Thursday, May 29, 2008

Wednesday review...

My students (and probably leaders) are reaching their limit. They've been going strong for the past year and it's getting to that point in the calendar when everyone gets a little restless. Students start disappearing for grads, schoolwork and jobs. Some college students vanish for the summer while others return home to help out.

So we decided to take a breather and do things old school with "A Night of Play".

Middle School and High School all together for one purpose and one purpose only, to PLAY.

No worship team set up & take down, no MediaShout, no random videos.

No "talk" to somehow redeem the evening.

The goal was to play, relax, laugh and just BE together.

But somewhere in that mix I completely missed something. And I feel like a complete idiot, because it's something that should be common sense by now. As soon as I tell you what it is you will likely shake you head and say "tsk, tsk, had it coming old man."

Allow me to back up a little bit.

One of our leaders brought us a giant box of packing peanuts. I decided to throw all our prizes in the box so kids could walk up to the stage, reach in and grab a random item. We put Coke, mini-cereal boxes, silly putty and candy into the box. My wife and I also found water guns on sale, so we tossed a few of those (by few, I mean 10) into the mix.

Yeah...water guns. What was I thinking?!?!

Almost 75% of our students left the premises with water on them. I was drenched from head to toe. There was water EVERYWHERE! And I'm not talking about outside. We pretty much had an all out water war inside the Youth Centre.

And let me tell you that it sure was funny.

So, now you tell me...was this a rookie mistake or did I actually know what I was doing?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Teens & BO...

One of the things I've learned over my years of working with teenagers is that they can smell bad. If you haven't experienced the odors that can emanate from a group of middle schoolers, please count yourself lucky.

Lately, we've been noticing a rise in the smells at our youth events. (I mean a literal rise as you can actually see the smell before it arrives at your nasal passage.) There are a few students that obviously have not been educated in regards to proper social hygiene and it's becoming slightly awkward.

We're trying to think of how we can approach the issue without hurting feelings while at the same time trying to prevent what could become "social suicide". It's obvious to many, but so far no one has complained or "made a big stink" about it.

My intern suggested asking some deodorant-making companies for free samples that we could give away, so we may look into that.

But, do you have any other ideas or suggestions of what we could do to educate these students without making them feel singled out?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Book contest update...

I forget what number I'm officially on. I'll double check, but I think Erin finally took the lead. Oh well, at least I held her at bay for 5 months. I should be proud of that.

Here's what I've finished reading lately:

Deep Justice in a Broken World -
by Chap Clark & Kara Powell
I read this one as I prepared for my sermon on Micah 6:8. It's one of those books that frustrated me to no end while still causing me to dream big. There were moments when I was left with that typical feeling of "I'm not doing enough. I suck." yet I found that it was balanced out with "What can I do?"

I'd recommend reading the book if you're currently thinking about how you can get students involved in doing justice or if you are currently involved (or would like to be involved) in some type of justice ministry in your community or church. It also contains some very good discussion starters and personal reflection questions at the end of each chapter that will help you think through the practical "what can I do" type of questions.

Why We're Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) -
by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
I've read a lot of emerging/emergent books over the past few years, so I thought I'd give this one a go as one of the opposing voices against the emerging church. I was a little skeptical, because I find any book that tends to speak against something usually does so in a very arbitrary manner that often leads to taking things out of context from a small number of sources.

This book takes the typical swings at Brain McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball (and the another usual emerging types), but I found that they actually carried themselves quite well. I felt they didn't come across as "You suck because MY way is right", but they really tried to engage in some good arguments about some issues in the emerging movement.

All that said, if you're at all intrigued or interested by the emerging church, this may be a good book to read through as it will show you part of the flip side of the coin (if that makes any sense).

When the Wind Blows and Double Cross - by James Patterson
Nothing significant here. I was just looking for some more fiction to read and since I liked Patterson's other stuff I didn't stray far. But "When the Wind Blows" was a little weird even for me. I mean, it's a thriller/mystery about genetic experiments that cause children to have wings which they can fly with. "Double Cross" was a pick up from the library before my four day work break and it was ok.

Random Tuesdayness...

Just in case you wanted to know:
  • I think "Greatest Hits" CDs are one of the biggest scams in the music industry. Please keep in mind that this comes from a big Dave Matthews fan who has yet to shell out coin for "The Best of What's Around" although the fact that it comes with a second disc of live songs would justify the spending.
  • Is it just me or is "Christian music" actually getting worse?
  • I saw Indiana Jones 4 last night with my small group. I was oddly perplexed, confused, fascinated, annoyed and entertained by the entire experience.
  • I ate cereal for breakfast. While you likely do not find it noteworthy, I do have two little known facts that will make this information more memorable for you: (1) it's been almost 6 years since I have eaten cereal because I think that breakfast is one of the biggest scams going (up there with greatest hits CDs) and (2) I ate Indiana Jones cereal.
  • I need to write some book reviews, plan a games night for my students and generally catch up on emails after my last 4 days off of work.
  • You will hear from me again shortly
  • What did YOU eat for breakfast?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Honk again...

How often do you use your car horn?
I, for one reason or another, don't use that wonderful object of "frustration identification" quite enough.

A few weeks ago we loaded up the family for a trip south so we could eat out.
(After all, the only way to celebrate Mother's Day is to eat at The Outback.)
As we waited in line we found ourselves next to one our youth leaders (who is incidentally from the USA and was headed home from church).

So we rolled down the window and had a nice little chat to kill time as we waited.
Since the line we were in wasn't going anywhere that quickly we let a space develop between us and the car that was directly in front of us.
Keep in mind that the vehicle in front of us was still about 3 or 4 car lengths from even entering the border crossing.

Then it happened...HONK!
What?!?! You've got to be kidding me!
The person behind me had the nerve to honk, as if I was preventing them from getting to their destination.
Ok, I have a hard enough time understanding the "quick honkers" who lay on the horn if someone sits idle at a green light for more than 2 nanoseconds, but this was utterly ridiculous!

I'm not holding anyone up.
I'm not preventing anyone from getting to their destination.
I'm just passing the time by talking to someone in line next to me.
Please be advised that you will not get there sooner if I pull up 10 feet.

Do you have guidelines for when and where you use the horn?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday or Thursday...

It feels like a Friday.
But it's not, and that is good news.
If it was actually Saturday, this would not be good news. #1 of 5 days off consisted of watching The Mist while the kids were at school and while Erin was at the dentist.
I actually somewhat enjoyed the movie. How strange is that?
Anyways, I also watched the penalty kicks from yesterday's Champion's League game again.
It still makes me giddy.
I'm now trying to figure out what to do with the next 4 days.
Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Glory Glory Man Utd...

I want to dedicate this post to my friend Jon.

I cannot explain the immense joy I shared in watching Drogba (click the'll probably get a chuckle) walk off the field.
(I'll admit that it was not as joyous as my celebration when that final save was made, but I digress.)
All for a slap.
I mean, come on! My kids can hit harder than that.
If you're going to swing at someone, you might as well make it worth it.
Wouldn't you agree?

Anyways, the glorious Double has been won.
Manchester United are the Kings of England and of Europe.
I will sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

For a Tuesday...

I only have a few minutes.
I will therefore give them to you.
Please don't abuse this privilege.
Instead, please find a TV to watch the Champion's League Final tomorrow.
Yes, I'll be camped out in front of my TV for a couple hours.
No, I won't be in the office.
Yes, I am only working 2 days this week.
This is day #1 and it's not even half over.
After day #2 I get 5 days off.
In those 5 days I hope to see Indiana Jones twice.
(Remember, that I'm a nerd like that.)
Will you watch the soccer game or Indy this week?

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I hope you don't see me as arrogant.
Even though I'm better than you.
(I'm totally know that right?)

I read a blog today that frustrated me and it oozed arrogance.
That "I'm better than you because I did this" kind of thing.

If I come across as arrogant, could you please smack me?

What frustrates you when you read blogs?

Friday, May 16, 2008


Both kids are at school for the entire day.
This is a first for us as parents.
It means we get to spend the entire day together.
I'm not sure what we're supposed to do.
Maybe I can get Erin to buy me a scooter.
It's sunny out and it would be fun to drive a scooter.
And I'd be cool because I'd be saving life on planet earth.
That means I'd be saving YOUR life.
Would you appreciate that?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Crowder vs Cyrus...

Ok, this is just plain funny. If you don't know who Miley Cyrus is you may have to head over to iTunes and listen to a piece of her song "See You Again" to fully appreciate this next video by Mr. David Crowder.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My body shouts louder...

Every once in a while I hit these moments where my body starts shouting at me. And most of the time I tell it to shut up and leave me alone. It rarely listens to me.

I'm slowly learning that sometimes my body actually wants to communicate something important to me. It's latest message? Slow down.

So, slow shall I go. Or at least I will try to.

I have a weekend (that may actually consist of sunshine every day!) that has one student ministry event. I get Monday off. I have no teaching prep to do this weekend. So I shall try to slow down for a few days.

I only hope that the movie store has some decent movies left by the time I get there tomorrow. Do you have any recommendations of things I should see?

Last week I watched The Darjeeling Limited and Cloverfield. I didn't make it through the first movie, it was just too slow for me. Cloverfield was a rip off. It was only just over an hour long. That alone makes me angry so I won't even get started on the rest of the movie. Seriously, did anyone actually enjoy the movie?

Currently Playing: "Give Yourself Away" by Robbie Seay Band

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hey there MacGyver...

I stumbled on this over at Granger Community Church's site. Funny stuff, if you know who MacGyver is. Tell me you know who he is.

And if you want to know about every problem MacGyver solved, here's a recap.

Mix a volcano and lightning...

I saw this on Josh Griffin's blog and I just thought it was fascinating.

Apparently they are from a Volcano that erupted in Chile. Check it out here.

The truth is out there...


Brace yourself for this.

This is one of those moments that may cause you to lose respect for me.

I enjoy The X-Files. But mostly before they went all weird and always talked about the alien conspiracies. I liked the stand alone episodes that had their own story line. Apparently this second movie is supposed to be more like that.

Also, when I was at Internship Seminars a couple of weeks ago I noticed some artwork on the wall that leads me to believe that someone thinks Jesus was an alien.

I'm sorry the photo is a little fuzzy, but it's my crappy phone. I'm just happy I could get the picture off my phone to begin with.

Incidentally, I'm accepting donations so I can buy a new phone. Contact me, if you're interested in helping out!

The second photo should show the "alien" a little more. Can you see the bug eyes?

This thing took up the entire wall and we had to stare at it all week long.

During the talks, it was there.

During the worship, it was there.

Is it just me, or is this a little creepy?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sunday morning recap...

I made it through the teaching time on Sunday. I've basically recovered from the "preaching hangover".

If you haven't experienced one before, it is much akin to attending a middle school lock-in where you spend 9 straight hours playing dodgeball while trying to stay conscious enough to ensure that the building does not get lit on fire by teenage pyromaniacs.

Not that I really know what THAT feels like.

I wrestled with the message right up until almost the last minute (which is odd because I've been working on this message for almost 4 weeks). I found myself doing a MAJOR re-edit on Saturday night because something just wasn't clicking right. And it did seem to finally come together

I tossed out the idea of "doing" something at the last minute. I had grand plans of sending everyone out early to bring back an item for the Food Bank. But alas, it was Mother's Day and I caved into "not doing".

As a visual I placed boxes on the stage, and had volunteers come up and tear off a portion of a box before they sat back down. Only 7 or 8 people came forward, so that still left us with a lot of cardboard. Then I asked people what would happen in every single person in the room would come forward and tear off a portion.

I was trying to draw a parallel to what would happen if we all started working together to right some of the wrongs we see in the world.

And to change things up a bit I intentionally taught from a chair.

(Side note: I'm not a friend of the "pulpit". I don't feel comfortable with it. I feel it puts a barrier between me and the people I am speaking with. So I brought a raised chair and preached from that. Also, our pulpit isn't as massive as the one pictured. I thought you should know this so you don't think we're weird.)

Lastly, some of my students and leaders spoke about Compassion Canada and why they have personally chosen to sponsor children. They hit it out of the park! And I am SO proud of every one of them.

As a result, a pile of kids were sponsored after the service.

I'm rambling...but this let's me evaluate and process.

Stale blogs...

I think my blog has gone the way of stale bread.

I know where it is.

I usually forget it's there.

I occasionally throw it in the toaster.

It grows green stuff on it.

I'm bored. I've been updating my current blog list and now I'm rethinking my own. I'm not going to ditch it. That would be too extreme. But it definitely needs to be hit with a tazer or something.

Any ideas?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Champions again...

I'm still a little cranky that I missed the entire first half due to the Score and their ridiculous inability to properly list the start times of games. Seriously, they shouldn't be allowed to show games anymore.

But United are champions again! Next stop: Moscow!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The wheels are turning...

I'm teaching in church this Sunday about "social justice". Here's a quick overview of what I'm trying to incorporate into the teaching portion of the morning. I'd like to know if any of you have any other suggestions.
  • Teaching the congregation Charlie Hall's "Micah 6:8"
  • Viewing a short video on what sponsoring a child is all about.
  • Interviewing students & adult leaders who are sponsoring children through Compassion Canada (this is a student led initiative that we're trying to get the rest of the church to buy into)
  • The big idea of the teaching time: "Righting the wrongs..." (using Micah 6:1-8 as the primary teaching text). The goal is to get people to see how many opportunities there are for them to get involved in areas of showing kindness and justice and inspiring them to get involved somewhere so that they can start righting the wrongs.
  • Visual: Most of the students (as well as myself if I muster up enough courage) will be wearing matching t-shirts designed by Rosa Loves, a company that designs & sells shirts to raise money for people who are in need.
  • Practical Step: (a work in progress)
I'd like to ask people to do something at the end of the service. Something that would require them to think, ponder and engage. Something that would make a difference, but something that wouldn't come across as gimmicky. Make sense?

I called the local Food Bank and asked for their top 3 needs. I could present that to them and ask them to bring one of the items in next week. But I'm still working through how this would happen from a logistics standpoint.

Any ideas?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Tic, tac, toe...

Death Cab for Cutie is playing in the background. I'm avoiding the books on the coffee table because whenever I read them I start thinking about work, which then defeats the purpose of having a day off.

So I have opted for some time on the computer.

I was introduced to the Sundance Film Festival's Global Shorts Project (ht Ian). If you have a few minutes to kill go watch a few of the videos. I have particularly enjoyed "Learning to Skateboard" by Jody Hill.

"I have three words for you. Tic. Tac. Toe"

I would now like to buy a few of these for our Youth Centre. We've found that kids would rather sit on the floor instead of in the "church chairs". You know what "church chairs" are right? Scrap pieces of metal and cardboard covered in outdated materials.

And lastly, how do you feel about Jackie Chan? Check this video out. (ht Marko)