2014 in review

Here is a review of 2014! Thank you for everyone that was involved in making 2014 a great journey. I’m looking forward to seeing you in 2015!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 25 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Seeing Through the Fog: Book Review

Has your world ever fallen apart? On more than one occasion mine has fallen apart. My wife Heather has journeyed through the last 15 years of her life with leukaemia + a bone marrow transplant. You can read her story here: www.smythfamily.wordpress.com

That’s why I was so intrigued to read Ed Dobson’s new book, Seeing Through the Fog: Hope When Your World Falls Apart.

Ed has written one of his best books about his own eleven year struggle with ALS. He shares his heart, struggle and emotions from the point of his diagnosis + physical deterioration + seeking forgiveness + spiritual journey + thinking of the after life.

We ask for forgiveness. And we forgive other who ask us. In that way, we can experience healing, healing in our souls. – Ed Dobson

Regardless of how your world might be falling apart right now, Ed’s book is MUST READ!

Follow Ed’s Story.com

You can purchase Ed’s book through Amazon below.

Why You(th) Are Addicted to Porn

Pornography is something we know that our youth experience, experiment with but it’s not talked openly in our youth online bondageministries. No I’m not suggesting that you have porn focused youth night (that just sounds weird).

What I am suggesting is that you think critically on these thoughts about pornography.

  • Do you look at porn? If you do then you cannot enter into a healthy discussion with your students on this subject.
  • Are you educated on the effects of porn? Do you understand the scientific and physical implications of what porn can do to the human body? If not, hen you should not talk about porn with your students.
  • Do you understand clearly what the Bible, the word of God, says about porn? Have you or someone you trust researched thoroughly what God says about porn? If not, then you should not be talking to your students about it either.

If you have not dug down deep into the soil on the topic of porn, then all you are left with is your own opinion or the opinion of others as it relates to a topic. Which is extremely dangerous.

Something I have learned from personal experience is that if you are struggling with something and you try to help someone to deal with the same issue, it becomes increasingly more difficult for you to overcome your own struggle.


What are some things you have learned about the topic of pornography in youth ministry? What would you add to this list?


Here is brief video that explains the scientific effects that porn has on the human body.


The Faces of Modern Day Slavery

Did You Know?

  • Until 2005, there was no Criminal Code offence of human trafficking in Canada.
  • Victims are often left to fend for themselves after escaping or being rescued, while their exploiters are rarely charged.
  • Canada has no national action plan to combat human trafficking.

Modern-Day Slavery is still a reality for many people around the world, and the best way to begin to change that is to learn more about it! Complete this educational challenge by our friends at LiveDifferent.com to get informed, and then find ways that you can make a difference!

Challenge Actions

This challenge has a number of steps to it. Complete all the steps to finish the challenge.


Book Review: I AM SECOND

I Am Second
I love stories. Especially when you hear about a life that was transformed or changed through an experience that they went through (good or bad). I love when my spirit is bubbling up inside me as I listen to a story and when it gets to the end I can boldly say to the story-teller, “That’s the God I know!”

As I sat down to read this book over a few days, I was excited because I had used several of the videos from I AM SECOND in various youth ministry contexts. Each video is visually simple yet powerful, verbally thought provoking, and very inspiring. (I used three “V” words there, cool!). I am also a person who loves things visual, seeing a person share their own personal story, seeing their facial expressions of joy or pain is very powerful. Yet when I read, I love to visualize what I’m reading.

As I began the book I kept having this sense of confusion come over me because it wasn’t clear to me who was telling each of the stories I was reading. Every story, through out the whole book, kept switching from first person to third person. I then jumped ahead to a story I had seen on video that impacted me personally and started reading with expectation. I was let down because as a reader I wasn’t sure who was telling the story. I was left confused.

There are many ways to tell a redemptive story and I know that the redemption that God offers to each one of us is mind blowing. The big problem I had with the book was that the redemptive story of God seemed hidden, missed, not communicated well, I’m not sure what. When someone has a life changing encounter with the living God it is usually very clear to everyone through two ways: 1) their life changes (behaviour, decisions, attitude, thoughts, language, body language, etc…), 2) the reason for the change is clear, they tell you that it was because of their life intersecting with the living God and his son Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Some of the stories in the book I AM SECOND seem to lack a depth of the redemptive story and the life change that each person went through when they encountered God through Jesus Christ. I’m not sure if that’s because the authors wanted it that way or if the person telling the story was not coached on how to tell the story of the redemptive work of God in their life.

Overall, if you are looking for a book to read about how various people go through a rough/rock-bottom experience and they emerge on the other side without drowning and discover God, then this is a book you will enjoy. If you are looking for a book that is very well written and explains in detail the redemptive work of Jesus in the life of various people, then this is not the book for you.

My recommendation is to watch the I AM SECOND videos for free. The book is not a must have on my book shelves. Stick with the videos.

I received this book from Graf-Martin Communications to review and my opinions are my own.

Chocolate Advent Calendar

Do you remember opening a chocolate advent calendar when you were a kid? I do. I loved getting that calendar each year. Today, many of my friends are giving their kids the much desired “Lindt Advent Calendar”.


Yet the Advent story is still missed by many families in our churches. Our family this year is going through a story for Advent each day. We are making this an intentional priority for our family. We are going to be setting aside 20 minutes each day, beginning the fourth Sunday before Christmas, to light candles, read a devotional for that day, and pray together.


Advent. Adventus. Ecce advenit Dominatus. Behold, the Lord, the Ruler, is come. Reaching back two millennia to the birth of the Christ child and forward to his reign on earth, the tradition of Advent is a threefold celebration of the birth of Jesus, his eventual second coming to earth, and his continued presence in our lives here and now. God in our past, God in our future, God in our present.


History of Advent. 

It started with people going hungry to purifyl themselves and prepare themselves for holy living. A fast, we call it, and such a fast was ordered by the Council of Saragosa in A.D. 381. For three weeks before Epiphany (a feast in January celebrating the divine revelation of Jesus to the gentile Magi), the people were to prepare themselves by fasting and praying. The tradition spread to France in 581 by decree of the Council of Macon, and to Rome and beyond thereafter. Gregory the First refined the season to its present form in about 600 when he declared that it should start the fourth Sunday before Christmas.


Fasting is no longer a part of Advent in most homes and churches (though it wouldn’t be a bad idea for some). For us, Advent means taking time each day, for the three or four weeks before Christmas, to centre our thoughts on Truth Incarnate lying in a feeding trough in Bethlehem. It’s a time of worship, a time of reflection, a time of focus, and time of of family communion. In the midst of December’s commotion and stress. Advent is a few moments to stop, catch your breath, and renew your strength from the only One who can provide true strength.

What advent traditions do you remember or do now with your family or ministry?