Friday, December 26, 2008

I'm Jaw-Dropping Speechless

Pastor Jack's blog tells about a couple of astonishing worship services in area churches. How to have an extra-marital affair and a live strip tease to Santa Baby.
I'm speechless.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mark Your Turf with Meaning

Recently I moved from the off-site youth offices (aka, "Scranton") to the church (aka, "Corporate"). So I was faced with the decision of what to put on the walls of my office and on my bulletin board. I like to put up things that spur me on. Because I need visible reminders, I mark my 'turf' with meaningful items:
  • A 35 year-old page from Our Daily Bread about not wasting time. My mom sent it to me when I was in college.
  • My Open Water Diving Certificate.
  • Two 20k, Dam to Dam, Race Numbers.
  • My Personal Mission Statement.
  • 10 Maxims that guided me in youth ministry.
  • A quote from Thoreau that I copied from my daughter's bulletin board: "Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction."
  • Sir Francis Drake's Prayer.
  • Monthly Ministry "WINS" will be the next items going up on my wall.
I'd like to know how you mark your turf with meaning?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Embrace Ministry Sadness

When I signed up to do ministry I saw hope and promise for people who find Christ. What no one really told me was how much pain people suffer. And, coming from a healthy home, I couldn't project how much sadness I would carry for others...
  • Ministry sadness is Jamie (I changed the name). At 19 years old, she had a 15 month old son whom she had to give up to foster care because she couldn't provide for him. The boy's dad lived with Jamie on her minimum wage, part time salary. Then, Jamie got pregnant again from a different guy. This guy then went to prison for who knows what. She was months along in her pregnancy and had no prenatal medical care. Still sleeping around.
  • Ministry sadness is the freshman guy who has no one to care for him. He smells and has greasy hair because no one has trained him to take care of himself.
  • Ministry sadness is the adult man in tears because of his financial failure.
  • Ministry sadness is my frustration for so many who are unresponsive to Jesus, or who reject wisdom, or who are stuck.
How do you overcome ministry sadness?
  1. Sometimes you just have to embrace the sadness. That is, cry.
  2. I'm not designed to carry my ministry sadness alone. And sharing it with others doesn't really relieve it. Only the Comforter's shoulders are broad enough to bear ministry sadness. Only Jesus shed tears of blood.
  3. Remember, we hurt a lot when we care a lot.
What gives you ministry sadness? How do you overcome ministry sadness?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


After watching this popular video I thought...
  • What am I expecting others to do for me that I'm unwilling to do for myself?
  • What makes it more appealing to me to remain where I am rather than to move ahead? What gratification do I gain from staying put?
  • Who am I blaming for my current status?
  • How do I convey my expectations onto others?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Killing Time with the Fam

Here are some of the 'funner' things we've done as a family over the Christmas break. Some are traditions, some 'r not...
  • Take one of the FREE personality or intelligence tests at Testdex. Compare results.
  • Share a Christmas eve Breakfast. Turk on the TV comedy Scrubs calls this 'Brinner'.
  • Open one present on Christmas eve and the rest on Christmas morning.
  • Take a picture of the "present" that Shamus left for us under the Christmas tree.
  • Play speed Scrabble.
  • Play Amy Grant's Christmas album and see how long it takes for Shannon to complain.
  • Catch a movie.
  • Play Nerts.
  • Play Upwords.
  • Play Rummikub.
  • Read the Christmas Story, of course.
  • When the kids were little we'd build a fort out of a refrigerator box, build a mattress slide down the stairs, build a fort with blankets and couch cushions, play indoor tackle football with Dad, get bumped onto the couch cushions on the floor.
  • Cook and bake experimental goodies (usually they're Very Good!).
  • This year I'd like to deliver some of those experimental goodies to neighbors.
What do you do with your family at Christmas?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

See You Whole in Heaven, Christopher

While Christopher was in his mother's tummy she got a virus. We don't know why, but at that crucial stage Christopher's brain didn't form right. Today, not too long after 24 years of speechlessness, sightlessness, and too many other limitations, we celebrated Christopher's wholeness at his memorial service. I was honored today to bless his caregivers and his parents, Denny and Deb. One lesson I've been learning lately: the closer we get to human need, the closer we get to Jesus. "Then the King will answer, 'I tell you the truth, anything you did for even the least of my people here, you also did for me.' Matthew 25:40 (NCV) daughter Shannon is 24. She was born a couple of months after Christopher. Shannon's serving Jesus and growing in life in Iowa City. I'm humbled, puzzled, glad, and sad.

Oh...and I do so wish that Denny could have fulfilled his dream to study Greek with his firstborn son. Maybe someday...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What I Learned NOT to Do in Youth Ministry

Here are the results of an off the cuff survey of Youth Pastors.
What I learned NOT to do in Youth Ministry. I learned...
  • Not to send 5 guys down a zip line in one harness.
  • When re-enacting the crucifixion with a nail and hammer, don't assume the female volunteer will move her hand.
  • No matter how responsible teens seem to be, don't leave them unsupervised.
  • If guys go outside to make snow angels, make them wear shorts.
  • Not to take myself too seriously.
  • Not to gossip.
  • That I should not back up on an interstate entrance ramp with a van load of teens.
  • Not to read emails in the wrong place.
  • Don't doubt the janitor dude.
  • Jump at the same time onto the Blob.
  • Don't let teens play the Salt Game that can send them to the emergency room.
  • Not to interrupt parents before they tell their whole story.
  • To be careful with what I tell my mother.
  • Not to do the Birthday Spanking Gauntlet.
  • To keep my mouth shut.
  • To never shut off all the lights.
  • Not to take the van load of teens to Hooters.