Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Our Little Bee

Ms. Bee has come up with some clever sayings over the years and sometimes the things that she says and does baffles me. I think that alot of times it comes from the fact that she is constantly hanging around the teenagers.

So, last night, we had a very late dinner and after dinner American Idol was on the tv and Blake was singing. Here is a pic of him below:

He was doing some "original" bee-bopping during the middle of the song and I said," ummm, that is kind of interesting. " Her response ( no lie ), " Daddy, not as much interesting as Coooooool " Me: Alright, that was cool, Bee.

Jacob: I Am Sorry !

So, I am taking 15 minutes to update my blog before I go and update the student web page and get some letters out to the students .....

I was going to put a pic up from some activities and noticed that on the Pic CD there was no pic of Jacob B-Day. So, since I am going to put one of Bee up, I thought I needed to get one of Jacob up.

So, here is Jacob hovering over some of Bee's gifts. I also am "stealing" a story from my wife's blog but I think it is appropriate to show info about Jacob ..

Jacob has always been a little "smarty-pants". If you ask him anything about dinosaurs, he could tell you anything you wanted to know from the time he was about three. When he started kindergarten and learned to read with the Accelrated Reader program that their school in AL used for everyone, he read twice as many books as any other child in his class for the entire year. Once he started taking spelling tests in first grade, he never has missed a single spelling word. He always gets A's on his report card in every subject.

A couple months ago we discovered that he had the gift of being able to spell any word that we say to him backwards without hardly blinking an eye. While this will probably serve him no purpose in life, it is very cool. Then a couple weeks ago, my mom was reading to Bee and D.K. was standing in front of her looking down at the book and started reading with my mom... so my eight-year-old was reading at a completely normal adult-reading rate upside-down. Thirty minutes ago I had a thought, so I grabbed the chapter book from his backpack and took it in the bathroom to have him read the reflection of a page from the mirror. His response was "Mommy, that's just backwards, turn it upside down." So I did! He read it without a problem. Amazing!! I couldn't even keep up with what he was reading from the upside-down and backwards reflection in the mirror!

Our House & The Snow

So, I was flipping through the pics and decided that I had not shown a local pic of the snow we received. I did put a pic up of campus. But this is the snow in front of our house. At least you can tell a little shoveling was done.

I have to admit that I did not miss NOT shoveling the 3 years that we were in Alabama.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Keep The Dream Public

There are numerous individuals who have dreams and they let them "die". If you have a dream that you want to see become a reality, there are a few things that you need to do. Keep The Dream Public is the first step.

How do you do this ? In a sense, it is very simple, you talk about your dream. You share it. You communicate it to as many people as possible to let them know what your dream is. This can be scary. Individuals may not agree with your dream and it is tough to keep it "public" when others may scoff at you.

So, what is your dream ? Who can you tell about it ? How can you share it ? for those of us in ministry, it is vital to share with everyone about the dream - when the dream pertains to ministry.

Do you have a dream for a new ministry ? Share that dream with as many people as possible. Keep it out in front of people. Share it with your SP, share it with your adult workers, share it with your students, share it with the parents. Communicate your dream in writing ( announcements, web, newsletters, bulletins, fliers and more ).

Do not let the dream die at the beginning stage. Put it out in the Public. That is the first step of the process.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Play that Guitar

I missed my odd video post on Saturday, so I decided to locate one for you and place it on the web. Here it is ... playing the guitar with a spoon. This video shows a person with some mad talent.

Amazing Grace

On opening night, a few of us traveled down to Carmel to see the movie Amazing Grace. I thought that the team that led the movie did a great job in the costumes, the settings and creating the story line for the movie.

Why am I posting this ....

William Wilberforce's had this "zeal" in him. He had faith, compassion, and courage to stand up against the crowd and to make a difference. To me, even though he encompassed these three attributes, the one that stands out to me and ties all of them in is the following: PASSION

It got me thinking. What is it that I am truly passionate for and am willing to risk everything for ? What would happen if everyone who attends church caught passion to do X,Y,or Z ? What would happen if local churches grabbed ahold of a passion and would not let go ? What could we accomplish ?

For myself, it is Africa. I have had this burning in my heart for Africa since I went there on a mission trip in 2001. So, my journey over the next few months will be what am I going to do ? How am I going to fuel this passion ? What will this passion cause me to do ?

What is your passion ?

Ministry Mutiny

Well, I finished the book. I started reading it Thursday evening. I read about 100 pages Thursday and then I finished off the other 60 on Friday morning. It was a very simple and easy read.

The book is set up as a fable. Ty ( young youth worker ) is ready to give up on youth ministry. He meets Tony ( veteran youth worker ) and they journey in life together for a week. Tony teaches Ty 6 principles over the week.

The information in the book was nothing new BUT that is the point. We do not have to try to think of some new principles. The plan is laid out pretty simply for us in the Bible.

Here are the 6 principles:

1. Listen for God's Whisper
2. Get Real
3. Go Wide
4. Grow Deep
5. No More Outsourcing
6. Build on Values, Not Fads

I am tempted to say, " here is another series that I will be doing ". I will fall into the temptation and do it. Now, I have two series on "back log" and will need to start those up soon. I promise to do this series ( Mutiny ) and the previous ( Dreams ) series this week ( start them ).

It will be good reflection time for me to look at the principles.

The Weekend

Another weekend went into the books. It was a little busy, but yet it was still relaxing. I finished the book Ministry Mutiny, I went to Toys-R-Us with the family, I went to Amazing Grace with students, I went to Isaiah's bb game ... Here is a photo of him shooting the ball - good follow through my young man ( that is why you made it )

After the game, I spent a few hours at the church with a flood. Then, I slid home in a little ice storm ( pic below ). I did make a pit stop for our pizza night.

Then Sunday, well ... it is Sunday ... church all day.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

To Read List

This is the book that has crawled to the top of my " to read list ". The author of the book is Greg Stier. He has always intrigued me, so I look forward to this book with great interest. I am hoping to get through quite a bit of it tonight. Tonight should be a relaxing evening .. YES TO THAT !

So, what is this book all about ?? I have no real clue. Thus, I will copy the info off the back of the book from you, it has a summary of the book and Doug Fields "take" on the book.

Info: Are you looking to transform your youth ministry ? In ministry Mutiny, author Greg Stier casts a vision of success for youth leaders through the use of an engaging parable about one man's struggle toward life-changing leadership. Follow the story of youth leader Ty as he realizes his mistake in student ministry and meets a mentor who teaches him a revolutionary way to influence teens to grow in their faith. Discover with Ty the tools you need to create and support confident Christian teens through a personalized ministry.

Doug Fields: I believe that this potentially controversial book will help youth leaders embrace the timeless truths of Scripture as immensely relevant in a postmodern culture. Some parts may make you angry, and others will make you believe that you can be more effective in reaching teenagers for Jesus. Youth ministries will be healthier if they can pull off what Greg is suggesting - a mutiny that transforms lives.

Hopefully by Monday, the book will be done and I can give my thoughts about this book.

Youth Ministry: Gets Serious

Yesterday, I was in the bookstore and picked up the latest article of Leadership magazine. It had been out for awhile ( Winter 2007 ) but I had not picked it up yet. Relatively close to the front was an article on ym. It was written by Sam O'Neal.

It is a good article that hashes over a topic that seems to be rampant, what is it that teens really wants and what is it that we are giving them when they step inside our church. In the article, there is a phrase that they used that I have not heard. I am going to do some research on this topic this weekend. The Phrase: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

This phrase comes from the fact that the teens are looking for something / someone ( God ) who will solve their problems and ensure their happiness. It is the articles belief that we as churches set the students up for this.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Weekend Recap

This weekend was a pretty good weekend. There was not too much on the books. We had our usual Friday affair - pizza / movie and camp-out on the floor.

On Saturday morning, we slide through the snow to Isaiah's game. His team won their first game of the year 22-10. After the game, due to the snow, we cancelled our plans to go to the in-laws to celebrate Birthday's. We stayed at home for most of the day with a run up to the church. I re-arranged the youth room ... yet again.

On Sunday, we were at church the whole day. We did the three services, bought the ingredients for the meal and put the final details on the lessons.

The lessons and Sunday night went okay. Confirmation class was a little difficult but you will have that some Sunday's.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Iraq & Our Responsibility

One of the news shows that I enjoy watching is AC 360. I think that he does a good job of reporting and like the stories that he does and follows. Today, I wanted to "steal" his blog. on friday's, I attempt to do a news story and this story seems so fitting:

So, take a read ... what do you think ...

Imagine this: A foreign power invades your country, and when it becomes unsafe for you to continue living in your home, that foreign power closes its doors, denying you a visa to escape the violence.

That is what is happening to roughly 1.5 million Iraqis who have been forced from their homes as a result of sectarian violence. Hundreds of thousands more have trekked across the border to Syria and Jordan. So why aren't they coming to the United States?

The figures vary from year-to-year, but in last year, the United States budgeted enough to accept 54,000 refugees. Still, it only accepted 202 Iraqi refugees last year. Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, fewer than 500 Iraqis have been granted visas into the United States.

One of the lucky refugees is a woman we'll call "Sarah." She asked us not to use her real name to protect her family. Now living in Morristown, New Jersey, "Sarah" told me her family was targeted by insurgents because she greeted U.S. troops with flowers when they arrived and is thrilled Saddam Hussein is gone.

The moment she knew she had to leave occurred during her commute to work one morning.

"In the middle of the road we started to notice a car following us. It was following us for a long time," she said. "We noted that there are three men in the car, they were carrying guns, they were aiming the guns at us and they started shooting. We were terrified. We started shouting. It was so scary."

It took six months for her to get a visa for the United States. Still, the rest of her family never even got one. Her parents are now bouncing between her brother in England and her sister in Scotland. Another sister living in Canada just had a baby which "Sarah" isn't even able to see, because her paperwork doesn't allow her to visit Canada.

Looking back, she says she wishes the invasion never happened, because she can't go back to Iraq.

Many of the refugees seeking asylum in the United States are translators who have supported the U.S. war effort. One testified recently on Capitol Hill about the growing danger. He too did not want to be identified, but said this: "The killings were gruesome. Iraqi citizens, including translators, have been shot in the head or beheaded, but only after terrorists forced these people to 'confess' that they were spies and agents of the United States."

The White House has taken heat for not doing more. "Our invasion of Iraq led to this crisis, and we have a clear responsibility to do more to ease it," said Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

Yesterday, the U.S. State Department announced it will spend an additional $18 million to help settle Iraqi refugees worldwide and that the United States plans to accept as many as 7,000 Iraqi refugees this year.

But is that too little too late? What is the United States' moral obligation to these people?

I am not a component of this war. I am not a component of big goverment spending. HOWEVER, to me, this is the very least we can do for these individuals.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Vote in AI

So, I was surfacing through a few blogs and I came across a minister whose name is Chris Surrat and he is doing a few write-ups on his pal Chris Sligh.

I enjoyed Chris on the show and thought that he was pretty neat, especially his piece when he went to see the judges to see if he had made the 24 - his humor cracked me up.

From there, I searced to see if there was any clips / songs from him beside AI and I came across this one ( the one below ). Let's go Chris, you can do it !


I am in a F U N K today. I am not overly thrilled by it. I have not had one of these in a long time. I think some of it has to do with the fact that today is the deadline for me to say yea / nay for the ms mission trip. I think that I am unfortunately gonna have to say .. N A Y to the trip due to the lack of initial interest. The trip is not till July but YouthWorks requires final deadlines today.

I can not "risk" the possibility of no students stepping up to the plate and us ( the church ) being responsible for a great deal of $$ and no one going on the trip.

With that being said, " it is causing me to be in a funk about ministry ". I am thinking that we will need to back up and punt on how we do some ministry here at the church. We will see.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

History of YM

So, today, I type in youth ministry ( theme for wednesday's ) into you tube to see what would come up and here was one of the videos that came to the surface - 1st page.

It is ... well dumb. But it is kinda cute. But then again parts of it is what drives me crazy when we seem to be circling the wagons about the whole youth activity mentality.

So, tell me what you think about the video ...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

NASCAR: Power Ratings

Alrightee, NASCAR season is approaching. I have to be honest, I have NEVER followed this " sport ". Once in awhile, I would watch a few lapse around the course. Even living in NASCAR nation for three years, did not prompt me to follow.

However, this year, I have decided to try to follow the season and figure out this fascination that some have with the sport.

So, the power ratings are out .. here they are. Once again, I am clueless, some of these names .. I never have heard of. I will see if I can follow .. my first two items .. know the names and understand the point system .. yeah ...

1. Jimmie Johnson No, he hasn't made a splash at Daytona yet this year (which Chad Knaus surely is happy about), but he's still the reigning Cup champ.

2. Tony Stewart His tear at the end of '06 leads to a Bud Shootout win in '07. Add in some complaining about Brian France, and Smoke's in midseason form.

3. Kevin Harvick Following-up a near-title effort won't necessarily be easy, but a plate track is a great place for Harvick and RCR to start.

4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Call this a futures bet. If he wins Sunday, the top spot is his. But with contract issues looming, now's not the time for a bad start.

5. Denny Hamlin The (greatly overblown) sophomore slump talk already has begun. Hamlin is fully capable of shutting that talk down very quickly.

6. Matt Kenseth After mostly outstanding season, shouldn't have anything to prove – but he does after late-season slump. As for his crew chief …

7. Kasey Kahne Patience, young padawan. If Kahne keeps it together and his engines go the distance, he could have a big year. As for his team director …

8. Ricky Rudd Two plate races from now and Rudd could vanish from here. But he's more likely to make a 500 splash than talented teammate David Gilliland.

9. Jeff Gordon The days of him being the obvious preseason championship favorite are over – which means he'll probably win it all this year.

10. Carl Edwards He and Kyle Busch were ranked at end of '06. One had to go. Big Sunday efforts from either Busch brother or the 31 could change our minds.

Snow: Blahhhh

Here is a pic of campus about 10 mins away from us. With it being 2007, I should have the tech to snap a pic and load it here but alas .. no $$ .. so taking pics .. no an option.

Our yard is quite amusing. The wind is causing havoc in our subdivision. Parts of our yard, you can see the grass .. other parts are approx. 3 feet deep. I think we have about 9 inches of snow - it is still snowing.

Today, I ( we, the church ) took the day off. I am doing some emails and searching some info on Tweens but nothing too heavy.

I really am not a fan of snow. I don't detest it as much as I complain but the complaining about it ... is kinda fun. The bad thing was watching ABCW this morning .. 72 .. blahhh to them.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Moorman: Jacked Up

I did not watch the game ( Pro Bowl ) and usually do not. However, i heard the sports talk radio circuits being "lit up" about the hit that the punter took. So, I had to take a look at it. Watch the hit. He did get nailed.

Success Series: Question # 7

I typed church into google images and this was one of them on the first page - what a picute and setting that is ( in my opinion ).

So, this is the last question in this series and then I will move on to my " dream series ". The final question is the following: Are you devoted to the church or Jesus ?

I earnestly want to believe that my devotion is always to the church and not to the church. However, if I look hard into the mirror, that will probably not be the case. I think at times when the church pays you a check - the waters can get a little murky at times.

For me, where the "church" gets a trump over Jesus at times is in my "studying". I find myself reading / praying / contemplating / relaxing / studying and when I do this, there is a small nag in the back of my brain - what could this do to benefit the students or the church.

So, I do need to redifine my attitude and state, this is for Jesus and me. It is me making sure that He is first and not the church and it is about Him and me not Him and Me so I can help the church.

Also, I think where this can hurt a few individuals is when they get the church calendars full and busy that the church trumps Jesus.

Hopefully, I can constantly keep my eyes on Jesus and not be constantly worried about the church.

Weekend Recap

This picture sums up 1/2 of my weekend. Yesterday, was a frustrating day for me. It was a " throw the towel in " it was a " can someone stop the bleeding " .. it was " i just go tattoed " .. it was just " blah ".

Thankfully, Saturday was a good day - a little tiring - for me. We went to Isaiah's ballgame, we then went to the children's museum and then we had chili / cake with the family to celebrate Jacob's b-day.

Some day, this frustrations will end ......

Saturday, February 10, 2007

One Voice

Yesterday, I did not make a post regarding a News Story. The reason was that I was not 100% certain what I was going to post about. I was going to focus on the new troop levels in Iraq and what the early response of that endeavor was ... but no. I want to take a different approach.

Have you heard about One Voice ? Here is a small opening statement from their website:

The Goal:

OneVoice aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of moderates who wish for peace and prosperity, empowering them to demand accountability from elected representatives and ensure that the agenda is not hijacked by forces of militant absolutism.

Now this does not have to do with the I word but it does have to deal with individuals on conflict and their decision to try to do it with peace.

I encourage you to surf over to their website and see what they are doing and what their approach for peace involves. Before you do though, check out the powerful ( in my opinon ) video below:

Video: Slingshot

I have seen this a few times on various websites and blogs. this does look like fun and looks like something that a few people I know would rig up and try in their backyard.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Creating an Authentic Youth Ministry

I am just beginning to go through this book. So, there are not many words of wisdom that I have pulled from the pages yet. I am in the middle of Chapter 3 entitled: A healthy youth ministry understands the positive expression of teen empowerment. this is an area that intrigues me and wonders where we should / need to draw the line and how that really plays out in the lives of the teens and the church.

The one chapter that I am really looking forward to is the next chapter. The title of the next chapter is: A healthy youth ministry understands the difference between youth activity and youth ministry. The title of that chapter reminds me of the print-out that I have on my desk which is the following:

Maintaining a Youth Group vs. Building a Student Ministry.

I think most churches, students and parents really only want youth activities or to maintain a youth group. They really do not want a ministry to occur. They hold back.

To me, maintaining a youth group or just having youth activities is really unfullfilling and it makes the lives of our students and the ministry even more complicated and bogged down.

As I look at my ministry, I am trying to figure out where we really are and what steps we need to take to move out of this mentality that I see as unhealthy.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Eternal Embrace ?

This is very interesting and will be interested in knowing the story or at least the story the scientest come up with - we will not know the "true story".

Here is a little sample from Reuters:

Archaeologists in Italy have discovered a couple buried 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, hugging each other.

"It's an extraordinary case," said Elena Menotti, who led the team on their dig near the northern city of Mantova.

"There has not been a double burial found in the Neolithic period, much less two people hugging -- and they really are hugging."

Now, I think that can fit into a news story and a little odd news. What happened to them, were they alive when this happened, did they die and were buried that way ... Hmmm, the questions ...

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was a good weekend. One of the highlights of the weekend was a flag football game for the students at CUMC. I will get to that in a little bit.

On Saturday, we went over to the Boys and Girls Club and watched Isaiah play in his first basketball game of the year. His team lost by 8 but they did a great job. He played a good game. He made a few good passes - including a nice bounce pass after bring the ball up the court.

On Sunday, we did play a flag football game. We had 20 students who braved the cold. It was 5 degrees with a windchill of about - 10. We played 4 - 12 minute quarters. The final score was 72 - 49. The red team took an early lead and they never looked backed.

After the game, we went up into the youth room and watched the game. It was a great atmosphere to watch the game. There were quite a few who watched the game, others shot pool, others played video games and others just lounged around on the couch.

Pointless Video: Techno Music

Well, this video will definitely fall into the category of pointless video. I hope that you enjoy it. For your info, it is a little repetitive, but they did a great job putting it together. It last 3:12. Hope you enjoy it.

Not Here ....

I have not been here for the last 5 days. I have a few posts to make up, especially in my daily sections that I am doing. It has been a very busy 5 days and I just have not had much time to cruise over here. However, today, I do have some time carved out, so I can catch up with the days that I missed.

So, today, you will have a news story, pointless video, weekend recap, sports story, and a youth ministry post. The ym post has actually been done today - it is part of the series that I am working on and flushing out concerning my current context.

For those who read, I hope that you have had a great week.

Success Series: Question # 6

Am I playing with toys or am I worshipping Jesus ?

Before I answer that question, I just have to comment on the picture. Maybe, this is the connections - toys that represent God. If you are wanting to know what those are ... a group made them for a Marines Toy for Tots program. They initially declined them but then accepted them .. but that is not the point of the post.

I think that everywhere that I have been ( in ministry ) that I make sure that worshipping Jesus is the point and not playing with toys. Students can't play with toys anywhere and the toys that they can play with our usually greater than the toys that we have.

Also, the reason that I think that it is vital to worship Jesus over playing with toys is well ... ummm ... I think that is what God has called us to do. Besides that fact, when someone who is "outside" of the church and they wonder into our doors, they are expecting and wanting to find something different - that is why they are here.

Now, I will admit that sometimes where "toys" get in my way is when I am trying to use "toys" for a teaching moment and they completely fall apart ... toys=technology.

Media Shout is not working, our screen is down, the tv is blurry, our video card can not handle the media application and it is lost .. the point ... then ....


It is not about that. It is about our relationships with one another and us trying to Love God and Love Others.

The students alot of times are screaming for toys and more toys. More time for us to play with toys and less time about God .. because if we do this .. it will be more fun and more people will come. Then we go into a circle and we really try to decide what is success and ahhhhhh .... we come back to this series.

What is success and how are we defining it. I hope that part of our success is determind that we have a group of students who love God and are continually worshipping him in all they do and say.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Me From WeeMee

It has been a few days since I surfed over to Marko website, but I did and he had this on his blog. Thus, I decided to create someone that represented me. I am not sure if it did or not ...

To Dream Again

The book that I am flipping through is the following: To Dream Again. The book is written by Robert D. Dale. The intent of the book is for us as leaders to help the church come alive.

I really enjoyed the book. matter of fact, portions of the book that I highlight will be part of a series that I am going to dwell on another one of my series writings. My first series: Success in YM is almost done.

The part of the book that I want to hightlight and share comes from pages 73 and 74 and it is entitled: Comissioned To Develop Dream Goals. Here are the strategies that he suggests:

1. Keep the Dream Public
2. Formalize Goals
3. Establish Priorities
4. State Your Goals Specifically
5. Distribute Responsibility
6. Evaluate at Regular Intervals

Turning your dreams into a reality is a process and a strategy is needed. I am going to use this as a basis for my series and some goals that are floating around in my head for ministry.

Sucees Series: YM Question # 5

Question # 5: Am I speeding up or slowing down ?

The answer: I Have No Clue. At times, I feel like that I am slowing down but at times, I feel like I am speeding up and going fast forward at some unbelievable speeds. Thankfully, there are numerous times where I am able to let off of the accelerator and slow down.

There are numerous things that are on the burners and numerous things that are occurring in our ministry but yet, I am still able to take the time to slow down and be with the family and create "down time".

Also, I think that in the ministry, there is a good balance. The students have many avenues that they can participate in yet they are not burdened or pressured to be involved in most or all the activites.

This is a tough question and an issue that I am still trying to figure out. This is also a topic that I want to spend more time on later "flushing-out".