Sunday, January 30, 2005

i love them

i love tony campolo and i love jordon cooper. campolo i love because he is campolo and there is nobody else like him (though there are many of us who pretend to be like him) cooper i love because he constantly finds good article and links and pastes them on his blog.

yesterday jordon cooper posted part of an interview with campolo concerning his book "speaking my mind". as usual with campolo the interview was great. here's just a snippet of the interview.

if john kerry or george w. bush were to call you up and ask for your guidance on issues facing america today, what would you tell each of them in turn?

to kerry, i think my major issue would be "do you understand us? do you understand evangelicals and why we're so upset about the pro-life issue? do you understand why we believe all life is sacred?" i'd encourage him to do justice and to do righteousness.

to george bush, I'd say "the GOD of scripture is a GOD who calls us to protect the environment. i don't think your administration has done that very well. the GOD of scripture calls us to be peacemakers. we follow a JESUS who said those who live by the sword will die by the sword, who called us to be agents of reconciliation."

i would point out to george bush that the CHRIST that he follows says "blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"-which doesn't go along with capital punishment.

i would say different things to each candidate, but i would respond instantaneously to the invitation to speak to each of them. all the way to the white house, i would be praying, "GOD, keep me from chickening out. help me to not be so overawed by the high office of these people that I fail to recognize i answer to a higher authority."

you really should read the rest of the article it is great. campolo has a way of hitting the "nail on the head". he does a great job of avoiding becoming the mouth piece of the right or the left. he's for CHRIST rather than a conservative or liberal ideology. i love that.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

sometimes ministry is just too funny

my wife, pam, loves working with the 9th & 10th grade girls within our student ministry. she leads one of our sunday school classes for the age group and does an amazing job with them. some time in the past her group started sharing nicknames and other things that they had been called in their past. when pam was in eighth grade some of her classmates decided it would be great to call her "pampon" - combining her name (pam) with the feminine hygiene product (tampon). it was a real middle school thing to do.

in a moment of openness pam told this nickname to her girls. of course, being 9th and 10th grade girls several of them started calling her "pampon". it is a great inside joke. only the girls in her group know it and they only use it in a "family" manner that is full of love.

today pam went to the grocery story and as she was walking out to her car she heard "pampon" shouted out by one of her girls that saw her across the parking lot. all the other people walking across the parking lot got a good laugh out of the name. "pampon" is a great thing to have to answer to.

Friday, January 28, 2005

17 iconoclastic laws of crap

i graduated from southwestern baptist theological seeminary, a fact that i used to be proud of. now a days i'm not as excited about my alma mater. paige patterson is now the president of southwestern and the changes within southwestern that worry me have happened mainly during his watch. but let's not talk about those things right now. instead i want to talk about patterson's "youth ministry" article in the january/february 2005 southwestern news alumni magazine. patterson was once a pastor (i think it was back in the 80s but he was at least once a pastor for a few years) and as such he is expertly trained to write the lead article in a southwestern news volume that is supposed to be all about student ministry.

the title of patterson's article is "iconoclastic student ministry". here's's definition of "iconoclastic:
  • one who attacks and seeks to overthrow traditional or popular ideas or institutions.
  • one who destroys sacred religious images.
  • the original iconoclasts destroyed countless works of art.
  • characterized by attack on established beliefs or institutions

judging from the title of patterson's article it is apparently meant to destroy the art of youth ministry. if that's not his point i would at least guess from the title that he thought that the words of his article would destroy the status quo of youth ministry. who knows? for your reading entertainment i have decided to post his 17 steps for iconoclastic student ministry. i'll also post a few of my thoughts in italics after his points.
  • don't try to entertain young people all the time - i agree with this one though i love him calling the teens "young people"
  • call a man as your minister to youth or youth pastor in charge of youth ministry - patteson thinks its okay for a woman to be an associate but not the person in charge. according to him the leader really needs to be a male - what a load of crap.
  • teach young people how to share their faith - i like this one too but i would prefer to show them how to share their faith as a natural, non-forced, non-used car salesman part of their life. JESUS "sells" HIMSELF. he doesn't need me to force HIM on someone else. HE just wants me to open my mouth and honestly dialogue with people who have real needs. HE will be their answer.
  • teach young people basic theology - i love this "young people" stuff. we better teach youth that CHRISTianity is all about believing the right things rather than exploring theology with each other and hitting hard questions. ;)
  • chior tours and social projects are worthy activities for young people, but do not make them an end within themselves - patterson says that everything must be judged by wether someone comes to CHRIST or not. apparently feeding the hungry is only GOD honoring when at least one of the hungry people becomes a CHRISTian
  • lead your young people to ask GOD about HIS will for their lives
  • teach young people the whole biblical revelation - wow, i wish i had thought of this. i wonder which part of "whole" he is really hinting at
  • teach the young people what the bible says about sex - sex is the big "no-no" isn't it? apparently teaching our teens not to have sex it's more important to patterson than helping them to get involved in "social justice", or having a growing relationship with CHRIST
  • teach young people to love JESUS and GOD's word the bible - who knew? JESUS and the bible are equal?
  • make men out of the boys and women out of the girls - i guess this beats the alternative. i do love the fact that patterson's idea of a man involves the guy regularly using a gun (a previous article)
  • the pastor must spend time with the young people - i agree totally but i would add that the pastor must never ever call them "young people"
  • be sure to include parents in the youth ministry equation - i whole heartedly agree
  • be sure most of the the young people are in regular services with everyone else in the church - i can't complain with this one
  • teach young people the meaning of sacrifice - no complaint here
  • have a regular time for Q&A with your young people, and do not duck their questions - i wonder if one of the questions will be from one of my girls asking me "why is it that GOD has called me to be a minister and paige patterson says i can't be?"
  • keep your sense of humor and have a good time - reading patterson's article gave me a good laugh
  • finally, lead the young people in some great adventures - i agree with another one

as you can see patterson's article has shaken the foundations of youth ministry as we know it. i only hope i can be half the youth minister that paige patterson is. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

the view - january 26, 2005

clint's birthday lunch
alan had my camera at the beginning of the view tonight. i thought he had taken pictures of the set up for the view tonight. i was wrong. thus this is the second week in a row that i do not have pictures of the set up of "the view" tonight. thus i'll describe it. i used matthew 5 tonight dealing with salt and light. therefore we decorated the student center with containers of salt and candles. it was cool because it confused most everyone who walked in.

we finished the "kingdom" series of messages tonight. i took a cue from the ron sider article i mentioned earlier. tonight we talked about betraying the kingdom by not living out the miracle of the new birth that happens when someone becomes a believer. this was not a "be more moral" speech. rather it was a "change your loyalty" message. i wanted to start my message with a flash animation discussing betraying your promise. i spent about two hours on it this morning and was kind of proud of it. this of course, meant that it didn't work when it was supposed to. they finally got it working after a brief intro from me.

here's the message opening animation for your viewing enjoyment. SIDE NOTE - if you are british you may view benedict arnold as a hero - i have no problem with that the point of the video was not to vilify arnold, rather it was to talk about being a traitor to your kingdom.

today was clint's birthday. jessica, alan, and i took him out to "the italian pie" for lunch. since clint is a sunday school teacher it's kind of work for me to take him to eat. i love my job that i get to consider taking a friend out to lunch as work.

february newsletter article

len evans mentioned in a recent post about writing an article for his ministry newsletter. when i read it i decided that i would start posting the monthly articles that i write for our youth ministry newsletter. it's not that i think they are that greay (i don't). rather each monthly i desperately search for an idea on which to write about. i figure if nothing else some other desperate youth minister might find my articles and at least their themes will inspire him or her to write a truly great article. that way i get partial credit or something like that. :) anyhow, here's february's:
january 24th, 1984 steve jobs of apple introduce the macintosh computer to the world at a large convention. steve jobs walked up to the microphone said “all of the images that you are about to see come from what’s in that bag,” then he walked over to a duffle bag and pulled out a then comparatively tiny macintosh computer and turned it on. when the images started pouring out of the computer the crowd went nuts. No one had ever seen images of this quality or speed come from a computer that anyone could use and afford. that speech and those images changed the computer world. all of the personal computers we use now (including the one i am typing on right now) owe their existence to that moment. it was a simple display of technology but it was a revolutionary moment. you can actually view the video from this moment on my blog (

According to scripture the moment that JESUS comes into your life is supposed to be “a revolutionary moment.” when JESUS comes into your life HE wants to change everything. He wants to change how you feel about yourself, what you do, how you do it, and what you think about the world and people around you. this doesn’t mean that it was a dramatic moment. they moment you ask JESUS to be your LORD may seem siple or not be very dramatic, but the changes that can come about because of that moment are what makes the moment revolutionary. everything that happens afterwards is supposed to be directed by the fact that CHRIST has come into your life because you are a new creation.

the issue is whether we are letting that moment change us or not. you’re the one who gets to decided that. GOD allows you the free will to live in the light of the moment JESUS came into your life or to ignore it. Yyu get to choose day by day, moment by moment.

so what’s your choice?

that same old feeling

i hate it when the feelings of inadequacy start pouring in. those feelings that i should be doing more, that the little bit that i am doing should be better, and that everyone else around me is doing things that are "head and shoulders" above my ability. i hate this.

i know in my head that i shouldn't compare myself with anyone else. i know that i am loved, valued, and all that other crap. yet i look around, compare myself to what it appears others are doing, and feel like a joke that that the rest of the universe is getting a good laugh from. honestly it's hard not to feel like a failure when you look around and are convinced that everyone else in the world is doing a better job of parenting, being a husband, making pine wood derby cars, blogging, speaking, being a friend, yard work, organizing their thoughts, music selection, ministry, etc. you name it and right now everyone else is doing a better job at it than i am. i hate these feelings.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

multimedia presentation software rant

i love mediashout.
    it's the program that everyone in the youth ministry prefer to use for every presentation other than messages (it's just not quite as good as powerpoint or maybe keynote for messages yet). mediashout is really the way to go for lyrics, announcements, and video presentations during worship services.

i hate mediashout.
    i prepaid for the 3.0 upgrade with the assurance from the sales rep that it would be out in a month. that was back at the beginning of november at the national youth workers' convention. for some reason i still don't have my upgrade.

where is my mediashout 3.0? all i know is that it's not here in baton rouge.

SIDE NOTE - i'm really interested in trying out keynote. this is mainly because i still do my message presentations in powerpoint and i really don't like micro$oft. i have an inherent dislike for "the big guy" built into my personality. if keynote is at least decent i'll try it just to avoid using another microsoft product.

Monday, January 24, 2005

the scandal of the evangelical conscience

to give credit where credit is due i need to say that i would not have read this article if it had not been for jordan cooper. with that said ron sider kicks rear (usually my rear but still he kick rear). his article in the january/february 2005 issue of books & culture and is called "the scandal of the evangelical conscience" is amazing.

the article details the fact that evangelicalism started as a response to a large segment of CHRISTianity that had begun to reject the miraculous nature of the gospel. in response to that anti-miraclous belief evangelicals stated that not only were the miracles of scripture true but the transformation of a believer's life was miraclous in its nature. yet today there seems to be little difference between evangelical believers and the world and this calls into question whether there is a mircalous transformation or not to quote sider:

    To say there is a crisis of disobedience in the evangelical world today is to dangerously understate the problem. Born-again Christians divorce at about the same rate as everyone else. Self-centered materialism is seducing evangelicals and rapidly destroying our earlier, slightly more generous giving. Only 6 percent of born-again Christians tithe. Born-again Christians justify and engage in sexual promiscuity (both premarital sex and adultery) at astonishing rates. Racism and perhaps physical abuse of wives seems to be worse in evangelical circles than elsewhere. This is scandalous behavior for people who claim to be born-again by the Holy Spirit and to enjoy the very presence of the Risen Lord in their lives.


    Evangelicals rightly rejected theological liberalism because it denied the miraculous. In response, we insisted that miracle was central to biblical faith at numerous points including the supernatural moral transformation of broken sinners. Now our very lifestyle as evangelicals is a ringing practical denial of the miraculous in our lives. Satan must laugh in sneerful derision. God's people can only weep.

with our actions we have betrayed our LORD and HIS kingdom. we are traitors because we do not live as loyal citizens of this miraclou kingdom. we must repent! as ministers we have to model lifestyles of living in the kingdom. this begins with us repenting. we need true fall on your face and wail repentance. trutfully i need true fall on your face, weep til the point of sobbing repentance.

i will begin. i have betrayed CHRIST. i have chosen to consume for no other reason than i can and trust in my ability to consume rather than in the power of my LORD. i have trusted in the power of influence rather than believing that my LORD takes care of those who will make themselves weak. i have perverted the pure sexual lives that he has called us to. i have done this by viewing creature made in HIS image as though they were objects. i have risked nothing when HE has called me to risk it all and depend upon HIM. i am a hypocrite.

i don't want to hypocrite, a liar, a traitor. please forgive me LORD.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

i hate it when that happenns

sunday school cc's #1
i love my sunday school class. i know that sunday school is supposed to be outdated and useless. according to some it's supposed to be a waste of time. yet i love my class. i also know that some would say that i, as the youth minister, should not lead a sunday school class because by leading that group i might end up leaving my other teens out. i know all of that stuff, yet i absolutely love my class. i've loved it for the past two to three years. it just seems to get better and better each year.

that's why today was disappointing. i was really excited about what we were going to talk about. the problem is that we didn't get to talk about it. you see every so often we take a group trip to cc's coffee house and today just so happened to be the day for the cc's run. usually when we make the cc's run we still have plenty of time to discuss whatever it is we are discussing. yet two we faced two challenges 1)cc's was slower than normal and 2)it was dang cold outside for south louisiana. we usually go outside so we can really get into our conversation but there just wasn't room inside for us to sit and going outside wasn't an option for most of the teens in the group. the long and short of it was that we only had ten minutes left to talk before we needed to leave. this wasn't much time.

so we headed back to church. i was really looking forward to the dialogue. now i have to wait a week to get into it.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

god's politics

i receive updates from sojurners, an evangelical CHRISTian political website with a leftward lean to it. in some of the recent email updates sojo has been pushing the book of it's editor-in-chief jim wallis. i haven't read the book yet so it's hard for me to recommend it BUT i have seen an interview with jim wallis on the daily show (go to the site and look under "celebrity interviews"). i liked what he said to jon stewart.

in the interview jim wallis states that he doesn't think that JESUS first concern would be a capital gains tax cut. some would say that the capital gains tax cut is something that will help the economy and others would disagree with that. i of course, i have my view on the subject but i think the point jim wallis was making is great. why are so many evangelical CHRISTians confusing the republican parties' agenda with the principals of CHRIST. as follower of JESUS we would be concerned about what and who JESUS was concerned with. JESUS was concerned with the weak (and HE realized that we all are basically weak).

why have we turned JESUS into the GOD of the rich and powerful? seems to me that we CHRISTians don't do very good when we have power or connections with powerful people. we are believers in the MESSIAH of the marginalized. we do so much better when we are on the side of those who would get pushed out of the picture otherwise.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

wilderness time

i just finished wilderness time: a guide for spiritual retreat by emilie griffin. i started it for our sabbath retreat but i really only read the parts that dealt with groups so that i could focus on other books that lent more to the sabbath retreat itself. since the retreat i've finished the book. it was quite good. it is definitely about personal spiritual retreats but it did have some good suggestions that helped formulate the sabbath. i'm going to use some of it's suggestions for my personal sabbath retreat. the best part about the book is actually an appendix that has outlines for 1 day, 3 day, and 7 days spiritual retreats. it's a very good basic plan to an organized spiritual retreat.

shoes for the journey

johnny baker is doing an "instillation" that is pure genius . he asking for shoes from all around the world that have experiences of GOD linked to them. it's an amazing idea. in fact, it is so amazing that after i agreed to send a pair of shoes of my own to the cause i quickly sent out an email to all those associated with the parkview youth ministry asking them to send me their shoes and the stories of encounters with GOD that are associated with those shoes. we will use them as part of a worship service in march and then pass those shoes on to others at beautiful feet, a homeless ministry that we work with every spring, in hopes that the recipients will also have amazing encounters with GOD while wearing those same shoes.

you can read johnny baker's idea on this for yourself here.

the good ole days?

i was listening to a local radio station yesterday that was extolling the virtues of the "good 'ole days". they were talking about the 50s and early 60s with fond memories. the "good 'ole days" were days when you could leave your front door unlocked, you didn't have to worry about your kids being kidnapped or molested, and teen agers never really got into any real trouble.


the "good 'ole days" never really existed. bad things happened even back then. robberies still happened, kids were still kidnapped, and teenagers stilled screwed up. i mean just look at west side story. apparently during the "good 'ole days" they even fought while singing. who knew snapping could be so dangerous.

yet even if none of those things happened during the "good 'ole days", even if you could actually leave your door unlocked, trust your kids being outside, and not worry about your teen's drinking or doing drugs (all of which i think is actually a "pipe dream" about the past). even if none of those modern evils existed back in the 50s and 60s there was still at least one over riding evil that we no longer have - organized societal racism. remember that the "good 'ole days" were the days when entire segments of our population were excluded from the "american dream" merely because of their skin color. no that's not evil is it? our government was prejudice, our towns were prejudice, our society and culture was prejudice, we were prejudice. i believe that JESUS despises racism. i believe that HE is offended when someone, who was made in HIS image, is treated as an inferior.

we still have racism. i'm not trying to say that we have eliminated that evil. i know that we still have problems with treating people different merely because of their skin color. yet in 2005 racism is no longer tolerated in an organized, societal manner within the u.s. that alone, if nothing else, is enough to make these present days the "good 'ole days."

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


elevation #2sorry i don't have any pictures of tonight's service. the service was really good and i enjoyed it tonight.

earlier today i walked into my study and discovered that someone had placed a u2 elevation tour soccer jersey on my desk. i have a teen in the youth ministry whose dad drives tour busses for various rock groups. one of the groups he has driven for before (and will drive for again on their present tour) is u2. the jersey was one the band gave to him. he found out that i absolutely love u2 and thus the shirt ended up on my desk.

it was fantastic to have them think of me and desire to give me something like that. it made my day and night.

blogathon 2005

sometimes something simple can become something amazing. the tsunami blogathon is simply a guy named darren posting 100 blog entries during a twenty-four hour period (around 1 every fifteen minutes) in hopes of raising some money for the asian tsunami victims. this is really not a huge thing - even though the thought of posting twenty-four original posts is quite daunting in my opinion (at my present rate i post 100 entries every three to four months). yet a large number of people are starting to get behind this small little endeavor. you can be one of the ones who are behind it. go and donate to the cause, watch darren sweat, or even send in a post suggestion. who knows this could become something amazing if we all get behind it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

youth ministry website

i constantly struggle with keeping our youth ministry website current. i'm too cheap (an overriding theme of my life) to actually hire someone else to do the website for me or to pay for one of the "ministry related" website services that you can get through truewell or other organizations that host and design your site for you. nope my cheapness makes me try to do things on my own. the result of this has been that i buy the cheapest web hosting i can find, make a site, and then typically don't update it for quite sometime.

after a while i feel guilty about the state of the youth ministry website and start a major redesign of the site. i update the site and it looks okay for awhile but then i typically let it get out of date again. it's a vicious cycle that repeats itself over and over.

but not this time. i think i've reached a solution that will last longer than normal. i've decided to use the blogger interface to run the youth ministry website. this will make the website look like a blog. i can update it regularly without having to change the code behind it all the time. blogger also let's change the style of the website simply by changing the style sheet within it. hopefully this thing will work out.

Monday, January 17, 2005

sabbath retreat - final report (maybe)

we got back from the sabbath weekend and things went very well. for an experiment this thing turned out wonderful. all the reports i have received from the kids who went have ben fantastic. to the point of having the majority of the teens who went ask me if we could start doing "mini-sabbaths" every month or every other month. of course, the purpose of the weekend was not to start another program so i don't know if i'll start something regular from this. here are some basic thoughts on the weekend:
  • the time periods of silence were very well received. the last about 45 minutes each time. i do think that if i do this again i will probably stretch this out some more. a couple of the teens made the very good point that they felt like it took them a good fifteen minutes to really get going with the silence. they said that they wished they had more silence each time. i think next time i will probably go for periods of 1 1/2 hours of silence.
  • the parable of the lost sheep was a HUGE hit. it really brought up some deep seated issues for some of the participants within the weekend. i divided the parable into three periods of contemplation 1) in the pasture with the other sheep, 2) being lost, 3) being found. each time we focused on what it would be like to be within the parable as the lost sheep during that time. the danger of reading scripture is to think it is about other people. so we focused on the parable knowing that it was about us. this was not a bible study per se, rather it was a discussion of what would be running through our minds at the various points within the parable. i didn't try to then connect this to the kids' lives. they figured out how it connected on their own. it was amazing to hear some of their comments.
  • cooking our own meals. i did not bring or hire someone else to cook the meals for us. instead the kids and adults did it. they were not allow to cook just hamburgers and such. instead the meals were decent meals - homemade chicken noodle soup, french dip sandwiches, etc.
  • spiritual autobiographies. each person discussed where they had been, where they were presently, and where they were going with CHRIST. they were deeply personal and very moving.
  • the free time. everyone loved the fact that we had a ton of free time.

it was a fantastic weekend and i'm so glad that it went well. if you're interested in doing anything like this i'll gladly send you all the stuff we did which you can then adapt any manner in which you want.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

blue like jazz

i'm presently reading "blue like jazz" by donald miller. thus far it IS really good.

reading the book has brought one thing to the forefront of my mind and that thought that has come to the front of my mind is that i have become sick of the word "story". i love the fact that so many have begun to focus on the importance of conveying truth through stories. i love that we have begun to recognize that JESUS was and is the master story teller and that HE conveyed real truth not through propositions but through the use of metaphor, allegories, and well ... stories. i'm not feed up with the concept of stories, rather it is the word itself that i have become feed up with. it seems like presently you see it everywhere within ministry. the word "transparent" was the same awhile back. "story" is simply one of the hot words right now and therefore it just seems like people say it as much as possible.

the good thing is that the truths of telling metaphors, allegories, and "tales" as a way of conveying truth and becoming better story tellers are here to stay. that's a good thing. i just wish the word "story" would not come out of everyone's mouth 90% of the time.

that's my story and i'm sticking to it. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

set up for the view - january 12, 2005

below is the set-up for the view for wednesday, january 12, 2005. we setup for "worship in the round". it's been awhile since we have done this. we basically do this by setting the band in the middle of a circle of 70 to 100 chairs or so. we set up three "isles" for movement and for purposes of viewing the three screens. we use our one stationary projector and hook up two additional lcd projectors on the floor so that you can view a screen from all angles.

tonight i continued talking about the "kingdom of heaven" by focusing on matthew 13:31-33. this is JESUS parables of the mustard seed and the yeast. we talk about letting GOD invade all areas of our lives rather than just compartmentalizing HIM.

worship in the round #1

worship in the round #2

worship in the round #1

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

sabbath retreat schedule

here's the schedule i'm using for the sabbath retreat we doing this weekend.


    6:00 p.m. meet at the church and leave for rosemound (we will eat on the way)
    9:00 p.m. arrive @ rosemound
    9:10 p.m. evening gathering
    • worship
    • spiritual autobiography
    • 1st prayer journal assignment
    11:00 p.m. free time
    12:00 midnight lights out


    8:00 a.m. breakfast
    8:45 a.m. worship
    9:00 a.m. solitude
    10:00 a.m. morning gathering
    • worship
    • 1st part of the lost sheep
    • 2nd prayer journal assignment
    12:00 noon lunch
    1:00 p.m. recreation – free time
    3:00 p.m. worship
    3:15 p.m. solitude
    4:00 p.m. afternoon gathering
    • worship
    • 2nd part of the lost sheep
    • 3rd prayer journal assignment
    6:00 p.m. supper
    7:00 p.m. group movie
    9:30 p.m. worship
    9:45 p.m. solitude
    10:30 p.m. free time
    12:00 midnight lights out


    8:00 a.m. breakfast
    8:45 a.m. worship
    9:00 a.m. solitude
    10:00 a.m. morning gathering
    • worship
    • 3rd part of the lost sheep
    • 4th prayer journal assignment
    12:00 noon lunch
    1:00 p.m. clean up

the previous posts on sabbath were - sabbath post #1 and sabbath post #2.

not missing this point

i'm presently reading "adventures in "missing the point" by brian mclaren and tony campolo (along with several other books that are in various stages of being read). as always i love tony campolo. he is in a class by himself and while i don't always agree with what he says i am at least always challenged by it.

i've also enjoyed brian mclaren's words within the book. i have to admit that i typically have an aversion to author's who become the "thing" at any given time. brian mclaren is the "thing" in some circles right now. he is referred to and quoted allot. that's enough to usually turn me off and keep me from reading an author's work. if an author is really good i'll come back and read their work later. i know this is a sad statement concerning my nature. even with this automatic "popularity" aversion to mclaren's work i've enjoyed the few things i read from him. i'll have to read more.

of course, campolo is still the main course of the meal of this book as far as i am concerned. the whole thing reminds me of his books "twenty hot potatoes CHRISTians are afraid to touch" and "is JESUS a republican or a democrat?". i love it when campolo tackles hard issues. of course, that happens almost every time he speaks or writes.

i love my group & other people making me feel bad

    i delivered the message this week for our 9:30 worship service. the 9:30 service is our "contemporary service" which means that the music is different (led by our college minister a very cool guy) and bill (another very cool guy) preaches the same message delivers to the other two services but does it in a "hipper" way (if that's even a word). truthfully the service is still very much like the other two services just with fewer coats and ties in the audience. it was fun doing the message but it really made me realize that i love working with our youth and the ones who love them. on wednesday at the view we experiment allot. i wouldn't go so far as to say we are "emergent" because often i'm not entirely sure that i know what the term means. i would say that our kids, adults, and college students are working on loving GOD, trying desperately to love each other, and enjoy being in the midst of a question, mystery or experiment. every wednesday night is another chance to worship GOD together in such away that we affirm the worship of our LORD we've have done together through our lives during the rest of the week. i love that group because they jump on board and are willing to work their way through another gathering that is supposed to be based on being e.p.i.c. but often fails.

    please don't get me wrong - i love our church and i love the 9:30 service. i'm just saying that "big church" is not where i want to be leading. i'll gladly follow there.

    i was reading andrew jones' blog recently and ran across his post on his blog being dumb. he goes on to describe various ways that his blog has improved over the years but then hits on failures that he sees in his blog presently. i of course, am sitting there thinking "you can do that with a blog?" here he is thinking his blog is dumb and i begin wondering what my blog must be then. if his blog is dumb then what level of stupidity would my blog rate? i hate it when smart or talented people think they are dumb or untalented. it always just makes me feel worse about myself.

    anyways, in an attempt to improve upon my truly dumb blog i will now attempt to do my first ever trackback "ping" on andrew jones' site. this is a small step for most people but for me it means i step one level up out of the extreme stupidity that is my blog. here goes.

APPENDUM - i just checked the trackback on andrew jones' blog and it worked. i suddenly feel as though i have stepped up to a slightly less stupid level. :) now if i could only figure out the other stuff he was talking about or at least figure out how to get rid of the line on top of my blog.

Monday, January 10, 2005

in the name of GOD's will

why is it that followers of CHRIST are sometimes willing to do anything, including hurting people made in the image of GOD, when they are convinced that they are doing GOD's will. our church, a really good church in-spite of what is presently going on, is presently going through a disagreement over some changes in our structure. while i definitely agree with the changes i don't have a problem with people holding the other view point. i think any time you make a major change there is going to be a debate over it and perhaps there should be on ever major change.

so i don't have a problem with there being a disagreement. i figure it is just part of the process. yet i have a serious problem with people being willing to do evil in the name of winning their side of the debate. presently we have people on one side spreading rumors about the leadership that is pushing for the change. the rumors are hurting not only the leadership (which would be evil enough on its own) but also their spouses and kids (which just makes it worse). how could someone spread meaningless rumors in the name of CHRIST?

if the cross of JESUS teaches us anything it teaches us that the end never justifies the means. even GOD wouldn't break the rules and accomplish salvation by doing something against his word. i hate that believers would ever think trying to destroy other followers is a part of GOD's will.

SIDE NOTE -sonlife radiois an example of this same thing because jimmy swaggart and family's constantly tear into every ministry that is not their's. they tear down everyone. from ric warren to billy graham. it doesn't seem to matter. if you're not with their ministry then you are preaching a false gospel.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

bobble head theater

i frequent a site called that has some good ideas that i get inspired from, modify, or sometimes blatantly steal. they have a series of "bobble head" videos that i think or hilarious. so for your viewing pleasure i have placed a few of them up on the site. here they are:

i hope you like them because they crack me up. i can't believe this guy has so many bobble heads.

Friday, January 07, 2005

reading list help?

you may have noticed changes happening to the blog (i.e new top design, blogroll on the right hannd side, flickr zietgeist, etc.). i'm finally beginning to understand a little bit of the coding of this css stuff. i still don't get most of it but i do at least understand a little. i'm presently trying to figure out how to add an automated "reading list" to the blog. i've seen this on several other sites. unfortunately i can't find which ones had the reading list and therefore i can't ask them how to do it. so if you know how to put an automated reading list and feel like passing a little help my way i would appreciate it.

the kingdom of GOD

i'm not a democrat. i'm also not really a republican though i have voted for republican candidates more often than i have other candidates. with that said i am fed up with evangelical CHRISTians agreeing no holds bar with anything that politically conservative politicians say or do. i believe part of the reason for this is that conservative CHRISTians have reduced the gospel to personal spirituality and morality, the mindset is that your faith should lead to you becoming a moral person and therefore the politically active CHRISTian should fight for what seem to be obvious moral concerns. this is why evangelical CHRISTians are so focused on homosexuality and abortion. these stand out as moral issues.

yet i believe taking care of the poor and afflicted are spiritual issues. i believe this why JESUS came preaching the "gospel of the kingdom" rather than just the good news of personal salvation. again and again JESUS preached of the kingdom - a place where life was determined by the rules of GOD. the kingdom of heaven is a place where the followers of CHRIST fight for justice. i'm not sure that we CHRISTians have been fighting for justice. maybe instead of just providing food for the hungry we should fight against the system that would leave them hungry when there is more than enough food for all.

so here's what has brought up this brief rant. sojouners is a CHRISTian organization that focuses on political involvement. there are definitely of a more liberal CHRISTian mindset. while i would probably be described as a conservative i love sojourners because they remind me to fight for social justice. hey regularly set up actions to email against various social injustices. right now they have set up an open letter to alberto gonzalez, the proposed attorney general, asking him to denounce torture in any fashion. apparently he has a mixed history on this and may have supported torture of foreign p.o.w's before.

so what i'm wondering is why we never hear conservative CHRISTians standing up and saying "NO" against injustices such as this.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


i am firmly convinced that youth ministry as a whole is far to masculine in it's nature. so much of what youth ministries do (my own included) is naturally more appealing to males than to females. we play active games. we use gross and odd events. so many of the leaders within youth ministries are male. student ministry is definitely a male oriented ministry.

so a while back i decided to do something about it by doing and event where there was absolutely zero male involvement. we call this our "feminar." we did this for the first time last year and our girls loved it. it is the absolute opposite of any event that i would ever put on if i were in charge. last year's feminar included a craft time and a fashion show in addition to the bible studies that set the tone for the night. i would never think of doing a fashion show. i still think the concept is stupid. yet it worked incredibly well. our girls loved it and it helped make sure real connections for our girls who had been visiting until then.

we're doing it again this year february 4th & 5th. once again i won't have anything to do with it. i can't wait.

set up for the view - january 5, 2005

last night at the view we did another "chair worship service". the "chair worship service" is based on the often quoted description of worship from soren kierkegaard, his description of worship is that it is like a theater and that the danes of his age misunderstood the places of everyone within the theater of worship. soren kierkegaard said the places within the theater of worship at that time were:

  • the congregation was in the seats watching the performance
  • the ministers were on the side of the stage directing the performance
  • GOD was on the stage giving the performance

kierkegaard said that worship was actually like a theater but that the above positions were wrong. the correct positions were:

  • the congregation is on the stage doing the performance
  • the ministers were on the side of the stage directing the performance
  • GOD is the AUDIENCE WHO the performance is for

so when we do our "chair worship" we clear the stage and make it the area of the AUDIENCE. we move our praise band to the side or the back and reverse everything else. we change the pa speakers and monitors. we then place a single chair on the stage as a physical reminder that we are signing to GOD.

i explain the whole process through a powerpoint presentation that describes what is going to happen. the service begins with this and then goes into worship through singing. we've done this three times over the past two years. it's been a great way to remind the teens and adults why we do what we do.

here are pictures from our set up.




Tuesday, January 04, 2005

trackback experiment

i'm trying to add "trackback" capability to the blog now. we'll see how this works. i'm using Haloscan for commenting and trackback. the real question here is wether i can implement or even understand "trackback". just because i have it doesn't mean i actually know how to use it.

when CHRISTians do dumb things

i hate church controversy!

i always find that it does nothing but hurts the church itself. i'm not talking about standing up for doctrine and theology. nope, i'm really okay with a fight over that. i'm talking about the type of controversy that's about people not liking the way a certain thing is done within the church or not liking some of the personalities involved within the church. this is the controversy that i hate.

my church is going through some of this right now. the controversy is about the school board of our school. we are in the process of determining whether or not to have a school board or to move the superintendent of the school to a member of the church staff and have the school directly responsible to the church instead of a board of church members. two sides have formed - one in favor of keeping the school board and one in favor of getting rid of it. the school board itself is divided evenly on the idea. because the idea is so evenly divided things have begun to get pretty heated. things have been said that weren't real nice on both sides.

i'm really okay with people disagreeing. in fact, i think disagreeing is probably a healthy thing when done right because it means you're pushing the envelope. what i don't like is people treating each other in unCHRIST like manners. the person who is disagreeing with you is hopefully a brother or sister in CHRIST. he/she is someone for whom CHRIST went to the cross. therefore, that person or group of people are of extreme value and should be treated with the utmost respect and kindness. when that is not done then i hate the responding controversy.

JESUS said that the world would know that we are HIS disciples by our "love for one another." i figure the best example of this love is how we treat each other when we strongly disagree with each other.

Monday, January 03, 2005

do your job

parkview baptist church

okay this is a complete rant.

i wish some people would take their "ministry" positions seriously. i firmly believe that every part of the ministry is important - from the smallest to the largest. yesterday, our youth ministry praise band led our 9:30 worship service in the singing portion of worship. i play with them even though i am by no means a youth (the reason is a long story but basically it is to make sure that i don't throw some teens into a position that will build up "spiritual" pride within themselves - i've screwed up one kid before by putting him in charge and i won't do that again so now i make sure that a spiritually grounded adult is there to keep everyone humble).

anyway, we were supposed to do the music. i had everything set up for that. i had the music ready, the sound set-up ready, and setup the mediashout presentation. the problem was that the person that is supposed to run the service's "words" for the music apparently decided not to show up. this wasn't a teen who failed to be there. nope it was an adult who apparently didn't think the position was important enough to call and have another qualified person ready for it.

of course, i didn't find this out until after the service. nope i was baptizing two kids at the beginning of the service and therefore they couldn't get me. so they grabbed a teen who said she could operate powerpoint (saying i hate powerpoint may be too strong of language because i use it for messages - i do strongly dislike microsoft and try as much as possible not to use their programs). of course, mediashout is a different ball game and she didn't know what was going on with it.

i found out after the service that probably 40% of the words actually made it on the screen. i don't blame the teen. the reason this is such a big deal is because there were people who were not able to participate within the worship of GOD simply because there were no words on the screen. those words are very important. that truly "gripes" me when someone drops the ball like that.

i'm not even sure that i know who dropped the ball because i'm not in charge of that service. next time, i'll come with someone to operate the mediashout also.

of course, i'm sure i wouldn't want to hear what people say about me when i "drop the ball" as i often do.

A SIDE NOTE - i am so proud of our youth praise band (those who shall remain nameless). they get better and better and i love the spirit that is behind their playing. they are a great group of kids.