Edmonton Mission Trip – March 2017

I have an amazing opportunity to travel to Edmonton Canada this March.  My church, Aydelotte Baptist Church, is in the midst of establishing a long-term partnership with the city of Edmonton.  During my trip there I will be able to attend Sunday services at one of the church plants—Open Door Church.  I will also be able to spend at least 1 day praying with and encouraging Dennis Milne (the Open Door Church Planting Pastor) and his wife.  I will then have another day to devote to prayer walking/driving around Edmonton with Stan Felder NAMB (North American Mission Board) missionary that lives in Edmonton.  This will also be a day where vision-casting and dreaming for future ways for the church to be involved in the city will occur.

The Edmonton metro area is home to around 1.1 million people, many of them working in the Oil & Gas Industry.  Less than 6% of Edmonton is evangelical & there is currently one SBC church for every 50,835 residents.

Here is where the funds being raised will be spent.

·      Travel Expenses              $1200

o   Flight                        $600

o   Meals*                      $600

·      Stretch Goal                       $1750

o   Above Expenses     $1200

o   Camera#                   $550

*This includes an incidental amount that will be used for baggage fees as well as any unforeseen expenses while in Canada.

#This stretch amount would allow the purchase of a digital camera to be used for missions and ministry purposes.

The logistics of this trip are fairly simple.  Either the Stan or Dennis will pick me up at the airport and I will stay with either the Felder’s or Milne’s during the days I am in Edmonton. The bulk of the cost is the air travel to Canada.  If you are able to give and to help financially that would be most appreciated.  The biggest thing I am asking though is for each of you to pray for this trip and for the work going on in Canada.

You can give through my gofundme account.

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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Missions


Gettysburg Extended

Twelve score years ago our Founding Fathers sought to establish a more perfect union, a union where all are equal. Seven score and thirteen years ago President Lincoln declared that union was still flawed and work was left to be done. Two score and thirteen years past Dr. King painted a poignant picture of a beautifully diverse future where all are equal. A short eight years ago then candidate Obama powerfully admonished us to again take up the cause of ending and fighting against racism and to no longer ignore its ills and poison. Today I am declaring to you the work is not yet completed. If it is a mountain we are crossing then we are still within spitting distance of the base instead of being able to even glimpse the summit on the far horizon. All men and women, regardless of race, gender or any other status or creed, are endowed with inalienable rights, of which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately we find ourselves today standing on a precipice upon whence we can view just how tragically these rights are deprived of for many citizens in our country.

I pen these words from a state where this is overtly true. The statistics of those imprisoned in my state are especially evidentiary of this fact. Oklahoma is 70% white but the penal system here is only 49% white. Hispanics make up only 9% of the state populace, but 15% of the prison population. African Americans account for a mere 7% of my state but they fill 26% of the prisons. This is found similarly across the nation. How can a people be free when they are grossly disproportionately imprisoned? I would say to you they cannot! We must reach high to our better angels to find a better way. For we cannot truly be free until all in our land are equally free.

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Posted by on August 30, 2016 in Culture


Red Cups, Chicken Sandwiches, & What Really Matters

Recently there has been some craziness going on in the Christian subculture. I know this might be hard for you to believe, but believe me the Christian bubble has entered into a whole new realm of kookiness. This year’s design of the red cups at Starbucks created this cray cray melee. If you are not familiar with the red cups at Starbucks they are a season thing that appear each year when they bring back the Christmas time seasonal beverages. To Starbucks addicts and lovers (which I am one) they are as anticipated as the much craved Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I don’t know if the red cup has its own Twitter and Instagram accounts, but it should. Anyways the cups this year are just red. They do not have any designs or words or anything other than the color red. Apparently this should be an affront to my Christian faith. Some dude was so offended he made an angry Facebook video saying Starbucks hates Jesus. I warned you the kookiness has gone bat crap cray cray this year.

Some people more eloquent and better positioned than I to take on the task of demolishing this line of thinking have already done so. I am not going to attempt to restate what they have already said. I will simply say Starbucks is a corporation and not a person. Corporations do not go to heaven or hell. People go to heaven or hell. With this premise being established here is what I do want to attempt to say on this matter. I want to use the rest of this space to point out how Christians should love going to both Starbucks and Chick-fil-A. We should feel comfortable spending money at both places because we love Jesus and we love people.

Until several months ago I had spent the last three and half years on the management/leadership team of a Chick-fil-A, the home of the greatest chicken nuggets, the inventor of the chicken sandwich, and the maker of waffle fries, sweet tea and fresh squeezed lemonade. Oh and Chick-fil-A is the Christian fast food mega star. Here is the thing about Chick-fil-A though: it is a business. Now the leadership of the company, they are Christians. They seek to bring God glory in all they do. However at the local level many of those owner/operators have one thing on their minds and that is making money. They will sell a #1 large sized with a Dr. Pepper to a heterosexual, open carrying, flag waving, Christian, tea party republican just as easily as they will sell a #5 8 count grilled with cole slaw and a medium unsweet tea to a transgender socialist atheist, or a cobb salad and a water to a radical suicide bomber. Just make sure and remember to hold the bacon on that salad for the radical terrorist. Some owners are very generous and giving and want to bless those around them and some just want more money in their own accounts. That is ok, they are business owners making a living.

Here is the other thing about Chick-fil-A. You may go there because you love Jesus and Tim Hawkins and Duck Dynasty but chances are the person serving you doesn’t. Chick-fil-A hires people. Not all of them are believers in Christ. Not all of them are republicans. Not all of them are heterosexual. That shouldn’t change your opinion of Chick-fil-A though. You should still go there. You should still support them. Why? Because people need Jesus!

The thing is, this should be our same attitude when it comes to Starbucks. I love coffee. I know there is better coffee at other places, but I love Starbucks because it is convenient and consistent. And well I am addicted to Pumpkin Spice Lattes. There was a Starbucks across the parking lot from my Chick-fil-A. I went there a lot. The workers all knew me by name, and I knew them by name. They ate a lot of Chick-fil-A too. Some of the workers there loved Jesus and some didn’t. They are people. Just like the people working at Chick-fil-A. Now the Chick-fil-A workers have less tattoos and piercings and facial hair (I have not shaved since leaving Chick-fil-A and it feels so good!), but they are all people. They are people that need Grace. They are people that need Jesus.

During my three and half years slinging chicken I was privileged to get to know some of my employees and co-workers well. I was able to pray with my boss as his wife went through a terminal illness. I got to celebrate engagements and graduations with some employees. I got to pray with some of the people there as they faced tough times in life. I also got to pray with some customers as they faced things in life and to celebrate with them as well. I also was able to get to do the same with some employees from Starbucks. I got to know them and got to model Jesus to them. If I avoided the place where they worked because of something as silly and arbitrary as a cup I would not have been able to build a relationship with those people. Now God might have sent someone else to fill that gap and to minister to those people, but I would have missed out on that.

So instead of getting mad over really silly things we need to have a heart that loves people and seeks to get to know them because they need Jesus too!

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Posted by on November 9, 2015 in Culture, Current Events


Spirit Led Church Planting – Reflections From The Beach

Recently I have been thinking a lot about church planting and what that means and looks like in a  place like Oklahoma.  This morning as I played in the water along the beach in Galveston, TX I had the chance to reflect upon a lot of my recent thoughts and let God speak to me.  In general I think church planting is far too often done more from a practical, logical, and entrepreneurial stance than it is done from a spiritual one.  Now I think the former has a place but not so much that we over plan and strategize to the point that we leave no room for the moving and leading of the Holy Spirit.

At the beginning of the book of Joshua the Israelites are preparing to finally enter into the Promised Land.  The long, wondering journey is now over and the time for taking the land has finally come.  In chapter 1 Joshua is commissioned by God and takes command of the people.  Then in chapter 2 they send in the spies to Jericho and in chapter 3 there is a fascinating account of all the people crossing the Jordan river.  It is this crossing of the Jordan river that my mind turned to this morning while enjoying the rolling waves coming across the sandbars and that I believe has much to teach us about church planting by the Holy Spirit.

12Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. 13And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”

14So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, 15and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest),  Joshua 3:12-15

We got to Galveston mid afternoon yesterday and after unloading the vehicles we all hurriedly changed into our swimsuits and hit the beach.  I was tired after having woken up at 4:00 AM to start the drive to the beach so I did not venture out to far from the shore.  I played in the shallow water and took my kids out as far as they would go without screaming.  This morning though I was rested and invigorated and decided to venture out much further.  I reach a point on a sandbar where I could still stand with my head above water.  The calm water was to the top of my shoulders and when bigger waves would roll across I would have to jump to keep my head above water.  It was at this point that I began to think about the above passage.

Any of us that have been in church for some time have surely heard of the dramatic crossing of the Red Sea and how God parted the waters before Moses or any of the Israelites set foot into the sea bed.  This crossing of a body water is very different.  Both are miraculous and amazing but I think this Joshua passage speaks to what it is like to set out to plant churches by and through the leading of the Holy Spirit.  When the priests carrying the ark of the covenant first lifted their feet to step into the Jordan River they were not lifting the feet over dry ground.  No they were lifting it over water.  They weren’t just lifting it over calm or relatively calm shallow water either.  No they were lifting their feet over roaring flood stage waters.  The Jordan River is normally 90-100 feet wide and ranges from 3-9 feet deep.  In flood stage this is increased dramatically sometimes reaching widths up to 1 mile and depths of 150 feet.  This spring and summer those of us in Oklahoma have come to better appreciate flood waters.  As I was bouncing and frolicking in almost 5.5 foot water this morning I began to  imagine what it would be like to take a step over roaring deep water and trusting that when I brought my foot down it would be on dry land.  It would take some faith that is sure!

Flood (1)

That is the same type and level of faith it takes to pursue Spirit led church planting.  When you say yes to God that you are going to plant a church and follow where His Spirit leads then you may not know where your foot will hit when you take that next step or the next one or the next one or the one after that.  Your trust and dependence has to be firmly embedded in God.  This is the type of church planting we need.

When we plant churches through the direction of the Holy Spirit that is what will happen.  The Holy Spirit will move and call people to Christ.  It may be tens, it may be tens of thousands.  It may be messy at times and it may be trying and difficult.  It will require deep faith and a continual openness to saying yes to where and how the Spirit leads.  It is what is deeply needed though.  Let’s follow God into the deep waters and plant churches as His Spirit directs!

Oceans (1)

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Posted by on August 4, 2015 in Church Planting


Mission Trip Recap – Ruined In A Good Way

About a month ago I took a trip.  It was a trip out of the country.  I cannot say much about the actual trip for security reasons.  I will simply say I went to a place to meet with some men and women from other places to learn what they go through on a daily basis because they love Jesus.  I spent a week in that place.  It was my first trip like this.  I have been back home for over three weeks and I cannot get the people I met with out of my mind.  I cannot get the place I went to out of my mind.  I cannot get this burden for those people off of my heart.  I cannot stop being consumed with a desire to share the cause of the persecuted Church!  There is no ceasing in sight of my obsessive passion to see the Gospel of Christ taken to the ends of the world, and I pray that never ends!

The passion for Jesus I saw in these people was amazing.  He is all they have to cling to and that is a beautiful thing.  They have given up everything to follow Him.  It has cost them dearly.  And they would say it is the greatest thing in their life.  They cannot stop talking about it.

This is where this trip really wrecked me.  I talk a lot in a given day.  I talk to my wife.  I talk to my kids.  I talk to friends.  I talk to family.  I talk to coworkers.  I talk to random people.  I talk to myself.  I am normally constantly communicating in some form or fashion.  Yet what is it that I am communicating?  Work, random events, tv, sports, food, traffic, weather, etc.  You see I talk all the time.  Yet I seem to rarely use this amazing privilege to talk about the thing that matters the most.  I neglect to talk about the Gospel.

You see I have this ever growing yearning to be a part of taking the Gospel to the thousands of unreached people groups in hard to reach and dangerous places, yet I cower from taking the Gospel to my neighbor or friend or coworker.

The people I met with and learned from in that place face real legit danger for talking about Jesus and the Gospel in the places where they live.  In some of those places sharing the Gospel or giving someone a Bible is worse than terrorist activity.  They talk about Jesus and they lose their house or job or extended family, many times they are beaten or imprisoned.  Still they don’t stop talking about Jesus!  I am not going to lose my job or be cut off from my family or lose my house or be beaten or jailed.  If I talk about Jesus I might have people have a different opinion of me.  It might not fit the bill for the people pleasing person I normally am because it is off the normal script.  I don’t face real persecution for talking about Jesus yet I let fear prevent me from doing so far too often.

Maybe you are stronger and less of a coward at heart then I am but I highly suspect you are in the same boat as me.  So where do we go from here?  Where do I go from here?  How do I change?  How do I stop being a coward and use the amazing freedom I have to talk about the Gospel?  To begin with I need to pray.  To pray for courage and boldness.  To pray for wisdom.  To pray for discernment.  To pray to be led by the Spirit.  Then I need to act.  To tell.  To let the remembrance of the depth of the grace shown to me in the Gospel cause me to be consumed with sharing that same Gospel with the world.

I do feel as a result of my recent trip that missions will be a much larger part of my life than ever before.  I also think how I live and act and see things in my everyday life here and now has changed because of this trip.  I have nothing more important than to share the Gospel with those around me.  I pray you do the same.

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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Life, Ministry, Missions


The Great Adventure: 20 Years In Ministry

Earlier this week my wife and I had a uncommon occasion where we were alone in the car while we drove to my parents to spend the evening with them at a couple of different events.  Since my mom keeps Bo and Lorelai during the day they were already there.  Stephanie and I took advantage of the rare drive with no DVD blaring from the backseat (I can probably quote all three Madagascar movies in their entirety even though I have never actually watched one of them) and at one point listened to a really old Steven Curtis Chapman cd.  This particular cd came up because Stephanie had tried to accuse me of singing the wrong lyrics to The Great Adventure right before we left our house.  Now I may have no clue who Justin Bieber or Drake or Ariana Grande (sounds like a Starbucks drink, I mean should I be ordering that right now instead of a venti pumpkin spice latte with two pumps hazelnut and two pumps cinnamon dolce?)  are and wouldn’t recognize a single song from any of them, but I do know old school contemporary Christian Music.  As we sang and laughed and told stories of growing up in our different youth groups I began to reminisce.  The next day I listened to the song some more, as well as a bunch of other music from that time in my life and from the last almost twenty years since high school.  As I did so I began to reflect on the past twenty years since September 04, 1994.

September 04, 1994 was a Sunday.  I remember it well.  It was Labor Day weekend.  My sister was home from college for the first time.  I had just started my junior in high school.  We (the MHS Buffs) had lost to Enid on Friday night.  On Saturday I had gone to a third birthday party for my pastor’s son at the caboose in the McDonalds parking lot in McAlester.  It was one of my Dad’s weekends to stay with Grandpa and take care of him.  We sat in a different place at church that Sunday.  It was just Mom, Julie, and me (dad was bringing Grandpa from Haileyville to our house in McAlester for lunch).  We were a typical Baptist family and had our normal spot; it was on the section to the right a few rows from the front.  But that Sunday we sat in the middle even closer to the front, right in the middle of the youth section.  I couldn’t tell you what we sang or what Dr. Adams’ sermon was about but that day I quit fighting with God about the course and direction of my life.  For over a year I had been wrestling with God over ministry.  The previous summer I had gone to Centrifuge youth camp at Glorieta New Mexico with a small group of youth from the church.  In the prayer garden one night I began to feel God tell me that I would be used by Him and be in ministry.  I fought that hard for the next 14 months.  On that Sunday I said yes to God and publically surrendered my life to ministry and it has been an adventure ever since.

I began meeting with my pastor (Randy Adams) once or twice a week and learning from him.  We would talk about ministry and life.  He would take me on hospital visits and he helped me increase my prayer life with how he drove his 1964 Mustang.  I learned so much from him.  I have continued to learn from him over the years and am thankful for God using him in my life.  One thing he told me back then that I have never forgotten is that ministry is not about the glamour or prestige.  I have not always lived that truth but it has been in those times where I have learned the depth of this truth in at times painful ways, but more on that later.

Besides meeting with Dr. Adams I was also one of the youth leaders of a local youth breakfast we had at our church every Thursday morning called Good Morning World.  An older Italian gentleman (Art Quadracci) in our church led Good Morning World and he would always pick one or two youth to help find devotional speakers and to invite groups like the football or basketball teams.  I also was a leader for our local FCA and help organize events and huddle group activities, although looking back we did not meet nearly as often as we should have.  During my senior year I started teaching in the RA’s and helping with the kid’s ministry.  I also had the opportunity to preach my first two sermons that year.  My first sermon was at First Southern Baptist Church Crowder, Oklahoma, which is where I was baptized in 1986.  My second sermon was at First Baptist Church Haileyville, Oklahoma.  It was the church where my dad grew up, where my parents were married, and where my mom’s dad that I never got to know, my grandpa Jim Boyd, preached.  Having that opportunity to preach in both of those places was a tremendous blessing.

When I graduated high school I went to Oklahoma Baptist University and continued my adventure in ministry.  I had my first few ministry positions while at OBU which included serving as a youth minister at a rural church about an hour away from school, working at the largest youth camp in the USA, and working at my parents’ church in Ardmore, OK with the youth and college students.  Since college I have served in full time roles, bi-vocational/part time roles, and unpaid/volunteer roles.  Some of the time I have found my income from sales and retail management jobs during the latter two seasons.  I have learned from and been blessed in every season of ministry I have experienced.  I have worked with kids, youth, college students, young professional singles, married parents, and senior adults.  I have been a youth minister, college director, intern, interim, missional pastor, and senior pastor.  I have preached to a congregation of 4 and been on stage to lead a prayer in front of 7,000+.  I have shared the Gospel with groups while sweaty and dirty on a high element ropes course, preached in a suit and tie, and everything in between.  I have had the privilege to marry people and the responsibility of bringing comfort at a funeral.  I have held young babies and sat with those taking their last breath.  I have baptized young and old including in a pond that might have had snakes in it.  My first sermon was a ten page typed manuscript that took just over 5 minutes, and I have shared with no notes at all for over an hour.  I have worked in really small churches, really big churches, really old churches, and with one church from the birth of it up till it was ready to launch.

Some of the greatest high points of my life have come from ministry as well as some of the lowest of low.  Apart from my wedding day and the birth of my kids the greatest memories I have are from ministry, but also a few years ago as I had an almost complete nervous breakdown on the side of the road while driving to children’s camp I thought ministry was going to kill me.  As I reflect back to those highs and lows I really see something profound.  The lows came when I started to think too much of myself and forget what ministry is about it.  They came in part because of my own pride and my own issues with control and power.  The highlights of 20 years of ministry are definitely people I have gotten to know and spend time with.  That Thursday morning breakfast I helped lead, Good Morning World, well one of my tasks was to find speakers.  A lot of times I didn’t find anyone and I would wind up speaking.  I cannot tell you a single thing I talked about or a single verse I used.  I know I used scripture each time.  I can, however, tell you the names of three younger guys I gave rides to each week – Adam, Ben, and Stephen.  Adam kept doing that after I graduated.  He would go and pick up other kids and give them rides.  He is married and is a dad, he has been teaching in Korea and is in the process of moving back to the US.  Ben is a great dad and just moved from Michigan to Austin.  Stephen, he was the annoying kid I was never excited about having to take, he was Ben’s little brother.  He is now a tremendous worship leader and an author too.  God has used him amazingly since Jr. High.  There is also the group of guys I used to hang out with at Ardmore FBC and spend time talking and sharing about life.  One, Matt, is a worship leader at a church campus here in OKC and is just a great young guy.  Another, Brett, is a pastor and church planter in Muskogee, OK and if it was not over an hour away I would go to his church to hear him preach and have him as my pastor.  God has used these two and others from that small group of guys immensely and it has been my joy to watch.  A few of them are struggling in life and not living for God and I pray for them daily.

Now I am not taking any credit at all for Stephen or Matt or Brett.  I doubt I had anything to do with their spiritual development.  I just hung out with them.  On the flip side the times I have been power happy and concerned with my image too much and wanting to be seen as a leader because of my title or position have brought about those low and gut wrenching times.

So to bring this all together I would unquestionably say that if I have learned anything over the past twenty years it is what Dr. Adams taught me all those years ago.  It is that ministry is not about the glamour or the prestige.  It is about loving God and loving people and seeking to love people by serving them.  Jesus told us this when James and John’s mother wanted them to be the greatest.  He replied:

You know those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  But it shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:42b-45.

The last twenty years have without a doubt been a great adventure and I hope the next twenty years and the next twenty years beyond that are even greater still.

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Posted by on September 4, 2014 in Bible, Family, Friends, Life, Ministry


You Can’t Lead – Guest Post From Mark Miller

This post was originally published on Friday, May 16, 2014 at




I was recently asked the question: How do you tell someone they are not a leader – without crushing them?


I have several ideas that may help with this question, but first, I want to relieve you of the anxiety you may be feeling regarding how someone will receive truth. You cannot control, nor should you assume responsibility for, their response. Your role is to share truth in love. They choose their response.

With that backdrop, I have four suggestions…

Always show honor, dignity and respect. Choose your words carefully. Try not to inflame the situation with trigger words or exaggeration. Even if the person cannot lead, they still possess immense value as a human being. Being in the wrong role does not diminish a person’s value. Treat them accordingly.

Ask thoughtful questions. Find out what they believe about their leadership quotient. You may be surprised. They may already be aware of their leadership gaps. It’s also possible they have huge blind spots. If they do believe they are leading well, ask them for their definition of leadership. Ask them to give you examples in which they feel they’ve lead well.

Pinpoint the issues and concerns. After you know where they stand on the issue, be prepared to share your point-of-view. Be specific – vague statements such as, “You just can’t lead,” are not helpful. If you have a clear point-of-view on leadership, it’s much easier to pinpoint your concerns. Is the predominant issue a skill gap or have you detected issues regarding their leadership character? Both can be addressed, however, the action plans are very different.

Tell the truth. Your integrity is on the line in this conversation. Don’t sugarcoat the truth – that’s just another form of dishonesty. When we choose not to tell the truth, we ultimately hurt the person, the organization and our own leadership. If a person is on the wrong career path, you do him or her a great service by redirecting them. Truth is a leader’s best friend.

What’s next after a conversation like this? You get to decide. Your next steps will be affected by how far along you are on this journey. Is this the first time you’ve discussed the issue with this person? Is it the third time? If you’re early in the dialogue, you may want to help the person build a development plan to close the leadership gap. If you’re late in the game, you may need to talk about a transition plan.


mmMark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.  In the tenth anniversary edition of The Secret, Miller reminds readers of a seemingly contradictory concept: to lead is to serve. With more than 600,000 books in print, Mark has been surprised by the response and delighted to serve leaders through his writing.

The 10th anniversary edition of The Secret will be released September 2, 2014.

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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Leadership, Uncategorized