006

Am I Behind?

Is it me or is everyone struggling to catch up with the world. It seems the harder I try to stay current the harder it gets. This blog thing is still somewhat new to me, I mean I'm still trying to figure out how to use it. I mean is it really worth my time (and yours) to put down my thoughts on the world wide web? What it is the purpose? And then I am discovering this podcasting thing. I know, some of you have been doing this thing for a long time, but I am still trying to figure it out.

As a pastor (associate and youth) I think the podcast thing has real value and application. But then I check my web stats and I am disappointed at the number of hits from my congregation. I publish a weekly ezine to over 80 folks and direct them to different pages on my site and I get darn few hits. The thing that frustrates me is I hear complaints of not being communicative, what? I can't call all of you everyday, take some initiative! But then I think about how much "stuff" there is out there that we have to keep up with and I can't blame my flock.

But what if I could keep up and guide them? Exciting though and terrifying all at once. So I'm back to the "I feel behind" thing again. How do you keep up with it all. Just a few years ago the kids I was working with in the youth were cutting edge with email. Now that is passe, text messages, cell phones and My Space dominate (I'm still trying to get that figured out too), not to mention instant messaging, which I think I have licked.

I have heard it said that the average 17th century Englishman was never exposed to more information that is contained in a Sunday New York Times in HIS LIFETIME! No wonder I feel behind. But I will trudge on, and if anyone has any advice on this podcasting thing I would be forever in your debt. In the meantime I think I will turn off the computer, shut down my palm, finishing updating my IPOD and check my MySpace one more time before bed, after all I don't want to get behind.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mad TV - Buffy the Umpire Slayer

This is tough for an old Umpire.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Austin Was Good

This is my last post from Austin. What a week it has been. I have learned much about the use of video, photography and other multi-media. I have studied our new Youth Culture in a five hour course, I learned how to program big events and to have a "Smashed-Mouthed" ministry aimed at boys and this morning I will learn how to set aside time for personal and corporate retreats. Along the way I have worshipped with some of the best young bands in the country, heard some great sermons and talks about relevant topics and laughed a lot with comedians and "Skit Guys". Wow, I am tired!

But what I will bring home with, in addition to the above, is that I feel called to be doing what I am exactly where I am doing it! Thank you for allowing me to serve in your life and your child's life. I can't promise I will implement all of the stuff I learned just the way it was taught, or if I will do all of it. But I can promise I will love you and your children andwill teach them that Jesus loved them so much he died for them.

You know, I guess I learned a lot in Austin. Thanks for allowing me to go. Signing off from Austin and until I see you again, be blessed.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

NYWC Day Three

It is lunch time in Austin at the National Youth Workers Convention and I thought I would fire off a blog entry before returning to our workshops. We just finished our general session which featured: Jars of Clay, Taylor Morgan (Comedian), The Skit Guys, Shane and Shane (worship leaders) and the featured speaker, Sharon Cohn. Ms. Cohn is from the International Justice Mission. This is a great organization that helps the poor, enslaved and those who cannot help themselves. Their website is:, check it out.

I am amazed at how, for lack of a better word, AWESOME this event is. It is first class in every way, from the entertainment to the speakers, to the bands, to the seminars right down to the facility. This Austin Convention Center is amazing, it is huge. I am just loving the whole thing. I have taken a couple of photos to give you an idea of how big and beautiful it is, I hope it gives you an idea. Youth Specialties have done an outstanding job with this whole event, bravo !

I was thinking this morning how "unchurch like" this event really is. I mean you have the hosts walking around in tshirts, shorts and flip-flops taking the main stage in front of 3000 giving a Bible message. You have youth workers hootin and hollerin from the floor, you have a comedian who uses puppets right before the main speaker. I mean I have actually laughed out loud, right out load on several occasions during the talks and music time. The building is not churchy and the feel is not churchy at all. So then why do I feel so connected to God? I think the answer to that question may help us answer the questions some of us have regarding the change that might occur in our little church at 3309 Neely.

I have to tell you that I have felt so connected to God since I have gotten here. I have had a great time, even though I have been by myself. I think the reason is because there is an authenticity here that is palpable. I have not thought about what to wear (t shirt and shorts is enough), I have not been self-conscious during worship(don't tell anyone but I have had my hand in the air, sometimes even two) and I have felt relaxed and engaged during the (get this, 45 minute talks) messages, even if I disagree with the speaker. Why? Because the spirit of the Lord is here! He is moving, differently for each person I suspect, but moving nonetheless with a ferocity that is beyond wordy definition.

Yesterday I went through an AIDS epitome that Compassion International has set up. They did an awesome job of setting up an experiential "thing" that made me more aware of the AIDS epidemic in Africa than anything I have yet seen. In fact, after I went through this they asked if I would like a bracelet to remind me of the crisis. I said yes, and not only yes, but yes and what can we do? I have had other experiences since I have been here that have spoken to me of the need of "EXPERIENCE". We can no longer talk about it, we must DO it.

The change that is coming is being done inside of me, not something I do, but something I am becoming. I urge you to consider this too as we begin the "change" process. I wish all of you could attend this event, or something like it, to fully understand what I mean because I think it takes us getting out of our comfort zone to want to change. It is not about what we do as much as about who we are. We all have journey to traverse, the church should be a help to you in yours. I encourage you to begin, I have started my journey, will you come with me? Until later, be blessed.

Another Great Day

Tonight it is even later than last night. It is past 12:30 am and I just got back from the conference. They have done such a great job of providing so many different opportunities to pick and choose from, almost too many. Tonight I attended the "late night offering" of comedy. They had three comics that were spectacular, I laughed so hard I was crying. I am going to miss some sleep, but what the heck, it was worth it!

Another great day. I attended two workshops on youth culture with Dr. Walt Mueller (check out his website They were both excellent! The worship was amazing again and I can't believe I have been here three days already. The days are long, but it doesn't feel long during the day. I cannot remember a more worthwhile event I have ever attended.

I am going to bed, I have to get six hours and if I go now I will barely make it. Tomorrow features some great "skit guys" (saw them today and they were incredible). Also Jeremy Camp, Jars of Clay and Kutlass all tomorrow. Is this awesome or what?

Goodnight, until tomorrow, be blessed.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Day Two at NYWC

It is late, after 11:00 pm, and I have to admit I am tired. What a day! It was a day full of variety and emotion. The morning started in Austin traffic at 7:30 am and then the completion of my class on technology. That class was worth the price of admission all by itself.

Thankfully I didn't go home after it, but opted to stay. After a lunch on Austin's famous sixth street I attended my first general session. It was awesome! The Dave Crowder band played, Jared Hall performed some great tricks and we heard a sermon delivered by an incredibly gifted preacher from New Jersey by the name of, Buster Soaries. Google him he is a fascinating man that God has placed his hand on to do incredibly great stuff. I took a photo of the inside of the meeting hall, I hope you can see the setup in the picture I took. It is rather dark, but the stage and room are first class. There are almost 3000 youth workers here, amazing.

After the first session I went to a good seminar on outreach events and then took a break before returning to the evening session that featured a speaker from England, Mike Pilavachi. He was awesome as well. I had a treat at the evening session: Brian Langhoff is in town and I invited him to come over to hear the Dave Crowder band, it was good to see him. He abandoned me after the band played for his girlfriend, can't say as I blame him. After that I headed back to the hotel to take in all of what I have learned so far.

I have taken in a great amount of content, heard some great music, met some interesting people, laughed out loud, worshipped deeply and ate some really bad-for-you-food. But with all of that, the best thing was a surprise. I have come to feel as if I belong at OSLC doing exactly what I am doing. What a gift to have your calling confirmed! I could hear God speaking to me through the music, the prayers and through my seeking saying, "This is who you are Todd, go and do your work well". Thank you Lord!

I usually dread these conferences. Most of them are boring and full of speakers who drone on about their theories and I usually leave feeling pretty inadequate that you can't grow your group to 1 million in two months like they did. But this time it is different, the conference is refreshingly honest and designed for the user, me, not the speakers. I dislike being away from home, I always miss Missy so much and the kiddies too. And while that is true this time as well, I feel as if this is time well spent and worth the hardship on both myself and Missy (mostly Missy). When you see her on Sunday hug her for me please.

Better get to bed, it is almost midnight and I have to be up at 6:00 am. I love hearing from you, keep it up. More tomorrow, until then be blessed!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I'm in Austin and My Head is Spinning

I made it into Austin right around 1:00 pm this afternoon. I got left a little later (I did have to stop for coffee a time or two though - see photo for my "coffee bar") than I wanted to, but did get in time to make it to the first seminar. Actually I am a day early. The conference doesn't officially start until tomorrow. Today they had what they call, Critical Concern, courses. These are seminars within the conference on timely and important topics. They had over 10 to pick from, so the choice was not easy.

I chose, digital discipleship: transforming teens through today's "techknowledgy". It was excellent! I fancy myself pretty "tech" savvy. Today I didn't think so! My head is still spinning from all of the information I learned. We had a five hour session today and will finish up tomorrow morning with three more hours. After which, the conference officially starts!

But back to the seminar today. We touched on several different technical topic. Among them, using technology to enhance your ministry - not replace it with techno gadgets, technical information on ports and other hardware on each computer and which is best and why, major ingredients of technology in ministry, presentation software and how to use it including incorporating audio and video files with it, how to use digital photography most effectively (got some great ideas here), avoiding common tech mistakes, and finally creating, shooting and editing video. This one was the most interesting.

It is amazing how much you can do with video in ministry, especially youth ministry. This has the potential to be a real catalyst to growth in numbers. So many of the youth and youth groups across the country are using this medium to add to their events and the adults events. I am eager to get going with this and begin to use it to create some interest and do some teaching.

One thing I did hear that made a huge impact on me was how important it is to be technologically relevant. Our youth have the biggest, latest and best of the electronic world. When they go to school they have the newest TV's, video systems, computers and audio equipment among other stuff. Then when they go home their equipment is even better plus most of them have the latest phone with every option available on it.

And then they come to church and see equipment (if there is any) that was outdated when their parents were teens. It sends the message that this place is old and outdated, what can it possibly have to offer to me? But on the other hand if they walk into a church with a good sound and video system (in the youth area too), plus a relevant presentation using the medium of today, then we say that we are relevant!

I agree with Jay Delp and Joel Lusz (today's presenters, check them out on the web) that effective youth ministry will be hard to do, not impossible, but an uphill battle if we don't recognize that we live in a era of technology and if we don't use it we will lose this generation. What do you think?

Well I better get going, early call tomorrow. It starts and 7 in the morning and it won't finish until midnight tomorrow evening. I did want to tell you that this convention center is enormous! There will be thousands of people attending 2 general sessions and choosing form over 20 different seminars tomorrow. This is an excellent event, wish you were here. Here is a picture of it, pretty cool isn't it?

Let me know what you think, see you in the blog tomorrow.

Youth Workers Conference

Good morning, if being up at 5:00 am is a good thing. I normally sleep in until about 6:30 and then get up and do my reading and get caught up on the news. But this morning is a little different because I am heading to a conference for youth workers. I invite you to go with me this weekend through this blog. I will post comments and photos to give you a sense of what happens at these events.

This conference is put on by a great group called, Youth Specialties. They are arguably the best Youth Training organization in the country. Many of the big names in youth ministry will be there with their latest (and old stuff too I hope) ideas and "stuff" to help kids and families grow closer together and closer to God.

So grab a cup of coffee and join me this weekend and be sure to post comments and let me know what you think about what I think. See you on the blog.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wives & Husbands, Parents & Children, Employers and Employees: who is in charge?

On Sunday, we will be looking at the book of Colossians 3:18-25:

Rules for Christian Households 18Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. 20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 25Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

As you read this, there are four main relationships that jump out at you:
1. Husbands and Wives
2. Children to Parents
3. Parents to Children
4. Slaves and Masters, or modern day language, Employee to Employer

I need your help this week during the sermon, I want to know your thoughts, stories and takes on these passages.

Would you please respond to this post (you can do so without me knowing whom you are) by doing the following:

1. How do you feel about these verses?
2. Tell me of successes when you have applied these principles.
3. Tell me of failures when you fail to adhere to these principles.
4. Your overall take on these verses, agree, disagree or somewhere in between.

I really need your help, please take a moment and post me a reply. If you are not a member of OSLC in Midland, Texas I would still love to hear your opinions as well, please put in your post you are NOT a member.

Thanks and see you on Sunday.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Did God Leave Clues Behind?

Do you think that God wants us to have a "Blind faith" or did He leave clues behind for us to find? I think to follow anything blindly is foolish. As I have been studying for my classes lately I have noticed, God has left a ton of clues behind for us to discover.

Take his resurrection for example, if he didn't get out of the tomb by rising from the dead, how did it happen? The disciples? Too scared! The authorities? They didn't want him to become a "God" so why would they have taken the body. Jesus didn't die? He was beaten almost to death and was pierced in the side. No, I conclude He did rise from the dead.

What do you think?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Movies and Power Point

I am curious, what do you think about the use of movie clips in the sermons I have preached lately? I love movies and think they help to prove a point, what do you think? You can post anonymously if you like, but I would really love to hear from you. In addition, do power point presentations add or detract from the message?

This is your chance to weigh in, please do. If you got to this blog by accident I would love to hear from you too!


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What does CrossEyed mean to you?

After talking with some of you I decided (with some help) that the name of our youth group will be CrossEyed. Blog me and let me know what you think that means to you.