Friday, December 29, 2006

Reasons I don't like this week...

between Christmas and New Years.

First, Sunday school lesson.
Second, I am preaching. Which I love doing, it just didn't get started as early as I would have liked. So this week is full.
Third, New Year's party. Planning and lack of sleep :)
Fourth, 3 official office days. Therefore I'll be in for a bit tomorrow.

Now could some of this been avoided. Sure. What other things were happening in previous weeks that kept me from doing as much work beforehand as I wanted to.

I did love having some family visit this week. Great to see them and spend time with them. This meant I was home a few more hours than normal during work days. Always love that. And mostly, I have loved this week because I've been able to live it. I am trying to really make an effort to live out the fact that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

see you next year (maybe before)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

top 10 New Year's Resolutions

This year I am going to make a list that I can keep. If you want, you can take my list and make it your own. But if you don't keep them all then I can't be held responsible.

See what you think...

The top 10 things I plan on doing in 2007
10. Eat
9. Read something, anything
8. Talk to people
7. Teach Sunday School Class
6. Sleep
5. Talk to someone new
4. Breath In
3. Breath Out
2. find or write a funnier top 10 list

and the #1 resolution for 2007
1. blog

Can I keep them?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Have a great day with family.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


I am preaching this Sunday. Preaching on making the most of each day. Challenging people to not limit their tries to better themselves to only New Year's Day. But its also Youth Sunday, so I get to make sure all those bases are covered. And the New Year's party that night - can't forget those details. And there is family in town this week.

This week will be great, but full.

Friday, December 22, 2006

caroling part 2

Yesterday I got to go caroling again. This time I went with the FCA from the high school. We went after school and went to businesses (since we live in a small town, I think we just about hit every single business in town) and took cookies and sang. There were actually 3 groups. One went to a nearby town, the other two split up. Its a lot different going to businesses than houses. We got to sing to anywhere from 1 person (3 times) to an entire office with like 20some people (once). There were two places we went that we didn't even sing :)

It was a fun time and nice to get to interact with students who are not part of the student ministry. Its been good to see a transition happen within the students as they are beginning to know who I am and know that I am interested in their lives.

In this area, I am the only fulltime youth minister. And there is only one other parttime guy. So I think the community is learning who I am and knows that I care for the teenagers.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

online at home

The other day everything aligned. Here is how it happened...

Mac OSX (Tiger) was delivered by Fedex (in a rented truck)
Mac OSX was installed on the iMac
Went back to finish installing DSL
Had problems with this step
Finally got DSL installed
Started surfing the web at "faster than dial-up" speeds

It tooks most of the day to do, but we are glad it is done.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

freshman basketball reviewed

Monday night was quite interesting. Nathan and I went to the basketball game. I was expecting a small crowd and some good basketball - adding up to a great father/son night. Well the crowd was rather small. Probably a bit smaller than the girls games, mainly b/c there were less students. The game was pretty good. It was actually a higher scoring game than I expected (50 to 40). And it was a great father/son night for me. But one thing I didn't expect. Really angry and loud spectators. I mean, come on its freshmen basketball.

We actually got there at the beginning, well close to the beginning, of the game. Within a few minutes of arriving it started. The refs weren't calling plays, the crowd thought they could ref better. (Now, I know this is not new nor is this behavior likely to change, but its freshmen high school basketball and the only person talking about it today is me) Most of the comments were coming from parents/fans from the visiting school. The yelling started getting louder and louder. You could feel the intensity rising in the gym. What is sad is that as the parents began to yell louder and with more anger, the players started playing more aggressively. By the end of the first half there was only 5 fouls total. By the end of the game there were at least 18. Players were blatantly trying to trip others, grabbing an arm, shoving. It was really sad to watch it unfold.

Nathan didn't notice much, though. Because about 1/2 way through the game he just began to play. I think we played more with the few toys he brought than actually watched the game. He did turn around a few times and try to figure out why the people were yelling.

Why must people be so negative when things don't go their way in sports? And I know its not just a localized problem. I've ran into it in various church softball leagues and other sports events I've been to. Monday night just seemed really intense.

What does this behavior do to the students playing the sports? How does their attitude change? Doesn't this "yelling at the refs" just take responsibility away from the losing team. See, its not our fault we're losing, its the refs. Why does it matter so much that we lose. Now, don't get me wrong I like to win, but in the end it doesn't amount to much.

I think that is enough ranting for now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Freshman basketball

Tonight I get to go to the freshman basketball games. I am excited because I am getting to go with Nathan (who is excited about going with daddy). I am also curious as to what kind of crowd will be there for this one.

this is the last game I'll get to go to before next year.

Christmas party and caroling

The Christmas Party went well. We played a game of "human knot" to decide the order of the White Elephant Exchange circle. But for fun I change a few rules. One of the boys said he didn't like the game, so for fun I had him not be able to speak and another boy close his eyes. It was interesting to watch them try to untangle themselves. The one who couldn't speak kept trying to tell people suggestions with just grunts and kicking his foot. The one who couldn't see just kept asking "who's arm is that" or "i need to do what, I can't even see". They never did get completely untangled.

The WEG exchange went well. I ended up with a little kids Pooh backpack. A few of my favorites:

1. A Casey's top 40 record from 1983 (brought by one of the sponsors who used to be a dj)
2. a plethora of relay for life material (buttons, stickers, cups)
3. 101 things you need to know book
4. used sippy cup
5. girl scout cookies and hot chocolate
6. different girl scout cookies and hot chocolate
7. a dance instruction vhs tape

We played the gift unwrap game and it was pretty intense. I am actually amazed that no one got hurt. I mean dice were flying and presents were being tossed.

My favorite part was the ice cube guess. Since it was jr. highers, I opted for a few different liquids. This time we used: California French dressing (doesn't freeze too well), worchestershire sauce (more on this in a bit), lemonade, lime and garlic salsa (I didn't even bother putting it in a blender or anything), manderin orange juice, cultured reduced fat buttermilk (by this time it was probably expired), and mtn lightning

I told them that if someone ate the entire #2 ice cube, before they knew what it was, that I would let them have an entire pizza. One of the boys ate it. He said it wasn't too bad. Man it was really disgusting to watch him. So he went home with an entire pizza - I don't think it was worth it.

It was a good night. Lots of fun memories and moments that will be talked about for years to come.

The caroling:
We took the high school out last night to go caroling. Did not have a huge turn out, but it went great. I think having a smaller crowd probably worked out better. It is a little overwhelming to have over 20 people show up at your door. One of the adults kept messing up one of the lines of one song, so each time we got to this point everyone hesitated to see what he would say. And they all enjoyed the fact that I did something (like tap my foot or bounce up) when we sang "We wish you a merry Christmas".

I don't think the caroling was for the group anyway. It was really for the people we went to. A few people got tears and the others were thankful.

Though I am waiting for that one person to say "no" when you ask if we can sing.

A good weekend back home.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

jr high Christmas Party

Tonight is our jr. high party. Will it be anything like the high school party last week?

I have frozen more ice cubes. :) Can't wait to see them when they try an ice cube made from salsa. Yummy, chunky.

Hopefully I'll be able to post some good pics or funny stories next week.

funeral, visiting, travel

What a week.

For anyone who was praying for our trip, thanks. On Tuesday we packed up and left at 6:30 am for GA. We got there around 7pm (lost an hour with time change). It was really good to be back in GA with friends. Had a chance to talk with the family we were staying with and relax a bit from the 11 1/2 hour trip. Wed. turned out to be a rather busy day. Had lunch with friends, went looking for something while the boys slept, viewing in the evening, stopped by the youth group for a few minutes.

The viewing was tough for a few reasons. First and foremost - it was a viewing for a close friend (adopted family) of ours. Second, ran into a few people from last church that we have different relationship with now. Some were part of the "reason" we were asked to leave. Honestly, its not the fact that we were asked to leave that bothers us about certain people; its the character (or lack of) that was shown in things that were said and done around the whole incident. Third, we were there for a while (talking with people and the family) and it was dinner time for the boys, so they started getting cranky.

It was great to see some of the youth for a bit. Some have changed a lot in 6 months. Others haven't really done much change at all. I was reminded of the need I have to (not really need as much as desire) keep the individuals in prayer and not just "wonder" how they are doing. God placed them in our path and we can't just forget them when we leave a ministry.

Thursday was the funeral. It was hard. At the viewing I could tell a physical change in Ron. He didn't look like the same man I saw 6 months ago. Thankfully, I found out from talking to people, he wasn't the same man spiritually either. He had grown closer to God the last few months and was really starting to live out his faith in God. I wish I could have been around to witness this change :(

At the funeral, they played three "worship songs" and that was pretty special. Songs that made me tear up when I thought of them in regards to Ron's life. It was just really really good to be there.

Had lunch at Zaxby's (i highly recommend this anytime you get the chance) with friends. Talked about family and (as always) the congregation we left. Thursday evening we got to spend time with a small group of our friends and catch up. It was a great reminder that even though we have moved and become a part of a new congregation we don't have to leave all friendships or feelings behind.

Yesterday was a long day. Got up and spent time with the family before they went to work. Then we got to see one more person before we left. Got going around 10. Didn't get home til 11:30 or so. With time change that would be about 14 hours or so of travel time. Man we were tired. Plus when we got back we found out that our furnace was broken - so it was 58 in our house.

We did get our DSL hooked up while we were gone - about a week earlier than thought. But our Mac OS is not new enough, so I had to order Tiger today and install it and then finish installing the DSL. Then we're online at home.

There are a lot more thoughts and feelings floating around my head. I'll post more later.

one last question, I am still thinking through (even though the situation is over): how would Christ want me to respond and interact with the people who fired me (and ultimately lied to my face and many others)?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Making the trip to the funeral

Amy and I have decided that we are going to go to the funeral for our friend. It will be over 10 hours each way, but we want to make it. We haven't heard yet as to specifics of when and where, but we believe it will be on Wed. If so, we will be leaving tomrrow morning and try to get back Friday.

Please pray for safe travel.

It will be good to see some of our friends, but sad to see them under these circumstances.

High School Christmas Party

What a weekend. The Christmas party went well. This was one of the first "events" we've done here at the church. I have to admit I was a little nervous about it.

We played a game with ice cubes (made with various other liquids) and four volunteers had to try to guess what each ice cube was made of.

The best was 3 1/2 (1/2 point for saying milk, but not buttermilk). The 7 were: taco sauce, worchestershire sauce (see picture above), buttermilk, manderin orange juice, dr. thunder soda, lemonade and water.

(sidenote) soy sauce will not freeze!

Dinner was good, teens love to eat. Then we did a White Elephant Gift exchange. This took this a little while to get into. (ie. everyone just kept opening up a new gift and would not steal one). But once it got going, it was intense. In one round, we had 8 gifts that ended up being stolen twice (which was our limit per round) and just about each one was taken once.

Some of the gifts:
1. a slice of cheese
2. two stuffed pig dolls
3. a broken "don't spill the beans" game
4. various cds (dishwalla, mercy me, a couple compilations)
5. a vhs version of "big daddy"
6. mark twain paperback
7. 10 random buttons from my childhood
8. $1 bill (which by the way no one really seemed to want)
9. a mp3 player (a rather hot item)
10. headphones (nothing else)

I ended up with a white elephant figurine. It might become my WEG for the jr. high party this Saturday.

We played charades while I video taped the "video story". This is something I started a few years back and its a fun little thing. Each person tells part of the story while you video tape them. But all they know is the last two words the person before them said. This year we added that they had to use their WEG in their story. It turned out rather well. A funny little video to watch at the end of the night.

Also, we played a game where you really wrap (and I mean really good) a present so its tough to open. Then each person has to roll dice and when they roll the # they get to put on some mittens and unwrap the gift. During this each person is going around the circle trying to roll the # so they can open the gift. The last person to unwrap the gift and get it out gets the gift (no matter how much or how little they actually worked on it). Its a fun game that all ages like. Amy told me that the 3rd person to roll an #8 actually got to get the gifts open, because no one else could roll an 8, so he just kept going and going.

One other "funny" moment was when I was trying to introduce myself to some of the students I didn't know. I walked up to one girl and said "I don't think we've met, I'm Mike" To which she responed with "I go to your church, my name is _____" It was funny because I had heard her name and it was on all the "lists" I got when I got here, but she had never come to any other event, or Sunday School or Sunday night. She has come to service, but she sits in the back with her mom. So I tried to joke with her about it. I don't think she was offended or anything, but I thought it was pretty funny that was her first response.

One other thing that helped with the party was the fact that there were more youth coaches there. Normally its just Amy and I. This year, we had a few more and that was good. Someone else to take pics and someone else to help with the games.

So it was a great day, until the phone call we got as we were leaving. The one telling us that one of our good friends from our last church had passed away.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

lost a friend

Last night at 9pm I got a phone call from back in GA. One of our friends passed away. :(

He was a good friend and loved our family, especially the boys. We had three of his kids in our youth ministry. The youngest is a senior this year.

Being so far away it is tough to know what to do. We are hurting right now and we want to be there for the family (because they were our good friends)


Friday, December 08, 2006

cold weather, cookies & dinner

Yesterday was the day my wife and some of the young ladies delivered the cookies that they made on Tuesday. What a great day it was - something like 20 degrees. Let's just say they were walking fast :)

I felt a little bad, because I got to stay home and watch the boys inside our nice warm house. But that feeling only lasted a short time.

After they delivered they came back and had some hot chocolate. The young ladies got a chance to play with our boys, which the boys just loved. When I was about to start dinner, my wife asked them if they wanted to stay and eat with us. Two of them did and it was a good time. We had a full table and even had to pull the table away from the wall. (We usually keep it against the wall for room, since we don't need all 4 sides.) We had tacos - yummy. It turned out to be a great chance to get to know the two girls a little better and build relationships.

One of the girls needed a ride home, so I got a ride to the elders meeting so my wife could take her home. Apparently after I left both of the girls told my wife thank you so much for having them over. Not just for dinner, but for taking an interest in them outside of church. They said it has been a long time since someone has done that for the youth.

Our passion is the youth and we love spending time with them. It was encouraging to hear that the youth already know we care. But what was even more encouraging, from my husband/youth minister POV, was to be able to watch my wife/youth coach doing what she loves to do and showing the young ladies in our group that they are important and people care about them.

So, it has been a full week. But its been a great week of ministry and somehow I don't feel too drained.

I just have to share this: one of the young ladies called her parents to ask if she could stay for dinner. Well, they were not home so she left a message. This is her message (as close to verbatim as I can remember) "Mom and dad this is ________. I'm over at Mike and Amy's house and they invited us to stay for dinner. I would like to stay. If that is okay don't call me back."

gotta love high schoolers

Thursday, December 07, 2006

last elders meeting of 2006

tonight is the last one of the year. It should be a good one :) Nothing too big on the radar, except for the building expansion program. So I bet that will be the bulk of the meeting.

Its kinda sad that 2006 is almost over. This year has been such a roller coaster for me. Last year, at this time, I was working at Target and a dentist office. I had no idea where I would be ministering or when I would be back in ministry. Now, here I am and I'm ready for 2007.

the first "snow"

yep, that's all it was.

But it is really cold. And my boys loved it. The dogs were not too fond of it.

Funny story: My oldest, Nathan, has been really excited to see a snowplow. I don't know why or what brought the idea on, but he is. So today when he saw the snow, he kept talking about how the snowplow would come and push our snow off the deck into the bushes. We had to try to explain to him that it wasn't going to come into our yard and that there had to be more snow on the ground. He was okay with it. Then on my way to work, I saw it. A snowplow coming down the highway. It was clearing off the sides of the roads and dropping salt to keep anything from freezing (only going to be in the 20's today). So I had to call and tell Nathan that there was a snowplow.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Thru the Bible in a year...

and The Bible in 90 days and ...

Why are we as American Christians so overwhelmed with a desire to read through the Bible in a certain amount of time?

Is it ...
so we can say "I've read through the whole Bible"
so we can look smart and "holy"
so we can get a better understanding of the whole scope of Scripture
a fad
to avoid really digging in
a way to study along with more indepth study

I have never felt a strong desire to strive to read through the whole Bible in a year. Then when I saw the "not so" new Bible in 90 days, my immediate reaction was that is not for me. I'm not against people reading the Bible from cover to cover. It is good to have that knowledge. My fear is that those who pursue this path will get a lot of knowledge about Scripture without really ever applying any of it. It is a lot like Bible Bowl (to me). I did a few years of Bible Bowl in high school and gained a lot of knowledge (some of which is rather helpful when I'm looking for a certain passage). But I never put any of it to practice. I never tried to apply any of the Scripture. It was not until years later that I started "using" (other than for points on tests and in games) the Scripture.

What do you think? Have you ever read through the Bible in a year? Any positive or negative experience with this type of reading plan?

Then as a minister, I have another set of questions. Is it something that would be useful to encourage a student to try? Does it just promote head knowledge and not enough life change? Does it promote being "smarter" than someone else in Sunday School? Will it benefit my students? Will it just be one more thing to do between homework, dinner and practice?

Cookies and Young Ladies

Yesterday was a great day :) Well, it was a full day. Tuesdays are my off day, when there is a regular week. We decided to go shopping for some Christmas presents and other essentials like more diapers and wipes for the boys. But we had to be back at our house by 2:30 or so. This made for a short day of shopping, seeing as it was an hour drive one way. (Plus we had to eat lunch during this time, too) So, shopping was good - didn't find everything, but got a good bit. (and we're thinking about doing something a little different this year with presents anyway.)

Back to why we had to be back home at 2:30. We had some of the girls from the church coming over to make cookies. My wife had invited them over after school for a few hours to make some cookies and then said cookies will be delivered later this week (tomorrow, I think). One of the girls had come over earlier and helped pick out 6 different cookie "type" recipes. When all was said and done, we had 12 girls and one other youth coach in our kitchen making various cookie items. My goal/job for the afternoon was to watch our two boys and the other two boys so that the women would not have to worry about them. In the end, one boy was sent to his grandma's, one fell asleep and the other two ended up playing in the kitchen. :) So I gradually ended up in the kitchen helping to make the cookies.

It was a really good afternoon. The two adults got to interact with the girls outside of "class" and build some relationships. Even though there is only one high school in this county and all the girls go to the same school, they do not all hang out together. So, it was a chance to have more mixing of the "groups" (so to speak). Plus, for me as the youth minister, I got to interact with the girls outside of class in a group setting. I don't get to really build relationships with the females of the group outside of class (and that is fine with me), but I think it is good to build relationships. The women youth coaches are the ones who will be able to really minister to these young ladies, which is why I tried to stay out of the kitchen.

A few other thoughts on yesterday:
1. From what I heard, I missed a lot of funny stuff.

2. I got to interact with a few of the students that haven't always liked me in the past. And things were good. (not that I think everyone needs to like me) But I wanted to have some positive interaction, so they know I'm not out to get them.

3. My wife and I were cleaning up afterward for about 2 1/2 hours. (the joys of ministry)

4. I think I'm going to try this with the guys next week :)

Monday, December 04, 2006

strong personality

Some people have strong personalities. Am I one of them - I think in some cases I am, but most people would tell you I am not.

Well, I had an interaction with someone on Sunday before Sunday School. It started as a quick conversation when this person returned a key that was borrowed. I asked a simple question about someone and commented that I had not met this person. Which was followed by a "he's been coming for 4 weeks" connected with a "you should have already met him and no one in the congregation has noticed he's been here either" look. To which my response was "I haven't even been in the service for a month with me being in kids worship each week and being out of town for one week." I haven't even been able to see all the youth that are in service, but not SS. To which I don't like - had way too much of this at my old church.

This person went on to say things like "this church is way too inward focused" "the youth need to go to _____________ (insert various parachurch events) and then they'll be on fire for God and will start to make a difference in their world." "No one ever talks to the youth about _____________ (insert various topic) at this church, but at this event we do and the youth just soak it up." These along with other statements about how this church doesn't do "enough" or do it the "right way"

I felt a little frustrated because this person doesn't know everything about what goes on at church. Some of the things brought up have been talked about since I've gotten here. But they aren't topics that work well from the pulpit, so not everyone hears. This person has also never volunteered to help with the youth and/or make suggestions about the ministry. The concern seems to be to just tell me what's wrong and not offering any help. I did ask this person to help with the kids worship that we started last month and the answer I got was "no", not now. Which is fine, but it just frustrates me.

I want to end with this: I am not mad at this person. I respect their desire for the best for people and ministry. I am more frustrated with the manner in which people present their opinions and thoughts.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

technology and my church

I'm sitting here at church trying to get some DVD players hooked up to our already in place tvs. Well, just one problem: the tvs are from the 80's and do not have any really viable input access for anything other than an antenna. So we are trying to catch up with technology only to have to deal with trying to connect the old to the new. If only we could get new tvs too. Anyway, I should probably get back to trying to figure this out before tomorrow.

Not how I wanted to spend my Sat. afternoon. Nor did I think it would take this long to do :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

back into the 21st century

Yesterday I made a call to the phone company. Since our move up here to IL, we have not had a home phone. We have been using our cell phones for everything. We have decided we could manage this for a while, except for one minor detail. We want to have internet at our house and would like to have a higher speed than dial-up. Therefore we have to have a phone line to do it. (I know you might disagree with this, but remember I live in a small town and we just barely have dsl :)) Even getting cable and a cable hook up is not an option. So, now we wait.

I should have made this call before the NYWC and then could have had it set up shortly after we got back. But, I didn't. So now we have to wait until next Wed. to get a home phone set up. But the real wait is in the dsl set up, that wouldn't happen until the 18th. I'm pretty sure we can get by until then. I am excited about being able to blog from home again. Plus post more pics and faster.

thanks Verizon for making my dreams come true :)

seek Jesus

This seems to be a theme for me this week. (not in a "wow, look how cool I am and how holy I am" way)

Wed. I spoke at the Christian club at school and talked about seeking Jesus. Wed. night we had a 7:11 (worship/Bible study) and I talked about seeking Jesus. Both of these were from Zeph. 2.3

This got me thinking about how I don't seek Jesus as much as I seek a good lesson or good thought to share. I would have to say I have been doing a lot more seeking over the past few months and that my relationship with Jesus is much closer than it has been for a while (not saying I am at all great or anything). I am always needing a reminder to tend my soul and seek Jesus for myself, not for others.

Well, today as I was looking at some curriculum for an upcoming Kids Worship (3-6 grade) the topic is "disciples seek Jesus". Again this concept keeps creeping up into my day. And I am glad. I needed a little reminder today.

Keep seeking Jesus...for yourself.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

last minute speaking and checking my voicemail

As you will know from my last post, I went to the local girls basketball game last night. This meant I got home around 8:30 or so and finally got Nathan to bed around 9. I was getting ready to do some reading and relaxing when I decided to check my phone. I thought it said I had a voicemail and I knew I needed to erase some. (and since it was after 9, it was free :))

When I checked the voicemail I found out that I had a new one I didn't know about. Oops! It was from 7:30 in the morning, must have been before I turned on the phone that day. It was from one of the jr high girls in charge of the Christian Club at school. She had called me a few weeks ago about speaking at club, but I told her I couldn't because I would be out of town (at the NYWC). Well, it was her again calling to see if I could speak at today's club. Not a problem, except it was already close to 9:30 and the club meets at 8am. So I called her back and asked if they still needed me to speak. Of course she said they would, if I could! And of course I said yes.

So instead of reading and talking with my wife, I got to work on a short devo. (well, I did spend time with my wife, too - which meant I just went to bed later.)

So, today I went to the high school FCA (which starts at 7:30). And I found out it was meeting in a new location - thankfully one of the students got there the same time I did and took me. I left that early and headed to club. I spoke (not my best, I ran out of time). I think I was clear, but not sure if I got across to them clearly. (Never can quite tell with a jr. higher).

Afterward I did get to talk with a few of the students. And in two weeks is there Christmas Party :) and I'm invited.

boys basketball vs. girls basketball

Last night I got to go to another basketball game. This time it was the girls. And this time I was not alone - Nathan went with me. (Man, I love being able to spend one on one time with him, even though he's only 2):)

The crowd for this one was a lot less - let's say almost 1/4 of the people. I wasn't ready for that (but I wasn't ready for the amount of people at the boys game either). There was no band to play between the JV and Varsity games. No band to play the National Anthem. I actually enjoyed the game a little more than Monday nights. Partly because Nathan was with me, but also because it seemed more like a game. You know how intense parents and fans can get and quickly turn a high school basketball game into the most important thing ever. (well, really it happens at all sporting events)

I also noticed that the difference between the JV and varsity was a little wider margain of "ability" last night. The JV girls game was a rather slow scoring, more passing game. But the Varsity was a little more high pace, higher scoring, definately more aggressive game.

I was able to see some of the students and parents, which is always a plus (sometimes the only reason).

My wife and I were talking last night and it looks like the girls basketball games are a good time to take our littlest boy to a game or two. Less crowd, more open stands, more relaxed feel.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

high school boys basketball

Last night I went to the first boys basketball game of the season. Just a few thoughts:

1. How quickly school life moves. It was only a few weeks ago that the girls volleyball team was playing in the state tournament. Some of the basketball players just don't have much time off between sports.

2. a bigger crowd for basketball than I expected.

3. Basketball games sure do last a long time, with little scoring to show for it :)

4. Basketball games are a great place to see students (esp. since unlike football games its not cold inside the gym).

I get to watch the girls play tonight. Hopefully, I'll get to take Nathan with me.

Monday, November 27, 2006

talking Jesus doll

A few weeks ago I picked up a Talking Jesus Doll.

Talking Bible Dolls

My wife found it at a Family Christian Store (underneath the toys display). I could not pass it up, because I had never seen one like it before. I mentioned it to someone at the NYWC convention and they wanted to find one, too. So I got the website from the tag on the doll and thought I would post it here. Also, while on vacation this past week I was flipping through channels and came across some religious show that was doing a "fundraiser". Guess what one of the level prizes (hehe) was, yep the entire set. For a $45 donation you could get a talking Jesus, Moses and Esther.

I am just waiting for the talking donkey :)

post NYWC - back home

I'm back in the office. That is a good thing. I am ready to be back. Last week was good to be with family and enjoy the holiday, but it really made the time away almost too long. Two weeks is a long time to be gone - a lot can happen in two weeks.

So, we got back into town on Saturday afternoonish, around 5pm our time. I unpacked the car, we had dinner and I came to church to make sure things were set up for Sunday morning. (I didn't want to try to come even earlier on Sunday and have that "last minute" problem solving situation happen) I got to church and things were set up :). There were a few people at church getting ready for a Ministry Fair we were having on Sunday. I talked with them a bit and went back to getting ready for Sunday. I went back to leave and peeked in to say goodbye and one of them said "I need to talk to you about something in private."

(First thought - oh great something happened while I was gone and I'm already getting blamed for it. I know, what a great first thought - but hey, I'm just being honest. Second thought - I have no idea what this could be about, there are so many possibilities.)

It turns out that it was not about me (silly paranoia mentality - why is it so hard to not think these thoughts) directly. One of the students in the ministry had stopped this leader in the halls at school and told her about some issues going on at home. Things that I don't know all the details. Just more junk that this student and their sibling have to go through (I do not like hearing about stuff like this, it just makes me hurt). So right off the bat, I'm thrown into a situation that I am not even supposed to know about and I've only been back home for a few hours.

So, I go back home. I'm ready to enjoy some down time and relax with my wife and boys. Then I got a phone call from one of the youth ministry team leaders needing to find some pictures for the display board for the ministry fair. He could not find the CD in my office. So I'm back to the church to find it (second trip to church within 3 hours of being home). I get a new cd made and its back home (after stopping by the store for the second time - I forgot a few things the first time).

Some prep for Sunday and then to bed. :)

Sunday was all the more crazy. Sunday School was only 1/2 the time b/c of the Ministry Fair. Then it was Kids Worship (3-6th grade) during the service. Didn't get to see a few people I needed to see. Had lunch at home and then while the boys took a nap I came back to church because I forgot to make sure I could find some papers I needed for a meeting before evening church. Got that taken care of then back home for like 45 minutes before it was back to church for the meeting. Had a good meeting - trying to develop a scope and sequence for the jr/sr high Sunday evening classes. Then helped with the jr. high class (man, they seemed unusually distracted last night). Then while playing chess with a student (we have an ongoing game in progress) I was told there was an elder's prayer time. (It was supposed to be last week, but moved because of the holiday). So I had that. It was a great meeting and I truly love that part of the relationship I have with the elders. But I got home after 9pm, with no dinner. I was able to help put the boys to bed, which was a blessing. Then read some Bible and relaxed before bed.

Needless to say, I'm back :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving. Have a great day with your family (if you are close enough to be there today). Today is the first Thanksgiving we've had with family in 5 years.

So it is a good day :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

more rest

The last few days have been about more rest. Since I don't go back to work til Sunday and I have all my stuff ready I am able to rest this week. It is nice to have the extra, extended chance to spend time with my boys and wife. The convention was great and I enjoyed volunteering with Amy, it is great to be with family and have no responsibilities. :)

I think I will be ready (itching) to be back in the office next week. I'm ready to get back to ministry. Thanks to the rest and renewal I've gotten the last week and a half.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

NYWC staff


Thank you to all the YS staff that worked at the convention. It is encouraging to be able to see behind the scenes. Working at the store is a huge blessing for me. The #1 goal at the store is not selling product, but helping people. Whether its helping someone find the right product for their ministry, helping someone find a product that will help them personally, listening to people or being able to pray with people - these are the #1 goals. Lots of time was spent just talking and listening to people and we were never told to stop. I love being able to look around the store and watching ministry take place. It is encouraging to see a volunteer stop and pray with someone during the "madness sale."

I just wanted to say thanks to the people that not only put the NYWC together, but also provide an atmosphere that is condusive to ministry. A special thanks to Glenn and Bex who were a pure joy to work with and for. (Thanks Glenn for being a guest blogger on this site)

The YS staff really do care about youth workers; our hearts, ministries and souls.

NYWC recap

I am sitting in my parent's house typing this. We got back here last night after the convention was all done. It didn't take too long to tear down, had a lot of great people helping. It was nice to be able to get back here last night before the boys went to bed - a special blessing to see them a day earlier than we thought. :)

The convention was great, as is typical. We listened to a few of the classes in the car last night - good stuff, lots to think about. But the reason I liked this convention was not the classes, but the experience. For me, its about seeing the people and hearing the stories. And not just the delegates but the YS staff and other volunteers. These are the people I get to hang out with and spend my time with.

This is why I go back.

At the last general session, Tic asked everyone to write something on one of many mirros in the room. A word or phrase that expressed what God revealed to you at the convention. I didn't get a chance to write mine. If I had, I would have put "be present." This week I was reminded of the importance of being present in the moment. Its in the moments that ministry happens. Its not in the planning, the organizing, the scheduling, the preparing, the goal meetings, or the speaking. (not that these do not involve ministry) I saw this week the importance of being present in the moment and watching for God. It was in the moment that I was able to hear someone's hurt. It was in the moment I was able to feel someone's pain. It was in the moment I was able to feel someone's joy and excitement. It was in the moment I was able to share in someone's life.

When we become too busy or focused on tasks, we miss the moments God wants us to express His love to others. Ministry is not about being great at the "big events." Ministry is about being great at following God and being like Christ. God cares more about how we treat the individual - His child.

My prayer is that others will see Christ revealed through me.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Guest Blogger

It's been overwhelming again. It happens every time. You pack thousands of youth workers in a room, you let them hang out, worship, laugh, contemplate, you remind them again that they are loved by God, that their calling to reach teenagers is legit, and it just gets to you.

The room we're in--a cold, gray, exhibit hall--has totally transformed. Whenever I walk in the doors I sort of want to cry. I don't know if it's the fact that I haven't slept more than five hours a night, or that I've been working 12+ hour days, or just a serious concentration of the holy spirit, (I think it's a little bit of all of those things) but there really is something thick in the room that just gets to you.

It's a privilege to be a part of this thing. I've worked for YS for 3 years now and these events are my favorite part. I wish that everyone could get the kind of encouragement that the youth workers get here at the convention. They came in broken, tired, confused and hurt, and their leaving energized, resolute, excited, and in the beginning stages of healing.

So cool. And like always I'm overwhelmed.

(This has been a guest blog by Glenn Murdock. I've had the pleasure of bossing Mike around in the bookstore at the National Youth Workers Convention for the last few days.)

NYWC day 3

I'm watching the Skit Guys right now, pretty funny. Bob Stromberg did an amazing job with some shadow puppets and stuff. More random stuff... Taylor Mason did a great job with some real puppets. (And a Tic puppet named Toc - awesome)

Starfield is doing a "great" job leading us in worship.

to end this post (or is it a blog, no no its a comment :)) I want to just mention the two crazy guys in the store who run around in pink DCLA shorts (you really have to be here to see it, even though I'm trying to get the picture out of my head)


NYWC day 2

Yesterday was a crazy day in the YS store. Busy, busy. And not just with selling products, cuz that's not all its about. I had the opportunity to talk with even more youth workers and pray with a few about what God is doing in their ministries and lives. There are so many great stories at the NYWC.

Both general sessions were good. Messages about remembering who we belong to - thus knowing who we are. And being humble enough to know any "greatness" we do is because of God.

other notes:
1. Crowder and Mike Hogan did a book signing the other night. I got to help keep the "order" in the line and got to see youth workers differently. Some were pretty low key, but others were asking for video messages, phone messages, someone even had him sign a guitar (looked like a nice one with other autographs). I got to talk with Mike Hogan for a little bit; he's a really cool guy. Both guys were very personal and friendly.

btw, what is the fascination with getting an autograph? (disclosure, we had them sign a book for some friends, so I can't say I never get someone's autograph - just wonder why we are so fascinated with having someone's signature)

2. I ran into two ladies today that are from the small town that I went to elem, ms, and hs. Didn't think I'd see anyone from there here at NYWC.

3. Finally got to see Donald Miller in person. Not what I expected. (That's about all I can say, haven't quite figured out if it is good or bad)

4. I'm way too tired :)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

day 1 of conference

Yesterday was a great day at the convention.

Phil Vischer spoke at gen. session 1. He did an amazing job. Talked about God giving you a dream and it coming to pass and then God taking it away. All about what is more important to you: God or the dream. It reminded me of part of what I had gone through last year. But more importantly, how it is easy to let the dream become more important than God. Its only been 5 months at the new church and I can already tell that letting God become a backseat to what "I want" is quite easy to do.

I got to meet a really cool youth worker yesterday. She is part time (ha). She works as a nurse in a hospital on the weekends and works in the church office 15 to 20 hours a week. Now the real kicker to me was when she told me her responsibilities at church. She is the youth leader and the christian edu. director for birth through adults. That is way too much for fulltime, let alone part time. I was blessed to be able to talk with her and encourage her. Later in the day, I saw her again and she seemed to have a different spirit about her. I just keep praying God will encourage and fill her this week.

It is great to be here at the convention, but I (and my wife) am really starting to miss my boys. :(

Friday, November 17, 2006



what a first day of critical concerns. Since I'm in the store, we've been going for a few days now. Busy setting up the convention and making sure its ready to receive all the youth workers and minister to them. But the fun has really begun now - the youth workers are arriving.

I've already had an opportunity to connect with a few great youth workers. I met the only 2 full time youth pastors in China. (now tell me that doesn't happen all the time).

Even the security guy has been cool. He actually is taking classes at CCU (where I graduated from), so I've got to connect with him.

Volunteering with my wife has been a blessing too. A whole new perspective and I prefer serving alongside her and watching her get to experience the convention from this side.

Can't wait for the full convention to start today

ps. We walked around and prayed for all the spaces. I must say the prayer chapel looks like it is going to be a great place to go and get away and spend some quality time with God.

Monday, November 13, 2006

new members lunch

yesterday was a new members lunch at our church. We got to be a part of it in two different ways. We were apart, because I am on staff. But we were also invited as new members :)

I've never been to a new members lunch before. Our last church didn't do it when we got there and I was 6 when we joined the church before that.

It was a nice meal, but rather quick for us. We headed out of town right after the lunch. We are at my parents' house dropping off the boys today. They will stay here for a week while we are at the convention. Today we leave to drive down to Cincy and get ready to start tomorrow.

Getting excited, but also going to miss the boys :( BUT I am even more excited that my wife will be with me at the convention this year. Its so hard to express to her what happens and what it is like. So, I'm glad I don't have to this year.

Friday, November 10, 2006

100th post

Yeah, I know its nothing. Most people are well beyond this point. I am beyond this point on our family blog we keep. But since I have been out of ministry for a time (I know I missed a lot of blogging time).

So, on my 100th post I just have one thing to say...

Amy I love you!

4 days til...

my wife and I start volunteering at the NYWC in Cincy. Its a few days earlier than the rest of the attendees, hence the volunteering and thus setting up stuff. :)

This is my third time to help out and one of the things I like is that I get to spend two extra days at the convention. Even though the convention doesn't officially start until Thursday I feel like just being there with other volunteers and the YS staff is better than anything. It is a great way to spend a few days and a great feeling to be there with friends and fellow youth workers.

If you're going to the convention - see you on Thursday.

Stop by the bookstore and say Hi. I'll help you find the resource you need and I'd love to talk about ministry, life and God.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

parents meeting

The parents meeting on Saturday went rather well. Not as many parents as I would have hoped, but it was my first one. A better "attitude/vibe" in the room this time around. It was pretty cool, because while talking about some upcoming events that were not finalized we actually finalized the details in the meeting. The parents want to help and want to be a part of the process and I want to help them by being a resource not a "babysitter"

So good meeting. And I've talked with a few other parents who were asking about the meeting and will be a part of future ones.

In the end - encouraging!

new elders, ministry team leaders

last sunday, our church had our annual meeting to elect the ministry team leaders for next year and any elders that were up for election. As I(someone on staff) would hope, all of the nominees were elected. We have one elder not returning next year and one new elder joining the "team."

We have an elder's meeting Thursday night that will be pretty long (I bet). Since we have to bring this new elder up to speed. One of the biggest issues to bring up is the building campaign we are in the tail end of getting off the ground. We have plans all done and are now ready to get some bits on the building.

on a sidenote - It is really nice to come into a new ministry and have this sort of thing going. The ministry I left was "in process" of building, but I never felt it was a healthy thing. This one is needed and is really exciting to be a part of. Now I just have to make sure I don't get wrapped up in the idea that the building expansion will be a "end all" for the ministry.

So, anyway, there are lots of changes coming and I am looking forward to the next year.

ps. our girls' volleyball team is going to state!! Pretty exciting. They won last night against last year's state champs. A pretty impressive show of support from the community was rather encouraging from my perspective

Friday, November 03, 2006

first parent meeting at new church

Tomorrow I am having my first parent meeting at the new ministry. I am a little excited and nervous. At my last ministry, I tried to have these meetings a few times and didn't get too much "positive" response, so I'm trying to go at it from a different angle this time.

I hope this is the first of many meetings. I pray this can help me as I try to work with the parents and minsiter alongside them. (also hoping to put some faces with names, I haven't been able to meet all the parents yet)

photo friday

last weekend, my youngest turned 1. Here he is at the party. Doesn't he look spiffy in his birthday clothes.

Here is the last picture we will ever have of our boxes! Some of these boxes have been full of our stuff for over a year. We are a little excited to say we are finally done with them! Goodbye and good riddance.

Here is a great picture of me and my oldest enjoying some quality "nap time" together. I just love moments like this as a dad. (notice that one of my dogs thought it was a good idea, too)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

NYWC coming up

Less than 2 weeks til the convention, in cincy. Its been 2 years since I've been. I couldn't go last year b/c I was inbetween ministries and our second son was due at the beg. on Nov. I opted for being a good dad/husband and being in town when the time came to go to the hospital. I think I made the right choice. But now I am ready to go back to NYWC, this time with my wife (who has gone once before, before we had kids).

myspace last year?

I found this article thanks to the YS newsletter. Apparently they are saying that myspace is last year in a teen's world.

I am not so sold on this idea. Yeah, Myspace is probably going to lose its appeal to a certain group of people. My first thought is that those who were overwhelmed with it (ie. spent way too much time on it too often) then the appeal is gone. This group has done "all it can" with the site. The honeymoon period is over for them.

But for the rest of the users (those who don't make it a huge part of their day) I think it will remain a viable way to stay in contact. Its like email, but way cooler to see pictures and music videos. I think this group, the average user, will continue to use it.

Myspace like other networking sites is "cool" and the "hot thing" for awhile and then it fades into just "average" in the world of the net. Just look at It was huge when it first came out and probably doesn't have nearly as much traffic now, but it is still going and probably still getting new additions daily. For people who only want the "hottest" then that will only last a short time.

One thing I did like about the article came at the end. It is mentioned that teens will likely become more willing to have actual social interaction. Wow! what an amazing concept, actually talking to someone in person or on the phone. Now wouldn't that change the world :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

1st birthday

On Sunday, my youngest son turned 1. What a great weekend.

This birthday is a crazy reminder for me. It was a month before he was born that we left our last church. So this first year of his life has been pretty crazy for our family. Yesterday was a good reminder of the faithfulness and love of God. I think it is probably good he won't remember all the craziness that was his first year of life. But you better believe his mom and dad will remind him of it. We want him to know how great God was and faithful to provide for us throughout the tough times.

I am thankful to have two healthy boys and a wonderful congregation in which I get to minsiter.

Be thankful today for the little things, like food on the table and people who love you.

Friday, October 27, 2006


the reason some people don't come to church.

So, what is homilophobia? The fear of sermons.

Are there really that many people afraid of sermons?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

anyone have your name?

I just ran across this post and thought it would be fun to try myself. I always had a thought that there was no one else like me and now I have proof. Here is my results
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

A little more refreshed today

Last night I spent some extra time alone with God. I read from the Message - a few Psalms and 1/2 Ecc. Reading through Ecc. was good for me right now. Sometimes it is not what we do, but what we remember. I was reminded last night of just how much my actions matter. On earth my actions will be soon forgotten. But if I am doing something that has eternal significance (sharing the Gospel, showing love, being a light for God in a dark world) then my actions will also be soon forgotten on earth - but in Heaven they will be soon celebrated. I am not supposed to live for myself.

Another cool thing happened last night when I was spending time with God. As I was sitting praying, one of my dogs came up to me and wanted to sit on my lap. (this is the dog pictures in my profile pic) At first I was a little annoyed because I wanted to not have that "distraction." But that thought was soon replaced with a comparison between my dog and me and me and God. Last night I just felt like I wanted/needed to curl up in God's lap and feel His loving touch. I just needed to be reassured of His love for me; not based on what I do or what others think about me. His loved based on who I am (His child) and a love that overcomes.

God is refreshing!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tough week

This has been a tough week for me. We've just moved into a new house. So this means each evening is pretty well spent trying to put stuff away - thus realizing we have too much stuff and no place to put it. Also, this Sunday is my littlest boys 1st birthday. This means a party, thus the crazy cleaning so we can have the party at our house. My sr. minister's wife is sick with pneumonia this week, so that leaves me "in charge." (although this doesn't mean too much - at least yet) YOuth Sunday is this week. And not very many youth want to help (well, those that would are all gone on a soccer trip) so I feel torn with doing another one. I'm not a huge fan of them, I tend to think that the youth can be integrated into the regular services with the adults and they do not need their own "special" service. (and we have 4 a year) Also, in two weeks I am launching a Kids Worship (3-6 grade) and still need some adults to help.

Also, this week, one of my former students "ran" away from home. He was gone for a few days. I got an email from his mom this morning and he is back home. Praise God!

On top of all of this, I feel like I need a kickstart or boost or something. I just do not feel like doing much of the needed stuff this week. Maybe I need to just spend some time in prayer and Bible study tonight.

If you have any thoughts or ideas on how to get out of this groove or on the situation with the high schooler wanting to stay in the middle school class, please post a comment.

no talk

Earlier I commented on a recent interaction b/w a Sunday School teacher and myself. Well, all last week this person was at the church helping to prepare for a wedding. Not a single time did this person come to my office, directly across the hall from where they were, or stop me to talk about hte situation.

Knowing this person and how confrontational they are, I'm not sure what to think. Was it really nothing, since the elders were not immediately on their side? Was it nothing when they heard what I had really said? Or was it really just a little fit? Or should I still wait for a confrontation?

I don't think it will come. But we'll see what happens this Sunday when the student is back and see what class they go to. I have not been able to get together to talk with this student about the situation yet (was even mostly avoided by this student at a fifth quarter this past Friday).

Thursday, October 12, 2006

all the foundational stuff

I've spent a good bit of my time trying to focus on foundational parts of ministry. I've tried to develop relationships, try to understand the big picture, learn how things are working or not working, plan and vision, and plant seeds.

When does this foundational stuff ever end? Does it? Can I ever stop laying a foundation? Which parts are only done once and which parts need to be reinforced on a regular basis?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Today was the See You At The Pole. I ended up showing up a little late. I was told the wrong start time. But that is ok, I was still able to be there and get to meet a few new people. I have to say, one of the joys of only having one high school represented in the youth ministry is not having to decide which event to go to. I only had one option this morning :)

I was a little surprised who was there and who wasn't there. Though I should not be because when I asked a couple students if they were going they didn't even know what I was talking about.

I did meet the teacher who lets the FCA use his classroom for meetings. And he invited me to join them each week before school for their meetings. I am actually looking forward to getting to go and interact on this level at the school.

"Be Still"
(or as I prefer, the NASB "Cease Striving")

Monday, September 25, 2006

Promise Keepers

This year's promise keepers was a lot different than last year. Last year when I went I knew I was going to be leaving my church, but hadn't told the congregation yet. We had just a handful of men on that trip and one of them was an elder. So it was an awkward trip to say the least. This year I am at a new ministry and a whole lot better environment for me.

I think, though, that this difference took away from what I took away. Last year I remember taking a lot of "nuggets of truth" from the messages. This year I didn't get as much, if much at all, from the messages. This year I was able to really build on some relationships and get to know some men better (and for the first time). So I am glad I went.

I just thought it was interesting the difference a year makes.

Monday, September 18, 2006

budget time

Around my church it is budget time again. I've not been here for an entire year and now I get to figure out how to budget for next year. I guess, if I am even thinking about doing something next year - so much to start, I better add it into the budget.

I don't like doing these :) :-P

Off to number crunching...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Do you ever feel like its enough?

The last few weeks have brought me some time to think. This last week has been especially open to thinking with my family gone. I think I am bugged by this nagging feeling that I'm not doing enough. I wonder if "my efforts" are going to make a difference. Will my ideas or leadership or encouragement or experience really make a difference in the life of these students? Maybe my wonderings has been brought on by seeing how some of my former students are doing spiritually.

A few have little to no interaction with the local church. Some are in leadership positions, but I am not sure they are living the way they are called to live. A couple have made one or two poor decisions and are now being "outed" by the local church leadership.

I understand that spiritual growth does not happen overnight. I understand students are learning who they are and what they believe. I understand these teenage years are extremely challenging. I understand I can't force them to do the right things. I understand all of this, but I still wonder.

Did I pray for them enough?
Did I challenge them enough?
Did I encourage them enough?
Did I support their family enough?
Did I show them I cared enough?
Did I really know them?
Did I teach them enough?
Did I give them enough opportunities to grow their faith?
Did I only entertain?
Did I ...

No wonder I've had a tough time being "there" when I have been around people lately. I have been putting the weight of people's eternity on my shoulders. I have tried to carry the burden all on my own.

Am I feeling defeated? Maybe :)

Have I wondered if I can be a good YM? Yes, at times. Will I continue to serve the local church in this capacity? You bet.

I know God is working. I know God can take hold of a teenager's life and form it to be like Him. I am aware that no one will be perfect. I try to remember that forward progress will/can include setbacks.

How do you handle times where you question your ministry?

Friday, September 15, 2006

family away

This week has been very different for me. My wife and boys went for the week to visit grandparents and others. Thus leaving me with the dogs. I thought I would use the time to go to a few more games and events than normal. But to no avail - all the vball games this week are away and the one baseball game got rained out. I was able to attend the JV football game and a soccer practice.

It is amazing to me just how quiet the house is without anyone else there. Not to mention the amount of boredom. I have really been working on being present for the boys and my wife when I am home that when they are not there I don't know what to do. I consider this a good thing. :)

Just thought I would post about how cool it is to be bored at home. It is encouraging to know that I enjoy spending time with my family that I don't like it when they are away.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

citywide event

Its been a long time without writing. Some reasons (got new computer at work, only dialup at work, too much stuff to do at work :), and time with family).

I wanted to write about my first "citywide" event. It was one of five 5th Quarters we have during the school year. Since I am the new YM (one of the only YM in the area, if not the only) in town, I was asked to speak at the first 5th Q. I said yes, of course. It was a lot different than I expected. I had been to a handful of other 5th Quarters, but never been in charge or spoke. In a town of 2,000 people - over 400 youth turned out! Let's just say I didn't expect to speak to that many young people (6-12 grade, plus a few college).

I got 10-15 minutes to speak (which was tougher than I thought to put it into that timeframe). The theme was "igniting the fire" so I got to speak on giving your life to Christ and was pumped about that. I wanted to talk about so much more, but narrowed it to the theme with hopes that the next speakers actually speak on their topics.

A few highlights (some might not be considered highlights, but just memorable)
1. Making over 400 young people sit on the parking lot while I talked to them (that's a way to make lots of friends)
2. Before I started one of the guys in the band (local band with teens I know) told me to use this one specific mic. He told me to trust him and it would be worth it. I know this guy good enough to not trust him. It turns out he wanted me to use the mic with the "alvin effect" on it. Thought it would be funny for me to have a high-pitched voice since most of the crowd had never seen me before. Well, after much "work" to get it working, I tried it out. You the response I got, about 6 people laughed. :)
3. I held the mic and that made using my hands a little difficult. It also made holding the notes with Scripture on them a little more difficult.
4. For the first few minutes I kept hearing the "alvin effect" in the speakers. It turns out the mic was still on and kept picking up my voice and coming through the speakers. It was pretty annoying for me.
5. It was dark.
6. At the end I said "I pray you ignite the fire and burn brightly" and then just walked off stage. I guess this caught a few people off guard. Everyone just sat there waiting for me to do something else. When they realized I was done, everyone at once stood up and went back to whatever they were previously doing. A few people commented on it afterward.
7. Got a few chances to hear people's thoughts on said message.
8. Had one of the senior girls (who had to leave 5th Q before I spoke) make sure she saw me and told me she was leaving, but she wanted to stay and hear me. Told me she was hoping I did well and thought I would. It was encouraging to have that support from someone I've only known for 3 months.

I was reminded that I still don't know about 99% of the youth in this area. :)

Friday, September 01, 2006


Tonight is the first home football game of the season. My family is planning on going to the game (hoping my 10 month and 2 year old enjoy it). I expect to see a lot of people I know and hopefully meet a bunch of new people (and remember who they are later).

Today, I went to the school during the first lunch period. For some reason I usually feel awkward going to a high school lunch. Today was no different. None of the youth knew I was coming and so the first question was "What are you doing here?" I still have not figured out if that was a bad or neutral question. It was really good to get to see them and hang out with them for a bit. I got to meet a few new students, hopefully I'll remember them next time. Since it is a small town here, it will be fairly easy to go to the school and visit.

Very little interaction with anyone else on staff today. So, its been very quiet. Just the way I don't like it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

welcomed but fully connected?

I have been thinking the last few days about my part in the ministry here at my church. I feel very welcomed and accepted. I feel like I am part of the team, but to what extent? I catch myself feeling like an outsider. Feeling as though I do not belong. Feeling like I am not ready for this. Yet, I feel that things are already happening. I sense God using me to help facilitate changes that draw people to Him.

Are my feelings of being unconnected coming from some insecurity? Are they coming from within me or are they from outside me?

I get the sense that I still have apprehensions about leadership, based on my past experiences. I do not want to assume I will be treated the same way. I have actually been shown I won't be, based on conversations I have already had. Yet, in the back of my mind I wonder. Are people being honest with me? Am I doing the right things? Am I doing what God is calling me to in this particular situation? Have I been open and thoughtful or cold and careless?

All questions that I hope bring me to a stronger faith. Questions I want answers for (though I wonder if I'm ready for them). Questions I pray lead me to a place of stronger, more effective ministry.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Youth Kickoff

Last night was our youth kickoff for this year. (Though the youth meetings don't start back up til the 10th)

We had a good time. Planned on doing some swimming and scavenger hunting, but all week it looked like impending rain. How uneasy it is to have a plan B that doesn't cost any money (since our plan A, mentioned earlier, didn't cost anything). It rained during church and a little during the day, but not enough to stop the kickoff (praise God!). This was the first kickoff I've done where we split the jr. high and high school up for part of it. One group went to one house and the other to someone else's house. Then after eating and swimming, we came together at a third location for worship and smores. The teen actually enjoyed the scavenger hunt (I was a little surprised at this). They had to find ingrediants for their pizzas. Whatever they found, they could use - including plates and drinks. Some groups hit jackpots (one got homemade pizza sauce and oreos) and some just got the basics. It was a little tough to see that a few houses got hit by 6 or all 7 groups. Meaning they were asked 7 times if they had any shredded cheese or plates.

Overall the night went well. It was nice to be there and have a part, but not be the "go to" guy. The youth ministry team leaders were the "go to" people and that freed me up to spend more time with the youth and build relationships. Only a few snags in the night. One involved bathing suits on girls (at the other house I wasn't at) and one involved not having driving directions. We were on our way back from the final destination and I was supposed to be following the other church van (b/c I had no - and I mean NO - idea where I was). Well, let's just say everyone else had gone home by time we got back to church. We were not even out of the driveway and the other van was already what seemed like a mile down the road. This is out in the country, with no street lights. Well, we lost them and had to "find our own way." We got back safely, but a little frasseled.

A little different, but I think it is part of the memory making moments we want to provide the youth, right?

One other good note - I got the "go ahead" for a new computer. Though, I still don't know what that means. Do I go and get the one I want (knowing I will want something that will last a few years) or do I go and get the one I can get by with? I'm going to try for the "one I want" as long as I have justification for its use.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I am beginning to find out that tradition plays a huge part in why things happen they way the do around here. We are promoting the youth on Sept. 3 and starting up youth meetings Sept 10. (First, I don't know why they stop during the summer, but they do - probably won't be like this next summer) They don't start until Sept. 10, because back when school didn't start until then there was no reason to start meetings before school. But now, school starts sooner. Why not change the start date to coincide with the start of school?

The kids have already been in school for a week now and they don't get promoted to the next grade for two more weeks. How frustrating this must be.

I asked in a meeting this week about why we have "age appropriate" adult classes (not that they are bad) and was told that this is how it has always been done. Is everyone too afraid to change things? Is there a reason to change it? Does anyone even think about that possibility?

Am I trying to cause a problem where there is none? Or am I hopefully being that voice that makes people think about why we do what we do? I pray it is #2. I want to be the person who says, "Hey, let's step back and look at what is working and what is not working. Let's see how we can make this ministry the best it can be today (not the best it was 25 years ago)"

Is this a problem that comes up whenever you start a new ministry? Or is it more about the location of my ministry?

Monday, August 21, 2006


Yesterday I got to preach. It was the second time I've preached here. The first one was the "trial sermon", so this was the first official sermon as a hired staff.

I was nervous. Not sure if it was actually nervousness or if it was a yearning to preach and say what God was laying on my heart. Either way, it caused me to work to make sure I did the best job I could.

I tried a new format for me. I tried to use less notes (going for none). I tried to be more personal and approachable as a preacher.

From what I heard, people seemed to feel they needed to hear the message. God used the words to affect people. Now, my prayer is that they take it to heart and do it. :)

I'm not ready to preach again just yet - still no desire to do it every week. But I feel God has given me the ability to present a message and make it understandable.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

minor frustrations

I need to transition slowly. I have to not come in and change everything. I can't fix the problems I see overnight. I shouldn't push my thoughts and ideas onto the people who have been overseeing this ministry for the past few years.

All this I know. But lately it has been tough.

For example, I had a conversation with the youth leaders about changing some things up for our PM classes. We are going to change some things (like keeping points for doing certain things and getting prizes for accumulating a certain point amount). But then the other night at a meeting for our teachers, it was brought up about doing the memory verses just like we always have. this would mean that the children's minister would pick a verse for all ages and the older kids would get a longer version... The verse will have nothing to do with what we are studying and probably not much relevance to their life. So, why would they want to memorize it? They didn't even flinch at the fact that this person was no longer overseeing the jr./sr. high - that I am. But alas is it a battle I want to fight right now? I don't think so. There are far greater things I want to implement. Like having a scope/sequence for what we teach (instead of just coming up with a lesson every week or using the Serendipity Bible if you don't have one ready.) And instituting monthly meetings. These are, in my opinion, far greater to be fighting for. The other more minor issues will and can be worked out later.

Friday, August 11, 2006

starting a new

I have decided to try to post on my transition into a new ministry. Yes, I have been here for about 2 months already, but there is a lot more to come :)

So Starting today I will be posting thoughts/ideas/remarks about how my transition into this new ministry goes. Curious to see how it compares to the first ministry. Will the things I learned over the past 5 years make a major difference on how I start this time? I sure hope so!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I have a job

It is finaly official! I will be moving to IL to start a jr/sr high youth ministry. I am so excited to be getting back into fulltime ministry. More thoughts coming.

Friday, May 19, 2006

2 big things

1. Today is my 5th anniversary. What a great 5 years it has been.

2. We are taking a trip for our last visit to the church in IL. A little excited would be an understatement. It almost seems unreal that the long search/wait process is coming to an end.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

quick update

a lot of things are happening (good and bad)

Allow me to just list them for now (not to take away from the emotions that are behind them all in my heart), though I do not like to make lists of things like this.

(in no particular order)
1. My friend who was in ICU passed away last 2 Fridays ago. Because we were on our way to an interview we were unable to make it to either the viewing or the funeral.

2. At that interview we were offered the position and accepted. But we have to go back for another visit and then a week later the congregation votes. (the next visit is this weekend and the vote will be next weekend).

3. With this 99.9% assurance of our move, we wanted to put our house on the market to give it about a month or so to sell. That included lots of work on painting, repairing and cleaning. Most of this was done by my wonderful wife.

4. The first day we had the house on the market we had 4 visits. Another busy day with staying out of the house.

5. That night, we had 4 offers on our house.

6. We accepted one offer and just wanted to move the date of sell. The buyer accepted that change and so we have sold our house.

7. Still without any knowledge of when we might officially be moving and having a job. Not to mention a place to live once we get there.

8. Our anniversary is this Friday. Happy 5 year anniversary!

9. Our oldest boy is now 2 (turned 2 in April)

10. Our youngest is almost 7 months. He is sitting up and really really wants to eat table food.

Lots more to happen in the next week or so. God is good and has watched over us the entire time.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The end of the wait is...


* Pending another visit which will include me preaching and visiting some adult SS classes and getting to meet more adults. Then the next week, there will be a vote and then we'll know for sure.

I'll post more soon. Need to get back to doing work

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

worn down

today i feel just worn down, beaten up. Whatever you want to call it. I think my crazy sleep pattern/schedule (go to bed at 9 3 nights and try to get up at 3am three days a week) is starting to take its toll on me. I think I have a sinus infection or something. I don't feel like eating much of anything. I have been up for over 12 hours today and just feel like I could sleep for the next 12 (which would be good because I have to be up at 3am tomorrow).

Plus on top of this, one of our good friends is still in the hospital from a heart attack and things don't look good. So I'm emotionally drained, too.

Just wanted to post and say I am ready to be out of this "valley" and back into ministry. Please be praying for me.


Friday, April 28, 2006

one week until we visit again

It feels like this has been the longest 3 weeks ever. Even longer than the last three weeks we were at our past church. Well one more week and we will be in IL.

Please pray for our trip. Thanks

Saturday, April 15, 2006


We are not a little bit closer to being at a new ministry. We should be going for a second interview at the church in IL. Waiting to get all the details soon (should be today). We are excited about this chance to visit the church again and hopefully it will be the last time before we "move" (that sounds weird, but hopefully we are close)

I feel strange being so much closer to being back in ministry (where I want to be), but its been so long that I have been out (almost 10 months). I am very thankful for the faithfulness God has shown and for the love and support from our friends and family.

Well, I need to go do some yard work. I just wanted to update on our situation and ask for continued prayer as we get ready for the second visit.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

the "humor" of it all

Well, what a week I have had. Last weekend, we went for an interview to southern IL. We had a great trip and felt really good about the church and the people. We feel it could be a place we would love to serve. Then, when we got back on Monday we had a message from a church in KY wanting to talk about an opening. I called and talked (and have had a few more conversations during the week) to one of the elders about their position. Yesterday, he asked if we would be able to come up and visit. So, pending a final notice tomorrow, we are going to visit this weekend.

And I got an offer from another church. We are not sure if it is a place God has for us or not. So, now we really need to hear God's voice and trust in Him.

This is where the "humor" comes in. For nine months we trust God to lead us to the right congregation and now we have 3 good places (one for sure and we will know about the other 2 in less than two weeks). God sure does work in mysterious ways.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

joy in the daily tasks

Last night, God showed me the importance of finding joy in the little things. I went outside with Nathan to just spend some time together before dinner. While we were out there I started to talk with him about the moon, stars, clouds. Nothing unusual, I try to talk with him about all the things we experience throughout the day. Well, for some reason, he really was interested in the moon. He sat for at least 10 minutes just watching it. It wasn't doing much, mind you. When a cloud would roll in front and cover it up, he would say "uh oh" and turn to me like he wanted me to fix it. As I sat and watched him enthralled by the sky I couldn't help but be encouraged to remember all God has done for me. Everything we encounter was created by God.

I just wanted to pass on a reminder to enjoy the daily tasks of life, for it is in them we see God.

Friday, March 10, 2006

the journey treads on...

Well, I am coming up to my 9 month date for when I was asked to start looking for another ministry. It doesn't seem that long (it seems a lot longer).

A quick update...

Had a job interview last weekend. It went well. Supposed to be talking with the Sr. minister sometime in the next few days.

Have an interview next weekend. Praying for wisdom in both situations.

Sent in an application for an internship.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

frustration and God

I don't really know how much more I can say about how difficult it is to be in the same area as the church we left. It's not just being in the area, but hearing about things going on. All the while, knowing more than anyone what happened behind the scenes. This knowledge makes it hard to feel the way we do and have people wonder why we feel this way.

All I can say right now is "blah"

I just feel defeated, feel like its not fair, feel like I've been forgotten.

Are these things true, no. But it can become an easy thing to feel.

Yet, all the while, I know God is still there - still taking care of us. I know He has a plan for us, I know He is teaching me something in this. I know He has taught others lessons by watching us go through this.

(It would just be nice to not be in the middle of it)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What a pair...

Amy and Nathan on porch
Originally uploaded by lilkup.

A pic of 2 of the 3 people I look forward to seeing everyday.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

God peaks around the corner...

It feels like God peaked out a little bit last week. He did not show us everything, just a little (thus the peaking). We heard back from the church in OH on Thursday. We did not hear what we wanted (ie. we did not get the position), but we did hear from God. We felt different about this opportunity - had felt it might be the one.

I was told that it came down to me and one other person. The biggest and final factor was that this other candidate was a "Timothy" from the church. And they had decided a few years ago to try to hire Timothys when they had a chance. So that does not bother me. I was told the elders tried to figure out how to hire both of us, but could not find the extra money. It was a good conversation and we know the doors are not completely closed. There is a possiblity that if something changes and they can hire another staff and we don't have another job lined up, they could contact us.

For me it was not a typical "no" conversation. And I actually felt a little encouraged afterward. Obviously, we don't know where we are going and we feel a little "lost, unsure..."

God has already showed us that we are not forgotten. Yesterday I got a call from a friend who passed on another job opening he found out about during a leadership conference this past week. God knows what is going on and He knows the big picture, and little by little He shows us a little bit more.

Thanks for the prayers.

If you know of any openings, I would welcome them. And if you happen to have any extra money to send to the church in Oh or to us, don't hesitate :)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

more time to discuss

The church in OH has told us they need more time to discuss the job. So, now we are still waiting to find out or not. We hope to let you know by next week what the answer is. Please continue to pray for the elders and us and the decision. Thanks

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

another deadline

Tonight the church in OH has a meeting (well the elders do) about the youth minister. So, our waiting to hear about whether or not we will continue the process could be nearing an end. If you read this tonight (Tuesday), please say a prayer about the decision and us. Thanks

Sunday, January 22, 2006


It has been almost 7 months since I found out I needed to start looking for a new ministry. I've worked 3 months of that at the church, had 2 months to stay at home and am going on my 2nd month of working two part time jobs. Over these months I have been learning a lot about myself and my God. I wish I had the time now to share what I've learned, but I have to get up tomorrow at 3am.

I wanted to update and let those who read this (if any) that I should hear this week about the church I went to interview with last week. We would love to be able to work at this church, but we are trusting God's guidance and know He will take us to the right place (whether here or somewhere else).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

silent no more

to anyone who has been waiting for some updates...

It has been a while since I have updated. This is mostly due to the fact that I feel like I am busier than ever. I am still employed by Target and my dentist friend. I usually work between 40 and 45 hours a week (some weeks more) - not too much more than when I was in ministry. Yet, it feels very different. Either 3 or 4 days a week I get to wake up at 3am and will work from 4 til 5pm (1/2 at each job). So I am usually pretty tired at the end of the day.

Some news on the ministry front, thankfully. This weekend we are going to a church for an interview. It will be a long weekend, but it will be well worth it. We are excited about the opportunity that this congregation brings. The position is for ms/hs and young adults. Please be praying for our trip and the interview.

We are praying that if this is it, both sides will have a peace about the decision.

(I hope the next post will be sooner than 1 month :))