1 comments Saturday, May 30, 2009

Your regularly scheduled Super Youth Pastor blog has been delayed due to Six Flags.

If you really want to know what happened our dashing champion of frigintasticalness slams a Lo-Carb Monster then proceeds to open a can of a different sort into the Elder Grump. Lo-Carb Monster is SYP's spinach.

Everyone have a good day, I'm going to ride rides till I puke then I'll ride some more.

6 comments Thursday, May 28, 2009

Another game night and more adults complaining, I'm doing pretty good. I learned a few things tonight so allow me to elucidate. Did I use that word correctly?

First, I learned that Youth love meeting outside.

I've tried this in the past just once. The youth have been begging me the past few weeks but I've avoided it for the simple reason that I get distrac … hey look a chicken … too easily. I was really bad last time. I'm trying to preach and every time a car went by or some dog ran past I was lost. Since tonight was game night I went outside. I wanted to play games outside last month but it went from really nice to very rainy on the night. Same thing was shaped up for tonight but God cleared the rain for us. Honestly it had been raining for 3 days and was predicted to be raining tonight. There was a line of rain that broke up before reaching us so we setup outside.

I used our portable sound system and played music through an MP3 player and put my wireless on it. I had 3 games and I decided I should have done the first game last because it was the most fun, but I'll talk about that later.

Then I learned that Adults don't like music.

OK they do like music but not what the Youth like. I also learned that I should face the speakers away from the main sanctuary. We had a lot of people complaining about the music, both the loudness and the choice.

Honestly I'm not too concerned. Next time I plan on arranging my speakers differently but I'm not going to let their complaints slow e down that much. At this point there are more students there on Wednesday nights than there are adults. They can get over it.

Second I learned that Youth love playing sports.

Yeah ok I already knew this but I needed to setup the next complaint. We have skate boarders and I get complaints every week. We have checked with our insurance and they can skate but not as a church sponsored event and so we can't have any elements. If we have an organized skate activity or provide/allow skate elements (ramps and things like that) then we have to have special insurance. We also have basketball and a football to throw around. This has been very popular with the Youth and tonight they got to spend pretty much the whole night doing it so that was great as far as they were concerned.

Then I learned that Adults don't like it when kids are having fun.

Yeah I said it. Girls may in fact wanna have fun but when people reach a certain age they feel it is their responsibility to stop it. Not everyone, in fact probably not even a majority, but the q-tips (think about it for a minute) that complain are very loud. I think it's because they are hard of hearing. Of course that doesn't explain why they complain about the noise of our music but whatever.

Seriously though, we had complaints about the skate boarding (which is a weekly occurrence) and about the football and basket ball tonight. Honestly, this is the first time they complained about the football and basketball. At some point I think they are just looking for reasons to be upset.

Third, I learned that Youth love water balloons.

Ok, if there is a game we have played that went over better I don't know it. We played three games tonight. They were all pretty fun but the first game was the best.

The second game was the grab bag relay. Now people in this group aren't quite as competitive as I was/am. They didn't seems to try and scarf the food as quickly as I did when I played this game in Youth. I was even nice and gave them cold Coke, Oreo cookies, Doritos, and Laffy Taffy. It was fun but the teens didn't really try to go that fast so the game took too long.

The third game was an Oreo eat off. Basically I had 4 players that had to eat 6 Oreos by opening them and licking the filling then eating the cookie. These were blue double stuffed and again it was fun but they were just moving along kinda slow. I was expecting this so we played a Flyleaf song and they had till the end of the song to win. If no one finished in the time then the person who had eaten the most would be the winner. We did get a winner just before the song ended but I should have picked a shorter song. 2.5 minutes was just too long. Seriously you would think teens would be able to eat Oreos faster than that.

Then I learned that Youth love water balloons.

Ok this isn't about adults except that it is about how I made the mistake of doing the best game first. I brought out a dozen water balloons and I was rushed by students before I even asked for volunteers. I told them I needed 8 volunteers and had to send people away. Honestly that is a first. I lined my 8 up and then sent them to get a partner from the crowd. Then each group was given a water balloon to toss back and forth. After each toss the group had to move back. I moved the groups slowly at first then made a couple of big moves and eliminated most of the Youth. In the end two teams broke their balloons on the same toss but I had extras for this possibility. I gave them another shot and one team caught theirs and won a Monster each. The second place team got the consolation prize of getting to throw the two remaining balloons into the crowd.

The other two games were a bit anticlimactic after that. Of course if some of the adults saw the game I'm sure they would have complained. This falls under the second "then I learned" category.

Oh well, some people are made to complain I guess. I just feel like if a person has time to complain they have time to be doing something that will make others complain. Frigin retards.

7 comments Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Enter another age of insane busyness (the first time I typed that I substituted the y for an i but that's a whole other word. I love English). The school at the church is finishing up this week and I'm involved with the end of the year play, the preschool graduation, and the high school graduation. Last night was preschool graduation. I understand needing practices like every day for two weeks. They are 5 so you can't expect them to get it on the first run through. They had like 3 songs plus counting to 25 and reciting the 10 commandments in order. I'll stop right there because that's enough. I mean really can you recite the 10 commandments in order? Yeah which comes first don't murder or honor your parents?

What I don't get it the high school graduation having like a million rehearsals. There is one graduating senior this year. Just one! When I graduated we had over 500 graduating seniors and we had one rehearsal the morning of. No one got confused and walked the wrong way. There was no idiot that threw his hat into the air during the valedictorian speech, and I graduated with a few big time morons. The whole thing went very smooth with just the one dry run and it was great. Why do we need 5 dummy runs (sounds like Buster drank the water down in Mexico) for a single graduate? Also why is he giving the valedictorian speech? Ok, I get that he is the top of his class, but he is also the bottom. Yeah just let him give a speech but you don't have to call it a valedictorian speech. It can't really even be called a typical valedictorian address because they are supposed to speak to the class. If he follows this pattern he'll be up on stage addressing himself, which is weird even for me.

Anyways, I do have some good news to share. I got to fly yesterday. It was a lot of fun but the harness wasn't quite tight enough on the one side and it pinched into my leg in a very tender spot. I was wearing my Superman shirt (I say that like I don't have more than one) so that made it even more frigintastic. They use to do an annual Easter production at the church and for the finale of several of the productions Jesus would ascend into Heaven. This was accomplished through a harness under the white robes and a cable winch mounted at the top of the vaulted ceiling. It is very high up. I have a 16 foot step ladder and even on the top not a step I come a few feet short of the top of the building and I can reach 8 feet up. Anyways I needed to get to the top and I didn't want to get the massive ladder we use to get that high. It is scary and un believably heavy. It is solid wood and starts at 16 foot (actually it's a foot or so taller than the 16 footer) then there is another ladder that extends from the middle of this one that can go up another 10 feet or so. I hate climbing on that because it moves while you are on it.

To avoid getting on the big ladder I used the winch that had been left in place. I flew up to where I needed to be and did most of what I needed to do but then found I couldn't reach over far enough for the last bit so I had to get the big ladder out. Still I got to fly so I'm ok with that. Then again I saw how they had the winch secured and I got more than a little nervous. I really don't like that they don't do things correctly around this church. Well they didn't, but now I'm going back through and fixing things as best as I can. That keeps me pretty freakin busy without going to a million rehearsals for a high school graduation.

1 comments Saturday, May 23, 2009

Last we saw our hero he was succumbing to the Bored of Grump. It seems the dastardly Elder Grump desires Super Youth Pastor to only bring in well behaved church kids instead of following his conscious and reaching the lost. If you are joining us half way then you can catch up here.

Time has lost all meaning. All I can hear is the drone of voices telling me I am weak. I cannot make it. I am not smart enough. I am not good.

My eyes are so heavy. I'm not even sure they are open. I want to stand up and yell. I want to cut this near sighted moron to size with biting sarcasm but I cannot move. It is taking all of my concentration to keep my thoughts my own.

Slowly SYP moved his thumb. His eyes were lightly closed as if in a dreamless sleep.

The Elder Grump allowed the corner of his mouth to twitch as he complained. He was careful to keep his tone steady and even. He has lost control once but not again. He remembered how much life Super Pastor had when he first came to the church. Elder Grump advised against hiring that pastor. He had too much energy, his dreams were too big. It took a four day session to break him but in the end the Bored triumphed. This young Youth Pastor had resisted for nearly a week now. He even broke free once in the beginning. This would be the sweetest victory.

Energy, I need energy. If I could just focus … or maybe not focus. I'm too focused. This is like mainlining Ritalin. If I could find a way to tap into my ADHD I know I could break free.

"So in review I'd like I recap reasons 100-200 once again."

Just then there was a knock at the door.

"Who is it? I told the secretary we are not to be disturbed."

The door opened and a young man walked through.

"Hey Sup, I got your text. The key was right where you said it would be. Here's the Lo-Carb Monster. What's the big emergency?"

The young man tossed a can of Monster to SYP. The distraction allowed him to open his eyes but he couldn't raise his hands to catch the energy drink.

"Boy! Who said you could come in here?" demanded Elder Grump.

"Sup sent me a text and said there was an emergency and he needed a Lo-Carb Monster. The place was locked down but Syp told me where to find a key."

"Get out of here, and someone take that drink from this room. We are going to have to start over again now."

One of the Bored members grabbed the young man and started pulling him out. Another went to where the Monster had fallen but found a cell phone instead.

"Let go of him now."

Everyone turned to see SYP tossing the empty can aside. He was standing and he was mad.

"Thanks Tim, you might want to go now. I'll fill you in a couple minutes from now."

Holy slammed can of energy drink. What will our champion do now that he has consumed the elixir of ADHD? Find out next week, same SYP time same SYP blog.

8 comments Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life is amazing. It is exciting and wondrous. Think back to when you were a child and saw so many things for the first time. Were you like me trying to figure out how it all worked? How did a car actually move? There had to be a reason behind it all. Were you the child that saw the world through finger paint and crayons? Did you live in a cast world of fantasy with friends of every shape and size? Were there monsters in the closet and knights and princesses that saved the day?

What happened to you? Why is life so boring? Who spoke death into you? Who told you that there isn't an answer for everything so stop looking? Who made you put your finger paints away? Who told you to grow up and stop talking to imaginary friends? Who told you monsters aren't real so the knights and princesses had to disappear to? Who stole your love for life?

I think we tend to reflect a dead life because that is what is expected of us. Those who burn brightest burn out first. That is what we are told so we will not shine. What if it isn't true. What if the ones that burn brightest also burn the longest? What if there are monsters and the knights and princesses battle them? What if imaginary friends are real? What if the world is suppose to be captured in finger paint? What if there really is an answer for everything? What if we can actually live?

How can we accomplish life?

4 comments Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last night I have never been more thankful for taking so many classes I didn't need for my degree. I had one of my students text me about committing suicide. I had multiple counseling classes that touched on this subject. None of them prepared me for how draining it would be dealing with that kind of revelation form a student. None of them talked about how this could come after a particularly long day when you wouldn't even want to look at the message. There have been many times I get a message well after 11 that I don't see it because I've already put my phone away for the night or just don't feel like checking thinking I can look in the morning.

That is pretty hard to think that I may have missed something but God is good and I believe He ordained me to check this message. I believe He gave me the words I need and I believe this student will be ok for a little while longer. I want to talk about some of the things that went through my head from my training.

1- Don't tell someone "don't do it." I know it sounds weird but when someone is contemplating suicide they have thought it through several times and there is a process they go through. At some point they are thinking it through and consider the things people will tell them if they knew their plans. Often, very often, this includes someone saying "don't do it." Of course this doesn't mean you brush them off or worse tell them to do it. You have to try telling them not to do it without telling them not to do it. yeah I know that sounds impossible but it can be done.

2- Talk to them. Yeah this sounds simple enough but it can be really hard. You want to dominate and try and deal with whole "I'm gonna kill myself" thing. Ask them about what is happening and listen. People need to be heard.

3- If it is possible get them to think about things they can look forward to. This is especially good if you know them and things they are excited about. Often when in the middle of darkness it is hard to consider the future. If you can give them a good future to think about then things will be easier. Unfortunately this can be a minefield if you don't know enough. Talking about an event they were excited about that got canceled or that they can't attend could really backfire. This is where walking is so important.

4Try to get them to agree to talk with you at a specific time in the very near future. Often a little time will help a lot and putting specific commitment to meet with someone puts one more obstacle in the path of suicide. Just do everything in the world to be there.

5Pray. Pray a lot. Get others to pray. Seriously you can't handle this on your own. I say this last here but trust me it is the first, through the last step. It is that important.

Here's the deal these are the things you can try and do but chances are that you don't have the training you need. I don't and I've taken a lot of classes. This is one of those stepping up in an emergency situation like providing CPR and first aid. It is really important to try and point people in this place to qualified professionals who can give the required help. If you see someone have a bad accident and are the only person that can help then sure you will do first aid. You wouldn't try to do everything if there is a hospital down the road though. You would call 911 and try to do what you are capable of until paramedics arrive. They will do what they can until they get to the hospital where a doctor can take over.

This same thing applies to suicidal thoughts. This means that you should encourage the student (or adult if you are talking with an adult) to get help. This is not a sign of your failure. Let a trained counselor help equip them to take control of their life.

5 comments Saturday, May 16, 2009

It has been quite some time since we last heard from our daring hero of Youth pastorliness. His alter ego has been much too busy as of late, but in the calm before the storm we once again see the light shining beckoning the champion of frigintasticness everywhere to come forth and battle evil. If you are new to SYP then you need to go catch up. We'll wait. Just do a search for Super Youth Pastor in the upper left.

What? You want me to do all the work for you? Fine I will give you some links. Don't say I never did anything for you.

That should have everyone caught up. Now it's time to find out how the meeting is going.

"And that's the four hundred and eighty-sixth reason why you are a horrible Youth pastor, now for reason four hundred and eighty-seven."

Holy freakin' Monkey Butt this meeting is going on forever. I can feel the strength slipping out of me. Is it possible boredom is my kryptonite? Are they actually trying to bore me to death? It's like time has officially stopped. I swear the second hand hasn't moved since I started looking at it. Is that clock broken? No my cell phone says the same thing. I wonder if they would mind if I started sending texts to some of my students? Maybe I should start tweeting or bloging from my phone. They wouldn't know the difference. Look at the stack of papers Elder Grump is reading. He isn't even half way through. Why don't they just give me a copy to read and we can discuss it later. Look even Super Pastor is nodding off. I think Elder Grump has the power of narcolepsy. How much longer can this go on?

"And for that matter most of the children that attended your little event don't attend this church or any church that we are aware of."

Wait did he just complain that people came to church that don't attend church?

"Excuse me, Elder Grump, could you please say that again? I don't think I quite understood your point."

"WHAT?!?! You haven't been listening to me?"

"No, I mean yes I have been listening but that last statement I don't think I understood what you meant. Are you complaining that teens are coming who are not in church?"

"Yes, look at what those hooligans did to our church. We need respectable kids like the ones attending 1st Self-Righteous down the road. Why don't we try to have an event that they will attend?"

"Respectfully Elder Grump, mostly because they are already attending another church."

"Listen you little punk, I've been in this church for 70 years. I've been on this board for 40 years. My son installed the doors that your precious heathen destroyed. I don't need some youth wet behind the ears Youth pastor telling me why we shouldn't get good kids into the Youth group. You will listen or we will find someone who will listen."

Finally some excitement. I can feel the life flowing back into me. I can move my arms and I can feel my feet.

"You go find someone who will listen to you and while your church is dying I'll be busy listening to God and being part of a living church."

"Oh no you don't" Suddenly the monotonous tone came back into his voice. "You will sit there as I read the other 809 reasons why you are a terrible Youth pastor. I will break your will and mold you into what this church needs. There will be peace and quiet around here. Reason four hundred and eighty-eight that you are an atrocious Youth Pastor."

Instantly SYP sank back into his seat. He could barely turn his head to look at Super Pastor. It seemed his eyes had become alert for a moment but now they were glassed over again. If only SYP had brought a lo-carb Monster or something. It seemed he would have to sit here and listen as the Elder Bored crushed his will and killed his love for God and Youth.

How will Super Youth Pastor Survive? Is there any hope? What about Super Pastor? Can anyone save our heroes? Find out next week, same SYP time same SYP blog.

9 comments Friday, May 15, 2009

So we are planning a camp this summer for our area youth. We've secured a location and quite a few volunteers. I just worked out the preaching arrangements and we will be letting some of our volunteers handle the majority of the planning. This leaves me to deal with some of the more important details like the camp trophy. I'm thinking we go with a guys/girls competition for the week instead of pitting churches against each other since we are going for unity. The big question is what the trophy should be. It needs to be pretty absurd and also really cheap. I thought the random people here might be able to help me out.

To get the creative juices flowing here is a list of traveling trophies awarded to the victor of major college football games.

  1. Illinois vs. Ohio State—Illibuck (originally a live turtle is was replaced with a wooden one when the live one died)
  2. Colorado State vs. Wyoming—The Bronze Boot
  3. UC Davis vs. Sacramento State—The Causeway Carriage (yes an actual Victorian carriage)
  4. Notre Dame vs. USC—Jeweled Shillelagh (no really it's not what it looks like)

  5. Wisconsin vs. Minnesota—Paul Bunyan's Axe (Babe the ox was part of the deal till they had a BBQ)
  6. Minnesota vs. Iowa—Floyd of Rosedale (Originally a live pig to settle a bet now a bronze trophy of a pig)
  7. Iowa State vs. Missouri—The Telephone Trophy
  8. Purdue vs. Illinois—The Purdue Cannon (yes a real cannon that was stolen by Illinois then became a traveling trophy)
  9. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute vs. Union College—Dutchman's Shoes (who said guys can't want shoes?)
  10. Texas vs. Oklahoma—The Golden Hat (Lately a permanent fixture in Norman)

So there are 10 of the weirdest trophies in College sports. Many of the trophies came from odd settled bets or grew out of the lore of the colleges. We could wait a few years till something comes up on its own but I'm really thinking I'd like to try and get some kind of excitement generated at the start of camp. Sure we can get a nice trophy but I think some piece of randomness, some might even say junk, would make a better trophy. I will say that I'm not interested in your skank dolls for this, katdish, so don't even offer. We have values or something like it. Now a pink flamingo being attacked by scary metal mouths would be nice.

19 comments Thursday, May 14, 2009

I have been tweeting from my phone for a while now. Today I am writing my first mobile blog.

Of course I won't be doing this often but on weeks like the last few I can make small updates about what I'm doing.

Right now I am making fajitas for dinner. I an cooking them on the grill because they are better that way. Dr Awesome would be proud. The thing is I am waiting for the timer and feeling pretty impatient.

In a society where I can write to the world while I an cooking there should be no boredom, but I am. I think that tells up a lot about what is wrong with us.

What do you think?


Um, so if you haven't been following along I'm a Youth pastor and we meet on Wednesday evenings for Youth. The group is growing and if you are here to figure out why … well please let me know when you do so I can keep doing whatever is working. Honestly God is good and He is honoring tons of prayers and my faithfulness to take every opportunity He gives to reach out to the lost Youth of our area. It seems that every time I am able to reach out to some student in the community another student shows up in Youth. I'm not directly affecting the ones that are showing up and I don't know if I'm having an impact on the ones I reach out to but God is good and He calls us to spread the Good News not to be accountable for what happens after. That, by the way, is what we talked about last night. What is out mission?

So often, Christians sit around doing nothing because they are waiting for God to tell them what to do. My suggestion is to read your Bible because God tells us lots of good things we need to be doing right there. The last thing Jesus said was to "go." He told us to go spread the Gospel and I think that is very important. We aren't asked to do anything we wouldn't do for others. If someone dropped a million dollars in our lap we would be telling people about it. All God asks is that we tell people about the things He has done and is doing in our life. He'll take care of the rest if we are faithful to tell.

So what does that have to do with Monsters, Mayhem, and Meritoriousness. That last one is a real word even though Word doesn't recognize it. I looked it up.

That's simple. The Monster is, of course, Monster Energy drink. We are selling more and more of the stuff. I haven't done a full count yet but I think we sold a full case worth last night. I think we are good for at least another week before we need more but the stuff is really doing well. We make about $15 per case and from that we need $32 a month for the little girl we are sponsoring. I'll post more about her later. We are already halfway there for next month. When we start doing the Saturday night movie nights I'm expecting to make enough to pay for this little girl a year in advance. I'm really excited about this program we are calling "Monster Compasion."

The Mayhem is also an easy one. We had more than 50 last night. Each Wednesday there are new visitors. We have exceeded the limit for our adult to student ratio and I need more helpers because the mayhem is rising. Now you'd think that selling the Monster is causing the problem but to be honest the students will leave to buy it. We were dealing with that problem before we started selling. There is actually less chaos now that we are selling. Compared to the past few weeks there was less insanity, but I really need more workers. Please pray with me for workers.

Meritoriousness, which is an adjective describing the state of being deserving, is about all of us. More specifically it is about one of my students who is struggling with her self-worth. She has never been told she is precious and priceless by her parents. She has been in some really destructive relationships and is told time and time again she is worthless. Last night I was able to share with her the value that God has assigned to us. I'm frustrated with her parents and the ex who told her she is worthless. That cuts deep into an already painful wound. Last night I told her that God made her and told her "you are very good" and then Christ died on the cross and told her "this is how much you are worth to me." satan wants to steal this from us. It is our gift from God. Our inherent worth and goodness. satan will fight us for it because if he can steal that then he has won.

Does anyone else feel worthless? Do you worry that you have no value and that you are not deserving? God says you are worth the infinite Son. That is literally saying you are priceless. Remember that you have worth and when satan tries to steal that from you don't let him. Remember what God has said about you. Latch on to that and don't let go.

Finally please pray for this young lady. I am going to try and send her a text or other message every day trying to share with her just how valuable she is. I'm getting my wife and other leaders in on it. I know this will go a long way to help her but I can't change the years of hurt. That is where God comes in. So please pray.

5 comments Wednesday, May 13, 2009

So how familiar are you with the Star Trek movies? Can you name them all and give a synopsis? Can you quote most of Khan? Are you familiar with the odd number curse? Yeah I can do all that but don't worry that isn't required for you to read this post. Well you do need to know about the odd number curse. If you have seen the movies you are probably somewhat aware of this curse. Each odd numbered movie was significantly worse than the even numbered movies. Think about it. Star Trek the Movie. The first, the suck. Seriously, who's idea was it to cast Kirsty Alley as a bald Vulcan? I'm assuming lot's of drugs were involved in that decision and also the choice to make the "villain" a Voyager Satellite that wondered off into deep space becoming sentient and deciding to come back looking for daddy. I'm assuming this is the origin of the Borg and Kirsty Alley became the first Borg Queen. This isn't canon but it sure makes me feel better about the movie. Compare that to Star Trek II, the Wrath of Khan and you get the picture. If you are a fan the first movie isn't bad, but compared to Wrath of Khan it isn't even a shadow of how frigintastic the series can be.

This curse carried through with the Search for Spock, The Undiscovered Country, Generations, and Insurrection. Each of these had good parts and a theoretically good plot, but each failed to really push into a great movie with game changing moments.

This brings us to Star Trek (2009). This is a reset movie and is the 11th Star Trek movie in the franchise. It is an odd number but also another one. In many ways the curse should have doubled down on it resulting in something worse than The Undiscovered Country, in which they find god who isn't God. This movie, on the other hand, is easily in my top 3 favorite Star Trek films. It is difficult to surpass Wrath of Khan, which was the second, or First Contact, which was the second Generations movie. I think Wrath of Khan is still more quotable which means it was better writing, but you can't get past the action from this movie.

Actually, I feel like Star Trek (2009) took a lot from Wrath of Khan. Not to say that they stole things but rather that they saw what made it good and tweaked it into a new and very different movie. They did use the giant ear wig looking things and there was a speech from the villain that sounded like one of Khan's speeches but other than that there were no direct pulls just a general kind of feeling that linked the two.

I'm not saying the movie was perfect though. They really messed with some parts of the franchise. I mean really messed with them. That kind of hurt but I get the reasoning.

Still the pluses way outweighed the negatives. It was great watching the characters interact. They did a great job with the dynamic of various character interactions. I especially enjoyed watching Spock and Bones. There were plenty of jabs and one liners that were a throwback to the original series. Scotty was awesome and they even had a great red shirt homage (didn't think I knew that word did you?).

Of course I've been very careful to avoid any specific details. I want to talk about those for people who have seen the movie though, so beware

There be Spoilers beyond this point

Can't say I didn't warn you. This is a reset movie. The timeline from previous movies and shows is changed in the opening sequence of the movie. In it a Romulan mining ship travels back in time and destroys a Federation star ship. Kirk's dad becomes captain for about 12 minutes before going down with the ship to save the escaping crew including his wife who is delivering their son James Tiberius Kirk at the time. It really is a great sequence but it changes, somewhat, the character and most certainly the timeline. Later it gets worse though. Eventually Vulcan is destroyed leaving an estimated 10,000 Vulcans in existence. This will not be something that the race will quickly recover from.

One thing I'm not sure about is the future of the franchise. In the past they would make a huge thing like this to happen then reset things back to normal. In the shows this would often happen at the end of the season allowing fans to wonder how they will fix it between seasons. In Wrath of Khan they kill of Spock but bring him back in the Search for Spock. It is possible the next movie will offer a reset by repairing the timeline. This isn't impossible and it would allow for some variances because the crew the restores the timeline would be able to remain themselves thus explaining differences in canon. At this point I'm not too worried either way but I would love for the next movie to offer a reset, unless they bring back Khan. In the original series Kirk faces Khan much later in the timeline for the first time, but with a reset they could bring him in sooner and have an epic showdown again. It would be pretty amazing to see them go that route and I'd rather see that than a reset.

My single biggest complaint is the relationship between Uhura and Spock. If you didn't see the movie I'm sorry for ruining that for you but I did warn you. Yes, you heard me right Uhura and Spock have a relationship. She is hanging all over him and kissing him and he is … well a Vulcan. That really didn't make any sense to me. I'm not saying she should fall for Jim. In fact I think that is just plain wrong, but so it Uhura and Spock. This is something they must fix before bad things happen.

That said, I will be buying this movie at the earliest possible moment. It was truly epic and is very honoring of the franchise even with the unbelievable changes. What did you think?


Yesterday I made it through the end of lunch. After lunch they had more worship and then launched into "The Trouble with Parents." This was a great session where students were encouraged to honor their parents and given 3 very easy things they could do to accomplish that.

1 Stop joining their friends when they are complaining about parents. If you don't complain you won't feel as irritable.
2 Respectfully do what you are told when you are told to do it
3 Go the extra mile by doing things you don't have to do.

If the students do this their parents will naturally be more likely to let them have more privileges. That is a great truth that the students need to learn. The session also focused on the issue of forgiveness because a lot of parents have really hurt their children. That was my favorite part because I knew one of my students really needed this. 2 others that I don't know well responded to it as well. The altar call was incredibly moving and I was able to get down with my students during each altar call. This is something I would have done anyways but before the first session they had an informational meeting with the Youth Pastors were they encouraged them to be a part of the weekend. I know a lot didn't get down there. I saw LOTS of students with no one there to pray with them. I also know that it is hard to get with everyone that responds from your group, but looking back I could see plenty of the Youth pastors sitting back with the rest of the group and that made me kind of sad, especially when those YPs had bigger groups than mine. I think they need to remember the parable of the servants given talents while the master was on a trip. What they have will be taken if they don't invest in it. I'm just saying.

They had the Youth Leaders session during this and I sent 3 of my leaders to that. I haven't been able to sit down and talk with them about what happened during that session but if it was anything like the Youth Pastor break out then it was great. There was some more worship and then they had DA Truth come out while the Youth Pastors got to leave. God is good. I was planning on being in the lobby or possibly outside if they didn't have our session when this group was out. I heard them last year and that was more than enough.

The Youth Pastor session was amazing. It is funny how often I tell other's to keep God the center but then end up letting ministry become my center.

After this we broke for lunch and that was a nightmare. We walked to the inner harbor. That wasn't so bad. Actually it was a pretty nice walk but some students should be on leashes. Instead of eating a couple girls went shopping. One of the girls had already spent all her money, which was more than enough for all the meals. She bought several snacks in the arena and a couple shirts. Next thing you know she didn't have money for lunch. Can you imagine that? The various eating places were very full from the normal crowds plus the ATF crowd, people in town for the Yankee/Orioles game, and another convention. Yeah it was busy down at the inner harbor. When it was time to finish up I sent out a text to the students and hunted down a few I didn't have numbers for. I found the two girls shopping and told them it was time to go. "But we haven't eaten yet." Yeah girls not my problem lets go. "Ok we'll go find the others" Um, no you are coming with us. Next thing I know they are gone. When they made it back to the convention center I had a talk with them. One had not been listening the whole weekend. The one that spend all her money. She isn't stupid but she pretends. I would tell everyone I need to say something about lunch or something. They would all be looking and then 2 minutes later she is asking what is for lunch. I'm gonna end up going crazy because of this one. Well she hurt her toe when she wondered off so I told them that they need to start listening. I explained that we want them to listen because we love and care for them and don't want them to get hurt. Because they didn't listen and wondered off like that someone got hurt and it pains me to see any of my student hurt because I love them all. I didn't have any more problems so maybe that talk helped for a while at least.

We got back from lunch and had more worship. I think it was the best worship they had. Then they had the last session "Here comes trouble" which was about going out changed and changing everything else. At the end they had a large cross (20'+) on the stage with a bunch of smaller (~6') piled around it. Then they carried the crosses around the arena. They challenged the students to take pieces of paper and write on them things they need to sacrifice and nail them to the crosses. It was amazing to hear the hammering all around the center.

After that things wrapped up and we got loaded into our vehicles for the trip home. It wasn't that easy but whatever we made it home about midnight and after getting all the kids loaded up and sent to their homes I made it to mine about 1 am. I woke up at 6:30 am on Friday and got to sleep again at 1:30 am on Sunday. If my math is right that is 43 hours of awake time followed by 6 hours sleep before going to church for Mother's day. Trust me when I say I was crashing hard by then. During the 43 hours awake time I had one small cup of coffee and a Monster on the trip back to the church. Oh, and Wednesday night (Thursday morning) I didn't sleep either because of a bear visit. From Wednesday night to Sunday I had roughly 12 hours sleep in total including 2 intervals of 40+ hours awake time. One of my friends told me he was more tired than I could be and suggested we compare notes. Well Greg, there is why I am tired, not counting the manic jumping and emotional/spiritual energy of the weekend which is hard to quantify. How was your weekend?

Actually I don't' mind doing this from time to time. Most of my exhaustion comes from not taking a day off in over two weeks now. Actually by the time I get a full day off it will be 3 weeks and that ain't good. My Pastor's wife is gonna kick my butt and my wife is gonna help. She tattled on me Sunday so now I'm in trouble. Oh well, I'll take time off as soon as I can which is Thursday.

4 comments Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wow, this weekend was an absolute blur. It really was great though. Early Saturday morning I wrote about things that happened on Friday night so I won't rehash those details. I will give a bit of info on the lead up and Saturday.

This was an event that 3 different church ministries worked together on from our area. We ended up getting 125 tickets, 30 for us, for $20 each instead of nearly $50 so right off the bat God was blessing this venture. I brought 31 people to the event from my church. That was much better than last year. The frustration was that I had 5 people drop on me one week before the event but then I had 7 people want to get added in. What's that? How did I end up with 31? Well it's simple really. I had 30 spots all of which were filled until just before the event then 5 people dropped on my. I had several people who had been asking about going even though the event was full and I was trying to get them filled from the other ministries but I could only hunt down a couple of tickets. When the 5 dropped I quickly filled that and still had people asking to go. Next year I'm going to be planning on 40-50 from our church. Anyways, that left us with 32 people, but one more had to drop the day of. It is reasonable and I'm not mad at her. One of my adult sponsors had a little girl in the hospital for a couple days before the event. You can't really blame her. I would have understood if my wife didn't come so that's cool. Still we went up with one more person than I originally had tickets for so that is pretty frigintastic and we got the tickets for less than half price which is fan-frigintastic.

Well another cool thing was the lunch on Saturday. We talked about just getting lunch delivered and thought about pizza and Subway before deciding on Chick-Fil-A. We were going to get the sandwhiches for a bit over $2 each so we settled on 150 chicken sandwiches and placed the order with a contact up in Baltimore. A bit later the contact called and said they were donating the lunch so we saved another $300+.

On Saturday things went great but most of the Youth were super crashed. I didn't sleep at all Friday night, and a couple days before I didn't get any sleep either because of a bear visit. I didn't crash till Sunday though. The Youth kept asking how many Monsters I had had and they couldn't understand how I could have more energy than them being older with less sleep even though I had only had one small cup of coffee that morning. What can I say? I think drinking so few Monsters help me to have more energy in general. I got a couple nasty bruises that morning. At one point there was something they were asking Youth Leaders to get up on stage for. I tried to make it up once the Youth got my attention. I was dealing with an issue so I had no idea what was going on. I ran down the stairs vaulting the last 4 feet and then ran towards the stage. A couple ladies were meandering down the aisle side by side and left just a bit of room on either side so I did a nice jump slide across the platform beside them. I almost made it to the stage when they said they didn't need anyone else. I got a monster bruise from that jump slide but it looked really cool and impressed the Youth that were watching me so I guess it was worth it.

Of course earlier that morning they had the first session that was pretty powerful. "The trouble with the opposite sex" was about … yeah you guessed it sex. They broke the group into guys and girls and gave them their own lessons. They did a great job with the guys and I really appreciate one of the things they encouraged the leaders in. They pointed out how good the church is as crucifying people that come in with real struggles instead of the "Christian sins" that we like to ignore. They encouraged the leaders to respond in love and encouraging students who are struggling instead of beating them down. Anyone that knows me at all know this is a real hot button topic for me so I'm very glad that they were able to share that with more than a hundred leaders. In the end they let some students beat a computer monitor with a bat. After that my Youth were asking me about doing that so I guess next time I talk sex with them I'll talk about porn and let them destroy my broken monitor.

They had the parent session after that while they talked about reading the Bible. I wish they had been a little more specific about how to read the Bible though. I like to give my students suggestions on how they can read the Bible and get more from it by asking questions. One of the best ways is to ask 3 questions. What does this passage tell me about God? What does it tell me about myself? What does it tell me about my relationship with God? The encouraged students to read and explained why they should read and told them they need to take it "one bite at a time" but didn't really give them any tools. I think this is the only session where they didn't give the students the tools they needed to succeed. I guess it is acceptable to fall short in one area. They followed this up with a presentation on Compassion which is a child sponsor program.

After that we went to lunch and had our free Chick-Fil-A, chips, and soda that we bought before. I also sold 16 Monsters. The number is pretty important. I felt called to support a child and had the idea that we use our Monster sales to make it happen. I told the students about it and they were all very excited so after we went back in I went down and found a little girl just older than my oldest from Indonesia. I pulled out the cash from Monster sales at lunch and had $32 which was exactly what I needed for one month support. I think that is pretty freakin' cool.

Wow I've already written a lot and have only made it through lunch. Time to wrap it up and write more later.

3 comments Friday, May 8, 2009

There is so much to talk about for this trip. Mostly things have been frigintastic. One thing that is not frigintastic is the traffic and parking situation in downtown Baltimore. That is just wrong. In fact I'd go so far as to say it is down right sucktacular.

The trip up was really nice. I love that particular route and I think most of the students did as well. We made it the whole way without any pukers. That's always a big plus in my book especially considering last time we went this direction things didn't work out so well.

I do have one other complaint. One of the girls that I have been praying for and who my wife has really been reaching out to did exactly what I cautioned her against. Her BF broke up with her via a text message early Monday morning. My wife took her out to breakfast and talked with her for quite a long time. I met with her for a bit that afternoon when my wife dropped off some lunch for me while I was working on the Youth Building. BTW, Katdish, yes I really did mean less than $100. I was able to repurpose almost everything I took apart. We only had to buy a few things for the electric work.

Anyways, I talked with the girl for a while and then cautioned her about jumping straight into another relationship. I specifically told her she shouldn't get together with one of the guys that was going with one of the other groups. I knew this guy was pretty well her type and I knew that she would rebound right into that but I also knew that she had a lot of crap to work through and so did he. Neither of them are ready for a relationship.

Of course you all know what happened. Now I need to talk to them both. The crazy part is that the speaker tonight said "girls Jesus is your need. You don't need a boyfriend. You may feel like you do because your dad or some other father figure type person didn't give you the kind of love you deserve, but if you make Jesus the center of your life He will fill that emptiness and so you won't feel like you need a boyfriend when you break up with someone." I swear I didn't set that up but it's like he was talking right to her through those words.

God really did move though. I went down during the altar call and prayed with about 4 of my students. I saw at least 10 go down during the altar call but I couldn't get over to them all because so many responded. It was pretty amazing. I had the worst headache at this point though so I could barely think straight much less pray the kind of prayer I wanted. I was there for them though and I think that was probably bigger than any prayer I could have said for them. God knows my heart of them and knows that I want only the best for them all.

If you aren't following me on Twitter I need to give a few other updates here. Before things got started there was a meeting for the Youth Pastors. They gave us all the info on what's going on. I tweeted that I was going to try and work in Monkey Butt. Unfortunately they didn't have a Q&A segment for me to toss that out but I did get to talk to a couple people after so I guess it worked out. I also asked them to use the phrase "fluffy bunnies" in reference to sex during the sex talks tomorrow. I briefly explained the origin of that phrase which my Youth would love to hear. I didn't tell the Youth so they should really be shocked if things work out. Since I haven't blogged about this in the past let me fill you in. Back in November I talk with my students about sex. I tried to be pretty open and honest with them but my 5 year old daughter walked in as we were finishing up so I tossed out the first thought that came into my mind instead of the word "sex." From that moment on I have often used the words "fluffy bunnies" to refer to sex.

Anyways, they have the band Unhindered doing worship and they are pretty good. Several of the Youth went down front during this and I wanted to go. Tomorrow I probably will. I stayed because I wanted to see how the other would respond. They sat there till halfway through the first song. They only got up when I went down in front of the section and start making a fool of myself trying to get everyone on their feet. I was mostly working on getting my Youth up but about 3/4 of the section was sitting but then I start pointing and waving and raising my hands and jumped ... basically caring on like a monkey ... then almost everyone in the section got up. Later I had to go down and lead them in jumping and clapping and all the other fun stuff. Lazy teens. I haven't even had a Monster since Thursday. Once they got the picture I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of worship.

Then they had a pretty cool drama/sermon about Jesus had he "been born in the 80s" I put that in quote because that is what they said, but they also say he had just died and risen and referenced him being 33 when that happened. I can assure you that someone born in 1980 would not be 33 right now. Trust me on this.

Finally, David Crowder Band was pretty frigintastic. Someone once said that they thought I would look like David. I wouldn't mind it but a guy in the church has that honor. I swear if he grew his hair and goatee out a bit more it would be freaky. I'm sure he is a monster big geek. He looks it and during a song he had out this lime green keytar. That's pretty geeky but when he started playing the Super Mario Theme song I about lost it. They led with Undignified which is possibly my favorite song that they sing. I kind of wish they had closed with it but hey, whatever. My 10 month old son fell asleep in my arms during that song so I couldn't really get crazy during the concert. My Youth probably appreciate that.

I do have two complaints. They are from Texas, which isn't all that bad but really ... The big complaint is they did a "hoe down." but I have to admit watching a bit of rock dueling banjo-esque jamming there in that was pretty, dare I say, awesome.

It is after 2 in the morning and I'm suppose to be awake at 5:30. I'll try to get some more details on things tomorrow or Monday, if I haven't collapsed into a puddle of exhaustion by then. Follow me on twitter. I am trying to update every so often with my cell phone. Also keep praying. Tomorrow should be pretty interesting and I'm hoping two of the sessions (the sex one and one about dealing with parents) really reach some of the teens. I also have one girl that doesn't really know anyone so I'm hoping that she started fitting into one of the groups. She isn't very outgoing but I'm trying to talk to her and get my wife to reach out. It can be hard coming on something like this when you don't really know anyone.

6 comments Thursday, May 7, 2009

Look at that I can update my blog. Now I could just launch into my normal routine or I could give a bunch of excuses for why I haven't been updating. I could also just write some funny stupid thing but then again that is pretty much my normal routine. I think I'm going to try and combine my possible actions and see what happens.

I really only have one excuse and that is being busy. The truth it I'll probably have weeks where I don't have time to blog because the summer is nearly upon us and things get crazy busy for Youth Pastor's during the summer. Let's face it, students are out of school and most parents can't just take the whole summer off and so someone needs to give them something to do. Trust me you don't want a couple thousands teens in a small town with nothing to do for 3 months. That only leads to a bunch of new babies the following spring.

Of course we won't have things every day but we do have about one major event a month plus minor things mixed throughout. On top of that I'm going to be trying to spend time with several of my Youth during the week. I'd like to meet with as many as I can as often as I can outside the normal church times.

Not that this has anything to do with my most recent hiatus. No, if you've been following me on twitter (and if you haven't you should) then you know I've been playing with power tools. You might also be worried that I could lose some fingers because I don't always have the best track record with power tools. I can assure you that I am pretty well injury free. I did get a small puncture from a screw and a few splinters but nothing worse than that.

Of course twitter is limited to 140 characters, and while it is a goal of mine to always use all 140 characters I cannot explain everything I'm doing and why so my tweeps don't know exactly what I was up to.

I have completed phase one of my Youth building remodel. Structurally this was a pretty major change but everything went smoothly and we completed the job for very little money. I am still waiting on a couple of things but it should be under $100 when all is said and done. That is pretty frigintastic. The building was laid out with the platform running the long wall and another raised platform for chairs on the opposite long wall. It was a decent setup but was terrible for sound. I won't go into the details of why but trust me when I say it was sound suctacular. Worse was the fact that the sound booth didn't line up with the speakers so you could never really hear how you had it mixed unless you walk out of the sound booth and the mains were behind the platform so you could never turn up your singers without getting wicked feedback.

I moved the platform to the short wall facing the sound booth which is on the opposite short wall. I pulled the mains out front and redid the way the audio cabling was done by putting a trench in the platform and building and altar that also doubles as a means of hiding the cables running out front. More about the altar later. In fact, I'll write more on this whole project later with pictures when I get the time.

I finished this project just before service on Wednesday so it was right down to the wire, but it looks much better and everyone liked it.

I also did something different last night. I did the normal youth service but ended things very differently. After talking about God and the Gospel I told everyone we would be using the altar for the first time. I then said anyone that wants more from God should stay but anyone that is just ready to leave could go outside, downstairs, or home but they could not stay in the room talking. I also asked that they not come back into the room. Then I made an altar call for salvation, rededication, or any other need from God.

This seemed to work great. ¼-1/3 left the room but most stayed. That surprised me and the ones that stayed seemed to really experience God. After the fact the positive response was unanimous from everyone that stayed behind. I will be doing this again for the next couple weeks then I'll take some time off but plan on revisiting this method at least once a month hereafter. I don't want this to become some repetitive formula but it is pretty amazing how well the students responded.

Anyways, I'll be offline till Monday at the earliest. Friday is Acquire the Fire so I'll be starting my lo-carb Monster IV drip that morning. We will get back late Saturday. Actually think it will be Sunday before we are back in town. Of course this Sunday is Mother's day and then I'm going to slip into a coma.

Don't tell my pastor's wife but I haven't had a day off in two weeks. Next week I'm taking some extra time off to make up for it.

So now you know where I've been for the last couple weeks.

PS, Today was the national day of prayer. I was involved with prayer meetings starting at 7:30 this morning and just now finished the last one. God is good and I'll share some amazing things about the lead up to ATF but right now I've hit the wall. I didn't get more than a couple hours of sleep last night because a bear came to visit and other fun things plus a 12+ hour. Please pray because I'm beyond exhausted. I need a good night's rest and the power and grace of God for the next few days. On Monday I am going to collapse in a heap for a couple of days.

8 comments Saturday, May 2, 2009

So I just found one of the best possible examples of booty God booty. Someone started following me on twitter, side note if you aren't following me you should, and so I went to look at their feed to see if I'd follow back. I'm not sure which way I'll go in this but let me show you a handful of the tweets. Pay attention to the bolded tweet.


this weekend could possibly turn out to be the best of my life! :)

Has anybody heard of this swine flu epidemic coming from Mexico and killing people. Praise God that Jesus heals.

j[...]s people hot weather doesn't mean you can wear any g[...]amn thing you want...cover your titties please!
I had to edit just a bit but I think you can figure out the words all on your own. The entire feed looks like this.

So should I follow back?

5 comments Friday, May 1, 2009

The past couple times I talked about my kids it was my oldest daughter. The thing about being oldest is you get to do most things first and so it's easy to overlook when the others do things. My oldest son does get the advantage of being the first to do some boy things, like standing up to pee. OK that's not entirely true. When my daughter was potty training she walked in and saw how daddy did it then tried with her potty. Fortunately I saw and got her seated before she figured out how to straddle the little potty. He was definitely the first to pee in the woods though, and off the deck. Lots of boy first involve peeing in and on things. Its a kind of rite of passage.

Anyways, I wanted to share a story that had nothing to do with peeing. I picked my boy up the other day and learned something really important. He is already a player. There were like 6 girls left in his class and they all ran up to hug him and tell him bye. I'm not ashamed to admit I was almost proud enough to cry. Well, ok I was proud and thought some one much girlier might have cried. I gave him a fist bump once the girls were out of sight.