Last post of the year

I for one am thrilled that this year is over. A year ago today, I arrived in San Antonio and stayed with my parents. My family joined me the next day and we moved into our new home in anticipation of the new ministry position. (My how things can change in 365 days and an extra second.)

Fast foward to September when the reality of being fired from the church and not knowing what the future held hit and the last few months have been an ordeal.

We still don't know what the future holds but we are heading in a new direction and it is encouraging to have a goal and a purpose. I have been thinking a lot about youth ministry despite not being in youth ministry and I'll probably share it later on the Monday Morning Insight Blog (which I was accepted for but haven't written anything yet).

Thanks to everyone who follows our story and cares for us through your prayers and encouragement. You are treasured.

Pyromarketing and Church Growth
by Josh Hunt

The success of the book The Purpose Driven Life defies everything most business people believe about marketing. How could a book by a Southern Baptist minister on a seemingly narrow religious topic go without national advertising or publicity for a year and a half following its release and still sell 26 million copies in three years to become the fastest selling hardcover book in history?

The answer seems as unlikely as the book’s success. Truly effective marketing, it turns out—the kind that creates success stories like PDL—does not try to reach lots of people all at once. In fact, mass marketing cannot create mass appeal on the scale of The Purpose Driven Life.

Greg Stielstra was the marketing director for The Purpose Driven Life. He has identified a four-step strategy that made the Purpose Driven Life a success. He describes it in a book called PyroMarketing. . . . . Read More.


Damon Thoughts and Misc. Links

A good friend of mine thought my silence on Johnny Damon spoke volumes. I found out about Damon joining the dark side on the day of my grandmother's funeral and I even referred to it during the eulogy that it was a good thing she didn't live to see that day. :-)

Even though Damon did say "There's no way I could go play for the Yankees" I put most of the blame for this on the Red Sox Front Office. They should have done more earlier to re-sign him and for once put the pocket books as the second priority.

Are the Yankees better? A little. Damon is a better centerfielder than Bernie Williams (Since Berni is retiring this year) but Damon's arm is nothing to brag about and Jeter did a fine job as a leadoff guy so Damon is not the key to the Yankees going back to the World Series. Pitching is and the Sox have had a better year getting better pitching. I'll miss Damon on the team but I won't be booing him, but my 6 year old daughter will be. She's hard core about her Red Sox.

I'm not saying the Red Sox are definitely in the playoffs, especially with the Blue Jays activity this winter, I'm just saying it's not as dire as some think it could be. It was refreshing to hear Mike and the Mad Dog saying the same sort of things today on their sports talk show. (We watch it on the YES Network.)

Terry Mattingly had a great article (Have yourself a megachurch Christmas) concerning the "rest of the story" about Willow Creek not having Christmas day service on Sunday. (Tease: they still had 55,000 people come to their various Christmas services)

SCARED OF SANTA GALLERY: Tis the season to be scared witless

A Picture is worth a 1,000 laughs!


The 12 Links for Christmas

1. Cultivating the Soul: Spiritual formation can happen, without saying a word by Gordon MacDonald

Great article for everyone who wants to develop the skill of spiritual direction.

2. Through His Webcam, a Boy Joins a Sordid Online World by NYTimes.

A lengthy story of how a 13 year old boy went from owning a webcam, to performing for online "friends", to being molested, to making money to becoming a witness for the state after living a secret life for five years.

3. A Baptist With A Rosary by Real Live Preacher

I loved this story of how a protestant can use a rosary to enhance their prayer life while still being true to their protestant convictions.

4. Man Day: The Official Home of the Holiday for Men

It's Aug 1st so there's plenty of time to plan your Man Day Youth Event for Guys

5. Media Bias is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist

While the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal is conservative, the newspaper's news pages are liberal, even more liberal than The New York Times. The Drudge Report may have a right-wing reputation, but it leans left. Coverage by public television and radio is conservative compared to the rest of the mainstream media. Meanwhile, almost all major media outlets tilt to the left.

6. Through the Year: Daily Devotionals by Warren Wiersbe

7. 24 Hour Marathon of "A Christmas Story"

I love this show and I'm watching it right now as I write this.

8. Twas the Night Before Christmas for Red Sox Nation

9. Family Devotions for the Young and the Restless

10. Top 10 Google Searches for 2005

11. Top 10 Stories of the Year according to Christianity Today

12. DP Challenge Photo Gallery

Great pics to use for your wallpaper.


My grandmother passed away on Sunday at the age of 81. She was beginning to go "down hill" over the last few months but she had a heart attack or stroke on Friday. So we were prepared for her to leave over the next year but this was still a surprise.

She was born in raised in Massachusetts but came to Texas when she married her love of over 50 years. I often tell the story of how when the Red Sox won the the World Series I called Nana to hear her reaction as a life long Red Sox fan. Like the rest of Red Sox Nation, she was thrilled. While talking she asked, "Did you know that your great-grandfather was also a Red Sox fan?"

I told her, "No, but that means my youngest daughter (who's named a good number of her stuffed animals after the Red Sox player) is a 5th generation Red Sox fan and that's pretty cool."

I bought my dad this t-shirt after they won. He loved it. The good thing about Nana is that she was able to die in peace.

Not because of the Red Sox but because of her relationship with Christ. It was encouraging over the last ten years to hear her talk more and more about her faith and listen to her faith stories. She was very pround of me because I was in full time ministry but her greatest desire for her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids was that they would have a true faith that was lived out and not just talked about.

Proverbs 10:7 says "The memory of the righteous will be a blessing" and she was and will be a blessing. Now for us to be a blessing to her memory.

Some humor

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it "Christmas" and went to church; the Jews called it "Hanukkah" and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukkah!" or (to the atheists) "Look out for the wall!"

Dave Barry


12 Days of Christmas

The story behind the song

Mueller leaves an enduring mark with Sox

He left quietly, which is the way it always was with Bill Mueller, the Sox' Stealth Star from 2003-05.

Mueller signed a two-year deal with the Dodgers Wednesday, ending one of the most amazing tenures of anyone who played baseball for the Red Sox.

Think about it. He played here almost every day for three years at a time when the Sox achieved popularity that bordered on religious fanaticism. He won a batting title for the Red Sox and played Gold Glove-caliber defense. He hit three home runs in a game. In a time when David Ortiz emerged as the Sox' greatest clutch hitter since Yaz, Mueller delivered two of the biggest hits in the history of the franchise. Oh, and does anybody remember that Mueller hit .429 when the Red Sox won their first World Series since World War I?

And yet, somehow, he did it all without anyone really noticing. When it became official Mueller would no longer play for the Sox, it was barely news. MORE

by Peggie Bohanon in the Internet for Christians Newsletter

As your leaders and students bundle up for thatwinter retreat or holiday trip this year, don't forget to bring along afew important "safety nets." As more and more scandals arise within the church, every youth pastor needs to take the time to ask, "Will our youth group be safe from any accusations of sexual impropriety between leaders and teens?"

Take the time to read up on new books and articles about safeguarding your students and setting boundaries. You may decide totake some time before you go to outline a clear policy on sexual misconduct. It's better to be above reproach than to have to dealwith a messy situation later on. So don't be afraid to ask those tough questions.


NewsFlash! Clergy among lowest paid professional vocations!

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Most of us work hard for a living. And if we're lucky, we're well compensated for the effort.
But there are some jobs you should take only if you really love the work because the investment you make to get the job and the hours you keep aren't necessarily commensurate with what you earn.

Not that all careers in this category are necessarily low-paying, at least not by national standards.

But they may require a great deal of time and money in graduate education, offer working conditions that only passion can excuse, and there may be such a long run for the roses that you forfeit prime working and child-bearing years just to achieve a salary that college peers were earning a decade earlier.

Read "Big Jobs That Pay Badly"


You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!
Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

ht2 bobbie


Random Links

* The Lion, the Witch and the Fans by Terry Mattingly

* The research experts at PNC Advisors have been tracking prices related to the 12 Days of Christmas each year for 21 years, from the partridge in a pear tree to the 12 drummers drumming, to produce the tongue-in-cheek Christmas Price Index. According to the survey, the cost of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is $18,348 in 2005, a 6.1 percent increase over last year - and the highest ever. Check out the complete report: (HT2 Mikey)

* What New Youth Pastors Really Need To Know

* Professor Loses Weight With No-Diet Diet (HT2 Rudy)

* Astros Set 'Rocket' Roger Clemens Loose


I Feel Special

I received an "uncorrected proof" of Tim Baker's newest book, Broken: Making Sense of Life After Your Parents Divorce. It's product of th1nk books (NavPress' line for students).

I'm looking forward to reading this. I talked to Tim via IM many nights while he was working on it. I believe it will be a useful tool to give to students who are walking through this pain.

I will read it over the next week or two and then send a brief endorsement to the publisher, in anticipation that I will like it. I don't know what my title will be, Dufus for Jesus sounds pretty good these days, but hopefully it'll help others see the value of the book and the talent of the author.


I am a Sage
You are a Sage, characterized by a thinking or head spirituality. You value responsibility, logic, and order. Maybe that's why you were voted "Most Dependable" by your high school classmates. Structure and organization are important to you. What would the world be like without you? Chaos, that's what! Your favorite words include should, ought, and be prepared. What makes you feel warm and fuzzy? Like Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof it's tradition! tradition! tradition!

Because you love words, written or spoken, you enjoy a good lecture, serious discussions, and theological reflection. Prayer for you usually is verbal. You thrive on activity and gatherings of people, such as study groups. Sages on retreat likely would fill every day with planned activities, leaving little time for silence or solitude.

We need Sages for your clear thinking and orderly ways. You pay attention to details that others overlook. Sages make contributions to education, publishing, and theology. You often are the ones who feel a duty to serve, give, care, and share with the rest of us.

On the other hand, sometimes you seem unfeeling, too intellectual, or dry. Can you say "dogmatic"? You may need to experience the freedom of breaking a rule or two every now and then. God's grace covers Sages too, you know!
From the Spiritual Type Test from MethodX
What are you?

Support a Teen Missionary

Brady is a teen in my town who makes handmade mesquite crosses in order to pay for his summer mission trips. He made enough last year to go to Peru and this year he's going to Africa.

They are only $14 @ HandMadeCross.com


Dan Kimball Prefers Da Vinci Code Over Narnia!

I can't wait for this news to hit certain ministries as an appeal to why the Emergent Church is evil. In case you missed it, you need to read Dan's Why I am looking forward to the Da Vinci Code movie more than Narnia.

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