For those who know me, I’m an arm-chair football fan. I don’t know how to read a defense or where every player went to college. But I do love watching the game – and for better or worse, it’s America’s game. Preface: I’m not really a Cam Newton or Carolina fan… but this subject has just bugged me all day long.

Yesterday was the game of all games – or at least it was supposed to be. Super Bowl 50, with the nearly undefeated Carolina Panthers and the never-give-up Denver Broncos. All week long chatter was all about the incredible athleticism and unconventional antics of Cam Newton versus the more mature, seasoned and “gentlemanly”, Peyton Manning. Both teams with top rated defenses, both teams with hopeful quarterback leaders. It should have been quite the game.

The game, in my opinion, was a bit of a let down. Defensively, both teams shined – like really shined. Offensively, both teams came up pretty short. But what the internet is buzzing about today is just how bad Cam Newton looked and how bad he handled himself. It was classic. Superman, was shown to be nothing but a man… who could be beat. Again and again and again. And it wasn’t pretty. No dabs. No smiles. No running into the end-zone and celebrating. Instead we saw frustration, rolling eyes, tantrums and finally an ungraceful walk out of a press conference.

Here’s what I’m bummed about… it seems like everyone loves the fall of Cam Newton. He didn’t beat his kid, or his girlfriend. He didn’t use performance enhancing drugs, or any other drugs that we know of. He didn’t cheat. He didn’t kill anyone. But he lost the Super Bowl, badly – and everyone loves it, and that he had it coming to him.

Seems like we love to see the fall…

Here’s my thoughts. The guy is a superstar quarterback – there’s no denying that fact. He’s also 26. Do you remember being 26? Did you say and do stupid, immature things? (PS – if you’re around 26, you’re probably saying and doing stupid, immature things, you just don’t know it yet). Did you feel invincible? None of us want to be defined by our worst moments. And last night was one of Cam Newton’s worst moments, as a player, leader, and role-model.

What do we need in our worst moments? We need grace. We need people who love us to surround us, be honest with us, challenge us, and yet still be “on our side”. I hope that Cam Newton has some of those people in his life – I’m sure he does. And I hope he’s able to sift through the wave of internet hate, get back on his feet – a little more humble, a little more mature – and do what all us football fans want him to do: play great football.

Maybe rather than pointing and waving the finger at people when they fail, we should try and help them back up and not join the mob.


I’ve been following Bill Giovannetti for a while now after reading his book, “Grace Intervention” – a book recommended by my lead pastor, Scott Treadway of Rancho. Recently he wrote an article, “Why I Preach Grace-Filled Sermons
Your congregation needs rest, not a “to-do” list“. for Christianity Today and it’s so worth the time. I recommend it to anyone who is leading or teaching in any capacity in the church-world (teaching pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors/teachers, small group leaders, Christian school-teachers, etc.)

Below I’ve summarized my favorite quotes from the article – but you really need to read through the entire article.

You cannot expect broken people to live holy lives just because you tell them to. Fill up their impoverished spirits with the “unsearchable riches of Christ” and watch grace work its transforming magic.

Any preaching that decouples the Christian’s duties from the power of Christ will always make Christianity feel like running through quicksand. Be holy. Serve God. Get involved. Love your neighbor. Give. Give some more. Take a missions trip. Be a better person. Read your Bible. Pray. Join a small group. Be radical. Conquer your lusts. Beat your addictions. Obey. Do. Go. Serve. Harder. Faster. Better. Never enough!

So many times, your listeners come to church worn out by life. Many feel deep failure. The weight of adversity presses hard. Guilt and shame lurk at the door. The cross of Christ is what they need. Paint on the corridors of their imagination an indelible picture of all their failures and troubles being swept away in the tidal wave of Calvary’s love. If you don’t run to the cross in your messages, your people won’t run to the cross in their trials.

When Jesus forgave the woman taken in adultery, he left two messages ringing in her ears: “Neither do I condemn you” and “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). These are important, not only for their content, but for their order too. Until “neither do I condemn you” gets hard-wired into your listeners’ souls, “go and sin no more” remains impossible.

Someone had to say, “Yes, it sounds too good to be true, but it is true, because Christ is that good.” Why not become the church in your city that unburdens, unshackles, and de-stresses people? Keep shifting the burden to God. Build a bigger trust in a God more gracious than your people ever dared dream. Buy your Inner Taskmaster a one-way ticket to a permanent vacation.

We often wrestle through these types of statements as we put together message themes at our church – and more and more are realizing the value of highlighting the amazing, lavish, forgiving, burden-lifting, freeing, relentless grace of God. And how as we highlight that, we at the same time magnify how great God is and just how great the price paid at the cross by Christ and the incredible victory of the resurrection. We are free from sin and free to live a full and meaningful life by the grace of God. It’s a beautiful picture of just how good the “Good News” is!

If this rings true and you’ve never read “Grace Intervention“, you should do that. Also, Bill is releasing a followup book called “Grace Rehab” and he releases quotes from it on his Facebook Page.

150129-martin-pistorius-hospitalI watched this Ted Talk today and was absolutely blown away… I can’t even imagine the horror of being trapped inside your own body. Then to hear some of the unthinkable things that this man experienced during that time – it’s heartbreaking. But what is really heartbreaking is that it took a talk like this for me to even think about people like Martin Pistorius in this way – and by “this way” I just mean, considering what is going on in the minds and bodies of those people who have kind of been given up on – what if they are like Martin, trapped in their own bodies… and worse how many are suffering from some type of abuse (which is absolutely unthinkable and horrifying – who is standing in the gap for them?)

I think everyone should watch this and have their minds expanded with what Martin Pistorius has to say.

Leave a comment with your thoughts – I’d love to hear what you think…

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It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, so I thought I’d share about some music I’m really enjoying (got a few posts planned). I’ve got Mat Kearney’s “Just Kids” on repeat a lot lately – probably driving my family and friends crazy. To be honest, I never really intentionally listed to Kearney before – sure he’d come on the radio now and again and I was familiar with him – just never got into it.

This album though is pretty interesting. Lot’s of great sounds and production. Great hooks and sing-along choruses. And a cool balance of gut-wrenching and fun writing – all delivered with Mat’s unique singing, rapping, and spoken word.

While I really enjoy every song from the album, here are a couple highlights:

  • Moving On – great song dealing with regret/forgiveness, super catchy and fun to listen to. I really like the guitar movement starting on the second verse and some great drums.
  • Heartbeat – this one is just a fun poppy sing-along song.
  • Billion – somewhat cheesy, but again so much fun to listen to. Kind of like an 80’s pop mixed with a reggae feel. Fun to listen to with your one in a billion.
  • Los Angeles – such a great hook in the chorus of this song. Sounds like a little autobiography by Mat and how LA is woven into his story. If I had a convertible, I’d blast this driving down Sunset, at sunset – so cliché.
  • Shasta – this simple song makes me think of times past, memories from childhood and all the different cities I grew up in or visited. It’s very moving how Kearney really captures something with just guitar and vocal tracks…

Here’s a couple other short reviews that are well written:

“Mat Kearney delivers nostalgia perfection on Just Kids. His lyrics are intimate, his emotions are infectious and his feel-good pop will make you dance.”

“Experimenting with a cacophony of sounds from 80s-pop to rustic folk to contemporary EDM to 90s-soul-rap, there isn’t a dull moment on this record.  And to add further zest to already a spicy record are the vivid images and picturesque descriptions.  All of these thus make Just Kids a gorgeous three-dimensional sonic autobiography.”

After listening to it for a week or so, I checked out a few videos just to learn more. I was super impressed with his behind the scenes studio stuff, his acoustic stuff, his live performances, and even his video production, which includes a single drone shot video to “Heartbeat” that’s pretty cool. I’m super impressed how he translates his produced recordings to live one’s – real “next thing” kind of stuff, I think – I just love the idea of an acoustic guitar and drum machine/looper in the same breath. I’ve put a couple videos below.

Visit to check him out more and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.


Every few years I end up re-inventing myself. I love learning and trying new things. I love to dream up and build new things. I’m blessed that I’m in an organization where I can do just that.

When I joined Rancho about six years ago, I answered a phone call that came out of nowhere. The week before I had resigned my position at a church I helped to build, but a church that was quickly unraveling (that’s a story that I need to tell someday). Jen and I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we did know that God was opening doors for a new season of ministry with Rancho.

I came on as a pastor to help at Rancho’s school, Rancho Christian. It was during this time that I was introduced to Rancho and I made some deep and lasting relationships with many staff members. I spent a few years there, and by God’s grace, some great people, and a lot of work, the school grew – new leadership was installed and I was able to enter another new season.

This time I worked with the Worship Department at the church. During that time I was able to hire and work with some amazing people. I also said goodbye to some incredible people, thankfully – I’m able to still call them friends and still stay connected to them to this day. One person that I was able to help bring to Rancho was a friend I met named Tim Manigault. He quickly became the obvious choice to take our Worship Department to the next level. And so another chance to reinvent came my way.

I’ve always loved culture and people and the church – so my next journey was overseeing “Connecting” at Rancho, which basically meant anything that connected the church with people: look & feel, design, social media, online ministry, welcome ministries, small groups, etc. Just as I was getting my feet wet in this new role, my friend who was also my boss entered a new phase of life and ministry himself, which left a void at Rancho… so guess what – yes, another new season.

Next I joined a new team of three as the Executive Pastors of our church. As a team, we would oversee and lead our staff. It was a new idea – so I was on board. Together we began dreaming what Rancho could be as we headed into a building phase, doubling our campus size. Then, just a few months after this transition came the opportunity, once again to reinvent. And that brings us to this past weekend.

Last weekend, I officially took on the role of Executive Pastor of our Murrieta Campus. We’ve been going to that campus since it launched and have watched it grow over the years. Now we can really put some serious energy into the campus and work with our great friends, the Beavers, and see what God has planned for Rancho Murrieta.

I’m so thankful to be able to do what I love as a job. I’m thankful for a wife who is supportive and a family ready to take risks with me. And I’m thankful for the hundreds of people who call Rancho Murrieta home and looking forward to serving with them as we live out the love and life of Christ in this community.

Check out Rancho Murrieta on Facebook here. And come join us any Sunday at Murrieta Mesa High School at 10:00am – we’d love to have you and make sure you come by and say “hi” – I’d love to meet you!

P.S. here’s some of the fun stuff we do at Rancho Murrieta: