Wednesday, September 30, 2009

YM Confession #1...

I'm learning that I don't always do youth ministry right.

This is my confession:

Somewhere along the line I bought into the idea that a good youth ministry would put the Bible passage they were studying on a screen with a cool background so students could read along as you studied. I would read the verse(s) and they would read along on a screen or a handout, or sometimes just sit and listen.

Then this summer it dawned on us that maybe that wasn't the best approach. Maybe we should try to get them to actually bring their Bible and then encourage them to open their Bibles and read along.

Seems so simple, doesn't it?

And tonight I was reminded why we need to get students opening their Bibles when we study a passage. Most kids have no clue where to find anything. It takes some kids that have grown up with a Bible as much time to find a specific book, chapter and verse as it does the kids who have never had a Bible.

Sure, it's faster to put it on a screen. It saves 3-4 minutes of "where is that" and "what book" and "what page number" and "huh" types of questions. It's way less awkward to just have someone double click the mouse. It's less chaotic to have everyone trying to find Bibles that have been pushed under couches or left hidden under jackets. But it isn't doing the students any favors.

By taking the time to find a book, chapter and verse, they are learning. They start to become familiar with what a Bible looks like, how it's organized, and where they can find certain books. It's a teaching moment within a teaching moment.

Do your students a favor and ditch the screen for an actual Bible.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No more summer...

Arriving back in Abbotsford late last night (actually, this morning) after being in LA for the weekend was kind of like getting slapped in the face with a cold, wet, dead fish after spending a weekend not getting hit in the face with a cold, wet, dead fish.

(I was never really good at analogies.)

It's cold, wet and cloudy here. It wasn't in LA. (Smoggy, yes. But 30+ degree weather usually burns that off.)

I originally hoped to do a little more blogging from the NYWC, but I got sidetracked by spending time with my wife and processing all that I was taking in.

In the weekend I was challenged, irritated, encouraged, overjoyed, amused, entertained, taught, bored, tired, excited and emotional. The marks of a good weekend where my heart and mind were fully engaged.

It was a weekend where I didn't feel out of place because of what I do.

A weekend where I was reminded to keep doing what I do.

A weekend surrounded by others who get it.

A weekend where I didn't feel too old or too young.

A weekend I love to be part of.

And now it's back to the cold and the wet. But I'm not bummed about it. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to diving back into the mix with my leaders, my students and my church. (Well...actually Jesus' church, but you know what I mean.)

So, a heartfelt thank-you to the crew at Youth Specialties. These weekends are a highlight of my year and I am grateful for how God has worked in my life through these times.

If you've never been and you work with students, just go. Next year: Nashville.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

NYWC (day #1)...

The alarm started buzzing this morning at 3:30am.

That's stupid early and I am so tired.

But I get to spend the weekend with a beautiful woman while taking in some warm weather, listening to music, listening to people talk about a subject I love: student ministry.

In an unrelated note, hotels charge way too much to get online.
If I am spending this much money to stay in a hotel, I should get free internet. I guess I should be happy with free valet parking, but I must be too demanding.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday review...

Just a blur of a day today, but it was great.
  • Surprised by 15 bodies in our new Sunday morning early morning...uh..."Sunday school"...class. It was suggested we call it Tangent because we're always on one.
  • The traditional & contemporary services officially kicked off. I can't comment on the traditional because of being at the Tangent class, but Jamie (young adults pastor) knocked the preaching out of the park in the later service. A friend of mine, Brennan, co-led worship (a brand new experience for him in this setting) and he hit it out of the park. All our volunteers were cruising in their jobs. The energy and enthusiasm was great. And I think the whole theme set a tone for what we want to come. We want to be a church that is serious about people following Jesus and not just playing around with a plastic Jesus.
  • Had lunch with the previously mentioned friend while my kids ripped around the McDonald's playland.
  • Watched the Manchester derby. Oh. My. Goodness. Epic game, or what?!?! I'd be proud to wear Michael Owen's name and #7 on my next United shirt any day.
  • Got a little grocery shopping done.
  • Gearing up for the official opening of our new youth room on Tuesday night with our new middle school ministry.
  • Counting down the days until NYWC in LA.
  • Eagerly awaiting the new David Crowder*Band album. I hope it doesn't take 2 weeks to get my pre-order.
How was your day?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ready and almost ready...

The ready?

The renovations at the church are pretty much complete. The rehearsals are almost finished. People have been recruited. Signs have been printed. And starting this Sunday we launch into 2 services. I'm stoked. I think this has the potential to be a very good thing for our church.

The almost ready?

We had our youth kick off on Wednesday. A great turnout of old faces combined with new faces. We explained some of the changes for the upcoming year and we all headed over to our new youth room pray over it. Now we're painting and moving furniture and setting up sound equipment. It should be ready to go by Tuesday.

But it's been a long week that had a few...uh...moments of...uh...stress. Yeah...stress.

So I'm taking an evening to hang out and watch some new TV.

And then it's back to painting tomorrow.

Almost ready.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lots of ink...

Let the Crowder overwhelming continue.

Check out a new song by David Crowder*Band while watching a time lapse of them signing a pile of vinyl.

Monday, September 14, 2009

More DC*B...

I shall try to overwhelm you with all things Crowder this week.

Something big...

Saw this for the first time this weekend, and then I saw it on Los' site again this morning. I think it's cool and can't help but wonder how they got everyone on board to do this.

I think it's confirmation that we should all fear Oprah.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vinyl Crowder...

This is one "Christian" band that I still get excited about when they release albums or go on tour. I've place my pre-order and have tickets for their October 18th stop here in Abby. Have you?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Start of the season...

My soccer team had its first official exhibition game of the season. Lots of new faces meant that we spent the first 15-20 minutes scrambling as we tried to figure out positions and how guys play.

We were 1 down in no time flat. when a ball didn't get cleared out of the box after a corner kick.

Then a little while later I got sent into the top left of the box with a through ball. I couldn't reach it, so I slid in and tried to chip it up with my left. And to my luck, the keeper was sliding out toward me and the ball just sailed over his head and into the net.

Then they scored. Then we scored. Then they scored. Then we scored.

Then I got free on a run and fired one in on goal but the keeper kicked out the save. As I chased down the ball I got taken down by their defender. He managed to connect with my inner thigh and my calf at the same time. It's was a brutal play that should have brought out a card, but the ref must have felt generous.

So it's 3-3, and after a quick break on the side I head back out on the field. Then I get sprung by another great through ball only to hear the whistle. Offside. What?!?! No where close to offside. The ref is apparently making the call from 40 yards away.

Then a minute later I pounce on a mistake by their keeper and a defender. I look up, see their keeper way off his line and figure it's worth a try from 35 yards. I hit it and it landed in the net.

Final, 4-3. Good start for the season, but I'm definitely feeling things now. I may be unable to walk tomorrow. And I think I need to start running, because I was sucking wind.

Good to be back on the pitch again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Book #34...

Jesus Loves You This I Know
Craig Gross & Jason Harper

Who does Jesus love? Me? You?

Has the phrase "Jesus loves you" been stripped of all meaning?

This book was an excellent reminder that those words still have significance. Jesus loves you. And me. He loves the ones that don't fit. He loves the ones that do. He loves the ones with all the baggage and the ones who pretend they don't have any. He loves the broken and the jaded, the passionate and the boring. He loves the lost and the found.

Through a variety of first hand experiences, Craig and Jason share how they have come to believe that Jesus loves everyone. The porn stars, the crooks, the drunks, the religious elite. Jesus loves them. And these two guys are willing to live that out, even when it gets difficult.

Having grown up in the church, and having been personally wounded in the past by those who claim to love Jesus, the hardest hitting chapter dealt with the fact that Jesus loves the "religious". You know...the fundamentalists. The ones who claim they know Jesus the best. The ones who's lives are often seem to be filled with the least love.

Yes, He loves them too. And by default, I am called to love them.

Yeah...I'm a work in progress.

This was a great book with a reminder that many of us need on a daily (or maybe hourly) basis. At least, I know I need it.

Buy the book.

Take the church challenge.

Get a free video.

Listen to this song.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Mess of Me...

New Switchfoot.

These guys sound good when they rock.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fall Viewing...

We enjoy our TV watching around here, and it's always nice to see the return of some of our favorite shows each fall. I'm hoping this one turns out to be good:

What are you looking forward to watching?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Book # 33...

Kurt & Scott's Junior High Adventure
Kurt Johnston & Scott Rubin

This is a collection of Kurt's articles that have appeared in Group magazine over the years. (Kurt's the junior high pastor at
Saddleback, and he's being doing this a long time. I've got a great deal of respect for guys like him & Scott.)

The only difference between the Group articles and this book is that Scott has gone through and added comments throughout the articles. It's a short read, but it's a great collection of resources for anyone who works with junior high students.

With the launch of our new middle school ministry night this fall, I was looking to get in the junior high/middle school head space, and as my friends will tell you, I don't have to stretch too far.

My only beef about this book was that the price was way too high for such a small book.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Fixer...

Some random things:

I'm loving the new Pearl Jam song.

It's Thursday afternoon and I'm taking a break. I've had this weekend booked off for a while and it's my last chance to catch my breath before the fall routine settles in.

Our staff retreat at Kawkawa was productive and tiring. Tuesday had us working until 11:00pm. and Wednesday we were back at it at 8:00am. But we did find a few minutes for some beach volleyball and a quick swim in the lake (well, at least 4 of us did).

It's movie night tonight! I've got my $0.88 rental and looking forward to relaxing with my wife.

Erin has an interview for her school program today and I'm sure she'll do great.

I have a confession...I'm listening to the Black Eyed Peas right now.

My kids are currently trying to find a football in the neighbor's yard.

I'm scheduled to teach during two services this fall. The topics? Fully surrendering to Jesus. And porn.

I'm also doing some preliminary work on developing a church project for us to fight sexual exploitation and battle some injustice in our world. If you've got any ideas or want to help out, let me know.

I have a book waiting at the library that I'm looking forward to reading this weekend.