contagious inspiration

I go through weeks where I’m inspired to write and weeks where I just write regardless if I’m inspired or not. The latter is definitely the hardest and not what I prefer, but it’s reality. For a while now, I have forgotten about the things in my life that help keep me inspired and motivated when it comes to using my gifts specifically in writing. Joys and delights like:

Slowly, I’ve been rediscovering these joys more intentionally and I’m realizing that whatever inspires me should in some form or another, inspire another person to move to action. To do something different.

Inspiration should infect other people. It shouldn’t be hoarded. Contained. Or kept a secret.

If the inspiration I receive is all about me, that would be a tragedy. The people who have inspired me the most in life, gave themselves away. And what they had to give was contagious, producing a ripple effect.

I know inspiration in writing will still come and go in the seasons of life, but I want to keep at it. I want to inspire others to take action in ways I will never know about.

What inspires you?

Thoughts on Jennifer Knapp’s Interview

There has been a lot going on in my heart since I read Christianity Today’s interview with Jennifer Knapp. I have felt sadness, compassion, anger, confusion, and disappointment. One thing that I can’t escape thinking about is a question that Matt Chandler asks in a lot of his interviews and sermons: “Where is the fight against sin?”

I think we often forget that we’re in a battle against our own flesh. Not just the world and culture, but the sinful lusts and desires that rage within us. Francis Chan has also spoken lately about the “middle road” that so many Christians have created, neglecting to follow the narrow road of Christ… “If I can just follow some of Jesus’ words, then I can do whatever else I want…”

As followers who love the Lord, we’re called to follow even the HARD words of Jesus like denying self and getting rid of the sin and filth within us (James 1:21). We can’t lie and say that his words are easy, and we don’t have the right to pick and choose what we want to follow.

Will we struggle with sin? As long as we’re breathing we will, but our desire won’t be to live in that sin as a continuing lifestyle void of confession, repentance, or “struggling well.”

There is so much to Jennifer’s story than I will ever know or need to know, but from what I do know that I did not see in her interview with Christianity Today, is a fight against that sin. There was an acceptance of it. And that makes me sad. I want to see her make war with it.

So I guess my next response in all this is to look in the mirror and make sure I’m really engaged in the daily battle against my flesh.

Did you read the article? What are your thoughts on the recent news?

RightNow Conference Highlights


Kay Warren, Lonnie Smith, Matt Chandler


me and Donald Miller


Kari Jobe, Lonnie Smith, Amena Brown

I feel like I’ve been saved all over again. Well, that’s what I told Jeremiah on the last day of the RightNow Conference.

The theme of our conference: Trading in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ, spoke to me in so many ways and I don’t want to live my life any other way than to be a “trader.”

Here are a few highlights, nuggets, and take-aways I got this past weekend:

1.) I am selfish and don’t naturally think of others every day, so I must make a conscious effort to trade in my selfishness to help others who need physical healing and help, but most of all, who need the gospel.

2.) Even Francis Chan has wanted to quit. If someone like him can admit that, we should too. Leadership and ministry is a difficult, messy, but well worth it road.

3.) Living for and following Jesus requires a dangerous surrender. Kay Warren encouraged us on Fri. evening to surrender our life to the cause of Christ and to be willing to die for it. Her boldness inspired me and I don’t think anyone left that room unchanged that night.

4.) Matt Chandler’s passion for the gospel is unmatched. He helped us to get the gospel right and I can’t even begin to describe the magnitude at which the Holy Spirit uses him when he teaches God’s word.

5.) Eating Bar-b-que with Kari Jobe and her band. Jeremiah and I had a good time getting to know Kari and her band during dinner. Kari led our worship at the event and it was beautiful and God-exalting. Hearing her sing Revelation Song, Healer, and I Live to Worship You live was the best. She was a joy to meet in person. Check out her music at!

6.) Getting to see Brian Mosley, Marc McCartney, Lonnie Smith, Natalie Drew, and all our video producers in action. Brian is my boss and the Founder of Rightnow. Marc is our Dir. of Events. Lonnie is the Dir. of Church Relations. Natalie was in charge of all the details of recruiting volunteers and tons of the behind the scenes stuff. Every day in the office, I see their passion for our generation, but this weekend I got to see it on stage and among thousands of leaders. It was awesome!

7.) Spending an hour with Anne Jackson over pizza. We had so much fun talking about writing, her upcoming book, marriage, and things we struggle with. It was great getting to know her husband Chris as well (aka her road manager for the trip). Just in one hour, I felt like I’d known her all my life. Now I know why the world is so crazy about her!

8.) Getting a personal note from Kay Warren, and her book Dangerous Surrender. I received a very sweet note from Kay along with her book. I never had the chance to meet her though until after I got the book. She told me someone told her about me. I was shocked and humbled and right now I really want to thank whoever did that. 🙂

So the conference is over and now we are packing all the video and content from the main sessions into the upcoming RightNow Leadership Development Kit. We have lots to do and are so excited to get the experience out to many more leaders.

Are you a trader?

SGT_LogoThe term “trader” has infused where I work for quite a while. In 2000, my boss Brian Mosley founded the RightNow Campaign to help 20s and 30s connect to opportunities here and abroad to put their faith into action. The mission of RightNow is simple: To help our generation trade in the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ.

Every year, we put on the Rightnow Conference and it’s coming up in less than two weeks. This year’s theme is The Mission of the Church Matters. The line up includes pastors and authors Donald Miller, Francis Chan, Mark Batterson, Kay Warren, Matt Chandler, George Barna, and more.

I’ll be working at the conference, scribbling away on my note pad to prepare to write the curriculum for our upcoming RightNow Leadership Kit we’re producing. I absolutely cannot wait to soak in what these guys have to say.

Bluefish TV, the RightNow conference, and our new site all stand under the umbrella of the RightNow Campaign’s mission of trading in the pursuit of the American Dream. Every thing we produce is to help others put their faith into action.

So that’s a little background info you may or may not have wanted! Now that leads me to expound a little more on Small Group Trader.

Our name was originally called Small Group Exchange but we decided to narrow our focus more to the idea of being a trader because Small groups aren’t an end to themselves- we’re calling small groups to battle against the “me-centered” way of thinking (that we all struggle with at times) by trading it in for the the missional call of Jesus – to care for the homeless, minister to the sick, and share Christ’s love with our neighbors.

I’m super excited about this change as it gives us a more clarified mission to strive for as a ministry, calling others to live out Jesus’ command. A nice home, car, clothes, savings account, etc. are good things that God wants me to enjoy, but it’s the pursuit and striving for them that I have to question. I have to constantly ask myself: Am I living for the dream or pursuing what really matters for eternity?

As the Content Editor for Small Group Trader, I can’t wait to see where this site goes and how small groups across the country will be impacted by this mission. If you’re a small group leader, small groups or community pastor, have thoughts you want to share on leadership, or have been impacted at all by being in a small group, let me know.

Step out and share your story. Be an encouragement to others who are trying to fulfill God’s mission for their lives.

You can email me at editor [at] smallgrouptrader [dot] [com]

How are you being a trader with your time, talents, and treasures? Are you willing to give up the pursuit of the American Dream for a world that desperately needs Christ?

Fighting Complacency

If you’ve followed my blog for a little while, you know that I’m going through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The last few chapters I’ve read have dealt with the lukewarm Christian and what God says about Christians who are lukewarm in their faith. I couldn’t believe some of the verses that Francis pointed out. They were convicting to say the least.

They have led me to search my heart deeper and to ask: Do I have lukewarm tendencies? Am I living in mediocrity anywhere or struggling with complacency? Do I sometimes take Jesus’ words half-hearted or even say “I’ll do that another day…”

In my relationship with Christ, just like in any marriage, I have to constantly fight against complacency. It’s so easy after the honeymoon stage, to just settle in and be comfortable. In following Christ, it’s easy to kick back, go on with the day, and lose sight of who He is. And then the relationship turns to legalistic rules and rituals (duty) instead of a wholehearted desire and delight to know and love Christ for who he is.

I don’t think Jeremiah would ever want me to respect and love him out of duty. He would never force me to love him either. So it is with God’s love. He wants me to choose to love him. And to me, this requires battling my laziness and complacent heart that I have at times.

This past weekend, we didn’t stay in our apartment but we went down to my Dad’s (he has a corporate apartment in our complex) and we just enjoyed the setting down there. We watched the Dallas Cowboys, cooked, talked, and had friends over for dinner. It was so relaxing and refreshing. Our relationship felt renewed.

Some things I’ve been doing lately in my relationship with Christ to revitalize it and stir up the passion is listening to podcasts of some really great pastors, praying on my way to work, going through old journal entries, starting a Bible study with some friends, reading blogs, and most of all revisiting God’s word- reading and meditating on it.

I’m so glad that God doesn’t leave us where we’re at. He is so patient and when we truly desire change (and we seek it), he will give it to us in the smallest ways… even if it’s just a different place to spend the night!

Question: What has helped you in times of feeling “stuck”? How are you currently fighting the war of mediocrity?

You might not finish this blog post

Do you have days where you forget that your life is a vapor and you’ve been put on this earth for just a short time compared to eternity? You’re a mist. Here one day and gone the next. You aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. At any time, any moment your life could be taken from you.

This intro isn’t meant to sound morbid, but to show reality as it is. Because too often, we forget that life is a vapor. Too often, I forget that I’m not invincible afterall.

My friend Whitney and I started going through the book Crazy Love two weeks ago. I shared about Chapter 1 a few weeks ago. Last night, our friend Jen joined us in the discussion. While indulging in the Hollywood-famous Sprinkles cupcakes that Whitney brought us, we had a great time sharing thoughts on chapters 2 and 3.

Chapter 2 is called You Might Not Finish This Chapter. And rightly so. The chapter deals with the reality that we all have an appointment with death and that God determines whether we live through each day. The main takeaway that I got is what do I want to remembered for? Can I actually live my life each day remembering that life is precious? What kind of legacy do I want to leave for friends, family, and my children one day? Am I becoming the person I want to be?

Chapter 3 switches gears and talks about God as our Father. Sometimes our thoughts about God have been influenced by the kind of relationship we have with our earthly Father. Francis’ view of God used to be full of intense fear because his father was that way towards him. He walked on eggshells a lot and rarely heard “I love you.” His view began to change when he had his own kids- he saw that the overwhelming love he had for his children was the kind of love God had for him. He was a God who just wanted his children to crawl up in his lap and enjoy His presence.

The former also isn’t to say we shouldn’t fear God. We should always have a reverent intimacy towards God, but He never intends for us to hide from him because we’re afraid of him. I think the truths in this chapter are huge. A lot of us see God this way. We have an unhealthy fear that he’s casting down lighting bolts when we sin. I’ve had that view at times in my life.

Some of us see him in a light of a performance based acceptance where we feel God loves us by what we “do.” If I could just pray more, read my Bible more, cuss less, go to church more, give more… These are all burdens we were never meant to carry! Those are burdens of “religion.” God never asks for religion but for a relationship where we focus on loving him first- not “doing” all these things. Those things will naturally flow from that love relationship.

This is a lot of stuff to unpack in a blog post, but I hope you’ve been encouraged.

Questions: Do you see God as Love- so much that he sent his son to die in your place? Are you carrying heavy burdens around your neck you were never meant to carry?

Rest in the fact today that the greatest commandment God calls you to is to Love the Lord Your God with all your Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength (Luke 10:27).


Book Review: Crazy Love (Ch. 1)

My friend Whitney and I are going through Francis Chan’s new book, Crazy Love. We met and discussed Chapter 1 yesterday and I’m just amazed by the truths in this book.

Francis talks about his view of God growing up in the church. For him, it was all about rules. Don’t drink. Don’t do drugs. Don’t have sex. Don’t cheat. You get the point. So he viewed God as a God who wanted to spoil his fun. He began to think: Is this it, really? Is this what being a Christian is? He didn’t want anything to do with Christianity if that was the case.

But he had an epiphany in his view of God. Through reading the Scriptures and through a few trips overseas, he realized his view of God was skewed, incorrect, and unbiblical.

God was not out to spoil his fun or take away from him. God’s commands were to give life to him, to protect him, and to show God’s love to him. Francis began to experience this love and it was so radical that he started to see that God, after all, was crazy in love with him. So much that God sent his son, Jesus, to come down to earth, die on a cross, and raise to life again so that he could be saved from his sins and have life to its fullest.

Francis goes on to say how incredible it is that Creator God would want to have a relationship with him. I resonate so much with Francis. I still think my view of God is sometimes jaded. I like to put him in a sweet little box as if I have him figured out. I sometimes think he’s casting lightning bolts down from heaven when I mess up. But I too am beginning to see that this is far from the truth. All I have to do is read God’s word to see that He is Wholly-different and it’s okay that I can’t comprehend him. I can still trust in who he is.

After watching the video below, I was in awe that God wants to have a relationship with someone as insignificant as me.


LeadNow & Fusion 2008

I’m getting really excited about our LeadNow and Fusion events coming up in November here in Dallas. It will be here before we know it! This year is different than any other year because we’re giving leaders the opportunity to host a simulcast at their church or attend a simulcast at a location close to them. This definitely helps with gas prices and the way the economy is functioning as a whole right now.

These events are for you if you’re a leader of twenties and thirties and if you are in your twenties and thirties. I can’t think of a better place to grow in my relationship with God and others- learning under great leaders like Erwin McManus, Matt Chandler, Margaret Feinberg, Francis Chan, and my very own pastor, Todd Wagner. I can’t wait to show the promo DVD to my small group and other friends. Baby John will probably be about one month old then so I am hoping we can have a little outing together, if possible. He’ll get to have some early exposure to some great people.

You can visit for way more information than I will post here. Feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have questions about these events and I can direct you to the right person here at Bluefish/The Rightnow Campaign. I really hope you will take advantage of this opportunity- especially my twenties and thirties readers!

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