Barry Being Barry

As Barry Bonds nears his record 756th home run, he's stockpiling quite a collection of souvenirs — bats, balls, helmets and spikes, pieces of baseball history perfectly suited for the Hall of Fame.

Whether he'll donate any of them to Cooperstown, however, is in doubt.

"I'm not worried about the Hall," Bonds said during his recent home-run drought. "I take care of me."

Barry's not worried about the Hall of Fame because he won't be in it.

Who will carry your casket out of the church after your funeral?

For generations, preachers have been asking the same sobering question to provoke people to think about ultimate issues: If you died tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity?

The Rev. Rick Kingham has started asking men a different question, knowing that too many of them are living lives defined by solo commutes, office cubicles, fast food, Internet niches, television remotes, eight-foot fences, garage-door openers and gated communities. Here is the question: Do you have any idea who will carry your casket out of the church after your funeral?

Many men struggle to answer.

Read the rest from Terry Mattingly


The Hurting Volunteer

I talked to a youth worker volunteer yesterday that I've known for a while. She has a passion for students and can tell story after story of being with students at the right time to encourage or lovingly correct them. She is a dream volunteer.

She's hurting because there is no direction and purpose behind what they do. There is activity and lots of motion but not always certain that lasting impact is intentional or random (in a God is soveriegn no matter what sense).

It's so important that the youth ministry team has a sense of direction and community.

Direction is simple, know who you are, where you are going and how you will get there and stay the course. You may tweak details but stay the course. People don't like following leaders with bi-polar vision.

Community takes time but is necessary. The youth minsitry team models what the larger church should be like for the students. Most students won't know a ton of adults in the church outside of the youth ministry so they are the model. Also if the youth minsitry team is functioning well and enjoying each other and having joy from their ministry, other adults will want to join to be part of a healthy community.

What my friend lacks is encouragement and equipping. I've never had any volunteers who were 100% clueless towards teenagers or youth ministry. They did have varying degrees of knowledge regarding what relational skills, bible knowledge and joy in doing youth ministry.

All of them need encouragement and equipping. Let's face it, youth ministry is not rocket science but it is a fine art. Our repsonsibility in equipping people to do ministry is to help them become better artist and to improve the techniques they already have but need to master.


Announcement from Dr. Mark Bailey, Ph.D., President, Dallas Theological Seminary

Re: May 24, 2007 "USA Today" Story

A May 24, 2007, article in "USA Today," "Faith's language barrier?" about spiritual gifts and the practice of speaking in tongues contained an incorrect statement in reference to Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). We have already contacted the paper seeking clarification and wanted to similarly reiterate DTS's long-standing position and policy in this matter to our campus community, donors and constituents.

The erroneous statement from the story reads:

"Will Hall, spokesman for the SBC, says the denomination has no official policy on speaking in tongues for its churches or individual members. But there are other signs the practice is gaining acceptance. Dallas Theological Seminary and Campus Crusade for Christ, two strongholds of independent Christianity, have done away with restrictions on tongue-speaking for students and staff." (USA Today, 9D).

The above text is incorrect and constitutes a misrepresentation of Dallas Theological Seminary for three reasons. First, there has been no change of view in regard to the practice of tongue-speaking for students and staff at Dallas Seminary.

Second, there has been no change of policy for the faculty who affirm annually their full agreement with a doctrinal position on this subject that is published in the seminary catalog and available on the seminary's website.

Thirdly, over 70 denominations are represented in our student body of 2036 students. Some of these students obviously come from backgrounds with a viewpoint on tongues-speaking different from the seminary. They are admitted because they are in general agreement with our doctrinal statement and attend with the assurance they will not propagate contrarian doctrines within the seminary community.

While we are a non-charismatic institution, we do not seek to be antagonistically anti-charismatic. Though we differ from other Christian brothers and sisters on this theological issue, we seek to do so with respect and grace.


Flashback to 1982

While packing things up for the move yesterday I found my 7th grade yearbook. Looked through and found some old friends, including, Mr. Casting Crowns, Mark Hall in 7th grade. I might need to scan it and post it on the web and see if I can blackmail him for some tickets.


That's My King!


Living in Baseball Dreamland

In Fever Pitch after Ben goes to his first game at Fenway the narrator says, "Ben became one of God's most pitiful creatures, a Red Sox fan."

So far this season Red Sox fans could be called "Some of God's most blessed creatures."

Three game series in NY starts today. But if Boston were to sweep this series and then play .500 baseball the rest of the way, the Yankees would have to go 74-43 to win a 10th straight division title.

The memories of the season-wrecking five-game sweep by the Bombers at Fenway last August have not completely faded for the Red Sox. While they know there will be more than two-thirds of the season left when this series is over, they see roles potentially reversed for the next three days.

"At one point last year when we lost those five games, we were struggling all the way around. There were a lot of injuries and a lot of things going around," David Ortiz said. "It ain't the same now, homey."

Emotional Victory Update: This is my 755th post. So I reached 755 before Balco Bonds passes Aaron for the Homerun record.


I'm so Weird

I was tagged by Lizzy for this meme.

I'm supposed to list 6 strange/weird things about me and tag 6 people to do the same.

1. My wife and I have lived in a total of 13 different residences during our 16 year marriage, including the home we are buying in a few days. (This is going to be home for a long time.)

2. I saw Ghost Rider today at the $2 theater and I enjoyed it more than Spiderman 3.

3. I refuse to wear hats that are not fitted. No trucker hats or anything else with an adjustable band. This started when I was in high school and I began wearing a fitted Red Sox hat and my teams baseball hat.

4. I enjoy pickeled eggs & fried green tomatoes.

5. I am an only child. I never thought it was weird, it was always normal.

6. Here's my inner geek/child confession. I started collecting army men about a year ago. As a kid, I had tons of them and they were lost in a move. I was fortunate to have my metal cash box with me of all of my favorites, so I still have those. I can't afford to buy any of the mego's that also got lost in the move but I can afford an occasional toy soldier item off of e-bay.

I'm tagging Clint, Roy, Dave, Mark (who's blogging about enough real stuff lately can probably take a few minutes and do this), Ryan & Bobbie.

(Off to review the sermon for the umpteenth time this week)


No, Really. God is in Control.

I'm continually amazed by the response to the article I wrote over 2 years ago, God Is in Control...Yada... Yada... Yada. I would estimate that I've gotten over 40 responses to this article, with all positive and thankful except for one.

Last week I found this response to the article on a MySpace page:

Early in the month of April I read the "original" article by Len Evans. Although it was only a one-page article I only made it half way through it until I burst into tears. The almost strange, surreal feelings that overwhelmed me at the moment was because Len was describing word for word the exact situation that I was going through with my church.

It saddens me that anyone has to go through that sort of pain in a local church and espescially within the wonderful calling of youth ministry. The pain though is real and it happens, sometimes it's shared and sometimes it's primarily one party.

Ironically, I was fired 2.5 months after coming on board full time by the church that I mentioned at the end of that article. That was August of 05 and I just found a new church a little over a month ago. What a strange trip it has been but I can't help but love and want to serve teenagers and the local church.

This last year and a half have been a growing phase and we are better for it. The Journal of Student Ministries upcoming theme is "Longevity" and I'm thinking about submitting "No, Really, God is in Control" and tell part of my story and the things I've learned through this.

Scott has been at his church now for almost two years. Good to know if I am crazy for staying in youth ministry, I'm not alone!

Misc Links

The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived - Article and animated pictures from LIFE magazine, 1 Sep 1941, the year Ted hit a season average of .406 — the last hitter to go over .400 for a season.

Hi, I'm a Marvel. . . . and I'm a DC - Funny Mac vs PC parody on Youtube. All 8 are funny.

Today's Turning Point - Daily Devotional by David Jeremiah. Great stuff and if you subscribe to it it's like having an illustrations generator in your inbox.

Is Clemens the Antichrist? - By Bill Simmons the Boston Sports Guy

Classy? Dirty? Boring? Spurs have heard it all now - "The Spurs are no longer the team that America hates to watch. Now they are the team that America just hates." I don't. Go Spurs Go!

Off to watch the Spurs!

Servant Leadership

Listening to a some great messages about Leadership in the Church (3 part series) from the Dallas Seminary Podcasts.

They were talking about servant leadership and how it's misunderstood and applied at times. In my experience at different churches when there's been something wrong with the direction, vision or leadership it's typically been because there was a lack of servant leadership. A lack of humility. A lack of wanting the needs of others to be addressed before having the leaders discomfort level raised.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being an excellent but imperfect servant leader, what score would you give yourself on servant leadership?

What score would your ministry team or coworkers give you on servant leadership?

Most importantly, what score would your spouse or children give you on servant leadership?

Everyone Who is Fully Trained Will be Like His Teacher

Got a voicemail from Chris that just warmed my soul:

I was flipping the channels and saw the Yankees playing the White Sox and you know I don't like baseball but I started rooting for the White Sox just because I wanted the Yankees to lose.


Trolly Racer!

A racing game in a shopping cart. Fun stuff. My best is 1253 meters.

HT2 GimD

Update: 1597


Clemens Taken to Task

Roger Clemens is without question the most selfish athlete of our time.

Either that, or he's the most celebrated pimp in professional sports.

He's a self-absorbed, beyond-arrogant, bigger-than-the-game, I-have-no-respect-or-honor-for-the-concept-of-team, I-only-pitch-when-I-feel-like-it, any-team-should-feel-blessed-to-have-me, Randy-Johnson-will-never-be-on-my-level, the-world-revolves-around-me, kiss-the-ground-I walk-on, worship-who-I-am-because-I-am-the-me-myself-and-I-in-MLB pimp.

From ESPN's Page 2

Oh the joys of Facebook

I still post thoughts here and don't post much there but I just love Facebook. I just heard from a student of mine from my first church in Princeton, NJ. Last time I talked to him was probably 9 or 10 years ago.

I now have 82 friends and this morning I sent an article from the NYTimes to a student by just clicking the facebook button. I'm liking it more and more.


The Wonders of Little Things

I'm almost finished reading Contemplative Youth Ministry and I'm sure I'll read it again over the next month. I try and catch those moments that you see inside of a person's soul or you notice something that touches them in a way that you couldn't have imagined.

Highlight today was talking to someone and just having a sense that the right things were being said. It's more than saying the right things but resting in God while you are with someone as you seek to serve them and notice what's going on their life. Then hearing their assesment of something I said as being on target. I don't think it was on target because of my keen observational skills or that I'm particularly gifted in discerment. Those things are a part of it but it just seemed to be one of those moments that you notice God at work in the little things.

I love being at a church where being present with people is part of the expectation of what it means to be a pastor. I also love the fact that part of my written job description is to take regular time away for prayer and soul care.

I need to schedule it because if it doesn't get scheduled, it won't get done.


How Teenagers Transformed the Church (Part 1)

Seeker churches, emerging churches, ancient-future churches, mega-churches, house churches, Boomer churches, Gen-X churches. There is a debate occurring in American evangelicalism about the future of Christianity and what form the church should take within our culture. But is it possible that these divergent philosophies of ministry actually originated from the same source? In the coming days Angie Ward will be sharing multiple reports about the emergence of youth culture, and youth ministry, in recent American history and how this phenomenon gave rise to both the seeker movement and later the emerging church.

The end of World War II ushered in the beginning of the baby boom: 76 million American babies born between 1946 and 1964. As these baby boomers grew up, they gave birth to their own youth culture. The advent of youth culture gave rise to a new profession: youth ministry.

Read the whole article
She gives a rundown with a lot of info about YS (I forgive her for confusing Wayne Rice with Jim Burns) and it's impact on youth ministry and today's church.


Leadership is

Knowing WHAT to do next…

Knowing WHY that is important…and,

Knowing HOW to bring the appropriate resources to bear on the need at hand.

As a leader keep asking yourself…

What next? Why? Where will we get the resources?

From QuickWisdom.com

Kool-Aid PickleI grew up in Alabama where it was normal to see pickled eggs and pickled pigs feet on counters of small grocery/convenient stores. For the record, I absolutely love pickled eggs and have never had the intestinal fortitude to try a pickled pigs foot.

At the city baseball field where we've lived for the past two years, they sell frozen dill pickle juice in little plastic shot size cups for a quarter.

Kool-Aid pickles violate tradition, maybe even propriety. Depending on your palate and perspective, they are either the worst thing to happen to pickles since plastic brining barrels or a brave new taste sensation to be celebrated.

The pickles have been spotted as far afield as Dallas and St. Louis, but their cult is thickest in the Delta region, among the black majority population. In the Delta, where they fetch between 50 cents and a dollar, Kool-Aid pickles have earned valued space next to such beloved snacks as pickled eggs and pigs’ feet at community fairs, convenience stores and filling stations. And as their appeal has widened, some people have seen a good business opportunity. Even the lawyers have gotten involved.

Children are the primary consumers, but a recent trip through the region revealed that the market for Kool-Aid pickles is maturing.

Read the entire article: A Sweet So Sour: Kool-Aid Dills

I'd try one, would you?


Superman Retires


I Miss My Mom

Mother's Day is this next Sunday. The last time I gave my mom a hug and heard her voice was last Mother's Day. She went into the hospital the next Friday and was unable to communicate by the time I got there on Saturday morning. I miss her.

A Great (and Practical) Time Mangagement Idea

Pray your Calendar...

Take 5-10 minutes... right now if you can (and you can), and look at your calendar.

And now pray through it- what appointments do you have today or this week?

Pray down the list.

Pray for each person with whom you will meet.

Read the rest of it @ PastorHacks


Just Because I Can

I’m posting this during an Elders Q & A at our church and we just had wifi put in the church about two weeks ago. It’s a great night where the Elders took 21 questions that were written by people within the church. Questions ranged from those who don’t hear, assurance of salvation, origin of Satan, Revelation, Lordship Salvation, age for church membership and much more.

It’s refreshing when people show up at a church meeting where the agenda is just theology questions. Our students asked so many questions the elders are going to do a “Youth Version” of the Q & A in two weeks.

Clemen$ & Yankee$ BFF

Clemen$ will make about 4.5 million dollars per month. Would it have been nice to have Clemen$ back with the Red Sox, sure. Any well wishers he had in Boston are now gone. This just helped give the Yankee$ an emotional lift but they need more than one pitcher to save the day.
I might have to start wearing my Yankee Haters hat again. This is part of why baseball is so much fun, though.


The Mosaic That Shows Us the Face of God

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.

That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: "I make God visible." But others who see us together can say: "They make God visible." Community is where humility and glory touch.

From Bread For The Journey: A Daybook Of Wisdom And Faith

Dinner with the Boss

I've been invited to join our preaching pastor and his wife for lunch on Sunday. It should be fun. This church truly emphasizes relationships in a way that I've never experienced before.

You Never Know Who You Are Around

I sat down last night to watch Spiderman 3 with students from the youth ministry. I sat on the end next to the stranger because I'm the guy and you're supposed to. The guy brought his 8? year old son to watch the movie and he began talking to me.

They just moved here from OK and he asked what I did. I told him I was a youth pastor and he asked about the church. He's going to come visit this Sunday. He had a cast on his arm so I tried to not ask the question he always gets asked but I finally did, "How'd you break your arm?"

He replied, "Bullriding."

He is a professional bullrider. He finished 2nd and 3rd in his last two rodeo's before his injury. He'll be able to come back by the end of the season but won't be able to do compete for anything major because of the time he'll miss. He's a Christiand and it was just fun to hear his story as we randomly sat by each other. He also loves working with youth so it'd be a fun story if he winds up at our church and begins working with the youth ministry.


Spiderman 3

As a youth pastor I try to find good themes/eternal truths in the movies I watch and they are certainly in Spiderman 3 and not in "if you imagine it from this sort of angle" way. The redemption, battle with the evil within and forgiveness all come through loud and clear.

I watched it with a friend at the midnight showing and I'm going to see it tonight with students. I'll definitely have the Hollywood Jesus eyes on tonight thoughout the entire movie to find more things to talk about.

I'm curious to know your opinions on those themes in the movie: redemption, the battle with the evil/darkness within and forgiveness.

Was it preachy?

Was it realistic in your experience?

Was it just some idealistic/comic book concept that doesn't reflect the internal and external world you live in?

What other truths/themes did you see?

Thanks for any input on this angle of the movie and not just "Sandman kicked some butt" - which he did. :-)


Dreams Do Come True

My friend Jimmy realized a dream this week. He's traveled to India, Haiti and Mexico City. As a youth pastor, had a group of 600 students back in the 70's. He has a doctorate. He travels around the country and speaks about the needs of the poor, he's written two books and he started the church under the bridge in Waco, TX.

But Jimmy's dream was realized when he was interviewed by "The Door". I don't think he'd mind me sharing what he wrote so here's Jimmy's words about the Door:

In my faith journey from a somewhat Pharisaical die-hard Baptist with a seven-year Sunday School attendance pin, to a discontented churchman who wanted to throw the whole mess out, I was fortunate to find a few signs of hope back in the early 70’s. A few books were being written about a few new wineskins, the Jesus People were pushing the institutional envelope out the window, and a couple of magazines that said the truth in love (well at least they said the truth) were challenging or openly making fun of the church circus that American religious folks were defending.

One of those was the Wittenburg Door, a satirical Mad Magazine for Christian almost-cynics (my quote!), written by former youth directors who got old and now hated junior high lock-ins. They openly challenged the complicity of the church and its adultery with American consumerism and marketing that had shaped the fiber of the bride of Christ into a not-so-pretty spouse. They interviewed rising prophets, who seemingly had not given up on the church, but refused to join the church game as it was being done by most congregations. They challenged complicity around themes that offended half of their own readership (and called blasphemy by those who would not be caught dead reading the Door!) And most of all, they made jokes...lots of jokes...through prose, poetry, cartoons, and pictures.

I hate to openly admit it, but that subversive rag help save me from myself. I found friends who would not give up on the church, but who refused to accept it as it was. They could make fun of that which I thought was too sacred to say out loud, (but made me giggle like a 7th grade boy!). More than once, I blushed and was embarrassed at their flagrant satire which admittedly crossed the line on several occasions. But I refused to cancel my subscription since it was one of the few breaths of fresh air I could breathe.

His interview isn't online but Shane Clairborne's "Finding the Simple Way" is. I already ordered my copy. The ironic thing is I had talked to my key volunteer and intern today about the pros and cons of going to Waco and doing the Poverty Simulation sometime next fall.


International Sports Exchange

I met Gimd at a YS convention towards the end of the glorious 2004 Red Sox championship season. We had some mutual friends and we became friends. There were deeper conversations but at other times I tried to explain to him the agony and pain of being a Red Sox fan. He and his friend had to search around town for somewhere to watch a soccer game. . . er. . . football match.

I found a great Red Sox image for him and proposed if he put the Sox logo on his site (to gain more UK fans) I'd put up a logo of his favorite cricket or football team (which would result, of course, in more US fans).

Being a man of honor, he accepted his end of the proposal (not begging, BTW) and now I am happy to say, I'm a West Ham United Fan like my mate. Go Hammers!

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