Tuesday, July 31, 2007

5 Things youth ministers don't want you to know

I ran across this article on 10 things grocery stores don't want you to know and I got to thinking. Are there things we, as youth ministers, don't want the students or adults to know about the youth ministry.

Here are 5 things youth ministers don't want you to know...

1. Some trips are planned for selfish reasons. A few of those trips to Six Flags, the baseball game, the beach or lunch and a movie are planned just because the youth minister wants to go.

2. Not everyone is liked equally. It is true, youth ministers do not get along equally with everyone in the group. Now, its not because they don't love you or want to see you go to Heaven. Its more of a personality difference. And hopefully, these students will never know the "effort" needed to be around them.

3. Lock-ins aren't bad - they're horrible. 5 words - jr. high boys at 5am.

4. Pizza is an easy food option. Youth ministers order pizza for events because it is easy and fairly resonably priced. It is understood that not everyone wants pizza each Wednesday and Sunday, but why think of something new. Plus, most of the leftovers will go home with the youth minister - so more free meals.

5. Youth ministers are not perfect and do not have everything together. Most of the time, youth ministers try to look and act like everything is great. Really, there are constant struggles, battles to be holy. Despite how much youth ministers appear to be the "ideal Christian," their not perfect. When interacting with a youth minister, please remember they are a person and have feelings too.

Any other secrets?

Youth Ministry Bloggers - Facebook group

If you are a youth ministry blogger and you have a facebook account, then check out the Youth Ministry Bloggers Group I created. Its only been up for a few days and it has already had some good discussion about blogging.

The group is open to only youth ministry bloggers; whether you just started or have been blogging since the early '70s. Come and join the discussion...

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Horror of Youth Sunday...

... that is the feeling I sense behind this bulletin cover.

This is a picture from a church bulletin yesterday for "youth Sunday." No, it wasn't my church. We don't have "youth Sunday" anymore. No, this was a bulletin from another local congregation. We were there with a group for a Sunday night rally (which could be an entirely other post) and I ran across the bulletin sitting by the door.

This just brings up so many of the bad feelings I have encountered with "youth Sunday" over the years. Whether its a every 5th Sunday or just a couple times year - there seems to be one main understanding by most people. That is to say "youth Sunday is going to be bad. I will learn nothing. We will endure and be back to normal next week." And this bulletin doesn't help at all.

So, what do you do to get the youth involved in ministry without having it happen only on a youth Sunday? And how do you handle "youth Sunday?" Here are a few tips that have worked for me:

1. Don't call it "Youth Sunday!" We call our 5th Sunday - Family Sunday. Our emphasis is on families sitting and worshiping together.

2. Get the students involved all 52 weeks of the year. I'm not saying you have to have a youth band or praise team. But if you have a student who can play an instrument or sing, then get them connected with the adults to be on a rotation (at least) of the regular praise team. Maybe some students can do a special a few times a year.

3. Don't do it just because. If you are having a special service (Youth Sunday) because the church has always had one, don't. Maybe the group dynamics have changed and the leadership is not there anymore. Maybe you don't have anyone who wants to get up and speak or sing. Take some time off and focus on training and discipling the students. Then (maybe) you might have some leaders who could really do a stellar job the next time you want to do it.

4. If you're going to do it, do it well. Have practice. Have an order of service that each participant gets - and don't hand it out on Sunday morning. Go over each aspect and help the students where needed. If there are not any students who can preach, or don't want to preach by themselves - do a tag team sermon or help them write and practice. Whatever you do, do not let the service be low quality - it will only continue the feeling that Youth Sunday is a Sunday worth missing.

5. Teach the congregation. Throughout the year, make it a point to share with the congregation (corporately or individually) about the students. Share that they are as much a part of the congregation as the adults. Some adults are "ready" to be in more visible roles and some are not. Some youth are "ready" to be in visible roles and some are not. It is not a matter of age. Really, its a matter of gifts and spiritual maturity.

What experiences have you had with Youth Sunday? Do you have any other tips?

Friday, July 27, 2007

5 lesson/message titles

I was thinking about some upcoming titles for lessons I'm doing. So I thought I'd share a few titles with you all. If you need a title for a series/lesson/message, try one of these.

1 - The prophet and the prostitute (Hosea)

2 - No, I didn't hear God wrong, that was yesterday (Listening to God, understanding God)

3 - Fish Food for Thought (Jonah)

4 - Authentic Faith in a Changing World: Why Faith Matters (faith)

5 - Vacuum pressure (peer pressure)

6* - Free Pizza (not a title, but it'll draw a crowd)

The Simpsons: Homer's Tonight Show Monologue

The Simpsons Movie hits theaters (in the US) today. If you can't make it to see the theater today or just want to see some more Homer - here is a clip for you. Its from Homer's Tonight Show with Jay Leno appearance.

Photo Friday: Fair Food

Ah, fair food. Deep fried "goodness." This is the place I got the funnel cake that made me sick.

Can you spot the misspelled words?

What is your favorite fair food?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

County Fair: Day Four

Day four was a much slower day at the fair. All of the showing is done and there isn't much entertainment in the exhibition building the last few days. But today had one last big event for the youth - the auction.

Up til a few years ago the buyer actually bought the animal from the 4-H student. Now they just give the person a check and the student gets to keep the animal too. What a deal. I'm hoping most of the kids put the money back (well, I hope the parents do) and save it for college or something.

It was really encouraging to see the community support the students and make the auction really fun to watch. Some of the students came out rather well :)

Then I met up with Amy and the boys to look at Floral Hall and the school projects. Floral Hall has all the other entries. People put in plants, photos, produce, paintings, flowers and a lot more. Its always fun to walk around and look at the talent we have in the community. I'm thinking about entering something next year - we'll see.

One last item: the tickets for the rides at the carnival are $2/each or $15/wristband. $2 to slide down an inflatable slide - no thank you

The Simpsons: The Movie countdown

One more day until The Simpsons Movie opens in theaters. Though I haven't heard great reviews for it, I'm excited to go see it. I'm probably gonna go see it with a few of the students, so it'll be a bonus.

After I watch the giant Simpsons on the movie screen I'll let you know what I thought.

Are you going to see it?

County Fair: Day Three

Day 3 was Cattle Day for me. Starting at 8am I watched students show their cows. I even took an hour or so off to come back home and spend some time with my sister before she went back home.

The coolest part of the day was in between the two cow shows, they had a cow weight guessing contest. they put 4 huge cows in the ring and you guessed the total weight. Anyone could do it and they had different categories, based on age. I came in 3rd in my division (won a free ribeye sandwich - which was very good). Not too bad for a city boy.

After watching cows for way too long, I went to work for 2 hours. Then it was home to pick up the family and head back to the fair. We watched the dog obedience. That was really interesting. All the dogs were good, but some were just amazing.

We opted to avoid the carnival in the evening and I think it was great to be home for supper and playtime. Another good day at the fair.

I really got to spend some time talking to a couple students today. Even a few I don't normally get to talk to.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

County Fair: Day Two

What a day it was!

Let me just say that I got to interact/talk with a lot of students and adults. It was a good day to connect with some students, their parents and meet a few new people around town. The day started with the hog show. Nothing like watching hogs walk around a pen. After the hog show (which took over 3 hours) it was home for lunch. Then back for the goat show. Let's just say the goat show is not nearly as full as the hog show. I got a surprise dessert while I waited for the goat show. After the goat show it was home to spend some time with the family and my sister who was visiting. Then after the boys were up, it was back to the fair for some more fun.

The evening was rather full. We watched harness racing and ate dinner. After a few races it was off to the carnival for Kim (my sister) & Wes (my youngest), I went to listen to a few teens sing and play in the exhibition hall, and Nathan (oldest) and Amy went back to harness racing. After about an hour of that it was time for the funnel cake - which Nathan had been asking about all day long. So funnel cake and more harness racing. Then about 8:30 it was time to go home. We got to see a few teens from camp, so that was cool - esp. because they were excited about seeing us.

Let me finish by just saying that the fair food (probably too much funnel cake) made me sick. :) But I feel much better today.

Trivia Wednesday #27

answer #26 - Amen

question #27 - To what did the singing duo of Tom & Jerry change their names?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

County Fair: Day one

Day one was a little eventful. I watched the teens judge some animals. That is like watching students take a test. Not all that exciting, but I'm glad I got to do it. Then I watched the sheep show. I'm proud of the four students who had sheep this year. They all did great. Since it was a slower day, I took some time to walk around and visit with as many people as I could.

Then came the harness racing. Nathan really wanted to watch the horses (even over riding the carnival rides - which are $2/ride). Again I got to see and talk to quite a few students. One of the girls (16 years old) from church was racing in the harness racing. It was good to get to see her race.

It was a good first day of the fair.

the "Price is Right" for Drew Carey

Drew Carey, come on down! You're the next host of the Price is Right

According to this article, Drew will be replacing Bob Barker.

I'm gonna watch just once to see how he does. It will be a little different than Whose Line (it is daytime TV).

Monday, July 23, 2007

County Fair

Today starts the week of Fair for me. Last night was Vespers and today starts all the showing/judging. I am going to be at the fair a lot this week, watching a lot of my students and other students showing animals and waiting for ribbons. Last year, I had a good time. This year, I know a lot more people, so I am sure it will be that much better.

I'll post pictures/stories if anything good happens.

Gotta love this part of ministry in a small town.

ArkAlmighty: Evan plays backup at concert

Evan took time out of his busy schedule on Friday night to play backup for a concert we had at the church. This is him before the show. He wanted to make sure he wasn't overdressed.

Here he is rocking out during the show. Look how much he is getting into it. I did start wondering if his guitar was even plugged in. But either way, he had a great stage presence.

Another picture of Even at the end of the show. I don't think he even helped tear down any of the equipment.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Photo Friday #27: VBS decor & more

Here are two pictures or room decorations from our VBS.

Here is a picture of my class (part of it)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Church Signs: Cheesy or just bad?

I've seen some pretty bad church signs. Recently I've seen two that are worthy of repeat:

"The best vitamin for a Christian - B1"
"TGIF - Tithes Go In First"

Have you seen any good church signs lately? I'd love to hear them.

to quote someone else: Duffy Robbins (youth discipleship)

"Perhaps we spend too much time preparing and urging our youth for the big, giant step choices, when we should spend more time rejoicing in the baby steps that are taken."
"Virtually every biblical metaphor of Christian growth alludes to a long-term process."

taken from The Ministry of Nurture by Duffy Robbins

How many times have I gotten frustrated with myself and the students because they aren't making big steps like I want. I forget the goal is not quick behavior modification, but long-term maturity.

Today, look at the steps your students are taking. Rejoice with them as they journey down the path of maturity. Encourage them to keep stepping.

What "highlights" do you have to look back on? What are some of the smallest steps a student has taken, but that step was huge in their growth and maturity?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Office: Season 4 Premiere

I have heard Sept. 27th is the date for the start of season 4 of The Office. Not only is that exciting... what will Jim and Pam do on their date? Will Karen stay in Scranton? How much will Kelly hate Ryan now?

But NBC has also announced it will be an hour long episode. At the end of last season they announced there would be 5 hour long episodes, and it looks like the first 4 episodes of season 4 will be an hour long. That only leaves one more (hopefully, the season finale).

And to help with the wait, my favorite "Michael vs. Toby" video

Smallest Churches in the World

I've been in a small church before, but never this small. Roadsideamerica has come up with a list of the world's smallest churches (er, the smallest church buildings).

This is a picture of my favorite. Here is the description:

Oneida, New York: We think it just might be the One. Cross Island Chapel, "The World's Smallest Church," sits on a wooden platform in the center of a pond. A billboard near the road details everything you need to know: "Built in 1989. Floor area 51 inches by 81 inches (28.68 square feet). Seats two people. Non-denominational. Dedicated as a witness to God." Years ago we read a newspaper account of a wedding held at Cross Island Chapel, with only room to accommodate the minister, bride and groom. The rest of the wedding party anchored nearby in small boats. Guests on shore imagined how the vows went.

It's open to the public on request, and accessible only by boat.

And you thought your last church had a bad location or was hard to get to.

Trivia Wednesday #26

answer #25 - Carson City, Nevada

question #26 - Which word has entered more than 1200 languages without change? (pastors love to hear this word)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The cost of lost love: discussion starter

How much does love cost? Well, that depends who you are and if you hurt someone you love.

I found this article about a man from IL who sued over lose of love. I think you can use the article to open up a discussion on love, relationships, greed or marriage.

The one sentence that stands out to me is:

Blinov (man who had to pay $4,802 for stealing another man's wife's love) doesn't deny having a relationship with Natalie Friedman (woman in the middle of it all) while she was married, but he was surprised to learn he could be sued for it.
He has no problem with the unmarried sex or being involved with breaking up a marriage - but he is shocked that he could be sued for doing it.

Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Coming to a theater near you on May 16, 2008.

Mark your calendars and save you money (it'll probably be $15 to watch a movie by next year). It'll be worth the wait. I've never read Prince Caspian, Amy is reading all the Narnia books this summer and said Prince Caspian is her favorite so far. We'll find out in 10 months how it translates into a movie.

It should be a good youth group outing movie.

Monday, July 16, 2007

First Wedding and a Funeral

This last week has been a series of firsts for me. Really 2 firsts and one second (but it was 5 years in between, so I'm counting it for this post).

Last Saturday I officiated my first wedding (in 5 years). It was my first outside wedding, my first wedding for a family member, and my first wedding with absolutely no dress rehearsal. It was a beautiful wedding and I enjoyed being able to be a part of it. (esp. since it was for my sister) I don't think I'll be a part of a wedding quite like it again anytime soon. I was not only the minister performing the ceremony, but I also: helped prepare the food, helped set up, clean up, and I found the groom's ring in the grass after it fell off the horseshoe ring carriers about 20 minutes before the wedding.

Yesterday was two firsts for me. I was asked to perform the funeral for a friend's mother. First time I've ever done a funeral. It was also the first time for a completely graveside service. I have to say I was pretty nervous about it. The service went well and I didn't mess up too bad. I talked with the funeral director and went over the order of service about 40 minutes before the service started. It was supposed to be 2 songs, scripture/prayer, song (family put flowers in casket), obituary, song, message, song, prayer. Things were going smoothly until the 3rd song, and the cd player wouldn't play. So I was supposed to read the obituary, but instead I went straight to the message. As I was finishing up the message, I thought "man, I skipped the obituary." So after I prayed, they played the song for the family to put flowers in the casket (it was an open casket the entire service). Then I read the obituary and then another song. Then I prayed and that was it.

So no one knew I messed up. I just felt really bad about not getting things exactly right.

The 3rd first came during the pre-service meal yesterday. I ended up talking to some of the family for a bit about some other (non related to the funeral) issues. It was an impromptu counseling session. I've never done a counseling session like it before. And I have a feeling I might be doing some more talking to the family this week.

It is just a bit overwhelming to have all of these ministry firsts happening all at once. Thankfully, I know God has equipped me to handle them and He helped me through it all.

Have you ever been through a time like this, where everything seemed to happen at once?

ArkAlmighty: a thank you

As part of our ARK day, we went to the local grocery store and paid for people's groceries. Not just $20, but the whole bill. Last week, we received a thank you at the church from one of the people who was there at the store that day.

"Blessed are the givers and grateful are the receivers. I was one of the receivers at IGA last Saturday. Thanks so much! May God bless you."
I shared it with the students during Sunday School yesterday as an encouragement. It is always nice to get a note sharing how someone was helped. Most of the people we helped will probably never let us know what it meant to them (and that's ok).

Saturday, July 14, 2007

my first funeral

Sunday I will be involved with my first funeral. The funeral is for a lady who is the grandma to a girl in the jr. high and the mother to one of the adults who helps with the youth ministry.

I have never done a funeral before. And I never met this lady. For the family, its one more thing in a string of events that has been extremely difficult the last few weeks. So, I'm praying God gives me words that will bring comfort - more importantly I'm praying God brings comfort (in a way only He can).

My "boss" took some time to help me think about what I might want to say and showed me some ideas. So I feel a little better now about the actual content of the message. And the service is just going to be graveside.

Friday, July 13, 2007

VBS: Day 5

Day 5 was Day 5 (You could tell it was the last night).

We plunged into service. Our story was Jesus washing the disciples' feet.

1. Music time was a blast all week.
2. Staying dry all night :)
3. Knowing VBS raised almost $1500 for two people from our church who are going to Ghana with FAME this year.
4. Listening to my son excitedly talk about the story and what they did in class.
5. Challenging the 5/6 graders to serve someone this week (in some way they normally don't).
(we had 20 students again)

Prayer for town and family

In my last post I mentioned that a serial killer was from my town. If you have watched the news or read anything on the internet today, you've probably heard about it.

Please pray for the family and for our town. Since we are a small town, most everyone knew them. I guess the kids (one just graduated last year) used to come out to the church when they were smaller. The old youth minister used to call on them and knows the family. I've never met them. I think I've seen the girl at school before, but I know I have never talked to her.

Again, please pray for the family and the town.

Seriel Killer from my town - seriously

I saw a mention of this on a student's myspace page and wasn't sure what to think. Then I saw it as a top article on cnn.com.

This is just weird.

Though I never met him or any of his family, it is hard to believe someone from a small town could do something like this. And then again, it doesn't matter what size a town you live in, does it?

I'm curious to see how the town reacts. Better yet, how will the churches react? What can you do in a situation like this?

Photo Friday: Outdoor fun with the boys

My boys playing in the pool. Nathan is playing with his new Transformer's toy from Burger King.

A picture of Wes (my youngest) playing with bubbles at my sister's house.

The same picture as a pencil sketch made from dumpr.com. (I saw it over at ysmarko.com)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

5 ways to survive summer

Summer is full. Summer is long. Summer is draining.

How can you make it through summer and survive to talk about it in September? Let me offer 5 methods...

5 Ways to Survive Summer:

1. Take vacation! Whether its before summer, after the summer or even in the middle - take a vacation. Don't make it a working vacation. Don't visit a location you want to use for a retreat. Don't check email. Don't blog. Don't work on lessons. Don't make phone calls. Take your family and vacate your area. Spend time alone. Recharge. Read for fun. Listen to music. Watch TV or movies. Go to the beach. Sleep. You deserve/need to take time for yourself. You don't expect your students to be at everything in the summer; so don't expect yourself to be either.

2. Be flexible. Summer months are full of vacations, trips, games, etc... So don't be rigid in your ministry. Allow for flexibility. If you are able, adjust a class to meet outside when its nice. Drop the lesson and go to the park. Let the unexpected happen and don't let it ruin your mood. Plan backup plans. Go with the flow.

3. Less office time. Take time out of the office and spend with the youth. Plan a day at the park. Plan a day at the movies and lunch. Gather up youth for a quick game of volleyball or kickball. Give your students opportunities to play. Don't cancel if only 2 youth show up. Block a few hours in your week to be "outside the office" time and spend it with the youth who don't have a job.

4. Be outside. Spend some time outside at night. Read a good book on your porch. Play catch with your kids. Sit and talk to your family. Sit and watch the stars. Take time to be outside, away from the TV and radio and spend time in God's creation. Go for a walk. Plan some time outside at night and remember what an awesome God we serve.

5. Watch the calendar. When it seems like summer will never end, look at the calendar and remember it will. Don't let the days go without knowing it will soon be over. Summer will end and school will start back up. When you sit down at your desk in October wondering how its almost Thanksgiving, you'll wish it was summer again.

What do you do to survive the summer months?

New Poll: favorite summer church activity

I just posted a new poll (look at the top right of the page).

Take 30 seconds and vote. I'm curious as to what your favorite summertime church activity is. If your favorite activity is "other" leave a comment (on this post) and let us know what it is. Thanks

VBS: Day 4

All I can say about Day 4 is that it was crazy!

We plunged into Faith. Our story was Jesus walking on the water.

Highlights (good & bad)
1. I got to watch Robin (the other helper) lead a lot of the lesson. I've been trying to help her feel more comfortable leading/teaching and it was good to see her really take on the role last night.
2. We had more kids last night. 21 5/6th graders all crammed into one small room. :)
3. games = mess. Kids got wet and muddy. (I stayed mostly dry, a lot of our class missed the missions time getting cleaned up)
4. I learned that diet soda cans will float in water (not sure why)
5. I thought about what the youth ministry is going to be like in a few years when these students are in the jr. high and high school class. I'm excited to watch them grow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

VBS: Day 3

Last night, we plunged into courage.

The mood was back up. The kids were excited and the evening was just plain fun.

Day 3 highlights:
1. wearing a yellow rain suit all night (our story was Jesus calming the storm)
2. cramming 19 kids and 2 adults into a room made for 10 people
3. no spills or fights occurred while stuffing 21 people in a small room
4. giving away some "Jesus Dolls" (that came with permission slips)
5. JP Penguin (mascot) almost knocked a microphone in a tub of water

Trivia Wednesday #25

answer #24 - Dynamite

question #25 - Which is the smallest U.S. state capital?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jeopardy: no more Bible

The question: What category did Jeopardy ban from further being used on the show?

According to this article, the answer is "the Bible."

Though I haven't really watched since Ken Jennings was on the show, I can say I didn't see this coming.

(found on churchvoices)

VBS: Day 2

Last night was day 2 of our VBS. It had a different feel to it and I'm not sure why. Maybe it was do to the fact that (for me) it wasn't the end of an extremely long day which included 4 hours of driving and a game of softball in 95 degree heat.

Last night we "plunged into worship"

1. coloring with colored pencils
2. wearing sunscreen on my face (without rubbing it in) - started a few conversations
3. talking about the woman at the well
4. the kids were excited
5. having a baby doll splash around in some water (to talk about how we worship)

How to get poeple to talk about your ministry (Tips from Beyond Buzz)

How do you get people to talk about your ministry? More importantly, how do you get people to talk positively about your ministry? Why not find a few answers from the world of marketning...

Guy Kawasaki posted 9 types of stories people talk about, by Lois Kelly, author of Beyond Buzz.

I've taken the 9 stories that get people talking and narrowed them down.

1. Aspirations and beliefs. "More than any other topic, people like to hear about aspirations and beliefs. (This may be why religion is the most popular word-of-mouth topic, ever.)" If this is true, we should be getting people to talk about our ministries by talking about what we believe and who we want to become.

2. David vs. Goliath. We, as the church, have this one covered. We, sinners, are the underdogs up against a penalty for our sins we can't pay for. But we are overcomers - thanks to Jesus Christ. Let people hear how a student has overcome an addiction. Share stories of life change. People are drawn to the stories which give them hope.

3. Avalanche about to roll. If you have a plan/vision for you ministry, share bits of it early. Give people enough info to get them wanting to share it before everyone hears. What better way to advertise than to get the "gossip hounds" to spread the word for you?

4. How-to stories and advice. Help people find that connection between the Word of God and their everyday life. Show people how to handle stress in their life, how to have a happy marriage, how to raise their kids, how to handle finances, how to ______________. If you give them good advice, they'll talk about it at work, at the park, at school.

5. Seasonal/event-related. This is one tip that most churches handle at least twice a year (Easter/Christmas). But do not limit it to just those two times a year. In youth ministry, you also have beginning/ending of school, sports, prom. Take advantage of the parades and other community events. Be a part of big events in your town and do something special or out-of-the-ordinary.

6. Glitz and glam. Last, it doesn't hurt to get a celebrity to start attending your church.

Beyond these tips, make your ministry a place for people to feel safe and accepted. Students and adults will talk about those two things every chance they get. Be a ministry that cares for people - I don't just mean being a ministry that talks about it, but one that acts on it.

What do you think? Besides these tips, what else have you done that has caused people to talk about your ministry?

Monday, July 09, 2007

VBS - Day 1

Last night was Day 1 of our VBS. This year, I am teaching the 5/6 grade class. Its a big difference than the 7/8 grade class I did last year.

5 highlights from Day 1
1. Packing 16 students and 2 adults in a room sized for maybe 10 people.
2. Getting to use my "chin strap" (that's what people call my facial hair) in a game in which you run to a pool and dip your head in to carry water back to a bucket you're trying to fill up with water.
3. Watching 4 students try to retell the story of the "miraculous catch of fish" using only finger puppets (nativity finger puppets).
4. Avoiding being soaked with numerous buckets filled with water.
5. Having the entire class "waddle" everywhere we went.

Cheeseburger in Paradise's roller coaster of service

This weekend, while I was gone for my sister's wedding we did some eating out. On Friday night, we (12 of us - 9 adults/3 kids) went to Cheeseburger in Paradise. I had never been to one of these before so I was looking forward to taking in the whole experience. I mean, it is a restaurant named after a song.

When we first arrived, the parking lot was packed. So I had a feeling we would be waiting a little bit for a table. We put our name in and started the wait. We took up just about all the waiting area. We waited and waited. Then something happened. I heard a group come in and say they had 12 in their group, too. Wow, I thought that's gonna be fun to have to get two big groups seated during a busy time. Then to my surprise (and frustration) that group of 12 walked in and was seated.

What! Are you kidding me?

Keep in mind, that to this point, no one had said anything to us about our status. When I then went and asked how long it would be, the hostess (which they had 3 for some reason) told me the group was paying out. OK, so it won't be too much longer, I thought. 10 minutes later, they still hadn't paid out. It was at this point that the manager (I'm assuming) finally came over and told us what was going on. Then about 10 minutes later he came back and offered us to split into two groups of 6 or wait. We opted for waiting.

Then it happened - we were seated! I think it was somewhere close to an hour or so of wait time (with lots of smaller groups coming and going as we waited). But the manager ordered us 2 of their sampler appetizers and some "sweet chips" to say "thanks for waiting and sorry that took too long."

So, while it was not a great time. They took care of the customer. Honestly, the hostesses did nothing. They (none of the 3) ever said anything to us unless I asked them about our status. They just stood there and talked to each other and seem uncomfortable about the situation - you know, like they didn't know what to say or do with us since we were just waiting there longer than normal.

side note: the gumbo was good.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Wedding Officiating

We leave today to head to my sister's wedding. I'm a little less nervous. I've talked to my sister a little more and have a better grasp on how things will work. Mostly, its a really laid back style of wedding. No music. No unity candle. Outdoors. No chairs. No specials. Just a message, the vows, rings and pronouncement of husband and wife.

I can handle that.

So, I am starting to get a little more excited. I'm still nervous because its my sister. But its the good nervous.

Photo Friday #25: Windmills

Saw these on our vacation. I don't see windmills too much in southern IL. Its a cool site to see as you are driving down the highway.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

elder's meeting & annual review

Tonight was our monthly elder meeting. It was pretty uneventful, except for my review. I've now been here for over a year.

First, I'm glad I get an annual review. I never did at my last church and it is tough to grow.

Second, I'm glad I didn't feel like I had to defend myself or justify anything tonight.

Third, I'm glad its over.

Fourth, I now wait to see what (if any) kind of a raise I get.

Fifth, I was hoping for a little more feedback from them (as far as how I can improve).

Reality Based Learning

As I was looking at a school's website the other day, I came across this link. Its a link to some info about their "reality based learning" programs. Don't get me wrong, I think reality based learning is awesome - but isn't that what school is supposed to be?

What does it say about the current educational system that we have to have a specific program (with special funding) to focus on learning that is actually useful. If this is reality based learning, what do you call the other classes?

What do you think?
Have you seen anything like this in your area?

But then I start thinking...is my teaching of the Bible reality based? Do I teach students to apply God's Word to their life?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Trivia Wednesday #24

answer #23 - Who, What, When, Where, Why

question #24 - What is Alfred Nobel famous for having invented?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Before the "Big Bang"

I found this article that talks about being able to see what the universe was like before the "Big Bang."

Its an interesting article (though some of it was way over my head). Its mostly some guys opinion.

Two of my favorite parts:

The Big Bang is often thought as the start of everything, including time, making any questions about what happened during it or beforehand nonsensical. Recently scientists have instead suggested the Big Bang might have just been the explosive beginning of the current era of the universe, hinting at a mysterious past.
"The eternal recurrence of absolutely identical universes would seem to be prevented by the apparent existence of an intrinsic cosmic forgetfulness," he added.

I think you can use an article like this to start discussion about - creation, God being eternal, Can we ever know what it was like before Gen. 1?, the connection b/w science and the Bible, or time/eternity.

I like knowing that even the universe forgets things every once and awhile.

officiating a wedding

This Saturday, I am officiating a wedding. Its only the second wedding I've officiated. The first one was back in '02. It was for some good friends Kevin & Patti. That was such a long time ago.

This one is different. Its my sister's wedding. So I feel a little bit more nervous about it. All of my family will be there. I don't want to mess it up.

If you could pray for the wedding (safety traveling, etc) that would be appreciated.

I'll probably have some great pics and a few stories to share when we get back next week.

Apple's changing product design

Nice post on the evolution of apple products. I remember a few of these from school.

check out the cool poster:

Go here to see a bigger version.

Monday, July 02, 2007

what every girl should know about boys pt. 2

A little while ago, I posted about a book I got from the library. The title was "What Every Girl Should Know About Boys"

When I first saw it I thought it was a really old book. But it wasn't as old as I thought. It turns out it is from 1992. Granted that is 15 years ago. Wow that seems like a long time (now as I type it). Anyway, this could have been a book used to talk about guy/girl relationships when I was in high school.

ArkAlmighty: ARK recap

(Here's a picture of Evan watching the van while we walked around town)

Saturday we held our ARK Day (Acts of Random Kindness). As I mentioned here and here, we went around town performing kind deeds. It was planned, but there randomness involved. The random part was about who we helped. We didn't plan on helping "so and so", but rather on doing certain things for whoever might be there.

Here's what we ended up doing:
1. picked up trash around town
2. hung doorknob hangers (from the ARK Kit)
3. gave away water and popsicles (around town & at the ballfields)
4. bought flowers for residents at nursing home
5. put quarters in laundry machines at laundry mat
6. bought boxes of detergent & fabric softener for people
7. paid for people's groceries
8. paid for people's gas

It was a great day. There were a few people who would not let us buy their gas and a few who didn't want us to pay for their groceries. But the majority of people were surprised and appreciative. One lady, whom I had never met, even gave me a hug after we paid for her gas.

I think all of us who participated were blessed by being involved. We made some contacts with people. More people know we want to help and are wanting to make a difference in our community. I'm praying people will remember our church when they have a problem or need some help.

Here are a few more pictures:

The Simpsons: Kwik-E-Mart = 7-Eleven

7-eleven and The Simpsons are going to be connected this month. Some 7-Eleven stores will become Kwik-E-Marts. The rest will sell Simpsons' specific merchandise. Read the full story here.

If I was only closer to one of them :)

Also, there is a contest going on to become a character in an upcoming episode of the Simpsons. (again, if only I was closer)