Wednesday, December 31, 2008

See you next year...

I contemplated a "Best Of 2008" list, but I'm too lazy. And the hockey game is about to start. Go Canada!

So, this unless I see you out and about for the brief time we leave the house tonight, I hope I see you next year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Post-Christmas Christmas thoughts...

I know I'm a little late on this, but I was reminded on Sunday that some cultures celebrate Christmas until January 1st. So this will come in that same spirit.

Before the Christmas season hit, Erin and I had a little discussion about Christmas. Specifically, the rights and wrongs of it, as are so often dictated by others.

Is it wrong to exchange gifts?

Is it wrong to listen to Bon Jovi sing Christmas songs?

Is it wrong to boycott Christmas?

Is it wrong to not boycott Christmas?

Is it wrong to enjoy the time as a family around a tree?

Is it wrong to wrap a present?

I've heard the whole rally against over-rampant Christmas consumerism and how we need to get back to the real meaning of Christmas. And some part of me completely agrees. However, another part of me has absolutely no problem with the giving and receiving of gifts, the decorating of houses and trees and the never ending supply of Christmas songs.

I could just never put my thoughts into words.

So I will let David Crowder do it, with his post on the same subject.

I'm going to agree with him.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The final words...

2008 is coming quickly to a close, so today I'll post my final book "reviews".

As many of you are well aware, I started this reading journey with a goal of hitting 26 books this year. Well, apparently some healthy competition from Erin combined with the fact that she has been working on lots of school work this year means I've been able to keep ahead.

The last week or so has seen these books added to the list. See if you can tell which one was a stocking stuffer.

Book #55 - The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
I had to buckle down and stick this one out especially after Keller opens the book with a comment that his interpretation of the parable of the prodigal son is the "true meaning" of it. But I'm glad I stuck it out. Some great thoughts (not new, but refreshing) on the story of the prodigal son and how God is constantly reaching out to not only the lost, but also the modern day "Pharisees", those who have already "found" God but fail to let His lavish grace transform their lives. I also picked up his other book (The Reason for God) at the library, but it will wait for 2009.

Book #56 - The Chris Farley Show by Tom Farley Jr and Tanner Colby
This was like watching a train wreck happen. It's almost captivating as you watch how Chris Farley's life unraveled and how those around him responded, or failed to respond. The book is a collection of other people (friends, family, co-workers, etc) giving glimpses of what they saw happen in Chris over the time they knew him. All in all, if you've ever laughed at the antics of this man (and who honestly hasn't?), I'd recommend this.

Book #57 - The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey
On the hunt for some new fiction I stumbled across this story of a criminal trying to right his path in life but ends up sucked into a kidnapping plot. It's one of those stories where the good guy makes some poor decisions all while trying to keep himself clean. I found the plot line a little frustrating and non-believable. And the ending is pretty typical "feel good" Hollywood stuff. But I enjoyed it overall so I'll probably give the author another try.

Book #58 - The Bro Code by Barney Stinson with Matt Kuhn
Of course Barney Stinson is only a character on How I Met Your Mother. And yes, this was a stocking stuffer. But I should point out that it didn't end up in my stocking. I had to borrow it. But this show has slowly become a Knott household favorite over the last year, mostly due to Erin's persistence. But it has provided an endless number of inside jokes and non-stop laughs. Just ask Josh (our intern).

Friday, December 26, 2008

Repeating myself...

It's snowing again...or maybe it's STILL snowing.

Either way, the fluffy white non-dandruff stuff is falling. I may be trapped here in the basement forever. But that's ok. I think I have lots to keep me occupied.

Boxing Day around here means sleeping in, avoiding the paper/cardboard mess that was left from yesterday, eating junk food (my breakfast consisted of spinach cheese dip), watching TV (soccer and hockey), reading, building toys, playing games, and anything else we feel like.

And now I'm waiting for the World Juniors Canadian game to start.

How do you spend your Boxing Day?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas posting...

We've had snow for a couple of Christmases out here on the coast, but this one is taking the cake. It started snowing last night and it's supposed to keep snowing throughout the day. There is SO much snow.

Becca's comment this morning when we were waking up is fairly descriptive.
Becca: "Mom, look out the window."

Erin: "Why?"

Becca:"It's snowing and it's deep as a goose."

I don't know where kids come up with this stuff, but it's true that you could probably bury a goose in our back yard.

Erin is hoping we'll make it down the hill today. She wants to drop goodies off at the hospital and then our tradition is to head over to the Christmas Eve service at church before coming home for games and goodies. But I think we'll be stuck here.

Thankfully, the whole family is here. So, let's get this Christmas started.

A very merry Christmas to you and yours.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Porn & the C&MA...

Apparently the Christian & Missionary Alliance (the US version, of course) is teaming up with the gang at XXX Church as they open up operation on the Strip in Las Vegas.

Having grown up in the Canadian version of the denomination and having worked in Alliance churches since 2000, I think it's great to see our US counterparts thinking outside the box. I hope we see more opportunities like this in the future.

The following is from Craig Gross' end of the year update:
The Christian Missionary Alliance is joining up with us as well. They are a denomination founded by AB Simpson.

➢ In the 1880’s Simpson was the pastor of perhaps the most prestigious church in New York City and perhaps the nation.

➢ Simpson spent considerable time reaching out to men and women who were often rejected by ‘the church’. Included were the Italian dockworkers, to sailors, to streetwalkers, to unwed mothers.

➢ This all resulted in Simpson leaving his prestigious church and beginning a church on the backstage of a NYC theatre creating a SAFE place for people that had the greatest needs.

➢ Simpson was merely living out the example of Jesus Christ, who spent most of His time with the people the religious leaders often rejected.

➢ The Alliance DNA was established by AB Simpson with a passion to bring the healing Christ offers to broken people.

➢ The first Alliance church plant planted by Simpson in NYC was known at The Gospel Tabernacle. Central to the church were numerous rescue missions, some of which exist to this day. This was happening 130 years ago in The Alliance.

➢ Now today The C&MA is made up of 26000 churches worldwide with critical ministries reaching out to people that have been entrapped by the grip of the sex industry in places like Thailand, Cambodia, Mali and the continent of Africa. It’s what we do!

➢ For XXXChurch to partner with The Christian & Missionary Alliance makes all the sense in the world.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Getting fired...

Don't read between the lines on this one, ok? ;)

(And incidentally, this is book #54.)

I picked up "Getting Fired For the Glory of God" when I was in Sacramento. It's a collection of some of Mike Yaconelli's writings that showed up in Youthworker Journal over the years. The book also comes with a DVD and some MP3's of a few of the talks that he had given over the years.

I never met Mike, but we did trade emails once. And even in that brief communication he stayed true to everything I have ever known or heard of him. Wise, to-the-point, and extremely blunt.

Mike had a way with youth workers in particular, that was always guaranteed to stir something up. I have always found myself challenged, encouraged, engaged, inspired, reprimanded, annoyed, and informed by his words.

Most of this book I had read at one time or another over my years of working with students. But that didn't change a thing. I constantly found myself looking at my own ministry and my own heart and wondering if maybe I'm missing the mark at times. Maybe I'm guilty of creating a ministry that focuses too much on numbers, fun, and entertainment and too little on Jesus. Maybe I'm forgetting about my own soul as I try so hard to look after everyone else's

Yeah...big stuff. And I'm slowly working my way through it.

Actually, these last few weeks have seen me doing a mental review of our ministry (and my personal life) and trying to evaluate. I'm trying to hear God's whisper in this slower season. What does He want us to do with these students in 2009? What does He want to do with me?

Either way, Mike's words have once again been a source for dreaming and reflecting. I only hope that other youth workers will continue to learn from this man. It's too bad he's no longer with us, but I'm sure glad that his heartbeat is still felt in the student ministry community.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is this really BC...

The snow started falling sometime last night. It's been getting worse throughout the day. In fact, the ride home for me took 50 minutes. It usually only takes 12.
I also had to leave my car at the bottom of the mountain with the other 2 dozen vehicles that couldn't make it up the incline. Hopefully it's still there and in one piece tomorrow. Last year my father-in-law left his vehicle down there and a snowplow took off one of his mirrors.

Thankfully I was able to catch a lift up the mountain with a Good Samaritan 4X4 owner. He doesn't even live on the hill but has spent the last hour shuttling people up the mountain.

Now the kids are playing. It's strange to think that this is abnormal for them. When I was growing up this usually happened in October!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Doubled it...

I officially doubled my reading goal for 2008. And I'm not done yet.

(pause to pat myself on the back)

Here's the latest additions:

Book #51 - Ministry Mutiny by Greg Stier
This has been on the shelf so long I almost forgot about it. I wasn't feeling too good last week and took Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning off, and I figured I'd get some reading done. I like some of Greg's stuff, especially when he challenges youth pastors to take their students deeper in their faith. He's also an evangelism guru of sorts. He writes this book in a "fable" style of one younger youth pastor (who is about to hand in his resignation letter) who meets to learn from a seasoned youth ministry veteran. But along with Greg, comes constant imagery of "gameday" which makes me nervous. It's a little too Ron Luce-ish for me.


Book #52 - Fuzzy Navel by J.A. Konrath
I've been reading all his other books this year, so I was happy to pick up this latest one at the library. And I'll say that this one has been his best. The cliffhanger is huge and I found myself visiting his website to get info on when the next book will be coming out.

Book #53 - Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry by Doug Fields
I've been reading this one with our intern and we've been spending some time at each weekly meeting talking about it. This book is pretty much pure gold for youth pastors of any stage in their ministry career. I got just as much out of it on this third time reading it as I did the first. If you work with students, read it. If you work with students and haven't read it in the last year, read it.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Old couch...

Read this following statement on the Catalyst blog a few weeks ago and it gets me thinking.

Do you have any thoughts? Possible implications? Push back?

Andy Stanley recently shared how church traditions are like an old couch - when you first bought it, it was awesome and made perfect sense. Now the couch, 20 years later, doesn't work but you're holding on to it b/c it has so much meaning and memories from the past.

Are there couches in your organization that you need to get rid of?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stage left...

Carlos posted about the stage design at their church a little while ago.

I love the creativity.

Wish we could add a little life to our own stage from time to time.

You can check out a couple more images here.

God's house...

A few weeks ago I heard a statement about the "sanctuary" (in a church building) being God's house and how we need to show proper respect when in it.

I always get my back up when I hear that because I don't see what makes the sanctuary any more holy or set apart than say, my office.

They both have sound systems, uncomfortable chairs, Bibles, musical instruments, unused hymnals, places to store books, and occasionally even people and a slightly funky odor.

How do you change this mentality?

Or maybe a better question is can you change this mentality?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I see the sun...

A Thursday where I actually see the sun and can get to my blog while in the office?!?!

These days are unheard of. I will try to enjoy this.

I'm currently reflecting on last night's Christmas Bash. Basically it was just a gift exchange where we asked students to bring a wrapped slightly-used gift to put under the tree. Then we asked them to donate the money they would normally spend on a gift to our Compassion child. Personally I am a little disappointed by how little we raised and by how many students "forgot" to bring gifts.

We always have a few extra gifts nearby because we know some students just can't contribute. But this year it was an abnormally high number that just didn't bring something. We found ourselves scrambling around the Youth Centre and wrapping random things in yellow office paper and duct tape just to ensure that everyone would get a gift.

Next year we need to do something different. This just isn't working anymore.

But now it's time for a break. No more regularly scheduled Wednesday nights until January. Is it wrong of me to say that I'm looking forward to this?

In the meantime, I'm leading worship this Sunday with my youth band. Should be fun. Oh yeah, and worshipful.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I'm sick.

I packed it in around 1:30pm and headed for home to have a nap.

I don't feel any better now.

Maybe some tea will help?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Reading Update...

I'm all over the map these days with my reading as I now try to hit 52 before the end of the year. Yes, this all began a short 12 months ago with a simple goal of reading 26 books. I think I may have raised the bar too high for next year.

Book #47 - No Perfect People Allowed by John Burke

Buy it. Read it. And please talk about it with your church staff/leadership. This book took me forever to get through as I wanted to reflect on it. And at times it completed disappointed me. Not so much the content (it's quality stuff), but the reality that so many churches don't foster an environment where people can come as they are. This book gives me hope of what the church could (and should) be.

Book #48 - Pornified by Pamela Paul
This was not a pretty book. I guess a book about the effects of porn should probably not be "pretty", but this book takes things to a whole new level. I found it to be an articulate work, with a bit too much information, that pushes for something to be done to stop porn from damaging any more relationships or lives. You'll ache as you read some of the stories of how porn has ruined lives. But I'm going to suggest you skip this one just because of the content.

Book #49 - Jesus Wants to Save Christians by Rob Bell & Don Golden
A typical Rob Bell book with short sentences and even shorter paragraphs. I know lots of people don't like the style, but I can track with it. (I guess I'm a lazy reader.) While I wouldn't say this was one of Bell's best, I would say that it has a few gems, especially later on in the book when he starts to talk about what the church should look like. (Are you seeing a theme in my reading lately?)


Book #50 - Doors Open by Ian Rankin
This was in the "One Week" pile at the library last week so I thought I'd give it a go. It's all about an art theft in Edinburgh that involves multiple groups of people trying to rip each other off. It was a quick read, but I wasn't too thrilled with the ending or the vague epilogue. But it wasn't a bad way to kill a Sunday.

Friday, December 05, 2008

In the box...


I'm a fan of After Eights.

They are a Christmas staple for me.

So, if you share my joy, answer me this:

Do you leave the wrapper in the box after you remove the chocolate or do you throw the wrapper out?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Who said it...

Let's start a new blog feature, ok?

It's called "Who Said It" and it's fairly simple.

You just need to figure out who said this following comment today.

"Laughter is to preaching what foreplay is to sex."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Summing it up...

Last night we hosted Grade 12 "Appy Nite".

Today we hosted a youth leader meeting and "potluck".

Tomorrow we host our high school small groups.

Somehow we misjudged the schedule! Oh well. It's been a blast, and these are the parts of the job that I probably wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Since tomorrow is officially December, I'm curious as to when you start decorating for the holidays.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It should snow...

I just think that would be kind of fun.

I'm recovering from soccer (a loss), watching a little hockey (Habs vs. Sabres), and awaiting the arrival of my grade 12 students. We planned a night of appetizers and hanging out. I know, I know...tough job, eh?

What did you do today?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesdays aren't so bad...

Every once in a while I have a day that disappears so quickly that I hardly have a chance to accomplish anything on the "to do" list.

Today was one of those days.

People took over. And I don't begrudge that one bit. It was a good day. It was a day that reminded me of why I do what I do. It was a day to see people's hearts. It was a day to see tears, laughter, hope and sadness. It was a day to see the reality of life. It was a day to see God at work.

Today I was reminded that people are important. (Yes, I need that reminder every once in a while.)

So, with that thought in mind, I thought this video that I stumbled across was very fitting. A collection of people from around the world singing and playing along with "Stand By Me". Check out the site here.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saint Patrick...

Regardless of his recent outbursts and shenanigans as a head coach, I don't think you can argue that Patrick Roy was one of the greatest goalies ever.

I absolutely admired this man growing up. I remember my stint as a floor/street hockey goalie where I was always "wearing" the number 33. I remember being willing to trade away almost any hockey card in order to add to my Patrick Roy card collection. I remember when I traded for that elusive rookie card. Sure, it wasn't in pristine condition, but it was still his rookie card.

And now nobody else will wear 33 on the back of a Habs jersey.

A great way to honor a living legend.

But I will confess that the Maple Leafs have way cooler banners to honor their legends.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Indulge me...

It's been a little bonkers these last few weeks at youth. Everyone seems to have been a little out of sorts. It's the kind of thing where you look around and you know that nobody is getting "it". Everyone seems to be off.

You ever have those nights?

Well, tonight we changed the schedule up a little bit.

We set aside time for students to share. Sure, there was lots of awkward silence. But that was ok. We gave them permission to be awkward. And they went with it.

And it was beautiful. They talked. They sat there. They looked confused. They started to share stories of life. Sure, some of it wasn't the most profound. Most of it wasn't that deep. But it was students starting to open up.

We had also planned to do some shoe box building tonight for Operation Christmas Child. With the recent mood, I was prepared for the worst. I thought we would be lucky to fill a handful of boxes. I was saying 4-5 tops. And that's me being optimistic.

Can I just say, that my students kicked ass tonight. Can I even say that? I hope so, because they did. They absolutely hit it out of the park. They blew my mind.

We actually had to drop the "teaching" time to build the boxes. Then we prayed over the boxes.

The students prayed.

This is big, because these students are normally silent when you ask them to pray.

It was a beautiful night.

Thanks for indulging me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Am I...

Am I whoring myself out if I agree to post book reviews in exchange for free books?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mandles...

Great Christmas idea! (ht to Josh)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A bunch of random stuff...

I feeling a little all over today.

I just finished book #46. It was Watchmen, a graphic novel from the late 80's. I saw a teaser trailer online for the upcoming 2009 release of a movie based on the "comic" and had no interest because I had never heard of it. Then I noticed the hype starting on a few movie blogs I read and I got curious. So courtesy of the library (and a 5 week waiting period) I was able to get my hands on a copy.

My review? Uh...it's a comic book based on superheroes, masked adventurers, a blue man that can transport himself to Mars, and a bunch more stuff that's too strange to sum up.

Did I like it? I'm not thrilled, but I'll go watch the movie just to see how it translates into today's cinematic medium.

Currently listening to: Coldplay's "Viva La Vida"

So, this afternoon we (me and the interns) planned a "work day" for our Youth Centre. Really it was only a 3.5 hour block to add wheels to some couches, label soem mailboxes, clean up our stage area and try to fix our drum platform.

We told our students for the last few weeks that anyone who came to help out could have some free food.

So, how many students show up? 1. That's right. One.

Does it bother me? Maybe a bit. But then I remind myself that my students are still kids. And kids do things like this.

Waiting to watch: The Office, 30 Rock, Indiana Jones, and a few more $0.88 rentals that Erin picked up today. It's been a while since I did an $0.88 review. Maybe I'll enlighten you all.

Work thing I have to do on my day off: Website.

We're trying to get our website up and running. Seriously, we've had this up since before I started. We NEVER touch it. But we're close to the new one being launched, so that means I need all the student ministry info in.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Why am I blogging when I should be working?

Because I believe that procrastination is an art form that is only mastered with much practice.

One day I will teach you how you too can become a master procrastinator.

And seriously, I just needed to veg out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remember...

I grew up attending a Remembrance Day service almost every year. My grandpa was a veteran and I think it was one of the things my family did to show respect for him and all the other Canadians who fought in the wars.

I haven't been to a service for years now. In fact, today I could hardly drag my sorry butt off the couch for more that 10 minutes at a time. (Which makes me think that something is seriously wrong with me. Because it's not like I was sick or anything.)

A day to honor those that gave up the safety of their homes to fight, and all I can do is lie on my couch. Pathetic, eh?

So, here's to those who fought.

Along the same line of thought.

What are your thoughts about referring to those who are currently fighting overseas as "fighting for our freedom"?

Just curious.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New design...

If you subscribe through an RSS feeder, you won't see any changes.

But I decided that it was time for some housecleaning. So I changed the layout of the site.

I'm not completely happy with it.

I was tempted to do a switch over to another blogging site due to the fact that I just don't like most of the blog layouts that are provided for Blogger.

But that seemed like a lot of work.

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pay with a spider...

I got this story from Neatorama.

Apparently a man tried to pay off one of his outstanding bill with a picture he drew of a spider.

Read the story here.

I'm still laughing. I have a great admiration for people who can come up with stuff like this.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday in the rain...

All the fields in Abbotsford are closed today.  That we'll see the sun again in May.

You think I'm kidding?

Now we've got more free time today that is normally dedicated to Abbotsford soccer pitches.

Here's a random look at a rain filled day.

Absolutely disappointed about this game.

Currently disappointed with this game.

I hope I won't be disappointed by this game.

The kids are off to a party for part of the afternoon.

Tonight Erin and I scored free tickets to the Chilliwack Bruins.

I should probably go over my songs for tomorrow as I'm leading the contemporary worship for the morning service.

I think I'll go find one of my books.


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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The contest update...

Not to be confused with "the contest", this is the other contest.

I think Erin gave up. But I'm still tracking my numbers because that is where I find my value. (I'm kidding, of course.) Here's how my reading has been going. Some of this you already know, so stick with me ok. Pat me on the back and tell me you like my hair or something. I've had a bad week.


Book #42 - In the Woods by Tana French
I was looking for some new fiction. I can't even remember how I decided on this one. I think it might have been suggested on Amazon or something. Either way, it was a beast of a book that took me some time to work through. I thought it was great writing especially to start out, but I was thoroughly disappointed with the ending.

Book #43 - Churched by Matthew Paul Turner
My review is here. A free book that was a quick read filled with chuckles.

Book #44 - Youth Ministry 3.0 by Mark Oestreicher
My review is here. Marko's review of my review is here. Seriously, it was a little strange to find my words on someone else's blog. Anyways, this book a must read for you if you work with students. It'll make your head hurt. But it will probably be good for you.

Book #45 - The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie
You know him as Dr. House, but he's also a really funny author. I wasn't too impressed by the story of an arms dealer with a conscience, but the writing kept me in it until the end.

As for what I'm currently reading, I have two books in the works that I can't seem to find enough time to read lately. Since I'm taking the upcoming Monday off, and since Tuesday is a stat holiday, I should be able to catch up.

Ha! Wishful thinking.

What are you currently reading?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Do you know who John Williams is...

In lieu of my political commentary I will now share this gem with you. It's the entire story of Star Wars as sang to the tunes of John Williams.

You don't know who John Williams is? You'll remember as soon as you watch this video.

This video ate up over 12 minutes of my precious life yesterday. But all 12 minutes were filled with immense joy.


Sigh...

Nothing much else to say except:

sigh...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday musings...

I'm taking the day off after weeks of "gentle" reminders from my wife and from my exec pastor that I'm needing to take a break.

(Yes, I'm aware that I have some really good people around me.)

It's not like I don't take time off. It's that I don't take enough time off.

So today I slept in while Erin drove the kids to school. Then I cleaned up the house a little because I didn't know what else to do. I did some reading. Now I'm catching up on some blog reading. I'll probably play a little guitar sometime soon as well. And I'll just avoid the phone and my email.

I'll come out of my shell for high school small groups tonight, but that's about it.

For my fellow pastor types, when was the last time you took a day off? What did you do?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bring on the candy...

I spent some time carving pumpkins with the kids last night in preparation for the annual candy haul.

Tonight we're planning on heading out in the rain to collect some more junk food that isn't needed but will most likely be enjoyed.

You taking the kids out? Or do you stay home and give candy out?

Snooze alarm...

I got a new alarm clock as a birthday gift (amongst some other stuff I don't deserve but am grateful to have received) on Tuesday.

I set it up and guess what happened Wednesday morning? It didn't go off.

I read the instruction manual (go figure) last night and tried again.

This morning it went off. I proceed to hit snooze. This is an important fact because I am a HUGE supporter of the snooze button. Much to the general annoyance of the woman I share a bed with.

So I close my eyes and head back for what I can only assume will be a great 9 minutes of near bliss.

But there's one problem. It's a fairly significant problem too. Apparently Sony has arbitrarily decided to make my snooze only 5 minutes long!

Huh?!?!

That's not a snooze. That's a long blink. That doesn't count. And now I've been robbed of future snoozing.

I'm curious, are you a proponent of a 9 minute "proper snooze" or the 5 minute "long blink snooze"?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Old...

I turn 31 tomorrow.

Hold you applause.

First sign of old age? I'm looking to buy a new bag. Yeah, a bag.

You know, one that goes over your shoulder and holds your crap.

My last NYWC bag (they give you a freebie every year at the convention) is almost ready to disintegrate and since I'm not a huge fan of the one they gave out this year I'm on the hunt.

Yeah. Meaningless. Trivial. And somewhat embarrassing.

But it is what it is.

Any recommendations?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Cool...

Excuse the lack of any interesting words to describe this.

But I was reading Jonathan Heron's (a pastor in Kent, Ohio) blog today and read this story. Which I just found cool. Yes...cool.

Crazy - The Kent Stage is TRASHED from last night's Halloween downtown bash. Our volunteers have been cleaning and setting up since 7am.

So a party-goer is walking down Main St this morning, hears our band doing run-through, and comes in looking for an "After-Party." We explain we're a church and - long story short - he's inside right now helping clean floors!!

How does your church (and by "your" I actually mean "God's", but you know what I'm getting at) meet people in the community?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Should have seen it coming...

Last Wednesday was a great night with my students.

So, what happens tonight?

Yup...chaos.

Only half the students that signed up for worship team show up.

The computer swallows iTunes.

The illustration video had it's dubbing completely off.

The sound system had a major glitch and wouldn't play any sound from the laptop, so we had to run cables and rig up something that would work.

There was a lack of focus from the students.

The leaders were grouping together.

The teacher took FOREVER to get going.

(That was me, by the way.)

Sigh.


There's always next week.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All things Batman...

This got a chuckle out of me.

Finally...

It took a little while, but we have a winner.

Phil's post gets him a free copy of Matthew Paul Turner's Churched. He just needs to email me his address. Congrats Phil! Here's his story.
How about a story from camp when I was 6 or 7?

I'll tell the story anyways.

I went to bible camp when I was 6 or 7 and one of the nights they played the old scare 'em into heaven movie: "Thief in the Night". Don't ask me why they thought that was a good idea but it sure freaked me out. For weeks/months afterwards I had nightmares of being left behind. In the dream I was standing at the top of a huge hydro electric dam and I have to jump to escape the government that is trying to capture me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy turkey day...

We're a week late, but it'll have to do. It's officially Thanksgiving for us today.

The turkey is upstairs in the oven. Erin is making pie. The kids are cleaning (huh?). And me? I've found a way to play some mini-hockey with Aidan, play guitar while watching some John Mayer concert on the TV, and now I'm catch up on some blog reading.

Yes, I'm the lazy one in the family.

In other news, my youngest child decided that it would be a great idea to stand on my guitar case and jump onto the chair. Really?!?! How is that EVER a good idea?

If I could ground her, you wouldn't see her until her 20th birthday.

In other news, our church participated in a subsistence diet this last week. The idea was for everyone (who was willing) to eat only rice and beans for a portion of the week. Then we were supposed to take all the money we would have spent on our own food and buy groceries that we could donate to the local Food Bank.

(By the way, I got my butt kicked and barely made it through one day. I'm such a wimp.)

This morning everyone was encouraged to bring the food forward as an offering and we piled the stage with boxes and bags. I'll admit that I struggle with the whole "look what we did" part of this (even though we specifically said this was not the point). But I'll also say that we probably made a baby step forward.

But I'm worried that it might end there. I'm worried that it might only fill a crack that exists (a lack of food) but that it won't push us to come up with any longterm solutions to combating poverty in our community. I'm worried this will only be a one time thing.

So, how do you push people to take it further?

Friday, October 17, 2008

I should not have done this on a day off...

I picked up Marko's new book "Youth Ministry 3.0" in Sacramento and decided that since Erin's partying it up elsewhere tonight that I would see how far through it I could get.

I finished it. Mind you, it's not a long book, so don't give me too much credit!

Anyways, Marko introduced us to many of the thoughts in this book when he led the last General Session at NYWC, so I felt that this book filled in many of the gaps that I was left with after his talk. In some ways I felt like the talk was a teaser for the book.

The book describes many of the major shifts that have occurred in youth ministry over the years and how he believes that we're making another shift now into what he would call Youth Ministry 3.0. A new approach to how we "do" it.

I'm just going to say a big I DON'T KNOW.

I am absolutely in agreement with some of what he says.

At the same time I find myself wrestling with other parts of it.

I've heard the arguments from many other youth pastors that the way we're doing it (youth ministry) isn't working. I've said it myself after watching countless students that have participated in leadership retreats and missions trips totally walk away from their faith.

It is frustrating and confusing.

Maybe I've done it wrong in the past. Maybe I'm doing it wrong now.

But then again, maybe that's life? Maybe that's what our journey with Jesus is supposed to look like? Maybe it is supposed to contain more living it out and less trying to figure it out?

I'm always trying to figure stuff out. How to teach better. How to understand teenagers better. How to reach parents. How to have quiet time. How to...how to...how to.

I wonder if maybe we're missing the "here and now" aspect. Maybe we need to stop trying to figure out the next great thing and do "here and now" what works.

I'm not even sure what that looks like. How do we ever know if it works? Are we supposed to?

Good stuff to think about though. But since I think so much about praxis, all this general thinking is causing my head to swirl at an unreasonably high rate. And that is just not allowed on a day off.

I'm going to have to find something mindless to do until Erin gets home.

Thoughts? (Not on what to do now. Thoughts on what I've rambled about?)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh hell no...

I was having an interesting conversation with a couple of people today about the fact that it is Pastor Appreciation month.

What?!?! You didn't know?!?!

Anyway, I thought this sign that we saw this past weekend in Sacramento was entirely too funny.

Wednesday reviewed...

I was stumbling around Facebook today and ran across this note that one of our students (who has very limited connections with church except through our student ministry) wrote on her page. It was just another simple reminder of why I do this.
my youth is so much fun and i always have a blast its on wednesday nights from 7-9 and sometimes they will have snacks at the end its so cool and i kno its at a church but u dont have to be christian to go to it tho.its at SOA Church its neary extra foods and ask me if u want to kno more anyone and the youth leaders are so nice too and they will Always accept u no matter who or maybe even what u are(lol)
Oh yeah, and we didn't even feed these kids last night!

Last night was something we're calling Sacred Space. Yes, a completely ripped off name, but it works for us. It's a night where we don't have a band, there is no speaker, no games, no graphics or videos, no food. It's just a way for students to connect, listen, talk and be with God in a different way (or I should probably say ways).

They paint, they pray, they write, they rest, they confess, they encourage, they read.

It was one of those nights where you can step back and see God doing His thing. It was one of those nights where nobody is in a hurry to leave. It was one of those nights that will ripple into next week and the week after that and the week after that.

Ever had one of those nights?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Churched review...

Ever wonder what it would have been like to grow up in a fundamentalist church? Well, now you can...without all the baggage. But I'm grateful Matthew Paul Turner has agreed to carry that baggage around for the rest of us.

OK, maybe he hasn't agreed, but at least he's willing to entertain the rest of us with his baggage. (Thanks, by the way!)

I didn't grow up in a fundamentalist church but I still found myself reading some of the stories in the book and flashing back to my school days when we would hear the horror stories about that "other" Christian school who would enforce the "6 inch rule" and made sure the guys never had hair that touched their collars or their ears.

And what Sunday School kid hasn't participated in some contest to bring the most unsaved friends to a church event?

Churched is Turner's comical (yet often uncomfortable) look into his upbringing. It's funny and sad all at the same time. Funny because you almost can't make this stuff up. Sad because many of us who have grown up in the church have seen one or more of these stories lived out in the flesh.

It's a quick read that I blazed through this weekend while at the NYWC in Sacramento. I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it. If not, then you can blame me if it makes you feel better. If you didn't get you copy yet, head over here and pick yourself up a copy.

Are you too cheap and want a free copy?

Then try this:

  1. Post a comment to this review.
  2. Include your favorite "church story" that happened to you in middle school or high school. (Hey, I'm a youth pastor! What did you expect?)
  3. Leave some way that I can contact you.
  4. The deadline is this Friday (October 17th). I'll choose and post the winner (and their story) sometime on the weekend and mail you a book next week.
Sound like a plan?

Comment now.

Can you hear me...

I'm concerned for you.
I haven't heard from you in a while.
Did you stop reading?
Consider this roll call.
Who's here?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scarymento (day 3)...

All I would like to say is that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and instead of turkey I'll be eating In N' Out. And then I'll be driving. We should arrive home just in time for me to shower and go to work on Tuesday morning. Anyone feel like flying me back instead?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Scarymento (day 2)...

Lots of great stuff today with a little bit of "huh?" to top it all off. I think it's impossible to do a weekend conference like this and not experience something that makes you shake your head.

I don't want to take the time to walk you through it all because it's not really that exciting.

What I will tell you is that I have convinced a certain someone here with us in California to participate in NYWC speed dating tomorrow night. And all I had to offer was a free meal. I hope to have more details later.

So, what are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Scarymento (day 1)...

Well, it's not 27 degrees. It's actually windy and a little chilly. But at least I can see the sun.

We were on the road at 10:30pm last night and we pulled up to the hotel just before 2:30pm.

The only major meal consisted of a chicken burrito at Carl's Jr. Mmmmm!

We just finished adding the the American economy by shopping at the big Thursday night sale, and now we're going to try and find some food before Swarley the intern dies of hunger. He's a weak man.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

churched...

Matthew Paul Turner's newest book "Churched" released today.

It's on my reading list for the weekend and I hope to have my review up next week.

In the meantime, if you would like to buy a copy, you can always go here.

I should probably pack...

Tomorrow after youth I head off to Sacramento. Can you say "sunshine"?

Would you like regular updates over the weekend or will you survive without me?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

I am Canadian...

Have you voted for your "Hockey Night in Canada" theme song yet?

I'm currently waiting on my confirmation email so I can vote.

Yup, now this is politics that I can throw myself into.

For my American friends, all you need to know can be found here and here or here.

Or just watch this. And know that CBC lost the song to CTV. Not good for CBC.



Anyways, I think all of the 5 current song semifinalists are lackluster and will never come close to matching the emotions that one has experienced after being raised on the original. And I think that a couple of them may have been inspired by some B-grade from the 1980's. But, I guess everything has to change sooner or later, right?

So, which anthem are you voting for?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Balance...

I think it's a myth.

It's something designed by smart people so they can sell books to the rest of us who are gullible to believe that it is actually attainable.

With that said, I am learning how to manage my time, so would I technically be able to say that I am becoming "balanced"? If I am, should I write it down, publish it and try to sell it?

So, it's the infamous "day off" for me, so I'll share some randomness with you.

All things music...
Go listen to Charlie Hall's new CD called "The Bright Sadness". AWESOME! I'm attending the Passion World Tour on Monday in Vancouver and part of me would be more excited to hear Hall instead of Chris Tomlin. But the tickets are free, so who am I to complain?

All things film...
We watched "What Happens in Vegas" and "Son of Rambow". I preferred the latter. I'd recommend it. Tonight we're watching "The Love Guru".

All things written...
I've been a little slow with my reading lately due to my time management. Maybe I can get caught up this weekend. I also just received my two free hardcover copies of Matthew Paul Turner's "Churched" in the mail today. Yeah, two copies! And did I mention they were free? Does this mean I should start a blog contest? Or do I just give one away at youth on Wednesday?

Getting ready for...
We're headed to Sacramento next Thursday for NYWC. It's been two years since we've been and I've missed it. There's four of us making the journey, and some of the greatest people in the world (you guys know who you are!) are watching our kids for us.

Free stuff for you...
Go here and get Phil Wickam's "Singalong" for free.

Did you know...
If you go to Google, type in "find chuck norris" and click "I'm Feeling Lucky", you'll probably chuckle. I did. Even though I know Jack Bauer would destroy Norris.

Speaking of Bauer, did you see this yet?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't call me, I'll call you...

To my canuckleheaded friends, did you sign up for the "Do Not Call" list?

Or did you get a busy signal?

You can find the site at
LNNTE-DNCL.gc.ca when it's actually up and running again.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Student ministry question of the week...

To my faithful following (if you're still there) that are somehow connected to student ministry, I'm curious to know how often you (or your youth pastor) host meetings just for parents?

Wednesday reviewed...

Message: PROXIMITY: Close to Others (Mark 2:1-12)
We used the passage of the 4 guys who carried a paralytic to Jesus and then lowered him through the roof so that they could get him to Jesus. The idea was to let the students visualize what lengths some people will go to in order to help someone else be changed by Jesus. We wrapped up with looking at Philippians 2 and talking about what Jesus gave up to set foot on earth.

Live Music:
Sing, Sing, Sing (Chris Tomlin)
Let Us Sing (Todd Fields)
All Because of Jesus (Steve Fee)
King of Majesty (Hillsong United)

Games: (out of a ***** system) (HS=high school; MS=middle school)
The Great Speed Meet (HS) ****
This is a tradition for starting the year and it's gone over really well every time we ave done it. Students pair up and sit across from one another in two lines. That means they are knee-to-knee while also having someone on their right and left. Each person has a list of questions they must ask the person opposite them while also answering the same questions. When we yell "switch" everyone moves one spot to their right and they repeat. When everyone has "met" everyone else we call up some volunteers and we see how much each "team" can remember about that person.
Masking Tape Game of Mayhem (MS) *****
Put masking tape on everyone's head or back and then try to rip the tape off other people. Easy enough, right? Yeah, apparently the middle schoolers enjoyed an excuse to gang up on Josh.
Poop Deck (MS) ***
I can't even explain. Josh led this one. But it requires running and occasionally yelling out pirate words. Apparently everyone was a little slow catching on.

Video:
"Jesus is My Friend" by Sonseed
"Jesus is My Friend (remix)" by David Crowder Band (played as students were leaving)

Numbers: 16 leaders, 45 students, 2 roles of masking tape

Special Stuff: We had a group of students carry another student around the room on a stretcher so that everyone could visualize what was maybe happening in Mark 2. At the end of the night we asked students to write something on a sticky note and then come paste it to the stretcher. "I will pray for...", "I will talk to...", "I will sit with...", etc. Simple, yet practical, follow through on how to work on growing closer to others.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What do you do...

It's Saturday.  What are you doing?
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, September 26, 2008

Political commentary...

Disclaimer: I hate politics.

With that said, I'm absolutely enjoying the gong show that's currently happening south of the border. I've seen a few videos of Sarah Palin being interviewed on CBS and I'm not sure how anyone can take this woman seriously.






And this made me chuckle too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The night before...

I've been working on a few work related things tonight.  I'm still trying to play catch up after a crazy Monday that saw me unable to complete anything on my "to do" list.  (Seriously, how hard is it to complete a message outline?!?!)

And now I'm in that strange mood the night before I'm supposed to teach at youth and I'm wondering if my message is even going to be ready to go by tomorrow night.  (You've been there right?)

I'm starting off a 3 week series that we're calling PROXIMITY.  The big idea for tomorrow is that we are meant to be in "proximity" to other people and we want to see students growing close to others.

But since I haven't taught a full message to my students since June, I'm feeling a little rusty.  And a little brain-fried.  And more than a little distracted.

And I'm wondering if this was the right message to kick off with, or if I should have started with our week two message that is about being in "proximity" to God and growing close to Him.

Yeah, great things to be considering the NIGHT before, eh?

And I'm blitzed.  Oh I hope this isn't a gong show...

Blogged with the Flock Browser

I'm a pagan...

OK, not really. At least not that I know of.

But here's the latest reading conquests.

Book #39 - Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna

This one was on the radar for a while. Then the staff team at the church decided that we were going to have a philosophy of ministry discussion at an upcoming half-day retreat (this Thursday). I had the thought that this might give me some food for thought.

While I'm not sure how much of it will actually contribute to our conversation, or even to my train of thought as I prepare for the discussion, I did find the church history lesson to be somewhat enlightening. And while it's hard to argue with some of the facts of history, I can't say that I agree with every critique that the book levels at where we are currently at in the contemporary church. At the same time I did find myself nodding along (not in a sleepy kind of way) with some of the thoughts and questions raised.

The big idea seems to be that the church has moved away from its New Testament roots and has started to function in such a way that most people have become passive observers in a community where they should be active participants. Lead pastors? Bad? Youth pastors? Bad. Church buildings? Bad. Salaries? Bad. Baptism and Communion? Not bad, but not done the right way. House church? Good.

The concept of house churches seems to be the latest fad (is that too strong of a word?) and while I see a lot of merit to them, I don't know if I would say that we have to throw out everything the church (in it's current western, evangelical understanding) is doing in favor of them.

I've been informed that this is only one book in what's supposed to be an ongoing conversation, so I've been hooked into this now. I can't help but think about the fascinating conversations that could happen as a result of this book.

If anyone else has read it, I'd love to hear your impressions.

Book #40 - Rusty Nail by J.A. Konrath
This just seems somewhat embarrassing and trivial after the last book review, but I read book one and two, so why stop there? I'll save you the details as this has basically become my male equivalent of watching a soap opera.

Book #41 - Dirty Martini by J.A. Konrath
He has a fourth book too, so it was only natural to read this one. Again, I'll spare you the review as it didn't stimulate much in the way of worthy talking points.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Proof...

I know you probably don't doubt me, but check out the "Top Scorers" section on the right side of the page.

The weekend update...

Friday
Erin's 31st birthday. Starbucks, blueberry muffin, shopping, The Keg.

Saturday
Soccer. Aidan's soccer: a 6-2 loss, but he had a blast. My soccer: we won 13-1 (the ref ended the game almost 15 minutes early!). I scored 3 (my first hat trick in some time. Ah, the good ole days.)

Sunday
First Sunday of the new worship model at church. I was skeptical coming in, but after one Sunday I'm thinking this just might work.

United draws 1-1 with Chelsea. At least it wasn't a loss...

Now, I shall make myself comfortable with some books on the couch.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flip the page...

Book #38 - It by Craig Groeschel
I picked this up at Leadership Summit. I don't find Craig to be the most profound author, yet I'm constantly intrigued by some of his ideas and I find that he gives me a creative boost. I have been trying to read a chapter each morning in the office so I can get my brain into cruising speeds.

The book focuses on the "it" factor. It's when you step inside a church, you look around and you know that they have "it". You know that they are doing something right.

He unpacks what people tend to mean by "it" and works through some basic principles for how you can have "it" and keep "it".

I'm currently balancing Craig (who I think would adhere to a church policy of dream it, build it, try it) out with George Barna & Frank Viola's Pagan Christianity. Talk about two completely different perspectives of how to do church. I'm halfway through it, so the review will be up eventually.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

She's pretty...

I remember falling in love with my wife.

And I'm not just saying that because her birthday is tomorrow.

But I also remember falling in love here.

The link was taken down, but the object of my affection is pictured to your immediate left.













And now I have once again fallen in love.






















She's pretty, wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday reviewed...

Last night we kicked off our student ministries.

Hmm...that makes it sound like we haven't done anything all summer. And I know at least one parent who thinks I was doing nothing for the last few months. But that's a topic for another day.

Anyways, here's a quick glimpse into what we did last night.

Theme: Kick-Off Night

Message: No official "message" as this was an intro to what we will be doing in the near future. We gave the students a little form to fill out and we talked about some upcoming ways that they can get involved. I also gave the "B.O. Speech". It goes like this, "WEAR DEODORANT".

Live Music:
Our Love is Loud (David Crowder)
All Because of Jesus (Steve Fee)
Sing, Sing, Sing (Chris Tomlin)
Make a Joyful Noise/I Will Not Be Silent (David Crowder)
Marvelous Light (Charlie Hall)

Games: (out of a ***** system)
Baby Blocks Time Trial ****
Two students are blindfolded and must put baby blocks in a container by their appropriate shapes. Quick, easy and mildly entertaining.
LazerTag Teams -***** (yes, that's minus stars. It was bad. Huge flop.)
I'll spare you the agonizingly difficult explanation for a game that went over like a lead fart. It sounded good when we planned it, but then it just didn't work itself out well.
Pool Noodle Name Game ***
Stand up, say your name and then say someone else's name before the person in the middle can swat you with a pool noodle. Yeah, a classic. And a great way to learn names.
Human Rock, Paper, Scissors ****
Guys vs girls. The entire team acts out one of the chosen objects. Funny stuff.

Video:
"2007-2008 Highlight Video" (we played this in the background as students were arriving)
"Meet Josh", a funny video made by one of our leaders to introduce our newest intern.

Numbers: 14 leaders, 48 students, 6 pizzas, 180 Timbits

Special Stuff: Group prayer for 2 of our leaders who are heading off to YWAM next week. I was tempted to pray that YWAM would shut its doors so that they would stay with us. But, it was cool to watch our entire group surround them and lay hands on them and pray for them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday tunings...

A few random items for your reading enjoyment.
  • Maybe it's just me, but the new season of Prison Break is horrible. It has now been removed from my "watch this" list.
  • I was recently selected to participate in a blog tour for an upcoming book release. I'll post some more info fairly soon. The official tour happens in October.
  • Student Ministry "stuff" (that's pastoral lingo for you) kicks off tomorrow night. I still have a handful of leaders in limbo while they decide whether or not to commit to the upcoming year. I'm hoping we get it sorted out soon. Nothing quite like waiting to the last minute, eh?
  • Watched "Fringe". I may watch episode 2 tonight. Kind of like X-Files meets I, Robot.
Curious, what new shows are you watching this fall?

Monday, September 15, 2008

What hit me...

I spent the day at home on the couch since I'm feeling like I was run over by a truck or something.  I was up, my mind racing, until after 3:30am.  When I finally stumbled out of bed this morning I wasn't too sure that a full work day was on my list of things that needed to be accomplished.  Erin said I wasn't looking good either (and normally she thinks I'm fairly good looking).

So, it was back to bed with me.

And then when I dragged myself out of bed I found my place on the couch.

My afternoon consisted of some reading and watching half a season of "How I Met Your Mother".

And to top it all off it's 27 degrees outside.

So, what do you do when you're sick?
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ah crap...

United - Liverpool.

Berbatov & Tevez looked good out of the gates.

A goal in th first five minutes.

Things are clicking.

And then they fall apart.  2-1 for the Scousers.

Oh well.  Now I'll focus on the 2pm kick-off for my men's league soccer.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, September 08, 2008

Can God heal in this...

A couple of months ago I received a link to a website that was built around a song called "Healer". It was a very moving and emotional video that was shared the story of a man who was diagnosed with cancer who went on the write a song that cried out to God for healing. One portion of the video shows a band performance of the song by Mike Gugliemucci who is on stage wearing an oxygen mask. I was moved by the song and the story behind the song.

Here's the original video.



Then, a few weeks ago, it comes out that Mike had faked his battle with cancer. He had deceived his own family and made the whole thing up to cover up an addiction to pornography.

You can watch the story on YouTube via an Australian news agency below.



But as I watched, I was drawn back to the song. I think of the people who sang it week after week expressing their faith and belief that God would heal them. I think of the people who prayed for Mike. I think of the people who fight their own battles with disease and sickness. And I wonder what is going through their minds.

I know we can probably talk about how susceptible we are to emotions and music. I know we can debate the merits and evils of relying on contemporary songs for "worship". And I think we could probably dive into the whole world of the effects of pornography.

But I find myself drawn back to the words of the song. As fraudulent as they may have been at one time, can God not redeem them and use them?

So, my question for you is this. Could you use the song to lead people in worship? Or would you place it "on the shelf"?

Healer

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need

My Healer, You're my Healer

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands