My Most Unique Purchase Ever on Ebay

I bought dirt from Fenway Park!

At one time, I had a small amount of dirt from Fenway but I lost it. I got it when we took the Fenway tour in 2003. The seller lived in Maine but could have lied about it coming from Fenway. But I figured for $3, I'll take that chance.

It came today. It's the same consistency and color (It's not normal dirt) as what I had before so I smiled.

Oh and Brenda rocks because she sent me Now I Can Die in Peace. She lost the season long bet we made last year regarding the Red Sox vs. The Twins. She bought one before but because of our move, got lost somewhere in the shipping process. So being the great lady that she is, she went above and beyond the call of duty by sending me a second copy.


No, baseball hasn't started yet. 14 more days till Spring Training, in case you didn't know. Go Sox!

Youth Specialties has hit a Home Run with their New Parents Newsletter! You can subscribe here.

YS continues to show they they truly care about youth workers and the students we minsiter to by providing good, practical and free resources to youth workers.


Remembering Yac

Grant has a great post about his encounter with Mike Yaconelli - Remembering Mike Y.

Cool part is that Karla leaves a comment.

26 Years Ago Today

Jesus entered and ruined my life. May he continue to ruin me and make me more like him.

Latest Article

My latest article is up at Simply Youth Ministry


Lust: The Leprosy of the Soul

Former BBC reporter Malcolm Muggeridge once relayed a story while he was on assignment in India. He had gone to bathe in the Ganges when he spotted the silhouette of a woman bathing just a short distance from him. Lust built up inside after seeing her, and even though he knew it was wrong, Malcolm determined to have an affair with her. He swam slowly and silently towards her as the sun just began to peek above the horizon. She heard a ripple and quickly turned around – deathly scared. Malcolm got a good look at her and realized she was covered with leprosy. Significant portions of her face were missing and the rest of her body looked like it had been nibbled by fish. Immediately sickened, Malcolm swam away as fast as he could.

He later pondered about his experience and deduced that as bad as that woman was disfigured on the outside, he was even sicker in his soul. Lust is the leprosy of the spirit and will disfigure your marriage, family and spiritual walk. If you’re having an affair, thinking about having one, or just watching the wrong late night movies, you’re not alone. But you must have the courage to do something about it.

From AllProDad. I get their daily email and all of them are good reminders, some are simple, most are good but this one I thought was a Home Run of an illustration. Can't wait till Red Sox Season. . . er. . . baseball season starts.


YS Biggest Loser Contest

The Marko is challenging youth workers everywhere to be a Bigger Loser Than him in YS's new contest. Announced via the YS Update. Official rules will come out next week but start date is Feb 4th and McNutt will be cheering everyone on.

I'm going to do it and go for a prize because for some reason, good health and long life isn't enough, I need a free book. :-)

And please refrain from nominating any other youth workers who should join this contest in the comment section.


I wanna be like Mike

Mike King is 50 and still passionate about youth ministry.

Being like John, wouldn't be too bad either.

This is why I get John's "Catch of the Day" emailed to me every weekday: Tell Me Your Story


Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry

I wrote a shorter version for The Journal of Student Ministries but here's the full version:

A friend recommended this book and I should send him a thank you note. Root provides a great history of relational youth ministry over the last century. He then takes Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s view on the incarnation and translates it into an approach of having a more biblical relational ministry with students. He writes, “The incarnation is not about influence but accompaniment.”

The result is a youth worker who accompanies students through all that is wrong with them so they may rest in the embrace of God who loves them and wants them to enjoy his presence.

He contends the normal pattern is being with students so we may influence them to do something. We need to have a “being with” ministry instead of a “being with so they do” ministry. Being with students with no agenda but to love them, encourage them and demonstrate what a mature believer is and does is an incarnational model that is closer to what Christ did.

Beware though if you put this into practice. A lot of churches would agree to this approach but it's hard to measure and see success if being with students and looking for how God is working in their lives, is the goal. Take the risk and put this on your “buy now” list.


It's Coming, It's Coming

Got an email from an editor last week about something I missed while working on the project for YS. I had totally forgotten to write a paragraph for one point in the lesson. Here's what I wrote:

Guys talk but having deep conversations aren’t typically the goal or highlight of their day. Guys are wired differently and testosterone has a lot to do with that. Guys are capable of resolving conflicts verbally but it’s just easier to handle it physically. When a teenage guy gets angry with a friend, or any other guy, they probably don’t have the emotional maturity to calmly think, “What’s the best way to resolve this in a way that honor’s God?” Rather, the testosterone kicks in and they hit. Guys have been known to hit walls, lockers, and each other. Ironically after getting in a fight, guys can be better friends. And they think girls are difficult to understand!

It seems the stuff I worked on is almost ready, so when it goes public, I'll claim my part in it. I will say this, it'll be another example of Youth Specialties caring for youth workers by offering practical help and I'm grateful for my role in it.


Too Much, Even for Me

MLB Urns


Yesterday's Ministry Moment

Yesterday we had an "All Worship" service for our students during the normal Sunday morning meeting time. We try to do these every 5-7 weeks. This past week I talked to the student worship leader and we talked about adding different elements of worship into this one besides singing with an opening and closing prayer.

One student shared a passage that meant a lot to him and it was received well. Later a female student stood up and started with:

I was called and asked to say something today and my first thought was "OH CRAP!"

I and another adult said, "You just don't get that in Big Church".

She then went on and shared her struggles with staying close to God during good times and how it shouldn't be that way. She did wonderful and her honesty went a long way with why everyone seemed to identify with what she was saying.


Late Night Findings

I'm working on a chapter for a friends upcoming book with YS but before I go to bed wanted to share the following.

Just found and put up an old article of mine. "Comfort the Afflicted & Afflict the Comfortable"

CREATIVE WORSHIP: Artful Prayers 8 different ways your students could pray. This is great.

Thanks ReThinking Youth Ministry Blog Guys!

Talked with a volunteer tonight who just made my night. They said something along the lines of, "When I go to my small group and there's just one person there, I'm amazed at how I needed to be there for that one student that particular night. I tend to think of all I could be doing to make better use of my time but God uses those times to remind me that he's in control and I can trust him."


Mistakes, Scars & Prayers

I wrote this for our parents newsletter.

I have a small curved scar near the ring finger-knuckle of my right hand. Like most scars it came because I made a mistake. I was trying to start a weed-eater and it wouldn't start. I kept pulling and pulling it. Finally I pulled it very hard and my hand slipped off of the handle. The force caused me to hit the wall behind me where my hand found a nice piece of metal. I learned a valuable lesson from that mistake: Don't get angry at inanimate objects and if you do make sure there is nothing sharp nearby.

An old saying talks about wisdom being gained from experience and experience being gained from mistakes. Have you ever talked to someone who showed you a scar from their life and you made a mental note to change your life so you could avoid the same mistake? I had that experience once while talking to long-time empty nester.

He said that he prayed for his children and grandchildren now more than ever because it was the best thing he could do for them. His biggest regret as a parent was not praying for his children more while they were young.

I pray for my children more as a result of that conversation. I also believe that we need more prayer for our children and youth ministries. It's easy for us as good Americans to make our plans and work our plans but even in the church we can fail to pray about our plans as we should.

We can plan and program events, lessons, and discussions times in order train our students under our own power but if we don't pray for the students, the events, lessons and discussion times then lasting transformation by the power of God probably will not occur.

We all need to pray for our children and youth ministries more as an admission that we will not have long term life transformation without God's power and guidance. Here are some practical ways you can begin to pray more for our children and youth ministries.

1. Pray for your own children everyday. Pray for their spiritual growth, their vocation and their possible spouse. If you don't have children "adopt" one and let the parents know you are praying for their child regularly.

2. When you drive by any church use that as a reminder to pray for our church and our children and youth ministries.

3. When you see events on the church calendar, pray for God to prepare people's hearts and for those events to be used by Him.

4. When you see me, tell me you'd like to join the Youth Ministry Prayer Team and I'll e-mail you detailed items of prayer.

5. Pray when you can, for as long as you can and as often as you can you will not have to share your scars of not praying enough with someone years from now.


The new cell phone part 2

We put off getting new cell phone numbers because it's such a pain. I put it on facebook which allowed a good number of my friends to see it. If they read their updates and actually changed it in their phones.

So about a week ago I started going through the 300 plus names in my cell and making quick calls to let them know my number had changed. Thankfully not every listing is a friend, but rather a business or whatever but still, it's a lot of calls to eventually make.

So this past week I've been able to touch base with a good number of friends but have discovered the following:

* one friend wants a copy of my book. (They don't read this, so I don't mind putting it up.) The free copies I got were gone a long time ago but I might have one somewhere to send them.

* a couple is getting a divorce.

* a friend is looking for a job but okay for now.

* a friend has another book idea

I hate not being in touch with friends. And when I hear bad news I just wish I had known soooner in the off chance I would have been able to help in some way.


Daniel & the Lions Den

I was given that picture once when I left a church. It was a farewell gift. It's nice. On the day it was given to me people asked me if the leadership got the irony and if I had named the lions.

I truly hadn't considered the irony until it was mentioned to me and it was mentioned by 4-5 different people.

I had considered different endings for the picture. Throw it away, give it away, give it to a church and let them hang it in the men's bathroom. In the end, I decided to keep it.

I just found it and will put it up in my office once everything else is in order. Now though, I don't look at the lions but rather I look at Daniel and how he seems to be looking to God for deliverance and company.

During my "lion's den" or dark night of the soul, God was the one I was able to look to for deliverance and company and that picture gives me comfort. And for what it's worth, I've yet and refuse to name the lions.


Simply Youth Ministry & Me

Last month I got 2nd in Ryan's Pastor2Youth Slogan Contest. Ryan had a panel of judges and nobody knew who wrote what, BTW.

Great prize package, it arrived a few weeks ago. I asked Andy about it when I was at the NYWC and he couldn't believe I was one of the winners because Ryan and I know each other and Andy knows me. I think I've mentioned before how Andy and I met back in 96 on a mission trip to Haiti. He was "that kid" who you connect with from another youth group when you're around a different group. He was a sophomore or junior at Saddleback and my church went to the same mission agency in Haiti. We made that connection a few years ago at another NYWC.

Well I heard from Andy today that they are going to use something I wrote for Simply Youth Ministry. I just need to edit it and send it in. When it comes out I'll let you know.

That Little Box to the Right

I've been asked to participate in a new thing Adam's doing called the Youth Ministry Ad Network. It's a cool idea. If you'd like to apply you can apply here.

Jim Rice for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008

*Led the A.L. with 382 home runs and 1,451 RBI during his 16-year career, all with Boston.

*The retired players with career home runs and average as high as Rice are Hank Aaron, Jimmy Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, all members of the Hall of Fame.

*Seventeen players with 350-plus home runs and a .290-plus average have been on the Hall of Fame ballot, and all but Rice are in the Hall of Fame: Aaron, Cepeda, Joe DiMaggio, Foxx, Gehrig, Al Kaline, Mantle, Mays, Johnny Mize, Musial, Ott, Frank Robinson, Ruth, Snider, Billy Williams and Ted Williams.

*Rice is an eight-time All-Star, had eight 100-RBI seasons, was a seven-time .300 hitter, the 1978 A.L. MVP, six times amongst the top five in MVP voting, more than anybody in history, four times with 39 homers or more, more than anybody else during his career, three-time A.L. home run leader, the only player in Major League history with three consecutive seasons of 35-plus home runs and 200-plus hits (1977-79), the only player since Ruth and Foxx to have three straight 39-homer seasons while batting .315.

*From 1975-86, he was the league leader in games, at-bats, runs, hits, homers, RBI, slugging, total bases, extra-base hits, go-ahead RBI, multi-hit games and outfield assists. He led the majors in five of those categories.

* Discounting his first and final seasons (24 games and 56 games, respectively), Rice's career stretched 14 meaty seasons. Rice is one of only 10 players ever to lead the American or National League in runs, hits, HR and RBI over a 14-year span. He and Rafael Palmeiro are the only players to accomplish the feat who are not in the Hall of Fame.

* Among the eight Hall of Famers on this list, five were elected on their first ballot.

* He's one of only 13 major leaguers have hit .300 with 375 HR and 1,400 RBI in a 14-season stretch and one of only eight players ever to lead the major leagues in hits and RBI over a 14-year span.

* Rice is the only A.L. player in the past 70 years with 400 total bases (DiMaggio, 1937).

The Big Loser

I alluded to the fact that the picture to the right is no longe how I look but I'm shooting to be there or near again. I'd guess over the last month, I've lost about 12-15 pounds just through portion control.

Now that 2008 is here, i'm going to excercise regularly again and give up my biggest weakness, Coke and Vault. I could drink them all day. Watched Biggest Loser last night. So did, McNutt.

So hopefully I'll be giving updates on how the weight loss is going. It's just a matter of doing it. I know, I've done it before.

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