Beyond the Stage: Why I started Blogging!


I meet a lot of people everyday. I’m really good with faces… I’m horrible with names. I call most of the guys I meet “Buddy” and most of the girls “Ma’am!” I hear a lot of interesting stories along the way from amazing people and I remember you by your stories.

You see, we are acquaintances by name but we’re connected by our stories.

I started blogging because I realize that many of you know me by the job that I do. But I want to give you a glimpse of the guy beyond the stage. A look into my life. My stories. So that you know that I’m a real person… Just like you.

A lot of Pastor’s put on a front like they have life all figured out. News flash…
They don’t. Nor do I… I’m just not afraid to show you my faults or struggles.

I’ve heard it said… “You create competition by sharing your successes… You create community by sharing your struggles. I’m blogging to create a sense of community between us all!

Now with that said… It’s not just going to be digital therapy for me. I will also be writing about the funny stories, leadership lessons learned, etc! Truly giving everyone a peak into who I am.

So… That’s why I blog. To share my story.

Now… It’s your turn. Leave a comment. Tell me who you are. Share a little bit of your story. Let’s begin to create community.


Im ready to talk!

Jan. 8th 2014… I started out the day at home in the bed sick. I remember feeling horrible and thought a day in bed may be the best remedy. Little did I know it would be the first day of a 16 day nightmare.

It’s been one year now and for the first time I am somewhat ready to let you into my world. I haven’t said much to anyone up to this point in large because I have been trying to process this event myself. Working through the questions I have as well as trying to be the best friend/Pastor I could be in the process. The truth… I was angry at God. Why? How could this happen? God, where are you?

As I was laying in the bed on the morning of the 8th my phone rang. Not unusual… It always does. I ignored it. It rang again and again, back to back. The guy who was calling was a close friend and he never does this, so I answered.

The first words out of his mouth were “There has been a accident!” I sat up with a quickness and felt my heart begin to pound. He said “a helicopter has crashed into the Atlantic and it is believed that one of our very best friends was on the helicopter!” We hung up the phone and immediately began to try to find out as much information as possible. We were told that all the guys but one had been recovered and were on their way to the hospital. So we rushed to the hospital. We meet our friends wife in the lobby of the emergency room hoping and praying that he was there and all was going to be ok. Two hours later we found out that our dear friend… Lt. Sean C. Snyder was the one missing. We hoped with everything in us that he would be there at the hospital, but I think deep down in our hearts, we all knew he was the one they hadn’t found yet. If anyone was going to give up his life to save others… It was Sean.

I first met Sean on a Youth trip to Baltimore. His wife Amy and kids Christopher, Brady, Ethan, and Kayla had been coming to the church for some time while he was away on deployment. He had just got back in to town and wanted to spend time with his boys so he came along on the trip. It didn’t take long to figure Sean out. You always knew what he was thinking because he always said it. And at first I thought to myself… Here we go again… Another know it all. I’ve worked with these people before on trips and it’s no fun.

Sean was different. While he would give you his opinion, he was also ready to follow out whatever order you gave. By the end of the week I really liked him. I remember telling Tiffany that I thought I could be friends with Sean. And we did. Close friends. Spending nearly every weekend with Sean and Scott Higgins watching football, on the beach, vacations to the Outer Banks, etc. Just living life together. Sean even became an Elder at the Church I pastor, leading the way in several projects.

Sean was always one of the first guys in my office to check on me on Sundays. He also was the one who would be sending me messages to my iPad while I was trying to preach… of course telling me what to do! And he told me time and time again… “I know things are tough. I don’t know what you’re going through. But just know… I have your back!” And I knew he meant it.

I had learned so much from Sean up until this point. He was an incredible husband and a even better father. He was always there for his family. Taking his wife to NYC although he hated the crowds. Bouncing back an forth between all his kids events. Pushing his kids to always be their best. And teaching them all the power of commitment.It was inspiring. It made me want to be a better Husband and father. Sean made everyone around him better.

And now… In a moment… this guy that I have come to love was MIA.

The hours felt like days. The days felt like years. Sean was finally found and brought back home a week later. He was gone. I was angry. Yet I had to remain strong. After all, “Im the Pastor” I thought.I can’t break down now. I needed to be there for this family I so dearly loved. And I truly believe God gives us the grace to get through moments like that.

I found myself days later conducting a funeral for one of my friends. As I was doing the funeral I just remember that I couldn’t look down at the casket. I really felt like I was on autopilot. I couldn’t think about who that was or what was really going on.

When the event was all over, so was January. It was a blur. And now the real work kicked it. The emotions that Amy and the kids were feeling, I couldn’t imagine. To this day… They are the strongest family I know. The way they handled the events, taking things day by day, birthday by birthday, holiday by holiday, has been amazing to watch. And we have tried our best as their friends to just surround and support them in any way they needed us to. We love Amy and her kids so much. They have always felt like our own.

Months went by and things began to quite down. I have helped deal with many issues. All except my own. I was afraid to dive in to what exactly I was feeling. How could I… A Pastor… be angry with God? How could God let this happen? And that’s the journey I’ve been on.

We as humans want to understand everything. We want to put things into nice,neat categories so we can feel better about things. The truth of the matter is we can’t. If we could… Why would we need God? So in order to correctly deal with this event I had to create a new category…

The “I don’t know” category!

There are events in life that happen, and no matter how hard we try, we won’t be able to figure them out. And because we can’t… we become angry, bitter people. We have no where to put that event. By creating the “I don’t Know” category I have completely taken this out of my hands. I no longer have to try and understand it. And that OK! That’s what make God, God… and me not! I don’t dwell on these events any longer. I will not allow them to make me angry, or bitter.

I don’t know why Sean is gone. I never will.

As I type this out, with tears streaming down my face, all I can say is:
I dont understand.
I do trust God.
And I so desperately miss my friend!

One year later… after being asked a lot by people how I am doing with all this. For the first time I am able to answer…

It is well with my soul!

I love you and miss you my friend!


Out of Place!


I started back to the gym today in an effort to regain control of my schedule and not letting it control me. For far to long I have gone from meeting to meeting, grabbing whatever I could in between them to eat (normally fast food), and going to bed really late. I’m tired of that. It’s time to change.

As I was working out today, looking around at all the rip dudes in a very heterosexual way, it made me feel a little out of place. Watching them lift mega-weight and flexing their muscles in the mirrors… I’m like “it’s ok guys, I’ll just do the treadmill with the ladies.”

As I was walking it out today feeling a little out of place I began to think about the way people go into church for the first time and feel like others are looking at them like they dont belong. How many times have people come into church feeling beat down by life and their I am flexing my spirtual biceps in the mirror.

The fact is I will never change my body if I first dont change my outlook. I have to be honest with myself. I am not in shape, and I won’t be unless I began working out and change eating habits. I can’t be expect to walk into a gym and just magically be in shape. It takes hard work and time. I have to be willing to do it no matter who is in that place.

Now, on the flip side, you CAN walk into a church and instantly be transformed. You just have to be willing to do it no matter who is in that place. You’re not expected to have it all together before you go in. And understand that the people who are in there flexing, have weaknesses too. They may just be hiding them well. There is one guys at my gym that has shoulders like a horse and legs like a little girl!

It is our job as Christians to help others when they are down, not make them feel out of place. I try my best now to get those around me to the gym. I need to try just as hard at bringing them to a place where they can be instantly changed. It’s time we all make that step. Go to people who may be broken inside and not look down on them, or judge them, or try to fix them, but take them to someone who can.

The goal… To be in a better place come this time next year.

What are you working on in 2015?

20 Mile Wall

I heard someone talk about running a marathon and all the training that takes place to perform the grueling 26 mile race. They recommend to begin training at least 3 to 4 months ahead and often runners start a year or two in advance. They say the most valuable training needed is mental determination and commitment to finish. Out of over 5,000 people in a NY marathon, only 680 finished! There is something that happens at the 20-mile mark that every runner experiences, “the wall”. It’s a total mental and physical meltdown, everything in their body tells them they cannot go on. Many runners experience it and prepare in advance to over compensate for that meltdown moment – placing supporters, cheerleaders, and water rejuvenation breaks along the way. One guy said he had a coach run along side him that mile to chatter about jokes and stories to get his mind off the pain and the discouragement. This season in my life has been the 20-mile mark in my marathon of life. But thanks to the supporters and cheerleaders, and of course the rejuvenating Water and most incredible Coach, we are now approaching mile 21 and going strong.

You see, God reminded me recently in my own 20-mile moment, that I am under his “shelter” and nothing can come against me or my family as long as I am in that place. Psalm 91:1 says “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” That secret place, the special place is where we will find our true rest, our true provision, our true security…in His shadow. So it’s under His shadow that I keep running, with confidence knowing that I will never go through a “20-mile mark” alone and that as long as I find rest in HIM, under His shadow, I will not only make it to the 21-mile mark, but I will finish the race.

P.S.  If you are at the 20 mile mark… Please know Im there cheering you on! Your are going to make it!

Here’s to 2015!


It’s a new year. It’s time to try something new. Learn a new language. Run a marathon. Read more. Work less. It’s time to make promises to ourselves that we known in the back of our minds it’s going to be hard to keep.

Hard… but not impossible!

This year there is one main ingredient you need that will make all the rest fall into place. With it you can accomplish anything. Without it you will be sure to fail.


You have to be physically disciplined to lose weight or run marathons. You have to be spiritually disciplined to pray more or read your Bible more. It takes mental discipline to make it through stressful moment.

And it won’t be easy. That’s why it’s called discipline. You’re going to have to move in moments when all you want to do is lay down. But as you move… Those tough moments begin to fade and you begin to come in to that person you’ve always wanted to be.

Remember: It’s resistance that makes you stronger. All you need is a little discipline.

Here’s to 2015 and being disciplined in all areas of our lives!