Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Office Drama: Every place needs a hero

To help you til tomorrow night's episode...another Office drama video. Saw this one on Life in the Office (LITO). If you are a fan of The Office, you need to check this site out.

This video is for the Dwight fans. Every Place Needs a Hero...

It's crazy what you can do with the right editing. I must say I like this video concept better, but think the first one was better done.

Lessons from the Simpsons

Watching the Simpsons the other day I watched an episode called "Lisa's Sax" There was one particular footage that hit me as both funny and sad at the same time. On the show it was funny, the connection to reality was sad.

Episode basically was about telling how Lisa got her sax, after it was smashed. At one moment in the flashback we see Homer looking at a new air conditioner (due to a heatwave hitting Springfield and the Simpson's air conditioner being broken). Meanwhile Lisa has crossed the street standing in front of a music store admiring the instruments. Earlier in the show we see a shrink tell Homer and Marge that Lisa has a gift and it has to be encouraged. So, while standing in front of the store, Homer says something like "musical instruments, is that a way to encourage a gifted child?" Then looking up he says "just give me a sign." Right then the store owner places a sign in the front window that says "musical instruments: encourage a gifted child." Homer "that works for me."

As I watched it, I was struck by how true that is. How many people, when searching for a "sign" from God, want to have things written out in the exact words we want?

I don't think God gives us signs like that. When we want to know if "Bob" is the right guy for me to marry (its just an example) don't we ask for a "sign" from God. Like Bob's name is written in your cereal or you hear his name on the radio a lot. We try to find signs we want to see.

As a youth minister, how can I teach the students to listen to God's voice (without speaking for Him)?

family back

Today is a good day. My family is coming back today. This means a lot of things; better meals will start again, boredom will be replaced with play, quiet will become noisy.

I am so happy. I can't wait til this afternoon!

Trivia Wednesday #2

Answer #1 - Alaska (you were right Jeremy)

(b/c I miss my wife and boys, this week's question is in honor of Nathan)

Question #2 - What are the names of, at least 3, Bob the Builder's "friends/equipment"? Bonus points if you can also name what type of equipment they are. I can name at least 12 right now without looking. And no, Thomas the Train is not one.

BTW - Nathan will be judging this one and if he doesn't count your answer, I'm sorry no points. :)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

D x V x F > R

On Sunday, during the message, the sr. minister was talking about having a heart for God. In the middle of the message he added the equation (see title) he heard from an Upward Basketball Coaches meeting the day before. And its been in my mind since. I'm struggling with applying it to the youth ministry (as well as my own personal life :)).

So, what does it mean?

D(esire) x V(ision) x F(irst step) > R(estriction)

Desire times Vision times your first steps must be greater than the restrictions. When we want to do something, this is the equation we have to fill in to accomplish our goal. For example, if you want to start exercising you have to have a desire. Along with the desire to exercise you must have the vision of what it will look like once you have started. And you must take those first steps to exercising. All of these must be greater than the restrictions that keep you from exercising. If the first 3 are not great than your restrictions you will not accomplish your goal.

I am putting the pieces together in areas in my personal life that I want to change. As I have been thinking about it, I am saddened by the fact that it feels like the restrictions are far greater than the other 3. Why is that? Is it the constant struggle between flesh and spirit? Whatever it is I have been struggling with the why? Is it the desire, or vision or first step that is keeping me back?

Then I have also been trying to apply it to my ministry. As far as a way to think through stuff. For example, when it comes to youth coaches (volunteers) how can I make the restrictions lower? I don't think I can do much for the other 3, in someone else. So as a youth minister, my job is to make sure the restrictions are as low as they can be. This will help encourage that the other side of the equation is greater than the restrictions.

Thoughts? comments? ideas?

Please share. I am trying to think outloud with this one.

girls basketball

Well, starting yesterday I am by myself for a few days. :( And I have no car. But that's okay, because I live in a small town and most everyone passes by my house when they are going to the school, so I get a ride from my sr. pastor.

Last night was a long night. I stayed at work til about 6ish. Then rode home and tried to get a quick bite for supper (its a lot harder to do "quick" meals when your wife doesn't get them ready beforehand). Needless to say, last night's supper was pretty low on the "let's make a good well balanced meal" and high on the "gotta eat quick and get to the game" level. Anyhow, I got to the game in the 3rd quarter of the JV.

Ok, lets talk about JV sports. Last night felt like watching a middle school game. Neither team was making any shots they took. There were so many turnovers that I lost track. Even a few from people just losing the dribble, while standing still. Now, I'm not trying to bring them down - because I don't think I would get out there (in fact I didn't when I was in high school). It just seemed to be a little worse than normal. So, the game ended up 28 to 25. We won, but not without trying to let them. They just could not make a shot.

The varsity game was a little different. For one, the ball handling was a lot better and the shooting was better (though there were still a few air balls, but don't we all do that). Halftime of the game, the score had already suppassed the JV game. The final was 56-39 - we won again. I think it was the first time all season both teams won the same night. It was also senior recognition.

For the first time this year I was able to stay for the whole game. I don't get to watch most of the varsity games due to the need to get the boys home and in bed. So since I was alone, I stayed for all the game (plus I knew I had to walk home and was avoiding that at all costs). One thing I was encouraged by last night was the coaches. They did not seem overly aggressive at the players. Yeah, they "encouraged" them to play better, but I never heard or saw any downgrading of the players. The coaches were very encouraging after the game and even during the game when certain calls were not made.

And the best part was being able to interact with students and parents/adults from the community. I think a lot of the students are getting used to seeing me and know who I am. I hope they know my concern for them and would feel comfortable coming to me if they ever need anything. Building relationships is the real reason I go to the games. To be honest, I would much rather stay home and spend time with family or read :) (well, most days)

Now, if I can just get more of the youth coaches to go.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

funeral #3 & 1 baptism

This morning was cold. I got up and spent some time playing with the boys. Around 10:30 I left for a funeral. This was the funeral for another students' grandpa. But there were quite a few differences in this one from the one yesterday or even the first one of the year.

First, I don't know anyone in the family except the grandson. He came to our Christmas Party and I've seen him at various school events.

Second, the grandpa was not a follower of Jesus. So the mood was a lot different. It was not much of a celebration, like yesterday's funeral was.

Third, it was a graveside only service. So it was cold.

Fourth, it was a military funeral. A majority of the service was based around his time in the Navy.

Fifth, the "message" from the chaplin was very brief and rather vague. He talked about what Jesus did for us on the cross, but not more than maybe twice.

Sixth, because of #2 it was one of those services where the chaplin tried to reassure the family that he was in a better place now.

Seventh, I didn't drive, but got a ride from one of the teen's. So I ended up riding with 1 teen from our church, 1 had at met once at school and another that I met for the first time today.

I am really glad I went and I pray for the family. Sometimes it seems the best ministry we can do is to be there in times of sorrow and struggle.

on to the other big thing...
A few hours ago I was able to be a part (through witnessing) of a baptism. One of the juniors was baptized today by his dad. How cool it was to watch. His dad was baptized a few months ago and its always special to watch a parent baptize their child. It was a smaller setting, probably about 20 or so people. Unfortunately for the two in the baptismal, it was not heated. :)

What a day it has been.

As I am finishing up I realized that I spent a lot more time typing about the funeral. And I started wondering why that was. A quick answer would be that I believe, although, baptism is important the bigger thing is what follows. The discipeship and teaching that needs to happen. Otherwise, I think we can treat a baptism like a funeral. We think about it a lot, but after a short period we get back to "life," usually with little noticable change.

Friday, January 26, 2007

another funeral today

Today I attended another funeral. It is the 3rd or 4th one in the last few months. This one was one of those "happy" funerals. Maybe joyful is a better word, because this lady had lived a full life and is in a much better place now. There was a lot of singing and worship. There were lots of memories shared. There were lots of tears. Some of them sad, but I think most of them had a hint of relief that the suffering she had endured was over.

A beautiful farewell.

The Office - Crime Drama video

If you like The Office, check out this video. Its a look at the Office as a crime drama. Pretty good editing.

I found it on Life in the Office

Photo Friday #3

trash a la mode :)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Trivia Wednesday #1

Because Wednesday can be a lag in the week, I thought I'd start a new series to help keep the brain thinking. So each Wednesday, or so, I'll post a trivia question. It could be about any subject and will range in difficulty. I'll post the answer the following week, along with a new question. Hope you enjoy. Post your answer by leaving a comment on each trivia question's post.

#1 - Which U.S. state was once part of the USSR?

(if there are any subjects you would like to be covered, please let me know)

Dakota Fanning's rape scene

I just heard about this on the Youth Ministry Exchange forums yesterday. Since I had not heard of it I wasn't sure what to think. I didn't know how much was shown, how it was shot or anything. I just found another article on the subject. You can read the whole thing here, but here is a part that caught my attention...

The disturbing scene lasts a few minutes but is not graphic. There is no nudity, the scene is very darkly lit and only Fanning's face and hand are shown.

Kampmeier said it took her a decade to get the film made, largely because of the rape scene, but cutting it was a compromise she was unwilling to make.

"This issue is so silenced in our society. There are a lot of women who are alone with this story," she said.

"When you're shooting a film, it's the images you line up next to each other that create a story," Kampmeier said. "If you have a hand hitting the ground, Dakota screaming 'stop' and you see a zipper unzip - that creates a rape."

I do not think anyone, regardless of age, should have to go through filming a rape scene. I would assume the mental battles with that would last a long time. I would hope the depiction from the article, of a non-graphic scene, is what is in the movie. I will probably never know, because I probably will never see the film. I would also hope the shooting of the scene was done with the utmost decency and respect.

Was it right for her to shoot it? Was it right for the director to keep it in the film? Should followers of Christ boycott the film? Will this film help some women feel more able to talk about a past rape?

This is what Dakota says at the end of the article:

"It's not really happening," Fanning said of a rape. "It's a movie, and it's called acting. I'm not going through anything. Cody and Isabelle aren't going through anything, their characters are.

"And for me, when it's done it's done," she said. "I don't even think about it anymore."

With all of the publicity and media attention on this one scene, I don't think she will be able to say "I don't think about it anymore" for a while. Even if she has moved on, I don't think the culture will for awhile.

What about her mom? I don't think that I would want my child to go through a scene like that. Maybe its because I'm not an actor, nor the parent of an actor. But I just don't know what to make. Its just the same thing I feel about Jessica Simpsons' dad (her manager and former minister) being completely ok with her doing all the sensual stuff and not having a problem with it. Does Hollywood have different standards and do you conform to them to "make it"?

Prayer lesson #2

The other day, I got another prayer lesson from my son. We were at dinner and I had just gotten back from a volleyball game at the school. While he was praying, Nathan thanked God for my safe travel from the game. Now, the school is only .4 miles from my driveway. I didn't think much about the trip, but Nathan thought it was important enough to thank God. I almost started crying to hear him pray for me like that (without any prompting from anyone).

I know God heard his prayer and it was one I didn't think twice about not saying.

Monday, January 22, 2007

daily reminder from my 2 year old

My two year old is pretty cool. Yeah, I know I'm biased.

Just about every day, he reminds me of a very important spiritual truth. To be honest, I'm not sure exactly how he picked this up except from just watching Amy and me. Every time he prays before we eat he prays for everything on his plate. I mean everything: each item of food, his napkin, drink, spoon, fork and whatever else he happens to have. He thanks God specifically for everything he has. There have been times where he will thank God for other things he has, non food items, during our mealtime prayer.

How often do I thank God specifically for all the blessings He has given to me? I am reminded of the difference in a general thank you and a specific thank you. I need to spend more time praying specifically and less generally.

How about you?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Photo Friday (Sunday) #2

a picture of how you feel after an overnighter :) (or maybe its just a jr. high sunday school class)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Oscar's (Dwight's) return on The Office

Well, it happened. Much faster than I thought it would, Dwight is back. I was really hoping for at least a week or two with him out of the office. But the Staples scenes were good. I just was hoping for a Beet Farm scene.

What do we learn? When Andy is annoying, he is annoying!!

More thoughts to come. I just wanted to say it was a good episode.

Anyone want some Mexican lemonade? :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

good trip

So far the trip has been great. We had good weather most of the way. We've been able to see a good bit of our families so far. And tonight is Christmas again :) (though I have a feeling it will mostly be for the boys). but nonetheless, its Christmas. So, we'll get to see everyone and eat a big meal and laugh and open presents.

I hope you're having a good non-Christmas.

ps. the Office didn't get anything at the Golden Globes :(

Sunday, January 14, 2007

telephone and teenagers

Today in SS, I started class with a game of telephone. I was quite surprised the first time though. The phrase "The little monkey fell down the stairs" made it all the way around without mistake. But the second time was a bit different. I made it a little harder. the phrase "John at Timmy's soup, but Timmy didn't make soup he made burgers" (disregard all grammar errors, please). It came back as "Jim ate a cheeseburger, Fred did not." Not quite as close :)

Apparently it didn't take long from Timmy to become Fred, I don't know when Jim changed places with John.

on another note, if you are reading this I would love to have you pray for us as we travel this next week to visit family. The weather could be really bad. thanks.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Photo Friday #1

I've tried this before, but this time its going to stick :)

So, here it is the first Photo Friday of 2007

(my son - future worship leader?)

The Office in a church

I was just reading a blog entry from one of the prop guys on The Office about last night's episode. I found this part pretty interesting:

Stanley and Ryan

We went to a church in the San Fernando Valley and basically moved a few things around, but we didn't do much. Most of the actors knew Leslie (Stanley) from other projects so it was cool they got to work with him now that he's a recognizable face. We spent a lot time figuring out how to shoot that scene, so most of the crew hung out in the sanctuary.

So part of the episode was taped in a church. I didn't even realize it was a church (maybe due to the less than stellar reception we were getting last night)

Dwight vs. Andy - The Office

What an episode. Despite the fact that they put a lot of the funny clips out as previews I wasn't expecting near as much to happen in one episode. The cold open was not nearly as funny the second time - though "Long Tim" is still funny.

A few lessons to take away from the episode:
1. Even people who don't like each other can make a good team.
Dwight and Jim made a great salesteam :) (great moments throughout the whole sales call - Dwight sitting in back, getting pumped up, being slapped, the whole "on hold" scene)
2. You need to know your customer.
Phylis and Karen getting the "makeover." And on the negative side - Stanley letting Ryan handle his sales call.
3. When you are talking to someone, its not about you.
Andy trying to one-up the fishing stories.
4. Some things are more important than a job.
Dwight putting his relationship with Angela first.
5. Sometimes life is just funny.
Ryan. Stanley. Jim. Dwight. :)

I must say, I was a little off about the Stanley clip. But Ryan asking to handle it makes it even worse because Stanley did nothing to help prepare him.

ps. I'm hoping for some Dwight on the beet farm footage now.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stuck on a plane

I saw this on the Today Show this morning and just couldn't believe it actually happened.

Stuck on plane

Think Jr. High overnighter :)

(If there was a preacher on board, I wonder if he felt an urging to stand up and preach to the captive audience.)

reminders of what is important

As I am sitting in my office trying to get important stuff done, like lessons and future planning, my mind keeps going backward to about 11am this morning. Why does my mind keep going back to this time? This was about the end time for a funeral I went to this morning. I did not know Edith. I do know, and care about, a lot of her family. She was 86 and has quite a great family still here. One of Edith's daughters and her husband were one of the families we stayed with when we were interviewing for this position. I co-teach the high school Sunday School with her granddaughter's husband. Two of her great-grandchildren are in the high school youth group. We live across the street from more of her family.

All day I have been thinking about the tears I saw. All I could do after the funeral was hug those who were crying. I could not take away the pain. I could not remove the sorrow. But I don't think I would, even if I could. Tears come from the love you have for a person and these tears were full of years of love.

As the youth minister for those two high schoolers, I hurt with them. (Not on the same level as they do, though) I hurt for them, too. Are the things I'm "doing" in youth ministry helping students learn to strive in life or am I just filling time?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mail lost in the system

I read a few articles this week about mail being delivered over 50 years after it was sent. And don't forget The Simpsons episode about the mailman frozen for something like 50 years and then his mail being delivered. I always think it would be weird to get mail like that.

Well, it finally happened. Sorta. Yesterday we got a piece of mail (actually a newsletter from the church) that was from last year. Ok, so it was Oct. 25. It was right around when we moved and the church hadn't put our new address in the system yet. So the mail never got forwarded to us and we just assumed we weren't going to get it. But yesterday it came :)

It does feel weird to get mail that is now old and outdated. Maybe someone will run a story on this. Anyway, I thought it was funny.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The office and youth ministry

I must say I don't watch much TV. A few reasons:

1. no cable (and the local channels don't all come in clear)
2. 2 small boys (which means there is more important things to do like cook pretend food and fix stuff with tools)
3. not many good shows on (in my opinion)
4. i'd rather read
5. I can find all the recaps online and can still know what is going on without actually watching :)

There are 2 main shows I watch each week. The Simpsons and The Office. (back to the reason for the post)

I was watching a preview clip (sales team out in the field)for this week's episode of the office today with Amy and just started cracking up. Its classic Stanley (I think Stanley and Toby need more airtime). He goes with Ryan on a sales call and just "dumps" the presentation on Ryan to handle, while he does his crosswords. It was a great clip - at only a minute clip its worth the entire episode (especially the few seconds of them back in the car after the call is over). Anyway, I was thinking about the clip in reference to Youth Ministry.

In the clip, Stanley puts Ryan on the spot without any prewarning or prior knowledge. Ryan pretty much stands there dumbfounded and has no idea what to do. How many times in ministry do we (paid youth workers) put youth coaches in charge of things without really doing any training or help. I think the biggest concern for me is the Sunday School teachers. It seems we ask people to do it and if they say "yes" then we give them some curriculum (on a good day) and let them go. What a disservice to both the teacher and the students. If the adults who help in youth ministry feel anything like what Ryan looked like in the clip, then we need to rethink our whole process.

I want to make sure in my ministry that I don't just let people serve without being ready.

Have you found that training is best done before people start serving and then reinforced during their time of service?

I think this post is turning into a much longer post than I expected...maybe it needs to be multiple.

(i hope the show on Thursday is as funny as the few clips i've seen)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Walk the Line

yesterday my wife and I watched Walk the Line for the first time. Though it was not a straight viewing (thanks to kids and eating) it was nice to watch a movie with her. I had heard a lot about the movie but hadn't seen it. In college I had a friend who was a huge Johnny Cash fan, so I knew a little about him.

A few thoughts on the movie (based strictly on the movie)...

1. Cash lived by his emotions
2. I was reminded of the fact that when we think others (esp. those in the spotlight) have a better life than us we often forget about that "rest of their life". You know that part we don't often know about. We compare ourselves to what we know about the other person, not the total of who they are.
3. As a dad, I can play a huge part of how my boys see themselves. My words and actions can affect their life and actions.
4. It is hard to be a friend when your friend is hurting themselves.
5. temptation is strong and sometimes it takes others to step in to get us to stop the cycle of giving in.

meeting last night

Had a meeting last night to talk about an upcoming event. All said and done, the meeting was alright (a few good points came out). But if had to do it over again, I won't show up.

This is an event we've done before and that I haven't been a part of. Myself and the youth team leaders want ot make sure things are done the same way with the same people b/c that is the way its always been done. Well last night there was a lot of "we've always done it this way" and some hesitation to see a need to change. Granted there was not a lot of time to show a need to change or that there has to be great changes. The really frustrating thing was not that, though.

Atleast twice during the meeting, people started talking negatively toward other churches in the area. They talk about how the local churches need to do more together and work closer with each other. Then they talk about how the way one church is doing something is so wrong and closeminded. It was frustrating to listen to the negativity. I have only been here about 7 months and I am the only fulltime youth minister in town. I just met one more part time ym this past week, which makes 3 total. With most of the congregations not having a youth program it is difficult to organize working together with them.

I just hate to hear people bash other churches for a method. If its their ministry then they can do it the way they want to. If we work with them, then we are doing just that, working with them. You don't go in and tell the Red Cross that you want to hold a blood drive but think it needs to be done your way.

just left the meeting feeling a little down. (also a few of the adults who have low self-esteem and I am struggling to work with them without "hurting" their feelings b/c they take everything personally.)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

the new quarters at 5th Quarter

Last night at 5th Quarter (just jr. highers) I got some of them to look for an Alaskan quarter. We were giving stuff away and I said the first person to bring a 1996 quarter to me would get a shirt. Then I told them the first person to bring me a quarter with Alaska on it would get $100. They were overly excited :) That is until I told one of them it would be coming out until 2008. :) I thought it was fun.

Friday, January 05, 2007

quick quote

this is from our New Year's party last week.

one of the other adults (female) came in to the room I was in and said, "oh, there you are. You have to go to the game room and take our place. They are farting in there and we just can't take it anymore. You're a guy, you can handle it."

The sad thing was that when I got in the room it didn't really smell at all to me :) Maybe I am a little more "used" to those things.

I'll post more later. Today is a busy day, basketball game tonight then 5th Quarter afterward. Plus I'm fighting off a cold and trying to catch up on sleep from last week.