Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I know it's a little late to be writing about an Easter theme, but just indulge me a little bit. I led worship for the Easter service at our church and wanted to take a couple of minutes and encourage the people to remember what we were celebrating. It was about John 11:25 where Jesus said, "I am, right now, Resurrection and Life."

It ended up being recorded by an mp3 player in the back of the room, but it's still understandable. If you're interested in hearing it, click on It's me along with a German translator, since everything we do in our church is in two languages.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Light-filled lives (part 5)

If we're not experiencing this light-filled life Jesus spoke about in Jn. 8:12, there are some practical things we can do about it. We've seen that we need to remove distractions around us. But there is another, more proactive thing that we can do.

If we want to experience more light in our lives, we need to spend more time with the light-giver.
  • Jn. 1:4 In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of men.
  • Jn. 1:9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
Jesus referred to Himself as the Light of the world. It's not just something He does... it's who He is! As we continue to come to Him, we'll begin to experience more of this abundant, light-filled life He has for us.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Light-filled lives (part 4)

The next thing we need to do is to get quiet. This is different from removing distractions. Distractions are things on the outside. Getting quiet refers to things inside us.

Ps. 131:2 (NIV) But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.

I have a friend that used to make "dates" with God. She would set the time and place, and then would show up with nothing else planned for hours. She usually had this quiet time on a hill out in a forest. She said the peace of the place enabled her to forget all that was going on in her life and focus on God and His presence.

I like to get up early and sit in my favorite chair... just me, my Bible and Jesus! It's a great way to start the day off right.

It's not important how you do it... the important thing is that you actually do it! You need to write it into your planner and guard this time like you would an extremely important business meeting. The more often you do it, the easier it gets to quiet yourself in the real world!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Light-filled lives (part 3)

Okay... it's 12:16am and I'm still awake... surfing! I need to go to bed, but I'm only one click away from more information or a great article that I can use either personally or in our ministry.

With that in mind, let's look at the things that steal from us...

Heb. 12:1 (CEV) Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us.

Notice the things that we are supposed to get rid of in order to run our race successfully... of course we know that we should do away with sin. Sin is anything contrary to God's nature, anything that comes between us and Him.

But Paul tell us we're also supposed to remove anything that slows us down. This is talking about distractions. These aren't sins; but they are things that steal from us. They steal our energy, our time and, in essence, they steal life from us.

As I mentioned, one of the "thieves" that I deal with is the internet. I'm not talking about porn sites or anything crazy like that; but I am talking about news, history and human interest websites. If I'm not careful, I will waste hours of my life on them... time which I can never get back.

When we find we're not experiencing the "abundant life" that Jesus promised us... we often need to simplify: unplug, logoff (of course I'm not referring to THIS blog!) and get away. This takes discipline, but the benefits are incredible!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Light-filled lives (part 2)

If you are experiencing darkness (lack of direction and purpose, or hopelessness), what should you do? I believe the first thing you need to do is to remove the distractions around you.

My son has the amazing ability to play a video game, listen to music and carry on a conversation with me. Actually, when we're playing a video game together, he tells me how to do my part while he's kicking tail on his part. I often can't even figure out where I am on the screen, and he knows where we both are, while seeing where the enemy or the next turn is. It's pretty scary!

But when it comes to homework, I have taught him to get rid of all distractions. If the TV is on or the girls are playing in the room, it will be difficult for him to concentrate. Even though he is a multi-tasker, these distractions steal his attention away from what needs to be done. But more on that later...

Light-filled lives (part 1)

John 8:12 (MSG) Jesus once again addressed them: "I am the world's Light. No one who follows me stumbles around in the darkness. I provide plenty of light to live in."

This is an interesting verse... Jesus says His followers won't have to stumble around in darkness. In theory this works great. But I find that, in practice, it's often a different story. I meet so many people that just don't seem to know who they are or what they're supposed to do. It's as if they're walking around in darkness.

But according to this verse, believers don't have to walk in darkness. It's not supposed to be a part of our experience. On the contrary, our lives are supposed to be full of light (read direction, purpose and hope). It is a fringe benefit to "Kingdom life."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


So our family is now halfway through the first week of a two-week vacation. The kids are already bored. We're trying not to let the spend too much time in front of the TV, but it's not easy. We're probably going to try to drive over to Paris and spend a couple of nights next week. There's a lot to see there... even if we don't speak the language!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Turn -- How to Leave

Robin initially wrote this a week ago, but we didn't post it for fear that people might think we're frustrated or dissatisfied with our pastors or our current ministry position. This isn't the case at all. I re-read it and not only found it an excellent article... I think it would be wrong for us not to post it. Many people are dealing with transition incorrectly... and paying the price for it. Anyway, here's Robin's blog. Enjoy! - Jon

Okay, enough from the boys... it's my turn :)

As we are turning this new corner of our lives and moving to Southern Germany, I have been thinking of transitions.

I think for many people when there is a change ahead, God begins moving their hearts first and then moves the rest of them. There seems to be a general feeling of discontent. If we're not careful, we begin to look at our surroundings, our job or even our church as the source of this frustration... when actually it is God's leading. We may think that the job or church has changed; when in reality, it's still the same and we are changing.

I believe that we have a certain grace to be in the place where God has us at the time.

Acts 17: 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

When the grace subsides, we begin to re-evaluate things and thus the feeling of discontent. If you are in transition, be careful not to get cynical when looking at your surroundings; just know that God is moving you on... and it's going to be an even better place than before!

What's your price?

People give up when the price to go on gets too high. They shut down a new business when the bills start piling up. They divorce when there is too much stress in the relationship. They change their major in college when they get bored with what they're doing.

Ministers are the same... many quit when the price gets too high. Every year about 1500 pastors quit the ministry. I believe that most of the time it's because the price is too high. Maybe they've prayed and prayed for something, but never see the results. Maybe they've given and given, but feel as if they've not received anything in return. Maybe the church, the people they're counseling, or even their leaders seem to make no progress... they possibly even decline.

But we have to be able to persevere through the hard times if we ever wish to see the good times. We can't expect the devil to allow us to fulfill God's plan unopposed. Hard times are a part of life in the real world. Actually, Paul told Timothy to expect them... and to endure them! (2 Tim. 2:3, 4:5) How we handle hard times will determine our ability to complete God's will for our lives.

One of my mentors says your church will grow to the size of your pain threshold. How true that is! When we reach our pain threshold (our price), most of us give up. And the thing about it is that once the devil finds our price, he knows what buttons to push the next time. And it will get harder and harder to keep going.

So the $64,000 question is... how do I increase my pain threshold? I believe that it's nothing other than time spent with God, and with a community of supportive believers. And Heb. 12:3 tells us that in the face of opposition we should consider Jesus, and what He endured to accomplish His mission. It also helps to know that you're in God's will. If we do these things, we will be able to endure the hard times in order to see the positive results on the other side.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Timing in leadership

In the Gospel of John, we see over and over again that Jesus is keenly aware of God's timing as it concerns his mission. For instance...
  • Jn 2:4 He said, "My time has not yet come."
  • Jn 7:1-9 He said, "For me the right time has not yet come."
  • Jn. 7:30, 8:20 "...they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come."
  • Jn 13:1 "Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father."
  • Jn 17:1 As Jesus starts to pray, he says, "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you."

This sense of timing enabled Jesus to focus on the task at hand. He never jumped the gun though impatience. And he never missed an opportunity because of indecision. He was always at the right place at the right time... this is truly a formula for success!

What about us? How does this apply to us? We need to understand God's timing as it concerns our ministries. For a few people this is natural, but for most us, this is a learned skill. Time spent with God will sensitize us to His timing, getting us to the right place at the right time. In Jn 16:13, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit will show us things to come.

Take some time today to ask God to begin revealing His timing to you so you can make the divine appointments He has for you!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


It has been said that there is no success without a successor. This is so true! If we don't leave behind a thriving organization, how can we call ourselves leaders? In this case, we are nothing more than influential people. But true leaders make an impact by developing and positioning others to take the rudder and steer the ship towards its destiny.

Isaiah 61 is very clear about the purpose of God-given leadership. The first three verses talk about a leader that fulfills their call to develop others. Then in the next six verses we see the results of developing others: they go farther and accomplish more than the leader ever could do on his/her own. And they get the acclaim. But in the end result, it doesn't matter who gets the credit, as long as we're all doing our part in the Kingdom of God. If we do that, Jesus gets the glory, as He should!

New youth leaders

It is finally beginning to resonate in me how short of a time we have left before we move to southern Germany. We met with our youth leaders tonight and did some planning for our last retreat with the teens here. It was tough to begin to think about leaving this group that has come to be a part of our lives for the past six years.

On the other hand, it is exciting to see what God has done through a number of those that have gone through our program. As a matter of fact, the guy that will take over after me was a teen in my first bible study here. It's exciting to see what God is doing in him.

I am determined to make the most of the time I have left in pouring myself into both the leaders and the teens God has given us to serve. Tonight we talked about potential new leaders, and how to bring them into the team. I'll keep you posted!

Where we're headed

In July we'll be moving to the Loerrach area, in the Black Forest of Southern Germany, directly across the river from Basel, Switzerland. Since we won't be working at a local church anymore, we'll be able to focus on leadership development. This is the greatest need among the churches of Europe. Most churches are either dying off or barely surviving.

We intend to do more traveling to places where leadership training is welcomed and needed. Of course it’s easier to get everyone together for a seminar or a conference, but you can have a greater impact by coaching and mentoring. We intend to do both seminars and mentoring, mainly with church staffs, youth and music ministers… and we’ll do it in either German or English, whichever is needed. I also plan to do more writing and making leadership podcasts. And, of course, we will still be teaching in Bible Schools from time to time. We may even host a missions team or two!

Have a great day!

What we do now

We are currently the Youth and LIFE Group (small group) Pastors of RHEMA Bible Church in Bonn, Germany. We were the worship leaders here for a few years, but we have trained a couple other guys to take this area of the ministry and run with it!

We also teach at RHEMA Bible Training Center in Bonn, and in the RHEMA mobile Bible Training Centers throughout Germany. While Robin focuses on doctrinal courses, I teach primarily leadership and practical ministry courses.

When we're not ministering at the church or the Bible School, we do leadership training and mentoring, and produce leadership and youth ministry materials for European leaders. Click on the video on the right to see a YouTube video of what we do.

But a change is coming...

Who are we?

Hello everyone! Welcome to my first weblog. I've done a bit of blogging on our website ( and our myspace (, but I think I've now found a permanent home for my blogs.

As for the magic question of who we are, Robin (my best friend) and I have been married for 15 years, have three wonderful children and live in Bonn, Germany. We are missionaries to European teens. Less than 1% of European teens have a genuine relationship with Christ. Our focus is on equipping leaders to reach and disciple this lost generation.

More about what we do next time.