Friday, December 31, 2010


Here's what kept me from blogging all month.  Lots of good times of family and ministry all tangled up in winter and celebration.

A VISIT TO SANTA: This time, only 3 are sincerely believing that this guy fills stockings.  I told Tyler the truth this year.  He had the same response as his brother.  His biggest hang up was that he knew we couldn't afford what he got, so he was sure Santa must be real.  Big hugs come when my kids realize they had fun and that we saved up for them.

BLACK AND WHITE: We had our annual semi-formal Christmas Party this year with several bands, a comedy team, some grub... and plenty of laughter.  The place and the students came dressed to the nine.  Great way to spend Christmas with the students who came.  This year, we tried to make it a bit of a fundraiser for kids around the world that we sponsor.  Super fun night.  Very thankful for our volunteers.

DADDY DATE TO THE DEL: I took my daughter Becky to the Hotel Del for our first ever daddy date.  Almost one year to the day that her adoption paperwork was finalized.  We got dressed up and I took her for hot chocolate and pizza and soup and then mom took her to see the Nut Cracker with her brothers.  Love me this pretty little girl. 

CHRISTMAS WITH MY SISTER AND HER FAMILY: It's been several years since we got to spend a few days with Alisha and Brad and the cousins.  So good.  We spent a day at Sea World thanks to some generous friends and went on our first ever dinner to Ruth Chris as couples that night.  The following day was family pictures and church and dinner at home. Christmas day we spent some time at our house, caught a movie, and ate dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Super fun few days.

A FEW DAYS AT BIG BEAR: This year we celebrated Ty's birthday in the snow again as he turned 11.  One day of snow play, 2 nights in a rented cabin, and a day on the slopes made for an amazing family bonding time.  Dang we had a good time. Our tribe is officially ridiculously blessed. Woo hoo for cold white stuff and God's protection while we were playing in it. 


Thursday, December 30, 2010


Well, I'm ending my longest non-blogging streak in the last 5 years with a post about some of the family stuff that has kept me from this space on the internet.  I pretty much stopped reading and writing my own blog, just had to let something go.  I plan on picking up my blogging baton again in the next few days with more stuff on life, family, and ministry... I really miss this outlet in my life.

But for the record, here's some of the stuff I've been up to in photos November.

PRE-MISSIONS TRIP TREK TO NAVAJO RESERVATION:  I did a pre-trip to a Navajo reservation in Arizona with a long time friend Pat Moore.  He's been there a bunch and he's like family so we got treated to a special private tour of a beautiful Navajo canyon on cattle round up day.  We checked out the church and talked about their needs and then pretty much rock climbed into the canyon and then walk/herded cattle out.   Long road trip and good times.  I think we'll go back with some students this spring.

DISNEYLAND 2 DAY:  Our tribe and the grandparents all went to Becky and Billy's first trip to Disney and enjoyed the huge holiday crowds over thanksgiving break.  Fun was had by all and we played more "would you rather?" than you can imagine while waiting in hours of lines :)

THANKSGIVING:  I bbq'd the bird again.  We set the table.  Dang our family is blessed.

DESERT TRIP WITH MY KIDS:  1 Grandpa, 3 dads, and 10 kids all went to the desert for our 2nd annual post turkey day father/kid trip to shoot weapons, blow stuff up, bonfire, zip line, and paintball and such.  It was a father/son trip, but becky begged me to go and so she changed the rules.  She's a trooper for sure.

STUDENT MINISTRY STAFF GET AWAY:  I took our student ministry staff for a couple days to bond and laugh in a beautiful place we got the hook ups for in Capistrano Beach at the Wunderly home.   Super fun watching the sunset, the dolphins, and eating way too much food together.

next up, December in pictures.


Sunday, November 07, 2010


We've banned phones, computers, and ipads in our church staff meetings.

We've banned them in our guys small groups.  We've banned them on retreats.

Shannon and I have banned them from our home between when I get home and the kids bed time.  We've banned them on dates.

After my last adult volunteer leader meeting experience, I'm going to ban them from all future meetings. 

But I can't figure out how to ban them in our Sunday high school program.

The result today was teaching hell in Encounter.  Maybe there's a lot of factors, but the chief distractor, in my estimation is the "damn cell phone".  That's the nicest way to put it.  The smart phone among teens is anything but smart. They can text, do facebook, check the internet, play music, you name it... the phone is a way to be anything but present and a multi-tasking myth nightmare.   It affects their attention to music, worship, games, the message, the people around them... pretty much everything.

Then tonight I saw this commercial.

Every once in a while, the makers of commercials preach to us better than most sermons.  Here my friends, is 60 seconds of prophecy.  Sadly, it isn't as much hyperbole as I wish it was.  It's 90% reality and 10% the extra mile.   Watch it.  Think about it. Don't blow it off.  This IS our cultural reality.

Really?  yes, REALLY!

Oh God, Save us from our phones.  And as much as I LOVE this commercial, no phone can do this.  This is going to require Spiritual Discipline.  For the love of all things holy, please unplug.


Thursday, October 28, 2010


You'd think after working with teens this long, that not much would surprise me in youth ministry.  But lately, I've been pleasantly surprised several times.

  • I've been surprised by the ease of a convo with a student or two when I thought for sure it was going to be like pulling teeth to have any kinda significant discussion.  
  • I've been surprised by the level of ownership of a few of our serving teams by their student leaders.
  • But the thing that has surprised me most lately is how much stuff students save from our youth ministry.  Kinda like this post from a few years ago.
I love it that students save stuff, but it still surprises me.   Here's 3 examples as of late:


We gave students a chance to make a commitment to Jesus and to regularly attending our high school ministry called Powerhouse.  Then just this week I received a text message and an attached photo that read, "Was going through my wallet and found this."

It was from Danny Loughran who graduated from Washington High School back in 2002 and we gave them out somewhere in the middle of his high school carreer!  He sent me an e-mail later that day too that read, "The card has been worn.  The name has almost faded.  But the commitment still stands.  I thought you would appreciate it."

Danny, You know I did.


I moved to San Diego after having been a youth pastor at Powerhouse for almost 11 years.  It was the hardest thing I'd done to date in ministry.  Leaving behind a ministry where I had cut my teeth in ministry poured my heart and soul into was a huge faith stretcher for me.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of the ministry was a student leadership team we had for seniors only called the Timothy Tag Team (TTT).  It was solely by invitation and was offered to the seniors who had stepped it up and owned their faith and our ministry the most over the previous years.  It culminated in their final summer with a local missions/bonding trip.  Due to my transition to San Diego, the last group of seniors had to finish out the final 5 months of their senior year without me by their side when I left in February, 2005.  A few days ago, one of them- Shawn Cummins- posted on facebook a letter I wrote to the team as they headed into their final TTT trip.  Oh dang did it bring back memories.  I copied it all below or  you can read it on his facebook notes here.  The baton he mentions was something I gave every student on my last Wed. Night in Powerhouse.
I remember reading this on the edge of the Grand Canyon, probably one of the most pivotal weeks of my life. Still have my baton this day...Miss you guys:
... By the time you read this, your year of the TTT will officially be done. You will have finished the task you stepped up to last September. Never before has the phrase "the brave, the proud, the few" been more true than to the Timothy Tag Team of 04/05. Every TTT in history has had at least one person who signed up at the start and bailed before the end, but your team- more than any other- has weighed in and taken some serious hits. The line up at the start of the year was filled with potential and a chance to become new friends who took one another to new heights and depths of faith and devotion to Jesus. Some stepped up to that challenge and some backed away. Yes, God's grace is sufficient for all of us, but when I pushed all the chips I had left across the table last February to the TTT and said to you, "The ball is now in your court, for real" and I gave you a baton and asked you not to drop it... Well you truly carried it.
I wish with all my heart that I was in town this weekend so that I could be there to say this to you personally and probably cry as I tired to read it. But with as much gratitude and strength that I can muster up, I want to clearly say to you in this letter, "I'm so proud of you. You Rock! You embody what it means to be a faithful servant in times of trial. I want to say thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not dropping the ball. Thank you for taking the baton that Jesus placed in your hand and giving a full sprint for the finish line. Thanks for owning your faith. Thanks for making your faith in Jesus and your devotion to powerhouse not about pastors and leadership but about guts, faith, and perseverance. Thanks for stepping up."
 There are few things in this life I have loved with more enthusiasm and commitment than the ministry of Powerhouse. When God called me to go, I left a piece of my soul in Fremont and I took memories and friendships and hope in Jesus Christ to fill the hole it created. Every TTT group before you had to step it up. Every TTT group before you had to decide if they wanted to keep or chuck the faith. But more than any other group, you had to really put your money where your mouth is and decided to embrace a God whose plans are not always ours when you could have decided to be bitter, angry or apathetic to the change that God has called Powerhouse to. Thanks for Caring. Thanks for loving. Thanks for truly living.
 I leave you with this verse as a reminder and challenge as you too turn the corner and leave a piece of your life behind- your high school days in Powerhouse. In a sense your race with the Baton of faith is just beginning and the finish line is nowhere in sight if you live to be a senior citizen. So, remember the challenge of Paul to those in difficult situations in the Colossian church. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Col 3:23-24.
 Carrying the baton with you. Your friend and youth pastor,
 Brian C. Berry
The Last Standing of Timothy Tag Team '04-'05 (minus Shawn who is behind the camera)
Thanks Shawn, you bless me.


I put on our Encounter High School Ministry weekend program a simple sentence. It was on the back next to the announcements a plainly read, "I'll pay you $100 for the first person to save 75 completed weekend outlines" or something like that.  I never announced it or drew any attention to it and only ran it one weekend.  I never knew if anyone even noticed.

Then last April or so, I had a couple of students (Christa and Michael) come up to me and say on consecutive sundays, "Here's my stack".   They both had independently and quietly accepted my challenge and saved the outlines from the weekends they attended.   Maybe it's just the power of a bribe... but I was blessed anyway by those who stepped up to the plate.



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San Diego, CA
Husband. Dad. Jesus Follower. Friend. Learner. Athlete. Soccer coach. Reader. Builder. Dreamer. Pastor. Communicator. Knucklehead.

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