Monday, March 28, 2005

ring the bell

awhile back i mentioned at the view and on the blog that the coalition of immokalee workers had been fighting with taco bell for a one penny per pound raise on the tomatoes they picked for taco bell. the immokalee workers had been had been picking tomatoes for 1970s wages and had been unable to convince taco bell to give them the slightest raise or improve the working conditions at all. churches across the country had joined with the coalition in boycotting taco bell in the hopes of convincing them to do the right thing. after years of protest taco bell and yum foods decided to give the workers the raise and improve conditions. you can read more here.

so if you have been boycotting taco bell in support of the immokalee workers you may now eat at the bell in peace. i don't even like taco bell and yet i plan on taking my boys to eat there tomorrow.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

disciplenow videos

this blog began as some ramblings concerning my entry into the world of using homemade videos within the student ministry. it is with that in mind that i am amazed that i forgot to post the videos we made for the discipleNOW we held earlier this month. so here they are, albeit a little belated.

you'll need realplayer to view the videos.

easter service

easter always feels me with awe and frustrated. i feel awe because of what happened on easter sunday and i feel frustrated because of how little i live out what actually happened on that day. this morning caused even more of that than usual. for our youth sunday school i took the teens over to the mausoleum in resthaven cemetery (it's next door to the church). within our group of students who were wandering around the cemetery there were two kids who made me wonder about what easter meant to them. one of the student's mother was killed by derrick todd lee (the serial killer terrorized baton rouge a few years ago) and another student's mother killed herself about a year ago. only the miracle of our easter faith can bring hope in situations like these.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

the end of the minor prophets

at the beginning of the month of march i started a series of messages on the minor prophets. as a part of this series members of the youth ministry volunteered to set-up worship stations on each of the minor prophets that i did not talk about (eight in all). each station was an interactive interpretation of the major theme of the minor prophet that it covered. last night was the end of the series and thus the end of minor prophet stations. i can't post pictures of the stations from last night because my camera's battery was dead but they were the same as the previous weeks ... amazing. i love the fact that the teens and adults involved within the student ministry participate so much within our worship. they'll be more stations in the future.

whose not here

i'm usually not the largest fan of b.c. (i just don't think it's very funny) BUT i thought this comic was way too true. i mean why talk about the divorce and pornography that are within our churches when we could just talk about homosexuality? it's so much "safer" to just focus on the homosexuals and you get so many more "amens" during those messages. or why not talk about how america has fallen because there is no prayer in schools rather than preaching about we followers of CHRIST being involved in social injustice and not making any difference in the world around us?

in his book blue like jazz donald miller talks about a time that he and some friends set up a booth on reeds college and asked forgiveness of the students that were there. maybe we should started asking forgiveness of the the world for so easily "preaching" about their "sins" and never mentioning our own.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

baptists withdraw invitation

baptists withdraw invitation

i haven't read everything that mclaren has written so i can't speak authoritatively on this incident in particular but i do have a good bit of history with southern baptist and therefore can attest that often we have "knee jerk" reactions and respond accordingly. according to the article mclaren was uninvited to the convention because of the statement that "there could be buddhist … (or) jewish or hindu followers of JESUS." to the kentucky baptists this apparently smacked of "universalism" and therefore mclaren had to be excluded. if i understood mclaren's point correctly when he made that statement in his book he was saying that it didn't matter what you called yourself rather it was the belief you had and the practice of that belief that matters. in other words if you come out of a hindu background and still practice much of the culture associated with hinduism but you followed the way of CHRIST (faith in HIM as LORD and walked with HIM) then you were a followers of CHRIST and all good. it personally sounded very much like don richardson's comments in "eternity in their hearts."

of course, my kentuckian brethren didn't take the time to actually discuss the statement with mclaren and find out what was meant. nope they had a "knee jerk" reaction and pulled him from the program. i love "true" baptist belief (meaning not automatically conservative evangelical right wing belief) but i hate the way we often practice it.

Monday, March 21, 2005


i love dilbert.

Friday, March 18, 2005

john 4

steve at ragamuffin ramblings decided to retell the story of john 4:1-42 and he did an amazing job with it. you can read his full post here. it's a retelling of the "woman at the well" and it really floors me. he changed the samaritan woman into a homosexual guy and then told the story from that situation. it does a great job of pointing our how "shocking" the gospel is.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

the view - march 16, 2005

here are a few pictures of the minor prophet worship stations we had set up during the view:

the view habakkuk worship stationthe view habakkuk worship station

the view zephaniah worship stationthe view zephaniah worship station
the view zephaniah worship station

the view nahum worship stationthe view nahum worship station
the view nahum worship station

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

tech intern?

dnow 2005

i love taking care of the technical aspects of a worship service. i really enjoying trying to push the envelope of what we are presently doing. i tried doing a little of that during our discipleNOW. i stole an idea from the 2005 national youth workers' convention and shot two images side by side on a super large screen. this enabled us to shot lyrics on one 9' wide section of the screen and highway video vibe movies on the other 9' section of the screen. we could then swap sides between video and lyrics at will. we also had the ability to shot half of an image from each projector and create an 18' wide image all the way across the screen. i thought it was a cool backdrop.

of course, that's the problem too. i love doing this stuff but i'm not the one who needs to be doing it. i have to start training and developing a tech team that can take these tasks over, set the up, and run them during an event. i have to find people who care about these things as much as i do. that's the real issue. i have to find people who are convinced that the technical aspects of a worship service are incredibly important. i need people who are passionate about using technology to help people worship. it scares me to give up control of this but it has to be done because i need to be spending time with kids rather than making sure a cable is hooked up properly.

what JESUS never said

i recently found this at "cat's cradle and i had to post it because it is amazing. i get so jealous of people who think like this. i love her outlook on grace. i'm not sure about you but i've been a couple of the people listed below and i have definitely worried about JESUS saying the things listed below (even though I know in my head that HE wouldn't).
    What Jesus Didn't Say....

    ... to the woman at the well. "Well, first you have to make a full confession of everything you've done and then we'll talk. "

    ... to the woman with the hemorrhage. "Don't touch me. You'll get me all dirty and contaminated."

    ... to the Canaanite woman. "I don't care what you say, the gentiles are still dogs and dogs should be kept outside, not under the table."

    ... to the thief on the cross. "Since you were a thief, it's okay. I'll square it with Dad. Now if you'd been a homosexual it would be a totally different story."

    ... to the 5,000. "Ok, here's lunch, but first I have a sermon to give here and then the boys will be passing out commitment cards for you to sign. No signature, no lunch."

    ... to Peter, floundering in the water. "Pete, Pete, Pete. Hasn't anybody taught you how to swim?"

    ... to Mary, meeting him on the road just after Lazarus' death. " Well, everybody dies sometime, and I had some very important business to attend to. I just couldn't fit a visit into my schedule before now."

    ... to Martha, bustling about the kitchen and fussing about Mary's sitting down on the job. "Mary, get your lazy butt up and go act like a normal woman. Shame on you for forgetting your place like that!"

    ... to the rich young man. "Hey, salvation may be free but it ain't cheap. But I would like some sort of commitment from you --- 10% or so would work. You can see the guy who takes care of the purse, Judas."

    ... to the scribes and Pharisees who were trying to trap him. "I'm behind you, fellas. Those rules are there to be obeyed to the letter, and if you can make a little profit off them, so much the better."

    ... to the people on the mount, "Listen. I'm telling you to love your neighbor, but make sure he isn't *one of them*, if you know what i mean."

    ... to the crowd, "Do unto others before they do unto you."

    ... to Mary, his mother, at a party, "Bug off, Ma. If these lazy jerks can't plan adequately for this, why should I pull their irons out of the fire for them?"

    Of course, he didn't say any of this. That, I believe, is why we have the gospels, the "good news" not "the good news -- and the bad news."

Monday, March 14, 2005

dnow summary - at least the first summary

these are the initial thoughts on the discipleNOW that we had this past weekend:
  • our host homes and leaders were great this year. i heard very positive experiences during the weekend. i do think that next year we will use the concept of an event blog at a much earlier date to encourage even more idea swapping. this year's blog seemed to help some in communicating with the leaders and thus doing it even earlier should help even more.
  • andy neely (the youth minister at springhill baptist church in mobile, alabama) was great. he did a wonderful job of communicating.
  • ten shekel shirt was great. they did a superb job of leading us in worship and i throughly enjoyed hanging out with them. lamont (the lead singer) and austin (the drummer) are both very passionate about social justice issues - especially modern day slavery in southeast asia and eastern europe.
  • we got rid of the polaroid scavenger hunt that we had done in the past and instead went to a wild goose chase on l.s.u's campus. it went very well. the kids were completely worn out and we may need to shorten it just a little next year.
  • i need to work on improving the student center sound system. we had to borrow some equipment from the ring and the stuff we borrowed was junk we should have had already. in the future i will add a 31 band graphic equalizer (i'm considering the behring FBQ3102 and the dbx 231) a compressor or two (i'm looking at the behringer mdx 2600 and the dbx 266xl), and a few other sound system nic nacs.

stanley grenz

you've probably heard this by now from several different sources but i figured i would add my memory to the collective consciousness ... stanley grenz has gone home. i loved his writing and was really impressed the one time i was able to meet him. i was in seminary when allot of grenz initial theology of community started coming out. he came to campus for a lecture series. after his message grenz came to the systematic class i was in at the time and spoke for awhile longer. after that i and tons of other people gathered around to hear still more. it was pathetic because we were all just trying to meet him. i was most impressed that he put up with it all. since that day i have continued reading his stuff and being challenged by it. he'll be missed.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

the view - march 9, 2005

here's what the worship stations looked like for the view, wednesday, march 9, 2005. the stations were done by rebekah (obadiah) and meagan (micah).

micah worship sationobadiah worship station

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

welcome table for the view


here's my drawing of what i want to do with this week's "worship station / welcome table" at the view. we're dealing with jonah and the table is supposed to symbolic hit on some of what we are going to do.

this week as been a good example of why youth ministry is the greatest of all ministries. i've done everything from serious counseling, to message preparation, to relationship building, to coming up with a creative / artistic (slightly) manner of covering the windows of the former "cry rooms" now storage rooms. i've worked with teens and adults who are in pain, youth workers, other pastoral staff, janitors & maintenance crew members, and parents. it's simply great. nothing else compares.

in the back of the student center we have these four huge windows that look into the former "cry rooms" of the church. these rooms are now storage rooms but they still have the glass and you can look into the mess that is in them. i finally came up with the idea of using "the rasterbator" (a program i learned about via a professed agnostic's photoblog - how's that for irony). "the rasterbator" takes images, rasterizes them (reduces them to various size dots), and then print the image to whatever size you want on normal paper. we're pasting the rasterized images in the windows of the "cry rooms." the image below is what it looks like right now. the thing i like about it is that when you turn the "cry room" lights on it produces a nice soft glow that back lights the rasterbated images.

cry room #1 cry room #2

Monday, March 07, 2005

discipleNOW things

it's the week before our discipleNOW and therefore i have a huge list of things that have to be finished.
  • finish the video intro for friday night worship.
  • finish the video intro for saturday night worship.
  • prepare basic outline for summary video that will be shown sunday morning.
  • maintain contact and answering questions with the dnow leadership.
  • set-up improved sound system.
  • set-up borrowed and scraped together improved video system.
  • hang a 18' wide screen from the back wall.
  • spend as much time as possible with my family.
  • spend as much time as possible with GOD.
  • desperately pray that it doesn't rain saturday.
  • enjoy the fact that no matter what i get done or don't get done amazing things will happen simply because of the fact that those involved within the weekend are willing to look to GOD during the weekend.

i really want to get everything finished. i want the weekend to be amazing from a technical side. yet honestly it is very freeing to realize that even if all the technical stuff flops it will still be a great weekend simply because the people involved within it will answer JESUS' quiet and persistent knock at the door of their lives (revelation 3:20). teens and adults will begin to follow the way of CHRIST a little better not because of any great thing that i have orchestrated. rather it will be because those involved in the weekend have simply slowed down enough form their overly busy lives to actually see GOD at work and hear HIS voice. it has taken me a long time to realize that even though GOD choose to use me HE still doesn't depend upon me. it will not be by my effort that anything good happens. instead i am greatly honored to know that GOD chooses to work through my feeble efforts to help with HIS good. ultimately everything is on HIS shoulders. i'm very appreciative of that.

of course, i'm still going to fret about all the stuff i have to do.

SIDE NOTE - a friend and fellow youth minister dropped by today asking some questions about the sabbath retreat we did in january. i'm glad he did, and not just because of the fact that he helped us carry the 18' long projection screen that i still have to hang. i was glad because it was nice to think back through that weekend. it was a great chance to watch GOD and my youth do something special. anyways, thanks j.t. for coming by. i hope y'all's weekend is just as amazing.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

being showed up

i hate it when GOD puts me in my place. tonight i wanted to steal an idea from doug pagitt and solomon's porch and have a group discussion on the scripture that we will use for next wednesday's view service. solomon's porch does this each week and they call it bdg. i liked the idea and thought it would work well with the personality of our group. i announced it last night after "the view" and hoped that a person or two would show up since i had not mentioned it before. the plan was to discuss the book of jonah and together figure out some of what GOD wants to say to us from the story.

the problem is that this morning i was asked if i could provide a ride to the group. it was a person that i really thought would be a lag on the conversation. i wasn't expecting much from this individual and wasn't really excited about being "stuck" taking him there and back. i don't know why i'm so stupid. i should have learned from past experience not to underestimate people. hopefully i have learned my lesson this time because the comments my friend added to the conversation were incredible. if anyone was a "lag" on the conversation it was me. my friend was amazing. i'm not sure that i've ever understood jonah until now. how can i be so consistently stupid?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

the view - march 2, 2005

amos - table 2monday i posted my drawing of what i wanted our "welcome table to look like for the view, our wednesday night youth worship service. here's the picture of what happened with the actual "welcome table." you can't see it on the picture but the plumb line is there.

the thing that amazed me was the "worship stations" that the youth developed. they were incredible. one teen did hosea and had an amazing station on brokenness and forgiveness. the other teen did shadow boxes of joel. they were both incredible. i was deeply moved personally and so were many of the others who participated in the stations. these kids blew me away with the depth that they pulled out of these things. i can't wait to see what next week's stations involve.

of course, part of what got me was the fact that i was expecting less from the teens. i really figured it would take a few weeks for them to "get it." that's part of why i did the "welcome table" as a station. i wanted to give them an example. boy am i stupid. they understood perfectly what was involved in the worship stations. i should have never doubted them.

here are a few pictures of the kids' worship stations. if you follow the link to the flickr photos you can actually see where i have tagged the images telling what is in each image.

hosea station #2hosea station #1

joel station #1joel station #2