Comments Monday, November 30, 2009

OK I imagine there are many things better, but it is amazing for so many reasons.

As a quick food

Peanut butter is a great quick meal. You can eat it with a spoon right out of the jar if you are really pressed for time, but it doesn't take long to have peanut butter and cracker, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or my favorite peanut butter and honey sandwiches. This brings me to my next point.

Tastes great with other foods

We all know about the classic PB&J and also the somewhat different peanut butter and banana. There is also the previously mentioned peanut butter and honey. In my opinion PB&H is the second best combination of all time. The only thing better than honey mixed with peanut butter is peanut butter and chocolate. I imagine that that discovery is responsible for a significant portion of my battle with weight. Preventing these two super powers from entering my house has helped me begin winning that battle.

It is crunchy or creamy

Sort of like "sometimes you feel like a nut sometimes you don't." There are times when you want the smooth, creamy peanut butter but there are also times you want to feel the crunch of bits of unbuttered peanuts.

Highly Entertaining

What's that? Peanut butter can be entertaining? How does that work? Well, if you love animals but also love humor then feed your dog some peanut butter. They love the taste and it is safe, but it gets up on the roof of their mouth resulting in a very entertaining attempt to remove it.

I could go on and on, but trust me on this, if you aren't allergic then you should eat some peanut butter. If you are worried about added sugar and other stuff you can always get all natural. Honestly I prefer the taste myself.

This post has been brought to you as a dare from @VariantVal

Comments Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yesterday I mostly wrote about a group that I facilitated in an ethics workshop. I was told by someone that they were frightened at how callous the girls were. I will say that this group was a bit harsh but there were a couple that didn't go with the group decision. They just didn't stand up for their opinion very strongly. More importantly there were some really cool opinions from other groups.

One story in particular was a young lady that I noticed right away. She dressed so that people would see here. Not in the slutty way but in the 8 inch tall Mohawk and all the cloths you would expect to go with that hair style. Most of the students were dressed up a bit because they were told to dress nice. I had hoped she would be at my table but I wasn't so fortunate. I know we aren't supposed to judge books by their covers, but I tend to read people. In this case I read correctly and she would have made a great addition to the group. It seems her personality would have pushed the group to think about their decisions more carefully.

On the question about a friend that was on steroids she got up to speak for her group as a whole. After introducing herself as "Anarchy" (later I learned that her name is Anna so the rchy is tagged on ... I guess she spells it Annarchy?), she laid down more strongly than anyone else that it isn't cool to let a friend do something destructive like that. At one point she said "I'd rather lose our friendship than to lose a friend." That is powerful and the kind of person I want to see in my youth group. Maybe that is why they call us the freak show, but they don't know what is inside.

Anyways, I also wanted to say it was cool being there and having so many people there that recognized me. Only two of my students were there but a couple dozen teens walked up and talked to me at some point. There were people I've met through various things I've been involved with. Very cool to see I'm getting to know so many of the students and they are getting to know me.

Back to my original point. Yes, we have a lot of self centered students, but we also have some really amazing ones even if they don't look like we expect.

Comments Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last week was crazy busy but also lots of fun. I loved almost everything I did including officiating my first wedding. I want to write about the wedding but I'm trying to see if I have some video or at least pictures for post with it. In the mean time let me share about two other things I did. Tuesday I was at a sectional lunch with other ministers. I've really liked what we are doing with the new section. We have been getting together once a month and fellowshipping. Much better than how things were going with the previous section.

Of course this probably sounds pretty boring, and to people on the outside it probably is so I'm going to move on to one of the more interesting things I did last week.

There was a Chamber of Commerce sponsored event last week called the "Ethics Workshop." The seniors from both high schools are required to attend. They are assigned random tables and each table has a facilitator. I was a volunteer facilitator. Last year the table I was at spent a good deal of the off time discussing some really … interesting? … stuff. The kind of stuff that you don't normally talk about in front of other people, much less an adult. They about died at the end of the event when one finally asked what I did. This year I was at a table composed entirely of girls. That is just unreal.

They were faced with 4 ethical dilemmas and had to vote on what their decisions would be. The first was a pretty straight forward choice where they had to decide who would receive a liver based on the available information. They chose the patient that had the largest family and would likely live the longest. Unintentionally they based their decision on the most good for the greatest number of people. This is generally viewed as an excellent mode for making ethical decisions. After that things got generally disturbing. Most of them started voting based on what affected them the least. When presented with the option of narcing on a friend using steroids most choose to say nothing. Another scenario involved a cousin joining a gang and planning an armed robbery of a store that some friends work at. The group felt it was wise to tell their friends but no one else. The friends should just go into work and play along so no one got hurt.

The final scenario was based on a real story. They were going up Everest and near the peak the find a man with no gear sitting near a shear drop of several thousand feet who greats them with "I bet you're surprised to see me here." The group generally decided to leave the guy. Some felt they might try to call for help and even leave some oxygen. One said she would try to help him back down. I offered another solution that they felt was atrocious. I said that leaving him to die slowly was immoral so either help him down or end it quickly with a small push. I find it interesting that they are willing to let the man die but won't go out of their way to help him or end it quickly.

I think this generally represents much of our culture. People don't want others involved and don't want to get involved. We are happy to sit back and let thousands, and even millions die so long as it doesn't affect us directly. I think that is much of what drives "pro choice," and more importantly why we ignore genocides all around the world but push for war when we are attacked only to change our minds once the war lasts longer than our outrage.

By the way, in the real event the man was abandoned for dead by his group because he was ill and threatening the rest of the group. They had reported him dead the previous day. Earlier that day several other groups avoided him including one that passed near and pretended to only speak French. One group abandoned their quest for the peak and helped him back to camp where he received medical attention and survived to tell the tale. Left by his own, ignored and deceived, on the brink of death, and then saved by someone at a price. That's what it means to be a neighbor and what we are called to do. I wonder how many "Christians" passed this guy up?

On an unrelated note, I posted a sermon on my sermon blog. You should check it out. WAKE UP!

Comments Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So this week I am officiating my first wedding. I am really looking forward to this but I'm also very nervous. I really want the couple to work out but there isn't any way for me to ensure that beyond counseling and Godly encouragement and prayer. Having done all of that I think the most important thing is to geek out the rehearsal and revel in the geek wedding that could have been.

First and foremost you must know that I was asked because of who I am and not the title I hold. Any happenings that happen will be done with utmost respect to the sanctity of the union and the couple who will be joined in marriage.

That said, I will be reenacting the wedding scene from the Princess Bride during the rehearsal. This is a must. If you are not familiar with the scene please watch the clip. If you are familiar with it you will want to watch anyways because it is amazing.

Now that is about geek level one. It isn't enough. I'll be meeting with the bride today to discuss the vows and order of service. I'm hoping she'll go with some of my suggestions. Let me know what you think?

Star Wars

DC Comic






All out Geek

Comments Monday, November 16, 2009

Angel Food Ministries really needs a new name. I'm certainly behind the ministry and the name sounds great in theory but every single time I say it I think about cake. Nice light cake covered in fresh strawberries and a light syrup from the strawberries topped with real whipped cream.

Admit it, you want that cake now. That's what I'm talking about.

Anyways, this weekend I was able to take a small group from our church to the church we are going to be partnering with for the next month or two. We did the pickup and distribution with the church and I learned a lot from what they did. I am excited to be starting our own distribution for next month and the people that went are very excited too.

One of my favorite things is that we are planning on getting the entire church involved and working together. Obviously we need people to pickup and setup, but we also need people to check in, hand out, and check out. We also need people to help carry boxes out and greet as people come in. I've got a good idea on how each part of the church can help including some stuff that we want to do beyond the normal. My wife use to pickup Angel Food when we were in Missouri. They were very busy and people lined up and hour or so before and were more or less processed like cattle. I'm not a huge fan of that and at this location they weren't that busy so it wasn't so bad, but I thought about my wife's experience and decided it would be nice if we would have coffee and warm snacks like fresh biscuits or cookies during the winter and something like that in the summer too.

Wouldn't it be nice to be greeted with a cup of coffee and a cookie, or maybe hot apple cider, when you go to pickup your food? Yeah I think that is way better than being processed like cattle.

Comments Friday, November 13, 2009

Yeah so the following remix is one of the more often searched for posts I've written. The phrase "mullet of the shirt world" is apparently googled more than I ever thought. I hope there isn't some weird fetish I don't want to know about. Also, when did "google" become a verb synonymous with "search?" The speed at which our vocabulary is changing disturbs me a little.

The great thing about being Youth Pastor is you get away with so much. Basically if you bring back all the same kids you left with and all their same appendages people are pretty happy with you. You can generally dress the way you feel comfortable and it's all good. Of course there are dangerous mine fields to navigate, but as long as you understand a few basic rules you will be fine.


You will likely wear more tees than anything else. The great part is that graphic tees are super popular as well as 80s references. Now some of you are too old or too young to appreciate Thundercats and the real Transformers, but for the rest of you enjoy this while it lasts.

Tank tops:

Friends don't let friends wear muscle shirts, enough said.


Hey these are great if you are into them. I'm not thanks but good for you.

Button down/up shirts:

I actually own several long sleeve button ups. I really hate short sleeve versions, they look strange to me, like it was trying to be professional but couldn't quite make it. The short sleeve button up is the mullet of the shirt world. Business in the front party on the sleeves. So back to long sleeve button ups. I really love the fact that rolled up sleeves is the new style. It is nice, but don't make the mistake of rolling your cuffs super tight. For my height 3 rolls is perfect. It leaves the cuffs plenty wide and also past my elbows. I will wear these shirts with jeans most of the time I wear them but if I need to look particularly dressed up I put on one of my slacks, and possibly even my jacket.

There are also a lot of options with embellishments, embroidery, and screen printing. I own a few but my rule is pretty simple. Less is more. They have shirts now with gold covering half the back and really intricate designs. The front is only half as bad but still, as a youth pastor you probably have ADOS (Attention deficit ... oh shiny) and you don't need to get distracted by your shirt. Less is more.


Speaking of jackets you really need to buy at least one. You can find some pretty cool stuff with all kinds of embellished stuff on it, and that is awesome but you need at least one jacket that is fit for a wedding or funeral. Trust me you don't want to be that guy wearing the rhinestone encrusted blazer at the funeral of a 104 year old saint survived by her 86 year old daughter 64 year old grand daughter 47 year old grandson 25 year old great grandson and 10 month old great great grand daughter (and all the other relatives) all of which attend the church. Not cool dude not cool at all.

Remember these simple rules and you will be well on your way to the cool bus.

I have had people argue with my statement that the short sleeve dress shirt is the mullet of the shirt world.

I rest my point.

Comments Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So it has been raining all day and I don't like days like this. I mean I really hate days like this. For some reason, these kind of days seem to attract problems on top of the "it's cold and dark and I want to just stay under the covers" feeling. In fact, I think the body's natural defense against the bad things that come on rainy nasty days is to try and convince you to stay in bed.

First thing I found out when I got to the church was that one of my students avoided a fatal accident last night when her mom wouldn't let her go with her friends. Four of her friends were in a car crash that left one dead, and one still in the hospital. Later I found that the student in the hospital is related to some of our church members. I made it to the hospital to pray with him and his family.

At Youth service we had 52 students. I am really loving the sign in chart by the way. Not only do I know exactly how many students we have, but the skipping church bit is really nonexistent. Of course there were some problems. Basically cold and rainy means 52 teens cooped up in about 3000 sq' of building instead of much more open land like they are use to. Plus they were wound up by being cooped up all day in general. This was compounded because 3 of my leaders weren't there tonight. Family stuff but wow it was out of control but mostly in a fun way.

After service I had to drive a bunch of students home in the van. One of my leaders that wasn't there normally does this. One of the students just plain drives me nuts. Constant complaining, insults, and downright stupid "look at me" behavior all night and for the entire drive is enough to drive anyone crazy. After I got back I had to take one more student home. The van was full and this student lived closish to me so I had him come last. We had a nice conversation for the first time since he has been coming. His mother has lupus and he is really trying to step up for his family. He is the oldest and is carry a huge burden for a young man. I am very burdened for him now and really feel frustrated at not being able to really help, but I'm also very glad that he is finding what he wants and needs in the church.

I guess everything really worked out despite not wanting to get out of bed. I couldn't be happier with how things are going in service. We are making the transition into the kind of Bible study/preaching atmosphere I am pushing for and most of the students are really getting excited about it. I'm also getting to know some of the new students better so I'm very happy I didn't stay in bed all day.


So a few weeks back I had a young man visit the church for the first time. He was wearing a shirt that was probably intended to get a reaction. I did react to the shirt but not likely the way he thought I might. I agreed with it and encouraged the notion.

Sorry if the language offends you but I didn't design the shirt. With my students I try to be very frank and real with them. They are likely to say these kind of words so I guess I just don't get offended by them. I don't bother with them myself but I figure there are worse things in the world, and complacency is one of them.

Something is wrong when we get more offended that the short has a "bad word" on it than at the idea of complacency that allows us to complain about our situation without doing anything about it. I am personally ready to see a revolution in the church and in our culture. I am preaching word of Life from what Christ said and these teens are really getting onboard. I think they are ready for a revolution. I am tired of talking about change. I'm ready to make waves and ride them to a new place.

On a side note, Monday I saw a bumper sticker that proclaimed "Question Authority." Actually the car was covered in bumper stickers to that effect but was a really nice $50k SUV … seemed ironic but whatever. It occurred to me that I am basically holding to that idea and even preaching it to some degree and yet I am now part of the authority. Anyone else think that is ironic?

Comments Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A couple weeks ago I bore witness to a dream of geek culture in a merger of science and art in one t-shirt.

A couple years back the guys at Think Geek created a prank product for April Fool's day (a day I truly love) called the "Personal Sound Track" shirt. This prank gained a huge fan base and so they made this shirt a reality. Thus the interactive sound shirts were born. From this came the "Electronic Drum Kit" shirt. Certainly everyone who has ever sat in church beating out mad drum rolls on the seat in front of them would desire this shirt, but some of us need more. Fortunately Think Geek has come through. Witness the guitar shirt.

Comments Friday, November 6, 2009

A bit over a year ago almost nobody was reading what I wrote. Now a few people are reading so I want to get a couple of my posts out that I wrote.

OK, so you have shoes, and possibly socks that are cool but not something that will scare your parents, now you need to figure out the whole pants situation. Sure you can just slap on any old pair of jeans or work the white slacks that were oh so popular with preachers in the 80s, but if you want to impress your youth enough to be allowed on the cool van then you will need to think about what you wear.


One of the most dangerous pitfalls any person can face is choosing the wrong shorts. You need to know your body type before you can wear shorts. If you have chicken legs then don't wear anything shorter than your knees or overly baggy since it will just emphasize those stilts you call legs. If your legs reflect and amplify all light in the room then please do us all a favor and skip this step. If you have something worth showing off remember this, we still don't want to see it. Cover your legs man.


OK this is a clothing item that will be required for certain situations. I have 3 basic fall back slacks. Khaki for your everyday have to dress up a bit clothing; if I am attending a wedding but not officiating I might go with those, or maybe I am going to a meeting with a particularly picky parent. I might mix it up with flip flops if I want to say, hey I'm casual and fun but still dressed up so parents don't freak too much. OK I probably wouldn't do that but you can if you want. I also have pressed grey and pressed black slacks for needing to dress up a bit more. Color is dependent on what else I'm wearing. Both are intentionally bland so I don't draw too much attention to myself. These are for special occasions like official parts of weddings and funerals as well as other fun events that I might be expected to dress up for. I have nice shoes, shirts, and jackets to go with these.


Now this is the huge decision. Seriously you will probably wear denim more than anything else. Again your body type will define the basic styles of what you will wear. Don't try and pull off the skinny jeans if you are quite large, it will look like you are walking on tightly packed sausage, and it doesn't matter how expensive the jeans are that won't impress your youth. The other big danger is the artificially deteriorated look. You can spend big money on something that was damaged before you bought it or pick up something from Salvation Army and do it yourself. In all honesty the brand will say a lot to your Youth, but if you sell yourself on that then you will have to keep buying the new hot brand. The important part isn't how much you pay but how many holes we are talking, and the location. Holes in the knees are cool, holes in the seat and crotch are not. General rule of thumb, if anyone can tell if you are wearing boxers or briefs then you need new jeans, the corollary to this rule is that if the answer is briefs you will lose significant cool points. I'm not saying you can't wear briefs, but if your Youth see them it will super gross them out more than if they see boxers. Another good rule of thumb is to limit the tears and holes to 5 per pair. This isn't as much for the Youth as it is for the parents. You don't want some helpful mother going out and buying you new pants because she thinks you can't afford un-holified jeans.

Of course there are many embroidery options and to that end I would ask you, "are you trying out for worship leader?" Come on, look cool without looking desperate.

Comments Thursday, November 5, 2009

Youth is really coming along. The one young lady that I was really frustrated with that might be leaving the church came and talked with my after service. She went somewhere else but came to our service to talk and I think it really helped. I'm not 100% sure what is going to happen but I'm feeling that she really needs to be plugged in with a woman in the church for mentoring and I have the perfect person in mind if this person will say yes. Anyways, it seems to be working out and I'm feeling much better about it all.

For specific numbers, we had like 4 visitors tonight plus a few of our semi regulars showing up for a grand total of 52. The sign in sheet makes it easy to know how many people are there since I never think to count. I'm a really bad pastor as far as that sort of thing goes. I'm also bad at over estimating how many people are there. Everyone that signed in stayed, but the one that skipped out last time didn't come tonight. The whole thing is working pretty well right now.

I felt a little overwhelmed though because we were down a few leaders. The main outside leader was out of town on business and two other leaders weren't there, one for work and I'm not sure what happened to the other. Also last week was the last week for one of my leaders. This means we had about as many students as we've ever had with 4 fewer leaders than we have had in the past 3 months. Despite that things went really well.

I also started the first phase of getting my students more involved tonight by having one of the students doing announcements instead of me. It was nice to not be the only one talking and I'm expecting to get more involved. I asked the girl that I was really impressed with over the weekend and she did a great job. I'd like to try and have some of the students put together stupid little skits and stuff for some of the announcements. That would be great.

Tonight was also phase 2 of the transition to a stronger Bible study type environment. The end goal will look like this; I'll read a Bible passage and give some explanation of what it means. Then small groups will get together and discuss questions related to the subject then we'll meet together again for my review of the questions and a sermon of sorts. I did this before and I think it works really well. The big change for tonight was I had a series of questions that I asked and get input from the students as a whole. It worked well and I was very happy with the responses the students gave.

Of course the most fun I had all night was early on in the evening. The grumpy old man that threatened a student a couple months back and who hasn't been coming to church on Sundays since was there. He is still teaching the Rangers and I am concerned about that on many levels but I have bigger things to deal with right now. He is basically ignoring me though, which amuses me. Any time I see him I try to be nice and say hi and ask how he is. I'm a southerner. We can show courtesy to our worst enemy. He tends to pretend he didn't hear me though. Sure he is old and hard of hearing, but in the past he would ask what I said if he didn't hear, now he just walks the other way. Now I could let it go but I much prefer another approach. Loud kindness. It drives him crazy I think. Not exactly why I do it, I want to show that I live what I preach. Still, I enjoy the look of frustration on his face when I ask again "have you had a good day?" as loud and joyful as I can possibly be. If you want to really mess with people that are angry with you then pour on the kindness. Grumpy people can't stand when they are doused with joy.

Comments Wednesday, November 4, 2009

This week has been interesting. Over the weekend I went on a trip with some of the members of the Youth that said they want to be leaders. I learned that 2 of 6 are ready to start down that path and one that I have done a lot for lately, I mean a LOT for, is terribly ungrateful and is now planning on attending another church. I'm not too worried about it though. I'm not about fighting to keep, God will take care of that. I was very frustrated Sunday because I gave up my weekend with my family and missed my kids dressed up for Halloween and felt very unappreciated, but God is faithful so I put my trust in Him.

Monday I was still trying to get over it and didn't really want to work but had responsibilities. One of those was teaching the NOT (Not on Tobacco) class. After the class one of the student's step mom came in to talk to me. Apparently the student has talked about me quite a bit and I've made a serious impression on him. More than that she expressed an interest in going back to church and might be attending our Sunday service this week. It really confirmed to me that I'm doing the right thing by getting out of the church.

Today I learned that we will be hosting Angel Food Ministries much sooner than I was expecting. I sent an email asking questions and then called because I wasn't patient enough to wait for the response. After getting my questions answered I applied but was told it would take 10 weeks to process the application. The thing is, the email went through channels and the VA area leader lives pretty close. She called and found out we had already applied so she is pushing to get us setup as a partner site with a church about half an hour away because she really wants to get a distribution site in our town right away. We will become a host site once the application runs its course, but God is in control and the way I went about it resulted in us being contacted sooner than the normal application process allows. We should be able to do our first distribution before Christmas. I'm really excited.

Tonight was Young Adults class and it went very well. A couple of the group that have really started opening up the past couple of weeks.

In general I'm over the frustration because God goes before me. I don't like when things don't go well, but I do like hen God reminds me He is with me even in the middle of great grumpitude on my part.

Comments Monday, November 2, 2009

If you don't know about the blog carnival then check it out. Peter Pollock, an amazing person and gifted writer, is hosting this round so go visit his blog to see everyone else's posts.. It was great last time even though I twisted my understanding of the rules for my own amusement. This time I am sticking a bit more on a literal translation, but letting my geek out.

I remember a great many things. I'm especially good at remembering random, often useless facts. One of those bits of information is the scene when Spock is about to sacrifice himself in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Until the latest reboot of the original Star Trek it was easily my favorite Trek anything. It is a really close call still because it is pure frigintasticalness. One of the most memorable scenes is the sacrifice of Spock. At face value it is very sad, but events in a not nearly as good of a movie bring him back and setup Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home, which features whales in space.

Spock gives Bones his memories, essentially his mind with the phrase "Remember." Watch this clip, it happens about 00:01:50.

The Bible says we are to have the mind of Christ.  

"For who has known the mind of the Lord
      that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

It seems that we need to remember if we are to have such a mind. We are commanded to have communion in remembrance of Him. What is it we are to remember? Simply this, all that He has commanded. I think many times Christians forget this. They don't remember and so don't have the mind of Christ, much less the Spirit of God.

Today as you read about remembering, think about this, what happens when we remember Christ in such a way as to have His mind? I think that is the kind of revolutionary thought that changed the world and can change it again.