Shifting Family Values

The New Family Trump Card. That's what one pastor calls it. "I can't be at the meeting tonight, Pastor. My kid has a thing." The "thing" might be a ball game, flute practice, play date, or weariness from last night's sleepover—anything trumps a church obligation.

The increased emphasis on "family time," even at the expense of meaningful involvement in church life, is a sign of the times. It's one way Generations X and Y are making up for the hands-off, latch-key childrearing styles that characterized their Boomer parents: heavy investment in the kids, and everything else takes a back seat—including church.

Read the rest of the article. . .


Writing Again

I am doing a review of Through a Screen Darkly by Jeffrey Overstreet for a future issue of The Journal of Student Ministries. It's due in three weeks, it should be a fun read and a great review. I've been a fan of his for a very long time.

Grace in a unique place

My foreman on the construction crew asked me to write a lesson for him so he could better understand faith, the Bible, God, etc. the other week.

I found a copy of Purpose Driven Life and gave it to him. (Don't we all have 1 or 2 extra copies in our house or church library?) He was very grateful for it and said he'd read it. Well last week we were eating lunch and he asked me if I'd read the first chapter out loud to him so we could discuss it.

I read it and we discussed it. Just kinda cool. Pray for him, too much to go into.


Just in case

Just in case you ever get the chance to work with Jay, consider yourself blessed.

That is all, more info when the project is done (not a book.)


Manny and the Red Sox.

Manny being Manny, year seven. He's 30 homers shy of the magic 500. He's going for 30 homers and 100 RBIs for a 10th consecutive season. He's only 34 years old.

Car Repair and Reading

Took the van in yesterday to have it aligned and an oil change. Mechanic said it'd be about two hours to repair with the people in front of me. I walked to the Christian bookstore and walked around till I found myself wandering to the youth ministry section. . . er. . . shelves (four of them). It's always kinda surreal viewing that section because I still see my book. It's also semi-depressing because I don't have a book allowance or continued education budget to feed my being a bibliophile.

I drank my new favorite drink, CocaCola Cherry Zero (Sorry some areas of the country don't have it yet, Mindi.) and I skimmed through a pile of youth ministry books. The highlights are talked about and the ones that I'd rather pass on, shall not be mentioned.

I picked up Help! My Kids are Hurting! by Marv Penner and even though it came out in 2005 all I could think of is when Marv and I chatted in the airport after a convention and he had just found out that it was officially accepted. It will soon be on my Amazon wish list.

I had to pick up and look at Creative Bible Lessons in Genesis by Hoon Kim. He did a great job! I loved his hand outs. If you like this line, you'll enjoy the latest in the series. Of course it's not my favorite in the series but it's up there.

After reading Marko's adoration for Imaginative Prayer for Youth Ministry by Jeannie Oestreicher & Larry Warner I wanted to pick up a copy. I read carefully through some of it and I liked the parts I read. Favorite and funny part was the three different forwards for the three different types of readers. They were the "I'm so happy this is out, I LOVE Imaginative Prayer" forward, the "I'm a little familiar with Imaginative Prayer, help me know more" forward, and the "Isn't Imaginative Prayer a New Age type of spirituality?" forward. Okay, that's probably not the exact titles but they were written to each of those groups.

The book that I most enjoyed reading was A New Kind of Youth Ministry By Chris Folmsbee. I spent the most time with it and read the majority of it. I will buy it, re-read it and mark it up because he said some very good things. Chapter 8 - Reculturing Ourselves: The Youthworker's Journey of Personal Transformation is worth the price of the book and every youthworker should read it.It's a good thing I don't have Chris's phone number because I would have called him and began asking him questions and hoping to have discussion about the book, it was that good.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's Chris' latest article from The Journal of Student Ministries, Reculturing Youth Ministry: The Disciple as Critical Thinker


Q & A with Jeffrey Overstreet
Here's an interview with Jeffrey Overstreet and here's my favorite quote from the interview:
Drawing from my experiences as a film critic and a Christian, I have written Through a Screen Darkly to show how thoughtful engagement with movies can be a spiritual discipline: strengthening the conscience, sharpening discernment, kindling compassion, and providing a deeper sense of relationship with the culture God has called us to serve. Ultimately, I believe that those who approach art with discernment and vision will find themselves drawing nearer to God, even through the movies of people who don’t believe in him.


Keep at it!

If you ever get discouraged with what you are doing in youth ministry, keep at it.

Last week I got a phone call from a student who was in my very first small group.

We haven't talked in about 2 years. The basic request was, "I need a small group leader, can we figure out some way for it to work?"

He was a junior in high school and I was a sophomore in college 19 years ago when we first met. We hit it off well, he was in our wedding and his family lived down the road when we were first married.

I'm looking forward to renewing our friendship as fathers and husbands in our journey of faith.

I was so excited about it, I called my youth pastor who made me the leader of that group to encourage him.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4


My Pastoral Hope

The vocational reformation of our own time (if it turns out to be that) is a rediscovery of the pastoral work of the cure of souls. The phrase sounds antique. It is antique. But it is not obsolete. It catches up and coordinates, better than any other expression I am aware of, the unending warfare against sin and sorrow and the diligent cultivation of grace and faith to which the best pastors have consecrated themselves in every generation. The odd sound of the phrase may even work to advantage by calling attention to how remote present-day pastoral routines have become.

Curing Souls: the Forgotten Art
In the bustle of running a church, something essential has been overlooked.

Riveria to the Red Sox in 08?

Oh, the joy that would bring to Red Sox Nation but probably just being written about to up the cash.


Truck Day!

Equipment truck departure signals Spring Training is nearing


Class of '87

I realized a few days ago that this year will be 20 years since I graduated from high school.

I feel old.


Dying Well
by Henri Nouwen
We will all die one day. That is one of the few things we can be sure of. But will we die well? That is less certain. Dying well means dying for others, making our lives fruitful for those we leave behind. The big question, therefore, is not "What can I still do in the years I have left to live?" but "How can I prepare myself for my death so that my life can continue to bear fruit in the generations that will follow me?"
I don't agree everything Nouwen wrote but this, I love.


An Encouraging Interview

Ever send a resume out on a whim just to see if you'd get a response?
Well, I did that a month or two ago when I sent a resume and publication list to Hope for the Heart for their researcher/writer position.
Their HR person called me and now we are playing phone tag. I don't see it happening because I truly love the local church and believe I can best honor God as a youth pastor but it's encouraging to know that I have some marketplace skills besides running a jackhammer.


My Fingers are Fine

In case you are among those that are wondering how my fingers are, after touching a moving engine fan two weeks ago, they are fine. I will have a good scar story though.

Some have asked about them via e-mail and others over the phone or e-mail but in case you wanted to know and didn't, now you do.

Youth Ministry Interviews

I was waiting to share this until more details were lined up but I figured I don't post much these days so I'd share a little.

I'm going to start a blog that will interview a variety of youth ministry people. I have a list in mind of some friends and aquaintances that I will invite and I'd love to hear a few ideas from you.

Who would like to see interviewed regarding youth ministry?

What standard questions would you ask people?

The first interview will be Mark Yaconelli.

Stay tuned. . . .


“Trolls and Truth” Book Nominated for Award

Outreach Magazine has nominated "Trolls & Truth," Jimmy Dorrell's book about Church Under the Bridge as a Resource of the Year. Dorrell’s book about the struggles of the American church to include the poor, mentally ill, and other marginalized folks into their congregations has continued to energize Bible study and discussion groups around the nation. Questioning the loss of Jesus’ ethics in the Western church and what to do about it is being raised to new levels.

MLB would like to cream Bonds, not clear him: Many wish Bonds would just disappear from baseball

The truth, quite simply, is that nobody really wants him. Not his bosses. Not his teammates. And certainly not the powers entrusted with the care of our national pastime.

Yet Barry Bonds continues to turn up like the proverbial bad penny.

Kevin P. Casey/APMany baseball fans and executives wish Barry would run right out of the game.The start of spring training is now just days away, baseball followers, and here is the disturbing reality: We essentially have spent an entire winter talking about a man who is stuck to the bottom of baseball’s shoe as if he were a stale wad of Juicy Fruit. Like most major leaguers, Bonds hasn’t played in a game since Oct. 1. As best anyone can tell, J.D. Drew has had more off-season suitors (one) than the man who currently ranks No. 2 on baseball’s all-time home run list.
Read it all. . . .


Youth ministry, comics and movies

I was talking to some students last week and they asked me if I knew anything about comics. It was then that I revealed my inner comicbook geekdom. I knew everything they were talking about and then we talked about favorite comic movies. X-men 3, Spiderman 2 and Batman Begins were my top three but I predict a new one will be my new #1 when it's finally released.

The Avengers movie is in the works. The Avengers were my favorite comic book as a kid and I have way too many of them, still. I'm committing to buying the DVD, sight unseen.

Even if it's as cheesy as DareDevil, it won't be as horrible as the 1991 Captain America movie.

The Screwtape Letters

C.S. Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters" is coming to a theater near you.


Avg Work Day

1. Wake up 4:44am
2. Leave house 5:10am
3. Carpool with co-workers to job site 5:45am
4. Start working 7am
5. Jackhammer
6. Shovel rocks and gravel into bucket.
7. Clean area more.
8. Repeat 5-7 until lunch.
9. Eat 12:00pm - 12:20pm
10. Repeat 5-7 until 5:00pm
11. Get home between 6:00pm and 6:30pm

History Fair

For the last two months or so my daughter has been chipping away at her 6th grade history fair project. (This past week was hard for the school because her history teacher, who ran the History Fair, passed away from of a gun accident.)

Her main hope was to get an A and she liked the idea of advancing to the regional competition but didn't want to get her hopes up. Well, she advanced to the regional competition since she finished in first place for her catagory.

She did a display board about Helen Keller. Mr. Harrison would have been so happy.

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