Sunday is day 1 of Senior High Week at camp. Last year, I was not here for this week. I'm excited about going for 2 reasons. 1 - my wife and oldest son are going, too. 2 - its going to be a good week to get to know area teens and other youth workers.
My senior pastor is actually the dean. So I had no option of going or not going :) I get to be a small group leader and a "yah tae" group leader. So, I'm going to have a lot of responsibilty, but I don't think it will be too much.
I'm praying for a good week, and the energy to make it through.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Sunday is day 1 of Senior High Week at camp. Last year, I was not here for this week. I'm excited about going for 2 reasons. 1 - my wife and oldest son are going, too. 2 - its going to be a good week to get to know area teens and other youth workers.
Well, its been long enough to get things going with ArkAlmighty. There is just one problem, no one is signing up.
Recap of what we've done:
1. Banner is up.
2. Info in our bulletin and newsletter. (weekly)
3. Bulletin inserts have been used.
4. Forms available for people without internet access.
5. Talked to local "community help" center to see if they had any needs we could try to help take care of.
6. Mentioned from "stage" just about every week.
7. Senior Pastor wore the t-shirt, with sports coat, one Sunday, as a walking billboard. (should have gotten a picture)
This Sunday, we are
-showing the promo clip (available with the ArkKit).
-putting the Evan Standee in the foyer (picture coming)
I know people are going to the site, because they are telling me they are. But no one is posting anything. I'm trying to encourage people to understand that if they don't post, it won't be successful. I've even made that point in the newsletter. I'm hoping (in vain?) that showing the promo clip will help people see that there is more to ArkAlmighty than the "typical" needs.
The staff/leadership is on board, so I'm sure we'll get it going. Just waiting for that "tipping point" to happen.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Microsoft unveiled their newest computer today. Though it would be ready for consumer use for a few years, its still pretty cool. It will probably get people to stop by the few places that have it, just to try it out. We'll wait and see.
The other day I was headed to the store with Nathan. Its only a three minute drive from the house to the store, so not much usually happens. That night was different. IT was nice outside, so there were a lot of people out walking and working in their yards. So it wasn't a surprise to see people out enjoying the nice weather. But what was surprising was watching a girl taking a walk with her mom and little brother. The girl was probably 11 or 12. I'm not sure if she wanted to take the walk, because she was carrying a portable DVD player watching a movie. Yep, now I've seen it all!
In high school, I thought it was weird when I saw a lady on a walk smoking. Now, I've seen a girl watching a movie while getting exercise.
Wow. (this is the type of studend I'm supposed to be ministering to. The one who won't even enjoy a walk without being connected to technology.)
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Tomorrow we are going to visit my grandma and grandpa. My grandma is in the icu, apparently last night her heart stopped and they had to "jumpstart" it. So she was sent to the icu.
We're going to stay overnight and come back Tuesday.
Thanks for praying, and please keep it up.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Short version - please pray for my grandma, she had a stroke today and is in the hospital.
Longer version - Amy and I are wanting to go and visit my grandparents this next week (Monday & Tuesday) since we haven't seen them in a long time and I have two days off. They only live 2 hours from here. Well, this morning I called my grandma to talk to her about it and see if we could stay overnight. When I called it was the strangest thing. Normally, my grandma is very talkative and sharp. Well, today all I was hearing was "uh huh & yeah" to anything I asked. It was strange (and scary, if I'm honest) because it wasn't my grandma I was talking to - at least that is how it felt. So after I got off the phone I called my mom to talk to her about it and see if she had heard anything about my grandma's (her mom's) health. My mom hadn't heard anything but said she would try to talk to her sister (who lives in town with my grandparents) and see.
I didn't hear anything all day. I still had this strange feeling about the whole thing. Tonight while shopping I got a call from my dad. They finally heard back from my aunt and my grandma had been taken to the hospital because she had a stroke. I still don't know how she is doing. Though, since I haven't heard I assume she is doing alright.
It was just the strangest thing. I don't know if she had just had the stroke when I talked with her or was maybe in some form of beginning stages.
If you could please pray for my grandma and grandpa (along with the rest of the family) I would appreciate it.
Friday, May 25, 2007
(rereleased as Chasing Daylight)
“What if you knew that there was a moment coming, a divine moment, one where God would meet you in such a way that nothing would be the same again?” I want to take advantage of those moments. Using the story of Jonathan going into battle with only his armor-bearer, McManus answers this question for each of us. None of us wants to spend our days asking “what if,” regretting those moments we neglected to seize. McManus encourages us to identify and seize those moments.
Seizing Your Divine Moment is an encouragement to anyone wanting to make the most of life. Throughout the pages are stories of people seizing and not seizing divine moments. In these stories we get a chance to see just how important seizing divine moments is to the rest of your life. “Moments are not independent or disconnected realities. Moments carry the momentum of the past and fuel the momentum for the future.”
“We have put so much emphasis on avoiding evil that we have become virtually blind to the endless opportunities for doing good.” Seizing your divine moment is not about making sure you don’t sin, its about seizing opportunities to do good. Each day, we notice small moments in which we have a choice to make; we can take the time to do something good or we can avoid it and move on, hoping for something bigger to come our way. When we begin to seize the small moments, we do not struggle when the big moments come – seizing them just become natural.
Do you want to do more? Do you struggle to see the difference you are making in the world? If so, then you need to read through this book. You will not find checklists or formulas for seizing divine moments. You will find hope, encouragement and a new outlook on how you live each day. When we listen to God and follow Him, even when outnumbered like Jonathan, we will find others are willing to follow and help. Make the change, seize each divine moment.
My advice (rating) – go out and buy it (4 out of 5)
Thursday, May 24, 2007
"You never question the truth of something until you have to expalin it to a skeptic."taken from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Think about this in terms of your youth ministry. How many students come and go through the years, but never have to explain what they believe? When they go off to college or are just away from home and someone questions their beliefs, how will they respond?
We need to make sure we are giving students opportunities to wrestle with their faith. We need to help them question and search.
We need to help them make their faith their own!
We need to give them reason and places to explain and not just accept.
When planning lessons or other events, take time to plan for the students to have the chance to work through their thoughts. Do not let them just get by with sitting back and listening.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Wow! What an episode. I have to say I thought it was better than last season's finale. A lot more to look forward to this next season.
Things I didn't like:
1. Jan (way too extreme, even for her)
2. Not enough Toby
Things I thought were awesome:
1. Stanley (another great episode)
2. Shrute bucks vs. Stanley Nickels
3. Dwight taking over the office
4. "You and me are over"
5. The taunting of Pam over her "speech" at the beach
Overall, it was a great episode. Things seemed to weave together so well. Dwight and Andy working together was great. (Notice that shun, unshun and Drew have both been dropped) I would have never thought about painting an office black. I really thought Karen was going to get the job in corporate. And what kind of boss starts interviewing for a job without telling the person they've been let go?
Personally the last 3 minutes were classic. Jim interrupting Pam's "talking head." Ryan getting the call from corporate and abruptly dumping Kelly. The whole season was worth those 3 minutes.
Only 4 months or so until we find out what happens.
Guy Kawasaki has another great interview on his blog (May 20). This one is with Anastasia Goldstein (who covers Generation Y in her blog YPulse). On her new book: Totally Wired.
Its a good read, especially for anyone who works with teenagers. Here is one question I've talked about with students and others over the last year:
Question: Is banning MySpace and other social networks by schools a smart thing?
Answer: Blocking technology doesn’t teach teens how to use technology safely and ethically or how to think critically about the sites they visit. For many low income teens who still may not have computers or access to the internet at home, a school library, public library or federally funded after school program are often the only places they can participate in Web 2.0 at all. If we block and ban these sites, a whole population will miss out on what their peers have access to at home.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
6 great years!
I've had the honor of being married to the most beautiful, best wife & mother in the world for 6 years. What an adventure its been. We have been through good times and tough times. She's been an encouragement through the times of uncertainty and the "sabbatical" from ministry. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, these past 6 years have been better because of Amy being in them. :)
Happy Anniversary Babe.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I am not very good at forgiving. I am good at forgetting when I hurt someone, though. It is such a great feeling when someone forgives me for a wrong, especially when its my wife. I try not to dwell on the hurt I caused and move on, focusing on being a better friend or husband. But, for some reason when I am being asked to forgive it is more difficult to move on.
There are three little words that help make it easier to forgive someone: "Please forgive me." I've found that it is easier to forgive someone when they ask for it. Even when asked, it is not always easy to forgive. But compared to forgiving someone who does not ask for it, its a walk in the park.
How many times do you struggle with forgiving someone who never asks for it? There are times you know forgiveness needs to be given and you are the one who was hurt, so you are the one who needs to forgive. A few weeks ago I heard someone talk about forgiveness.
The question was asked (and has been holding tight to me for the last few weeks),
"Can you talk about them (people you need to forgive) without bringing up their weaknesses?"
Ouch. That's been a tough one.
I can say I forgive them. But unless I can talk about them without bringing up negatives, can I truly say I've forgiven them? When I talk about someone and talk about their weaknesses I'm trying to make them look bad. I want to be perceived as better than them.
In ministry, I think this is a huge issue. At any given point in your ministry, you will find yourself on both sides of the situation. There will be people you have hurt and people who have hurt you. Does this affect how you treat them or how you talk about them? Look at Jesus' ministry. If you read him talking negatively about someone, its being said right to that person. He was willing to forgive those who hurt Him, even those who crucified Him.
Next time you forgive someone, remember to think about how you feel about them. Don't let past hurts creep up into your current ministry.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
So, I've talked to people who have actually been to our site. BUT haven't posted a need or a skill. We've put forms at the welcome center for people to use if they don't have internet access. It seems like people are getting to know about AA, but not becoming a part of it yet.
So this Sunday we are showing the DVD clip (sent in the ArkKit) that explains the program. I'm hoping this will help people understand what AA is all about and realize they do have a need or skill that needs to be posted.
I ran into a little disappointment last week after talking to a few people about helping us out. There are a few people who feel having something like ArkAlmighty on the internet is an informal way to help fill people's needs. But, I've talked with other people who think it is a great idea, they just haven't put anything on the site yet.
I spoke with the missions chair about working with the missions team on our Evan Free Days. Part of me thinks that once we do our first Evan Fee Day, it will kickstart the rest of the program (well, I'm hoping that at least).
Monday, May 14, 2007
NBC announced their fall schedule today and it turns out that the one hour rumor will not come to pass. NBC will bring The Office back and there will be changes.
1. The Office will move to 9pm (Eastern) instead of 8:30
2. 30 episodes have been ordered, including 5 one hour episodes
Though I'm dissappointed that we won't be getting "supersized" episodes each week, I'm glad we will be getting more episodes than normal. I can't wait til Thursday's season finale. Then its a wait for the DVD's to come out :)
Guy Kawasaki posted on his blog an interview with Richard Stearns, President of World Vision. You can find it here.
Its a fascinating interview and look into the heart of World Vision. Go read the interview today, especially if you sponsor a child.
A few points that stuck out to me:
When asked about why he left his successful corporate job to be president of World Vision, here is Stearns answer...
It wasn't something I planned. At the time, I didn't even want the job. I had been a donor to World Vision for fifteen years when, through a long series of circumstances, I was approached by World Vision, interviewed and offered the position. As a committed Christian, I felt I couldn't say no. When God gives you an opportunity to serve, you obey. I had "talked the talk" of being a Christian for many years, now I needed to "walk the walk." It has turned out to be the greatest privilege of my life to serve the poorest of the poor in Christ's name.
This Q/A caught my eye, too.
Question: What's the biggest obstacle to get rich people to care about poor people?
Answer: The obstacle is that poverty is often not personal. If your next-door neighbor's child was dying and you could save her for $100, you wouldn't think twice. But a child 10,000 miles away whom you have never met, that's just different.
About 29,000 kids die every day of preventable causes--29,000! These kids have names and faces, hopes and dreams. Their parents love them as much as we love our kids. We've got to make poverty personal. Stalin once said: "A million deaths is a statistic, one death is a tragedy." We must try to see the face of the one child.
I'm going to pass this on to the students and others I know who either support a child through World Vision or are thinking about it.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Yesterday was a momentous occasion for one of my dogs. Sticky (picture at left) was coming inside from out back and didn't know the screen door was shut. So, she jumped right through it. I didn't actually get to see it :( but I heard it. I don't know how she did it, but she did. Man, I wish I would have had the video camera going for that one.
Has your pet ever done anything like that?
Friday, May 11, 2007
I've posted about the ArkKit before, but I wanted to post some pictures and give you an idea of what you get. First off, isn't that just great packaging?
What you get:
150 Door Hangers
200 Impact Mailers (w/ARK ideas)
200 Bulletin Inserts
1 Banner (See it here)
ArkAlmighty Instruction Manual
Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjogren
4-week curriculum from YS
4 Hats (I personal would have loved a visor instead)
20 mini buttons
What an episode!
One of my favorites of the season.
1. Even on the "way out" Michael still hates Toby (and won't even attempt to fake it)
2. Great bus singing :)
3. Stanley was hilarious trying to "fake" that he actually thought Michael was a good leader. "That's it, I can't do it anymore. I'll be in the bus"
4. Michael would be a great survivor host
5. The "new" Pam is awesome.
6. Oscar ready to move away and break up with Gil (where did that come from?...)
1. You might not be as good at your job as you think.
2. There are other people who are just as good at your job.
3. There are some people we don't let "step up" who are very qualified.
4. You don't have to walk on burning coals to get a raise.
5. Never try to drop something in the water while wearing a sumo suit.
(photo from The Office's official website on NBC)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
"You are never too young or too old, but you can be too far away to hear God's call."overheard during a Kids Worship message given to 3-6th graders.
I think it is sad when we unintentially tell peopel they are too young or too old to be used by God. We must remember that God is not as much concerned with age as He is with our obedience.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
During class on Sunday, I introduced the students to some resources we've put together to help them with their personal growth. Its nothing new or original. They are based off the Habits that Doug Fields' has put together, over at Saddleback and SimplyYouthMinistry.
We call our resources: CHOICES. Its got a "fancy" acronymn, but mainly its b/c growing closer to God is a choice we all have to make. I showed the students some samples of what we wanted to offer them to use. Some of the students were less than interested, but others seemed to start thinking about it. I handed out some sheets for them to sign up to take the resources, so we can track who has what.
After class I got one of the "sign up" papers back from one of the students. I was excited when I got it and looked that two options were checked. LampLights, Scripture Memory cards (a resource we've put together) & Rootworks, Bible Study (a SYM resource). It was encouraging to see this student desire to grow deeper.
Monday, May 07, 2007
I just found this great news over at TVshowsondvd.com that the Simpsons season 10 is due to be released August 7.
Episodes of note from Season 10:
1. Mayored to the Mob. Guest Star Mark Hamill (who appears to be in the commentary on the episode)
2. Simpsons Bible Stories. Bible stories told with a twist.
Plus there will be a Simpsons Movie DVD sneak peak. By the time this DVD is out, I'm pretty sure a good number of us Simpsons fans will have watched the movie a few times.
Now the wait for Season 10 officially has a countdown.
This was the second Sunday since I mentioned ArkAlmighty during a message. Yesterday we launched full steam. We put the banner, which was provided in the ArkKit, up. We put the color bulletin inserts in the bulletins. There is really no reason why people don't know about it now.
I'm just not sure how quickly people will go to the site. Nothing seems to be done quickly around here :) There is some info up on the site already, which is good. And to make sure people know how to get to our site, we will put info in our newsletter this week.
Here are a couple pictures of the banner we put up this week.
The first installment of Small Town Youth Ministry is about Prom (since it is Prom season and they just had it last week here).
Personal Disclaimer: the only dance I went to in high school was my senior prom. (sad, I know)
Small Town vs. Non-small Town
1. Students get all dressed up.
2. The female teenagers spend way too much time tanning.
3. It seems a lot of money is spent on dresses and tuxes.
4. There are probably over 1,000 pictures taken.
5. There is an after prom event.
6. It is the talk of the town (esp. among students) for weeks preceding.
7. Modesty is not always the case.
1. Prom Parade. This is where all the couples line up in the parking lot in parade form. Each car (or farm equipment, not completely kidding) then drives up the the front door where they get out and are announced to the crowd. They get a picture taken in front of a backdrop. Some of the students remain outside waiting and watching the rest of the parade.
2. People, from the community, actually show up to watch. And its not short, 1 hr. 15 min. long this year.
3. I think a prom parade is enough difference.
Neutral/Specific to this church:
1. Students wear their prom outfits to church the next morning. (Note, this made my polo and khakis look really casual)
So, how do you deal with prom in your congregation? One church in the area hosts a Prom alternative each year. I'm not too big on prom alternatives myself. I don't necessarily want to teach the students to be in a little "christian bubble" and avoid anything outside of the bubble. But if the alternative is for those students who won't go to prom (ie. me in high school) then its a great way to get students involved with your ministry.
One thing I did not do was to bring special attention to the prom attenders at church. Since there were students who didn't go, I avoided drawing extra attention to those who did and making it seem like they were better. In my church it was obvious who went (they were the really dressed up teenagers), so I didn't need to point it out. Yeah, its a special dance, but that is all it is - a dance.
Friday, May 04, 2007
"The truth is that those who choose to follow you will expect more from you by way of character than they expect from themselves."
taken from The Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
The first time I read this I thought it was a bit of an overstatement. Now, I don't think so anymore. I've found this to be true over and over again.
Character is crucial to leadership - leadership worth following anyway.
Do you allow there to be silence after you ask questions?
No matter what age the group is, asking questions can be tough. It seems that whether I'm teaching, observing, or part of the group there is always a time of silence after a question is asked. I think there are a few reasons for this.
1. Poorly worded question.
2. Thought provoking question.
3. People are not paying attention.
4. People just do not have an answer.
One of the first things I learned in ministry was the importance of allowing the students to think after a question is asked. Is this easy? No, its usually awkward. I've watched many teachers be quick to say something, not wanting there to be silence. But silence is your friend (as long as you have asked a good question). Silence means the students are thinking and processing. I would rather have a student process a question than just give a quick, unthoughtout answer (or worse just give a "Sunday School" answer).
Give them time to process the question.
There is another side, though. The question may not be asking what you think it is or it may just be confusing. Even in these cases, I would recommend allowing the students to process. If they are trying to really think about it then I've found that at least one student will ask to have you rephrase the question.
While you are waiting for an answer, be thinking about the question you asked. If its confusing to you, work on rewording it on the spot and reask it. But don't answer it yourself. If the students know you will answer it, then they will learn to just wait for you to tell them what to think. And once you go down that road - its hard to get them back. (at least that's what I've found)
Next time you're working on a lesson, spend extra time making sure you are asking good, thought-provoking questions. Then during the class, be willing to wait for an answer.
Let the students process.
Let God work in their hearts.
Let them learn its okay to not always have a quick answer.
Let their be silence.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
It has been stated from the stage. We have officially kicked off our campaign. The congregation is aware of the site now. Now, we must start getting invovlement and encourage people to post needs and skills.
We've started thinking/planning some Evan Free Days for summer. This has the potential to make a huge impact in our community. I pray we're ready for the opportunities we'll encounter.
I received the ArkKit today. It has some great resources inside. I can't wait to start using this stuff. The banner looks awesome, btw. One of the other resources is a 4 week curriculum to use with the youth. This will help the students jump on board and be a catalyst for the rest of the congregation.
Tonight is one of the last new episodes of the season. Not sure what to expect from this one. It's supersized - so I expect more awkward pauses and "down time." I love the supersized ones. (sidenote - read a rumor that they may change to an hour format next season, we'll see)
Dwight and Drew work together to catch someone. That should be fun. We'll see if they mention the "shun, unshun" or just let it go.
This collection of writings captures the heart of Mike Yaconelli. Though I had only met Yaconelli once in person, while working at the last National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) before his car accident, I have heard him speak and read his other books enough to get a feeling of what he thought about youth workers. He cared for youth workers. He lived an adventurous life with God. I loved hearing him speak, because he spoke with passion. This book has that same sense of passion.
This book is full of sage advice, rants, questions, sarcasm, wisdom and truth we don’t want to hear. You will not agree with everything written (unless you are exactly like Yaconelli). You will question some thoughts, but isn’t that good? You will have to stop and process your view of ministry and God. You will hopefully be encouraged by reading words written by a man who loved God and loved youth workers.
This collection of writings tackles youth ministry from the youth worker to the programs. In the chapter entitled “Talking Discipleship,” he writes these words, “Above all, youth ministers have a relationship with Jesus that is characterized by the absence of anxiety, the presence of humility, and a visible intimacy with Jesus.” If we have that relationship, then the discipleship will come naturally.
Those in youth ministry, or any other ministry, can relate to Yaconelli’s honesty. Listen to these words from a chapter entitled “Clearings.” “My life at present seems like an impenetrable jungle of responsibilities, a jagged briar patch of relationships, a tangled web of obligations. It feels like I am lost in the darkness of everyone else’s needs, silently pursued by a growing crowd of strangers who crave one more piece of me.” Have you ever felt like that? If so, you’ll want to read about the clearings Yaconelli says we need in our life.
Whether you are in youth ministry or not, you will be encouraged by this book. Though you cannot buy this copy, it was a limited edition only available at the NYWC, you can find someone who has a copy. If you can’t find a copy of this edition, search for old copies of the Wittenburg Door or YouthWorker Journal.
My advice (rating) – find a copy (5 out of 5)
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
This is a sad story on a few levels.
1. It is always bad to find a dead body.
2. No one knew. No one called this person. The realtor didn't even know. How much longer if this couple hadn't looked at the house?
3. Where was the family?
How many people are there in the world who could die and noone would notice? How many people in your community? How many in your congregation? (Now, you scoff at that last question, but how many people are gone for weeks or months without anyone checking to see how they are)
I pray for this woman's family as they grief her lose and the emotions they will feel after a situation like this.
Yes, that is correct. I just came across this article from the AP. Due to a few people who thought it would be fun to set the toilet paper on fire, the city is taking all paper products out of the restrooms.
Wow, now when you go to the park you have to add TP to the list, alongside sunscreen.
Hope churches don't catch on to this idea. (even if it would save a buck or two)
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Tim posted a week or so back about why students go to church. It got me thinking about some stuff, mainly why do ministers go to church. Really, why do I (a youth minister) get up each Sunday and go to church, and Sunday night (or Wed. night for some) not to mention the other stuff. I've got some thoughts...
1. You get paid to be there.
2. Despite all the students who are apathetic, its those other few that keep us going.
3. One of your own children is in the group and that would be just too awkward at the dinner table.
4. God has called you and gifted you to reach students, and there is no way you can do anything else(and still sleep at night).
5. It's better than watching a televangelist.
6. You want everyone to think you are doing great.
7. The teens all think you're cool and you don't want to disappoint.
If you're a minister, why do you go to church? If you are not a minister, why do you think we go to church?