5 comments Thursday, April 30, 2009

The formula for explosive drama is increasing the number of teens while decreasing the overall space. Each week we seem to have a couple of new kids. This is great but that leads to a bit of drama. Of course that isn't all that bad in itself but tonight it was rainy so everyone got packed inside instead of spreading out. This led to explosive drama. You could chart that into a ramp curve where the more teens and smaller the space results in exponential increase in tension. Yeah lots of fun.

Tonight someone got smacked and did it pretty big. This was followed by some serious shouting down which I waited out. They eventually worked things out without me telling them to calm down and all that. I like to let them work it out if possible so I'm glad they were able to talk things through eventually. Holy freak though it was tense for a while and several more wildfires broke out in the interim. I am very grateful for one of my new leaders that was able to help and that tax season is over which means one of my other leaders is back.

I'm beyond exhausted and honestly feel like quitting and rejoicing all at the same time right now. That may not be unique to ministry but it is a first for me. I've been horribly frustrated at times and wanted to quit other jobs but never felt the job redeemed itself in the exact same thing that drove me so crazy.

2 comments Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So we wrapped up Crazy Love last night and it was a good finish. I think the book needed some polish, but the over all escalation of the book really works. I think that is one of the reasons I like it. It read like one of the prophetic books of the Bible. I'm not saying it is prophecy or anything, but the way it builds is the same formula found in most of the minor prophets.

  1. Optional opening about the friginstasticness of God
  2. Lists of offenses to God
  3. The coming judgments
  4. The means to avoid the coming judgments
  5. hope and encouragement for the future
I really do love those books because they call for action and also provide hope. I think that is a powerful thing.

On top of that I've been watching God do some amazing things in one of the young ladies (she just turned 18 so I try not to call her girl anymore even though I look at her and think girl but I guess I"m just getting old) lately. I have been spending a lot of time praying for her because of some pretty intense struggles she has been dealing with. I've seen a strength in her that she didn't know she had and so I've tried encouraging her for the past months. Lately she is really getting it.

Anyways, we all have to choose to get after God. That is the thing she got and it is so related to the last chapter in the book. I'm praying this continues to build.

I want to write more but I gots things to do. Plus more meetings and other fun stuffs.

5 comments Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ok maybe a little lazy because I took Friday off, but I was busy posting a bunch of monkey butts over at FOTTSP. I think that is a reasonable excuse for missing a few days of posts. I took yesterday off too but I tries spending time with my wife because I'm working this weekend and next weekend is ATF, which will be awesome.

I'm gonna follow up with my smoking cessation class I'm facilitating on Mondays now. It's a 10 week deal and is mandatory for teens that have been busted with tobacco. They gave me a group of all guys and they are pretty hard core ... or at least try to be. We've had 2 classes and I was worried they were gonna give me a really hard time but things are going great. My sarcasm seems to be helping. Yesterday I told them I was a Youth pastor and they about fell out of their seats. I swear one guys eyes got 2xs bigger. I had to break the ice again after that and at one point they got onto each other for cussing which was pretty funny. I'm actually really surprised at how much a couple of they guys are sharing even though they say they aren't really interested in quitting. I'm also very thankful for this opportunity because I believe it is a direct answer to prayer. God is giving me opportunity to build a relationship with them. Please pray as I continue in this that I continue to hear God and am bold to follow His lead.

Today was pretty wild too. I had a meeting that lasted pretty much all morning. We got a lot done and it was really important considering some events like ATF are just around the corner. The wild stuff happened after lunch though.

After the meeting I drove back to the church and then walked to SubWay and bought a salad and water then walked to the Gazebo on Main St, which is just down from where I had the meeting but I wanted to get some more walking in. I ate at the Gazebo then read a chapter in one of the books I'm reading about evangelism. Specifically, this chapter dealt with 3 basic kinds of evangelism and different ways they are accomplished. I might go into more detail later but as I finished the chapter I asked God for an opportunity then started walking back. Did you know God is not a long way away? I crossed the street and ran into a guy that had attended the Youth for the first time last week. This kid is pretty hard core to say the least. He had 2 lip piercings, his ears gauged, and a cartilage piercing. He also has a pretty awesome testimony. God isn't done with him by far but God uses him already. We talked for nearly 2 hours and I got to meet several of his friends as they walked by. It was amazing.

From this I've learned a few things. First as much as I love technology I must admit that it is the death of culture. We don't know anyone really because we are always driving around. Every time I take the time to walk I pass a bunch of people and talk to them. This is something you really cannot do when driving. OK you can but it really freaks people out. Try it. Next time you are at a light roll down your window and start talking to the person next to you. They will really freak out if they are like anyone around here. Oddly it is perfectly acceptable to just talk to people as you pass them on the street. Someone sitting out on their porch is happy to talk to you as you walk along even if you don't know them from Adam.

I also learned not to ask God for stuff unless you are ready for an instant answer. Seriously. You might be thinking, hey then I'll ask for a million bucks. Ok but God also tells us to ask for the right motives. Think about it this way. You might think, "God I'd like a bunch of money so I can give it to the poor." That's a great motive but don't pray it unless you are prepared for God to answer by giving you opportunities to give instead of giving money to you. God is frigintastic like that and He'll give to you as you give but rarely the way you expect. I asked God for an opportunity then walked across the street into a long conversation that put my day on hold. I think that was fan-frigintastic and exactly the kind of thing Jesus would do.

I learned some other stuff but I gotta get dinner going. God is good.

5 comments Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last night was busy something fierce. New people in Youth which was cool. Seems like there are always new people. One of them was from another outreach ministry that I work with. He doesn't look like a straight laced kinda kid but he has an amazing testimony. He says he'll be coming back and I'm gonna ask him to share his testimony in a couple of weeks. He has lip rings (yes plural) and ear hoops and all kinds of either things like that, but he really does get it so that is frigintastic.

I filled my last 2 spots of Acquire the Fire but also had a couple of teens ask about going so I'm gonna have to try and get them in with one of the other groups we are going with.

Anyways, we also had some not so great stuff happen. There was a fight last night. I didn't get out there but it sounds like one of my new volunteers dealt with it very well. I'm very excited to have this guy here helping. It seems like he is doing everything perfectly right now. Praise God for answers to prayers but we are going to need more workers so if you are praying for me keep praying for that.

I talked to one of the parents last night, one that doesn't go to church, and she thanked me for what we are doing. She said her son really looks forward to what we are doing each week. Honestly that was pretty cool but I'm gonna have to give that credit to God because I really don't know what I am doing half the time. God is good.

Last night I shared the Great Commission and talked about how the Church often has it totally backwards. We go out and tell people how to behave and heap rules on them then try to get them baptized then finally talk about the gospel as another rule for going out and getting others saved into our burdens. I challenged them to understand that they are the church and they can be the solution. We can share the power of the gospel as the means of freeing us from burdens. The burden of sin, death, and heaps of rules that we can't keep. Freedom to live and have a relationship with God through Christ.

Oh, and I also fired off my t-shirt cannon and got one really good shot that I'm gonna upload next week. I fired off skittles too but didn't get any good shots of that. It was pretty cool but I need to dial in the pressure.

One last thing. I am having more fall out from growth. I'm worried about some of the ones that have been here for years. They are getting frustrated with the new students. I talked with them so many times in the past year about the right way to act to people and they seemed to get it but now that there are new people they are acting just like the other brother in the prodigal son. They are hung up on the past and mad that the new ones don't "act right." Even after the sermon last week that dealt with this same thing ... I just don't know. I need to sit down and talk with them about it. Help them understand the powerful truth that Jesus was sharing in that parable. If they continue they will become just like the Church that I was talking about in the sermon last night.

Yeah I know kinda random but what did you expect.

4 comments Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Sunday we played a game "Battle of the Generations" where Youth and Adults answer trivia about the opposing generation. Basically I put images on the screen and asked who or what is being displayed.

In this the Youth go first and must answer the name of the band shown. Of course the band is "The Who" and I got a bit of fun in with that. Ultimately the students pulled ahead 1-0.

I tossed the adults a nice easy one right over the plate and the Jonas Brothers are correctly identified. Score 1-1

The youth come back by quickly naming Ron Howard pulling ahead 2-1

The adults incorrectly call out Miley Cyrus and the Youth go for the steal with the correct name "Ashley Tisdale" pushing even further ahead 3-1.

Off the steal the Youth pick up another quick point by recognizing Bob's Big boy and soar to 4-1.

The adults make up some ground when the mother of two teen monster drinkers recognizes the monster symbol, possibly with some help from the announcer who is drinking Lo-Carb monster. 4-2.

The Youth fumble the Bogart image even with some great impersonations to jog their memory and the adults steal for a 4-3 going into the last slide.

Unfortunately the adults can't pull off the tie incorrectly calling the Nintendo DS a Gameboy. Sorry adults the Youth win and to rub in in your face the youngest yells out that it is a DS for the steal and two point victory 5-3.

Better luck next time adults.

On another note, I have the two sermons up from Sunday so go check them out. Especially the PM sermon by one of my Youth.

Read about it and hear them at Youth Sunday Preachifying.

Don't forget to leave some love.

7 comments Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ok, so it seems more than a couple of people want to know how Sunday went and to see video of the t-shirt cannon. I need to get some better action shots, but I will put the video I have now up for everyone to see. I'm actually waiting for all my vids to upload so I will write this with one video missing.

Sunday was, "anything goes" Sunday, AKA "Youth Sunday." I showed some great videos, threw some candy, had a surprise b-day party for twin girls that turned 18 that day and, of course, shot off my t-shirt cannon.

People were warned and it seemed that half the church was absent. You will notice a lot of empty seats in the videos. That really frustrates me, but whatever, the people who came enjoyed it and I think God had a good word for them in the morning and evening service. I'll be uploading both sermons on my Sermon Blast blog later today or tomorrow. I'm really impressed with the evening sermon that was delivered by one of my students, a 14 year old girl. Pretty powerful.

In the morning, on top of showing the walking on goldfish and arrest videos, we played a trivia game "Battle of the Generations." I'll post a video of that and details later since it is still uploading.

Then I shot the t-shirt cannon off and preach the sermon which will be posted. During thins I drank a can of Lo-Carb Monster instead of water. I don't think it had much effect but some others do. Personally I think they perceived a change that wasn't there. When the sermon gets uploaded you can judge for yourself.

It was a very long day. We went out with some Youth for lunch then decided on the last minute surprise b-day party and went shopping. We got back in time to setup a few other things and get things rolling for church. Lots of fun there.

In the evening service I showed some other videos including "punched before eating." Then we had some people come up and play the improv game "living mannequins." which is a ton of fun and fun to watch. Enjoy.

After that I got the t-shirt cannon out and shot it a couple more times. Now you can see it in action.

The first shot was great. It went all the way to the sound booth where one of the guys who wanted it was able to easily catch it. The second shot didn't go the distance. I showed the reloading because it is funny to see the ram rod being used to load just like a real cannon. The evening shots were both perfect. You can't see in the video but the first one went up and the t-shirt opened just perfectly and fell right on top of the girl I sent back there to catch. Could have asked for a better shot.

Then one of the girls that went for the 2nd PM shirt came up to preach and I closed it down and we had a surprise party for the twin teen girls that turned 18 that day. If you look in the 2nd two cannon shots you will see a flashing light down on the right towards the front. That is a flashing tiara that we bought for the girls to wear during service.

There were a few other random things we did but overall I think I played it safe enough. You can see plenty of white hair in the video and some of them get more than a little uptight about things like that, but you can tell from the sound that most people really enjoyed it.

So, what do you think?

6 comments Monday, April 20, 2009

Over on Katdish's blog Hey Look a Chicken she posted about her top searches that landed people on her site. I thought I show who comes by here. I think it is worth comparing the two lists. You will notice, for example, that no one gets here by searching for Annie K.' boobs or Helen's butt crack. In fact it seems I somehow attract a much more classy group over all. Let me offer my most sincere apologies. I don't know how the search engine sends you this way but you deserve better.

i learned a lot in my marriage counseling class
my experiences about love
is ADHD genetic
truly he is risen greek letters
crazy love -francis chan
all the apples of the world
"pastor love"
what makes sacrifice so important to God?
I write my youth pastor everyday
love fades water ocean
what do you say back if someone says christos anesti
My daughter had her heart broken. What can I do
Why does the heart feel condem
t shirt canon
geek facts
fun facts for youth
My daughter's had her heart broken. What can I do
using positive reinforcement with my 5 year old
am i condemn for not loving my husband?
how to know if you are a geek youth
preparing for a good marriage
would it be weird if i asked my youth worker for help?
bible "make up for what is lacking in Christ
ticklish feet
foolish youth games


I loved most of the "boy" shows on TV in the 80s, but He Man was in the top 5. If you are familiar with the show, there is a man, Prince Adam, with a scardy cat of a tiger, Cringer, who had to defend the secrets of Castle Grayskull from Skeletor. Pretty straight forward for a show with a bit less than imaginative names.

Anyways, when it was time for battle Prince Adam could raise his power sword and shout "by the power of Grayskull I am He-man." Then he would turn into a powerful warrior and his cowardly tiger would become the valorous Battle Cat.

Of course, there is no sword for us to raise to bring strength and courage. In life we are often expected to rise above fear. I did learn that it is possible to overcome fear though. A warrior does not live without fear, but rather lives in control of fear.

I do not face fights like He-man, but I do battle constantly. I battle evil of the greatest measure. All Christians do. Some are afraid to step forward and speak truth and life. When they open themselves to the power of the Spirit they become spiritual giants. Consider Peter, who denied Christ in fear then 53 days later spoke to the same mob that called for his crucifixion.

There is no sword to raise that brings strength and courage, but there is a Spirit that is available to all Christians which will allow us to overcome our fear and ourselves.

5 comments Friday, April 17, 2009

If you are a first time visitor coming from Stuff Christians Like, welcome. This post is more serious so if you are looking for funny, sorry not so much today. I did want to play off the guest post over at SCL with a serious post on the same note. If you are reading my blog before Jon's ... what is wrong with you, get yourself over to SCL right now and read that first.

Now to the point.

There are a lot of very successful ideas out there and I think that too often churches think they can copy something that works and experience the same success. This is a huge problem in general. Go to any bookstore and you will find shelf after shelf promising you success in just about anything. There are seminars everywhere on how to follow this formula or that formula to success. It is no wonder that the church follows suit.

It rarely, if ever, works that way. The people that find success in a diet, for example, do so by adapting the diet to their life, not their life to the diet. A great example is Jared with Subway. He found a way to lose a lot of weight eating Subway food by walking there and eating healthy while there. Good for him, but I tried it with no results. Weird huh? I had to find a diet that I could adapt to my life before I found any success.

This is true for the church and all the programs out there. I'm not saying you can't look around at what is working and try that in a given church, but trying to adapt a church to another program is almost always a failure. The program has to be adapted to the church because there are just too many variables to account for when considering the success of other ideas.

That said, let's consider a few ideas that just might help.

1) Pray, Pray, Pray.

I can't say this enough. We need to start by going to God before we plan anything. How insanely, over the top, narcissistic are we when we plan all this stuff then ask God to bless it as if we get to decide what the best thing is. I've read so many books about successful this that and the other Christian things and each of these has the same moral to the story. A group of people asked God what they should be doing. Start with prayer in the pre-planning before you even decide what program to try and adapt. Then pray during the planning as you figure out how a program might fit with what God is already doing. Finally pray over every step along the way during implementation. As you pray make sure you are asking the right questions and listening for the answers. The questions are all about what God wants not how God can help you succeed. Who ever said God wants your church to be the next mega?

2) Study
You have prayed, and you feel God moving you in the direction of adapting a given church model. Great. Now study it. I'm talking about more than the official book. A lot of books show the model that is working, but that isn't what you need to know. You need to know how they got to that point. This is where you will find out about the prayer that went into the program. This is where you will find out about the failures and how they led to success. You need to understand the foundation that isn't in the books and videos. You might have to play detective for a while but you will understand what is actually working and why. If you don't know this then you will never understand why some parts won't work for you.

3)Did I mention prayer?
Seriously every part of this is about prayer because now you have studied and figured out that huge important parts of the other program will not work in your situation. Time to get back to God and find out why you felt Him moving you this direction.

4)Grow Slow, Grow Strong.
Trying to change everything overnight will usually cause problems. If you are planting a church this is different but still true. I read a story once about this pastor that took a well established church. The church organ was right in the middle of the platform and previous ministers had been kicked out because of the uproar caused by moving that organ. The departing minister warned the pastor that the new minister shouldn't make the same mistake of moving the organ. A few years later the church had a celebration for the 75th anniversary or something. All the previous ministers were invited and they were shocked to find the organ on the side of the platform and the organist, the same old lady that had led the uprising against them for moving it, happily playing. They questioned the minister on how he had managed what they had failed. His answer was simply, "one inch at a time."

For a program to have any chance of success you need to get everyone excited and on board so there are several steps you have to take. It needs to be setup and grown slowly but it also needs some exciting ribbon cutting type event to make everyone energized about what is going on. Sound difficult? Yeah that is why you should be praying still.

5) Finally Adapt and blend.
Remember those whole segments that didn't work? Blend other ideas with an existing model into something that will work. Those can be original ideas or come from other existing programs. Don't be afraid of new things. God is creative. Look at Australia for crying out loud. All kinds of weird animal there. If you are seeking Him then be ready for what He is saying. God knows all the variables. He knows all the people involved. He knows exactly what to do. Be ready for new things. Expect new things. Ask for new things. God makes a new day every single day. A day that is different from everyday that came before. He will do so for all eternity. Wrap your head around that for a moment.

There is nothing wrong with using something that is already proven, but don't be lazy about it. Not everyone has the time, energy, or resources to make something brand new. That is fine, we should never be ashamed to use whatever God gives us to use. If we take the time to seek God and adapt instead of clone then it will be new even if it is similar.

So did I miss anything important? Please share your own stories about adapting or failures in trying to clone. What advice would you give?

3 comments Thursday, April 16, 2009

OK, so I have a post planned for tomorrow and I don't want to change it because it is intentionally to coincide with my guest post over at SCL. Be sure to catch it. I have a lot to update though so I figured I'd throw this out there.

Once again get ready for some randomness.

First, thank you, or whatever the opposite of thank you is, to Candy for letting me know there is a low carb Monster. This is probably bad for me to know because avoiding the carbs is one of the big reasons I have not consumed any energy drinks until tonight. I had my first and I really liked it. I got it because I was feeling really tired and I had something to do, which is going to be discussed in a minute, but then I made dinner and ate and got a big energy boost, which often happens to me because I get really tired in the afternoon then I'm up and running in the evening/night. This is great for working with Youth. Anyways I decided to give the Monster a try and I liked it. I will try to not drink them all the time because I want to continue to have energy without them, but whatever.

Second, (look at that I'm totally going with the numbered list how focused is that?) I primed the t-shirt cannon and set things up in the sanctuary. I'm really getting excited about Sunday. This will be the best anything goes service ever. MY wife is being too quiet and not telling me not to do things. That worries me. I'm not sure if she has stopped caring or if I'm not pushing hard enough. Oh well, I have a t-shirt cannon and that is awesome.

Third, I got to attend a round table discussion on teen drinking tonight. The discussion was good but I met with 3 teens that were pretty cool who I am texting with now. Apparently my normal near crazy combined with Monster made me highly impressive because I am "super crazy but in a very cool way." One of my ideas was "vigilante interventions." It involved beanbag rounds which are non lethal but will leave a very painful reminder for some time.

Fourth, there is no fourth because the Monster is wearing off. I don't think it made me that much more hyper, since I was hyper to start with, but it does seem to have a draining effect when it wears off. This is why I don't do caffeine.


OK, so I got to test my t-shirt cannon and it works frigintastic. I've only tested it to 40PSI but at that pressure it fired about 40' high and a hundred feet or so distant. I fired it at that pressure in the church and hit the lighting about 20 high at full speed. At 20 PSI I can hit the back rows from the front of the church about 100' but at a much lower arc. I need to get some new video because the video I took of the testing today didn't turn out much useful.

That as me in a better mood, but the weather is kind of depressing. We did have numbers back up a bit, but not quite to where we had been running last month, but equal to or better than February. There are some new people and so there are some people missing that I really wish were there, plus some that I don't expect to see back, but they might surprise me, who knows.

Of course not all is super awesome happy time. I have to say be careful what you pray for. I have been praying for students that need Jesus. Let me tell you this is apparently the same as praying for patience. Good but very dangerous. There are a few that are really pushing me and tonight I was at the edge of kicking a couple out … only I was talking about how Jesus spent all his time with people that need him and not the religious, self-righteous leaders that wanted him. I was talking about the Prodigal Son and about the wrong and right way to act so kicking them out would have been very hypocritical and I'm hoping that the way I did deal with them was a great illustration to the students.

Who knows how that went but despite me being at the edge of my wits one girl did respond to the salvation side of the message and that is super fan-frigintastic.

I also had another opportunity to walk the talk. One of the students I've mentioned before as being bi was there tonight. She comes pretty regular and brought a couple friends last week. Anyways, they were there waiting on a ride when the younger brother of one of her friends was running around calling her "lesbo" and "lezzie." I sat the kid down and explained that was very ugly and is not acceptable. I asked him not to treat her that way and told him he wouldn't do it around me. The rest of the time he behaved. She knows I know her "orientation." I haven't talked with her specifically about it but have commented on my views of GBLT so she knows where I stand as well. If you don't know I feel very strongly that sin is sin but that people are also people. Christians like to pick favorite sins and judge people on those things. We miss out on the sins that Jesus judged people on that revolve around how we treat other people because we are so hung up on the "bad" sins. I try hard to avoid "hating the sin but loving the sinner" and instead try to just love people. I hope this young lady got it when I put that into practice tonight. All people have worth and none should be treated like that.

Finally I want to give a great big shout out to one of my new Youth workers. He is really starting to fit in and is intuitively building relationships with several of the guys. I'm really excited to have him on board and wish I had about 5 more just like him. My prayers are for God to keep sending people that need Jesus, that He keeps opening doors for me to get into community programs and places, and for more workers for the Harvest. God has been answering these requests and I ask others to please pray this for me and for your Youth.

Leave some love k?

13 comments Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yeah I could write about 5 posts for today. Lots to talk about but I"m gonna just be my ADD self and make it all one post. Yay.

So first a follow-up to my Young Adults Class. I really need a name for it because I hate "Young Adults" and "College and Careers." I also don't want something confusing. Whatever, I'll deal with that later. We did chapter 8 of Crazy Love last night and it went really well. We had a new girl that I've been trying to get into the class for a while. She is a Senior in the Youth group but doesn't really fit in there. She needs something more and I'm really glad she was able to make it last night. She got involved right away which is awesome because she normally hangs back in Youth. MY wife says I say awesome too much and started taking points away for saying it. She is right but I still like the word. I'm gonna start saying "frigintastic" instead. She will long for the days when everything was awesome.

Anyways, at the conclusion every decided they would be willing to try small accountability groups. Now I'm gonna research such things and try to get some general outlines, 2-3, and let the groups fill in the rest of the blanks themselves. If the girls want to make a lunch or shopping out of theirs good for them, if the guys want to shoot each other in the face with paintballs good for us. So long as there is accountability and not just a social group I'm pretty happy. It is frigintastic.

Speaking of frigintastic my t-shirt cannon is complete and it looks fan-frigintastic (which is the superlative of frigintastic). I need to pressure test it and launch test it but I think it should be fine. The weather isn't cooperating today but once I get the opportunity I'll hook it up and see if it blows apart. I'll be sure to video the whole thing and upload the video for your viewing pleasure.

I also wanted to talk about a really cool resource I've found out about. It is most useful for Youth worker types, but there are lots of other people out there that text message and so it is all around awesome. The service is called Tatango. It is a group texting service. Before I signed up for this I had my Youth and Young Adults in groups on my phone. Actually I had multiple groups for Youth, Leaders, Drama, ... If I needed to get a message out I sent it to the group but that could be quite a few texts that added up very quickly. I also had a few I couldn't text because their service charged them for texts from out of network. With this service I can send one text to the service number and it will resend it to the entire group, plus I can also log online and send texts that way.

It does have a small add at the end of the message but I'm willing to deal with that for a free service. If you deal with any kinds of groups like that you would want to mass text look into this. It is seriously awesome.

16 comments Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In many ways we are all fools. I think that might be the beginning of wisdom right there. Let me qualify that by saying what a fool is. Just because a person doesn't know a given fact doesn't make them a fool. That makes them ignorant. There is nothing wrong with being ignorant as long as that knowledge isn't important for you to know and you don't go about life pretending you aren't ignorant. I am ignorant about many things. That is how I've learned so much useful and useless stuff. If I come across something I don't know I ask questions about it. A fool won't ask questions or even worse will try to appear an expert on the subject. Of course that isn't what makes a person a fool that is what a fool does.

I think the simplest definition of what makes a person a fool is when people are too self-absorbed to care.

A fool usually thinks they are wise. A fool usually thinks everything is someone else's fault. A fool knows a little and makes it spread a long ways.

I think you can see how we can all be foolish from time to time. If you think this doesn't apply to you, then you are probably too self-absorbed to care. Anyone remember what that was a definition for?

Anyways, now that we have a working definition for a fool, let me jump right in and focus on one of the most foolish bits of theology that I've had to endure. The Prosperity Doctrine is one of my biggest pet peeves in Christianity. I have to be careful if I write or talk about this because I don't want to hurt anyone and this is super sensitive.

There are a great many problems with the faith church but there are also good things. I think I need to be more open to living by faith, but this does not mean living in prosperity. Of course, the biggest problem I have with prosperity doctrine is that it makes it seem like we need more. Seriously, if you are in America you are on the top 10% of the world income. I am very poor by American standards but I am literally in the upper 10% of the world. Do I really need God to bless me with more? If He does what will I do with it? OK sure I might be super awesome and give 50% of my income if God blessed my with a 6 figure income. If I had that kind of money I could give 50% and still have more disposable income than I do right now. Of course, even giving 50% away would still leave me with unspeakably more money than most of the world. That is pretty sad when you think about it. Anyone see just how self-absorbed that is?

Of course, that isn't really the biggest problem. The biggest problem is the dark side of the doctrine. Prosperity doctrine takes verses out of context to try and say that God blesses those with faith financially. There are different versions of this, but all of them use these verses to try and make some kind of formula that can be followed to get God to pour out money. Of course, we forget just how blessed we are and instead start focusing on getting more. These are the good points by the way. The dark side it the opposing view that must be true if the primary view is true. If God financially blesses the faithful, then those that are not financially blessed must not be faithful.

Don't believe this is a prevalent view in Prosperity circles? Let me share a story about someone I went to school with. Andrew Hagee. This would be John Hagee's nephew. The guy made sure everyone in the school knew who his uncle was, as if we cared. In one class we would go through a very short devotion on Proverbs at the beginning of each class. We were encouraged to read a chapter each day and the prof would usually pick a single verse to build the devo off from. One time he quoted a verse about a "sluggard." There are plenty of those in Proverbs. The prof asked the class what a "sluggard" is. Haggee's nephew said, "Anyone on welfare." Of course this is just plain foolish. Sure some people on welfare are sluggards, but so are some rich people. Some people on welfare work plenty hard but are unable to find work or the work they can find doesn't pay enough.

Of course, these are just people in America. I wonder just how many people in foreign countries are blessed enough by Prosperity standards? None of these points even begin to touch on the lack of context in verses. Yes God wants to bless us, but He wants to bless us for eternal things not perishable things. Sometimes He give financial blessing, but it rains on the just and the unjust alike.

The thing that makes it most clear that people who adhere to faith doctrine are dangerously close to being fools is the fact that they will not hear wisdom on things such as this. Try talking to them about how blessed they are in their poverty and you will be greeted with hostility. Quote the rest of a passage like Mark 10:29 & 30. So many Prosperity teachers can readily quote most of that passage. Anyone that gives up … to follow me will receive 100 times in this very life … Funny how they stop halfway through verse 30. The completely ignore "and with it great persecution." Next time someone throws that verse in your face go ahead and finish the quote. Every time I do they completely shut down or explode. It is never well received.

Of course, that goes with last week's post. You can answer them and get into a debate that only makes you look foolish, or you can let them run off in their own arrogant ignorance and let them think themselves wise. Either way, good luck.

Anyone think I'm wrong about Prosperity doctrine? Got anything else to add? Think I was too mean? Think I threw John Hagee under the bus unfairly?

3 comments Monday, April 13, 2009

I grew up in the 80s and so learned a lot from watching 80's cartoons. In fact I think almost everything I learned can be summed up in 80's cartoons.

I usually watched the good cartoons like He Man, Thundercats, GI Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and other shows like those. I did occasionally watch the other cartoons because it was too rainy or I was sick or for some other reason I couldn't go play but could watch cartoons. On those occasions I would watch whatever came on including Care Bears, which is where today's lesson comes from.

Sharing is a very important lesson for kids to learn. Of course sharing isn't always caring. I am sick right now because my kids always share that kind of stuff. Very rude of them if you ask me. Some things you just keep to yourself.

Most of the time, though, sharing is caring. Yesterday was Easter and my kids hunted eggs in the yard. My oldest seems to get the concept of sharing but my oldest boy, not so much. He stole and egg right out of his younger sister's hand because he wanted it then pitched a big ol' fit when we made him give it back. This isn't a one time event, but he is learning. My oldest didn't always like to share but she is getting better. It seems like most cartoons in the 80s promoted good values, but very few now-a-days do. Even the ones that do promote good values seem to miss some very important things.

Anyways, if you aren't familiar with the Care Bears then watch the video.

I always preferred more action oriented shows, but when it comes to sharing few cartoons did a better job.

7 comments Saturday, April 11, 2009

Χριστς νέστη κ νεκρν,

θανάτ θάνατον πατήσας,

κα τος ν τος μνήμασι,

ζων χαρισάμενος!

This is a traditional hymn dating back to the early church. If you don't know Greek I'll help you out. In Roman letters it reads:

Christos anesti ek nekron,

Thanato thanaton patisas,

Kai tis en tis mnimasi

Zo-in kharisamenos!

It is translated:

Christ is risen from the dead,

Trampling down death by death,

And upon those in the tombs

Bestowing life!

The traditional greeting comes from the first line of this hymn. "Χριστς νέστη" or "Christos anesti" in Roman letters which is "Christ is Risen" in English. This greeting is answered with "ληθς νέστη," "Alethos anesti" in Roman letters, or "He is risen indeed," in English. It can also be translated "Truly He is risen."

Tomorrow morning greet everyone with the good news. Christ is not in the tomb, he is not in the grave. He is not in a mortal body, but is truly and fully risen sitting at the right hand of God ever interceding for our sins.

3 comments Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm not entirely sure what to write about today. Silliness would be inappropriate and so I'm going to avoid it. Today is a celebration of sacrifice, but what a morbid celebration indeed.

I wonder if we ever really think about the cost of our salvation. Last night I was walking a trail overlooking the town when midnight ticked over. When I realized I was surrounded by nature when this day of celebration started I began to think about how nature responded to the sacrifice.

All of nature rebelled at this death. Think about it. The Creator of all creation died a bit over 2000 years ago for His creation. No wonder the Earth shook. I believe everything reacted violently to the loss of the Creator. Yesterday I attended a funeral. I look at the emotion of the friends and family for a single person and it seems to me that is just a fraction of the emotion over the death of Christ.

All of this is beyond my words. The weight of this sacrifice is too big to describe. If anything I can only suggest you try to consider the price that was paid and thank God for paying it.

9 comments Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm feeling a little depressed right now. It is frustrating because I know I shouldn't be and that makes it ever worse. In Youth we had been running around 40 and as much as 50 for a couple of months now, then for some reason the past 2 weeks we have dropped off to less than 30. I don't know exactly why. I know where a few of the students were last night, and I know where a small group is and why they likely won't be coming back, but I don't know where two of the other groups have disappeared to and why. I ran into a couple of the girls yesterday and they told me they were coming tonight, but then church time rolled around without them being there.

I feel guilty for being depressed about this because I know that the number game is dangerous to get into. There will be highs and lows and if I invest too much into that I will be up and down with the numbers. Here I sit feeling down and telling myself I shouldn't feel down which makes me feel more ... down. It really is a vicious cycle.

On the other hand there have been some serious highs too. I'll be starting a smoking cessation class for teens in a couple of weeks. This class will get me some valuable face time with "at risk" teens. I just finished my training and have talked to the head of the community group that is sponsoring the classes about starting in a couple of weeks. This is something I'm really excited about and believe it is an answer to my prayers about finding ways to build relationships with teens outside the church.

8 comments Wednesday, April 8, 2009

So we have so much junk it really isn't funny. I have never had so much stuff in my life. I am pretty certain each of my kids have more stuff than I ever had as a kid. I'm pretty certain 90% of what we own is completely unnecessary. The question is, what do I do with it all?

I know we don't need all of it. I know we should get rid of lots of it. I just don't know what I should do with it all.

We have literally boxes of clothes that our kids have out grown. I think I'd like to give those away to people that can use them. I know I could try and sell them. Even at a quarter per piece we'd make a killing. It seems like giving it to someone I know could use the clothes would be better than earning money selling just so we can buy more junk.

There are also a bunch of toys, gadgets, and other things that we don't need. What do you think. Should we try to sell them and donate the money to something useful or try donating the items?

Have you ever gone through your stuff and realized just how much junk you have? Ever think about what you could have done with your resources instead of gathering silly objects you don't really need? How do you deal with all your stuff?

Comments Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I've had a pretty big surge in visitors the past couple of days. About 4xs normal so I looked to see where these visitors are coming from. Most are Google searches but the key words aren't targeted to anything in particular, unlike Katdish and her pornographic cheese butler crowd. One of the searches really jumped out at me. "In love with my youth pastor."

I don't know who came by from that search, and quite frankly I'm not sure why this blog showed up on that search. There are a lot of things I don't know about that post but the very idea needs to be addressed. I hope I don't have to worry about that. I carefully cultivate my geek and that is a good way to ward off most crushes. I also make a point to not spend too much time with the girls in my Youth group. I much prefer to let the adult ladies focus on the female students.

I don't know much about the story behind the search, but I would say this. If someone out there is really in love with the youth pastor then they should take a step back and think about life. I'm talking about a student not a single person in the church that is the same age as the single minister. Totally different scenario there.

If you move forward on your feelings as a student for the Youth Pastor (or any pastor for that matter) then you will hurt yourself and the minister. Step back, go to college, meet lots of other people and then if you still feel the same way after allowing plenty of time and space (I'm talking about graduating college here) then you can talk to your Youth Pastor. Chances are you will have found someone closer to your age by then, but he lets say you still love the minister. Being away at college, being in your 20's, and having experienced life will remove a fair number of ethical concerns allowing your minister to talk to you. Right now the conversation will end very abruptly if your youth pastor is thinking at all.

Oh and if your youth pastor is married or involved in a serious relationship, please don't think about it any more.

Honestly I can understand the thinking here but it is only going to cause trouble for everyone. Best case is for you to go to college and find out what other people are out there for you to love without all the entanglements.


I dedicate April to all things foolish. OK that might be more or less how I dedicate most of my posts but I'm thinking of trying to be serious about the foolish. Weird huh?

OK, so starting out I want to say that I love reading Proverbs. It is an interesting exercise to go back and look at my old Bibles and look at the notes I've written in them. What you don't write in your Bibles because you think it is wrong? Then buy a journal and keep notes in that. Also try not to stand to close to me while I'm reading my Bible because I'm likely to get struck by lightening eventually since that is so wrong.

Back to the point. In one of my old Bibles I have a passage in Proverbs underlined with a big question mark in the margin.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
(Proverbs 26:4&5)
It looks something like that in this Bible. These two are right next to each other so Solomon didn't get going and think "hey I should write something about answering a fool" and then a few days later think the same thing but write something different that the proof reader missed. This is intentional.

When I first read this it really confused me. Why are these two very different imperatives (didn't think I could throw down words like that did you) in there. I must have wrestled with these two verses for 2 years before I got it.

When you are dealing with a fool it doesn't matter what you say or do. They are a fool and will either think themselves wise or drive you to being a fool. They might even drive you to being a fool and still think themselves wise. A fool is only concerned with themselves and not you or wisdom or anything Godly.

I honestly believe that this is saying that when you come to certain people you face a no win situation and must choose which lose is acceptable to you.

2 comments Monday, April 6, 2009

OK so I'm watching Chuck and it is already off to a great start. Scott Bakula is one of the guest stars (I won't give anything away by saying that) and very early on he gets the chance to say, "oh boy." That is awesome but only if you watched Quantum Leap constantly like I did back in the day. Anyone remember that phrase being used in every single episode? Yeah that was great.

OK, I also want to say I knew it. I can't say what I knew because it is huge but I knew it so big.

So anyone catch any quotes or something that I missed?


Yay, This is post number 200.


I still don't know if yesterday was a good day or a bad. The day started off mostly good. It was beautiful out and I had received news that one of my Youth Leaders had taken her daughter to Labor and Delivery to have her baby the night before. I was sick but not too bad, just a head cold. We got word that the daughter (I should point out that the daughter is nearly my age and is married) had not progressed even though her water had broken over 12 hour prior but that they were doing well.

Then we heard, after arriving at church, that the grandmother of one of my Youth had passed that morning. She had been sick with cancer for quite a long time and the family was told last week she would probably pass before the weekend was over. For once, it seems, the doctors were right, but not so much in a good way. I got to see the young lady who lost her grandmother but it was still to fresh for her to have really processed it. She has been going through grief for knowing but this was a new and stronger loss and so she was very raw with hurt when I got to see her. I figure I did a good job though. I didn't ask how she was. I knew the answer and I know I hate when people ask that when they know it isn't good. Actually I don't remember saying much at all. I said hi and gave her a side hug. I don't give many of those out unless someone initiates and almost never to a female but this seemed like a good time to break one of my rules.

Anyways, we had a board meeting, which I hate going to, after church and then I took two of the Youth to go see the family in delivery. The soon to be uncle and his girl friend. I was kind of hoping for screaming rage level of labor (since it was coming up on 24 hours) but she really wasn't in that. Why did I hope for that? Hey can you think of a better way to sell abstinence to a teen girl?

As they got closer to the 24 hour mark the Dr. decided they needed to do a c-section. Mother and baby came out fine and the baby boy was about the 5th most beautiful baby I've seen shortly after birth.

So the day basically started with a death and ended with a birth. I think overall it was a good day but I really wish we could have skipped the death and made it a knock out awesome day.

I have to tell the new grandma about the death soon because she has a good relationship with the teen that lost her grandma, but I don't want to break her new happy grandma bubble just yet. It was great seeing her when they brought the baby back into the room. She busted out into tears of joy like you couldn't imagine. I wonder if that is how it is in heaven when people get saved?

So what do you think? good day or bad day?


80's cartoons taught some pretty impressive values about being a hero, a leader, and a good person. I think cartoons in the past decade and a half have really dropped the ball in this respect. One of the most interesting things I learned from 80's cartoons is that a good leader comes last. Watch the old GI Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Time and time again the leaders in these shows must set aside their own desires, comfort, and even safety for the sake of their people. Some even go so far as to die for them because that is what a good leader does.

Of course, this is not new. Jesus says the one who wants to lead must be a servant to all. This is a very important truth we need to understand if we are going to be God's servants.

In my church there have been troubles and factions. Last year about this time a man came to me who was trying to get the pastor kicked out. he learned something about me that day and I learned something about him. At the end of the discussion I told him if he really cared about the church like he said he should apologize to the pastor and make himself a servant to him. This man got very angry and shouted, "I serve no man. Only God!" I told him that God called us to serve all men if we are to serve God. I gave him scriptures but he refused it.

When I interviewed with the pastor before being offered the position I told the pastor my view on my responsibilities as a staff pastor under him. I believe I am God's servant first and foremost. Then I am the pastor's servant. If I ever reach a place where I cannot be a servant to what the pastor is doing but the pastor is not doing anything immoral, then I must leave and not condemn the pastor. It really bothers me when I see church staff thinking they know best standing against the pastor of a church publicly and tearing a church apart. The staff are leaders and a good leader need to know they come last.

Sure some senior pastors need to get that themselves, but it isn't the staff's place to try and force the pastor to become a better servant. This is something I learned by watching 80's cartoon and then reading my Bible. You want to see a story that could have been the basis for a great number of 80's cartoon? Try reading about David and how he served Saul even when Saul was trying to kill him. David was a good leader and put himself last. Whenever he didn't is when bad things happened.

What do you think? Is my head in the clouds? Should I visit the real world? I know if I play the political game I can go further but are my ideals keeping me back or will they bring me further than I can imagine because God is faithful? Should I try to be least or greatest?

8 comments Friday, April 3, 2009

My daughter has learned something new. We bought her a Baby Alive and she has to go a week without any demerits in school and clean her room everyday to earn the baby. Quite frankly I think the baby is a lot creepy, like Chucky. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

All my daughter has been talking about for the last week is this baby doll. She got a demerit on Wednesday (the only one this week) and pitched a huge fit that really surprised her teacher. We were going to let her have it if she didn't get any more demerits (what can I say, I'm an old softy) and cleaned her room. Today she hasn't cleaned her room. I told her that she had to clean and I wasn't giving her any more reminders. If she didn't clean she wouldn't get her baby. Later she was playing instead of cleaning so I told her she wouldn't be getting her baby. Well she somehow come up with the phrase, "Daddy broke my heart."

Yep, I broke my 5 year old's heart. I am resolved to stand by what I said but it sure breaks my heart. Sometimes parenting is super awesome and other times it is super suck. Right now it sucks.


I just found my next geek project (after the t-shirt cannon). I have some of the components already and I'm really interested in getting the other pieces for this. If all goes well I'll have a 32 gig solid state hd to run linux off of. It will be nice and portable as well as cheep and fast.

Not into geeky stuff? You'll have to excuse me then because ... well I am a geek.


There are a lot of really cool things about being a Youth pastor. I get to have lots of fun doing something I love. Not a lot of people can say that about their jobs. I get to help shape the lives of young men and women, even fewer people get to say that. I could go on and on but right now I want to talk about one major drawback.

My 5 year old daughter loves the Youth and they love her. She likes to head in with my early on Youth night and stay with me late. She rides on the boys skate boards and hangs out with the girls. She is starting to talk about clothes and makeup with these girls. Trust me, this is a huge problem.

A couple weeks ago she was sitting out with a group of young teen girls while they were talking about relationships and friends and such. One of the girls she was talking about had the same name as her so she thought they were talking about her. Apparently she seems to think one of the girls is like her older sister or something. They commented that the girl's step sister (who has the same name as my daughter) looks nothing like her. My daughter yells out in a perfect teen girl tude voice, "we have the same hair." Admittedly the two do have similar hair but that is about as far as the resemblance goes. My 5 year old only needs that much apparently.

I do worry that she is going to have her little heart broken if there is some kind of falling out between her friends in the Youth group and some of the girls stop coming. I know this is a real possibility. Just last weekend one of the newer girls became pariah because of a big teen meltdown and so she isn't going to be coming any more. Fortunately for my daughter she didn't get close to this girl but I do worry for her.

I don't want to hold her back. I think it is really cool that she gets to see some of these things before she goes through them. We talk on the way to and from church about this and she is really starting to get it. BTW Helen, you can't have this one. She is really starting to get cool and interesting. I'll send you the other girl but you'll be sending her back. The look is only getting stronger. Soon we'll have to register her as a lethal weapon.

Anyways, I'm getting distracted so I'll leave it as that.

33 comments Thursday, April 2, 2009

So last night I tried to pull off a prank. Maybe things were just too complicated but the cops got involved. The basic idea for the prank came from Stacy from Louisville in a comment on Jon's blog in this post. She shared about a prank that was pulled on a pastor. It seemed down right funny, but I'm not all that into just taking what others did and replicating it.

Instead I told my dad about the prank and told him I wanted to pull it on the Senior Pastor. He agreed to help by providing the tools and such and transporting them up in his Explorer. What he didn't know was that I set him up for the prank.

That is the best kind of prank really, when you get someone involved with the prank you are going to pull on them.

Anyways, I guess someone saw us pulling the wheels off a vehicle and called the cops. Some cops have no sense of humor and I got to spend the night in jail. We got it straightened out with the judge this morning. That is why I'm late with the blog post.

We filmed the prank and my wife grabbed the camera when the cops showed up. I edited some parts in case we need to deal with any more legal stuff, but you have to watch this video. Not often you get to see a Youth pastor get arrested in front of the Youth.

The audio needs to be fixed, I'll get that later, but I'm understandably tired.

11 comments Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Later this month I get to have a "anything goes" service. I'm really excited and have been planning. I want to go over the top. If it gets me fired I want this to be something the community talks about for years. Actually my pastor is really cool about things but I'm going to try and push the limits because I can.

One of the thoughts I had was a t-shirt cannon. I have several old youth group tees I'd like to get rid of. I looked into it and those aren't cheep. They start at close to $1000. Rentals aren't cheap either but I'll keep looking around. I am all about DIY so I looked to see if I could find instructions.

I have a spare paintball gun and I am going to try and mod that into a tee shirt cannon. I'm not sure if I can ramp the velocity enough to shoot a shirt a hundred feet or so, but if I can it will be beyond awesome.
Research has shown me that a paintball gun will not get enough air so I'll need a different trigger device. I am thinking I'll try something like the video, but use my air compressor to fill it instead of a bicycle pump. I can leave it hooked up with a gate valve so after each shot I load the cannon open and close the gate valve then fire again.

Anyone got any advice?


It is so true that we bring our past experience with relationships into play with our other relationships. Girls that are abused will often end up in abusive relationships as women. Boys will often become abusers. People that have great relationships with their parents are in a better place to have great relationships with others. This isn't absolute, but it makes a big difference statistically.

These same traits bleed over into our relationship with God. We talk about Him as our Father. Jesus told us to pray to Him as our Heavenly Father, but when we don't have a great relationship with our dads it really affects our perspective on God. Even when our dad is pretty awesome he isn't God and so our perspective on God still gets skew slightly. Sort of like having a scratch on our cornea. Did you know that stars are drawn with points because of vision problems? Yeah true story. The star of David, for example, was designed by someone living in a very dry and sandy place. Scratches from that blowing sand makes stars look like they have elongated points due to damage on the eye. The star doesn't look different in reality, just the damaged perspective.

Anyways, this is something I have been thinking about. My dad is a really good dad, but that didn't stop things from affecting my relationship with God. When I was young my dad had to travel a lot. He would often be gone for weeks at a time and then be home for only a couple weeks before being gone again. He also has a problem with his temper. It has gotten better over the years, but I remember getting yelled at over some pretty trivial things.

Now think about that for a bit. I have been. I have come to realize that I really base my relationship with God on my experiences with my dad. I often feel like God is far away for long periods of time then comes around and things are great till He leaves again. Mentally I understand that He doesn't move. I'm the one that comes and goes but He is faithfully there waiting. I also worry that god is going to explode when I tell Him about my mistakes. Even the small ones. I open the door and a straw wrapper that was on the floor falls out and I let it go. I think about it later and get worried that God is going to start yelling at me. It's crazy because I know God isn't like that, but it doesn't stop.

Just like someone with a scratched cornea probably knows a star is round, not pointed. The saw them before the damage and even hear others tell them about what the starts look like, but to them they see elongated points.

I need to ask God to heal my spiritual eyes.

What about you? How have your past relationship experiences affected the way you see God? Have you thought about it? Do you need healing so you can see Him more accurately?