Found out last night that the 17yr old son of the man who was my boss on the Dam Construction crew was killed in a car crash. Called him today and just said I'm praying and wish I could do more and if he need me to rant at or cry with I'd be avaiable. Breaks my heart.
If you are a pastor or teacher would you mind filling out this survey?
Last night I was truly convicted over something. Something simple and something small but conviction, regardless.
We are going to a Newsboys concert in a week. It's on a Thursday night so I didn't anticipate a ton of students but hoped for a few. I made a few calls to students as a last minute chance to know who was going and make sure we had enough tickets.
So I around the fourth call I realized that one reason the calls felt so awkward was because I have not been making regular phone calls to students just to keep in touch. So I felt like a telemarketer rather than a pastor calling to check in with students and then giving some information they might be interersted in.
This morning I called a friend from the church. We get together occasionall with a few other guys and hang out. Hasn't happened in a while but I realized I shouldn't need an excuse to check in on someone. So I called him just asking the proverbial, "What's up?".
We talked for almost 30 minutes an he told me how grateful he was for the phone call more than once.
I think I've fallen into the trap of using easy technology to keep in touch and provide information to students rather than being in touch with students to provide a caring touch.
God's working on me.
"I, Jerry Remy, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of Red Sox Nation. I pledge to be true to the game, true to our fans and, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and promote all that is great about the beloved sport of baseball and the Boston Red Sox."
Finally, a presidential candidate I can fully support.
I've got 2 or 3 things I've been thinking about sharing but not quite ready yet, so for those that read my blog, here are some misc links that I liked or at least made me think.
BIG HT2 Josh
30 of the Most Creative Bookshelves Designs
Survey: Americans switching faiths, dropping out
The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who received death threats for airing his views on Islamic issues, has vowed that he will continue to speak out
Update or More Misc:
Matlock is blogging now.
NFL Reverses Call On Church Parties HT2 the one and only, McNutt.
by Patti, Here are the rules for this fun little bit of Internet foolishness:
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more (no cheating!)
Find page 123
Find the first five sentences
Post the next three sentences
Tag five people
They did not fear the waiting, nor did they fret over the "setbacks" they would have to endure when visitors came.
When the doubting pastor finally proclaimed his found-again faith, deep in his heart he must have whispered to God in grattitude, "Jesus has been hiding in these people all along."
When my children were young, track meets filled part of each week during the spring.
From Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli
I tag Terrace, Clint, Adam, Todd & Ken.
This has been building up since I read Roberts post a while back and it came out in full when I read Marko's rare political post about supporting Obama. I left this comment on Marko's blog and figured I'd throw it here too:
Here’s my deal and I’ve been stewing over it for about two weeks now, so forgive me if I cross the line from discussion to ranting. Marko, hopefully you know me well enough to know this isn’t at you but thoughts in general based on what you said.
I have many friends who are supporting Obama and I see a great similarity between them and the religous right of 20 plus years ago. They seem to have an overhyped hope that someone can come along and offer real change, it’s not going to happen.
Our hope is not in a political system or candidate. We should vote and be responsible citizens but no person or party is going to satisfy the hope and longing that most of us have for a greater country and better lives for our families. We have to work hard for it in our neigborhoods, in our schools, in our churches and in our families.
I’m among the 20% or less that is not opposed to us being in Iraq. This is a worldview war. We will not change their view of us by anything we do. If we leave, we reinforce the view that we are weak and can not follow through so they should not fear us. Radical Islam and it’s followers are enemies of everyone who is not one of them. You can’t agree to disagree and live together but avoid each other. I belive the Republicans have a better view of this and withdrawal is only delaying the fight that will continue down the line.
Peace would be great, who doesn’t want it? But as long as we are evil just because we exist and are offspring of the Evil West, we will always have to fight them.
Disclosure: Before I came back to local church youth ministry I was within 2-4 months of becoming an army chaplain. I wanted to be that to serve our troops but also because I believed in the military’s purpose of protecting us and promoting/pushing democracy. Democracy is not perfect but within our fallen world, it’s the best we have for now.
That felt cathartic, thanks. :-)
Update: Thanks for the three comments and just had to add this, since when is it best to allow military decisions be based on popular vote? Let them do their job and trust them even if you don't like it. They are Generals, you are not and there's a reason you are not. (Steam now gone for at least two more days.)
After watching the Piper video, Ken commented, "Talk about taking a really good point and driving it off of a cliff. Piper has a great take on the prosperity gospel but I wonder how many people he lost when he starts talking about your daughter flying through the windshield and dying in the street..."
and Clint commented with, "I am with Ken. I was with him until he started going the route of killing your kids and being happy with it."
That's not what he said. He said, You make Jesus look beautiful when you can say, "Through the deepest possible pain God is enough. God is enough. He is good, he will take care of us, he will satisfy us, he will get us through this.
He is our treasure, who have I in heaven but you? and on earth there is nothing I desire besides you
my flesh and my heart and my little girl may fail but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
That makes God look glorious. as God, not as giver of cars or safety or health."
I'm not sure who he lost by stating the possibility of losing a child dramatically and yet being able to trust God through the pain. I can tell you this though through first hand experience, Only when you are able to trust God in the darkest of times do your realize how good he is and how your faith must be from him too because you know you could not hold it together on your own.
My oldest daughter doesn't like me telling this story but she doesn't read my blog, so here ya go:
It was Sept 19, 2001 and we were living in CT. Taylor's birthday was the next day. Woke up that morning when she scampered into our bedroom with the words, "Daddy, wake up!" I mumbled and told her I'd be right there.
Ten minutes later I finally wake up and wander downstairs.
I walk into the kitchen and grab something to eat, then go sit in the living room with the TV on some kids show. After a few minutes I notice that Taylor isn't around so I go looking for her. Can't find her or hear her so I begin to call out her name, no response.
I then think, "Maybe she went outside to play."
I walk out the to the back porch and don't see her in the backyard or the side yard. As I go back inside, I notice the basement door is ajar so I open it despite knowing she hated the basement. I call her name and no answer. I walk downstairs into the basement and as I turn the corner I notice that the basement door to the outside is open. Our basement door was never opened so I begin to worry.
I run upstairs and wake up my wife. I'm frantic saying, "I can't find Taylor. I can't find her." She tried to calm me down and I said, "Tonja, I've been looking for at least 10 minutes and I can't find our daughter!" At that point I called 911.
Fairfield was a small town with little crime and and above average budget for the police force so literally within three minutes we had four police cars in our driveway.
I begin telling them the story along with what she was wearing and when I had seen her last. I showed them the basement door and how was open into the backyard. They asked if the footsteps on the wet grass were mine or not. I couldn't remember if I had gone outside or not.
As the police were walking up to the back porch and I realized that my daughter might be missing and I might possibly never see her again, and she could be gone on the day before her sixth birthday, I began to cry. As I cried, in the scariest single moment i've ever had as a parent, from within my head or my heart I heard, "God is still good." and I had the strangest peace that I have ever had.
As I walked in the back door I heard voices in the front part of the house and Tonja running. There she was, in her pajamas standing all alone in the living room. She had been playing hide and seek and after a while was scared to come out because she thought she might be in trouble.
The policemen smiled and told her not to play hide and seek again unless she told somebody as they walked out and we hugged her like never before.
In that one moment where my greatest fear seemed to be the most likely outcome, I was able to realize even through this, God would still be good and he would care for us. That is the kind of faith and trust that Piper is talking about. I wasn't happy she could be missing, I was dependent upon Him when I thought she might be gone and I realized if all we had left was God, God would be enough.
Thrilling Kids to Death by Todd Stiles
Kids of the new millennium are looking for a rush, a thrill, a high-risk adventure that produces a non-stop flow of adrenaline. Excitement is the catchword; big events are the hot item. And with society pushing the adrenaline surge to an all-time high, some youth ministries are asking: should we follow suit? Is providing repeated spiritual thrills and one spiritual high after another the next step for those involved in student ministry?
Read the rest
The Biggest Loser: The Weight Loss Program to Transform Your Body, Health, and Life
The Biggest Loser Cookbook
The Biggest Loser Calorie Counter
These three items arrived in my mailbox yesterday as a gift from a friend who knows I'm doing the "Are you a Bigger Loser than Marko?" Contest. Thanks!
by Dawson Trotman
What is the need of the hour? That depends on the person who is thinking about it. For a beggar with a tin cup, it's a dime. For a woman being taken to the hospital, it's a doctor. But what is it in Christian work? I started to list the things we often feel are the need—those things which, if supplied, would end our troubles.
Some say, "If I just had a larger staff." Many a minister would like to have an assistant, and many a mission would like to have more missionaries.
Others say, "We don't need more workers, but better facilities. If we just had more office space and more buildings and a bigger base of operation, then we could do the job."
In some parts of the world they say it's better communications we lack, or better transportation, or better health care, or literature.
Many feel the need is an open door into some closed country. But the Bible says, "My God shall supply all your needs." If we need an open door, why doesn't God open it—"he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth"?
Some say, "If we just had more time," or "If I just weren't so old, if I were only young again." People have said to me, "Daws, if I had known when I was twenty years old what I know now, I could have done a hundred times more for the Lord. Why didn't I?"
Often the biggest need seems to be money. Money is the answer to a larger staff, more facilities, better communications and transportation and literature. "If we just had more money."
An Army of Soldiers
What is the need of the hour? I don't believe it is any of these. I am convinced that the God of the universe is in control, and He will supply all these needs in His own way and in His own time, all else being right.
The need of the hour is an army of soldiers dedicated to Jesus Christ, who believe that He is God, that He can fulfill every promise He ever made, and that nothing is too hard for Him. This is the only way we can accomplish what is on God's heart—getting the gospel to every creature.
Read the entire article here. HT2 Josh Hunt's e-newsletter
In line with the ever popular motto of, "If it's free, it's for me"
Interlinc's "Youthworkers Narnia Insider" package.
On the other side of the Free is Good coin, Adam asks, What's Wrong with Free?
YouthMinistry.com featured Pushing Through on their enewsletter yesterday. It's rated 5th under their most popular articles but more importantly and I'm amazed by some of the comments. Here are some of my favorites:
Thank you this was what i needed to hear! I just got burned from a "CEO Pastor" and trying to recover.
Thanks. I had my letter of resignation ready to be turned in today. After reading this, I'm going to pray and try to keep pushing on.
this is good to hear. i've been praying about whether or not to continue my youth ministry in a local church, so thank you for this refreshing article. more to think/pray about!
your insight and caring for youth workers who are hurting (or in Youth Pastor ICU as you put it) is amazing. I know that before you found yourself in the ICU, you were still working and thinking through these thoughts and helping people who hurt (like me).
i will push on because i know its what God would have me to do, it is my passion, and the kids really enjoy a ministry that is focus on them. God bless you and again i thank you.
Thank you! This was just what I needed. I have been in local church youth ministry for 16 years and never once considered giving up, until the last two months. I will continue to pray and push through.
The Pushing Through article is now on YouthMinistry.com, too.
I got this note from a friend who read it on SimplyYouthMinistry. I know he won't mind me sharing:
Hey man, I printed out your ‘pushing through’ article a while back, and read it this morning. I’m having a long year and some change now, and am the dude you are describing. I always thought they’d bury me w/my skateboard and one of those airblaster things. I love kids, I still feel like that’s where my heart is, but I don’t know that I want to be in a church. Anyway, I don’t have a solution or even the question yet, but I just wanted to tell you thanks for your words, and your willingness to share your heart this last season—I’ve read and watched and kept in touch w/your story, and it has become very similar to my story. I still remember the ache when I read those words that your daughter said after you ‘left’ that church- just like we ‘left’ our last church.
So, blessings to you this morning, my friend. You are a reminder of the God who Hears, and I thank you for that!
I'm amazed and humbled that my story and williness to share it encourages and connects with others. I know a few of you think/dream/plan on writing and want to pursue it. I hope you do because words can be powerful and your story can touch and minister to others.
The day I'd rather watch the Superbowl with friends over students is the day I need to hang up my fingerblaster.