Misc. Stories

Wish I had the time to add a few comments but alas, tis better to be aware of these stories than for me not to share them w/o my pithy comments. One isn't a story but it's something youth workers should be aware of. #8

1. After beating the Yankees 5 of 6 games, the Red Sox have the best record in the AL

2. The Military: Faith Under Fire

3. John Stott will Retire

4. MLB Credits Hank Aaron With 50 Lost Home Runs

5. US Army looking for a few good chaplains

6. Powerball Winner Says He's Cursed by His Jackpot

7. Evel Overcome With Good: Daredevil Knievel's testimony triggers mass baptisms at Crystal Cathedral.

8. Pray 21


Men's Retreat

It was a good weekend with the Melonie Park Men. The theme was Courageous Leadership that was presented by three staff guys from Watermark Community Church in Dallas.

I was able to stay for the entire weekend because we have a great volunteer staff who covered everything on Sunday. I figured I'd be coming home early for Sunday morning from now on but it'd be nice to be able to say with the men the entire time while still trying to get to know different people.

A lot of information was given and I believe I was convicted of a few things but the one that I kept thinking about was the importance of Self-Leadership. If you wish to lead others you have to lead yourself, first and foremost. Meaning you have to be disciplined and grow in a variety of areas of life so you can lead others.

It's far too easy for us to "play the game" and rely upon skills to get us through on assignments, tasks, ministry and even relationships. But all that we do should be an overflow of who we are and if we don't work on improving who we are, we will never improve how well we do things. You might, but the foundation for it will eventrually crumble.

I don't want my foundation to crumble.


Youth Ministry Can Happen Anywhere and Typically Does

I had dinner with a family tonight. It was delightful. Nothing overtly spiritual, just hanging out, getting to know each other. As I was about to leave, a student asked some great theological questions that they had been thinking about and discussing with the parents.

We (student and I with the parents) discussed: sin, conviction/guilt, confession, experiences, how God guides, Romans 7, Romans 6, 1 Corinthians 10, and grace. It's always about grace. The great moment was when the "aha!" bulb went on about seeing grace in a more biblical way and realizing, even more so, the greatness of our God for forgiving the greatness of our sin.

(back to writing)

Jimmy Chitwood is the greatest shooter ever!

I just watched Hoosiers for the first time in a long time. I just love that movie. Need to watch it at least once a year.


You scored as Reformed Evangelical. You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

Reformed Evangelical




Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox




Classical Liberal




Modern Liberal


Roman Catholic


What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

H@t Tip 2 my emergent/heretic friend Gman

30 Friends in 21 Hours

I've finally taken the plunge into Facebook. With everything that's on my "to-do" list, joining another networking site really wasn't my highest priority but now thanks to Andy, I'm on facebook and have 30 friends.

Will you be my friend?


Sox Sweep the Yankees!

Record four straight help Red Sox complete three-game sweep


2 down 1 to go!

If the Sox win on Sunday it will be the first time since 1990 that the Red Sox won a three game series against the Yankess at Fenway. Of course, they beat the Yankees for four games in row back in 2004 at a pretty important time of the season but that doesn't apply here. I just had to take the opporutnity to bring that up. :-)

Good Thing Sox Fans Aren't Bitter

Red Sox Fever

Red Sox beat the Yankees tonight. Scored 5 runs against Rivera in the 8th, to be exact. For those of you who don't know, my youngest daughters' earliest memory is sitting in the dug out of Fenway Park when she was three years old and three months. So she is a HUGE Red Sox fan and the other day I had David Ortiz call her and tell her about XM Radio.

Tonja said when she answered the phone and heard his voice say "Hi" and her name, her face was just in shock. Pretty funny.

One more win gives us the series, that'd be a good baseball weekend.



This came from The Journal of Student Ministries e-newsletter:

Youth Specialties is in a partnership with Grace Hill Media and Universal Studios on a project called ArkALMIGHTY, which is based on the upcoming movie, Evan Almighty starring Steve Carell (which is quite funny and family-friendly). ArkALMIGHTY is a good-deeds campaign that helps churches meet needs and do good in their own congregations and communities.

You can get more info at ArkAlmighty.


Finger Blasters!

Finger blasters are the best youth ministry toy, ever! I am undefeated in Finger Blaster Golf. That equals probably 20-25 rounds over 8-9 years. I just placed an order from RecFX for 50 Finger Blasters for an event this summer with the students.

I'd love to spray paint one and mount it on something and give away the Golden Finger Blaster Award to someone in youth ministry for going above and beyond the call of duty.

Another memory for me involving finger blasters is when I was a volunteer for the YS Convention in 96. I think they were new then and I hit Yac on the back of the head in the YS bookstore. Ooops! I just knew I was going to get fired. He didn't fire me but he did fire one back at me. Fun memories.

I am known

When I get a little money I buy books; if any is left I buy food and clothes.

Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch priest, 1469-1536

A coworker sent that quote to me and said "I thought of you when I saw this. . . . "


Make YOUr Own Money

Make your own personalized money.

This would be great for youth ministry, used for games, fundraisers, thank you gifts, etc.


Why is Big Papi wearing a Yankee$ Hat?

Watch "The Betrayal"

Numbers Obsession

Marko read my post about being asked the size of my group and loved my “Somewhere between 2 and 1,000. I’m not sure, I’m still new” answer. BTW, thanks to all who visited here via his link.

For the record on numbers here's something I wrote in the March/April 2002 issue of Youthworker Journal.

Excel-ling at Relational Ministry

My most frustrating moments were always when, after a day of near constant work, it seemed I had nothing to show for my labors. But one day I had an epiphany; I realized it wouldn't be too difficult to track my time with students. Ok, so it's not original but it was an epiphany for me. I discovered that one of the most practical and effective tools for ministry is a contact chart.

A simple layout in a word processing or a spreadsheet program lets me track where my time is going and make changes accordingly. I know who I'm contacting and I can quickly realize which students need more of my time. This record of my time also protects me from those who question what I do.

I note the type of each contact, so that I know, for instance, that over the last three months, I've had interactions with Dan Johnson through five phone calls, one note, two visits, nine church chats, one lunch and one school event. This totals to 19 contacts in three months. Since Dan is one of my leaders I want him to get a lot of my time. If a students total was only 7, then I'd know I needed to spend more time with that kid.

EVERY contact counts, which is why one of my categories of contact is "church chat." These are those twenty to sixty seconds of small talk that seem to fill my Sundays. These chats give me the information I use to follow up with more personal contacts later. On Monday, I'll write a note about on how sorry I was to hear their guinea pig died or that I'll be praying for them as they give their oral report on Tuesday.

These may seem like small things, but the small ones lead to medium ones and medium ones to big ones. (If I deposit a quarter or $25 into my bank account I get a receipt. If you deposit a small amount or a large amount of love/caring into a student's life, you get credit!) Many of my contacts come on Sunday or at our midweek event, but I follow up on those interactions, these small ones lead to deeper trust, which leads to deeper ministry.

Once my contact sheet even protected me from a Mom who accused me on not talking to either one of her daughters in while. I looked at my records and I told her that I talked to the older daughter two days ago and that I mailed a note to the younger one two weeks ago. The mom said that she never got the letter, despite my assuring her that it was sent. A week later she called me and apologized because her husband had lost the letter in a huge stack of mail.

It's certainly not the most important factor, but when church leaders or parents want to know what I've been doing with my time or how much contact I've had with little Timmy, I have my contact chart. But beyond justifying my use of time, my chart keeps me accountable. I can't claim ignorance. If a kid fades away, the contact chart will show whether nor not I did everything I could. And, well, it's nice when you can walk into a board meeting and report that over the last four months you have made over four hundred contacts involving a variety of students.

Gone Fisching

John Fischer is one of my favorite writers because he "gets it." I loved reading his devotionals when he was writing for The Purpose Driven Life website. He's now writing devotionals on his own called "The Catch of the Day." Here's part of today's and why I like him so much:

The proliferation of both spoken and unspoken judgment found primarily within Christians, has forced many into the world, unarmed and without a known Christian friend and mutual sinner. We are constantly trying to separate ourselves from a world that Jesus wants us in. Not only that, He wants us to see our own sin and not make such a big fuss over everyone else's. Our sin nature is our connection with our neighbor, our salvation is our hope, and the good news of the gospel is our message.

Sinners can spot a mile away the hypocrisy of proclaiming a gospel about the forgiveness of everyone's sins but your own.

On the Road to 755: This post is #715 and Balco Bonds is on HR #737, can I reach #755 before Mr. Roids?


April 15th

It's income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.

Dave Barry


YM Training

I went to a two day youth ministry training event at the local Christian college today and yesterday with our youth intern. Duffy Robbins was the speaker. For $25 you got dinner, breakfast and 3 sessions with Duffy. Not too shabby. On top of that a foundation helped sponsor the event so they also gave each attendant $14 towards a book purchase from Duffy's table.

Let's face it, giving away money for books to youth workers or youth ministry majors in college is like standing outside an AA meeting with free beer, the only difference is some of the AA members would refuse your kindess. I got This Way to Youth Ministry

It was good reminders and Duffy did a great job. Some was the classic funnel and the rest was the issue of postmodernity, communication, context and more. I was defintely "the vet" sitting at the round table for 8. Had a short small group discussion for one part and the person with the most blue on was the discussion leader but they agreed it should be me instead.

I did get asked the "no-no" question by somone. "How many students do you run?"

I said, "Somewhere between 2 and 1,000. I'm not sure, I'm still new".

I don't think he caught my sarcasm. And to think, I once considered sarcasm my spiritual gift. ;-)


Writing for Interlinc

Working on a lessson for Interlinc and I came across this line in KJ-52's song "Say What You Want"

Dude is so white he probably bleeds mayonnaise

It just made me laugh.


Ignored Beauty

If a street artist (who happens to be a world renown violin virtuoso) plays a $3.5 million Stativarious will anyone notice?

Read the whole story at Pearls before Breakfast. It should have been titled Pearls Before Swine. It is a powerful to watch and make all the connections to our own inability to recognize the beauty around us every day in different circumstances. This is a great illustration for many things, enjoy it and share the story.


While talking with a friend via IM it came together for me why I absolutely love that story and the video.

I think we could show that video and treat it like a devotional and ask students for their thoughts and look to see where God worked in their lives regarding convictions and truth. I think what happens is a portrayal of truth. So we should let it speak rather than give a "the moral of the story is" line at the end.

For myself, I saw failure to appreciate beauty around us because we are not looking for it yet it's there every moment of every day if you are "practicing the presence of God." Also, context is key to many more things than we realize and I thought how people fail to see the beauty and originality in students as they just "walk by" them while rushing about their own lives.

Then I realized almost everyone would have thoughts in light of their life, what God is doing in their life, about the application and convictions for themselves and how much fun it would be to show it, and let the students speak. It reminds me when I'd do a "Nature Scavenger Hunt" on a retreat and ask kids to find something that symbolizes their walk with God, the church and other spiritual issues. There is something about talking about an object as a buffer that allows us to be more open with what's going on in our own lives and souls. So it'd be fun to hear how God is working in the students life and especially because they'd probably not realize the depth of which they are sharing.

If sheep do not have the constant care of a shepherd, they will go the wrong way, unaware of the dangers at hand. They have been known to nibble themselves right off the side of a mountain. And so, because sheep are sheep, they need shepherds to care for them. The welfare of sheep depends solely upon the care they get from their shepherd. Therefore, the better the shepherd, the healthier the sheep.

Kay Arthur

Most Read Christian Writer Goes Home

"The most read Christian writer is not C. S. Lewis, Frank Peretti, or Billy Graham. It's someone who has more readers than all of these authors combined. It's Johnny Hart, one of the most widely syndicated cartoonist in the world. He draws two well-known comic strips, B.C. and Wizard of Id, which reach some 100 million readers worldwide every day."

David Bruce of HollywoodJesus.com

'B.C.' cartoonist Johnny Hart dies at 76

I always loved reading BC especially around Christmas and Easter.


Blog Silence but first. . . .

Ton of stuff to do over the next few days and don't plan on being online much but I hope everyone has a great Easter.

But here are a few random thoughts. . . .

1. In 2008 It's Ronald Reagan vs. Bobby Kennedy

And former Senator Fred Thompson, a serious potential challenger, is in a way the most manifestly Reaganite of all. In the two weeks since the Thompson boomlet began, many times I've heard conservative friends consider Thompson's merits (which are real) and then — chuckling, but almost dispositively — add, "The last time we nominated an actor, it didn't turn out badly."

2. The Blogging Elder

Todd is one of the elders at our church and he started a blog a few months ago. He's going to become the teaching pastor once the current teaching pastor retires in a couple of years. How's that for plurality?

3. We had a Kindness Project this Sunday

We gave away over 125 Cokes (Pepsi is for athiests, IMHO) this past Sunday afternoon as a youth ministry service project. We did it right in front of the church during the red lights. Nobody got hurt but two jr. high girls were high on the "most likely to get hit for not looking" list. Scary at moments but for the most part it was a fun time as they learned what servant evangelism is like for the first time.

4. This is my 708th post

I wonder if I'll get to 755 before Bonds does?

5. Writing like Pollock painted does not work

Blogging is good but for most of us, it's just spewing thoughts out and hoping they make sense to someone, like a Pollock painting (Make your own Pollock), or at least makes you happy. When you write for somone, even a great company like YS, you gotta do it right. Their editors are great and they work overtime on my punctuation but they can't make it make sense if it's not where it needs to be.

Started writing some more tonight and I'm just telling you it feels as if my "creative clutch" was stuck in 2nd gear most of the time but there were moments of it being in third so maybe I just have to get warmed up and then . . . . Fifth Gear Here I Come!



I absolutely love quotes and I'm able to share more quotes more regularly these days so in case you like quotes like I do, feel free to visit my Quotes For Today blog.

Tony Dungy Speaking on the Power of His Sons

This is a must see for parents, especially fathers.


It's Opening Day!

Go Red Sox and never, ever forget. . . .

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