Psalm 33:2 says, "Give thanks to the LORD..." 

I'm not always good at this. I'm a better complainer than thanks-giver. It's more natural for me to see the few things that aren't what they could be, rather than the countless good things that God has already done. I'm trying to get better at that and was struck this morning by the multitude of amazing things God did just this Sunday in our church. Here are a few:

  • We had two powerful worship services and continued our journey through John's gospel called "Encountering Jesus."
  • We got to celebrate God opening a new ministry opportunity to Ryan Barger, our director of production, at Harvest Bible Chapel of Denver. While we're sad to see him go, but thrilled to see him seize an opportunity for even more fruitful ministry. 
  • We re-launched our student ministry after an almost two-month break to record attendance.
  • We hosted our second Act Like Men event with 200 men gathering together Sunday night to get after God together. 
  • We had 8 men who weren't in small groups, sign up for one coming out of Act Like Men. That's 8 men who were fighting for holiness alone, that will now begin pursuing Jesus in Biblical community!
  • I had the privilege of watching our staff and many volunteers serve from 6:30a until after 9p and I never heard a single complaint and never saw a hint of anything other than joy in their faces to be serving Jesus. 
  • I watched Pastor Tyler, our Executive Pastor, serve all day long and then surprise our staff and volunteers by cooking them all dinner in the midst of a long day of service. 
  • I continue to hear stories of God at work in the hearts and lives of people in our church.

If you're reading this and call Harvest Hickory home, we have MUCH to thank the Lord for. (You can also check out pics from the day on my Instagram feed). Regardless, of what church family you call "home" I'd love to hear some things you want to thank the Lord for. Where do you see God at work?

Leaders. Learners. Listeners.

I'm having to think more about leadership than I ever have before. I have to lead myself, I have to lead my family (which tends to be my greatest leadership challenge) and I'm leading in a new church. Everyday I'm being tested, stretched and challenged. It's good, but it is not always pleasant. 

One of the biggest misconceptions I have to combat in my own heart is that being the leader means having all the answers. The truth is, leaders need not be the smartest people in the room. They should, however, be the best learners. 

The problem is, we often spend so much time talking and trying to push our own opinions we can't actually learn anything. Proverbs 18:15 says, "the ear of the wise seeks understanding." Notice the connection between the ear and understanding.

You can't learn if you don't listen.

Good leaders speak less than they listen. I want to be a good leader. I want to be a good learner. Today that means I need to tune my ears to do more than merely "hear." I need to listen so I can learn.

In The Room Ep. 51: ME :)

This week on the podcast is a bit different. Today I’m the one in the room discussing the first year of the podcast, the future of the podcast and my personal upcoming ministry transition. 

Last week I sat down with Scott Holthaus who has covered the engineering end of In The Room the last year and spent sometime talking about why we started the podcast, what we’ve learned and where we’re headed. We also get in to how the new ministry opportunity I'm pursuing in North Carolina came to be.

It was fun being on the other end of the conversation and as always I hope you find this helpful. To listen and subscribe on iTunes, CLICK HERE.

The Huguley's Are Starting A New Adventure

Yesterday was a bitter sweet day at Redemption. My heart was filled with an immense gratitude as I announced my resignation through tears after 6 months of prayer and counsel. 

God has opened an opportunity for us to serve Him in North Carolina (more on that later) and in March, Lord willing, the Huguley's are setting out on a new adventure. We are certain of God's leading, but sad to be leaving. Redemption is the family God's built around us these past seven years and I will never cease to be grateful for all He's done.

What follows is the video of my announcement and the letter I read. We'd love your prayers and will keep you posted on all God's doing.

If you know my story and the story of our church than you know that planting Redemption started with a simple stirring in my heart. At a time when I least expected it, God made it clear that He had opened a door for Tami and I to step out in faith and start a new church with a few friends. As scary and uncomfortable as that was, we were certain that God was leading us in this direction, so we chose to trust him and step out in brave obedience. Not once in the last six years has God ever failed us - He’s always been faithful.  

Over the past 6 months God has been stirring in our hearts again. It has always been my intention, and many of you have heard me say publicly, that my plan has been to pastor Redemption for the rest of my life. As surprising as it has been to me, God has opened an opportunity for us that’s different than what I anticipated.  

Through much time in God’s Word, prayer, conversation with Tami, and the counsel of our elders, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to resign my role as lead pastor at Redemption. There is no good way to prepare people for the unexpected nature of an announcement like this and I’m very much aware of how shocking this is for many to hear. As a result I want to do my best to be clear about both what IS and is NOT informing this decision. 

First, it is NOT because there is anything wrong with Redemption. This is the healthiest and most wonderful church I’ve ever had the privilege of serving. Second, it is NOT because I don’t love our church. I’ve given my entire heart to this church the past seven years and outside my family, there is no group of people I love more. Third, it is NOT because I don’t feel loved by our church. Tami and I have never been better cared for than we have been by this leadership team and this church. 

There are two overarching reasons why we’re certain of this decision: 

1. We believe it is time for our family to trust God, step out in faith and start a new adventure together. 

It’s important to Tami and I that we model faith and obedience for our kids and for our church. Often times God directs us to difficult obedience. This has been the most difficult decision of my life. After months of work, I’m certain, Tami is certain, and our elders are certain - that God is both behind and leading us forward in this decision. In March, Lord willing, our family will be moving to North Carolina where God has provided an opportunity for me to become the lead pastor of an existing church. I’ve met with their elders, visited the area, and next month I’ll be preaching there for the first time and meeting with their congregation as the final step in the process. Because it is not finalized, this decision demands our faith and we need your prayers through it. This is sad and more than a little scary for us, be I am confident in God’s faithfulness and believe this new opportunity provides a great opportunity for me to continue serving Jesus fruitfully. 

The second reason we are certain of this decision is this:

2. We believe that God has raised up new leadership for the next season of ministry at Redemption.

For the past year we have been praying and discussing the possibility of sending out Pastor Ashley Herr and his family to plant a church. He feels a strong sense of God’s call on his life to become a lead pastor and this is a calling that we as fellow elders affirm. In conjunction with God’s leading in our family, we believe that God has been positioning him to assume the role of lead pastor here at Redemption, rather than transition out to plant a new church. Pastor Ashley loves Jesus deeply, loves and serves his wife and boys faithfully, preaches God’s Word passionately, and leads our church tirelessly. Redemption started in his living room seven years ago next Sunday. At the time we didn’t even know if he and Jill would a part of the church. Now we believe God has called him to lead it. I must say that there is no one that I believe is better suited to lead our church forward with our elder team.   

Next Sunday, Lord willing, I will preach my final sermon as lead pastor here. I’ve chosen Matthew 5:13-16 as my final text because I want to redirect our hearts to Jesus’ call on our lives as His disciples and His church. In verse 16 He says, “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.” That’s why our church exists. That’s what Jesus has called us to.

It is and has been my great joy to shepherd and serve this church, but it has never been my church and it’s never been our elders church. Redemption is Jesus’ church. Jesus has been and always will be our Senior Pastor. We’re built on His shoulders. As a result, Redemption’s best days are ahead, not behind. Lives will be changed. Wounds will be healed. Community will be formed. I’m thankful to have had such an amazing view from which to watch Jesus work thus far and I look forward to seeing all He has ahead. 

My prayer is that you will pull together through all this, trust and support the leading of the elders who love you very much and follow Jesus into the future together.

Transition is always difficult. Change is always uncomfortable. Moving is almost always sad. But, if there is one thing I hope we’ve learned up to this point as a church, it’s that we serve an all powerful and all good God and when He leads, we obey, trusting that His plans are better than ours. It’s for that reason we trust Him and follow His leading in all of this.

I’m so thankful for each of you and I hope you know how much I love you. Thank you for the great honor of allowing me to be your pastor these past seven years.

In The Room Ep.49: Dr. Kevin Vanhoozer

This week I’m in the room with Kevin Vanhoozer. Dr. Vanhoozer is the Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity and co-author of the new book, “The Pastor As Public Theologian”. 

In my conversation with Dr. Vanhoozer, we discuss the liabilities of being a Biblical scholar, re-discovering the biblical identity of the pastoral office, and what a day in the life of a theologian looks like.

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

In The Room Ep.48: Bob Kauflin

This week I’m in the room with Bob Kauflin. Bob is a pastor, songwriter, and the director of Sovereign Grace Music. He’s also written a new book entitled: “True Worshipers: Seeking What Matters To God”.

In my conversation with Bob, we discuss how to best steward the relationship between pastors and worship leaders, what it means to worship in spirit and truth, and why it’s so critical that we prioritize gathering for corporate worship.

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

Buy “True Worshipers” on

Connect with Bob on his blog.

Follow Bob on Twitter.

Books mentioned in this episode:

“Music Through the Eyes of Faith” by Harold Best.

Desiring God” by John Piper.

The Valley of Vision” by Arthur Bennett.

The Cross Centered Life” by C.J. Mahaney.

Engaging With God” by David Peterson.

Music & Songwriters Mentioned:

Matt Boswell

Matt Redman

Dustin Kensrue

Keith and Kristyn Getty

Lauren Daigle

Vertical Church Band

In The Room Ep.47: Josh Reich

This week I’m in the room with Josh Reich, lead pastor of Revolution Church in Tucson, Arizona and author of the new book “Breathing Room: Stressing Less and Living More.”

In my conversation with Josh, we discuss common factors that squeeze out our breathing room, the importance of holistic health, and learning from the strengths of others. 

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

Buy “Breathing Room” on

Connect with Josh on his blog.

Follow Josh on twitter.

Books mentioned in this episode:

“21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell.

Letting God Speak Resources

Last Sunday we finished up a four-part series called Letting "God Speak: God's Thoughts On Three Timely Subjects." We covered sexuality, abortion and racism. It was hard, but it was fruitful. Throughout the series I was asked for resources on each of the topics, so I decided to put them all in one place, as well as all four sermons. Hope it's helpful.

Part 1. A Biblical Framework For Sexuality

Part 2. Three Dangerous Sexuality Misconceptions

In The Room Ep.46: Crawford Loritts

This week I’m in the room with Crawford Loritts, pastor and author of the new book, "Unshaken: Real Faith in Our Faithful God".

In my conversation with Crawford, we discuss how faith differs from mere optimism, why it comes easier for some rather than others, and how we can grow in faith. 

Don’t forget you can get "In The Room" automatically downloaded to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. I’d also love to hear your feedback from this episode. Drop me a note at and let me know what you thought.

Thanks for listening!

Buy “Unshaken: Real Faith in Our Faithful God”:

Follow Crawford on twitter:

Books mentioned in this episode:

“The Pursuit Of God” by A.W. Tozer:

“The Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer:

“Knowing God” by J.I. Packer:

“Dangerous Calling” by Paul David Tripp:

“Prayer” by Timothy Keller:

In The Room Ep.45: Douglas Wilson

This week I’m in the room with Douglas Wilson, pastor and author of a new book, "Writers to Read: Nine Names That Belong on Your Bookshelf".

In my conversation with Doug, we discuss the ins and outs of reading well, how he orders his week for maximum productivity and why he so often finds himself at the center of controversy.  

Want In The Room to come to you? SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES and have each episode downloaded directly to your device.

Check out Doug's blog.

Follow Doug on Twitter.

Buy “Writers to Read."

Books Recommended by Douglas: 

The Chronicles of Narnia.

In The Room Ep.44: Vince Antonucci

This week I’m in the room with Vince Antonucci. Vince planted and pastors a church called Verve in Las Vegas, Nevada for people living and working on the Las Vegas strip. He’s recently written a new book called “God For The Rest Of Us: Experience unbelievable love, unlimited hope, and uncommon grace”.

In my conversation with Vince we discuss growing up with a dad on the run from the law, the challenges of pastoring on the strip, how stand-up comedy compares to preaching and why so many feel beyond the love of God. 

If you enjoy this episode, don't forget you can have it downloaded directly to your mobile device each week by subscribing on iTunes. 

Lift You Higher

Prior to planting Redemption I was a worship pastor.

In 2004 we were auditioning guitar players for our student ministries worship band when in walked a 16-year-old with an ugly Ibanez guitar and a few pedals he’d picked up from a friend. Despite the fact that his guitar was ugly, his pedals didn’t really work, and he was nervous enough to puke, I loved him immediately.

Since that awkward audition 11 years ago, I’ve had the great privilege of leading God’s people into God’s presence with my friend, Scott Holthaus. He’s not that nervous kid anymore. He’s a man of God, selfless husband, tender father and gifted worship pastor at Redemption. 

This week he has released his first E.P. called “Lift You Higher.” These are five songs (four original and one hymn) we love and I believe will expand your affection for Jesus and give you fresh words with which to worship Him. 

Lift You Higher is available everywhere digital music is sold and it would mean a lot to me if you took a few minutes and checked it out. If it blesses you, would you consider sharing it with a friend, or helping us spread the word via social media? 

I’m praying Lift You Higher will bless you the way it’s blessed me and our entire church.

Get it:

In The Room Ep. 43: Levi Lusko

his week I’m in the room with Levi Lusko, pastor of Fresh Life Church in Montana and the author of a powerful new book called “Through The Eyes Of A Lion: Facing Impossible Pain, Finding Incredible Power”.

In my conversation with Levi, we discuss everything from cultivating leadership culture and creative communication, to how he and his family have endured the unexpected death of their young daughter.

Don't forget to subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review! 

Buy “Through The Eyes Of A Lion” on 

Follow Levi on Twitter:

Books recommended in the episode:

A Tale of Three Kings:

In The Room Ep.42: Alex Early

This week, I’m in the room with Alex Early. Alex is a reluctant pastor, accidental church planter, and the author of a beautiful new book entitled, The Reckless Love of God.  

In my conversation with Alex, we discuss why so many of us struggle to believe God truly loves us, some things that make our hearts grow cold to God’s love, and how a tragic season of trial lead Alex to a deeper understanding of God’s love for him. 

To have new episodes downloaded directly to your device, subscribe to In The Room on iTunes. 

Connect with Alex on Twitter.

Buy “The Reckless Love of God” on

In The Room Ep.41: Bob Pritchett

This week, I’m in the room with Bob Pritchett. Bob is probably best known for co-founding Logos Research Systems, a Bible Study software that I and many others use on a weekly basis. Bob currently serves as the CEO of the Faithlife Corporation and has authored two books: Fire Someone Today and Start Next Now. 

In my conversation with Bob, we discuss the story of Logos, how leaders shape the culture of the organizations they lead, and how he stays interested in what he’s leading after all these years. 

As always, you can have new episodes of In The Room delivered directly to your device by subscribing on iTunes. If you've enjoyed this episode, I'd be honored if you shared with someone else and left us a review.

Here are links to all the resources mentioned in Ep 41:

Buy “Fire Someone Today”:

Find more information on FaithLife:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

The Innovators Dilemma:

The Innovators Solution:

Becoming Steve Jobs:

Creativity, Inc:

Legacies of Great Economists:

Encountering Jesus Part 1: The Fruit of Forgiveness

Have you encountered the forgiveness of Jesus?

If so, it will bear specific fruit in your life. Where there is no fruit, there's been no forgiveness. In this weeks sermon, we explore the fruit the forgiveness of Jesus produces in us and most importantly, HOW we receive it. 

Learning To Love Monday

Most people hate Mondays. 

Pastors and ministry leaders in particular, experience a unique let down on this “day after THE day." We pour blood, sweat, and prayers into our Sunday worship services and wake up Monday with little in the tank. It’s so bad, in fact, that Barna reports 15% of pastors contemplate leaving ministry every Monday morning.  

I’m certainly not impervious to it. I’ve woken up wanting a different job on more than a few Mondays.


I think two of the reasons we hate Mondays so much are that we know we’re supposed to (pastors love to commiserate about how hard Mondays are) and because we’re not intentional about how we spend this critical first day of the week. Personally, I’m tired of hating Monday, so I’m currently experimenting with better rhythms that are having a huge impact on how I start the week. Here are four practices that are helping me learn to love Monday:

Soak in God's Word.

We all know we should be in the Word daily - not just for the next sermon, but for the good of our own souls. Yet, even with this conviction, I still miss days, don’t you? Regardless, I’m working hard to NEVER miss Monday. I need to be refreshed by God’s Word, renewed by God’s Spirit, and re-energized by God’s Son and the reality of all He is and has done for me. I take my time. I read slowly. I reflect deeply. Don’t start Monday without soaking in God’s Word.

Sweat in the sun.

Most Monday mornings I feel like drinking coffee and eating scones on the couch until nap time. What I rarely feel like is exercise (unless you count the reps of bringing my coffee and scones to my face). As is often the case, what I feel like and what is good for me are two very different things. A good workout that gets my heart rate up has a way of washing away the post-weekend funk. Furthermore, I try to ensure I get outside in the sun for this. The combination of exercise and fresh air resets my body and refocuses my mind. So, take a walk, go for a run, find a nice place to hike - just get in the sun and work up a sweat. 

Schedule carefully.

We all have parts of our ministry responsibilities that fill our tanks and parts that drain them. On Mondays I schedule the things that fill my tank. For me that means I don’t take many (if any meetings). I’m an outgoing introvert (which means I’m introverted but I’m not shy). I love spending time with people, but I also find that it takes more out of me than it puts in. You may be the opposite. My advice, schedule what fills your tank and avoid what doesn’t. 

Start on next Sunday.

One of the mistakes people make with fitness is avoiding exercise when they're sore. Unfortunately, it’s exercise that makes your blood pump and your muscles loosen up. Ministry is the same. Many of us start Monday spiritually, emotionally, and mentally sore. One thing that helps me is jumping right back in and getting back to work. For me, that means starting my next sermon. Inevitably I’m impacted by the text and by the end of the day, I’m excited about another opportunity to tell people about Jesus yet again.

Sometimes Monday sucks. Sometimes just getting through it is success. Even though that’s going to happen, it doesn’t have to be normative. Let’s bring more intentionally to this important day, find what fills our tanks and learn to love Mondays together.

How To Stay Friends In Ministry

I have 30 years of friendship between Scott (middle) and Tyler (left). 

I have 30 years of friendship between Scott (middle) and Tyler (left). 

I once heard a prominent ministry leader parrot something from the platform that bothered me:

"You can’t plant a church with your friends." 

He had a long list of reasons, many of which were rich with wisdom and right on point. Despite that fact, the sentence bothered me.

It bothered me then, because I was doing just that. Tami and I planted Redemption with our closest friends. It bothers me now because I think he was wrong. Not only CAN you plant a church with your friends, I believe more people SHOULD.

As someone who is seven years into church planting with two of my best friends (both of which are now on our paid staff), I think there is a better way to state the intended warning, while not throwing out the baby with the proverbial bath water. What I would say is:

Ministry has marred many friendships.

I don’t believe that means friends should not partner in gospel-ministry together, but I do believe we need to be sober-minded and labor to stay friends at the outset. Here are five things that have been key (albeit painful, at times) to seeing our friendships thrive on our staff...

1. Pray with and for one another.

Prayer with and for someone has a curious way of uniting your heart with theirs. It’s hard to be too put off with someone you’re praying with and for. When something that someone has said, or done is bothering you, pray for them. You may just find that God changes you more than them. 

2. Speak candidly when something is bothering you. 

Sin happens. Friends will sin against you and you will sin against your friends. This is when you need candid conversation. In my experience, it’s the words we leave unspoken that do more damage than the ones we do. Don’t be a jerk, but don’t be a coward either. After careful thought and prayer, say what’s on your mind.

3. Forgive when you inevitably sin against one another. 

It’s not enough to talk about sin, there needs to be regular repentance and forgiveness. When you harbor hurt, it degenerates into bitterness, and bitterness dishonors God and destroys the carrier. There is no longterm friendship without an immense amount of forgiveness. What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go of and forgive?

4. Be friends first and then co-laborers.

I’ve made the mistake of putting the friendship on the back burner in the name of ministry. Sometimes ministry has to take priority, but do this for too long, and it’s only a matter of time before there’s no friendship to protect. The health of the friendship directly informs the health of the ministry. Have fun. Hang out. Eat food. Play. Laugh. Live all of life together, not just ministry.

5. Accept them for who they are, not who you hope they’ll become.

We labor in ministry to see lives changed and eternities altered. One liability I’ve noticed in my own heart, however, is that I can love people more for who they’re becoming than who they are. That’s not how Jesus loves us and not how we should love others. We all need to grow and change, but if friendship is contingent on a set of behavior conditions, it’s really not friendship shaped by the gospel.

If you do the work of ministry with friends it will be hard, but it will also be more fulfilling, more rich and more meaningful. Should God allow, I highly recommend you jump into ministry with your friends.

I know I'm not the only one doing the work of ministry with friends. If you are, or have done it too, what are some best practices you've learned? Share your thoughts here.

In The Room Ep. 40: Kelly O’Dell Stanley

On this final episode of the summer, I’m in the room with artist and author Kelly O’Dell Stanley, who’s written a new book on prayer entitled “Praying Upside Down”.

In my conversation with Kelly, we discuss the pros and cons of growing up in various denominations within the church, the roll of creativity in prayer, and what it means to pray upside down.

Subscribe to In The Room on iTunes and get weekly episodes downloaded directly to your device! 

Buy “Praying Upside Down” on

Read Kelly’s Blog

Follow Kelly on Twitter

The book recommended by Kelly during the episode: "Found" by Micha Boyett