Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Calipari Goes to University of Kentucky

From ESPN:

After over a day of deliberation, John Calipari is headed to Kentucky.

The coach accepted an offer to leave Memphis to resurrect the Wildcats' program on Tuesday, ESPN's Dick Vitale has confirmed. The move was first reported by the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported on Monday that the deal would be for eight years and approximately $35 million dollars, making Calipari the highest-paid coach in the college ranks.

John Calipari has decided to leave Memphis to jump-start Kentucky's program.
Sources told ESPN.com that Kentucky began planning for a Wednesday announcement earlier Tuesday. The Lexington television affiliate that has the school's athletic broadcast contract was told to prepare for an announcement in the late morning or early afternoon, and plans were made to transport Calipari by private plane to an airport near Lexington

I am a BIG UK fan and I am glad that we are bringing a BIG TIME coach in. At first, I was hoping for someone who bleeds BLUE. However, I think Calipari and his attitude, confidence and cockiness will bring the fire back to UK.

Go Cats !!

Hair Today & Gone Tomorrow

It is Spring Time, so, it was time to get rid of the winter hair and go into one of my Spring Time looks. I am sure that I will have a few looks during Spring but, this is the current Spring look. Below are the pictures of me with hair (yesterday) and without hair (today)

I have gained weight back recently and you can tell with all the hair gone :(

Monday, March 30, 2009

Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Rooted

Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Baptismal

As I have mentioned, I am going to be "blogging" through a document that comes out of the ELCA YM NETWORK. It is "definition of effective youth and family ministry". They have placed te document out there and are asking for feedback and discussion. I have decided to copy and paste the document. The document will be in quote block and my thoughts and reactions will be in regular text.

Effective Youth and Family Ministry in ELCA congregations is:

1. Discipleship
2. Baptismal
3. Rooted
4. Excellence
5. Welcoming
6. Cross Generational
7. Advocacy
8. Congregational
9. Connected
10. Partnership

Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Rooted

Statement: The Lutheran Biblical understanding of God’s love and grace is one that young people and families desperately need to hear.

Biblical Basis: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. This is not your own doing but is a gift from God.” - Ephesians 2:8

Rationale: There was a time when people lived in a much more “rooted” environment.

Rooted is an area where we need to take a long look at and see how it can be applied to our ministries to children, students and parents. If we take a look at our ministries and look at th children and teens involved; we will notice that alot of them come from families that have been up-rooted and many do not have extended families near them.

Thus, we as a church can use this has a ministry opportunity by placing "spiritual" aunts/uncles/grandparents among them. We can also create ministry opportunities that will allow them to feel "rooted".

• Extended families tended to live in fairly close proximity to each other, allowing for relationships to develop between uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, and grandparents.

• The length of time people would work not only on a single profession, but quite often for a single employer, was significantly longer than it is today. It was not uncommon for people to spend 20 to 30 years, or perhaps even an entire career, with loyalty to a company or a supervisor.

• The length of time people would live in a single home was much longer than it is today. The concept of “starter,” “middle,” “dream,” and “retirement” homes is a relatively new phenomenon in our social structure.

• The speed of change in our culture has continued to increase. New technologies and the availability of communication in ways we couldn’t even dream of just 20 years ago have completely changed the way we live. And the world we live in is socially and theologically pluralistic. Absolutes are rare and values of individualism are celebrated culturally over values of community.

These four factual statements stand-alone. They give us a strong foundation for why that we need to think/rethink about the Gospel and Being Rooted.

So how do people of faith live in this type of a world? How do we relate to a narrative that we consider to be unchanging and enduring across time?

For me, I think that is is very important that we remember that we are part of the active-narrative. We are part of God's narrative. The story of His creation and world still occurs today. Too often, I think that individuals believe that "the story" has been sealed with the conclusion of the Bible.

How do we live in this type of the world? I think that we try to live out the very important words of Jesus: Love God / Love Others. We also look through the lenses of "being rooted" and reavh out to those who do not have permanent/visible roots in our community AND we make sure that we reach out and include them in an intimiate community.

Effective youth and family ministry is rooted. We are rooted to avoid our theology and our doctrine from being blown about by the winds of change. That is not to say that we don’t continue to ask questions, to examine doctrine, and to grow. However, we must be rooted.

We are rooted in the Word of God in written form which is the norm of our faith. All that we do in youth and family ministry must tell the story of the God of love. We are rooted in the Word of God incarnate, which centers our faith on the love and grace of God as the initiating factor of our relationship with the Holy. All that we do in youth and family ministry points towards Jesus Christ.

We are rooted in Word and Sacrament, receiving the gifts and the promises which God gives freely to all of God’s people. And we are rooted (but not bound by) our Lutheran traditions, which have historically framed our life together.

The above three sections all come together. It is very important that are ministries our based on the Word. We need to make sure that we are connected/rooted in Scripture. There are many ways for us to do this. One key compontent is for us to have time where we can study the Scripture and see where it plays out into our daily lives.

I think that the ELCA has a great tool for this in the FaithLens. This is the curriculum that ties the lectionary into current issues. I think that it is vital that we take a look at Scripture and we wrestle it with the current issues that our students are seeing and facing.

Finally, we are rooted in the Great Commission, which calls us to reach beyond ourselves to people in need to serve as witness to God’s love, and which calls us to look beyond our traditions to reach to those we have never reached to before, sharing God’s love and including all in the inheritance and blessing that is the grace of God.

If I am completely honest, this is a paragraph that currently has punched me in the gut. I do not think that many of us are "rooted" in the Great Comission. Or, we have a misconception of the Great Commission.

We need to make sure that we are sharing God's love and that we are showering/showing/telling people about the Grace of God. The one thing though that I want to make sure that happens is that we are not doing this just to get "butts in the pews".

Currently, I am part of a project that is bringing poverty to the surface. However, much of the faith community is absent from the table and this saddens me. I think that showing individuals compassion and helping them out of poverty is one way to begin to show and live out the Great Commission. However, I am finding that most do not believe this to be the case.

To be rooted is to always ask ourselves the question: “Is what we’re doing focused on forming faith in the God who creates, redeems and sustains his people?” A ministry that is mature can look at what it does and boldly answer “yes!” to this question.

The last paragraph does a great job in summarizing this scon and it does a wonderful job in laying it down to one simple question. How are you and your ministry able to answer the question ?

I think at times, I am able to say yes. However at times, I think we fall into a rut. I think we fall into the trap of preparring for Sunday, we fall into the trap of doing the status quo and the answer falls to ----- not really.

We must change that and move the focus to being rooted and forming faith and I think that we are making great strides at that here with our family sunday school concept.



Saturday, March 28, 2009

Frustration Setting In .....

Yup, that is what is happening and occurring. For Zion readers, it has nothing to do with Zion :)

I will share more about the frustrations on Sunday or Monday.

I also will have the next two responses up about effective ym by Wednesday.

It has been dead here for a week, so I just wanted to let people know that I am kickin' still and life continues on ..... even through frustrations; hey, did I mention to you that I was frustrated ??

Friday, March 20, 2009

Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Baptismal

Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Baptismal

As I have mentioned, I am going to be "blogging" through a document that comes out of the ELCA YM NETWORK. It is "definition of effective youth and family ministry". They have placed te document out there and are asking for feedback and discussion. I have decided to copy and paste the document. The document will be in quote block and my thoughts and reactions will be in regular text.

Effective Youth and Family Ministry in ELCA congregations is:

1. Discipleship
2. Baptismal
3. Rooted
4. Excellence
5. Welcoming
6. Cross Generational
7. Advocacy
8. Congregational
9. Connected
10. Partnership

Today, we will be looking at Baptismal

Statement: Effective youth and family ministry focuses on the promises of the God who calls us unconditionally into the relationship begun when we are claimed in the waters of baptism and lived out in the calling of our vocation.

Biblical Basis: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” - 1 Peter 2:9

Rationale: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is slowly beginning to look more like a melting pot of humanity, less like a weekly reunion of people with Northern European ancestry. Along with the rich diversity of people sitting in the pews of our churches and gathering as youth groups and children's ministries comes a kaleidoscope of cultures and traditions, and an increasingly eclectic theology of who we are and how we see God at work in our midst.

I enjoy the introduction and the three segments that they focus in on. In their opening statement; the sentence that I want to echo loudly to everyone is "unconditional". There are still too many people out there that believe that they must be perfect or at least have their life in order to enter into a relationship with God. We need to be shouting (not in a mean way) that God loves you and that the love is unconditional.

The scripture that they use is a very powerful scriptural verse and one that we need to be imprinting onto peoples hearts. We need to let people know about priesthood. We need to share about the calling out of the darkness and into the light. We belong to God, how powerful and how sweet is that statement.

To be honest, i am not sure how to take the rationale portion of the section. If this is occurring in other areas; that is great and fantastic. In my neck of the woods, it does not seem to be occurring. On the large scale though, I do believe that people are not so concerned about the denomination that they grew up in or are comfortable with - thus this is bringing great diversity into church communities. The great thing about this document, in my opinion, is the nuggets of truth that are sprinkled through the entire document. The sentence that does that for me in this segment is the following: a kaleidoscope of cultures and traditions, and an increasingly eclectic theology of who we are and how we see God at work in our midst. We need to keep our eyes and heart open and see where God is working at - in our midst.

While we celebrate the truth that God is at work in all Christian Churches, as Lutherans we center on the ministry of Word and Sacrament. Sacramentally, we understand that our identity is woven into the promises received and gifts given in baptism. Youth and family ministry that is effective rotates around the promises of grace, forgiveness, eternal life, identity and community, and the gifts which through the Holy Spirit bring and sustain life to all. This has absolutely nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with God, with God's love, mercy, and grace. God initiates the relationship. It is effective because of God's grace in Jesus!

Not growing up in the Lutheran church this statement (in a sense) "bit" me. To me, it can come off a little snobby. I know for a fact that this is not the case but perceptions can hurt as well. It (the statement) looks like we focus on the right things and everyone else focuses on the wrong things and I do not believe this to be true. Here is the statement that I do like though: Youth and family ministry that is effective rotates around the promises of grace, forgiveness, eternal life, identity and community, and the gifts which through the Holy Spirit bring and sustain life to all Now how that would look, work, be evaluated, developed and shared would definitely be up for argument and I would love for folks who are attempting to be led in this way ... what are you experiencing?

First, as professionals and volunteers in youth and family ministry, we have the privilege of entering into the brokenness of life with young people, and to accompany them as they experience God’s grace, receive the gifts, and are restored in and through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I definitely have considered it a privilege over the last decade+ to work with youth and to enter into their lives. There is definitely darkness and pain and brokenness that the students are living in the midst of. It seems to be that there is more brokenness, however I am sure that there many would argue that this simply is not the case and that we are just aware of things more now then we have been in the past. The great thing is that by journeying with them and sharing with them God's grace and light that they are moved from the brokenness. The power of the resurrection is wonderful power.

Second, we enter into relationship with the young person, their family, and their entire support system, making a covenant together to become the village that literally raises this child. And so we accompany and support the ministry of parents by walking alongside them as they experience the joys and struggles of raising their young people. We provide resources, we teach the children, and we teach the parents how to be church together.

It makes me smile and laugh a little when I see this statement. It reminds me of Hilary Clinton. Numerous individuals "crucified" her when she spoke the words "it takes a village ......" However, her words do ring true to me and I think that the above paragraph and the church community bring new light to the discussion. The paragraph once again highlights the importance of the Deuteronomy 6 principle. It is also the reason that we, at Zion, have begun to switch our focus and move to more families/parent ministry philosophy. We cannot do ministry in silos away from parents. We, as churches, must shift our focus and priorities to parents. We then MUST be the church together.

Finally, we represent the church which fully embraces and welcomes the young into the mission of God, and equips them to live out and to share the grace of the God who loves them first and foremost.

We must do this if we want to live out the calling that God has called for us.

Our call is counter cultural. Many of these youth have been conditioned to believe that their value is defined by performance in the home, at school, at church, in relationships in every arena of their lives. And we remind them that they are justified not by what they do, but through the love and grace of God. Along with the body of Christ, they are all sinners...all saints...and all justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

In the culture that we live in, this might be the most important thing that we do. Everyday, it seems like we run into students and individuals that are "identified" by what they do. They are measured in so many different areas and the parents and schools push them - they are defined. We need to give them the gift that they are children of God who loves them no matter what. Our words and our teaching MUST (in my opinion) be centered on the love and grace of God.

Our baptism as infants, children, youth, or adults makes us heirs of that promise. How important is our baptism? Jesus’ final command in the book of Matthew is to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit." Equally important though is to remember that this command is wrapped inside a promise: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)

This past week, I received The Connect magazine and the focus (theme) was on baptism which was very timely in not only the doctrinal topic and discussions going on but with this series. We need to wrap our arms around Matthew 28. When I reflect on this Scripture, I am reminded of a 6 word theme for a convention that I participated in. The theme was the following:

Committed to God
Commissioned by Christ

May we be effective in ministry.



Having Fun on Flight

A Flight Attendant You Might Listen To ......

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Donte Stallworth

From Yesterday ....

MIAMI (AP)—Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth says he is “grief stricken” over his car accident that killed a pedestrian on a busy causeway linking Miami and Miami Beach.

Stallworth says in a statement released by the team Wednesday that his “thoughts and prayers are with” the family of Mario Reyes. Police say Stallworth was headed toward the beach when he hit the 59-year-old Reyes with his Bentley on Saturday morning. Reyes was near a crosswalk but it’s unclear if he was crossing legally.

Stallworth said he could not comment further because the accident is under investigation. He was cooperating with police and no charges have been filed.

Police are awaiting a routine toxicology report expected late this week before releasing more details

From Today

A breaking story on the tv game (unconfirmed) that his tox reports came high and he was indeed drunk. I do not want to throw him under the bus yet - since it is not confirmed .... HOWEVER, I do have a question ....

I am a really dumb quy, so I need help understanding, how/why do individuals that make multi-million dollars do not hire a driver ? why in the world if you had been out drinking and you have the money - call a taxi .... heck, I think most places offer free rides ....

I just do not understand driving under the influence .....

March Madness

It is here !

Over the next 4 days, they will go from 64 to 16 teams. I am looking forward to taking some time to watch the games. I will be watching majority of the games. I will be doing work while I am watching it. But, it is a time to take a few breaths and relax in the midst of business.

I have filled out a few brackets - 2. I have entered in a few free polls through yahoo and espn with fellow friends and youth ministers. For the fun of it, in one of them, I picked an all BIG EAST final four.

The first set of games are on, I am getting the LSU and Butler game. It is nothing too exciting, so while I am watching it, I am giving a blog post and then working on flyers for up-coming youth events. I made a post announcement (first post below) on the Rock & Roll Worship Show; I think we will try to go to it in Columbus; it is on a school night though ...OUCH

Rock & Worship Roadshow


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

definition of effective youth and family ministry

As I have mentioned, I am going to be "blogging" through a document that comes out of the ELCA YM NETWORK. It is "definition of effective youth and family ministry". They have placed te document out there and are asking for feedback and discussion. I have decided to copy and paste the document. The document will be in quote block and my thoughts and reactions will be in regular text.

Effective Youth and Family Ministry in ELCA congregations is:

1. Discipleship
2. Baptismal
3. Rooted
4. Excellence
5. Welcoming
6. Cross Generational
7. Advocacy
8. Congregational
9. Connected
10. Partnership

Today, we will be looking at Discipleship

Statement: Effective Youth and Family Ministry is adults and young people walking alongside each other in relationship as both grow and mature in faith in Christ.

I am not sure if there are many that would disagree with this statement. I am sure that there are a few that would argue differently on what this would look like and how to accomplish it. There are also many that would want a clearer definition and "spiritual maturity" of the adult in the mentor and mentoree relationship.

However, what I absolutely love about the statements is that youth and adults are together and that they are walking alongside each other and making the journey together. We need to make sure that we "are together". This is an area that I am not creating "much success" at in the jr - high school level but there is TREMENDOUS amount of groundwork being laid down inthe children ministry.

Biblical Basis: “Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity” - Hebrews 6:1

The Scripture that is used is a great Scripture and one that needs to be placed out in front of our students all the time. We need to make sure that we are moving forward and that we are placing steps down so the children and youth will be making strides from elementary teaching to teaching that will bring them maturity.

I know that the Lutheran church and that the children, youth and familiy ministry model is very strong and they care about that deeply. One of the things that I would love to see in addition to the Hebrews passage is the Scripture from Deuteronomy 6.

6-9 Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.

Partnering with the parents and placing them as the spiritual providers for their family is vital and we (the church) need to be there giving them the strength, the encouragement and the tools to do it.

Rationale: Maturity in Christ is a journey, not a destination. The reality is, the entire life process from birth to death is a process of maturation. There is never a point when we suddenly are "complete." There is never a point when our relationship with Jesus Christ has become one of full maturity. We only achieve this point when through death in this life, by the grace of God, we are reunited with God in a new life. There, we experience this maturity.

The Journey ..... this keeps popping its head up. I love the visual imagery of The journey and it is one that I think is very vital. I think that with The Journey, we can "mark" many mileposts that will help individuals along their way in the journey that they find themselves in. I think it is also important for us to keep "emphasizing" that it is an entire life process; not a one and done event.

So what happens in the space between? How do God's people grow towards maturity in Christ as they live their life journey? This is a faith experience we call discipleship.

Discipleship is the key. It is a word that many get a little squirmy over and a number of people have a hard time grasping it. Last week, Pastor spoke to us a little about this. Here is a sample:

Well, that’s not the definition that we are going to use. Discipline actually comes from a Latin word which means “instruction or learning.” Therefore a “disciple” – one who “disciplines himself” – is a pupil or a student who learns through instruction. A “disciple” is a pupil or a student who follows and learns. A “disciple” is a pupil or a student who repeatedly practices something until he is prepared to go out and do it.

You know, I remember when I played football I use to really hate practices. We would go over and over and over certain things – angles of attacks – footwork – over and over and over again. And finally one day I asked the coach why do we go over and over and over these things. And he said, “We go over and over and over those things so that you will do them when no one is watching. You will do them without having to think about it. It will be who you are and not what you do.” “It will be who you are and not what you do.”

There is a parallel there between that and what we do here. We go over and over things here too. We talk about the love of God – over and over and over again. We talk about how God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son – over and over and over again. We talk about how this should motivate us to love God in return for all that He has done for us – over and over and over again. We talk about Grace being the underserved love and kindness of God. And we do that over and over again. We talk about how being a child of God means that we should love one another – and that that love should be unconditional. And we do that over and over and over again. And why do we do that – over and over and over again? We do that so that we might be disciplined. So that these things become so much a part of who we are – how we think – what we do – that these things are who we are – not just what we were are taught to do. We love God – because that is who we are. We love one another because that is who we are. We do these things when no one is watching. We do these things without having to think about them. We do these things because that is who we are and not just what we do. We are the children of God who live out our lives as children of God. Other people will do whatever it is that they do. We, however, are the children of God and we live out each and every moment as children of God.

As Lutherans, we tend to shy away from this word. It has echoes of "works righteousness" that scare us away. To be a disciple is to take action within our faith, and anything that causes us to take action might be confused by some as action required for the grace of God. We know, however, that discipleship is
not so much about what we "do" as Christians, but who we "are" as Christians. Living out our baptismal promises, we become followers of the living God and at the same time, leaders in the world around us. We receive God's grace and share God's love.

I think that the most important line in the paragraph is the following:

We know, however, that discipleship is not so much about what we "do" as Christians, but who we "are" as Christians. I am just beginning to read a book on monastic traditions and how we can try to live it out in the 21st century and one of the key phrases is "being" in the midst of "doing". I think this is very important and will share more about that (the book) outside of the YM blog series.

In Jewish tradition, rabbis took disciples who followed the rabbi, learned from the rabbi, and modeled their lives and ministry after the rabbi. In Christian practice, Jesus Christ is our rabbi, and as Christians, we try to follow, learn from, and model ourselves after Him.

I think that this is pretty simple and straight-forward. Now, I did not say easy, I said straight forward and simple. We need to look at Christ and His example and follow Him. It is a tough challenge but a challenge that we need to accept.

Effective youth and family ministry then, is the tending of these faith journeys, on behalf of and alongside the lives and faith of young people and their families. We do not take disciples, nor do we create them. We walk alongside the called, and build relationships with, teach, and tend those who are on the discipleship journey. We do this by encouraging and teaching the disciplines of prayer, service, worship, scripture, and faith talk and traditions.

There are so many things that are "packed" into this small paragraph. It really is remarkable especially if you try to break it down and then expound on each area. But, I believe that youth and family ministry would be radically different if we truly focused on building relationships and in the midst of these relationships, we focused on: prayer, service, worship, scripture, and faith talk and traditions. What would ministry look like / What would are weekly schedules consist of if we truly did this style of ministry ?

Effective youth and family ministry addresses both the young person as an individual and the young person in the context of their family. It recognizes that their family, whatever that looks like, is the primary incubator for faith. It works to equip parents be the primary faith role models, and provides opportunities for families to “practice faith” together.

Here is the paragraph that blends perfectly into the Deuteronomy passage that I mentioned early on in this post. We have to connect with the family and we (as churches) really need to focus in on "programming" better so we do not split the family up anymore then it already is.

Discipleship is less though about what we do and more about what God is doing in the lives of people. It is about naming God's grace and work in the lives of young people. It is occasionally about "nudging" young people and families in their lives and faith. It is by continuing and encouraging the process of discipleship and faith formation that God's transformative grace can become understood in the lives of God's people.

I think the key here is highlighting what God is doing in the lives of people. Too often, we focus on the "nots". The things that the children, youth and family ARE NOT doing. We need to allow God's grace to work in their lives and we need to focus in on what God is doing in their lives.

What do you think of Discipleship ?
Where / How does it Belong in Youth Ministry ?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Bible in 50 Words

I came across this today ....

God made,
Adam bit,
Noah arked,
Abraham split,
Joseph ruled,
Jacob fooled,
bush talked,
Moses balked,
Pharaoh plagued,
people walked,
sea divided,
tablets guided,
promise landed,
Saul freaked,
David peeked,
prophets warned,
Jesus born,
God walked,
love talked,
anger crucified,
hope died,
Love rose,
Spirit flamed,
Word spread,
God remained.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Where is Bindi ??

Bindi: Alive & Well

Bindi: In the Snake ...

The 10-foot long olive python with the enormously bulging tummy weighed 35lb. Usually it would weigh about 21lb, meaning that whatever it had swallowed weighed 14lb - roughly the size of poor little Bindi.

There is one more piece of compelling evidence. Since the snake showed up in Ms Buntine's back yard Bindi hasn't been seen.

'She didn't show up for her routine breakfast at 7am and because she was always there I got worried and went to look for her,' Ms Buntine told the Sunday Territorian newspaper. 'I went around the side of the house and that's when I found the snake. It couldn't move and had its head up in a striking position.
'Its belly was bulging - it looked like a great big coconut was inside it. I knew straight away that it had ate Bindi.

'I felt terrible - it's not very nice at all

The Journey Is Over

Over the last 6 months, I have been walking and I have been doing it for a fundraiser. The walk was to cover 2,012 miles. The money that I was raising was going to help the youth of our church go to the National Gathering in New Orleans.

Below is my last map. Each week, I google mapped my miles to show where I was at on my journey. Below the map, you will see my totals. You can definitely tell that I had more steam going down there. This was two fold, I believe. One, it was new and two, the journey back was during winter AND it was COLD.

It was a long journey, but I am back. Thanks for the support. Here are the numbers:

Wooster to New Orleans

Week 1 – 107 miles
Week 2 – 105 miles
Week 3 – 108 miles
Week 4 – 77 miles
Week 5 – 100 miles
Week 6 – 80 miles
Week 7 – 109 miles
Week 8 – 75 miles
Week 9 – 104 miles
Week 10 – 52 miles
Week 11 – 85 miles

New Orleans Back to Wooster

Week 1 – 72 miles
Week 2 – 65 miles
Week 3 – 72 miles
Week 4 – 62 miles
Week 5 – 55 miles
Week 6 – 63 miles
Week 7 – 56 miles
Week 8 – 62 miles
Week 9 – 83 miles
Week 10 – 64 miles
Week 11 – 60 miles
Week 12 – 71 miles
Week 13 – 71 miles
Week 14 – 61 miles
Week 15 – 64 miles

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Jonas Brothers, Mickey Mouse, Purity Rings & South Park


I do not watch South Park. I have seen 2 or 3 episodes. I was taken to this link with a story that I was reading about Disney and their image of "selling sex" to girls.

So, what do you think of the South Park video if you ignored the warning and watched.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Huge Sand Storm

With terrifying majesty, a giant dust storm swept in from the desert and enveloped large parts of the Saudi capital Riyadh today. The vast, whirling clouds cast an apocalyptic yellowish hue over the city's sprawling surburbs, choking residents with a blanket of grit and sand. The awe-inspiring storm engulfed buildings and caused huge traffic jams as it enveloped

Global Food Crisis

Hunger Facts

- One person in seven• goes to bed hungry every day.
- One-third of the world’s population• is undernourished.
- There are 25,000 starvation-related deaths each day.
- Each night more than 300 million children go to bed hungry.
- Every day, over 12,000 children (one every 7 seconds) die from hunger-related causes.
- Approximately 146 million or 27 percent of children under age 5 in developing
countries are underweight.
- Nearly 17 percent of babies in developing countries are born with a low birth
weight compared with only
- 7 percent of babies in industrialized countries.
- More than 4.4 million children die from malnutrition each year.
- Worldwide, 161 million preschool children suffer chronic malnutrition.

Global Food Initiative

The global food crisis threatens the lives of millions and has been called a "silent tsunami," unleashing turmoil against the most vulnerable children. The Secretary-General of the UN calls it a "moral outrage" and estimates that as much as $40 billion a year is required for the next three to five years.

Compassion International exists as an advocate for children in poverty and works in some of the areas hardest hit by this crisis. We are providing solutions through local churches with nutritional provision and long-term strategies, such as agricultural education, training and tools, so that those consumed by this crisis have the opportunity to grow and prepare their own food.

We ask you to join us by donating so that our program staff will have the resources necessary to fight this global food crisis with success. Please give as you feel led today ... and thank you.

CI Food Hunger Site

Monday, March 09, 2009

Vocation, Listening & Compassionate Justice

Here is a little "recap" from a team meeting we had last night for our national gathering trip to NOLA this summer:

On March 8th, we had our National Gathering meeting and the focus of our lesson was on those three themes. We "zeroed" in on listening and then connected listening to vocation and compassionate justice.

I think that the conversation and the lesson that we went over was very good and we (as a group) are getting a great understanding of what to expet when we get to New Orleans. Preparation for the trip is very important.

I am going to share with you the "wrap-up" that we did last night for the recap portion of the night:


God's call that frees us to listen


Putting aside our preconceived outcomes to hear and comprehend the needs of others.

Compassionate Justice

Our response to the needs of others, discovered through listening and accomplished through the freedom of God's call.

Vocation, listening, and compassionate justice are three vital and beautifully interconnected pieces of our Christian life. They shape not only how we approach time in New Orleans, but also how we live out God's promises here at home.

These are three very important words and words that I believe that we need to have close to our heart, no matter where we are out and where we are serving.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Orange Conference 2009


Hey, I am proud to be part of a team that recognizes you are the real champions of the movement for home and family. You are the leaders who are actually working in churches to do ministry and who are helping parents engage with their kids to nurture an everyday faith. There is a new generation of leaders who get this because they are presently living the changes and fighting for the family. It is such a privilege to belong to this growing team of leaders and to learn from so many of you that are coming to the Orange Conference this year.

I can't begin tell you how fortunate I am to be able to work with this team and to spend time every week with staff like Sue Miller, Stuart Hall, Lanny Donoho, and other leaders who believe in the influence of the church and family like Nancy Beach, Francis Chan, Perry Noble, Craig Jutila, Jim Wideman, David Kinnaman, and Chap Clark. These are just some of the people you will hear from at Orange, as well as a few surprise guests we are not allowed to name. What I respect the most about these leaders is they actually work with churches and families firsthand. They are not just working on it; they are living in it every week.

The shifts we have been describing over the last several years are now happening everywhere. We hear stories every week from thousands of churches who are officially thinking orange.

Orange Conference has become the place for all of us to converge and dialogue.

Did you know...

- how you communicate Deuteronomy 6 can either paralyze or mobilize your families
- your partnership with unchurched parents will radically affect the influence of your church
- you can start a revolution in teenagers when you network with other churches
- the environments you create for children can shape their understanding of God’s story in their lives
- the way you connect families to other families can exponentially influence a child forever
- the way you don’t say something may determine whether it is really heard
- how you minister to college students may be one of your most important investments
- "speaking family" every week can impact the communities around your church
- your definition of the church can determine if the next generation will walk away to be the church

There is a next generation of leaders, including many of you, who have a lot to say about …

...how we should partner with parents
...how we should influence our communities
...how we should be the church

My prayer is that we will listen to each other.

Something unique is going to happen this spring, when every generation gathers to rethink how we can all work together to reach the next generation.

See you at Orange.


this is why i am looking forward to the Orange Conference. We, at Zion, are doing many things to try to move our church into "orange". It is going to be a long process to make the complete turn but we are beginning to make the steps. I think that it is a good thing ....

15 Years Ago Today ....

I said, "I Do".

I cannot believe that it has been 15 years. I am not sure where the time has gone. The last 15 years have taken us on an unbelievable journey. If someone would have sat us down in 1994 and said, "over the next 15 years, this is what will happen ...."

We would have laughed and went NO WAY.

The journey has definitely been a roller coaster ride for us with ministry in various settings, children, and medical problems and various speed bumps along the way; but after 15 years, we are still together and going strong.

She is an amazing lady and I have the wonderful opportunity of watching her up-close and personal. Stacey, thanks for the past 15 years and I look forward to the countless years ahead of us.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My Neice

Yesterday morning, my sister called to tell us that she was in labor. Stacey headed over to be with her at the hospital. So, I am attempting to manage work and the three kids. When we got home from school, Bethany wanted to send mom a message and we saw that mom had given us a pic of my neice and bee's cousin. Bethany was happy to see the pic. Here it is .....

Welcome to the world little one ....

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Effective Youth & Family Ministry

I have been wanting to do a post series that has some "meaning" to me and hopefully others. I have been struggling with the topic. There are a few that are really close to my heart at the present time: adoption/foster care, ending poverty, state of our economy, theological difference, partnering churches to name a few.

However, the one that keeps coming to my mind is youth and family ministry. There are many different paths that I can take with this but this morning; I chose one. Here it is:

Effective Youth and Family Ministry in ELCA congregations is:

1. Discipleship
2. Baptismal
3. Rooted
4. Excellence
5. Welcoming
6. Cross Generational
7. Advocacy
8. Congregational
9. Connected
10. Partnership

Over the next few weeks, I am going to take a look at these 10 items and see how they play out in youth and family ministry. I obviously believe that these extend far outside the walls of the ELCA. However, with working in the ELCA and this being an ELCA document; I thought it would be a great place to brainstorm.

A new series, I hope that I will carve the time out to do this. I think that it will be very beneficial to me, the church that I serve and hopefully some of my readers.

Gnashing of Teeth

There is a lot of people talking about "gnashing of teeth"; I am not sure if it has to do with the fact that Easter season is upon us or .... but here is my "gnashing of teeth" post:

Monday, March 02, 2009

An Update ....

Life has been a little crazy lately. I mean, nothing earth shattering is really happening but we (I) seem to be on the constant go and there are not many breaks.

So, I decided that I was going to take 10 mins, take a deep breath and jot a few things down on this corner of the web that a few people still check out periodically.

On Work ...

Work at the church has been going very well. It has been 2 months since I have taken over the responsibilities of the children director as well. I am needing to recruit some more help but overall the ministry is going well. I am super-pleased with how the family sunday school is going - it really seems to be working and the change to family sunday school was quick.

On Family

Our family is doing well. We have had a few normal visits up to the Cleveland Clinic, Jacob broke his toe and we have battle the sniffles a little; thankfully, it has not been nothing very seriously.

Community Work

- still helping out 1x (every other Tuesday) at the Clinic
- meals on wheel route on friday's
- bridges of hope (ending poverty in wayne county)

Looking Ahead

We have got a few trips on the burner. The one that the kids seem to be looking forward to is our trip up to Michigan next month. We are going back up there for Spring Break. The agenda: 4 days of nothing and 1 day of food and museums.


- completed one more training class for child service
- isaiah is finished with indoor soccer (good season)
- jacob is finished with swimming (swim season is over)
- new neice is almost here
- i am exhausted
- renovating room 300

10 mins are up, I need to get back to some reading and ss prep before I do a little paint work and fgure out the schedule for the rest of the week ....