Before I talk more about Kidz 4 Christ, I wanted to bring up something that’s been on my heart for a couple months now. Whether it’s been in person or social media, I’ve either been part of or listened to some discussions about various church views – and all of these discussions have left a bad taste in my mouth. So I’m gonna lighten things up with a joke first. This is from my favorite comedian, Emo Phillips:
Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
So why am I so uptight about excellence? You may not realize it because I work extremely hard to temper my expectations of others, but I am passionate about excellence especially in the body of Christ. Lots of people over the years have simply said “Tom’s just a perfectionist, OCD, or just plain anal about details”. While I realize I often come across this way, that’s not why I struggle to accept mediocrity. That word “mediocrity” was a perfect example. At first I spelled it wrong, but I took the few minutes needed to go dictionary.com and figure out the appropriate spelling. OCD? No. I spelled it correctly because I feel it’s important to be as competent as I can be. I could have let it slide, but for me it’s a slippery slope of accepting lazy behaviors if I start letting little things slide. When it comes to my service to the body of Christ, He deserves better from me. One of the scriptures that’s shaped my attitudes over the years goes like this:
Luke 14: Figure the Cost Read More
The last couple weeks I’ve shared how I became a Children’s Pastor at The Scruffy Church. I’ve shared how God’s plan had been in motion since I was 15 years old, though it was a good 10 years later before I realized it. I’ve shared how God used several people in my life to get me to this point, how they’ve bettered my life in so many ways and how I’ve affected some of theirs. At the end of last week, I also shared that it was not an easy decision for me to accept the Pastor role.
What I didn’t share with you was the type of person I was as I grew from a teenager to a young adult. No, I am not going to share all my dirty little secrets and bad behaviors with you. Sorry! But I will say that as a teenager and young adult, I was definitely not future pastor material. I don’t think that I had done anything heinous or victimized anyone in anyway, but much of my behavior and actions were definitely not Christ-like. Because of that, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that God had a plan for me since I was born which He put into motion when I was 15 years old.
Every so often I like to use the Scruffy Blog to tell you a little about the people that keep Scruffy doing what we do. So let me introduce to you to Chris Washburn. Some say Chris needs no introductions because once you meet him, you will never forget him. Could it be his tats? Or maybe his gauged ear lobes or nose ring? Some people believe those are the things that makes Chris “cool”, but I’m here to tell you there’s a lot more to Chris, a whole lot more. Read More
Last week I talked about my journey in becoming a Children’s Pastor. The short version involves Marlena and me finding a church, then me getting involved in children’s ministry as I’ve always been good with kids, being mentored and completing bible school and then moving into the Children’s Pastor role so that Pastor Steve could fill other areas of need. However, this version does not give God his due credit.
When I was in high school, I joined the newly formed drama club and had a part in our production of Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I didn’t realize it at the time, and I didn’t even realize it until after becoming a part of The Scruffy Church, but this one decision directly affected every aspect of my employment from that point forward, every aspect of my romantic relationships, including my marriage and fatherhood, and it caused the existence of most of my closest friendships.
I’ve been pondering the term “first world problems” a lot lately, mostly because so many people banter about it on Facebook and Twitter. When they do, they are usually trying to make some point about how your problems aren’t really very serious compared to those who are starving and suffering all over the world. When they post these little quips, it has the effect of making you feel like you are a selfish jerk for daring to complain about whatever isn’t going so well in your life. So I am going to go on record today and say that this treatment is neither sensible, fair nor just. Read More
I have been asked this question many, many times. Specifically with Facebook, which has put me in touch with many long lost friends and acquaintances, when a conversation got to that point or a view of my profile pointed it out, the question would often come up. The answer is not easy or short, which is why this post is going to be a two or three parter.
First I will start with a disclaimer. My journey includes a lot of people I call friends and it starts in my teen years. While my actual extended family is actually pretty large, I don’t see most of them at all. So growing up my friends were my family. God used many of them to get me to where I am now. God opened my eyes to this fact one night while I was praying.
Every so often I like to use the Scruffy Blog to tell you a little about the people that keep Scruffy doing what we do. So we have this kinda strange dude who also goes by the name Tom, but since we have two Pastors named Tom at Scruffy, I sometimes call him Raul. Anyway, I was thinking of one word to describe Tom. That’s a tough one, but the best word I can think of is “Groovy”. Yeah, Tom is kind of a throwback to the 70’s when Baretta was our favorite cop, we loved to hate JR, and Ponch and John came on right before The Love Boat which came on just before Fantasy Island. Remember those days? If I had to guess, (and it’s only a guess), if Tom has a favorite character in The Love Boat it’s probably Issac because he uses the phrase “out of sight”. Tom is quite “out of sight” but not just because he still watches reruns of Dallas. He’s “out of sight” because he’s mostly tucked away back in Kid’s Church on Sundays serving as Scruffy’s Kidz4Christ pastor. Kids pastors often go unrecognized by people in the church who don’t have kids, so let me tell you a little about Raul…er…Pastor Tom Frontera. Read More
I am new to the whole blog thing so I thought I might start this blog series by introducing myself, my name is Chris and I’m an elder here at the scruffy church and I play the drums in the worship team. I have been married for 15 years to Kelly and have 2 kids Kyle (19) and Connor (12). I was in the Marine Corps, lived in Hollywood, got in a motorcycle crash, came home, started school, earned 2 degrees. I’ve been at The Scruffy Church for over 10 years.
That is the readers digest version of my life so far. Oh and I love God completely! Read More
Going with last week’s topic of Kids and Communion and also having 3 children dedicated a couple weeks ago, this week I’d like to talk about kids and baptism. If you were not present for the dedication, children’s participation in both dedication and baptism may be a bit confusing. Read More