I put an "e-zine stand" on the links to the left of some of my favorite e-zines. I love these things, they do the research and report to me and I get to use illustrations, stats, and quotes in my teaching. Gotta love the whole internet thing, I can't wait until it really catches on.


Two bad things about living in CT and being a Native Texan: 1. no good Tex-Mex food to be found and 2. You can't buy good canned chili. Well, thanks to my parents, who included a can of Wolf Brand Chili (No Beans) in the Easter Care Package to our girls, I had a good bowl of chili yesterday. I can make some but to be able to just pour a can out and not add anything to it to "spice it up" was a treat.

I think that too many of us want the same result in our ministries. We want to just open up a canned program or philosophy, heat and serve then hope that it satisfies our students. We have to discover what God wants us to do in our "little place". Great new article by Yaconelli called.the Failure of Youth Ministry. He doesn't give any "How-To" advice and while part of me wishes he would, I know he shouldn't. I think he's on though about long term discipleship being our highest priority.

I am coming to believe that happens the best when parents and pastors come together to disciple their students. I'm done ranting, I have to go polish off a Men's Sunday School lesson I was asked to do yesterday.


I had a good meeting with a friend of mine last night. We talked about what it means to spiritually train our kids and the need to be intentional in the process. My hope is to begin doing this for my own two girls and then be able to come alongside parents of teenagers to help them create a "Spiritual Game Plan" for their kids.

I'm convinced that our inactivity of today will become our regrets of tomorrow. Being intentional about our children's spiritual growth should lesson the regrets. Another thing, I want to get across to parents is the issue of grace through the plan. Our "Spiritual Game Plan" will not change our kids, only the Holy Spirit can do that but we can help "till the soil" by having a plan.

Some of the ideas I'm using and adapting are from Heritage Builders. If think this is what a Spiritual Director does but since I live in Evangelical World, I'm going to use the phrase "Spiritual Coach" when I explain the concept to families and teens as it develops.


Yesteday afternoon I read these words by Eugene Peterson:

But I agreed to do 10 chapters of Matthew and then let John decide whether he thought we could do this. And so it was just as bad as I thought it would be. It was very wooden, and it just wasn't working. I just kind of let go and became playful. And that was when the Sermon on the Mount started. I remember I was down in my basement study, and I did the Beatitudes in about 10 minutes. And all of a sudden I realized this could work.(Full Article)

I'm not Eugene Peterson and my little book won't take 12 years to complete but last night I had my this-could-work-moment. I've heard that writing a book has paralells to being pregnant and giving birth. Over the last 3-4 weeks I've been at the "What was I thinking?" stage of giving birth to this book. Similar to some thoughts I've heard women share around months 6-8 during their pregnancies.

But last night, I realized that this could work and it would be done and it'd be a good thing, it would just take some "labor" to enjoy the reward. I only hope everyone will think that my "baby" is cute. :-)


Woo Hoo! I got the contract and first check today from Youth Specialties! The manuscript is due Nov. 1. I want to send it in sooner, though. If anyone wants to lovingly annoy me and ask, "How's the book coming?" I'd appreciate it.

We'll actually get to buy a new piece of furniture to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. Married twelve years and we've yet to buy anything (including a lamp) from a real furniture store. Unless you count Goodwill as a real furniture store. Since they have junk, clothes, albums and toys from childhood, I wouldn't classify them as a real furniture store.

Gotta call some students and then research, read and write tonight. I want to have one more chapter completed before I leave next week for my trip to Chicago.


Our Lord died an apparent failure, discredited by the leaders of established religion, rejected by society and forsaken by His friends. The man who ordered Him to the cross was the successful statesman whose hand the ambitious hack politician kissed. It took the resurrection to demonstrate how gloriously Christ had triumphed and how tragically the governor had failed.
A. W. Tozer


I was on national TV today. (note to self, I REALLY have to lose some weight, they say the camera adds 10 pounds, it must have added 30 to me) Anyway, I was on the People's Court with Judge Marilyn Milian. I didn't even know her name until I went on the show. I lost the case but it was a definite learning experience. PLUS, if I ever I do another workshop or lesson on conflict I'll get to say, "When I was on the People's Court. . . . " :-)

I did record it and I would love to use a clip from it the next time I talk about conflict in the church. After it was over the lady who sued me e-mailed me and said, "As a fellow Christian, I was very disappointed in you yesterday Len".

Note sure if I was right but I wrote back:

"As a beliver you must be familiar with what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6::1-8

1If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers!
7The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.

If you haven't read it lately, you might want to read it again.

I'm really not trying to restate the obvious but YOU took me to court, so please don't bring our faith into this.

If I had an extra $500 in my account that was just sitting there waiting for next crisis, I would have paid the full amount so I could have lived out the "Why not rather be wronged?" verse. As it is, I look at The People's Court as God's provision to pay a debt that I didn't have the money for.

I'm looking forward to hearing if anyone else saw it besides my parents and a few of their friends. Of course, they are home during the daytime now. :-)

On a much brighter note. I went to The Bronx Zoo on Wendesday. It's always FREE on Wednesday, so it was very crowded but it was a good day. I took my family and some students since it was Spring Break week. Fun time just hanging with and listening to my students.


I finally have a mentor in youth ministry. Actually I have two! Maybe that'll make up for not having one for the first 8 or so years in ministry.

They both have 25-30 years of youth ministry experience, Dave is the New England rep for the National Network of Youth Ministries and Bob is the National Director of Youth Ministry for my denomination.

I met Bob at The CORE in Hartford and then brought him to my church for the weekend. It was great, he was able to sit in and talk with my leadership team during our monthly meeting and we were able to rehash some things and make plans. He has a total different gift set and personality than mine so it was good to get that perspective. Everyone should find or pray for a mentor.

I'm looking forward to seeing what God will do. I think we tend to get so busy planning our youth ministry we forget it's God's ministry. I don't want to be one of those guys.

I drove into New Haven, CT to see the campus of Yale with an out of town guest yesterday. We saw some great buildings and tons of soon to be rich Ivy League Grads and some Christians protesting. Well. . . Christian being used in the broadest sense of the word. They held picket signs that said "God Hates Fags", "Thank God for Sept. 11", "God Blew Up the Shuttle". This is, of course, the group from Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church.

Thankfully there were others protesting the protest. They were preaching that God Hates Plaque to make fun of these "Christians".

"We heard that they were from the Midwest, an area known for poor oral hygiene," said Will Tauxe, a Yale sophomore, who helped organize the tongue-in-cheek counter-protest. "It was our calling — dental evangelism."

I would have been with the Yale students on this one. At least I'll have a good illustration to use from seeing them in person. Too bad that there are people who think that they are typical Christians


After talking about my friend with a stogie, I remembered hearing a story about Spurgeon and cigars. Did a quick search on Google and BAM! Spurgeon's Love of Fine Cigars It's definitely an interesting read. I wonder what would happen today if a "Big Name" radio preacher announced he smoked cigars.

I'm going to the The CORE in a few hours. I'm looking forward to hearing Dave Ambrose. I loved this when it came out in Youthworker Journal so I'm happy to link his Youth Ministry Arrogance article that's new on the web. I think he nails our little subculture within the Christian subculture.


I remember being in seminary thinking (as I'm sure a lot of prideful and young seminarians do) "If I could only one day speak at a conference or write a book, that'll mean that I've arrived". I've discovered first hand that after speaking at a conference and working on a book that not only have I not arrived, I feel like I've landed and I'm in the middle of a layover but I don't know where I'm going for the next leg of the journey.

I am an average youth pastor but I believe that the average youth pastor is above average and we must find contentment and be fully consecrated in our "little place". (Thanks to Francis Schaefer for that image) I said it before but now I believe it that the most important thing God is concerned about between my life and ministry, is my life.

What is success in youth ministry? It depends on who you ask. I have to fight to maintain a biblical approach to success and not give in to the business approach to success. It's a constant struggle for me but I find strength in knowing that I'm not alone in my struggle and ultimately God cares for me despite my struggle. My weakness' forces me to once again rest in Him and in no one else.

I hope that's what my family and students see in me, someone following after Jesus because it's all about Him and I don't want to get in the way.


I thought of this while driving through New York City back from our vacation. I don't recommend it but I wrote it on my PALM while driving. Shhhhh . . . don't tell my wife, she was asleep. It's an outline for communication during and despite conflict.

Accentuate the Fellowship
Acknowledge the Feelings
Aquire the Facts
Admit the Failures
Agree on how to go Forward

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts about this. thanks

I found a friend from seminary the other day on the web. Looks like he's involved with a church plant. I can't decide though if his picture on the church website with him chewing on a stogie to be cool or flaunting freedom. He's a good guy and I'd think the church will do well but I'm just not sure what to think about the picture and I'm not legalistic.

A girl answered her cell phone in Sunday School today and walked out the room!! But as she said, "It was important". As long as it was important. . . .

"Nomah" was a SINGLE short of the cycle, that is SICK!


Buckner Will Be Avenged! I try not to be too supportive of the Boston Red Sox because I know they will once again break my heart, but I can't help it. A Boston sports writer said something I believe, "Baseball is not a life or death matter but the Red Sox are." I can't help but wonder, "What if this year is THE year?" I should join a support group.

Back to reality, I'm going to go do some more research before I go to bed. Good thing I'm a night owl.


Doug Pagitt's Blog made me laugh today. He simply wrote, "Writing a book is realy hard." I laugh because I'm discovering the same thing. At least there is enough time but the deadline is always around the corner.

I was reminded tonight why I enjoy youth ministry. I took four students home after church because their parents were too tired, or something like that. I listened to them talk, that was sorta scary. After we dropped off the two girls, the two guys and I were able to really talk.

One's a believer and the other probably isn't. We discussed feelings, faith, truth and the amazing thing called grace. It wasn't a lecture, it was a talk that I realize now would not have happened 3 months ago when the student was new. As Jim Rayburn said, "You have to earn the right to be heard." I've done that and now I depend upon the Spirit to convict, I am here simply to convey.

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