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We're Talking Baseball

I think I've turned a corner over the past week or so. Our June has been around .500 and I don't think I've seen the entire team go on all cylinders yet but we're still in first place. I know it can go away and I know anything is possible but I've chosen to enjoy the rest of the season as something special rather than freak out everytime something goes wrong.

It's baseball, things are always going to screw up (Game 4 2004ALCS through Game 4 of the 2004 WS being the exception) but i'm going to enjoy it. I can't control it anyways, might as well enjoy this ride we are on and hope things get better because despite still having the best record in baseball, most of us would admit there is room for improvement to the 2007 season, these very well might be the best of times as we look back.

Not only are the Red Sox doing great, still the best record in baseball, but the Yankees are doing horrible which makes this a good year, indeed.

Here are some baseball articles:

It's hard to imagine the Yankees in a such a free fall

The Yankees have been crumbling like last week's coffee cake, and it is starting the stagger the imagination. The numbers do, anyway.

The Yankees came limping home after a 1-7 road trip, with the New York tabloids in full roar — "Money for nothing," was a pertinent recent headline about Roger Clemens — and the general manager saying on radio nobody's job is safe, including his own.

This is not crying wolf, because the wolves are really at the door. Some of the results lately look as if they have been made up by a barfly from Red Sox Nation.

Time for Clemens to retire — for real: Struggling Yankees paying Rocket $17.4 million to be an ordinary pitcher

Roger Clemens should retire because he is not Roger Clemens anymore; he is an ordinary No. 4 or 5 starter. The fact that he can still pitch better than at least 50 percent of the starters in the majors is simply a reflection of how miserable so many starters are and the vast difference in talent that Roger once exhibited that he can lose so much and yet still be competitive.

Gyroball gains advocates

A vocal advocate of the gyroball brought his craft to Fenway Park last night, and it was not Daisuke Matsuzaka. Instead, it was Rangers reliever C.J. Wilson, who claims to be the first U.S.-born major-league practitioner of "the demon miracle pitch."

While Matsuzaka remains playfully coy on the topic of whether he throws the gyroball, Wilson hopes to become a pioneer for a pitch that he believes has contributed mightily to his excellent (2.75 ERA, 33 strikeouts in 36 innings) start.


Being a "Pretty Good" Pastor

All of us have our eyes opened like little puppies after a couple of weeks on the job in our first pastoral position when we realize that people are and leaders within any church system are pretty much impossible to please. Thus, we need to get a clear bead on what exactly we are uniquely about. I like the idea of being “Pretty Good” – then asking God to show up to fill in the blanks in between.

Steve Sjogren from The "Pretty Good" Pastor

Home runs are glamorous. Not many of us can hit the moon shot 420 foot home run physically or metaphorically in ministry. But if we can get a lot of hits which result in a high average, combined with an above average number of doubles and average 27-35 home runs a year over a career you could be in the Hall of Fame.

Pretty Good over time equals faithful and great. I want to be a pretty good pastor, too.


Digging Jesus

I was tagged by the guys @ Rethinking Youth Ministry on this meme:

1. Those Tagged will share 5 things they dig about Jesus.

2. Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.

So, here goes. 5 things I dig about Jesus:

1) It will take forever to begin understanding the depth and breadth of who Jesus is.

2) Jesus always loved and is love.

3) Jesus didn't just die for the world, he died for me.

4) Jesus never seemed to be rushed.

5) Jesus was bold and tender at the appropriate times.

This is a ladies only invitation, so I tag, Chris, Deneice, Lizzy, Mel & Mindi

On a related note, Riddle shares "Why digging Jesus bugs me a bit".


Youth Ministry Film Festival

Grant is doing a Summer Film Festival. What a great idea. My favorite word of advice for anyone else who would think about doing this is:

WE picked the movies. I had an elder, a pastor, and a key ministry volunteer help me with the choices of movies. Part of the reason is that they are also parents. Part of the reason is allowing volunteers have authority in decisions, not just responsibility. The biggest reason though is that 4 sets of eyes and ears are better than one.


ArkAlmighty in Lubbock!

Today we had a community service project tied into the release of EvanAlmighty and ArkAlmighty.

It was a servant evangelism at it's best. We bought 200 Dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts and gave them away in front of the ever busy local Wal-mart.

I talked to probably 15 people about why we were doing it in more detail as well as explaining the tie in with the movie.

Good day with more students showing up for this than when we just went out for lunch on Monday. We gave out all of the doughnuts in less than an hour and a half. Anyone want to guess how long it actually took to give away 200 dozen doughnuts? I'll give the officialy number in a few days.

Update: Doug is the winner of the contest. Of course he was the only entrant but still he would have won it even if others had tried. He guessed 42 mintuest, it was 45 minutes.

An Early Birthday Gift

My senior pastors is a huge Cubs fan. Goes to Spring Training every year and typically is able to sneek a trip up to Chicago for some reason during the baseball season and then catches a game at Wrigley while he is there.

Tomorrow is his birthday and I'm giving him this Ryne Sandberg rookie card. I had it amidst a ton of cards I still have from when I was a kid and I knew he'd appreciate it more than me.


Living Passionately

A great message from Floyd McClung. I listened to it today while doing other stuff. I downloaded it and will listen to it again.

Go Spurs Go!


The Way Pastoral Counseling Should Be

Ryan shared this with me and I'm sharing it with you.


The Fantastic Lock-In

I'm currently at work. It's a Lock-In, the Fantastic Lock-In, actually. We saw The Rise of the Silver Surfer at the midnight show and we are about to play hide and seek in the dark. Most of us like the movie, now I have to go hide. :-)


Noogie Champ '79

This is my one goofy t-shirt. I have many youth ministry related t-shirts but this is the one goofy one that I have. I want an Avengers t-shirt but that's a different story.

Anyways, I bought this one at Wal-mart except mine has Noogie Champ '79 on it and it's a golden yellow. I saw it and bought because it made me laugh.

I wore it on my last flight home before I came back with the family and I had three comments about it while in the airport and the last time I wore it to Home Depot the guy asked me, "How'd you become champ?" and I rememberd the shirt I had on and immediatly responded with, "Lots of practice".

Tear Down This Wall!

Twenty years ago during a visit to the divided German city of Berlin, President Ronald Reagan publicly challenged Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to ''tear down this wall.''

A Compass That Can Clash With Modern Life

For many Muslims, fatwas, or religious edicts, are the bridge between the principles of their faith and modern life. They are supposed to be issued by religious scholars who look to the Koran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad for guidance. While the more sensational pronouncements grab attention, the bulk of the fatwas involve the routine of daily life. In Egypt alone, thousands are issued every month.

This is a fascinating article in the NYTimes about the legalistic realities of Muslims trying to live daily life and their inability to have a personal hermeneutic for the Koran. Imagine if Christians had to go to local pastors for such mundane issues.


The Wonders of The Library

I love going to the library. We didn't do it too often where we use to live because it meant driving forever and a day but Lubbock has a good number of libraries that are near by. So this past Sunday afternoon I took the girls to the library, Taylor and I got our new cards (Sarabeth got her's a few days earlier with Tonja) and we found some books.

Here are my four:

Little Green Book of Getting Your Way: How to Speak, Write, Present, Persuade, Influence, and Sell Your Point of View to Others by Jeffrey Gitomer. I've gotten his free e-zine for years, it's great though intended for sales people.

Big Papi: My Story of Big Dreams and Big Hits by David Ortiz and Tony Massarotti

Green Arrow: Quiver

Who Needs A Superhero?: Finding Virtue, Vice, And What's Holy In The Comics

Before & After

I received my copy of the 4th printing of my book today from YS/Zondervan with the new cover. I knew it was coming because I was able to rewrite my bio a few months ago. Always a weird thing to write a 3-4 line bio of yourself. The normal way is to highlight the best of the things you've done so people will think, "Oh, I can trust this person." I added this blog to it as a way to contact me, so I guess I'm committed to keeping it up.

I love being a friend of Youth Specialties. They are great people and a great company. While moving stuff I moved a plant. A simple plant that will probably wind up in my office but this particular plant was sent to me over a year ago when my mom passed away from my friends at YS.

I think I'll be going to the Atlanta NYWC this year to work The Journal of Student Ministries booth again.


Random Thought

Stryper should release a best of album on 7.7.7


Moving In

We finally closed on the house and are moving in, continually. We've been painting rooms for the last couple of days. We're very happy with where we are and the neigborhood. Two neighbors came overs yesterday to drop of some food and say "hi".

The family next door has two girls the same age as our two girls. I'm getting the lesson ready for tomorrow, typically don't wait this long but been a wee bit busy so back to lesson prep.


Tonja's Birthday

It's Tonja's birthday, if you know her call me on my cell and tell her.


The Leader as a Recruiter
by Stan Toler

I have several close friends in professional sports. Their faith, dedication, and skill inspire me. But none of them would be in the pros if someone hadn t recognized their abilities and matched them to a position on the team. In one sense every leader is a recruiter. Your job is to find the best personnel to do the best job. There are parallels between recruiting athletes and recruiting staff. The task is to identify several things:

1. Ability. Recruiters not only look at plays, they check the stats. Batting averages, points scored, or yards gained are not useless facts. They reflect the passion and skill of the recruit. Leaders look for a good track record.

2. Compatibility. Most athletes compete alongside others. Recruiters want to know how the recruit will fit in with the team. What personality characteristics would be an advantage or disadvantage? Leaders watch to see how their recruits interact with others.

3. Responsibility. Winning athletes are self-motivated. They are driven to excel no matter how fellow team members perform. Leader, your recruit may have ability and capability but lack responsibility. It can t be factored out.

4. Accountability. Athletes who stand out are those who listen up. They are comfortable with coaching. They re interested in the evaluations of managers or coaches. Leaders look for recruits who have a record of listening and learning? Good following can make the difference between fame and failure.

They re out there: workers who want to work, followers who want to be led, and learners who want to be fed. It s your job to spot them, recruit them, assign them, evaluate them and praise them.

From Stan's Leadership Newsletter


Left for Dead by the Church

Adam McClane wrote Left for Dead by the Church for Simply Youth Ministry and here's some mofre of his thoughts on the topic from his blog.

It's a good piece regarding some sad realities of being in youth ministry.


I've Got Friends in High Places

A good friend of mine, Mitch The Capo King Bohannan, is leading a workshop at the Saddleback Worship Conference. He's leading Cut Capo for Guitar 101 so if you are there tell him Len sent you.


Excel-ling at Relational Ministry Part 2

I got an e-mail from Eleanor in Wingham, Ontario, Canada the other day. She found my blog via Marko's Number Obsession post.

Here is my Excel-ing at Relational Ministry article.

She requested the Excel forms that I talked about in the article. Here's what I wrote her:


So happy to hear that it was an encouragement. I've attached 4 forms that the contact sheet has has over the years. I go in waves when I use them, it's mainly a matter of always having the right one printed and always with me so I can make a quick note. It was also 75% easier to maintain detailed records when I wrote the article because I had a part time secretary who would convert my notes on the sheets to the computer for the records.

Thanks for contacting me and requesting them. It's an encouragement to know that something I've done can help others. Hope these help you in your relational ministry.

Keep Lovin' Jesus,


If anyone else would like the Excel sheets, drop me an e-mail (top right) and I'll send them off to you.

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