Should Christians Convert Mulims?

I wonder why TIME Magazine didn't ask, "Should Christians and Muslims Convert Each Other?"


I still have hope for the Red Sox to be in the playoffs and the ultimate for now, to win the AL East. We will see but knowing they scored 14 runs in the 1st inning tonight gives me confidence in their bats. They scored 25 runs in the game!

VBS was good. VBS is for our Jr. High equals a short devo in the front and lots of activities. Our group is the right size for a pool party, so that's what we did tonight. Probably 25 students, a pool, hot dogs and cheesburgers and lots of fun. I was reminded this week, why I do love Jr. High Ministry.

I talked with a friend of mine today for about 15 minutes and I was reminded why I need to go the National Youth Workers Convention; to be sharpened and refreshed. Money is tight for our church this year, so we will see.

I bowled a 179 last night, which is way above my average. I won't be blogging for a few days.


Busy week doing VBS stuff for students. Activities every night, tonight should be fun. We're bowling. I'm going to visit my friend Mike today for tea and talk.

I'm preaching this Sunday about Paul in Athens. Different parts of the how I understand that passage is to explain that we need to take what is known (Statue to the Unknown God) and use it to explain what is unknown (The True God). I also believe we have to balance our Learning (Which is WHY we believe, WHAT we believe and HOW TO SHARE what and why we believe) with our Life (1 Timothy 4:16) and our Love (1 Cor. 13).

Rough days ahead in youth ministry land, in my little place. I think we are approaching a time where it's either sink or swim. I'm thinking swimming will happen but you never know. Pray for me, if you think about it.


I just read an e-mail from Will Penner and I'm going to do a sidebar afterall. Working title is "Communication During and Despite Conflict" and it'll be in the Sept/Oct issue of Youthworker. Probably won't be blogging for a few days, work project tomorrow for our mission trip kids and a Sr. High Beach Party on Sunday.


For all of my fellow Bloggers, you can now submit your blog to Ryan at Pastor2Youth.com in his newly created "Christian Blog" Links. Mine's the only one there, right now and it's getting lonely.


Go Spurs Go! Before anyone thinks I'm hopping on the Spurs bandwagon, I grew up going to Spurs games and watching George Gervin play with that red, white and blue ball.

My youngest daughter had her fingers closed in the back of the sliding door of the van today while she was with my wife. She was okay, but tonight we were about to eat and she volunteered to say the blessing. She prayed, "Jesus, thank you for Mommy, Daddy, my sister and our food. Tell Mommy not to shut my fingers in the door again. Amen"


*WARNING* This is the most random and rambling post yet. Read at your own risk.

I've been reading, working and thinking about a chapter in the upcoming book all day. I haven't had a full day to work on this project in about a month or three, I've been sneeking in an hour or two late at night because the deadline is always around the corner.

The quiet of the day and some other stuff has led to the following: I just realized that the proposal I sent to Youthworker isn't going to make it, I'll submit it to Interlinc because I like it and it's helped me in my ministry, oh yeah, it's called, "Communication During and Despite Conflict".

I'm going to send an idea in for the Nov/Dec Youthworker on Postomodernism about apologetics, the working title in my mind is: "Soulatta: Moving our Apologetics from the Debate House to the Coffee House". I'm not too bummed about the other one not making the cut, my personal hope/goal is to be published once a year, this year I've had 2 sidebars in Youthworker and one feature article in GROUP and the book should be released in Summer of 2004, so I'm not due another article until 2005! :-)

I wrote this the other day to myself, I still don't have the answer and honestly, i don't want to think about the question but here it is:

How much of our Christian theology has been invaded and ransacked by our American culture?

God's been working on me and I'm no longer as concerned about the "hard issues" as I am the "heart issues".

The hard topics of free will vs. predestination, eschatology, etc are easy to talk about because we don't have to share anything about our own lives and what God is doing or how we are or are not walking with God. It's good stuff to know and we should know where we stand theologically but some of these disussions are no better than the proverbial, "How many angels can sit on top of a pin?"

To me, the "heart issues" would be:

Why don't Christians love more, in general, and why don't we love more, specifically? Jesus said that the world would know that we are his disciples by our love for each other. Whether they are 100% predestined, 100% free will or some mixture of presestination and free will, the important factor is that Christians love each other. Paul reinforces this in 1 Corinthians 13. There are too many clanging gongs in churches across our country and around the world.

What does God say about the poor, the widows and the orphans and our responibility to care for "the least of these"? Are we or many Churches doing it?

I want to finish that chapter today, so the rant must end. . . . . . for now.


Just read this old article (circa The Christian Century in 1999) by Mark Yaconelli:

Youth ministry: A contemplative approach.(spiritual education and educators)

People are wanting to Re-Imagine Youth Ministry and I'm sure we need to do that but here's one thing that the Young Yac wrote:

To reform youth ministries, we must return to that which makes the church unique. Any secular organization can provide fun events, dynamic recreation leaders and good moral instruction. Only the church knows how to awaken people to the liberating presence of God. This, our greatest gift, should be the center of our discipleship practices.


Some days are rough in ministry and some are pretty darn good, today was pretty darn good. Typical admin junk in the morning (Administration is Administry, I know. . . I know. . . ) but in the afternoon I was able to go spend an hour with a new friend. Mike is the Muslim who I met last week through our FREE Tag Sale.

The hospitality I experienced would put most believers to shame. I sat down in his living room and there was fruit on the table along with raisens, dates, and cookies to go with our fresh brewed tea. I met his son who's in the 8th grade and invited him to our upcoming LAN party and he seemed to want to really come to that. I'll e-mail him later. I have determined to look at Mike as someone who needs a friend and someone who could be a friend and not to see him as a "project" to complete after I give him the "Happy Hops to Heaven" (thanks Doug, for that picture.)

We talked about his son, his divorce, his searching, but also about cooking shish kabobs, Dale's Sauce, Texas Hot Sauce and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. I believe and told him that God was doing something in his life and that I'd be there as he learned what that was. He called me a "Man of God" about three times. Isn't that what we should be?

Then later tonight our typical midweek event, though I'm learning that there is never a typical night when it comes to youth ministry. I talked with a first time visitor who was a self claimed Deist, his friend goes to a Jesuit school and wanted to know if I had a "conversion experience", so I gave him my testimony. A guy who visited for the first time last week returned with his friends and I took them all home after church. I got their e-mails and phone numbers to let them know what was going to be happening during the summer.

The highlight, however, was when a girl who is the stereo-typical "Midriff" came up to me and whispered with pride, "I'm dressed appropriately" as she showed off her normal jeans and long t-shirt. After the night was over and she was in her car with her mom and friends she came out and whispered into my year, "Bye, Len". I guess she has to maintain her coolness so she couldn't say it out loud but it said a lot.

I figured out how to insert the tracker! I need to figure out how to insert comments, and then I'd be ready for my 15 seconds of blog fame if Mikey mentions my blog on The YS Update! ;-)


Yesterday was a great day in New York City with the family. We ate lunch at Jekyll and Hyde's, we went to Toys R Us in Times Square (The worlds largest toy store and rode the indoor, 4 story Ferris Wheel.), took the subway into Chinatown and we ate a pretzel for dinner in the corner of Central Park at the Grand Army Plaza across from The Plaza.

One of the highlights for me was feeding 40-50 piegons half a pretzel with my daughters in Central Park while we sat on a park bench. I was reminded of the fact that not a single sparrow falls without God being aware of it and that he cares for us so much more. Like I said, it was a great day in New York City.


I went to GROUP's website tonight, which I rarely do, and I found something useful for our ministry, the article Remembering Your Forgotten Kids. Nothing profound in the solution but it was encouraging to realize once again that any problems we face in our ministry have been faced by others elsewhere.

I shared something today in our Ministry Team meeting about the way we want to be structured. The three divisions I'm planning on using are Prayer Team, Ministry Team, and Support Team. Each team would have a "representative" that I would communicate with and we'd all get together (not sure how often) to discuss the best way to minister to our students and what each team can and should do in order for it to be done well.

Prayer team would. . uh. . . pray. I started a mostly weekly prayer list that I send out to a few people in our church, if you'd like to be added to this list drop me a note at SnaveNel@aol.com.

Ministry Team is our "front line" volunteer staff.

Support Team would be a combination of parents and other adults who would have the opportuntity to provide feedback and to help implement the direction that I set by doing behind the scenes work for our ministry.

If anyone has any ideas, let me know. (I wish I could figure out how to add the comments code on this blog.)

My wife's mother and a friend of the family are in town this weeekend. We're going into New York City tomorrow morning, it should be an adventure! Go Cubs! beat the Yankees!

My Bloginality is ENTP!!!

I am a TexaBamian (Born in Texas and Raised in Alabama). Montgomery, AL is my home town, I lived there from fourth grade through college and found a home church. Montgomery is best known for hosting the The Blue-Gray All Star Football Classic on Christmas Day which pits the college football all-stars from the Northern teams and the Southern teams, who aren't going to a bowl.

Now Montgomery is going to be the home of a new AA baseball team. Twenty years ago, their team was called the Montgomery Rebels, but today they will be called The Montgomery Biscuits! I undersand why they can no longer be called The Rebels, but out of 3,000 names in a contest, that was the winner? Yet they wonder why people from around the country have a warped view about Southerners.

John Maxwell always talks about how important it is to capture the Big Mo, well the Biscuits have captured Big Mo and now you can see him. Well, at least the Red Sox are only a 1/2 game back today.


Woke up this morning to realize that you don't have to suck up to get noticed. You can actually insult someone and get a little plug to your blog! Thanks Andrew.

I told him, "I was up too late flipping the channels and watched the replay of the fight you merely read about. O'Reilly also told Franken to 'Shut up!' and Molly Ivins was there too, so it was actually three authors. Is all your research second hand? I've seen better confirmation of stories done by the New York Times!" (To know context of this go to bloggedy blog. and scroll down to June 3 and read the comments or even better make your own!)

Of course being the writer of books that he is, he let the world know: (Memo to Len: It's called Working the Angles, not Working the Angels.) {Memo to those who read this: I fixed it.}


It was confirmed today that I'll be leading a Youth Ministry Training Event for volunteers in Lancaster, PA this Fall. This is the first time I've ever led something like this. I've done a few workshop type things but never been the lead voice. I'll be in contact with the team and find out what it is their people need and then plan, pray and prepare.

On a related note, a couple of months ago I was contacted about doing a workshop for a denominational event in Orlando in 2004. We'll see if that one works out. I know the Orlando one came about because they saw what I did at the YS Convention, last year. I can only guess that's how the other one came about too.

Here's a quote from "Working the Angles" by Eugene Peterson:

Reading Scripture is not the same as listening to God. To do one is not necessarily to do the other. But they are often assumed to be the same thing. Pastors, who spend more of their time reading the Scriptures than most Christians do (not because of their devoutness but because of their job), make this unwarranted assumption with alarming frequency.


I love networking and helping people I know get to know other people I know. It happened yesterday in a cool way. I was IM'ing with Ken, the editor for Interlinc about some things going on in my ministry and then he mentioned they were rushing to get their next "Youth Leaders Only" magazine out. He then mentioned it was going to have a "Sports" theme to go along with something they are doing with FCA.

I immediately thought of my friend Steve who runs VeryBold.com. It was a match made in heaven. . or at least via the wonders of the web. Ken hit the link and e-mailed Steve before we stopped talking. Hopefully it'll work out where Steve can help Ken but regardless it's cool to help friends of mine get to know each other.

Something Jay posted today on the YthMin Forum about "causing waves" helped me to write this:

God may not call us to cause waves and have a nationally known ministry or to have a nationally known voice, he may call us to love a particular people in a particular place for a particular time for no particular reason but to walk in obedience.

As I reflected on that I realized that I was really just rewording the theme of my favorite Francis Schaeffer quote, which is why this is called "my little place".

Just came across this on Brother Phil's Blog:

In this day and age of super-size ministry, with goals of doing things bigger, brighter, newer and louder – perhaps we should look to scripture for some guidance in developing our ministries to students. After all, in less than three years, the original youth group grew from four fishermen to over 3000. Talk about overnight successes!

Read the rest of it @ The Not So Easy Guide To Changing The World.


I found this today while cruising the UBC website.

The Decorate Dave Game!

If you visited this blog, you HAVE to hit the link.

The FREE Tag Sale went extrememly well! Around 275 people came to our church between 9-11:30 in the morning. That was about the same as last year but we set a new record with 99 people waiting in line outside to come in at 9am when the doors opened. It was like a sale at Wal-Mart!

A lady at our church works for the Connecticut Post and she told me that they want to run a story about the FREE Tag Sale, next year either before we do it or afterwards.

Even better than the numbers of people who came were the number of church people and students who were involved this year. By having more people there to help and interact with the people who were there just for the free stuff we had more good stories this year of interactions with people about our church, the Gospel and God's love.

One person called later that day wanting to know if it was okay if they visited our church, another talked with two church people for about 20 minutes about eternal life and the way to heaven, we were able to give out about 50-70 flyers regarding our VBS and I was able to meet a guy named Mike.

Mike is a Muslim and I'm going to meet with him for coffee later this week. Cool, huh? All because we gave away people's old stuff to show God's love in a practical way.

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