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 :)