"Your personality may open some doors for you, but it is your character that will keep them open." - Unknown
Now, for those that know me know that I hate that we have a Christian subculture: Christian Rock Music, Christian Contemporary Music, Christian Death Metal, Christian Bookstore, etc...It drives me nuts! So as often as I can, I like to present artists and speakers that don't promote themselves as a "Christian anything" but rather someone who is a believer and happens to be in a rock band, or a comedian, or...you get the picture.
So I want to make a recommendation for something I came across this week that I think is noteworthy for youth pastors, parents, families and anyone else that just likes to laugh. His name is Tim Hawkins and he is a stand up comedian/music parodist (wow, that actually seems to be a real word). The man is hilarious! If you're a fan of Brian Regan, or Weird Al Yankovic, you'll love this guy. His songs are great and his comedy is top notch.
For anyone that lives close by, I have his DVD and you're more than welcome to borrow it.
Monday, February 25, 2008
I had one of those moments yesterday while teaching Sunday school that I come into a new realization about something.
We got onto the topic of predestination...or with our class...*I* got on the subject of predestination and salvation. We talked about how some people make our salvation a difficult thing. You have to agree to a certain amount of doctrine, you have to give so much money to the church or attend a denominational conference, etc...People make up these lists of how you are seen right in God's eyes.
But it's so much easier than that.
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." - John 3:16 from The Message Remix
It's that simple.
Faith in Jesus.
We have all this "You have to live a holy life..." or "You have to have good works..." those things are products of our sanctification. As we come to know Jesus, he trims away the excess of who we were and puts in place himself. The process takes more than a lifetime.
There isn't a list or creed we have to memorize or recite or a list of things to do. It just comes down to knowing Jesus. Simple.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
If you've never heard of Mike Yaconelli, drop what you're doing and go see as many of his videos and read as many of his books as you can. The man was amazing and ever since I was introduced to him years ago, he has been a great encouragement to me. Mike has gone on to be with Jesus now, but his passion still remains.
This video was a shot in the arm for me this morning. Take 10 minutes and watch it, you'll be glad you did!
Monday, February 18, 2008
Let's face it. Youth ministry as we have known it is broken. It no longer "works". I've studied enough and been with enough youth ministers to know that the youth ministry that worked back in the 70's and 80's no longer works today.
Here is what we have done for the past 30+ years:
Church hires youth pastor.
Youth pastor creates fun and engaging programs.
Youth pastor encourages kids to show up and 'bring friends'
Friends become part of youth group.
The world is saved.
Heres the problem: We're still doing that today and it clearly is not working. I've had the opportunity to get to talk to a lot of different pastors here in the past 2 years. Some are my friends that I went to school with and some have been in it a LOT longer than me. They're having the same troubles that our church is having in relation to their youth. Namely not showing up and not getting involved. That makes me feel a little better as I've struggled for months believing that maybe, possibly it was all my fault. Of course there is still that nagging possibility that I am the problem.
Post-modern youth ministry HAS to change in order to survive. How? Wow! I wish I knew the answer to that so I could write a book and make millions. My gut feeling is that parents have to take more of an initiative to get involved in the ministry process. Church youth ministry should ALWAYS be the complement to what is going on at home. The discipleship process should always start at home. When that influence isn't there at home, such as in the case of unbelieving parents, thats when the church becomes more instrumental in the discipleship process.
Something needs to change.
What I would love to do is completely cut off all church activity for a year. No Wednesday Nights. No Sunday nights. No events. Just worship on Sunday mornings. Getting OUT of the cycle of monotony and living the believers life in simplicity of every day life for just a year. Of course, I would be fired for such a suggestion as it is my job to keep everything busy. There...I said it, and I'm not taking it back either!
I always hear about big words like "missional" and "attractional" and why it is bad to be the latter and how we need to be the former. I would agree with that, but how do you share that mindset to other people? That is a complete paradigm shift and people will only believe it when they learn it for themselves. We're fighting 50+ years of church tradition, and that in itself is a near impossible task.
It is my prediction, that within the next 50 years, the churches that are refusing to make these radical changes will either cease to exists, or on the brink of death. I'm not saying that's a bad thing...maybe thats what we need. Being in a section of the country that you can throw a rock and hit 4 or 5 churches in a single throw, less churches may be a good thing.
We need a change. A drastic change. What kind of change, I haven't a clue and I'm always open to suggestions. Let us continue to seek the face of God in all of this as we struggle on making his Kingdom more of a reality here on earth.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Can't say I disagree with him, Charles Barkley, former pro-basketball player made a bold statement on CNN the other night. See what you think here.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Things are getting easier. I'm losing my cravings for some of my favorite foods...although I'd LOVE to have some Taco Bell today. One of my favorite meals consists of turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, red onions and a very thin layer of reduced fat Miracle Whip. I'm going to have one in an hour and I'm already craving it..And It's healthy!!
To be completely honest, I'm actually having a problem of eating enough food! Let me put it this way, I don't do calorie counting...that's no way to live. But I do have a rough estimate of what calories I have been taking in and shooting for about 1800 a day. Unfortunately, I'm only getting about 1200 a day...which you would think is good since you're supposed to take in less calories. But I'm just not eating enough to sustain my workouts.
I cycle for at least an hour everyday at a moderate level. According to my research, I should burn at least 500 calories from each cycling workout. So while the weight is coming off, I'm probably not doing my body any favors with the energy deficit.
This weekend will be a challenge. I"m taking my wife up to Indy for Valentines day and we're eating at one of our favorite places to eat: Cheeseburger In Paradise. I'm going to have to be extremely careful as to how I eat that day so I can afford the 1000+ calorie food I'll be consuming that night. I've looked all over the internet and can't find how many calories are in their food, so it's going to have to be a straight guess.
We might even get some Japanese Hibachi, which isn't all that healthy either (white sauce anyone? LOVE IT!!) so, it will be a tricky weekend not having my exercise readily available but I think I'll be alright.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
In my journeys throughout the internet, I have never encountered such a video that made me laugh as hard as the "Evil Eye Baby". What you're about to see is the most amazing video...ever. In other news, I hope to get a new post up and going here soon. Stay tuned.
Friday, February 01, 2008
A couple of weeks ago, one of the men that I look up to a lot in youth ministry posted on his blog about his personal need to lose weight. Mark Oestricher of Youth Specialties talked about how they had toyed around the idea of having a contest to see who could be a 'bigger loser than Marko'. Me, and apparently a lot of others jumped on the bandwagon and thought that would be a great idea.
Thus the contest had begun!
Today I officially joined the community to start this "Biggest Loser" contest. The prizes are pretty neat, I have to admit, however the motivation to finally do what I've been trying to do is an even better reward. My goal weight is 190 lbs. I'm flucuate between 230 and 240 and to be under 200 would just be amazing. So here's what I'm going to do about it.
A couple of weeks ago, someone slipped $150 worth of Chamber of Commerce gift cards underneath my office door as a Christmas present. I vowed then and there to use that money to get in better shape with either the purchase of a treadmill or exercise bike. I still don't know who gave that money, but it was a blessing and I plan to use it to better my health. Obesity runs in my family, and thankfully heart disease does not, but just the though of being able to run and play a game of football and not be all out of breath is just an amazing thought to me.
So, I ask for your prayers and your support. This is going to be difficult for me and I'll need lots of help. My diet isn't horrible per se, but I didn't get to 240 by eating broccoli. So with a combination of better diet and exercise I hope to drop under 200 lbs by the middle of April. We'll see what happens!