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.

"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?
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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...

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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


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...

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

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.)

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.

"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.
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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"?


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

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Being without internet access during the vacation I didn't hear this news until my return home.

LeRoi Moore, one of the founding members of Dave Matthews Band passed away on August 19 from complications related to a previous ATV accident back in June.

No doubt, he will be missed by family, friends and fans.

I'm curious as to how they replace him.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Book it...

Bryce was curious as to what I've been reading lately. Here you go.

Book #31 - Black Friday by James Patterson

I needed some mindless reading for the beach, so this is the one I went for. So much talk about stock markets and crashes...it made my head hurt.

Book #32 - Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath
I discovered this author while reading a short story in this book. I found the book in some little off-the-beaten-path bookshop in Maui for $3.50. The subject matter is a little intense, but again it was a beach read.

Book #33 - Going All the Way by Craig Groeschel
I hadn't read a relationship/marriage book for a while, so when I stumbled across this one at Leadership Summit a few weeks ago I figured I'd drag it with me on the plane and maybe learn a thing or two. Also, it's been a while since I did any pre-marital counseling and I'm thinking it may be time to expand the resources. As for the book...it's a quick, easy read. A little simplistic at times and maybe a little cliche, but in a day and age where so many marriages fail, maybe we need to focus on some of the more simple things. I'd recommend the book to a younger couple that was thinking about getting married.

Book #34 - Thriller edited by James Patterson
I wanted to find some new authors, so I grabbed this collection of short stories. This was the wrong way to find a new author. Basically I had to grit my teeth and fight my way through a score of stories that did nothing to captivate my attention. It was a mammoth of a book to get through so at some point, rather than just return it to the library, it became a personal battle. I was going to finish that entire thing and reign as champion. I am the champ now. But the book fails to recognize me for my feat.

Book #35 - Lord Save Us From Your Followers by Dan Merchant
It had a discount sticker on it at the outlet book store. I have heard of the movie, so I figured I'd gibe the book a shot. At times I was saying to myself that this was beyond cheesy as the author heads out into public covered in bumper stickers and tries to initiate conversation about the culture war that exists between Christians and the rest of the world. Yet, at other times I found myself appreciating the heart and message of so much of what Dan spoke or captured in his various interviews. It's another example of how "Christians" have been missing the mark of loving people and how it's time to do things differently.

Book #36 - Bloody Mary by J.A. Konrath
I read the first book in the series so I figured I'd try book 2. It's kind of the same, only different.

Book #37 - Smashed: Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas
This memoir traces Koren's battle with alcohol from her teenage years, through her college years and into her working life. I'll admit that I found it odd that someone who had such a massive battle with alcohol would never actually label herself as an alcoholic. But then again, I've just learned that there is a difference between and alcoholic and an alcohol abuser. Either way, this story was gut-wrenching, saddening, eye-opening and even hopeful. A story of the darker side of alcohol and how one can escape it's clutches.

Just curious, what are you reading these days?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday is Friday...

Fall is officially underway.

The kids both started school this week. We had a mild scare yesterday around 5:00pm when the principal called to say they and switched Becca into a different class. No discussion, no questions asked. They just switched her.

Well, after Erin and I talked it over we decided that we should at least meet face to face to talk the decision over. We felt that the class she was in was much better suited for her personality and that relationally she would fit better in her current class.

So we called to express our concerns and the principal agreed to meet with all three of us this morning. But this morning the principal called and said that she had considered what we had said. She decided that Becca could stay in her current class.


I think Becca's prayer time tonight consisted of repetitions of "thank you that I get to stay in my class". There's at least two happy parents too.

Other than that, soccer is kicking off (EPL, Aidan and myself), youth is gearing up, kick-off events are around the corner, and the nights are starting to disappear. I've also been asked if I would consider leading a worship team (other than our student band) for the upcoming year.

Yeah...lots to sort through still.

So, what are you most looking forward to this fall?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Vacation review (part 6)...

August 20

We wrapped up the trip with some more time on the beach and by doing some more snorkeling.

And in case you ever want to see a turtle, here's some advice. Just sit on the beach until someone yells "turtle".

Yup...I actually took that photo myself. I'm a regular oceanographer (that's the one that takes photos in the ocean right?).

After checking out we stored our gear, jumped in the Jeep and went exploring.

There is more beauty around every bend on this island. (The girl on the right is by far prettier than the goof on the left.)

One final sunset before heading for the airport.

I don't think our flight left until after 11:00pm Maui time. I tried to watch Iron Man on the airplane since that was the first time I've ever been on a plane that showed a decent movie during the flight. But I didn't make it.

And guess what we arrived home to?

You guessed it...rain. It felt like winter here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Vacation review (part 5)...

August 19

Did you know that if you sit through an hour and a half time share presentation you can get $100 and a coupon that will get you 50% off a future stay?

Yes, we will subject ourselves to sitting and listening with absolutely no intention of purchasing anything. They figured it out early on and let us off easy. But we were ahead by that time.

Then we were off to the beach.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

So here's 4 thousand words.

All from 800 feet.