Well, this weekend was full. I wanted to share some pics that tell how the weekend went outside of church.
Here is Nathan at lunch on Sunday. He fell asleep at the table after eating an orange and some bread. You don't know how many times I've wanted to do just this. How much trouble would I get in if I fell asleep at the dinner table?
The top dog is Sticky (our dog). She decided to sit on the edge of our pool when we had it set up inside. I don't know why she liked it, but as you can see, she was enjoying herself.
The other dog is Baxter. We watched him for a friend this weekend. He was a great dog to have, brought us much needed laughter this weekend.
Another picture of Nathan... Here he is trying to fill up his pool with water. He knows enough to know that you have to put the hose in the pool to fill it up. Thankfully, he has not figured out how to turn the nozzle yet.
These are the types of things that help me forget about the "drama" that is my current ministry.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Well, this weekend was full. I wanted to share some pics that tell how the weekend went outside of church.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Yesterday, the entire congregation found out that we were asked to leave our ministry. What a day it was... (I am still pretty unsettled by things that have been said and done).
I had a talk with some of the elders before SS. Not the way I wanted to start my day, but it was inevitable. It was one of those talks where you leave the room the same way you left, with the same feelings and with not much changing. The basis of our discussion was on what was going to be said about our being asked to leave. Not much to say.
All throughout my Sunday School class it was just weird. Now that they know we are leaving, it is going to be that much more difficult to teach them. But overall, it was a good class.
We told the kids during Jr. Church. They were upset. Didn't know what to expect from them and got a lot more verbal response than from the ms/hs. So, with that group told we headed up to the service. Yeah, we weren't looking forward to this.
We stopped and prayed again before we went in. We got in part way through the sermon, so we wanted to sit down quietly without much distraction. It is def. getting more and more difficult to listen to a sermon and take something from it. So after the invitation, offering and a few announcements - we were up. One of the elders read a statement explaining some things and then I got up to read our statement.
I was not sure what to say/do. I read a motified version of what I had originally written. Not an easy thing to do. Amy said she had to tell some people behind her to allow me to speak. (They were "voicing" some opinions about us being fired, as in not wanting us to go) So after I read my letter and started to walk back to my seat, some people began to stand. They stood and clapped for Amy and myself and our ministry here at WCC. It was touching to see the support we have here.
Got to talk to a lot of people after the service. Some of them I had not met before, some I had only met a few times and others I have known for 4 years. It was actually quite interesting to see the support from people who are fairly new to our congregation. People expressed concern about the situation and assured us that they did not agree with us being asked to leave.
Not that we want to have people on our side - it is just nice to know we are not alone.
We are glad to be on this side of it. Now we are less than a month away from our exit (seems like forever ago we were told). It is going to be a long 3 months (dont' think i want to do it that way again).
Yesterday had at least one bright spot: the youth put together a surprise party for Amy for her birthday (which was Friday, see posts about me being a bad husband). It was encouraging to see the support and love from them (the ones we are here to minister to).
As we do enter the last month of our stay at this church, we know it has the potential to become even more difficult to be here. I ask for prayer. thanks.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Today is my wife's birthday. Happy birthday Amy!
Though I haven't thought of any great idea, I did take the day off. We have had a great day just spending time together as a family. And tonight we are getting to go on a date (without Nathan). Ah, I hope we remember what's its like without a child with us. :)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
on such a bad night.
Last week, I posted about one student making a comment about the new faces in our class. Well, last night we had 2 brand new faces at class and a few that haven't been in a while. And what a night to come to a new youth group. What better timing than to show up for the first time the night that the youth minister announces he is leaving? I felt for them, knowing they felt awkward.
But one cool thing did happen. Part way through the night, one of the visitors asked what kinds of things had happened in the past to make it so hard for this news to be talked about. I was touched that she was able to see the connection between the youth and my family. She noticed something that the elders don't see.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tonight was one of the hardest nights. Tonight was the night we told the youth that we are leaving our ministry. (actually asked to leave - not because of something I'd done)
We've know for 2 months that we were on our way out. So it has been tough to keep up the ministry and be honest with the teens about the future without telling them. There were a variety of responses we got from them. Some cried, some just sat there, others got up and left. Though no one asked a question, we know they are out there. We did get a few after class, so we know they are thinking through what is going on.
Now, we just wait and see how the next month goes.
I will post more later about details, but I wanted to write this (now that I can). This has been a burden on my heart and a stress for my family for two months and we are not even sure the hardest part is over.
Time to get some sleep - its back to the office tomorrow. :)
I am currently able to minister to all kids from birth to high school. This month the elementary and toddlers are talking about David and Goliath. Learning how they can make a big difference even though they are "small". I wanted to do something to show what they would look like compared to a 9 foot man. The best I could find was to take a picture and raster it and make it 8 feet tall. So this week, the younger elementary got to color each page and then we put them up on the wall. Here is how it turned out, rather cool if you ask me:
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
So, I am feeling a little overwhelmed with stuff going on at church. I say that because I have neglected to make it a point to make my wife's birthday special. Now, its not until Friday - so I still have a chance. It's just that I was not even thinking about taking the day off to spend it with her. How sad is that? I can take almost any day off I want and I don't even think about taking this special day off.
Hopefully, I will think of something to make it special. I would welcome any suggestions or thoughts on how to make up for the "almost screwed up" birthday.
Help a brother out....
Monday, August 22, 2005
Yesterday, we went to Jeremy's birthday party. Jeremy turned 8 yesterday. He is one of the kids involved in our ministry. It was a good party. Over the past week I had seen/read a lot about peopel spending an enormous amount of money on their kids' parties. I think that is a big waste. And after yesterday I am convinvced even more that you don't need to spend a lot of money for your children to enjoy their birthday.
This brings me hope for when Nathan (my 16 month old) begins to want lots of stuff for his party. I will just need to show him that you can have fun without all the spending of money :)
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I would like to ask for prayer from anyone who might be reading this blog. There are a lot of changes taking place in my little world and some decisions will be coming up.
If you are curious as to more details, they'll be coming in about a week and a half. Thanks
Last night was a good night. We have been having a strange assortment of teens at our Wed. night service lately. We have some deep Christians, some people who could care less about God. We have skaters, cheerleaders, and a slew of others.
Last night, one of the teens (who hasn't been to class in a few weeks) came up to me before class and asked "What's up with all the new people?" I responded with "I don't know what you mean." and said it was good to have new people he didn't know. Not too much more was said.
I think it is cool that we have been having that many new people coming.
How do you respond to the question?
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Last night we had our annual "beginning of school year" cookout for the middle school. It was a great night. Its always fun to watch the interaction and connecting that takes place when you get teens together in your house for no reason but to eat :)
The funniest part of the evening came at the beginning. Before we were supposed to start, it began to look like it would rain. So being the thoughtful youth minister I am, I thought I would start the burgers and dogs early and finish before the rain hit. Oh, boy was I wrong. I did not even get all the burgers on the grill before it started to rain. But I knew it wasn't going to rain hard or for that long. So I started grilling and went inside. Well, it started raining a little harder, so I had to start using an umbrella to protect the grill from all the rain. I was doing pretty good. Then it happened...downpour. It was so bad that I had to ask one of the teens to come hold the umbrella for me so that I could get the burgers off the grill and into the house. I got wet (even to have to change), but he got soaked. I think when he left 2 hours later he was still wet. It was so crazy. (not to mention the fact it stopped raining just minutes after we got inside).
Another great story to use during some lesson.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The other day I was reading John 11 where Lazarus dies. I began to talk to God about my faith. What would I have said to Jesus? What would I have been thinking/feeling?
In the story, Lazarus becomes sick and Jesus finds out, but He does nothing. In fact, Jesus waits for 4 days before going to see him. When Jesus arrives, both Mary and Martha (Lazarus’ sisters) tell Jesus that if He had been there their brother would still be alive. Jesus says that He is glad He was not there, so that through the raising of Lazarus the people would believe.
How many times have I said “if only…” or “oh great, now its too late.” Jesus could have healed Lazarus without even going to see him (see John 4). Mary and Martha knew that Jesus could do miraculous things, but they were not confident once the events seemed final. I think I am quick to want God to fix things or work in my life before the “end” comes. Maybe the “end” is a divorce in your family, death of a loved one, losing a job, not being able to pay a bill, having students graduate without accepting Jesus as Savior.
In my life, I want God to work before things get real hard. I sometimes think that if I have faith then I won’t have to go through the tough situation. Well, you know what – it does not always work that way.
As we see in the resurrection of Lazarus, God knows the best timing. He knows the answer before we even know we have a problem. Who am I to request of God an answer before I am ready for it.
Maybe, just maybe, we all need to experience the “end” before we truly appreciate the “afterward.”
Monday, August 15, 2005
This past week, I went with my family to Tybee Island, GA. During our trip we visited the lighthouse (one of GA's oldest). During our trip, Amy noticed the light bulb they used to light the lighthouse - 1,000 watts. (Try putting that in the bathroom light and see what you really look like). The information said that this lighthouse could be seen 18 miles away.
As we were talking, I began to think about the comparisons between lighthouses and followers of Jesus...
(Allow me to share a few quick thoughts)
light house vs follower of Jesus
light source: 1,000 watt bulb vs. Jesus Christ
way to get light out: mirrors vs. our life
distance: seen 18 miles away vs. seen by those around us
effect: guides ships safely to shore vs. guides people safely to God
most effective: in the dark vs. in the dark/lost world
guarantee?: not if the light bulb breaks vs. not unless we are truly living for God
Each of us has a chance to be a lighthouse. We have opportunities every day to reflect the light of Jesus to the lost. Maybe it happens at school, at work, in your neighborhood or the store. One other quick note about lighthouses that I think we need to be reminded of - they never know how is out in the ocean looking for a way home. We never know how is searching for God and is looking for a way to find Him - therefore we should never take an off day.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
This morning, around midnight, my brother and sister got to the house. They will be here for a week. We live over 8 hours apart, so when we get to be together it is a great time. I am excited about having them in town. We are going to go the beach and enjoy some sand and sun (something I don't get to do on a normal basis).
On the topic of family, I wanted to share a few pics from recent days.
You will notice that each picture has Nathan in it. Amy is trying to get as much one on one time with him before the baby is born.
I'm not sure why I like this picture (obviously that's me on the floor being sat on) but I do. Nathan is really starting to like to wrestle and I'm not sure there is anything better than wrestling with your son.
We just like this picture because the shirt makes us laugh. Who first came up with the idea of having a t-shirt look like a uniform :) (they need to be commended)
Monday, August 08, 2005
This weekend was very refreshing. It was not without its memorable moments, some good and some bad. I'm not sure what I expected from Promise Keepers, but I know what I took away.
5 things that I will remember:
1. Reggie Dabbs (emcee for the weekend) told a story about something that happened at a recent conference. He said he was talking to this man and the man called his wife and asked Reggie to tell her that he (the husband) loved her. Reggie did and also asked the wife if the husband could come home (I guess he hadn't been home for awhile). The best part was that Reggie said the wife said "yes." God was working in the man's life and was allowing his wife to do the same.
2. Seeing all the men come forward to make a commitment to changing their lives to be better husbands, dads, workers... It is a great site to see men accept God's call on their life.
3. It was cool to see the boys singing and participating with the older men.
4. Along those same lines... it was awesome to watch a few older men (grandpas?) up front on the floor singing and dancing with the younger men.
5. I was convicted that I have not been the best leader in my home. I want to be a better leader for my family.
I'll take away a midnight dinner at Chili's. Now, that is fun (get to see a different side of men at midnight in a restaurant). I was able to laugh a lot and build on my relationships with other men. God used the two days to refresh my soul and recharge my batteries.
Plus I got PK wristband (oh, I mean commemmoritive wristband celebrating their 15th year)
Friday, August 05, 2005
This weekend and some next week, I am going to be getting some time away from work. This weekend I am going to be going to a Promise Keepers conference in Charleston. I have not been to a PK conference in over 10 years. I am excited about the chance to be at a conference and not be "in charge" and thus having no responsibility.
Next week, my brother and sister are coming in town for a few days. This is something we look forward to, since we live 8 hours away from each other. We are planning on going to the beach for a few days, too. Again another chance to relax and refresh.
I think it is so sad that we (as youth ministers) do not take enough time away. In order to be as effective as we can in ministry we have to take care of our own spiritual walk. It is times like this upcoming week when I have to step back and ask myself who is taking care of my relationship with Christ. It has to be me.
If you have not taken a break in a while - go take one. Even if its just for an hour or so today.
Take some time away and allow God to speak to you and refresh you.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Today has been a long day at the house. For more, check out "yet another first" on our family blog for more info on the start of our day.
As I sit at the end of the day, I look back on everything that happens in a day and I am amazed at all my wife does. She never stops supporting and encouraging me in my ministry. Even though she has so much going on in her own life, she never stops loving me and being patient with me.
I just thought I would make a "blog note" saying I have a wonderful wife. Best wife this side of the Mississippi :)
Monday, August 01, 2005
Yesterday was a first for me. Over the years, I have done many videos that get shown in church to let people get a taste of a certain event. Yesterday, we showed a video about our week at CIY. During CIY we had 1 baptism and 1 rebaptism. At the end of the video I put in the video of the baptisms and a little about them.
As I sat in the back of the auditorium watching the video, I began to hear this clapping. It was so cool! People were celebrating the baptisms even though they took place almost 3 weeks ago and they were watching them on a video. It was very encouraging to see the support and hear the excitement over a changed life.