Friday, December 29, 2006

And You .. You Are ?

Last night, we went to a family Christmas party. The party took place at a church fellowship hall - away from the venue that it has been at since I was a tot ( family member's home ).

I have to admit that I missed it being at the home, it just did not have the cozy, jammed packed homey feel. I understand in a sense that it is tough to have 60+ people in a home though - especially when it is cold and people can not roam the outside. Overall, though, it was nice to see cousins that I have not seen in a long time .. HOWEVER .....

I felt like the "title" quite abit. I was asking the following question: " and you .. you are who and how are we related ..... "

I am not sure how I feel about it. Sometimes, I laugh and sometimes I cry because of how "distant" the family has become. Grant it, I understand that some of it has to do with the vast number of cousins that I have and some of it has to do with the fact that we do not live close together but .......

Here is one example:

One of my aunt's came to me and asked me if I knew ( and pointed to a young teen ) ?

I went no. She was like, well this is ___________. She is the daughter of __________. So, my first cousin has a teenage daughter and I am clueless. This could be played out all across the room with my family.

I really need to get a list of all my first cousins ( no, I could not give you their names ) and get their marital status, where they are living and their childrens names and where they are living and try to make some connections.

Enough of the me admitting that I do not know my family. We head back to Indy tomorrow and we are almost into 2007 - unbelievable.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Bless The Trash Collectors

I just came back from the store - picking up some Christmas photos and saw the mass of trash, debris, boxes and the sorts littering the streets. To all the trashman and trashwoman that are out working and clearing up our garbage - I thank-you. I do not think that it is a great job in the first place and on cold days after Christmas, I can only imagine how hard and tiring the work days will be for you.

Side Note: We head to WV tomorrow.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve: Candlelight

It has been 4 days since I have posted and it will probably be a week before I make another post ( the holiday season ). Today has been a long day and it is not yey over.

Recently, three weeks agod, we moved to three worship services: 8:15, 9:45 and 11:00 am. So, today ( being Christmas Eve ), we had all three of those services and are having two christmas eve - candlelight - services.

I just came home from the first service and it was fantastic. I absolutely love seeing 450+ individuals from the craddle to 90+ worshipping together - especially on such a special evening.

I absolutely love lighting the candle and passing the light. The symbolism is so strong from the first candles being lit from the Christ candle and each of us passing the light.

Tonight, we are going to rest / relax / eat / make cookies and .... I will then help tuck the kidios to bed and then head off to the 11 pm service. The late service is the one that I really love.

There is just something special about walking out of the church at midnight - knowing that it is 'Christmas Day'. I hope and pray that all of you have a great Christmas.

For us, we are at home for two days with my wife's parents and then we are off to WV for a few days to be with my parents. Then we are back on Saturday.

God Bless You.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Having A Bad Day

Somtimes, life happens and you do things that you wish that you did not do .. it happens.

Take a look at this video from individuals who "messed" up. Hey, don't sweat it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Boiler Up !!

Tonight was a very good night. Earlier today, I was in my office and a gentleman came into my office and asked me if I liked basketball. I said, "yes". He then asked me if I was free tonight. I went, "yup, nothing on the docket". So, he handed me two tickets to the Purdue game tonight.

They were playing no one tonight ( sorry, Wagner ). But, I got to take Isaiah to the game tonight. He is an absolute blast to take to games. Our seats were in section 1 -almost mid-court ( about 17 rows from the court ). I will have to put pics up later .. a few good ones.

Have a great night.

Family Surival Kit

The holiday's are upon us. Some of us ( not me ) have some rough families and our time with them can be very dreading.

Maybe you need to purchase a survival kit. If you think that you may be in for a rough holiday experience, you may want to check out the product below.

Lighten up, it is a fun and cute video.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Knicks Nuggets Brawl 12-16-06

Well, it has been a little wow since I have made a 'sports' post. Thus, I figured that I would make a post.

I put the top 10 sports stories ( my ranking ) in a hat and pulled one out .. it came out "the fight".

It is pretty pathetic when a fight at the NBA game is more exciting then the NBA itself.

Does anyone really watch the NBA till April anyway ? I mean, really, we need to get through the NCAA bowl games, NFL playoff's - SUPER BOWL and then gear ourselves up for March Madness ( NCAA Hoops ).

Oh well .. there is the video and my lame sports post.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Staff X-Mas Party

Tonight was our staff X-Mas party. Unfortunately, due to illness in the family, I went flying solo. Hopefully, next year Stacey and the kids will be healthy so that she could join me.

I really like our staff and make-up of the staff at the church. We have ages that span the horizon. For a matter of fact, I think that we have individuals in all decades - meaning, we have an individual in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's.

We arrived and had finger foods. They were pretty good. We then played 2 games --- 2 games that I was cluelss at ( naming songs and movies ). Then Pastor Jim ( Sr. Pastor ) had bought gifts for the staff. I sat amazed at the presents that he bought. THEY WERE SO INDIVIDUALIZED !

We then did WHITE ELEPHANT. There was not much stealing presents though - everyone brought horendous gifts - it was quite amusing. I can not believe that Greg was not 'stoked' when he picked mine .... I mean who would not want a Sacred Heart candle and Pigs Feet .....

Teenagers and Acceptance

I am going to 'copy' two small paragraphs grom an article that I came across tonight - from a new website that I learned about tonight ( live science ).

Teenagers do crazy things. They take drugs, have unprotected sex, ride with drunken drivers, and pretend to be asleep when it's time to do the dishes.

But it's not that they don't ponder the the potential consequences. In fact, a new study finds teens spend more time weighing risk than adults and in fact often overestimate the odds of a bad outcome. But the desire for acceptance among peers wins out in the decision-making process of a young mind.

The more that I work with teenagers, the more that I am amazed by them and love them with all my passion and heart. Teenagers today want to do so much, they want to accomplish everything and they want to please all.

From a logical stand-point, they fully know ( usually ) the decision that they should make but when they look across the room and see their peer ... their sense of acceptance kicks into high drive.

I was reminded of this ... this morning. I taught the middle school sunday school class today( I LOVE TEACHING THEM ). Our lesson was based on God sees everything. Our cultural relevant moment ( we have on each week ) was on cameras / camcorders and how they are everywhere. So, that led into discussions on MySpace and YouTube and what someone might have caugt you doing on tape.

Anywhooo, back to teenagers. I hope and pray that our ministry can truly create this relational ministry where they are authentic and the decision making process will be a little easier because the acceptance they will 'search for' will be from students that love them no matter what and thus ... they may be pointed to make wise decisions. I can not wait till that lesson series at Infusion.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sudan: Reason U.S. Stays Away

The picture makes me sick. Genocide is occurring everywhere in the country.

WARNING: This is going to be very opionionated and I am going to throw out a very undocumental theory. To me, it is a hypothesis that I would love to be explored.

We as a country are borrowing HUGE AMOUNTS of money from China. One of the unknown aspects ( in my opinion ) is that China is a major player in Sudan. How much of a one is SURPRISING.

Sudan began exporting crude oil in 1999. Guess What ?? Sudan sends 2/3 of its oil to China. Thus, the country of Sudan receives 3+ BILLION dollar a year from China .. that is HUGE $$ for that country.

China does not want ANY sanctions on Sudan. China receives about 5% of its oil from that country.

So, is there a connection ? Our (U.S.) hands are tied to China .. China holds Sudan in high regards. Thus, my question is the following:

Are we not going into Sudan because of our $$ dependance on China ?

Am I off my rocker ?

We Must Change

“ Nothing stops an organization faster than people who believe that the way you worked yesterday is the best way to work tomorrow. ”

Jon Madonna is credited with the quote above. To me it is one of the better quotes in life that deals with change, transition, growth and vision. He is speaking in terms of the business world but I believe that it transcends across the board.

Too many times I think that we as youth ministries get in a "rut". We get into this mentality that we need to do ministry the exact same way. Sometimes, we are scared of change. Sometimes, we hide behide the following facade: don't change for change sake.

things may be going great in the youth ministry and you may need to change. people will shake their head and go/say, " what in the world are you doing - why are you making changes, things are going so well "

The reason, we as leaders ( being led by God ) know that just because it is working now - does not mean that is what is going to work the next time.

So, the question to me and for those who are reading this ... what do you need to change ? What is up at the curve that will knock you down - if you do not prepare for the change ?

Are you willing to change ?

I think that it brings me back to the tale that shows the difference between a youth group and a student ministry. In this scenario, it is the following:

Keeping Tradition vs. Evaluating for Effectiveness

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It Is Not About Me

I know that it is not about me. But, for the first time in a long time ... I am struggling with it. I think that with God's help and a tremendous group of leaders that a fantastic ministry was put into place at Discovery. A great theme and vision was laid. There were a lot of great strides that were taken and there were leaps and bounds of growth that took place in the lives of the students while I was there.

When I left, I worked tirelessly to ensure that the ministry would grow and flourish w/o me because I always pointed them to God and we did ministry as a team. In fact, I had curriculum in place for the entire year, so the leaders and the new ym that came in would not have to worry about it.

Well, the new guy is in and everything is gone. the ministry name, a lot of the leaders, the theme of the room, the vision ... it is all gone. So, I sit struggling with ... was it worth it ? what was the point of that work ?

In my heart, I know that the things that I did and the peoples lives I invested/impacted did make a difference. I know that it is not about me but it is about God. But I hurt.

I pray that what the new guy is attempting to do will be successful. I pray that the ministry will flourish.

from the whispers that I hear, I am not sure but the whispers I am giving back is that God is in control and we as humans can not see the big picture.

Then of course, I am on the other end as well. I am the new guy and what are individuals doing/saying about the ministry changes occurring.

the things that we wrestle with sometimes when we should all just be pointing to God.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rodney Atkins - Watching You

I first heard this song on Saturday on my trip back to Indy. So, I looked it up to see the video. A great song about role-modeling.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Greyhound Ride

Well, the bus trip was pretty much uneventful. There were three small "instances" that I will share with you. There are definitely some interesting charachters that you meet and have the potential to meet - especially ay the 2:30 - 4:00 am lay-over in Nashville.

# 1 - Bus driver, please stay on the road. I had just fallen asleep - a HUGE accomplishment and heard a grinding sound. The driver of the bus at went off the road - and we hit the bumps. He overcompensated when getting back on to the road - it was quite of a jolt. After a few yells from the bus .. things quieted back down and I went back to zzzzzzz land.

# 2 - Please Watch the Kid. A parent was traveling with their youngster. The kid was out cold. So, dad put him on top of the duffle bag - pillow under the head and blanket over top of him - it was freezing in the waiting room ( bus terminal 0. All was god until Mr. Idiot wasn't paying attention is kicked and then tripped over the kid. The kid awoke to a horrific scream. He did settle down into dads lap rather quickly. If I was dad, I would have kicked the **** out of Mr. Idiot.

# 3 - No Mr. Geography, Birmingham does not have an abundance of Palm Trees. I am on the bus and the guy next to me is chatting up a storm. He is asking me where I was headed. I told him .. Birmingham, Al. he goes on a 10-minute tirade about how he loves the palm trees in B'ham. I just looked at hime dumb-founded. finally, I stopped him and said, " dude, there are no palm trees ". he did not believe me. I said, " wait till we roll in there, you will see ".

Now that I think about it, there are a lot more stories that I could share but, you would not believe them. Do yourself a favor, book yourself a ride and meet some charachters that you will not believe exist and that you will remember for a life-time.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

My Heart Aches

I have been watching and reading a lot of news stories lately. One of the stories that really pulls on my heart strings is Darfur. There has not been too much on it. It is a "sacred cow" topic.

However, there are a few organizations that are trying to push it to the front burner and I want to apllaud them.

There have been commercials popping up on the tv to begin to show awareness. We need to do something.

Who is We and what We need to do can create controversy. But, my heart breaks for the families getting killed, the families being displaced and those who are starving.

Here is one person's effort to spread the word. Please take time to view the video, it is approx. 3 mins and 20 seconds and then answer the question:

Is there anything that you can do ?

Off to Alabama

Well, in about 8 hours, I am jumping on a Greyhound and going to Alabama. If everything goes well, I will get to birmingham in 12 hours. There are a few "waits" at bus stations in Louisville and Nashville.

I have made this trip once before and we were stuck in Louisville for quite awhile because of all the people wanting to be on the bus. It was quite interesting being at the bus station in Louisvilee for 5 hours .. especially when the 1 - 3 am time frame when people wanted to be out of the station.

When I return ( picking up a car ), I believe that I will have a few great stories to share about the trip. In a sense, I am not looking forward to the trip ... but there are two things that will be nice:

One, to see a few people from down there. I absolutely loved my three years down there and miss numerous of them. I am not sure if I will see them though - Hoover High School is getting ready this weekend to play in their 7th straight state championship ( football ).

Secondly, I find these bus trips and then a long drive back home a great time to clear the mind, think, and brainstorm and dream about the ministry that is occurring.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jeremy Camp - Understand

God, thanks for being there for me. Thank you for understanding me. Thanks for not leaving me.

God, I pray that when I get knocked down, when I get frustrated, when I want to throw my hands up in the air .. that I will have enough faith to get back on my feet again and rest in your arms.

The song below speaks volumes:

Here are the words to the song:

Every time I fall down on my face
I see the one who bore all my shame
To know that you are everything I need you to be
You're my ever present help in time of need
I know you understand it all
So why don't I get back on my feet again
Every pain I feel inside my heart
It takes a faith I know I can't depart
To know that you hear every cry I raise to you
Bringing thoughts of hope the words I bring I know are few
I know you understand it all
So why don't I get back on my feet again
You hear me when I call
You're there when I fall
You hear me when I call
I know you understand it all
So why don't I get back on my feet again

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

This Is 4 My Wife

As I am sitting at my desk working on attendance is Excel, I have random songs playing.

This song came across the comp and I was brought to my wife. She really likes DC and their music. She even has this as her ringtone.

This post makes me remember that I need to write two posts:
one on her phone and two on databases for student ministries.

I guess I did the "hat trick" today .. 3 videos. WoW. Tomorrow, I will make my second post on Tony.

TobyMac - Irene

Recently, we went to the Toby Mac concert. I absolutely love T-O-B-Y-M-A-C.

His concerts are fantastic. I like all of his work. His high energy songs - really get the concert floors pumpin'.

But there is a song that has always touched my heart and it was/is the song Irene.

Thus, the reason that I included his music video for it. There are two resons:

One, God loves everyone and two, it is a challenge to see ( look ) around us to those who may be hurting or may need a hand.

Can we extend a hand or maybe the more important question is the following:

Will we 9 I, you ) extend a hand ?

Baptism Is Serious :)

I love this video.

Baptism is such an important aspect of the Christian Faith.

It is a moment that is very important to an individual and their familes lives. A moment that everyone will remember for a long time. This baptism will NEVER be forgotten.

Did you laugh ? Or did it upset you ?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Video: Hurting Kids

A video that hit close to home for me. Too many kids are hurting. Are you willing to reach out and help. Yearning for an animal ? So sad.

Winter Wonder Slam Tour

The snow stayed away and we were able to go over to Ft. Wayne for the concert. It was a great time. The only bad thing is that we had 13 extra tickets and it was a sell-out show. But ( because of the drive ), we got there at 7:25 ( concert started at 7:30 ) everyone looking for tickets had already left.

All 5 did a great job. To me the highlights of the night was Family Force 5 and TobyMac. If you do not like scream metal, Family Force 5 is probably not your cup of tea ..HOWEVER, to see 1000 students at the stage jammin' was great to see. They are high energy and do the scream metal very well.

TobyMac once again put on a show. His band is just unbelievable. The talent that he has and the band surrounding him and their love for God is just an undeniable phenom. I look forward to every chance that I get to see him. He did not disappoint and the crowd of 1400+ enjoyed every second of the show.

What I Liked About Tony - Pt 1

Today, I wanted to start a few posts on Tony Campolo. I can not say that I am a huge fan of Tony because his books are not lined up on my book shelves. But, I have always kind of listened to him and followed him a little with his concern on Social Justice.

The last few weeks, Tony has been at the YS conventions. I went and heard him in Cincy. He just concluded speaking in Charlotte. A few of the Charlotte bloggers are having a hard time "digesting" him. I have also then done some researching and have seen numerous "slams" on Tony. Thus, I wanted to do a mini-series on Tony and what I liked about him ( no, I do not agree with him 100% ).

This portion ( part 1 ) will deal with his seminar: Developing Spiritual Depth in Young People.

1. I really like the emphasis that when we are spiritually filled, we will/should be socially engaged. Too often, I think we live in a vaccum and are completely shut off with the world and what is happening.

2. I ( coming from a UMC ) really enjoyed his "disertation" on John Wesley and how the practices from Wesley came into play. Cathloic Mystisim was a very crucial part in his life. We think of ourselfs as the "reformation" that we need to be "removed" from the Cathloic thought and that is not the case.

3. BE STILL. This theme seemed to be all over the convention. His seminar was the first place for me to hear it at ( not ever - at the convention ). Too many times, we are on the go - constantly running. We need to take a break and BE STILL.

4. Prayer. He spent a great deal of time focusing on prayer. He looked at centering prayers, the celtic thin place, prayer of examine and the contemplative prayer. This is going to be a focus in my blog in the coming weeks. A section on prayers and what they can do for us.

5. Holy Spirit. He talked in-depth on the importance of the Holy Spirit. His one statement that really caught me ( early in the morning ) was the following: When you are filled with the Spirit, you will look at people differently. We need to see people differently, so we can love them as a person.

6. Connect Spiritually. We need to engage our students. We can not just give them a bag of tricks and games. We need to engage them with the living Christ. Unfortunately, I still think there are a lot of churches out there who do not engage people with Christ.

One of my favorite 'radical' statements from him was the following: When Jesus said, " we are to love our enemies, he probaly did not mean to kill them ".

Thank Tony for the message. The next aspect from this mini-series that I will look at will be: Red Letter Christians.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Mid-West Snowstorm

We have seemed to miss the storm. However, some of our friends to the west of us did not get sparred. The above photo is from Missouri.

I have to admit, I am very thankful that we did not get it. The wind is blowing like crazy though and the occasional hard sleet/snow is nasty. The reason: I am headed to Ft. Wayne ( 2 1/2 hours away ) in about 4 hours. This is a fellowship event for The Journey.

Tonight should be a fun night. We are going to the Winter Wonderslam Tour. This is a 'slammin' tour with TobyMac, Hawk Nelson, The Afters, Family Force 5, and Ayiesha.

Anyone ready for some slam dancin' ?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Open the Book

So, I was checking out a few blogs today and there was a blog that had this exercise in their blog. So, I did it. My results will be below the rules ....

The rules are:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!

The concentric circles model helps students see that the issue is not wether or not their friends are "good people". It is wether or not their friendships are healthy and going in the right direction.
We need to explaine to our students that all of their friends fall into one of these three categories. The outer circle represents those friends that they are concerned about.

Yes, this was the book by my monitor. It is a book that I am wanting to "re-visit". This book was very important in the last teaching cycle that we did at Discovery.

Relationships and friendships are very crucial for students to grasp and understand and this is an issue that I need to keep in front of my current students as well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How Unique ...

So, I came across a U.S. name site. You enter your name (first and last) and the site tells you the following three things:

- how many people have your first name
- how many people have your last name
- how many people have your name

Here is my results .. how unique are you ?
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Core Values: Christ UMC

Well, it has been a long journey. We have been meeting at Christ UMC to come up with core values for the church. These values will be the values that we will put high priority on and this is where our money, time and resources will flow through them.

After listening to the members of the group and with us throwing out ideas and suggestions, I saw a pattern forming and decided to throw out an idea. The idea stuck like a bug in a bug zapper ... so we move forward.

The idea was to use our church name as an acronymn for our core values. I am not a huge fan of acronymns, but they sure do make things a lot easier to remember. Thus, here are the core values that we will be living by:

Reaching Out
Inspiring Worship

We now move to describing them more in-depth and developing our church structure to match these values.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Worry .. Who Me ?

I like the picture. For most people who worry, they place a mask over themselves so others do not know that worry is occurring. It is very much how life is for us, isn't it ?

We put this mask on and try to cover up who we are. However, that is really going to be a different post for a different time because mask wearing is what happens quite frequently in our churches.

Currently, I am in a state of worry. The reason for the worry will not be the topic of this post either. The reason for this post - besides cries from my 2 readers that I needed to update my blog .. I am worrying and see that Time Magazine is doing an article on worry.

Here are some interesting clips for the future article:

We agonize over avian flu, which to date has killed precisely no one in the United States, but have to be cajoled into getting vaccinated for the common flu, which contributes to the deaths of 36,000 Americans each year.

Shoppers still look askance at a bag of spinach for fear of E. coli bacteria while filling their carts with fat-sodden French fries and salt-crusted nachos.

We used to measure contaminants down to the parts per million," says Dan McGinn, a former Capitol Hill staff member and now a private risk consultant. "Now it's parts per billion."

At the same time, 20 percent of all adults still smoke; nearly 20 percent of drivers and more than 30 percent of backseat passengers don't use seat belts; two-thirds of us are overweight or obese.

Which risks get excessive attention and which get overlooked depends on a hierarchy of factors. Perhaps the most important is dread.

Bad things happen and we get worry and fretted. Hurricanes, Typhoons, school shootings ... you make the list. We scream and yell " this is our wake up call "

Well, let me tell you, it is not a wake-up call is the snooze alarm. It agitates us but we do not follow through. We hit the button of life and move on.

What is it that you worry about ? Are they worth worry about ? Are you worry about the right things ?

For me, my list of worry is growing. There are some things that I am extremely concerned about. I think they are legitimate things to worry on.

My challenge is the following: to not let the worry consume me, take one step forward each day and when I am tempted to put on the mask, I need to throw it aside.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Skyline & Christian Witness

I am part of a youth minister forum. One of the topics that we were discussing highlights of the convention. A lot of us were talking about the bands, the seminars, the food, the belly-dancers ( now that is a story ) but one young worker shared his Skyline experience and I must share.

Please read the following:

Our staff went to Skyline on Friday afternoon between sessions because I had been longing for Skyline since we decided to attend the Cinti conference. It was packed, and the staff was overwhelmed. (Sadly, other conventioneers decided to take this opportunity to act grumpy and somewhat juvenile by whining and being rude to the people who were working their tails off to keep up.)

When our server got to the table to take our order, we told her we hadn't even had menus yet. She apologized and told us that they didn't know there was going to be a convention in town, the dishwasher had called in, and she and her sister were the only ones waiting tables. (Her sister was supposed to have gone home 3 hours before, and she had even put her 2 teenage daughters into service with refills and ice duty.)

To make a short story boring, our Jr. High Youth Director suggested we wash dishes for a little while to help them catch up. We washed dishes for 3 hours and had an absolute blast! Yes, we missed the evening General Session, and I'm bummed that we didn't get a chance to see Donald Miller because I was really looking forward to his talk, but it was totally worth it. Here's why...

The nephew of the server was working that night, and she told us that he hadn't been to church--or had anything to do with the church--for quite some time. However, seeing us (and a few folk from another group) dive in to help out made him rethink his position on Christians. He planned to go to worship with his family last weekend because "if that's the way Christian people act, then they may not be that bad." It turns out our server was a drug addict until last year, and it was her local church that helped her on the road toward sobriety. We heard some wonderful stories and we had an incredible evening. What a gift!

A reminder that we need to be the hands and feet of Christ

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

YS Convention

I am sitting in my office - getting ready to head home. There were 6 of us that went to YS - Cincy this year. Over all, I really did have a good time.

I was a little disappointed with the exhibit hall - but on Thursday night - they sure did have some great snacks. There seems to be an overload of mission trip organizations. This is an issue for me that I am going to have to work through theologically.

The general sessions were excellent. The worship was very good and the speakers were great. Each speaker came from a different perspective and taught we numerous things. The one thing that stuck the accord with me was Wait On God and make sure that we are being spiritually fed and remember that we are a child of God.

The seminars were very good. They were the best ones that I have attended over the years. I really enjoyed Tony which I mentioned earlier. I am going to expound on him a lot tomorrow. The other speaker that really touched me was Ken Moser. I will also touch one him later ( it may be after Thanksgiving 0.

The concerts were great. If you are into hard-core / heavy metal / rap all thrown in one and want a clean message - check out Family Force Five.

Finally, I loved being there with my team and seeing them have fun and growing closer to God.

My one regret - which it is the same each year, I wish I would spend some time with my blogging/forum/internet friends.

More later.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Toby Mac

We just got back in to Lafayette. Toby Mac concert on Sunday night was once again fantastic. It was a great way to finish off the night.

After a day of reflecting, I am going to post a general thought on the convention. Overall, I was pleased about the convention. In a sense, I am not 100% sure that I want to return next year.

Yet, there is something inside me that says, " it is tradition, you need to get away, you may miss something and when the time comes around ... you will want to be there ". We will see.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Tony Compolo

I have got to say that in the 7 different years that I have attended YS, Tony may have given one of the best seminars that I have ever heard. He did a fantastic job. When I have my notes, some time to reflect, I am going to make a huge post on his seminar.

Till then, I will carry 3 very important words with me from his seminar. WAIT ON GOD.


On Thursday night, we cruised through the convention center. I thought the exhibit hall was very weak this year.

However, Starfield gave us a great concert. Thank-you for playing REVOLUTION, it absolutely rocked and the place was jumping and WOW what a room for a concert.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Going to YS

In about 2 1/2 hours, I am headed off to YS in Cincy. I am looking forward to some Worship with Crowder ( above ) and Starfield. I am really wanting to hear Revolution, so I hope that I am not disappointed in that area.

There looks like there is going to be a few good seminars and some of the general sessions should really be fantastic.

It will be very nice to get way for 5 days and spend time with my wife, my adult leaders and 5,000 youth workers.

Hopefully, there will be numerous ah-ha moments for me and my team and we will see ops for us to implement a few things into the ministry that will make a real impact.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Encourage

Encouragement is reaching out to individuals. On Sunday night, we really broke down the concept that encouragement is a lot more than ... Wow, that is a nice dress you are wearing.

We also nixed the notion on the following phrase: Mind Your Own Business. As Christians and a Community, we are the body and we need to know what is occurring in one anothers lives, so we can encourage and help one another.

This past series " relationship rules " are all about laying the foundation for our vision: we will be a place that is relational and where individuals can be authentic.

We can create that type of ministry.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rutgers Beats Louisville

Wow, that a game. Rutgers beats the number 3 team in the nation. They played a great game and kicked the winning field gol with 13 seconds left in the game to win the game 28-25.

Rice ( in the photo ) had a great game and an unbelievable 4th quarter to take the Knights to victory. The Big East is playing some good football.

Louiville's hope for the national championship is now ruined, however WVU now still has hope for the BCS game if they can win out - including the win versus Rutgers.

Jim Webb Takes Virginia

Here are words from the News Story

Less than an hour after Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen conceded and the U.S. Senate was handed to the Democrats, Jim Webb addressed a cheering crowd.

Before he spoke, Webb waved a pair of combat boots in the air - a campaign trademark for the former Navy secretary whose Marine son is fighting in Iraq.

"We have a much stronger Democratic party...We're going to work hard to bring a sense of responsibility in our foreign policy that will, in my view, result in a diplomatic solution in Iraq," he said.

Here Are My Thought

Well, it is official. The Dems have taken control of the house and the senate. We will now see if there is a change. The Dems and the anti-rep crowd has had some harsh words ( deservably so ). Now it is time for them to mve / work and move us as a nation towards some solution>


Webb, that is some kind of face.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Violence Heating Up

Well, violence is heating up. Here is one thing that began the process ( below my write up ). There have been a few attacks and threats of truces be "blown up." This is going to have the potential to get real ugly really quick, not that it has been pretty.

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip - Israeli tank shells ripped through a residential neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip early Wednesday, killing at least 18 members of an extended family, including eight children as they slept, Palestinian health officials and witnesses said.

Hamas’ exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal, said a 2005 truce with Israel was finished and appealed to all Palestinian factions to resume attacks: “There must be a roaring reaction so that we avenge all those victims.” Two Palestinian militant groups promised to step up suicide attacks in response.

Hamas’ military wing in Gaza urged Muslims worldwide to attack U.S. targets, a call disavowed by the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Rumsfeld Resigns

On my youth ministry forum that I belong to, I got a little fire thrown at me with my initial comment about Rumsfeld. I will let you read two of my responses back. A lot of individuals thought I did it because I am not a Republican supporter .. that is not the case. Here are my two responses:

It has been brewing for a long time. When you have individuals in the field that are wanting you out, disagreeing with your stance and feeling like that you are not listening to those in the field and you do nothing ---- it is going to turn around and bite you.

Rumsfield had numerous opportunities to turn it around and give the impression that he was going to make a difference.

Also in response to not liking Republicans and only making remarks because he is a conservative republican .. here are my thoughts:

It has nothing to do with what he has behing his name. I could not care less if he is a republican, democrat, liberterian, independent, green party or ....

It is about that he has and has not done in my opinion with the war. To me, in all the races that I vote on, I never look at what they are .. I never vote with party lines.

I look at the issues and where they stand.

In office, once again, it is what you are doing. I would say the same thing to anyone ( about anyone ) who I feel is doing a terrible job.

I think Rumsfield has messed up. He has not only caused great pain to many serviceman/woman and families here but the people of Iraq and coalition forces standing beside us.

I am not a republican hater and I do not dislike the U.S. I think that we as a country though have screwed a few things up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Whirly Ball

I just recently came across Whirly Ball. I had never heard of it untill earlier this week. I want to go and play. I want to grab my adult leaders and for us to make a trip and play. I think that would be a blast. I think that the closet place to go and play would be Chicago.

Has anyone played this yet ? What was your experience ? If you are not familiar with it , do a search. It is somewhat of a mix of bumper cars, lacross and basketball.

This is a must do in my mind.

It is time to Vote

It is Tuesday, november 7th which means it is time to vote. I went out to our voting poll place ( Concord Community Church ) and voted. For me and that polling area, it looked pretty simple. There were no lines, all electronic voting boots were working and it seemed EXTREMELY SIMPLE to navigate.

So, I get on the comp to do some research for our 2008 international mission trip and the headlines on the Yahoo page is about the voting fiascos in our state ( Indiana ). How all over, there are problems with the machines, people can not figure out how to vote and so on ......

You would think that we would be able to figure this out and get the job done. I am sure that no matter what happens, there will be people complaing and belly-aching that their vote did not count ( whether it be true or not ). I need to walk down the hall and see how the voting is going in our church building ( coffee is down there ).

Then tonight, it will be watching news networks to see who the votes went for. Will it be the elephants or the donkeys.

BTW, for diversity sake, I was very happy to see there were a few liberterians on our ballots.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Halloween 2006

Here are my kids. We had a very fun time this year. Bethany was a strawberry. Jacob was a vampire. Isaiah was a zombie pirate.

We made a few visits to fellow staff members homes before we went to the mall. At the mall, each store had someone standing in the hallway passing out candy. There were literally thousand+ kids there but it really did not seem overly crowed.

We then headed home and ate dinner and passed out some candy to local neighborhood kids who were still hitting houses after 7 pm.

A very nice and relaxing night ... all considered.

Iraq News

The photo above shows one side of the story when the verdict came down : Saddam Gets Death. There are numerous individuals that are estatic about the verdict and there is a large group of individuals that are upset, hurt and disappointed in the verdict.

The following paragraph from a yahoo news story can give the insight from the party differentials:

The tribunal's creators had hoped that the forum would play a central role in closing the door on 30 years of ruthless oppression under Hussein. Indeed, Shiites and Kurds, who bore the brunt of tens of thousands of deaths at the hands of the regime, were jubilant. But that joy was tempered among Sunnis disenfranchised by Hussein's overthrow, and angry over what many saw as a political trial overly dependent on American experts and resources. The result, experts say, is a positive step for Iraqi justice, but one that reveals a deep and continuing weakness in the rule of law.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

All Saints Sunday

Today, November 5th was All Saints Sunday. We highlighted this at our church in two different ways. One, the middle school and high school Sunday class both at studies on Saints of the Church and why we should celebrate them.

In our worship service, Pastor Jim preached a fantastic sermon / message that dealt with the holiday. One of the things that impacted me the most was for us to remember that we are standing on the shoulders of the great men and woman that were before us.

Also, for us to look for them in their kids, grandkids and for their spirit still being active in the church.

May we remember all the individuals who have loved God and now are partying with Him.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

WVU Loses

Louisville bolstered its national title hopes on Thursday with a convincing 44-34 victory over Big East rival West Virginia (yahoo sports ).

Well, there goes my hopes that WVU may play for the national championship this year. I think that they played a pretty good game - minus the first 5 mins. of the 3rd quarter. The turnover for a TD and punt return for a TD did them in.

Pat White did have a good game ... look at the stats .. 13-21, 222 yds passing and he had 22 Rush, 133 yds, 4 TDs. Slaton had a good game too. he did have the two fumbles though which cost us but 200 yards rushing / receiving is very good.