God is Always Good , GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL

These are a few verses and thoughts on my mind lately.

Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

Proverbs 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as he rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.”

Have you ever felt like God wants to do something in your life but people keep on getting in the way? Other people keep messing up God’s plan for you? I have definitely had moments where I have struggled with that. Moments where Jesus and I knew what we were doing, we had a plan, but obviously all these other people who keep “getting in the way” are not as “in tune with Jesus” as I am! (wink)
These two Proverbs have reminded me recently that sometimes we start thinking that we are in control of the ship, sometimes we believe that other men (Presidents, Leaders, Bosses) are in control of our lives, changing the very course of our future at a whim.

Rest assured, God is in control. I have seen the masterful devising of men, I have seen hearts both good and bad in authority, but they are not in charge. God is always in control.

What an incredible comfort.

It is my responsibility to live by faith and trust that God is the one steering this ship and even the hearts of all them that lead.

Psalm 37:23  “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.”

I Love Summer Camp!

I don’t have a very good memory, especially in regards to my younger years, but one thing I do remember very well is summer camp. I remember the first time that I went to Summit Camp as a junior camper, I remember going to Boy Scout Camp, I remember my very first trip to the Wilds, and then my second trip, and then my 3rd, 4th, 5th… you get the point. Camp has always been such a special place to me. It is a week where I get to leave everything behind and go have fun and get reacquainted with God. There were definitely years where I was more concerned with having fun than hearing Gods voice, but the truth is, that when I was willing to listen, I always heard God’s voice the loudest and the clearest during summer camp.

11709405_10206886470623934_868633730376910525_nSome youth pastors talk about how much they dread camp, but I have always loved it. From the crazy long van rides, to 1,000,000 gas station bathroom stops, going to camp was always a highlight of my year. While I have not been a youth pastor since 2013, this year I was blessed with the incredible opportunity to experience all those wonderful moments at camp once again.

I was so blessed about 3 months ago when I was asked to consider being the camp speaker at the Midwest Baptist Fellowship summer camp program which was held at Sagmount Baptist Camp. I was thrilled at the opportunity and began counting the days. Before I knew it the time had come, and last week I got to spend the entire week with over 15 churches, and over 300 campers. It was a fantastic week. God did amazing things from beginning to end, and I was so honored that His incredible Grace would allow me to be a tool that He could use to impact lives.

Our theme was Called. Our theme verse was Romans 8:28. I preached both morning and evening of each day on topics including Salvation, Eternal Security, Servant Leadership, Holiness, Moral Purity, Bitterness, and Complete Surrender. It was an encouraging week, a week with lots of fruit. There were at least 15 students that accepted Jesus Christ, at least 15 received assurance of their salvation, around 10 surrendered to full-time service, and many many more made decisions to confess and forsake sin and make restitution between God and man.

Praise the Lord!

As an adult it is so easy to grow a cold and hard heart towards the voice of the Lord. One of my most consistent prayers is that I will always have a soft heart towards the leading of the Holy Spirit. I love how camp is often times like a heart softener. You go, listen, and be half way willing to change, and there is a good chance your heart will be softer towards the things of God.

Maybe it is time for some of us adults to go to camp for a week! Thanks for reading! What are your best camp memories? What are some of the things that God has done in your life over the years while at summer camp?

Lessons from Joseph

Last week I was privileged to lead the Missionary Kid Program at the 2015 BBFI Missionary Reunion. We had missionary kids from all over the world, including countries like Russia, Singapore, Argentina, Australia, Zambia, and more. It was an incredible week where we focused on the theme: Living the dream.

We discussed how often times in our lives, we get focused on the negative aspects of our life and ministry instead of focusing on the positive things that God is doing. We spent some time looking at different men in the Bible like Jonah, David, Solomon, and my favorite, Joseph.

Joseph was living a life that seemed to get worse and worse around every corner. He was betrayed by his family, betrayed by his authority, and possibly thought that he was even betrayed by God from time to time. In the end, however, God worked every detail out and proved that his plan was to use this difficult path to bring him to a special place where God could use him in great ways!

Sometimes, I feel like can relate (on a much smaller scale) to Joseph. I have my dreams, my plans, and I am on my way to seeing them accomplished, and then something that happens that makes me say… WHAT?!?!?!?! It is in those moments that I must remind myself of Genesis 50:20, where Joseph told his brothers: What you meant for evil, God meant for good, to save much people alive.

Wow! Even in the darkest times, God was still working his plan, all that He required was that Joseph be faithful and trust Him. I hope to live with a testimony that I trust God and serve Him faithfully no matter the path He chooses for me.

I am privileged to speak at Sagmount Youth Camp in just about 2 weeks, I will be sharing about the life of Joseph! I am very excited to share the things that God is working me through in my own heart.

I Lost My Website… Everything… But here is what I found.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I called my hosting company to save a few dollars and made a switch in my service to save a few dollars. When this happened they made the switch and deleted my entire site, with no backup. I spent hours on the phone with them trying to reverse the damage, but in the end they said they were sorry and there was nothing that they could do to retrieve all my content.

I was devastated. Years of blogging gone. It was basically like having four years of journals about everything destroyed in a fire. I was incredibly disheartened about it.

I was talking to a friend and he said well why don’t you go to the internet archive and pull up the screen shots of your old website. I was shocked, I said “something like that really exists?” He explained that is surely does, and while it definitely would not have everything, it would have a lot.

I checked it out, and realized that about half of my posts had been imaged and saved on this website. What is the site? It is the internet archive way back machine. It is actually pretty amazing, you can see many different websites from years and years ago. Want to see what yahoo.com looked like in 1999?

http://archive.org/web/

Yahoo

Yahoo! Auctions
Pokemon, Beanies
Yahoo! Messenger Yahoo! Mail
free email for life
Yahoo! ShoppingApparel, Computers, Videos, DVDs, CDs, Toys, Electronics and more
ShoppingAuctionsYellow PagesPeople SearchMapsTravelClassifiedsPersonalsGamesChatClubs
MailCalendarMessengerCompanionMy Yahoo!NewsSportsWeatherTVStock Quotesmore…
Arts & Humanities
Literature, Photography

Business & Economy
Companies, Finance, Jobs

In the News
· Report: EgyptAir crash to become criminal probe
· ATM fee bans blocked by judge
· Comdex
more…
Marketplace
· Y! Travel – plan your holiday travel
· Looking for a car? job? house?
more…
Inside Yahoo!
·

Well, I did not write this post to talk about Yahoo, but instead I wanted to share my own archive in a place where I will be able to look the posts up that I could save from this website. Below are simply the copies and pastings of all the posts that I could find from my old site. Many good memories. Enjoy skimming through some of the memories, almost a history book of 4 years of my life and ministry from 2011-2014.

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BBFI Missions Office: Next Generation Missions

I was a youth pastor for eight years at Suncoast Baptist Church in Port Charlotte, FL. During that time, one of my most famous lines was: “I have the coolest job in the world.”

I was wrong.

I actually had the second coolest job in the world.

Now, I have the coolest job in the world.

MOIn August, I began working at the BBFI Missions Office as an Associate Director of (what I like to call) Next Generation Missions. One of my roles here is to study the current trends of young people who surrender their lives to Missions. Research between different mission agencies reveals that about 50% of missionaries surrendered their lives to go to the mission field because of some kind of experience with missions while they were students. In other words, if past generations were not helping their young people experience missions whether through biographies, face to face interaction, or mission trips, or other youth focused mission events, then there would be 50% less missionaries on the field today than we currently have.

In our modern world we are more globally connected than ever before. According to the New York Times, teenagers spend on average more than 7 hours online each day.  This means that our young people are more connected to the world than ever before. The question is, why are more and more students neither interested in missions nor surrendering their lives to go to the mission field? I believe that this is because while students are more connected to the world than ever before, many of them are less connected to the mission field than ever before. With a decline in reading and an increase in media entertainment, fewer students are reading missionary biographies than in the past. With fewer services in many churches today, fewer students are coming face to face with missionaries and being challenged by them to go to the mission field. With an economic recession over the last several years and with global unrest, fewer students are going on intentional mission trips around the world. Because of these reasons and many others, we are seeing fewer and fewer students surrender their lives to go to the mission field each year.

This must change.

How does it change? I believe it is a simple answer. Our teenagers need to consistently experience missions. They need to hear about mission in church and in their youth group. They need to get to know missionaries by connecting with them through social media and other forms of communication. Our young people need to learn more about missions to gain a burden for lost souls around the world. Our students need to see and experience the field with intentionality, so that they will be more likely to follow the Lord’s leading to the field.

We must put missions before their eyes, and when they see it and experience it, they will often go.

Matthew 9:38 reminds us to pray that the Lord will send more Laborers into the field. We must pray for our young people and encourage them to consider going to the mission field.

The BBFI Missions Office is more serious about accomplishing this task than ever before. We believe that we can change the current trends in regards to our young people and missions. We believe that surrendering ones life to share the Gospel with lost souls around the world is one of the greatest adventures on the planet. We also believe that if students experience the power and work of God through current missionaries and their works on the field, then they will be very interested in going themselves.

We are excited about making a difference in the world with the Gospel and using the next generation, their passion, creativity, and energy to accomplish greater things than we ever have seen in the past.

If you are interested in getting involved with our task, then please contact me and lets get to work!

ltomlin@bbfimissions.com

By |October 2nd, 2013|Growth|2 Comments

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My Journey to Africa 2014 – Part 2

DAY 1

We arrived in Tanzania on Tuesday night and drove from Kilimanjaro International Airport all the way over to Arusha where we are staying with Vernon and Mary Smith. When we arrived at the Smiths home, they had some delicious old fashioned cheeseburgers prepared for us, which tasted amazing after only eating airplane food for the last 24 hours. We finished dinner and spent a little time getting to know one another before heading off to bed for the first night.

Sight Seeing in Arusha

We woke up to a wonderful breakfast on Wednesday. Mamma Bonnie prepared everything from bacon and eggs to fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls. It was a delicious breakfast! After breakfast we got in the car and drove through town. The sights were incredible. It was very similar to what I remember seeing in Togo back in 2001. Everything is built with mud, or cinder block and almost all the roads are dirt, mud, or paved with pot holes. We drove to the bank and then drove through a little neighborhood to get to their ministry campus.

Tour BBA and Medical Clinic

We drove through these windy little dirt roads, taking several turns, driving past many little snack stores and barbers and other general merchandise stores to get to the campus of BBA, Bible Baptist Academy. The Smiths have a fantastic ministry here in Arusha. They have been involved in the establishment of a great school, which goes from preschool all the way through 7th grade. We were able to meet the great team of faculty and administration and then tour the campus. This school is such an incredible sight.

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The structure itself is quite impressive, but the ministry that they are accomplishing is even more wonderful. This is a Christian School that is providing the best education in town. This school has many students and it has many others who would like to attend but are on waiting lists. The students who do attend are trained from the word of God. These children are learning Bible songs, they are learning to memorize scripture and they are learning about the gospel. The lives of these young people and their families are being impacted daily through this wonderful ministry.

I see this ministry and I immediately think of how awesome my wife would be at serving in a ministry opportunity like this one. I know that she has a gift to teach and an incredible gift for organizing and administration and I cant help but think that God could use us greatly together to reach and minister to families through something like this.

Next we walked to another part of their facilities where they have a medical clinic. As we walked up through the waiting room, there were people everywhere. We were able to walk around the see the facilities. We met everyone from the nurses to the administrative staff, all the way to the pharmacist and doctor. The amazing thing is that every one of the staff members at the medical clinic go to the Smith’s church on the campus. And most of them are highly involved in leadership and service in their church.We walked back over the school and church and had some morning tea which they make for everyone each day. It was an extremely herbal tea with black pepper in it. It made for a unique flavor with a good bite of spice to it.

The school, church, and medical clinic were thoroughly impressive. The like changing fruit produced from each of these ministries were very obvious. I was immediately burdened to be involved in serving in a ministry like this.

Wednesday Night Church

On Wednesday night we went back to church for the mid week service. Things started with music, and it was some great music. Many of the school staff that I had met that morning were involved in leading the worship service. This was the small service of the week, and there were more than 100 people in attendance. It was so exciting to be a part of. Earlier in the day I was asked if I would sing a song during the evening service, I agreed and asked what to sing. I was told to sing anything about missions, so I decided to sing  a song called: “I Will Follow” by Chris Tomlin. I met with the band a little bit before the service and ran through the song about three times, and they figured it out quickly! In fact, several of the band members were singing along with me because they had been familiar with the song. The service began, We sand and worshipped for quite a while before I got up with the band and sang a special. Then Jon got up and spoke about the great work of missions going on around the world, and encouraged the church to keep up the good work, and keep doing more for missions. Can you imagine that. We are on “the mission field” doing a missions conference, encouraging this wonderful church to support and send more missionaries around the world. Absolutely Incredible.

Dinner with the Doctor

After dinner, we walked across the street to the doctors home. He and his family provided a wonderful meal for us. We had cokes, and other drinks, chicken that tasted amazing, French fries, fresh pineapple, and a bunch of other yummy things. We were going through crazy jet lag at the time, but the food made it bearable. We were exhausted and so we didn’t stay long, we enjoyed the food and a little fellowship before running back home and diving in bed.

DAY 2

March 13, 2014, this is a day I will never forget. It was Wills birthday, and here is what I did to celebrate! J

Dirt Biking Safari

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We got up and left the house around 7:30. We had about a 2 hour drive ahead of us, and Chris and I were offered the chance to ride with a different missionary. Steve Burkholder, missionary to Tanzania was in the area and so we rode to the excursion with him. It was a great opportunity to meet another missionary and hear about the great things going on in his ministry. One of my favorite things that he told us about what his “Timothy Ministry”, this is a ministry where he is investing into young men who have been cast out by their families. He is pouring his life into these young men, mentoring them and training them to be disciples of Christ. His long term plan and prayer is that God would call many of these young men to be his future preachers in many of his different church plants. It sounded like an incredible ministry with many different creative elements to provide funding and great accountability for them.

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After two hours we arrived to this little town on the side of the road where there were 6 dirt bikes parked on the side of the road. Vernon scheduled a dirt bike company to bring their bikes to this one point out in the middle of nowhere. We put on the dirt bike gear and then took off on our adventure.  For the next 5 hours we rode all over the African plains, through the bush, chasing animals and traversing some incredible terrain. We were able to chase everything from packs of wild Zebra to Gazelle, many Wildebeest and even a few warthogs and ostriches and other birds. We saw incredible termite mounds and several incredible hills and jumping spots.

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This was my first time to ever ride a dirt bike, and I had no clue what I was doing, however, I picked it up pretty quick. These guys gave me almost no instruction other than showing me where to change the gear and something about 1 up and 4 down. Then they took off, and it was up to me to figure out how this thing works. Within about 10 minutes, I was in love… as long as I didn’t have to stop. It took me a little bit longer to get good at stopping and then starting again.

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There were several different times while I was on the dirt bike that time seemed to slow down for a moment. I felt like I was watching the Zebras in slow motion thinking to myself, what in the world am I doing right now. This was definitely one of the coolest things that I have ever experienced in my life. In fact, while I was riding I kept thinking to myself, at the end of my life, if someone asks me what were 5 of the most exciting adventures that you were able to do, this would be near the top of that list. It was absolutely indescribable to ride all around the African plain, to see the animals, to see the Masai warriors as they herded their cows, goats, and sheep. To see their mud huts and their little children playing all while on a powerful dirt bike. It was unforgettable and amazing.

By |March 15th, 2014|Growth|2 Comments

My Journey to Africa 2014 – Part 1

In 2001 I was blessed with an opportunity to go to Togo, West Africa with my youth pastor and some other students from our youth group. That quick 2-week mission trip allowed me to see and experience many wonderful things which greatly influenced my life. In fact, it was during that trip that God began working in my heart to call me into ministry. I began Bible college the following year to train for missions and to follow Gods plan for my life. Here I am now, almost 13 years later, back in Africa and I have a few expectations for this trip.

I expect God to soften my heart.

– One of the most amazing aspects of a mission trip is the opportunity to have your heart softened. There is something special about going to a new place, meeting new people,  eating new things, and being completely vulnerable. I do not want to be hard, calloused, skeptical, doubtful, I want to be full of passionate faith, anticipating God to do great things! I know this trip will soften my heart towards the work of God.

I expect God to broaden my comfort zone.

– How do you expand your comfort zone? You get out of it. I am going to intentionally look for ways throughout this entire trip to get out of my comfort zone. I want to see new things with fresh eyes and hear Gods voice differently than I ever have before. This requires that I spend time with God and that I am intentional about my thoughts and actions while I am here. I cannot be lazy or apathetic if I expect God to do something big here.

I expect God to speak to me on a very personal and specific way.

There were at least 3 very specific divine appointments for me personally on my last trip to Africa. A divine appointment is one of those moments where you see something and you almost hear God saying to you personally, “Lee, this is why I brought you here, I wanted you to see this and be changed by it.” I will never forget some of the lessons God showed me in 2001 and I am looking forward to seeing Gods divine appointment for me here in 2014.

I expect God to change me to be more like Him.

God is love. I want to love like He loves. I want to see those that He loves and be filled with His compassion. I am praying that this trip will expand my ability  and my willingness to love like Jesus loves.

Are my expectations to high? I doubt it! I have a big God and his expectations for this trip are even greater than mine. So, I will share about my journey here with you. I will share the experiences about how God will soften my heart, broaden my comfort zones, speak to me through divine appointments, and grow my love for Him and for those that He loves.

By |March 11th, 2014|Growth|1 Comment

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Book List

Good To Great – Jim Collins

Good To Great in God’s Eyes – Chip Ingram

Safe People – Henry Cloud

Steve Jobs – Walter Isaacson

Boundaries with Kids – Henry Cloud

Master Leaders – Bill Dallas, George Barna

Boundaries – Henry Cloud

Creating Magic – Lee Cockerell

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive – Patrick Lencioni

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

Getting Things Done – David Allen

Developing the Leaders Around You – John Maxwell

Point Man – Steve Farrar

Radical – David Platt

360 Leader – John Maxwell

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Death By Meeting – Patrick Lencioni

How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

King Me – Steve Farrar

Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi

QBQ – John Miller

Rich Dad, Poor Dad – Robert Klyosaki

The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey

His Needs, Her Needs – William Harley

Entreleadership – Dave Ramsey

Walt Disney – Neal Gabler

Margin – Richard Swenson

Sacred Marriage – Gary Thomas

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About Me

Thank you for visiting my blog. My name is Lee Tomlin and I am excited about sharing some things with you and hopefully using this platform to get to know you more. I will introduce myself to you by sharing about the most exciting parts of my life. First, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I am striving to know and imitate Jesus Christ more and more in my life. Second I am married the wonderful, Katie Tomlin. We were married in August of 2006, and each year gets better and better. I cannot imagine how good things will be by the 50 year mark! We have two children. Will was born in 2008 and Avery was born in 2010. Many of the highlights of my life involve them both so as you continue to read, I am sure that you will get to know them more and more.

I am known to be a passionate person. I strive to find a balance between passion and humility as passion and arrogance seem to fit together more often. I am passionate about a handful of things including the Church, Youth Ministry, Music, Personal Growth, Blogging, Running, and a few Triathlons here and there.

I am the youth and music pastor at Suncoast Baptist Church where I have served on staff since 2005. I am very thankful for the opportunity that I have had to serve and grow in this ministry.

This blog exists to share with others the things that I am finding and learning about. I have been challenged and encouraged many times by reading a blog, so if I have the opportunity to do the same thing for someone else then I would consider it a great blessing.

I hope that this site will both encourage and inspire you and I hope that you will find it to be a resource that will be worth coming back to again.

Thanks!

Lee Tomlin

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Share Your Resources!

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One thing I know is that I appreciate it when people share great resources with me! Therefore, I have always tried to be a wealth of great resources to share with others. Last week I was asked to speak in the Media Tech department at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO. I was asked to share and walk through several great online resources that I know and use. I was totally excited because this is something that I am passionate about! So, today was the day! I shared the following resources with these students and I believe that these resources will be great tools for the future organization and productivity of these students. Maybe they will help you too!

I will share each resource, a short description, and then some will have an added example of their amazingness. You can also click on the word to access a link on the resource.

Productivity

     Google Calendar – Online Calendar, Edit, Share, and Import from anywhere.

     Todo (David Allen: Getting Things Done) Productivity and Task Management

     Toodledo – Online Web Based Productivity Synchronization with Todo

Data Management

     Google Drive – Google Drive is a web resource which allows you to create, store, share, and collaborate on documents and projects with other people.

     Dropbox – Dropbox is the most popular online data management resource. Save your files online, access it anywhere, at anytime.

     LogMeIn – Access your Computer Desktop From Any Computer or Mobile Device

     Join.me – Free Screen Sharing and online meetings

     Feedly – Read and search daily articles and blogs on specific topics of interest.

     Evernote – Personal Paperless System, an incredibly searchable reference system for all documents, receipts, projects, and more.

          This program has many features, one worth mentioning is the photo text recognition. If you take pictures of all your receipts, it recognizes the text and allows you to search everything, even photos. So at the end of the year if you want to see how much money you spent at Home Depot, simply take pics of your receipts and then search the word: Home Depot, and every receipt will be displayed.

Presentations

     Prezi – Creative Presentation Design Website

          Wonderfully creative presentation program, sure to impress any audience.

Communication

     Trumpia – Group text messages with your own short code for others to sign up with.

          Get your own text short code and communicate to anyone who texts your keyword to your short number         (i.e. text “hello” to #65804)

     iContact – Group email software.

     GroupMe – Group Communication Application (Operates with Mobile App & Texting)

          Great for keeping in touch with a small group or care group leaders.

Web/Blog Design

     WordPress.com – Easy and Simple Blog Creation Site.

     WordPress.org – Flexible and Advanced Website Creation Site.

Graphic Design

     Creation Swap – Christian Site for graphic design and lots of free media.

     Google Images “Search Similar Images”

          Everyone knows of google images, but search similar images is an incredible newer search capability with limitless potential

     Open Resources – Free Church Resources for graphics, media, notes, outlines, and more.

Other Resources

     Amazon Books – Great resource for purchasing, reading, and researching books.

     Google Reader – Search a book for content, or search all books based on subject.

          Incredible for searching and researching topics for research papers.

    eTurabian – Fast and Easy Footnotes and Bibliography.

          Never type your own footnotes and/or bibliography again!

     Audible – Listen to books that you have not had time to read. Great for long car rides.

          Don’t have time to read everything you need to? Listen to them while you run, while you drive, and any other chance you get.

     Techsoup – Cheap Mainstream Software for Non-profits.

          This is an incredible resource where non-profit organizations can purchase expensive software for pennies on the dollar. (Microsoft Word, Windows, Adobe CS packages)

Mobile Apps

     Notability – App for taking notes, or making notes on documents. Great for signing things and emailing back without printing, scanning, and/or faxing.

          I use this to sign and send any documents that need to be signed. Much of my closing on my house was signed by using this app. Easy to open an email, sign a doc, and send it back.

     Scripture Typer / Bible Memory – Incredible Scripture Memory App.

          Get back into scripture memory, this is a great tool. Makes scripture memory consistent and enjoyable.

     GeoQpons – Coupons and Discounts and Thousands of Stores and Restaurants. (My Wife’s Favorite)

           My wife finds deals all the time on stores restaurants and more. Saves us hundreds of dollars at places we were going anyway. Just show the coupon on your mobile device and most will accept it.

Well, that is the most recent resources that I have used. What are some of the resources that you use? Thanks for sharing!

By |November 14th, 2013|Growth|2 Comments

BBFI Missions Office: Next Generation Missions

I was a youth pastor for eight years at Suncoast Baptist Church in Port Charlotte, FL. During that time, one of my most famous lines was: “I have the coolest job in the world.”

I was wrong.

I actually had the second coolest job in the world.

Now, I have the coolest job in the world.

MOIn August, I began working at the BBFI Missions Office as an Associate Director of (what I like to call) Next Generation Missions. One of my roles here is to study the current trends of young people who surrender their lives to Missions. Research between different mission agencies reveals that about 50% of missionaries surrendered their lives to go to the mission field because of some kind of experience with missions while they were students. In other words, if past generations were not helping their young people experience missions whether through biographies, face to face interaction, or mission trips, or other youth focused mission events, then there would be 50% less missionaries on the field today than we currently have.

In our modern world we are more globally connected than ever before. According to the New York Times, teenagers spend on average more than 7 hours online each day.  This means that our young people are more connected to the world than ever before. The question is, why are more and more students neither interested in missions nor surrendering their lives to go to the mission field? I believe that this is because while students are more connected to the world than ever before, many of them are less connected to the mission field than ever before. With a decline in reading and an increase in media entertainment, fewer students are reading missionary biographies than in the past. With fewer services in many churches today, fewer students are coming face to face with missionaries and being challenged by them to go to the mission field. With an economic recession over the last several years and with global unrest, fewer students are going on intentional mission trips around the world. Because of these reasons and many others, we are seeing fewer and fewer students surrender their lives to go to the mission field each year.

This must change.

How does it change? I believe it is a simple answer. Our teenagers need to consistently experience missions. They need to hear about mission in church and in their youth group. They need to get to know missionaries by connecting with them through social media and other forms of communication. Our young people need to learn more about missions to gain a burden for lost souls around the world. Our students need to see and experience the field with intentionality, so that they will be more likely to follow the Lord’s leading to the field.

We must put missions before their eyes, and when they see it and experience it, they will often go.

Matthew 9:38 reminds us to pray that the Lord will send more Laborers into the field. We must pray for our young people and encourage them to consider going to the mission field.

The BBFI Missions Office is more serious about accomplishing this task than ever before. We believe that we can change the current trends in regards to our young people and missions. We believe that surrendering ones life to share the Gospel with lost souls around the world is one of the greatest adventures on the planet. We also believe that if students experience the power and work of God through current missionaries and their works on the field, then they will be very interested in going themselves.

We are excited about making a difference in the world with the Gospel and using the next generation, their passion, creativity, and energy to accomplish greater things than we ever have seen in the past.

If you are interested in getting involved with our task, then please contact me and lets get to work!

ltomlin@bbfimissions.com

By |October 2nd, 2013|Growth|2 Comments

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Is there any hope for your teenager?

I recently had a conversation with a concerned grandmother about her grandson. She told me about the situation he was in and then asked me a surprising question. She asked me: “Do you think that there is any hope for him?” Normally in a situation like this I would be quick to guarantee her that there is always hope, but before I said that, I wanted to ask her a question first. I asked her what kind of positive influence did her grandson have in his life. She looked and me, and said that he had absolutely no positive influence in his life, and with that, I told her that there was no hope for her grandson.

You may be quick to bounce back saying, there is always hope, and we should never give up on someone, and for the most part I agree. The exception however is when one has no positive influence in their life, and they are not willing to receive any positive influencers in their life.

Take a second and think about your life, if you are pleased with where God has brought you in life, then I am confident that you can look back in your life and take note of different influencers that have invested into you up to this point. Proverbs 13:20 explains that we will become like those we spend our time with. If we spend time with the wise, we will be wise, but if we spend time with fools, we will be destroyed. Proverbs 27:17 reminds us that just as  iron sharpens iron, we must look to sharpen and be sharpened by one another. Who are you influencing? Who/What is influencing you?

A few weeks later I sat down with this young man and asked him the same question that I asked his Grandmother. “What positive influencers do you have in your life?” We spoke for a few minutes about this and realized that there is hope, he does have some positive influencers in his life, and most importantly he is willing to have more positive influencers in his life. I am thankful that he is willing to sit down with me each week and talk through his life events and study God’s word together. This is discipleship, and discipleship changes lives.

Do you know someone who seems hopeless? Maybe you can be the hope in their life by spending your time to invest into their life. I am so thankful that Jesus invested into the 12, who invested into others, who invested into me.

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A Day at Disney World

Well, yesterday was a wonderful day at Disney World. We were given tickets for Christmas and we were able to go yesterday and enjoy a wonderful family day with the whole family. At first I was not excited about going yesterday because I knew the park was closing early, but after we got there, I realized that the park was closing so early because almost NO ONE WAS THERE! It was so amazing to enjoy the park with almost no lines! My sister and her family also joined us and then my mom also came along. Here are some of the pictures!

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 19 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 46 posts. There were 13 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 234mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 19th with 56 views. The most popular post that day was A Refreshing Day… WITH TEENAGERS?!?!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were leetomlin.com, doyourdevotions.wordpress.com, facebook.com, benjenningsblog.wordpress.com, and alphainventions.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for lee tomlin, lee tomlin blog, leetomlin.com, life gets monotonous, and word of life super bowl 2010 orlando.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A Refreshing Day… WITH TEENAGERS?!?! January 2010
8 comments

2

About MeSeptember 2009

3

Preaching October 2009
1 comment

4

Wilds or Bust!! June 2010
5 comments

5

BooksOctober 2009

By |January 2nd, 2011|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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Do You Need To Disconnect?

Well, we have been back from Guatemala for less than 24 hours and my phone has been ringing off the hook. While in Guatemala I went 8 days without receiving one phone call and I must admit, it was amazing. I know that cell phones are wonderful and I am definitely not against technology, however it seems like we have created a culture in which everyone must be available to everyone all the time. In fact, the people that have cell phones and cannot ever be reached are quite annoying. We have created a trap where we are always available to others and therefore never available for our own solitude or our own family time. That is why I love apples new IOS6. One of the new additions to the iphone on the IOS6 is the do not disturb feature. With this new feature you can actually schedule when to receive calls and when to send all call directly to voicemail. So if I am on a date with my wife, I can be hers only with no distractions. If I am enjoying a family game night, I can be completely with the family with no distractions. If I am sleeping in my bed, or doing my morning devotions, I can schedule my phone to allow those moments without distractions. This is wonderful! Let me be clear, I am not against technology. I LOVE IT! Duh! I am reading the future updates for my iphone… But, I also do not want to be a slave to technology and to the urgent demands of others. Now, I can schedule when I am available and when I am not available to others, while not having to feel guilty about hitting the “IGNORE” button. Here is a clipping from the new IOS6 site. Check it out! What are your thoughts about this new feature? What other IOS6 features are you excited about?

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My Main Screen iPhone Apps

One of the first questions that I want to ask someone who has an iPhone is: “What great apps do you have?”

Over the last few years I have realized the importance of having great applications on my mobile device. Although my favorite applications have changed over the years, there are a few applications that have become absolutely critical to maintaining balance and health in many different areas of my life.

Here is a screen shot of my iPhone home screen. I would like to use todays blog to share with you some apps that have hanged my life and some others that I do not know how I would survive without.

Bible – YouVersion

This Bible app is by far the greatest. This application is a free Bible app with special features like online notes, Bible reading plans, parallel readings, and public notes and commentaries. This Bible program also has a very simple and sharp layout.

Clock

This app is very simple, but also very important. It is my clock, my alarm, and my timer for anything from events throughout my day to how long to grill the chicken. Very helpful!

App Store

You never know when you will need the next great app! I like to have the app store close.

Calendar

The calendar syncs with my gmail calendar along with all of my other individual ministry and group calendars. This is a great way to bring every calendar that I own to one simple calendar app on my phone.

Camera and Photos

It seems like I never have the camera ready to take a picture when I need to take or show one, home screen access makes this much easier.

Feeddler Pro

This app is a great blog reader. It works like an email inbox for all my favorite blogs. It is easy to add blogs, to sync several different RSS Host sites, and to import your gmail blogger account. This is a great way to stay up to date on different events, ideas and trends while not filling up your email inbox with a million subscriptions.

Google App

This probably sounds cliche, but I use this app everyday! It is a quick way to find out just about anything, anywhere. Also, it has voice searching capabilities, which means that I can simple ask where the nearest Sonny’s BBQ is, and it will tell me and offer directions. Almost works like Siri for a poor mans iPhone 4s.

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Next are my favorite apps on my front page.

Craigslist Pro + Notifications

This is a wonderful craigslist browser that not only has amazing search capabilities, but it also allows you to set up specific searches that will alert you when certain items are posted on craigslist. This is a great tool for finding great deals as soon as they are posted.

Bridge to 10K

This app and its more popular app “C25K” or the new, “Ease into 5K”, has changed my life. Using this app I have begun running over the last few months, and I have watched my blood pressure drop more than 30 points. Because of this app and one other app I have lost over 25lbs in a very managable and healthy way. I started with C25K and finished that in a period of 8 weeks. Then I ran in a 5K and finished in a time of 28:04, now I am training for a 10K and this app has walked me very gradually, step by step to help me grow to become a runner.

Nozbe

This is my newest app, I just transitioned from TODO, to this app because of the great reviews by several different leaders that I follow. This task management software follows David Allen’s  ”GTD” Method and helps the user keep every project organized along with the next action step that needs to be taken to complete each project. I have already grown to appreciate this app for many reasons, one of which is its syncing ability between Evernote, and Dropbox. This is a great task management application.

Evernote

This application is a great application that will help anyone organize all of their paperwork into folders and storage areas with unprecented search capabilities. You can even search words on pictures that you take, for example, if you take a picture of a receipt and then want to find all of your receipts from one particular restaurant, all you have to do is type in the name of the restaurant to find all documents with that information. This is a great organization application.

Lose It

Finally, this app has been the most dynamic app that I have owned. In the last 7 weeks I have lost right around 25lbs. This weight loss has been due to the easy format of keeping track of calories and weight loss. This applications helps to motivate you while also holding you accountable both in the application and with its “friend” capabilites which allow you to encourage and help out other friends who are working towards the same goal of weight loss.

Now, I have shared my life changing apps with you, what are your favorite apps and how have they impacted your life?

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Fresh Thoughts From Sunday

4/9/2011

Today was a great day at church! Here are a few of my fresh thoughts from the day:

Sunday School

Today in Sunday School we talked about death and how it has been so close to home lately. In the last month two teenagers have died from North Port High School. The latest trajedy was suicide by a teenager. Several of our teenagers talked with Him on Friday, and by the end of the day, he was in eternity. I have a real passion to use this trajedy to reach NPHS. Pray with me for wisdom on how to do that.

Worship

Wow! Today we did two new songs. This morning we sang “Jesus Paid it All, Oh Praise the One…”, and tonight we sang “He is Lord” by Hillsong. It was incredible! I am so thankful for how talented and hard working our praise team is! They are really sounding better and better as time goes on. Thanks Praise Team! Keep up the great work!

Morning Service

Pastor preached a great message this morning about guardrails and four people accepted Christ. It is so cool to see people saved and baptized in our church. Last week four got baptized, this week four more saved! Do you understand how great that is?

The Unsung Heroes

Tonight we had a sound booth workers meeting, and I will tell you what I told those guys: If our churchw as full of servants like them, we would have a completely different church. They work and work and work, and rarely get appreciated and thanked for all of their unnoticed work that would be majorly noticed if they did not do it! Thank you sound booth servants! Seriously! Every Sunday is what it is because of your faithfulness! Thanks so much!

Marriage Conference

We had our meeting this morning for our marriage conference, and I began to realize how amazingly fun this week is going to be! We are going to be staying in the Buena Vista Resort Hotel and Spa, at Downtown Disney, with the guest speaker Jim Binney! We are going to have a wonderful time together! I wish that many more of our core families were coming to this amazing conference, but I am so thankful that we are taking 26 couples! God is going to do great things in a lot of marriages this week!

Thankful for my Wife

Katie had to miss all of our services today to take care of our sick baby girl. Avery has had RSV for the last couple weeks and she is still contagious. I am thankful for a wife who is such a good wife, mom, nurse, and on and on the list goes. I wish that she could have been encouraged with us at church today. I will just have to spoil her this week! :) I love you Katie! Thanks for all that you do!

Great Day over at God’s House!!

What an incredible day at Suncoast Baptist Church. My theme of the day: “The Teenagers are taking over the church, and I am excited about it!!” Here are some of the awesome things that I noticed going on at our church today!

* This morning we had a great day in Sunday School. Some people may think that Sunday School is outdated, ineffective, and old school, but not at Suncoast Baptist Church. Our Sunday School Program is hard core group discipleship. Suncoast Youth Group just spent the last few months learning how to take someone verse by verse very clearly through the Gospel. Today we started doing a book study series and today we studied the first book of the series which also happens to be the first book of the Bible. Genesis. The teenagers learned the 8 most important parts of Genesis: Creation, Fall, Flood, Babel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph

* Praise team was so pleased to welcome another wind instrument. Jessica Beals joined the praise team today playing the Trumpet. She was great! It was fun because she was very nervous, but she really did an awesome job! I was so suprised at how much it added to the richness of the wind ensemble. Great job Jessica! I wish there were more talented musicians that are willing to use their talent for the Lord at SBC, like Jessica, Emily, Victoria, and Sergio!! Thanks guys!

* Pastor preached a great message this morning on God’s Will! It reminded me of some great thoughts and it obviously challenged many others!

* We had many new faces in our services this morning! It was so exciting to see so many people attend our services for the first time! Those people were DIRECT answers to prayer! Thank you God for hearing and answering our prayers!!

* It was a rainy day and still we had great numbers in our services today! There must be some exciting things going on at Suncoast Baptist Church!

* I got to preach tonight, even better I got to share the burden that God has put within my heart! Here is a VERY SHORT SUMMARY:

Every Thriving Church MUST Multiply Disciples! As I studied Acts 6, I was convicted maybe we are just adding disciples, and not quite multiplying! How can we go from adding to multiplying? If EVERYONE gets involved in three things!

1. We must give ourselves to prayer continually

2. We must give ourselves to the Word of God continually

3. We must develop spiritual leaders around us (Discipleship)

If you missed it, maybe you should just study that passage on your own this week and see how God challenges you with it!

It was a very encouraging night and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

* Then after church tonight we all went and took over the Taco Bell/ KFC in North Port. Literally our church filled the entire dining room! It was a great time of fellowship and a great ending to a rewarding day!

* Let’s be faithful and Prayer and Consistent time in the Word of God this week and see how God uses one week to change our heart! I think after one week, you are going to want to keep it up!! :)

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Goals for 2013

Well, this is the year that I will turn 30. I have always had the opinion that at the age of 30 it is time to know what you are going to do with your life. It is a little scary to actually be here now, in many ways, I believe that my life is on track heading in a direction that I will finish my life being glad I chose. I am blessed with a great family. I have a wonderful, faithful, respectful and God fearing wife. I have two exciting and energetic children begging to be taught and led each day. I am on staff in a great ministry. I work with two good friends. I am in better health right now than ever before in my life. I have challenged myself in the last year physically, spiritually, and mentally. Some of my biggest achievements over the last year have been in health and exercise. I started the year around 210 pounds with a normal blood pressure at hypertension levels. In January I began running and by the end of the year, I was down to 170 with a very healthy blood pressure average. I put in over 600 miles in running this last year. Competed in three Triathlons, and about 5 Runs placing either 1st or 2nd in almost every race I was in. If you are still reading, this may be annoying at this point to read about this list of success, however give me a chance to explain.

I have made many goals on January 1st year after year after year. I have also failed at those goals year after year after year. This year something was different. I realized the depth of the problem that I had gotten myself into and I was disciplined to fix it. What I finished the year thinking about was the fact that I was able to accomplish great things by growing in discipline. I understand that I have great needs in many other areas of my life, and now I feel that if I will choose to be disciplined, I can accomplish anything.

So, what will we see happen in 2013? I do not know, but I do have some goals and some dreams. Here they are:

Physical: The Year of Physical Endurance

1. I will compete in at least one International Triathlon and two Sprint Triathlons.

2. I will run more than 650 miles.

3. I will bike more than 2000 miles.

4. I will run a half-marathon.

5. I will maintain a weight between 155 – 170.

Spiritual: The Year of Consistency

1. I will read through the Bible twice this year.

2. I will maintain a personal prayer journal.

3. I will lead more people to Christ than I did last year.

Family: The Year of Family Devotions

1. Our family will do devotions together 2 nights per week. (Monday/Friday)

2. I will teach my son about the greatness of God through exciting Bible stories. (3 Nights/ Week)

3. I will pray with Katie every night before bed.

4. I will talk with Katie about her spiritual growth and how God is working in her life.

5. We will memorize scripture together as a family.

Personal Growth: The Year of Finishing the Masters Degree

1. I will finish the classes required for my MDiv through Liberty University Online.

2. I will listen to an audio book each month while exercising.

3. I will encourage my friends to grow physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Financial Goals: The Year of Savings

1. I will cary the burden of managing our family financially.

2. I will help us save and build a new emergency fund.

So I will turn 30 this year, and I am excited about the future! I am excited about where God is leading my family and I am excited about continuing to follow his direction! It is very important that we take the time to plan out our goals for the upcoming year. I hope you have done this. Make sure that you make your goals specific and not too general. Also, share them with someone, as it increases the accountability! How can you grow in 2013?
By |January 8th, 2013|Growth, Spiritual|0 Comments

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Great Fellowship Meeting Today: Here are my Takeaways!

On the second Monday of every month a large number of BBF Pastors get together to encourage one another and challenge one another. Today was a special meeting because we met in Orlando at Orlando Baptist Church. Pastor Dave Janney hosted a meeting with an emphasis on being passionate about our church, missions, and our country. It was a nice meeting, great fellowship, good food, and some good preaching. Each time I leave a meeting I like to ask myself what things I can take away from this meeting, and use in my own life and ministry. Today, I decided to share them on my blog.

Revisiting the Past

This meeting was a little bit extra special for me because I was saved and baptized at OBC in 1989. It has been many years since then, but many things are very similar. Today I took a few minutes when I got there to walk up to the baptistry and refresh my memory. It was neat to go back and see the altar where I accepted Christ, the place where I was baptized, the cafeteria where I needed help opening up my juice box, and the parking lot that I remember watching the blonde hair of Casey Maddox flow through the wind. It was great to go back to such a special time in my life. I am thankful that Orlando Baptist Church is still a thriving ministry and still passionate about changing the world!

Passionate about Missions

Today we were privileged to hear Don Richardson share his testimony about his ministry to the headhunters and the cannibals of New Guinea. It was a remarkable message that convicted every person about their passion for missions. He shared how he and his wife and their 10 month old son got off the boat in a village and only smiled because they could not even speak the language. They had no clue what would happen. Some of their friends had been killed and eaten in nearby villages, but they were faithful anyway. When they got to the people God had told them to go to, the people had said that they had always been told that one day a white man would come and choose to live with them. Over the process of a long and incredible story, Don translated the New Testament for the Sawi people, and led most of them to Christ. It was an incredible testimony and a challenge to all. Tonight as I was running, the thought that kept running through my mind, is “How long am I going to keep telling God no, when he provides opportunities to witness and share the truth of the gospel.” We must be passionate about missions.

Unity of Purpose

Today at Orlando Baptist Church, I was so impressed with the obvious rally cry of the church. Whether you were looking at the website, or whether you were in the childrens ministry, the theme: “WORLD CHANGERS” was everywhere! When speakers were introduced, they were introduced as world changers, when programs were described, they were described as world changing programs. Even when the gospel was presented, it was presented as the message that will change the world. It was a powerful reminder of the importance of focused passion and singlularity of purpose.

The Last Thing

Today I was reminded of the importance of developing a solid and passionate team. I am so thankful for the team that God has given me to lead Suncoast Youth Group. These leaders are an incredible team and I thank God for them. I want to continue to develop them and lead them to build our influence in the lives of these teenagers. This is my passion! :)

Thanks for reading! How have you been challenged to grow recently?

By |October 10th, 2011|Church, Growth, Preaching|3 Comments

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A Few of my Favorite Christmas Songs…

Here are just a few of my favorite Christmas songs! Listen to them and then share some of your favorite songs! These are great! Hope you enjoy!

O Holy Night

One Wintry Night

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Santa Claus is Coming

Santa Claus Tonight

By |December 1st, 2009|Holiday, Music|4 Comments

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A Few Great Links!!

Here are a few of my favorite blogs from the past month.  I hope that as you check them out, they are as much of an encouragement and a challenge to you as they were to me! Feel free to share any thoughts in the comment section below!

Here is a video clip of Pastor Steven Furtick’s Son, Elijah speaking about Giving to the Lord. Here is Financial Management from a 4 Year Old’s Perspective!

Elijah Offering Video

Here is another Steven Furtick Link: This is an incredible series titled:  “How to Survive and Thrive in a Church that you don’t like…”. The Great news is, I LOVE MY CHURCH! But Steven had alot of really great thoughts and attitude checks in this series! Check it out!

Part One / Part Two / Part Three

EVERY DAD, HUSBAND, GUY needs to read this blog! It is a great article to remind us how to make Christmas great for the ones we love!

16 Daddy Christmas Tips

Incredible testimony of Matt Chandler. This video was recorded to be played in church during the services right after his emergency Brain Surgery. On Thanksgiving Day Matt collapsed and after some research found out that he had a brain tumor.

Video from Matt

Every church member in the world needs to read this blog! Thanks Perry for wording this so well!

Pray for Your Pastor

By |December 10th, 2009|Blogs, Links|0 Comments

A Few Great Blog Links

Here are a few great blogs I have read recently:

Write Everything Down:

http://www.stevenfurtick.com/personal-development/write-everything-down/

STOP READING!:

http://www.stevenfurtick.com/personal-development/stop-reading/

Awesome Analogy about Gods plan for Sex:

http://www.deadlyviper.org/blog/?p=1593

Your Not Crazy!:

http://www.perrynoble.com/2009/09/02/youre-not-crazy/

Hope you enjoy!! :)

Pastor Lee

By |September 14th, 2009|Links|0 Comments

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Are Christian Teens Too Accepting of Homosexuality?

Two years ago I spoke to our teenagers about the issue of homosexuality from a biblical perspective. Interestingly enough at that time I was dealing with a group of teenagers that were not completely comfortable around those who choose a homosexual lifestyle. In that message I spent about 30% of my message explaining the biblical position against homosexuality and then I spent the remaining 70% of the message challenging teenagers follow the example of Jesus Christ by showing love and compassion over criticism and judgmentalism. This is also an equally important issue because Christians are accused of being “too judgmental” in no issue more than the issue of homosexuality.

Last night at Suncoast Youth Group it was time to address this topic again. In preparing to preach on this subject to our teenagers I noticed a trend that has shifted over the last two years. The pendulum of today’s Christian youth has shifted from judgmentalism to tolerance and even acceptance. Last night in my message I made a joke that since my last message on “not judging” things have been completely different, my message was a 100% success. However, we have not been successful at all if our teens have changed their moral position from being opposed to what God calls sin, to in acceptance of what God calls sin. In my message I dealt with three major issues which I will share below:

1. Homosexuality is wrong according to the Word of God.

From the beginning, God’s plan for marriage and sexual relationships are always under the guidelines of a one man and one woman relationship. We see this from the beginning of creation all the way through the New Testament. While I would pass on arguing the issue from the passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, although arguments can be made, because there has been much debate as to the the context, the audience, and the purpose for the those issues were addresses. The New Testament however addresses the practice of homosexuality much more definitively. I believe that the simplest addressing of homosexuality in scripture is found in Romans 1:18-32 specifically verses 26 and 27. While some would argue that Paul was speaking to a specific people and a specific place as well, this is simply not the case. Paul’s letter here is addressing specific sins in any context where people are turning away from God. Also check out I Corinthians 6:9, and I Timothy 1:10. In each of these passages, the writer is putting the practice of homosexuality besides the most heinous sins. I would also make the point that every time homosexuality is mentioned throughout the entire Word of God it is always described as sin.

Finally, if one still wants to pick apart each one of these passage trying to explain that Paul or any other writers throughout both the Old and New Testament did not really mean what they seem to mean here, I would simply explain that if we decide that we want to rewrite the “meaning” of scripture to fit our preferences, or if we decide that this is not really the truth of Gods word, and it must be read in light of our opinions and justifications then we have no right to claim its truth in any perspective.

The word of God is not a buffet, you do not get to pick and choose from what you would like and change or ignore the rest. If it is good enough to believe for your eternal destination, then it is good enough to believe and live by for your moral standards.

2. Christians should not hypocritically judge homosexuals.

In John 8 we see the Pharisees drag the woman caught into adultery to the feet of Jesus so that He can lay the smack down on her. However in verse 7 we see Jesus tell the crowd of hypocrites, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. The idea here is that these self righteous people did not really care for holiness and justification, they were not grieved by the sin of the woman caught in adultery. Instead, they were overjoyed. These Pharisees were excited about the sin of this woman because they knew that her sin would take the spotlight off of their own sin. They knew that they could present her before Jesus Christ and they would look super spiritual while she looked super wicked.

The sin of others should be grievous to us, and if it is not, then we have a heart much more similar to the heart of these Pharisees than to the heart of Jesus Christ.

This has definitely been a problem for Christians, but among the youth in our culture, it has become less and less a problem in recent years. A greater problem is that Christian teenagers have become so “nonjudgmental” that they have become completely accepting. The pendulum of judgment has shifted to acceptance.

3. Christians should follow the example of Jesus Christ, as he balanced a testimony of Love while taking a stand for Truth.

As we continued through John 8 we looked at Jesus conversation with the woman caught in adultery after all the Pharisees had gone away. Jesus said where are thine accusers, those self righteous people who are excited about seeing your judgment for sin, and she says that they are gone, and Jesus responds with love and truth by saying, I will not condemn you either, go and sin no more. Jesus shows love, not condemnation, BUT he does not tell her that she can go back to whatever she was doing. The message is clear from Jesus. I love you and I will not condemn you, but you need to stop living in sin.

Would Jesus show love without a stand for truth? No. Jesus would not say, “I don’t condemn you either, have a nice day.” No, he took a balanced stance for love and truth. Christians must understand this balance of love and truth and they must live according to this balance with boldness.

What does this look like?

It means that a Christian teenager will be known for loving all.

It means that a Christian teenager will not talk bad about people involved in sin.

It means that a Christian teenager will not be ashamed of the truth.

It means that a Christian teenager will not be ashamed for being known to stand for truth.

It means that a Christian teenager will look for opportunities to have loving conversation about Biblical perspectives on current issues.

How do you recommend that someone balances LOVE and TRUTH in their life?

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Thanksgiving 2012

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and the Christmas Season of 2012 has officially began. My wife, Katie, asked me to tell her three things that I am especially thankful for this year that are not ordinary, common, cliche thankful saying such as family, friends, and food. Here are the three things that I came up with in a few minutes of thought. I wanted to share them here so that I can look back years from now and remember them.

First, I told Katie that I am very thankful for the season of ministry that Katie and I have enjoyed here in Port Charlotte, at Suncoast Baptist Church. These 7 years have been an incredible opportunity to see God work in some wonderful ways. We have also had an opportunity to gain great ministry experience. I love the way that Pastor Chip has balanced his leadership with flexibility to allow my areas of ministry to take on some of my own personality and preferences. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to try some things and see them work, and try other things and see them… not work. It has been a great learning opportunity. I am thankful for the great servants that I have served beside at Suncoast Baptist Church. I have never met faithful servants in any church that serve like the Rexrode family, faithful to do the huge jobs in the background that no one ever knows about. I have said many times that I pray that I have families like the Rexrode family in my future ministries. There are many other families like this family in our church. We are blessed with families like the Reckahns, the DuPriests, the Lingruens, the Marshalls, the Jordans, Tracey Barnthouse, Peggy Lindt, and many other families that serve week in and week out so faithfully.  I am so thankful for the family environment that our church has. This is the first church that I have served on staff with and I know from behind the scenes that there is an incredible family atmosphere at Suncoast Baptist Church. I am so thankful for the way that God brought my family and me to this church and I am so thankful for the experiences and events in our lives that are because of this ministry.

Second, I told Katie that I am very thankful that our family has not had to go through any tragic events. I do not know what tomorrow holds, and I know that if God allows us to go through a difficult trial, He will be faithful to carry and guide us through it. But if I have the choice to see my kids go through some life changing sickness or some other kind of tragic event, I would pray that Gods grace would keep our family out of the most difficult circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that going through difficult circumstances prepare someone to help others through those same difficult circumstances, and I know that God is absolutely glorified through whatever situation he allows to come our way. I also would not say at all that we have not had our share of difficult circumstances, whether it be dealing with the loss of loved ones, the the spiritual loss of loved ones, going through normal struggles that many families go through. I am just thankful that up to this point, God has given our family health and safety in more ways that I can describe. I am thankful that my children are healthy and growing to know their creator more each day.

Third, I told Katie that I am so thankful for the security I have in knowing that I will have her by my side as long as we are alive. I have an indescribable confidence in her faithfulness and a wonderful security in our future together. I pray that our relationship stays as strong as it is, and continues to grow stronger. I also pray that God always protects us from anything that could break our intimacy. I am very thankful that no matter what may come, whether our children grow up and move away, whether our extended family is torn apart, when our accusers seem overwhelming, even when friends become hurtful and heartbreaking, I have her by my side. I am thankful to have such a great wife to love and live with. Katie makes it easy to strive to love her as Christ loves the church. She makes me a better man, and she makes me strive to better in every area of my life. I am thankful for my wife. (By the way… I saved the best for last)

Simply Put:

I am thankful for my church, my families health, and my faithful wife.

and oh so thankful to the God who blessed me with all this and more.

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Welcome to Springfield, MO

1173678_10201710311223184_1284282872_n[1]Imagine packing up every single thing you own into a moving truck, and driving off into the sunset (literally) to a place completely new to your family. Just over a month ago that is exactly what we did.

God has tested our faith in calling us to a new place, with new people, and new opportunities and he has showed his faithfulness the whole time. My family an I moved to Springfield, MO in the middle of August and in some ways the first month has flown by and in other ways it seems like we have been here years. We are really getting adjusted to the new life here in Springfield. There are so many stories we could tell, but nothing more important than saying this. God has been faithful. We are so blessed, and so thankful to be serving Him here in Springfield.

This past Sunday, Katie and I were in church together. Katie leaned over to me near the beginning of the service and said: “I love our church so much, I am so thankful to be here.” Those words that she said were my favorite words since coming here. It is not easy to go through such a tremendous life change, but we are here and we are better off for it. I am so thankful that we followed the Lords leading.

Just last night I was speaking with a college student about how they can know Gods will, and the first thing that came to mind was the normal cliché answer (which is good and correct) that says: “Do what you know to do and God will take care of the rest.” Yes we know that Gods will is to read your Bible, pray every day, grow grow grow and avoid sin. However, when you are waiting on God to do something in your life, that answer can almost be discouraging. So what is an encouraging answer to following Gods plan for your life?

Here are some ways that God revealed his plan and guidance in our life.

God Planted a Seed in Our Hearts

Four years ago, God provided an opportunity to come and serve Him in Springfield. We both were excited about the idea, but did not have a full peace about it. We were waiting and praying and the time came where an answer was needed one way or the other. We still had no answer. We were confident that God would have made it clear to go, and yet everything seemed to say: Don’t go yet. So we waited and saw God bless in many ways. But transparently, I must admit, there were many days that passed where I wondered: Was I supposed to go and did I miss out on Gods direction? No, I did not miss out, I believe that God simply used that scenario to plant a seen in our hearts to prepare us for his direction in the future.

God Gave a Holy Discontent

The idea of Holy Discontent is thoroughly addressed by Bill Hybles in a book dealing with the subject. The main idea is this. God stirs your heart for something else, and it is not for any negative or sinful reasons. In other words, we didn’t want to leave Florida. We served in a great church with an incredible pastor, and yet the Lord allowed us to have this uneasiness over the last year that we could not quite understand or describe. We didn’t have a list of reasons why we wanted to go, we wouldn’t have even said we really wanted to go, but there was some indescribable uneasiness that God put in our hearts to unsettle us and prepare us for his plan.

God Opened Door after Door after Door

Through the transition we saw nothing but love and grace. I can honestly say there was not one difficult situation that had to be dealt with in regards to transition. When we knew the Lord wanted us to go, everything fell into place like that awesome old school game called: Domino Rally! Step by step every detail worked out from finding a replacement to selling our home and on and on and on. That being said, one huge reason everything transitioned so smoothly is because God’s children responded godly. Pastor Chip was so incredibly graceful and helpful and supportive and loving during the process of determining Gods plan through the transition. I will never forget his words when I first brought up the opportunity to him: “I do not want you to go, but I will not be the one that tries to close a door that God is opening.” God opened many doors and made his plan very clear and for that, I am so thankful.

God Required a Step of Faith

While many doors were opened, there were still a few uncertainties that God used just to make sure that we would trust Him. I believe that as God directs our lives he will make it clear which way to go, but then he will also provide elements in our life that force us to take a step, or even a leap of faith. The key is that when he has made his plan clear, we must trust him and go.

Well, I know this is long, but it is more for me than anyone else so, if you got bored and quit reading that is ok. I want to be able to look back at this years from now and remember how Faithful God was during this life transition. If you are still reading I would close with this. If this whole transition process were describe in two words it would be this: Wait and Trust. I do not know where you are in searching for Gods will, but you cannot go wrong if you will wait on those seeds, that holy discontent, those open doors and then trust Him by taking a step of faith.

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By |September 26th, 2013|Growth, Personal, Spiritual|15 Comments

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Should You Really Go To The Dentist?

This morning at 10:00am I had an appointment at Venetian Dental in Port Charlotte. Today was one of the only three dentist visits that I have had since moving to Southwest Florida in 2005. I made this appointment because I have had pretty severe pain in one of my upper right teeth for about two weeks. I went in, filled out the patient information, then after a few minutes went back, had X-Rays and then waited to see the doctor. While waiting for the doctor, I thought about the similarities between dentistry and pastoring. They are rather interesting.

Statistics say that over the last year, more than one third of all Americans have not visited a dentist. Other statistics say that most Americans only visit the dentist to ease the pain that they are feeling in their mouth. In other words, it seems that many people are not interested in a dentist until pain changes their mind.

As a pastor, I sat in the dentist office and had sympathy for my Dentist knowing that as she began looking into my oral issues, she and I both know that I am only there because of the pain in my mouth, and we both also know that if I had made her practice more of a consistent priority in my life, I would have never had the pain in the first place. See, I was eating a Snickers candy bar about five months ago when I felt something break in my mouth, but there was no pain, so obviously there was no need to do anything about it. The problem is that had I gone to the dentist 5 months ago to find out what happened, they would have repaired the problem. Instead, the tooth spent the last 5 months dying a long and painless death until now. This morning the dentist told me that there was no hope for the tooth, and my only options were to pull it or to do a root canal.

Being a pastor, I have seen this over and over. People live their lives too busy for the Bible, too busy for church, too busy for God until pain comes into their life. When the pain comes people run back to church, back to the Bible, and back to God hoping for a quick fix to their pain. The saddest part is that had they been applying scripture to their life, had they been involved in the church, and had they been trusting the Lord all along, the situation would have turned out completely different in the first place.

So, I have always considered the dentist to be a painful adversary in my life, but the fact is, if I would have just followed their recommendations, if I would have followed the time tested principles of dentistry and oral hygene, then I would have realized that the dentist is not in business to merely relieve pain, but to give oral life. Just the same, the church is not in the business of simply easing pain, but it is in Gods business of sharing life and life abundant.

Moral of the story: Go to the dentist, and go to God, before the problem gets worse.

Do You Believe That What You are Working for Will Ever Happen?

http://eternal-earthbound-pets.com/

The link above will take you to a website that honestly seems like an unbelievable hoax, but it is not. Eternal Earthbound Pets is a creative way to take advantage of Christians who believe in the rapture. Wow! It is really creative, what is even more shocking is that they really do have customers.

I do not have alot to say about this, but I would recommend you going to to their FAQ page and check it out. My personal favorite: “Q: How can we trust that you’ll honor your service agreement, afterall, you ARE atheists.

Even more disturbing, is the question:  Q: Do YOU believe in the Rapture.
A: As atheists we do not hold beliefs in the supernatural or a divine being.  Thus, we do not believe in the Rapture.  However, we respect the beliefs of others and are open to the possibility that our perspective could possibly be wrong.

Do you believe that what you are working for will actually happen?

What a question! Now, I am pretty confident that in the hearts of these people they are comfortable with the fact that they are ripping off Christians, but still. Can you imagine working for something that you don’t believe will ever happen.

I cannot imagine working day after day for something that I never believe will happen. I am so thankful for the vision and the ideas that God has put into my heart. I want to do great things for His glory and the great thing is that I believe that what God has planned for my future will happen, if I am faithful to Him.

What do you think about Eternal Earth Bound Pets? Why doesnt someone ask them: If you don’t believe the rapture will ever happen, then why do you charge people money? AND How in the world do we know that you will follow through with your claims? :) Wow!

Lee

By |September 11th, 2009|Funny Thoughts, Random|3 Comments

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2011 in Review

As I was browsing through different blog posts over the last year I noticed the 2010 in review and I realized how important it is to sit down and review the accomplishments and opportunities for growth that I have realized over the last year. I share this more for my own benefit than anything else, but you are more than welcome to read and point out anything that strikes you as interesting about the last year.

THE GOOD:

Personally

I have taken 21 masters credit hours and maintained a 3.75 GPA

I have made my family my number one priority by spending time with all of them consistently.

My father and I have restored our relationship after a difficult situation that lasted almost 2 years.

I was able to establish two great mentor relationships with people who are serving in ways that I want to serve one day.

Ministry

I have been involved in discipleship both with adults and teenagers in our church.

Our youth ministry has seen more than 12 teenagers go through a 16 week discipleship program.

We have seen the youth group achieve greater success in salvation, baptism, discipleship, and numerical growth than we have ever seen in our churches history.

We have continued to develop and build the music ministry of Suncoast Baptist Church by adding both skilled musicians and singers. We have added great songs to our music repetoir and we have begun using planning center online more effectively.

I have posted over 300 blog posts over the last year on www.doyourdevotions.com and leetomlin.com

THE NOT SO GOOD:

Personally

I have not been nearly as organized and disciplined as I would like to be or as I need to be.

I have not maintained a healthy weight as I chose to do last year.

I have not personally blogged as consistently as I resolved to do last year.

I have not read and made personal growth as much of a priority as it should be, especially in the lasst quarter of the year.

I did not read through the whole Bible this year.

I have not made scripture memorization the priority that it should be.

I am not made prayer the priority that it should be..

I have not yet gained a good balance of passion and humility.

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Begging God for Certain Kinds of People in my Life and Ministry – Part Four

8 years ago I received an email from a Pastor who was letting me know about a unique ministry opportunity at his church. He emailed me to ask me and my (future) wife to consider accepting a position to go on staff as the youth pastor and worship pastor at his church. He told me many things about the church, including the exciting potential in the youth ministry, the direction of the music ministry and the potential for making a difference in many lives. His email sounded incredible, but there was one problem. They wanted to hire a youth pastor near the beginning of the summer, and I had already committed to go work at the Wilds as a counselor for the summer. I decided to reply and thank him for the kind email and let him know that it sounds like they have an exciting ministry and I hope that he finds someone for the job. I explained to him that I had already committed to the Wilds for the summer, and I would not be able to accept a position because of that. He replied and said, we can wait until the end of the summer when you are available, why don’t we meet. I was thrilled. This pastor drove several hours to meet with my girlfriend and I (We were almost engaged, but not yet) in one of the offices at Trinity Baptist College. We sat around a table and talked and had a great time learning about the ministries of Suncoast Baptist Church. It was so exciting that God would show His grace on me by allowing me to be considered for this incredible position. By the end of our meeting Katie and I had a great feeling about visiting Suncoast Baptist Church to determine if this is where the Lord would lead us. To make a long story short, we visited and fell in love with the church. By the end of the summer of 2005, I moved down to Port Charlotte and began serving as the youth and music pastor at Suncoast Baptist Church.

It is hard to believe that almost a decade has gone by since that time. I was just looking through pictures today and I was shocked to see how many people have come into and passed through my life during this time. I am so thankful for so many life long friendships that have been established during my ministry here at Suncoast Baptist Church. One relationship, however, stands out from the rest. That pastor, who sent the email, drove to Jacksonville for an interview, and then hired me to serve under and beside him has become one of the greatest friends and influence in my life.

4429_85407417247_8317334_nChip Keller has been my pastor, friend, mentor, leader, encourager, and father like figure in my life and I could not be more thankful for him and his influence on my life. Pastor Chip has been the kind of leader and pastor who lives in a way that the more you get to know him, the more you respect him and want to be like him. Pastor Chip is a gentle shepherd, a loving and humble example of Jesus Christ, a man of great character with incredible grace and patience.

As a young man fresh out of Bible College, I had many rough edges and Pastor Chip gracefully helped me through many different learning experiences. Pastor Chip has been known as a man who ALWAYS GIVES PEOPLE THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. I must admit, there have been a few times that I have found that frustrating, like the time when we were held up at gun point and Pastor was confident that the gunman just wanted to show us his gun… Ok, maybe He is not that bad, but he definitely gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. Funny how I don’t mind that grace at all, when it is being given to me!

Anyways, I feel like I could go on for a long time and bore all of the readers to death with my respect for Pastor Chip, so I will be quick.

Pastor Chip is a grace-giver. Grace is when you receive something you do not deserve. Pastor Chip has shown more consistent grace into the lives of others than any other person that I have ever met. When I came to Suncoast Baptist Church I did not understand nor appreciate the value of grace. But with 8 years of mistake making under my belt, I have learned this: Grace is precious. It is a precious thing to give, and it is all the more wonderful to receive. When you know that you have been wrong, and you know that you deserve a rebuke, and instead you get a loving hand of grace, it changes your life.

As my family and I decided to accept a position in another ministry, one of the key things that I asked before accepting the position is whether or not the leaders led with grace. It is something that I have grown accustomed to, and something that I want in my life daily. I want to be around people who pour grace out on those that do not deserve it, and I want to be someone who is known as a grace giver. Pastor Chip had many many opportunities over the years to give me a stern talking to, there were many times where I forgot something, or I caused a big problem, or lost my temper and so on… but each time Pastor Chip led with an example of Grace. I am so thankful for his faithful loving Christ-like example of Grace.

By the way, I believe that there is no greater motivation to help someone become better than what they are, than giving grace. I have received much grace over the years and I am better off because of it. I want to be like Pastor Chip, in that I want to be known as a grace-giver.

Thank you Pastor Chip for leading with Grace. I pray that God will always bless my life with a leader like you.

Who are the Grace-Givers in your life?

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Book Report: PRIMAL

I regularly read Mark Battersons blog and a few months ago, he began to give away free copies of his new book: “Primal”. I ordered a free copy for my Pastor and for myself. I must admit, the free copy sat on the bookshelf until my pastor Chip began talking about how great the book was. I have wanted to read through a book with Pastor Chip for a long time now, so I grabbed the book and jumped right into it.

The foundation of this book focuses on the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength”. Batterson disects that verse explaining the significance of loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Bastterson begins by explaining that Christians are too good at complaining about what is wrong with cultural without addressing what is wrong with themselves. He says: “We’re not great at the Great Commanment. In too many instances, we’re not even good at it.”

There are four main divisions in this book. I will share them along with my favorite quotes from each section.

The heart of Christianity is primal compassion.

  • “ Suffering helps us become less absorbed. A little suffering can produce a lot of compassion”
  • “What is your God ordained passion? What will kill you if you don’t do it?”
  • “We are blessed to bless”
  • “God doesn’t bless you so that you can drive an expensive car, join the junky car club” :)
  • “Your want’s determine your reality. If you focus on your want’s, enough will never be enough.”
  • “If you focus on the needs of others, you’ll discover you have more than enough”
  • “The most important decisions you make are pre-decisions. Pre-decisions are the decisions you make before you have to make the decision.”

The soul of Christianity is primal wonder. (GREAT SECTION)

  • “Have you ever had an epiphany? A Moment when heaven seemed to invade earth? A Moment when eternity seemed to invade time? A moment when the presence of God was so tangible that it almost felt like a cool breeze on a hot day?”
  • “The Holy Spirit compensates for our sensory limits by enabling us to conceive of things we cannot perceive with our five senses.”
  • “The emotions we experience don’t reflect external reality; they reflect internal reality. We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are”
  • “If our souls are full of wonder, then our life will be wonderful”
  • “A relationship with Christdoesn’t always change our circumstances, but it does change the way we see ourselves, see others, and see God”
  • “To love God is to love his voice, or to put it another way, to love God is to love His Word”
  • “All scripture is equally inspired, but not all scripture is equally applicable.”
  • “It’s the daily discipline that will ultimately determine our destiny . And if you maintain the discipline long enough, the discipline will turn into desire.”
  • “We are what we read.”

The mind of Christianity is primal curiosity. (FAVORITE… AMAZING)

  • “A mind stretched by a new idea never returns to its original shape.”
  • “Learning isn’t a luxury; it’s a stewardship issue.”
  • “We stop creating the future and start repeating the past. And that is the day we stop living and start dying”
  • “The God who conveniently fits within the confines of your mind will never fill your soul with wonder”
  • “Einstein himself said: “I have no special gift. I am only passionately curious.””
  • “The church ought to be the most curious place on the planet”
  • “Most academic programs revolve around force-feeding knowledge rather than unleashing curiosity. The result? We learn some things. But we lose what is most important: the love of learning”
  • “Quality of worship is determined by quantity of knowledge”
  • “love is not a mindless thing, you cannot truly love what you do not really know. That is called ignorance.”
  • “Maintaining the status quo is not good stewardship”
  • “One God idea is worth more than a thousand good ideas”
  • Change of pace + Change of place = Change of perspective
  • “If you want to think new thoughts, then read new things, meet new people, and go new places.”
  • “God won’t grow us beyond our ability to disciple people”

The strength of Christianity is primal energy.

  • “At the end of the day, God isn’t going to say, “Well said, good and faithful servant.”
  • “Most of us are not creative, not because we’re not creative. We’re not creative because it’s too hard.”
  • “I’m absolutely convinced that the greatest predictor of success in any endeavor is persistence.”
  • “Life is too short to sit at green lights”
  • “Overanalysis always results in spiritual paralysis.”
  • “Is God’s ultimate plan a weekly pilgrimage to the pew?”
  • C.S. Lewis: “We are half-hearted creatures fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us.”
  • “Nothing is more de-energizing than sin”
  • “Vision acts as a preservative. It keeps us young. It keeps us energized. It keeps us on the offensive.”
  • “None of us can imagine what God is capable of. Which means none of us can imagine what we’re capable of if we give God control of our lives.”
  • “I am absolutely convinced that our biggest problem is our small view of God. Every other problem is a symptom.”
  • “G.K. Chesterton, “How much happier you would be, how much more of you there would be, if the hammer of a higher God could smash your small cosmos.”

This was a great read that was very challenging and a great reminder of how Great our God is and how small we are. This book motivates one to learn, so that we can love God better.The balance of science and theology in this book is terrific. There was a part in the book where Batterson explains that when he has fallen away from the Lord, he “goes back to the place” where God worked greatly in his life. I have been motivated by that in great ways. I am striving to go back to the place where maybe God was a little bit more special to me than he is right now.

Primal: Great Read!

By |January 15th, 2010|Books|0 Comments

Men’s Reading Group

Alright guys! The time has come to get together and grow! I read a book about a year ago that was incredible for my spiritual growth. I enjoyed it so much that I just recently picked it up again to remind myself of some important disciplines that I need to grow in, and it hit me! This is the book that we need to read together!

Let me explain: I really want to find a group of guys that are willing to read one chapter of a book each week… (that equals about 2.5 pages per day). It might seem like a lot to someone who never reads, but trust me, it is definitely attainable and definitely worth it. You have to start somewhere, so why not now. My goal is to read the book and meet somewhere each week to talk about what jumped out at us. The book is “Good to Great in God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram.

Here is the book! You can click on it to order it, or you can give $8.00 to me and I will order one for you.

Please let me know through email or a phone call if you are interested so I know how long we need to wait before we meet. I want to give every guy time to get the book in and have time to read the introduction before we meet together for the first time!

Thanks guys! I am excited to see how we can grow and influence each other in the Lord by reading and studying together!

By |January 13th, 2010|Books, Personal|0 Comments

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How to Create a High Quality and Cheap WordPress Website

I found a video while looking around the WFX website that showed me step by step how to create a great wordpress site. Within just a few hours, I took our youth ministry website suncoastyouth.com , and my personal blog, leetomlin.com to new heights while also dropping the costs of my websites from around $300 per year to only $15.00 per year. This may sound too good to be true, but it is not.

Thanks to wordpress, you can have a wonderful website with a unique and incredible look and feel in just a few simple steps. In this video, Jonathan Malm walks you through each step that you will need to follow to create your website.

Jonathan created this video to help churches create “Killer Websites”, the information is awesome. Even if you are not creating a killer church website, you can create a pretty awesome website for just about anything. If you are creating a website for anything other than a church, you can skip the first 5 minutes and start watching around 5:50 where Jonathan begins talking about choosing a host.

Jonathan recommends using hostmonster.com or hostgator.com, I would also recommend godaddy.com simply because of how thorough their wordpress customer service has been.

Watch Jonathans Video here and feel free to pause, take a step play some more and pause it again. He creates the site from beginning to end in about 20 minutes, but it may take you closer to an hour.
https://web.archive.org/web/20130928153011if_/http://www.youtube.com/embed/-utjGdf7n_w
When your wordpress site has been created you will need to choose a wordpress theme or template for your site. This is the mask or the design of your website. You can find themes by searching google: “WordPress Themes”

You will be able to choose a design based on the website style you are looking for and then you will be able to customize most themes into your own unique style.

Some great theme sites are: themeforest.net , churchthemes.net , elegantthemes.com , templatemonster.com

After choosing the theme, Jonathan will show you how to import your theme and then you will need to play around in your wordpress dashboard to figure out how the functionality is on your new website.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them or share any other important information below. Thanks so much for checking out this blog! I hope that you have a successfull website creating experience.

If you create a website, post the URL below and we will check it out! Thanks!

The problem with not blogging…

The problem with not blogging is that so many things happen every day, God speaks in so many different ways, we learn so many new things, and as time goes by, if we have not logged those things down somewhere, then we often lose them. As I am typing up this post, I am disappointed that there have been so many amazing things happen over the last month, and I can only remember a few things off the top of my head. Well, I will share what I have, and then I will be more consistent in blogging!

Back from Summer Camp

As you have already read, we got back from the Wilds a little over a month ago. It was an amazing week! We took around 50 teenagers. Of which 5 accepted Christ, and 10 surrendered to full-time service. Specifically, 5 of those 10 surrendered their lives to missions. God did a wonderful work! It was so exciting to see!! We have been back a month, and although we have seen some people drift back into the world as fast as they went down the super slide at the Wilds, we have seen others that have taken steps foward in their walk with Christ. I think of Melissa Lingruen who just told me last night that she was sending in an application to Trinity Baptist College, so that she could go there and pursue missions training. God is working, and I am so excited to be a part of it.

Speaking of God working, over the last 4 sundays, we have baptized teenagers on 3 of those Sundays. Then we also had a back to school all nighter this past Friday night, and 12 teenagers accepted Christ. It was remarkable. We are so excited about contuing with that momentum and building up this minitry, there are so many teenagers at NPHS, and at PCHS, not to mention Venice and Charlotte, and there is so much potential to reach those teenagers with Christ.

School Work:

I just finished my last class called “Spiritual Formation”. It is wild because in all of Bible college I never heard anything about spiritual formation, and it has been such an important part of church history and even more importantly it is the inward spiritual growth of a believer. Spiritual formation focuses on things like spiritual disciplines, which also has been often ignored by the church, or at least the Baptist church, and I learned that spiritual disicplines are the disciplines that make prayer and reading Gods word even more effective. Disciplines like Solitude, Silence, Study, Meditation, Confession, and several more. These are disicplines that I want to study more, and grow in so that I can teach them to the people who are striving to grow around me. It is disappointing that I had not been taught this before.

Personal Spiritual Growth:

This week I have read Acts several times, just searching for new things. Wow! I have learned so much. One of the biggest things that I have walked away with is that a teacher has the potential to really destroy or build up someone. I had a teacher that taught me Acts in college, and literally I do not think that anyone could have made the book more boring. Seriously, they took one of the most exciting books in the Bible, and made it boring, and because of that, I have spent minimal time with Acts over the last 5 years. Just recently I decided that I would go back and study it, and I have been so blown away by the power and the energy and excitement of this book. I cannot believe that someone actually could possibly make this amazing book BORING! Well, as we preach and teach the Gospel, and the truth of Gods word, we must MAKE SURE that we are not making the Bible BORING. We cannot afford to turn students away from God and his word, even for 5 years. Many are turned off more than that. I am excited about reading Acts and teaching from it very soon!

Devotions:

I have been struggling to get teenagers back on http://www.doyourdevotions.com. I am not sure why, but I am working on it. I know that it is going to take some new creativity and some hard work, but I am not giving up. This is my passion, to get teenagers into Gods word!

Family:

Katie is wonderful, she does such a great job with our kids. Just this morning as I was leaving the house to come up to the church she was sitting at the kitchen table with Will teaching him the letters of the Alphabet. It was pretty neat. I know that it must take Oceans of Patience to teach Will the letters of the Alphabet.

Google+

Well, I finally got an invite to Google+, and now I have joined it and I LOVE IT! I really do. I do not know how successfull it will be in getting people away from facebook to google+, but I hope that they are. It is so nice having everything I could possibly want in one place. Everything from my evernote, to my to do list, to my dropbox, and my google calendar all on the same page as my social media! It is so good that it is almost scary!! :)

Well, because of my inconsitent blogging, today is a very abnormal RANDOM RANDOM post about what is going on in my life. I have left out several things, but that is my punishment for not being faithful. I will share some great blogs that I have read soon. Thanks for looking at my blog.

Pray for me in these areas if you will! Thanks! Also, comment any ways that I can specifically pray for you and your family!

Pray for my family

Pray for Suncoast Baptist Church

Pray for Suncoast Youth Ministry

Pray for Atomic Bonds

Pray for my Leadership

Pray that we will have more people involved in Praise Team

Pray for the future

Pray that I will maintain healthy balance with school, work, ministry and family

God Bless!

By |August 31st, 2011|Blogs|5 Comments

Turning 30 with Friends and Family on the Fourth

fireworksTwo years ago I was having a conversation with my wife telling her how sad I was that I was turning 29 and only had one year left in my 20′s. I was honestly pretty disappointed about it. However, my wife explained to me that I was not 28 years old turning 29, instead I was 27 years old, turning 28. At first I didn’t believe her and I was too lazy to figure out the math, so I went to a website that I could type in my birthday and it would tell me how old I was. I typed in July 4th, 1983, and there it was. Proof that I was only turning 28 years old. I was thrilled. That was 2 years ago which means this year is the big 3-0. The neat thing is that I am not bummed about it, but I am excited. I am excited about entering this new stage of life. I mean what is the worst thing that can happen? It is not like I can lose my hair! :)

Every year on July 4th, I try to do really exciting things to make the day memorable and this year I have some exciting plans. I usually try to find people to tag along on the adventures with me, and so I figured that I would share my day here on my blog for two reasons. If someone reads this and wants to join me, they are welcome to, and second, so in 5 years when I have no clue what I did when I turned 30, I will simply look back at this post.

July 4th, 2013

 

Firecracker 5k

Morgan Family Community Center, North Port

Race Time: 7:30am

DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM

Charlotte Harbor Freedom Swim

This awesome independence day adventure will start at noon on July 4th. Bring a raft, floaty, noodle, or tube and swim/float/bobble across the Charlotte Harbor.

For more information: CLICK HERE

Laishley Park 4th Fest Fireworks Celebration

After spending some down time with the family in the afternoon, we will be loading up the car with our lawn chairs (and umbrellas… just in case) and heading over to Laishley Park where we will spend the evening listening to live music and watching the glorious fireworks over the Charlotte Harbor. While this event is open all day, we will probably arrive around 6:00pm and just hang out until the fireworks at 9:00pm. It is always so much fun when a large group of people from our church find each other and sit together to watch the fireworks. The cost for admission into the festival is $3.00 per person, but it is always well worth it!

For more information: CLICK HERE

Well, there it is! It is going to be a wonderful day! As a little kid I remember making fun of my sister because it seemed like the whole world would celebrate my birthday with fireworks and parties and only our family would celebrate her birthday. Finally I realized that all the hype had NOTHING to do with me, but I still always enjoy the fruit of this day of celebration. I love to be with friends and family, and every year, the 4th of July ends up being a great time to enjoy both! Hope you make plans to be a part of it!

By |June 25th, 2013|Growth|10 Comments

Begging God for Certain Kinds of People in my Life and Ministry – Part One

By the end of this summer, I will have served on staff at Suncoast Baptist Church for eight years. It has been a wonderful time in my life. If I could choose to re-live any season of my life just for the pleasure of it, I would choose to relive this season of my life. These eight years have brought great fruit. I married my wife and we have been married for seven years this fall. We have been blessed with two wonderful joy-giving children, Will and Avery. I have experienced many great memories and many great relationships during this time which makes me think:

There are certain people in my life right now that I pray God always allows to be a part of my life.

With that statement, I am not talking about family. I will do everything in my power to make sure that they are always a part of my life. I am not even necessarily speaking about specific people. Instead, I am speaking about examples of great qualities that I have seen and experienced in different relationships over the years. It is my desire that the character qualities that I find in four special people in my life will be prevalent in different relationships throughout my whole life and ministry.

I will share about these people in four posts. Today I will tell you about some of the greatest servants I have ever known.

547891_629115240435720_13634387_n Jeff & Terina Rexrode – The Servants

I remember the first time that I met Jeff and Terina. I was standing in the sound booth at my new church on a Saturday night with Pastor Chip. While we were chatting, Jeff and Terina both came in and Pastor introduced us to each other. Pastor Chip introduced them as some of the greatest servants in our church. At the time, I did not understand the value of that introduction, but I do now. After eight years at Suncoast, I cannot name a more consistent,  humble, behind the scenes, serving for no glory of their own, doing what no one else wants to do, example of Christ-like servants in my life. Jeff and Terina are willing to do as much as needed, but also willing to step back and submit to leadership when something changes. Jeff has been one of the greatest youth sponsors ever. Never usurping the authority, always using initiative, and always doing so with a humble and happy heart. Terina and Jeff have served our IMG_2025church by doing the lawn maintenance for many years. They walk in the church to get water on a hot and sunny day covered head to toe in grass and dirt. Jeff and Terina get up on Sundays while almost every other person in church is still in bed asleep to go pick up breakfast, doughnuts, and juice and prepare everything for Sunday School. Jeff served many years faithfully in the sound room and still does when he is needed. This family does more around the church than one can imagine. Many of these things go unnoticed, but I have noticed and more importantly, God has noticed, and their faithful example of Jesus Christ is something that I want to exemplify and something that I pray the people in my life and ministry always strive for. Jeff and Terina are faithful servants of God and I want to be like them and I want others to be like them.

As time goes on and life changes, I know that people will come and go. These people have been extra special to my life and ministry here at Suncoast Baptist Church and it is my prayer that I always have the opportunity to know and serve with great people like the Rexrodes.

Thank God for the Rexrodes! I will share three more people that I beg God to always keep in my life over the next few days!

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Begging God for Certain Kinds of People in my Life and Ministry – Part Two

Last week I blogged about the Rexrodes, and I mentioned how they are some of the greatest servants that I have ever met. Read that blog here. In my blog post today, I want to honor a special person because of their “I’ve Got Your Back” attitude. I know that there are many people in my life who have my back. They will and have stood up for me when others are on the attack. It is great to have loyal people in your life who will always protect you. The man that I want to honor today is a great example of this. He is loyal, and he has always had my back. Even better than that, when he knows I am the one in the wrong, he will protect me publicly and then hold me accountable privately. I love this man, and I hope that I always have someone like him in my life. His name is Mike DuPriest.

DuPriest-1When I came to Suncoast I was barely more than a kid. I was 22 years old and very green behind the ears. Within my first six months there was a situation where a father of two teenagers was extremely upset with me. This father cornered me in the hallway and pointed his finger in my chest. He started yelling at me about something right in the middle of the hallway and I had no clue what to do. I was stunned, scared, and definitely caught off guard… Then in came Mike DuPriest. One of the deacons in our church walked up and saw what was happening and said (in a Mike DuPriest kind of voice) Excuse Me! Then Mr. DuPriest stepped right between me and the father, turned and faced the father, and said very firmly. “The young man you are yelling at is my pastor, and no one talks to my pastor like that.” He went on to tell the man that he better never see him disrespect his pastor or anyone like that for that matter and told him that if he had a problem that he needed to deal with, he could address it privately with a spirit of love and kindness.

I walked away shocked. I was stunned about the whole thing. I could not believe that someone would get so mad at me, that they would publicly reprimand me and attempt to humiliate me, but most of all, I was shocked that this man had my back more than any other person I had ever known that was not immediate family. Mike DuPriest and I have not always seen eye to eye on every detail of ministry. We have many differences of styles and preferences. However, regardless of our differences, I know that he loves me more than any of our disagreements. Mike DuPriest is a man that I trust, and that I love. He has always had my back and there have been more than one occasion where he has come to me to either hold me accountable for something or where he has come to me to ask for forgiveness for something.

I have learned over the last several years that loyalty is an incredibly valuable asset. Most people are not loyal, but they will leave you at the drop of a hat. I want to be known for getting peoples back, I want to have a reputation for being incredibly loyal. Mike DuPriest has been that person in my life, I thank God for him. I want to be like him, and I beg God to always allow me to have someone like him in my life and ministry!

By |June 28th, 2013|Growth|7 Comments

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July 8th, 2013

Begging God for Certain Kinds of People in my Life and Ministry – Part Three

IMG_6471The next person that I want to recognize and honor for the blessing that they have been in my life is one of all time best friends, Patrick Brown. Patrick and I have been friends since college. We would hang out at his apartment and play Halo 2 for much of the night before beginning our massive research papers which were due the next morning. Don’t worry, we never turned in a late paper, although we did miss an entire night of sleep from time to time. Patrick came on staff at Suncoast Baptist Church in 2010 and during that time, he has added so much to my life.

If the Rexrodes are the servants, and Mike DuPriest is the “I’ve got your back” man, then Patrick Brown is the friend that is ALWAYS AVAILABLE for an adventure. It seems like so many people in the world are “No” people. What I mean by that is, no matter what you ask, or when you ask it, their answer is always “no.” “No” people never have the time or availability to spend time with you. “No” people doubt whether or not things can be done or accomplished. “No” people are not spontaneous. My best friend Patrick Brown is in no way a “NO” person. I would have said that every person needs a “Yes” person in their life if it didn’t seem to have a negative connotation. The truth is, there is nothing at all negative about having a friend who is always available, always willing to spend time with you, always quick to believe that you can accomplish great things, and always ready for an adventure.

Patrick has been a perfect picture of a friend that is always ready for an adventure! Whether I just want to run to RaceTrack Gas Station to get an icee, or whether I invite him to meet me on the other side of the country for a few days (He just purchased a flight to LA to spend three days at a pastors conference with me in September), Patrick always does anything he can to say “Yes” instead of saying “No.” There have been countless times when I have been in a bind and each time, without hesitation, Patrick is there to help. Patrick has been the source of many fun memories in my life. Some of our adventures were his idea and I nervously agreed to participate. Others, I came up with and he always responded with a passionate “yes.” Here are some of the great adventures we have gone on together!

*Drove All Night To Be In My Wedding

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* Many Awesome Lunch BreaksIMG_0866 1

* Jet Skiing around Boca Grande

* The Sky Coaster at Fun Spot Kissimmee (The Worlds Largest Giant Swing)IMG_1994

* Hiked to South Carolina from Brevard, NC.

* Englewood and Venice Sprint TriathlonsIMG_0132

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* The Legendary Trip to Buy My Bonzini Foosball Table in North Carolina (27 hours of driving in a 36 hour trip)280165_10150316059905020_4017643_o

* Breaking Down in the Charlotte Harbor in His Boat

* Awesome Family Picnics

* Awesome Running Adventures all around North Port (Including Yorkshire)IMG_4449

* More Disc Golf that You Can Imagine

* We Gained 20 LBS Together at Sonny’s303562_10150354725365020_3545437_n

* We Dieted and Got Skinny TogetherIMG_0999 1

*Did some Crazy Juicing Experiments! (DO NOT JUICE ALOE!)

* Played Some Mean Cards in Guatemala224913_10151082676288646_1414987813_n

* Late Night Visits to Kill Zombies.

* Bungee Jumping off the Skyway Bridge (Just kidding, but if I would have asked, he would have considered it!)

And these are just the things we are allowed to put on the internet! :) I am thankful for a friend like Patrick Brown. He is one of the people that I am not only begging God that I will always have someone like him in my life, but I would just rather it go ahead and be him, in the flesh! :) I want to be like him in many ways, especially when it comes to his zeal for life and his all systems go availability for his friends. It is awesome to have a friend who is always ready for an adventure, someone who adds many great memories and lots of fun to your life. For me, that person is Patrick Brown! Love you man!

Share in the comment section below some of the crazy adventures that you have done with some of your friends!

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May 1, 2013

RocketMan Florida Triathlon at The Kennedy Space Center

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This upcoming week I will be participating in one of the largest and most difficult events that I have ever been involved in. The Kennedy Space Center is hosting the first ever Rocketman Triathlon on May 5th, 2013. This Triathlon will begin in my hometown of Titusville, FL with a one mile swim in the Indian River before cycling over the new Max Brewer Bridge heading out towards the Kennedy Space Center. This 33 mile bike ride will take the triathletes out past two of NASA’s Shuttle launch pads, and then around the Vehicle Assembly Building before coming up the coast and heading back to Titusville. After the 1 mile swim and the 33 mile bike ride, I will finish the race with a 6.2 mile run to the finish line. This is likely to be the greatest physical accomplishment of my life, If I can survive.

When I found out about this event, I thought it would be incredible to take part in it. I had competed in a few Sprint Triathlons up to this point, and thought that it would be something that I could finish. After some consideration and a pretty solid training plan, I decided to do my first International (Olympic) Distance Triathlon. Here is where things get exciting. I spoke with my mom about possibly joining me for the Triathlon, (mostly in jest) and she mentioned that if I could talk her sister into registering then she would do it as well. I immediately contacted my Aunt Roanna Wilson and began to work on convincing her to agree to do the race. The next day my Aunt Roanna and my mom, Rachel Zinzer, both agreed to do the Rocketman Triathlon Sprint +. Since that time almost six months ago, we have stayed in contact, encouraged one another and motivated one another to train hard for this day. This weekend, my Mom and my Aunt will join me at the starting line of this exciting race and we will accomplish something exciting that we have been training for over the last six months. I am so excited about this event and the opportunity to see my family come together in this way.

A triathlon is a multi sport event which emphasizes endurance. It is so exciting to work hard for something and then experience the results of your labor. Many times while physically training, I am reminded of the spiritual analogies that scripture shares with us. When I run hard, swim hard, and bike hard, everything in me wants to quit, but I have to make a constant decision that no matter what happens, no matter how hard the exercise gets, I will endure. I am often reminded of two major passages of scripture in regards to this need for spiritual endurance.

I Corinthians 9:24-27

24 Know ye not thatthey which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 Andevery man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain acorruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, notas one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Hebrews 12:1-2

1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us layaside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience therace that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the righthand of the throne of God.

As Christians we must endure, no matter how hard this life gets, and no matter how much we want to quit, we must keep our eyes on the finish line. A triathlon is a great physical reminder of the spiritual struggle that every Christian faces. Maybe you should register for a triathlon so you can experience that great and powerful reminder too. If you do, here are some pointers that will help you out.

1. Start with a Sprint Triathlon (This is generally only a 400 meter swim (1/4 Mile), and 14 mile bike ride, and a 5K run (3.1 Miles)

2. Get accountability and/or a training buddy. (This is especially important on those days that you do not want to train, which seem to come often)

3. Pick up a good book. (I recommend THE 12-WEEK TRIATHLETE)

4. Find a local triathlon and begin training. (ACTIVE)

Comment Below and share any other tips or let me know if you are doing a Triathlon!

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