When Missions Isn’t Sexy

Missions, Andes Mountains

I have been on a lot of mission trips. I have built churches in Mexico, spent weeks in the Andes’ Mountains, and slept on the ground of an orphanage.

I’ve never shared Jesus with my neighbor.

I discovered something recently. Mission trips are sexy. They attract our attention. That is why you are likely to jump at the chance to go. Everyday evangelism lacks appeal.

Let me give you some examples:

  • “Four weeks in the jungles of Brazil”
  • “Help rebuild Haiti”
  • “Dig wells in an African village”
  •  “Love street children in Thailand”
  • “Spend a month with the underground church”

Maybe you have been on these. Maybe you are planning on going. I really want to go to Thailand, I heard it will forever change my life.

Is it possible that missions serves my purposes more than it serves the purpose of God?

Do not misunderstand me, global missions is needed. God might want you to go on all five trips. The world is in desperate need of his redemptive power.

Mission trips are attractive because they require only a week or two of commitment. I get to travel somewhere new and experience a new culture. I benefit.

What happens when the mission God has called you to, is not sexy?

  • “Share the Gospel with your lab partner”
  • “Start a Bible study for your intramural team”
  • “Take your roommate to church”
  • “Wake up early and pray for your professor’s salvation”

I think these fall under the category of “unattractive”. They are not eye-popping. They are unattractive because they require actual commitment. No one will celebrate or ask to hear about this mission trip. You cannot put it on a resume or share pictures with your church.

I believe the true test of the great commission is found not in the attractive but the unattractive. It is found in the mundane not the extraordinary.

Would our campus look different if we embraced the unappealing?

Why travel the world when I can walk across the street?

Things That Do Not Make Sense

wonder, don't make sense


(of an idea or suggestion) wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate.

There are some absurd moments in the Bible.

There is a peculiar verse tucked away in an often time overlooked book of the Bible. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time reading Hebrews because, I’ll admit it too, its full of hard to understand statements. Buried in the middle of the book is an absurd passage.

Read Hebrews 12:2-3 with me. “…who for the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful man, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

 Is Jesus crazy? Did you catch the absurdity of this verse?

It says that before Jesus ever went to the cross, he looked towards the crucifixion with joy.

That statement screams, “You have to be kidding me!”

The Romans cross was the most excruciating and humiliating way a person could die. It was reserved for the worst of criminals. It was so treacherous that women were for the most part exempt from ever being crucified. The man would be stripped naked, beaten, and forced to carry his cross through the streets as people mocked him. By the time he reached his hill of death, he would be nailed to the cross and lifted up for all to see, where he slowly suffocated and died.

Yep, that’s my definition of a “joy-filled” afternoon. A once in a lifetime experience.

Seriously, is there anyone out there who is saying, “sign me up, sounds like a great way to spend my weekend!”

Why would Jesus think such a thing? Where is the joy in the cross?

You. Me. Us. The Church.

We are the joy. As Jesus was looking towards the cross he saw the washing away of our sins and the freedom that he would bring to us – and it brought him joy. He saw the reconciling of his people to himself and the pain, suffering, humiliation and shame was only a means to an end.

Wildly unreasonable and illogical. Sounds like the definition of grace.

What else is “absurd” about Jesus?

Seven Things New Christians Should Know

new Christian

New Christians are like a teenager learning to drive a manual car. You can probably learn to drive stick on your own, but you will stall out, get frustrated and probably want quit. It’s so much better when someone teaches you. You’ll still stall, probably get frustrated but at least someone is teaching you. You can grow as a Christian without help but it is so much better with a little direction.

Billy Graham said, “The decision is 5 percent, following up the decision is 95%. Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have.”

Here are seven things you should know as you begin your new life:


You need God. You need more of Him every day. God speaks to us through His Word. The most significant thing you will ever do in your life is listen. Find a common time and place, open up your Bible and read through a book. Jot down a few observations and what the passage is asking you to do. Feed yourself every day.


Do not listen to this lie that is running through your head: “I’m not ready to share my faith yet.” Just do it. Tell a friend, a sibling, parent or roommate. Tell them about the decision you made and why you made it. You will be nervous scared terrified. Thankfully someone overcame their fears and told you.


Call it what you want: a discipleship, mentorship or “you-know-more-than-me-ship”. Find someone who has been doing this Christian thing for a while and ask them to lead you. It is amazing how much you will grow when you do not have to go at it alone.


Paul said that we would spend our life working out our salvation (Phil 2:12). So, spend your life diving deeper and deeper into the pool that is the Gospel. His death, burial and resurrection is a mystery you will spend your entire life figuring out.


Do not hold yourself responsible for sins Jesus no longer holds against you. You are forgiven. You will still struggle with the same things you did before you met Jesus – that’s okay. You are free to struggle, you no longer have to struggle to be free.


Find people who gather together to worship and hear from His Word every week. The church is the people of God. Love God’s people – even when it is difficult. Worship, learn and grow in community. You need a pastor and a family to hold you accountable. You also need a place to serve. Make it a priority.


Pray. Pray when you make decisions. Pray when you are walking to class. Pray for your friends. Pray for your enemies. Pray when it difficult. Always pray. God speaks to you through the Bible, but he wants to hear from you in prayer.

Five things college students should remember on Valentine’s Day

love, valentines day, 5 things

A quick survey of the conversations I have had over the past few weeks reveals that there are more people not looking forward to Valentine’s Day than those who are excited. It does not matter where you fall on the spectrum – “I can’t get enough of the flowers, color red and chocolate” to “If I see one more status update about that special gift from their special someone I might actually explode” – Here are some things worth remembering this Friday.

1.  Who you are is defined by Jesus, not who you are with.

Have you ever met the person who finds their identity in the person they are with? Maybe you are that person and that’s why you have found yourself in a string of broken relationships. Jesus has already declared you to be free, loved and secure in Him. I’ve witnessed countless shipwrecked relationships in which one person asked the other to do only what Jesus can do. But people cannot do what Jesus does. When we find our worth in Jesus not people we are free to actually love and enjoy the relationship God has given us.

2.  You are not married yet – so don’t play pretend.

Marriage is great, when you are married. Pretending usually leads to a lot of heartache. I know this is true because anytime we live outside of God’s plan, it does not go well. This Friday night do yourself a favor, stay away from backseats, cozy couches and snuggly beds. Your marriage will thank you someday.

3.  Being single is not the enemy.

Singleness and in a relationship does not equate to defeat and victory. It is tempting sometimes to feel sorry for ourselves when we are not in a relationship as if we are losing at life. That is not how God sees it. He has a plan and purpose even in singleness. Enjoy this time because you are right where God wants you.

4.  Single? Don’t worry, you probably don’t have the gift of singleness, so pray for your future husband/wife.

It is true, God has given some of us the curse gift of singleness. But in general, God has called you to marriage. The command was given back in the beginning, “get married and make babies” (that’s my version of Genesis 1:28). Take some time to pray for your future valentine, maybe they need more prayer this week than you!

5.  Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to proclaim to an unbelieving world the truth about love.

God is love. I will love my wife better because I know and experience the love of God in my life. Would it not be great if you were able to proclaim the love of Jesus on your campus this week?

What a day…

I’m currently sitting at a Starbucks in Portland, waiting patiently for my wife to arrive. It might be awhile, she is just leaving Salem. It feels like it has already been a long day! I got up around 5:30 this morning and drove to my parents house and jumped in their truck and headed for Seattle. My little brother was running in his final cross country meet of his college career so I went to cheer him on. It was fun, just an early morning.

After stopping for Coffee and a Donut shop in Seattle we were lucky to watch the whole race with no rain falling on us! That was amazing since it rained the whole car ride to Seattle. After the race we loaded back up in the truck and headed home.

Which leads me to this Starbucks (where I have purchased my second coffee of the day). My parents dropped me off across the street actually at a McDonald’s. In just over an hour I will be heading to a wedding for Darren and Sarah. So, I have time to waste as I wait for Charissa to show up to go to the wedding. After changing into my nice, wedding clothes in the bathroom of McDonald’s I walked over here. So, I wait.

In the mean time…It’s gotten pretty dark out and I love big cities at night. Some of you know I would love to live in a big city just to be able to look out the window at night. You see so many interesting people. There’s a lot of interesting people in this little Starbucks. I have already (in like 20 minutes) been asked if I am Tyler and Derick. Once by a guy and the other by a girl. I guess they are meeting people here…oddly as I look around, they are both still waiting for Tyler and Derick.

If you are actually still reading this, congradulations, because this post is pretty much about nothing. But I will end by saying, I’m excited for church tomorrow. We’re talking about humility for the second straight week. It’s not really a fun topic to discuss…mainly because I’m not that humble. You could probably accurately discribe me as a pridefull person who is persuing humility but continually fails. But I’m excited for church because I actually like church. I like getting together, worshiping, eating, and simply hanging out. I feel bad for people who sneak in the back of a church just before it starts and quickly exit at the end…they don’t really experience church. Considering that church isn’t a building or a program but people…If you don’t interact with people it really isn’t church. So,

A White Guy, Seafood, and Koreans

I am a white guy working in a Korean church. The first question that I get asked by people who find out what I do is, “do you know how to speak Korean?” I always respond with, “no.” I have learned a lot in the past two and a half years working here. I’ve learned a lot about what it means to do ministry, but I have also learned a lot about Koreans.

Every Friday morning there is a moms group that meets for a Bible study here at church. Normally, around noon their Bible study is over and they all go home. Today was different. Together, they cooked lunch and asked me to eat with them. They had cooked a “seafood” soup. I’m not sure what the real name of it was but it was definately seafood and noodles in a bowl. Just for the record, I’m not a real fan of seafood. In fact, my motto is, “if it swims I don’t eat it.” With this in mind, Pastor Paul and I sat down for lunch with a bunch of Korean ladies. I’m pretty must used to being the only white person in the room at these kind of things. In fact, I have come to expect it on a daily basis. The funny thing is, my church knows me too well. They know I don’t like seafood so they offered me a different soup. It wasn’t as spicy and was a lot less seadfoodish. I thought it was really good – it tasted like chicken noodle soup to me. I was happy that I didn’t have to eat something I didn’t really like…but I was a little disappointed when I realized the soup I was eating was really the soup that was made for all the little kids. So, here I was sitting in a room with two tables. One table for the adults, one table for the children. All the children are eating the “chicken noodle soup.” All the adults are eating their “seafood” soup, except for me. I guess if there is one good thing to take away from this story, it is that they didn’t send me to the kids table.

Anyways, I thought it was kinda funny. But I also wanted to add, even though I don’t speak Korean I rarely feel out of place. I may not fully understand what is being said, but language is so much more than just words. I can usually figure out what is going on just by paying attention.

So, I’m thankful to be working in a Korean church. I may not always enjoy the food, but they seem to understand and make sure there is food I will like, even if it is children’s food. I may not understand eveything said, but I can still communicate. God works in amazing ways. If you had asked me 4 years ago if I would be sitting down for lunch on a Friday afternoon in a room full of Koreans to eat seafood soup…I would have laughed and said, “no way!” Now I wonder how I could be doing anything else.


Last night was one of the craziest nights I have ever been a part of at Corvallis Korean Church. The Asian Bible study on campus at OSU, called EPIC, used our building for their fall kick off. It was kind of a joint effort with the EPIC leadership and CKC. The church offered to cook dinner for everyone and EPIC brought their worship team.

Danny Kim and I spent the afternoon setting up all the sound equipment, tables and chairs. Honestly, I was hoping for 40 people to show up….and even then, I didn’t think that many would show up. We set up enough tables and chairs for 64 people and then waited to see who would show up.

The dinner began at 6:30 and the worship time started at 7:30. To make a long story short, by 7:00 there was over 80 people in our little gym. It was absolutely incredible! We barely had enough room for everyone to eat…luckily we had plenty of food. Koreans like to make lots of food…and lots of good food. We had Korean BBQ which was amazing.

After tearing down all the tables we rearranged the room for our worship time. Danny’s worship team did a great job and the guest speaker delivered a great message.

In all, it was an incredible experience. There was more people than I would have ever guessed would show up. Hopefully some of the students will return for church on Sunday.

Here are two pictures from the night, sorry they are such bad quality.