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    Part comedian, part teacher, and part pastor, Dugan is a traveling speaker who loves to speak at a variety of events. If you're interested in finding someone to speak at your next retreat, conference, ministry night or leader training, you're at the right place! Dugan has experience speaking to students, adults, men, kids, and more! Whether you're looking for something powerful and moving, or light and comedic, Dugan offers both (as well as everything in between)! Check out Dugan's newest book "Never Alone" and shoot him an email 72,69,82,69,46.EREH

Do What I Say, Not What I Do…And Also Sometimes Not What I Say

The other day Eva and I were watching Frozen (of course) in the living room and after seeing Olaf take off running in a comedic way, Eva whipped her head around at me, said “Abba! Come on!”, and started to energetically run out of the room. Before even thinking about it, I found myself saying: “Eva, honey, no we gotta stay in the living room.”

She turned around and looked at me. “Come one, abba!” she said again.

And all of a sudden I thought:  Why the heck do we have to stay here? Just because I don’t want to get up? 

I got off the couch and walked over to my girl. I took her head in my hands and told her I was so sorry. From her experience of apologizing to Linds and I in the past for hitting us or throwing her juice after we told her not to, she knew what to say: “It’s okay, abba!” She then took off running with me enthusiastically following behind her.  

She’s only 2 and doesn’t fully grasp the idea of being told sorry and offering forgiveness, and me not wanting to get up to run might not seem like a big deal (nor is it even close to the only thing I’ve needed to apologize to her for), but I made a decision a long time ago that I never want to shy away from apologizing to my kids when I do something wrong, or even unintentionally hurt them.

I want to be the kind of parent that readily admits when I’m wrong and readily asks for forgiveness from my kids. I’m often tempted to think that it might be counterproductive and appear weak by doing so, but I think it takes a greater strength to humble myself and demonstrate for them the life-long need to be honest when I get it wrong.

A mentor of mine once told me one of his parenting rules, which was: If, after asking one of his kids to do something, he couldn’t answer them asking “why” with a healthy, appropriate answer, then they didn’t have to do it. He couldn’t ever use “because I said so” since most of the time he would say that, the thing he was asking them to do was because he didn’t want to do it himself or it wasn’t even worth doing.

So taking the garbage out was to serve the family and learn the importance of maintaining a home. Helping build the deck was to learn construction and home repair. Putting the phones down at dinner was to practice healthy boundaries and engaging in conversation.

But not getting off the couch to play with my daughter, was just me being lazy and dumb.

I’m new at parenting so I could be way off, but I know I want my kids to never be afraid to apologize, because I never was.

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Jesus Surfs Without a Board

I think the Bible is a lot less dramatic that we sometimes think.

I’m not sure if it’s the old school King James,  Charlton Heston, or something else but accounts from Scripture are so often presented and read in an overly-serious, over-dramatic (and probably slo-motion) kind of way. We picture everybody with these stern looks on their faces as they talk and even crazy displays of God’s power are met with chiseled, frowning faces, as if to make it clear that this is no surprise to them.

But the more I read the Bible, the more it seems like most accounts are just about normal people like us trying to follow and experience the same God.

At church yesterday, the pastor read the account of Jesus walking on water from Mark 6.

Dramatic right?

The disciples are in their boat as the storm rages and the angry seas crashed. It’s dark and loud and confusing. And then out of the mist comes a shadowy figure in a tan-colored robe, walking across the water with that same stern look on His face and stealy resolve in his eyes.

Or maybe not?

After reading the story again, it seems like it was probably a lot less dramatic than I used to think.

Here it is:

Jesus Walks on Water

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him.

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. – Mark 6:45-51 (NLT)

It’s obviously a pretty incredible story, but a few totally non-dramatic things stuck out to me.

Verse 48 says that Jesus intended to go past them. Haha, what?! Instead of this super dramatic moment, maybe Jesus was just being practical about getting to the other side of the lake! I know He’s God and all, but it’s funny to imagine that He was just walking to meet up with His disciples on the other side of the lake, He then sees that they’re in a boat and was like: “Wow, I can’t believe I caught them…I figured they would have made it by now. Oh well, I’ll just meet them there.” And proceeds to keep walking.

The only reason He didn’t pass by them was because they saw it was Him. So then in verse 50 He’s like: “Hey, guys! Don’t freak out, it’s just me!” (my words, not His)

This same account written by Matthew goes into more detail about Peter stepping out onto the water to join Jesus and John’s version says that once Jesus stepped into the boat, they were immediately at their destination (Jesus must have been making up time for not being able to just walk there on His own).


Bo Boshers, who’s like a student ministries guru, talks a lot about the “Be With Factor” when it comes to discipling students. Essentially this means that discpling students doesn’t have to be some dramatic, overly-serious, produced thing. Instead, one of the most powerful forms of discipleship is simply being with students in every day life. Just doing life together.

Pouring into a student could involve inviting them to run errands with you, hanging at the mall to buy their brother a birthday gift, having them over for a causal, chaotic dinner with you and your kids, watching a game or awards show together, or much more.

Students respond much more to a relational investment than some dramatic form of attempted discipleship like breaking down the Livitical Law or trying to read a Dallas Willard book in less than 6 months. Not that there’s anything wrong with those things for students who are ready, but just like Jesus seems to do when simply trying to get across a lake, we can make teachable moments by simply taking advantage and being open to the Holy Spirit in normal, everyday life while we hang out with students.

And if nothing else, student ministries makes it possible to call things like playing video games, going out for ice cream, or seeing The Hunger Games “ministry”! (that’s why all senior pastors are secretly super jealous of student ministry leaders..!)

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Friday Five #14

Welcome to the Friday Five! This week consists entirely of funny videos, so, if you have exactly 21 minutes and 2 seconds, enjoy these 5 videos that will hopefully make you laugh!


1). Louis CK’s Opening Monologue for SNL. Louis CK is easily one of my favorite standup comics. He seems so authentic with his comedy, like he’s just having a casual conversation with the audience about things that he makes very funny. At times I wish he wasn’t so crude in his content, but he’s still pretty gol darn hilarious. His performance on SNL was good but his opening monologue was outstanding. Enjoy.

2). Controversial Target Ad Model on Ellen. This is just plain brilliant in so many ways. I don’t watch Ellen but every time I see a segment from her show, (or when she hosts an awards show) I love what I see. I really like her sincere and humorous approach to everything she does. This was such a fun and smart way to make people laugh about a hot button issue while also bringing it to people’s attention in a nonthreatening way without an agenda .

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3). SNL Jos. A. Bank Commercial. This caught me off guard and made me literally laugh out loud (llol). Mostly because it’s true!

4). The Record Collector. I do have records and gladly put myself in that hipster category, but in the vein of Portlandia, this video made me laugh a lot. I wonder when cassette tapes are going to become cool and vintage?

5).Tig Notary on Conan. Tig is easily one of my favorite comedians. Arguably the best standup performance I’ve ever heard was one she did the day she found out she had cancer. In fact, Louis CK was in the audience that day and was so impacted by her performance (which she essentially ad-libbed since she didn’t feel up for doing her normal routine), that he sold it on his website with some of the proceeds going towards helping cancer research. Check out the story HERE and if you want to buy the audio (which I highly recommend), you can HERE. Here’s her latest performance from Conan this past week.

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Awana Bucks

For those of you who were ever apart of Awana, you remember Awana Bucks well. For those of you who were not, first of all I pity you, and second of all, Awana Bucks were pieces of paper “money” that each kid like me could earn through things like good behavior, winning at games, and most importantly: memorizing Bible verses.

Each week we’d receive Awana Bucks for verses memorized and sometimes there would even be some big challenge over the course of a few weeks or months that could result in a kid’s version of winning the Awana lottery. These bucks were then exchanged for things like candy, candy, and especially candy. They might have had other prizes to buy, but why would an eight year old boy buy anything but candy when given the chance?


Ever since Awana (which by the way, I totally loved as a kid and have nothing but great things to say about) the whole idea of memorizing Bible verses has been something I’ve been aware of and in support of. But I found myself always approaching memorization like some kind of spiritual chore. I’d memorize by reading verses over and over again, or  compiling a stack of flash cards, or closing my eyes and repeating phrases over and over again, or some combination of all three.

I remember learning about young Jewish boys during Jesus’ time who would go to school and work towards memorizing the entire Torah (first five books of the Bible), which I was amazed by! They must have spent so much time studying and devoting their minds and eyes and ears to the Bible until they had the whole thing committed to memory. I can’t even remember a shopping list that’s more than two items long!


Last night I was reading my daughter a book, “The Good Humor Man” for probably about the 50th time (seriously). It’s a fun little story that looks like it was first published in the 80’s about the jolly ice cream man selling Good Humor goodies from his little white Good Humor Truck (product placement, much?) that he drives around giving out delicious frozen treats to all the kids, parents, grandma’s, and dogs of a small town, followed by his return to Fun Valley (where ice cream is made and the little white trucks live…duh).

Eve has probably heard this book well over 100 times. And last night as I was reading (and she cycled between walking around her room, climbing on me, and sitting next to me to see the pictures), I noticed something amazing. She had most of the book totally memorized! There were whole sections and pages where she would be saying the same words that I was reading, right along with me.

It was pretty impressive. My two year old daughter, who can’t tie a shoe or understand the difference between “please don’t throw your macaroni” and “please rain pasta all over the kitchen” had memorized something!


As I said goodnight and left her room that night, it just struck me that maybe the true nature of memorizing the Bible isn’t necessarily sitting down and go through a bunch of difficult tactics in order to commit it to memory (although I believe that has it’s place). Maybe memorizing the Bible is much more about just experiencing it so much that we can’t help but have it implanted into our brains.

Ever hear a song so much that you all of a sudden realize you can sing along with it, without ever having sat down to read the lyrics or print them out on flash cards? For those of you, like me, who have seen Frozen a thousand times and listened to the soundtrack when the movie isn’t playing, you get what it’s like to be singing along with something word-for-word that you didn’t even know you knew. It was just the process of hearing something so much that your brain naturally absorbed it.

When it comes to the Bible, the verses I can recite from memory are those which I’ve just naturally read or talked about a lot. No flash cards, no clenched eyes while I loudly repeat them until I can remember them and their chapter/verse reference. Just the natural absorbtion into my memory based on frequent use. Eva memorized her book simply because it was a natural, daily part of her life.

And I could be wrong, but I think that might be the way God wants us to remember His Word.


Maybe the discipline of memorizing Scripture is less about the effort it could take, and more about knowing God. Just like knowing the phone number of our spouse by heart or knowing all the lyrics to “Let it Go” because you have a 2 year old daughter…okay fine, I’ll admit I like the movie too! You happy?!

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Friday Five #13

Happy Spring Friday, everyone! Hope you enjoy this week’s FF selections!


1). Some Good Ol’ 90’s Rap. For those of you who grew up in the 90’s, you can’t help but feel a sense of joy and nostalgia when hearing the words: “90s” and “rap” put together in a sentence. To add some even more euphoria, what if I also threw in the term: “Space Jam”?! For those of you who had the soundtrack, which is in the top 3 movie soundtracks of all time along with The Matrix and Ocean’s 11, here’s the music video to track 5, the Monstars rap (also the first song I memorized and am still able to sing word-for-word to this day). This is brought you by Sonza, which is by far, my favorite music app on my phone (yes, even more than Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, TuneIn or Beats). Check it out:

2). The Best Moments with Fred Armisen on Late Night. I’m usually not able to stay away late enough to catch Seth Meyer’s late night show, which is unfortunate because I love that Fred Armisen is his band leader. Fortunately, IFC compiled the top 5 moments of Fred’s and hilarity ensues. Enjoy all five here: http://www.ifc.com/shows/portlandia/blog/2014/03/5-fred-armisen-late-night-with-seth-meyers and I’ll also include my favorite below (just wait for the slogan…):

3). The Making of Frozen Intro Video. Being the father of a girl, it’s no surprise that we made a trip last week to purchase the DVD of Frozen, a movie whose soundtrack I have 99% memorized. One of the best parts of the DVD is the musical intro to the making of elements. I’m sure they’ll be a better quality video released soon, but for now, here’s what I found:

And now, two interesting things about SNL:


4). 10 Famous People Who Rejected SNL. Some of these really surprised me that they rejected an offer from Saturday Night Live (#2/#8), and some of these really surprised me that they were even offered (#4/#6)!

5). 32 Famous People Rejected by SNL. I’m so offended that #1 and #2 were rejected, but I suppose since they became huge comedy stars, I can get over it.

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