Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bring on July...

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It feels a little strange having a day off in the middle of the week, but I'm not going to complain too much.

We're heading out to watch the parade and I'll also be keeping an eye on the NHL free agent signings, hoping that Bob Gainey can put together a stellar team for the fall.

Today he ditched Higgins for Gomez. Decent start.

So, what are you planning for Canada Day?

Monday, June 29, 2009


Every time Sir Swarls (aka The Intern) wears his red t-shirt with the word "closer" on it I have a hard time deciding whether he is making a statement that he is a closer, as in closing pitcher, or he is closer, as in "closer to crazy than other people".

Today I use the term "closer" as in "I am closer to vacation than last week."

Two Seattle City Passes arrived today in the mail via Air Miles. One more kids pass is on its way, and we'll have to fork out a few dollars for the fourth. But that means that we'll be shelling out a mere $39 US dollars for all four of us to:
  • Travel to the top of the Space Needle
  • Visit the aquarium
  • Visit the zoo
  • Visit the Science Center and watch an IMAX flick
  • Visit the Science Fiction Museum (or the Museum of Flight)
  • Go on a harbor cruise
We are closer to vacation! We are desperately needing this and I am super excited to spend some time with just my family in a city that we love to visit.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Inside my head...

As I may have mentioned before, sometimes I hear voices in my head.

In an attempt to explain myself, as well as hopefully give you a little insight into what goes through my head when I'm involved with leading worship at our church on a given Sunday, let me share this with you.

Back story: we have two "worship through music" portions of our service. One is traditional and the other is contemporary. The message is sandwiched in between with some other church family type stuff.

In order to help our worship pastor out, I offered to lead the contemporary portion this week with a scaled back "youth band". Only 5 of us were on stage compared to the usual (I kid you not) 8-10.

I picked the songs last week, hoping that we could pull it off with the minimal practice time we had available to us, because of the building being used for a grad ceremony on our typical practice night. I was also trying to get the songs to fit with the message theme as best I could, without ever having heard the actual sermon but knowing a little bit of the big idea.

Cut to this morning where I was a little on edge. Sweaty, shaky, nervous. I wasn't doubting the song selection per say, but I was doubting the transition from the sermon and into the contemporary portion.

Then as I listened to the sermon, I kept having a mini song race through my brain. It's one of those impromptu songs that only has about 2 lines and we have only actually practiced once as a band...ever.

But I can't shake the song. I can't shake the idea that with a little lyrical change it would be a perfect fit. It seems like it has to be done.

But we don't have words on the screen for it.

We haven't nailed it in practice.

But the message seems to fit so perfectly.

The voice in my head is very convincing. And I can't get it to leave me alone.

So...do I do it? Or do I stick to what is?

I traded a quick note with my wife. She added confirmation.

So, we tried it. I asked for people to reflect as they listened and then to join in as they were ready to make the statement:
I may be down, but I will rise
I once was bound, God set me free.

Then we headed into these tunes:
  • Glory to God Forever
  • Holding Nothing Back
  • Let the Praises Ring
Normally I wouldn't share this here. I hate to make things seem like the songs make the morning. But this morning I was able to participate in the music unlike I have ever done before. The song choices resonated with my heart and my head. The response from everyone was participatory and enthusiastic. It was like everything clicked.

With that being said, I still wrestle with that one transition.

It seems strange that one little piece of the service can cause my brain to race so much.

I just hope it wasn't a distraction to anyone who was there.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Book #24...

The Big Bad Wolf
James Patterson

I think I know why my mom found this in the discount bin at her local library. Oh well...at least I didn't spend money on it.

Happy Saturday...

Waking up to cinnamon buns and the sun shinning sure can change the outlook on a day. Yes, I am that shallow.

Now it's time to figure out what exactly to do from this list:
  • clean up the house
  • fix the patches of lawn that aren't growing grass
  • spread the gravel
  • wash the car
  • finish my reading
  • play some guitar
Then later tonight it's off to paintball with our students. I've been threatening Josh for months that we will do an intern hunt. He hides, and we all track him down to shoot him. Sounds like fun, eh?

Friday, June 26, 2009


Fort all you student ministry type people, I'm wondering how you recruit leaders.

What works for you?

What's your system for recruiting?

My year end thoughts...

Sorry about that last post. Got a little trigger-happy with the "publish" button.

But here's something that has got me giddy as a school girl these days.

It's become apparent to a few of our student ministry leaders that our student ministry needs some tweaking in some significant places.

We've seen a year of stabilizing things.

Significant relationships, a growing music & worship band ministry, a Thursday afternoon trial drop in, new faces, a full time intern.

But, it has also been apparent that a few things need some extra attention. So yesterday, I sat down with Josh and Erin. We spent almost 4 hours talking student ministry. We reflected on the surveys that were returned from our students. We reflected on the parent meeting from Wednesday night. And we tried to sift.

We talked long term.

We talked about what was working.

We were honest about what was not working.

We dreamed.

We brainstormed.

We scribbled on a white board.

Ad you know what, we have some great things starting to come together. Things that get me excited and anxiously looking forward to fall.

Sure, we've got some leg work to do. Particularly in the area of recruiting leaders, but it's exciting.

And this is one of the things I love about my job.

Monday, June 22, 2009


1. ...are you listening to lately?

2. ...are you in the midst of reading?

3. ...are you looking forward to?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Come on...

We're taking a group of our recent grads camping for one night. It's one last chance to get them together to hang out.

But...it's cloudy and calling for rain.

Come on!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday night musings...

Life these days is unlike I've ever experienced.

If it's not one thing, it's another.

If it's not another thing, it's the one thing.

The projects are piled to the sky.

The list of things to do appears endless.

The challenges seem insurmountable.

But there are dreams...

...amidst the frustrations...

...beyond the obstacles...

...there is a little bit of hope.

That's more than enough.

Isn't it?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Gas in the tank...

The ministry schedule is winding down.

The internship is coming to a close.

Holidays are looming.

School is ending.

But...some things are just beginning.

I just hope there's enough gas in the tank, because I'm stoked.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Book #23...

Sustainable Youth Ministry
Mark DeVries

Remember this post from a few weeks ago? It got me thinking about our current student ministry systems (or lack thereof). I started working my way through DeVries book and was finding some of the same themes coming through.

This was one of those books that only fueled a fire that was starting to burn. The questions that are currently racing through my mind about the ministry I provide leadership to, and the dreams that are beginning remind me that I am doing what God has called me to do.

Mark shares some of the insights he has gained over his lengthy student ministry career. This wasn't one of those "do these 3 simple programs and you will grow" kind of books. It's a book about the systems we often create, or fail to create, in student ministry.

I'd like to think that I have a lot of this student ministry thing figured out, but then I read a book like this that reminds me of how much I need to keep growing. And it inspires me as to what our church can do to continue to have an impact in the life of students in our community.

This will be one of those books that stays within an arms reach so that it can be resourced often.

If you are currently working in a church with students, you should definitely read this book.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Book #22...

The Fine Line
Kary Oberbrunner

As Christians we are called to be in the world but not of it, right? But what on earth does that kind of life look like?!?!

Kary brings it down to the fact that people tend to be in one of three camps.

The Separatists are the ones who hide from culture and, in doing so, cease to be relevant to those around them and have no impact for Jesus.

The Conformists are the ones who get so absorbed by culture that they too become irrelevant in having an impact for Jesus.

The Transformists are the few who can walk the fine line and balance the ability to be relevant to those around them while remaining connected to Jesus.

If I was to be honest I'm a conformist with separatist tendencies. I can get consumed by culture, or I can pull back so far that I remove myself completely from certain aspects of it. It's like a pendulum that never stops swinging. I'd rather be a transformist.
"That's what Transformists do. They shape the future by changing the present. They transform the world around them."

I want to be that.

I will gladly place this book on my must read list. Go buy it.

In the meantime, which camp do you fall into?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Book #21...

The Principle of the Path
Andy Stanley

I had BIG expectations for this book. With Andy Stanley’s name was attached to, I was sold on it before I had even read the back cover or the endorsements. Then I started reading and I felt like the wind was getting sucked out of me. The first two chapters were almost reading like a self-help book.

“If you do this, then you will get this.”

“If you change this, this will happen.”

But then Stanley set the record state by stating outright that “This is not a self-help book.” Can the man see into my mind?!?! He completely addressed some of the skepticism that I was starting to feel since the start of the book, and for some reason that gave me enough hope to keep on reading.

I’ll admit that this doesn’t rank up there as my favorite book by Stanley, but nonetheless I find the premise and the content to be worthy enough of some reading time and some consideration for life choices.

The basic premise is that our intentions are not what will determine how our life ends up. Rather, it is the direction we are taking that will dictate (for the most part) where we end up. And, if that happens to be the case, then maybe we have a responsibility to do something about how we are living, particularly if we have an ending location in mind.

Makes sense for the most part, even though it still sounds a little too much like “self-help”. But it was a good read and it might just help give you some food for thought as to where your life is headed.

Book #20...

Violets Are Blue
James Patterson

So, my mom bought a stack of Patterson books at a library sale and sent them my way. And we all know I'm a sucker for free books. But this was a book about vampires for crying out loud! At least I'm not out of pocket anything for this one.

(But I did read it...)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Downloading as I type...

Need I say more?

(And yes, it's legal!)

Unsilent silence...

I just spent the last 24 hours out at Camp Kawkawa.

Intended purpose? Silence.

Mission accomplished? Not entirely.

Was it worth it? Yes.

I did some reading, some journaling, some visioning...visioneering...uh...dreaming. I wrote. I kayaked. I waited. I listened. And amongst other things I heard the music from the camp over that spoke of tequila making someone's clothes fall off and someone else holding a beer while their girlfriend got kissed.

Brought the whole time to a close with a family canoe trip when they came to pick me up.

Now I'm back at home and ready for another week.

Why isn't it normal to do this more often?