Sunday, February 29, 2004

Spiritual Attack

From my journal...

The past two weeks have been pretty rough – work has been very busy. Not only busy. But lots of production work, lots of outages. We had a release over last weekend, nothing went right. We were really over time, two releases (core and DS) in one weekend, DDL blew up, perf problems on Monday. Then we had another one to setup some database infrastructure for NJ this past weekend. Again. Bad task plans, faulty passwords, and the final straw, Shareplex activation that just wouldn’t work.
These things are tested, just like always.
D said to me this morning, “Is someone sabotaging you?”
That got me to really do some thinking.
And I think the answer is yes.
This is probably the busiest time for SPACE yet, simply because the tone of the summer needs to get launched. Four trips, all with parent meetings, forms, packets, PR. Not to mention scheduling all of this in between two retreats in one month. And finding this one set of leaders for 9th grade… What’s most strategic for the enemy to win? For these trips to fall apart. For me to get so busy with work I have no time for anything else. For my job to suffer, especially with me having a new boss – Ken, that all of the security we counted on for doing both Verizon and a commitment to students falls by the wayside. For me to say that work is much too important to be involved in church stuff. Hmm.
So this morning I had a pretty dialogue with God about this stuff, on the way to get McDonalds for everyone. Asking Him to keep Satan out of the picture, to protect me, to protect my relationship with Ken, the integrity of my team, to keep the releases working the right way. We will never know what went wrong with some of that stuff. I remember saying to D this morning, “I feel like everything I’m doing at work fails” I continued to pray that I would make no agreements with Satan. I’m not at fault, I’m not a terrible manager, my team is not falling apart. That God would allow things at work to flow smoothly in order that I would be able to continue to make the SPACE trips work out. And that we would find a leader for 9th grade.
I’m convinced now, after thinking about it all day, that the software problems at work, and the fallout associated, all stem from me doing something that Satan does not like. It’s a spiritual battle, and Satan is using something as generic as software to attack me on a level associated with my job. In our Western worldview, we don’t believe that Satan would be able to use something as benign as software to wage a spiritual war. But I believe it, it certainly is a battle and I’m finally seeing what is really going on here.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Summer Missions 1
Our first parents meeting for one of the summer mission trips is tonight, I'm excited. I'm excited to see the kids that are interested, to meet their parents, to see the leaders of this team - who are also the grade small group leaders - run the show and share their thoughts. I'm also excited to share the overall vision of SPACE missions with these parents. I think it's going to be lots of fun, I hope they get the vision for what we could do when the youth ministry gets smart, strategic and full bore about Biblical missions.
Here are some of the questions we are using on our trip application:
*What are your reasons for wanting to go on this trip?
*List specific personal goals you have for this trip?
*What or who sparked your interest in missions?
*How do your parents/guardians feel about you going on this trip? Do you have their complete support?
*Do you have any medical or psychological concerns that could affect your performance on this trip?
*Who is your favorite bible character and why?
*If you were stranded on a desert island, what five things would you want to have with you and why? Please list them in order of importance to you.
*What is your favorite movie and in what way do you relate to it?
*What has God been teaching you lately?
*What are your views, as a Christian, on:
- Alcohol and drug consumption
- Christian sexual conduct
- Choice of entertainment/media

Had a conversation with our good friend, CA, who are missionaries with Open Air Campaigners here in Baltimore, about their summer plans. Very exciting. They also mentioned an international student ministry at Hopkins they have started to get plugged into, which was mostly Chinese students. That sounds like a lot of fun. I think one different thing SPACE could really have fun doing would be something with international students, talk about the great need in where we live, a potentially really big impact to the 10/40 window, and getting kids to understand a bit about culture and such.

Went to a girl scout Daisies "Thinking Day" with my 6 year old last night. The theme was ancient Egypt. Let's just say that not too much of it was about Egypt. Two things bothered me - First, they had some 4th and 5th graders explaining what the Egyptians thought about the afterlife, to kindergartenders among others. This wasn't that big of a deal, I'm just glad that our daughter is pretty spiritual sharp, or at least, I would like to think so. It was a good source of conversation for us. Secondly, they had this 'skit' at the end which had nothing to do with Egypt. Instead, the gist was a 'dance' at the end in which the girls encouraged other girls to show off their 'booty.' Uh yeah. I was more in shock than anything else, and I think, and would like to hope, that other parents were too. Did we learn nothing from the Super Bowl? Is undecency that laughable? Do we think its ok to show something like that to 6 year old girls? I don't think I'm making too much out of this, the more I ponder it, the more hot I get. And I thought, like a crazy person, that this whole evening might have been a good cross cultural experience for my 6 year old. Well, it certainly was a good culture lesson, lets just say...

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

This article here (which I got from the YS Update) talks about the growing problem of kids getting high off of over the counter cold medicine. One of the kids that was in my small group is still dealing with it. DXM was big in his involvement. I wrote more about TP here.
Welcome Youth Specialties Peeps!
I was just informed a little while ago that I'm the featured blog of the week for the YS email list.... Like whoa... I'm humbled... To all of you that have come here from that link/email - Welcome! My hope is that this can be an encouragement to you who work with students day in and day out. Drop me a line, I would love to hear more about your ministry and to hear about what is going on with students all around the world...
Slick Bible Tool
THIS is pretty amazing... It's called the Semantic Bible... The coolest thing is the Hyper-Concordance... All key words hyperlinked to other passages.... WOW!
Food becomes the Enemy
Food is never my enemy. But a very very interesting article here about how eating disorders are affecting younger and younger kids. I see it with my older daughter, the other day she talked about going on a diet. She is 6. Not to mention, it seems like everyone around me is on a diet. But not me, like I said, food and I are friends...
- ''The way this country deals with food is not normal,'' said Dr. Rosina Pellerano, who specializes in eating disorders. ``It's about using food as a vehicle to deal with stressors. And it's not going away.''
- "Studies have shown that after seven years of treatment, about half of anorexics recover fully. A third continue to struggle. More than 10 percent die from the disease, which has the highest mortality of any mental disorder."
Wow... So, the odds are that someone in your circle of students that you minister to is dealing with this, either directly or indirectly. I think its two-fold, reacting and helping kids in crisis, and (and I think this is big) helping kids that haven't run into these issues yet deal with the right way to look at self-image, food, etc.
It's one of the things that I have against Barbies... Not that they are terrible, with two little girlies, we have quite a few of them. And the girls just LOVE them. But I want them to grow up with a worldview of who God created them to be, and what that means in relation to the way they look, and all that. You guys know what I mean...

Monday, February 23, 2004

Landing Here from Searches
I've been using lately and it's been cool to see how people get here. The two search terms that have landed people here are:
"Brian Goins" pastor
Barna research +age kids decide go into missions

That's pretty cool. I dig it. Hey, if you are the one looking for Brian Goins, comment - I would love to hear from you if you know him.
Day Job Just About Kills Tony
My day job has just about killed me this past weekend. Of course, its a day job, for which I worked all night long. Most of my job is managing software engineers working on specific versions of software, and our biggest and most important tasks are putting these versions in production systems, with real users. Just about all of these upgrades are done on weekends when users are not on the systems. In this weekend's case, we had loads of problems, and even late on Monday evening, are still dealing with fallout....

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Parental Permission
This is funny. It's a parent writing up a permission form... I found it from the last Launch, from Emilie, who is on the SPACE crew and a great person. She is money!!

It's funny, I told her next time to just get her mom to sign a blanket perm form for all the launches she will go on during high school.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Helping missionaries
Just got a cool email from a missionary from GCC. Talking about the idea of sending a youth team to work with them, probably not this summer though. J has outlined some of the things they have had people do, even without being able to speak the language. This is good info - people sometimes think they can't do anything unless they know the lanaguage, but it really isn't true.
Also reminds me of the missions trip I heard about where the people went and didn't have a set place to stay. They were taught a few phrases in the language such as 'I am an American interested in learning about your culture,' and 'I am looking for a place to live with someone from your culture.' The people on the trip all found places to live before they got off the plane trip.
"Typically, young people who've come out have been involved in a wide variety of activities depending on their length of stay, including homestays with nationals (both Muslim and Christian), ministry (friendship ev) to English-speaking collegians, leading English camps for young people on a remote island where one of our focus unreached groups lives, experiencing language and culture acquisition, and also serving our local team here (teaching VBS to our kids, baby-sitting, etc.). There's actually quite a bit they're able to do here just with speaking English. One of the highlights for our kids has been to have "big sisters and brothers" stay with us during part of their visits (usually during the orientation periods). "
Lots of stuff in the pipeline. I'm finding that when you work on specific pieces of work, which have milestones, you need to be looking down the road to what is next, while putting the finishing touches on what is almost done. I've been doing this for years with work since we work on 'releases' of software, that require plans and designs for the future, before the current one has gone to market. I'm finding the same kind of pace with ministry tasks. It's good though, because I seem to take to it pretty readily.
So my pipeline looks like this right now:
- LC homeless day debriefing - tomorrow
- Info to SPACE crew about summer mission trip
- Finalize middle school missions weekend with CMTS
- Finding key leader(s) for SEMP for 9th graders (in the next 2 weeks) **my biggest risk right now, pray for it!
- Mission trips prep - 5 meetings, guest speakers, dates, locations, etc.
- CSM mission trip parent meeting - 2/28
- Pre CpR retreat plan meeting - 2/29
- CpR retreat workcrew staffing - 3/6
- April SPACE Launch - prob high school only - maybe a construction thing - KC is really running with this, which is good
- May SPACE Launch - end of year something big
It's pretty busy right now, but I love it.

GCC in the news
Check out GCC in the Baltimore Sun. The Home Improvement ministry is a piece of Grace Cares, a community service and outreach umbrella. We've worked with a few of these folks for some of the SPACE Launches.... Very cool. Check out the great quote at the end by Pastor M!

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A good problem to have
So you have this pretty dynamic youth ministry, that seems to be attracting loads and loads of students. And you start to build in a piece of the program centered around strategic community service and missions. And for one of your service launches, you get close to 50 kids that show up. That's a problem, true? Yes, but a good problem to have. But it is, nonetheless, a problem.
Here are some things that I see about it:
- With that quantity, certain ministries will not host you. You can't walk into an inner city ministry with 50 kids from the suburbs. It would never work. And it doesn't fit their style of indigenous ministry.
- Certain other projects would be great with that many kids. For instance, a Habitat for Humanity project, possibly. As long as the host ministry could really utilize all those people.
- Maybe we have to get to the point where we have the same theme for a day, split the kids into smaller groups, working with different ministries around town doing the same kind of thing, and then at the end, regroup and debrief. Sure does make for a pretty complex day though. And lots of volunteers.
The more this year goes along and the more launches we do, I'm seeing this whole job of mine in a few interesting terms:
- Definitely lots of event planning. This year was the first year in student ministry that I dealt with school buses and rental vans. It's a good thing.
- A bit of networking. People have started calling me asking about contact info to other places to serve. That's a good thing too.
- I think the biggest and most important part is the shepherding and vision casting. The SPACE crew is a major motivation for me. To build into these kids, to have them step up to be leaders in this, to get them to 'get it.' It's huge, fun, a passion of mine. It also fills a void because I think I need students to be working with.
Anyway, I'm just talking off the top of my head. Good stuff.
Homeless Debrief
I've got the privilege to do a debriefing for a bunch of middle school kids going to feed the homeless this Saturday. Should be very fun, I'm excited. A lady at GCC, CS, who helps out with middle school, has been very involved in ministries to the homeless around Baltimore, Columbia and DC. She has hooked up with the guy who runs CSM in DC and he pointed her to three parks that would be safe for middle schoolers. So she took the initiative to invite certain kids to this thing on Saturday, and I think she is going to do more stuff centered around homeless people and students. It's very cool, she really has a heart for the intersection of both. I'm excited to see how it grows, and it will be a neat module to SPACE, or something similar.
Of course, on Saturday, everything else in the world is happening too. We have our Parents Panel we are participating in. We'll have to go tell these folks we have no idea about what we are doing as parents, seeing as E has climbing all over furniture to steal whatever she is not allowed to have. Markers, chocolate candy, medicine. Tonight I found a dropper and an empty bottle of Infant Tylenol Cold. Good thing most of it was already gone. No wonder she took a nap today...
Saturday's plans also include a neighborhood potluck, which will be great fun, with awesome food. And I have a production release I have to work. That's not always fun, but its a living. And a good chance to have some good conversations with the people I work with.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

What I really enjoy
I have to come to understand, a little bit better, that I really relish in the opportunities to take kids on these kinds of service/mission opportunities. When asked about passion, one of the questions is 'What keeps you up at night, that you dream about?' My answer, mostly, has been, taking kids on missions trips. I think Perspectives helped hone that vision and implementation, in terms of what was really "missions". But seeing what happened on Saturday, having to problem solve on the fly, seeing kids out of their elements, talking to kids about what our real goals were, actually being out 'in the field' with them, man, that was so cool stuff. I know some people would have a large amount of disdain for being with teenagers all day, having plans fall through, all the unknowns between numbers of kids, activities that might not have worked, Senior Citizen residents that loved bingo more than visitors, etc. But I think all that makes it a lot more interesting. After all, if things just flop, we can say that the whole SPACE program is just an experiement this year... No one says it has to continue... haha... of course, I'm kidding myself, and I'm kidding you.
My hope is that youthworkers all around have the same kind of motivation for the work they are doing with students. My prayer, if you are a youthworker reading this, full time or not, paid or not, whatever age, is that you are living with this kind of passion and desire that I am, that thinking about building the next generation of Kingdom seekers keeps you up at night, that God's mercy for you is so good - you HAVE to pass it on, that God is worthy of all praise and that every student should have a chance to testify to His goodness, that students are one of the best plans God has for the world...
Launch S Followup
Here is what I wrote to my prayer team about Launch S...
Thought I would post it even though I wrote details about it the other day too.
Pictures can be found on my fotoblog.
(TS, one of the SPACE team kids decided we should start calling the team
'SPACE crew'. I dig it.)

Hi friends,

Thanks for supporting and praying for Launch S.

Here are some details:

- 49 students and leaders
- Threw a beach party for residents at Sunrise Assisted Living
in Columbia, with the intention of engaging people
in conversations about true love
- Had cookie decorating, valentine card making, bingo
and poker with residents.
- Was ready for some worship time and one of the students
giving a Gospel presentation...
But ---
We had too many people and it wasn't working out for Sunrise,
so they very politely asked us to leave...

- We then had lunch in the Hickory Ridge Village Center,
did worship and the Gospel talk right there in front
of Giant...

- And then made and gave out around 200 valentine cards
to residents at Lorien Nursing & Rehabilitation Center,
right up the road.

Not exactly what we had planned, but we got to hopefully impact
two nursing homes, a bunch of people in the Village Center
and had kids thinking about how to be strategic about the
real meaning of true love.

Thank YOU for your support!

- the SPACE crew

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Ministry Weekend
Wow, lots to write about from this weekend.
First - had lunch with one of my student leaders from when I led a dteam. MG was a senior when my guys were freshmen and he helped me lead that whole first year. Wow, was that bumpy... MG also helped me lead our team to SEMP in 1999. He is now getting ready to graduate from college, wow how time flies. Anyway, he is involved with Navigators and UMCP and excited about the future, working, and helping out at GCC with Young Adults. Very cool. He is also going to come back and help with the CpR sunday teaching team. It's a great opportunity for him to help and also figure more about his gifting. He is contemplating some ministry future, I predict it will happen.
One thing about MG - I've never seen a guy with such a compassionate heart. I always wondered how a ministry cultivated that. I've come to realize that a ministry doesn't, but parents do. I think the SPACE crew is probably a good example of that.

The SPACE launch was on Saturday. We had 49 students and leaders. Like whoa. We went to our nursing home with some pretty good plans and it was working out ok, I thought. But it wasn't. So they asked us to leave. Don't get me wrong, they were really nice about it, and if it isn't working out for the hosting ministry, we really do need to leave. So we left. Before we actually left, I sent KC up to another nursing home to see if they could use us, one within walking distance. Since we had about 2 hours to kill. And no way to transport 49 people. They said we could come and pass out valentine cards so we did that. In the meantime, we had lunch outside, in 30 degree weather, at the Village Center. About half of us were wearing beach clothes - sandals, skirts, shorts, etc. Very funny. One of our students did some worship, and Leslie did her talk anyway. Seeing all those kids out there, worshipping, not caring who was watching or what they were thinking, better than any Launch I could have planned on my own. We then went up to the 2nd nursing home and the kids handed out about 175 valentine cards. Really worked out pretty well...

Had lunch today with TP. TP is an 03 dteam guy, who has had significant battles with substance abuse since 10th grade. It's sad because before that, he was pretty sold out to Jesus. His life has since been a downward spiral, including a ream of counselors, outpatient therapy, inpatient therapy, expulsion from public school, and most recently, a very bad car accident while he was intoxicated which could have easily ended his life. His overall temperament today was 'tired.' Part of him is tired of fighting this battle, part of him cannot give it up. I'm at a loss on how to help him anymore. It's sad. Did we fail him as a student ministry. Do student ministries fail students? Or have families failed students long before those students enter our ministries?

Went to a parents meeting tonight with some LC leaders that are taking some LC kids to feed the homeless next Saturday in DC. It was a good turnout, and the kids and their parents are some solid people. Interesting to consider how the future of CpR will change as these kids enter high school.

Wow. A busy ministry weekend.
PS - D and I had a good time for VDay, in case you thought I didn't do anything. The girlies went out with Grandpa and Granny. Their first words to us when we came to pick them up were, 'Go away.' And to think we actually got bored at the Mall by ourselves...
Listen to Jarrett Stevens. He is a teaching pastor at one of the Willow Creek gen X ministries, I think. Anyway, him and his wife Jeanne spoke at our CpR retreats for a few years in a row. Awesome speakers, but moreso than that, they realized that real ministry happens in relationships, among small groups of people. So with every retreat, they met with us leaders and :
- asked if there were any big issues in our ministry that they could address as guest speakers. One year, one of our students was killed in a car accident the Friday morning that all the kids left for the retreat. They listened, and used it during their sessions.
- ALWAYS emphasized that we, as the small group leaders, are the catalysts of change. They always had 3 follow up questions we could take from their talks and use in group time, which was always right after a session.
The dynamic that they had as the spoke together was so great. I haven't listened to the whole message, but I'm sure its a good one.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Ministry to Parents
Phil has posted the text of a letter from the National Network of Youth Ministers regarding ministry to parents and families of students. It's kind of a call to action, which is pretty cool. Read it here.
Google Banners for fictious holidays
See more here.
I think this one is my favorite.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I've written about SM, our high school pastor, at least once before. He's the real deal. At CpR, we do outreaches every other Friday night, where kids are encouraged and challenge to bring their friends, be part of the team putting the whole night together, etc. It's pretty cool, and was one of the big things that impressed me when we first came to GCC. Student led, leader driven, kind of thing. Kids are up front in the band, leading worship, in the dramas, sharing how God is leading them, doing the Gospel presentation, etc. It's really indigenous leadership, if you think about youth as a totally different culture, which I do. So, in terms of a mission mindset, if I am the outsider coming in to 'plant a church' per se, I've got to reach a set of people in the culture, win them to Christ, and have them share with their own culture, and build a church that resembles and respects what their culture looks like. I like to think that CpR, and specifically SM (since it was his whole idea) are on the right track.
So much of how God has grown it is the foundation for SPACE, for at least what a service-missions focused piece of ministry looks like at GCC. It's cool to see. And the feedback from people about us engaging kids in community service has been overwhelming. People love it. Even more, kids love it. We are ministering, and enabling, a generation that doesn't want to just sit around when it comes to spirituality. They need to live it, express it, model it. It's a breath of fresh air compared to when I was in high school. Like, how much of a loser was I? The kids these days are on a totally different plane.
So I digress... Last Friday, we had the All Around the World Party, as one of the CpR outreaches. They decorated the main sanctuary (big church) into Italy, Mexico and China, and had all this food, drinks, waiters and waitresses. It was really incredible. All told, they had over 100 adult volunteers to help put it together, all the food details and clean up. When it was over, the kids went back across the street to the Warehouse and these people just packed it up and cleaned it up. I was left with such awe, because they did whatever they needed to so that other adults could go back over with the students for the rest of the outreach night... GCC loves their high schoolers!!
I did some magic tricks during the eating part, it was kind of cool. The two tricks I did were tricks that sort of told the Gospel story, in small tidbits. It was neat to really try it out on a lot of people, and I think it worked - people listened, it got their attention and they really listened to the point. And my overall goal was really to talk to new people, and have the friends that brought them be able to follow up about a conversation about spiritual things.
When the whole thing was done, SM asked me to continue to give him feedback about how these outreaches go, what they should look like, etc. It was very flattering. He said, "You have an evangelists heart like me." That was quite unexpected... I don't think I really do, I don't stay up late at night thinking about bringing people to Christ, do I? I do stay up thinking about how to engage the students we have into thinking the right way about missions, about what this summer's missions trips are going to look like, about how much fun I'm going to have with some of these kids that are so precious to Jesus...

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Launch S prayer letter
Hi friends!

Would you say a quick prayer for this Saturday if you remember?
We are doing our next SPACE Launch, its called Launch S.
We are taking about 30 middle and high schoolers to a nursing
home in Columbia and throwing a Valentines Day/Beach party.
We are going to have some games, snacks, crafts, etc.

Probably the biggest thing you could pray for is that we
are able to communicate the meaning of true love to some
of the people that live there.
Some specific things that we have planned include:
- an activity where residents tell us their 'true love' story.
We will have a computer and print out their story on some
LLUUUV paper. A perfect lead in to have someone share
their definition of true love.
- some students will be leading a time of worship.
- one student (Leslie) will be doing a Gospel presentation.

I'm excited, I think its going to be a lot of fun as well as
be pretty strategic both in the lives of these students
and the people we come in to contact with.

Fishers of Men

Check out Marc's post about people discovering Jesus through relationships, fishing for people and what relational nets might look like. Another point, I think, that the real hope of the world, is a vibrant, dynamic, growing, local church.
Mission incubator
I love to just surf through different church's websites and see what have listed under missions. It's intruiging to try and filter to see what other people think about missions and how their church defines it. I think much of it starts with the church's mission statement and then filters down into what they are doing about it. Anyway, this page is kind of cool, they call it a mission incubator - whose goal is "to mobilize every member to become involved in ministry or mission." I like it, its crisp. Got it from the blog of Dave and the church he works for.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Spencer Burke's Making Sense of Church
Picked these up at Justins blog.
Good way of thinking...
* Tour Guide to Traveler - a Conversation about Leadership
* Teacher to Facilitator - a Conversation about Learning
* Hero to Human - a Conversation about Spiritual Growth
* Consumer to Steward - a Conversation about Ministry
* Retailer to Wholesaler - A Conversation about Missions
* Adversary to Ally - a Conversation about Faith
* Warrior to Gardener - a Conversation about Evangelism

I really like the Facilitator one. And the Retailer to Wholesaler has me intruiged. I'll probably have to pick up the book. All of it reminds me about the Perspectives ideas about learner, trader and story teller. Here is another article that expands on those ideas.
I love oranges
and orange juice, and clementines... In fact, I had 7 clementines today...
I know, pretty random post...

Married Conspiracy #2
D and I were talking more about it - what if we got to church early this Sunday and saved a pair of seats for the couple that were treated so rudely and one for Mr. Seat Stealer. And had them next to each other... Now that would be a conspiracy...
I think I got an RSS feed working.... Check out the link to the left... And leave me a comment if you tried it but it doesn't work... Thanks!
The Grammys
I liked the show overall, it was pretty entertaining. I have to admit, one of my main objectives was to try to stay in touch with popular and youth culture, I guess that's what happens when you are almost 35 *yikes*... Anyway, although I think I achieved my goal, I'm not sure how in touch youth are with the Grammys. Do high schoolers really watch the show, or care? It almost seems more like the establishment that so much of youth is always trying to rebel against. I mean, who cares how many albums they sell and stuff like that? And who really votes to decide who the winner is? Isn't it just a big bunch of corporate boondoggles?
Well, it doesn't really matter... I had fun, and to see Prince was pretty funny too.
I have to admit though, the below was probably my favorite. Those guys sounded really good.
YP Nation
News aggregator of youth min web sites and resources. Very good. Here.
A Conspiracy of Married People
I walked in to the service yesterday from watching some of my SPACE kids talk about the next launch for Light Company (our middle school ministry) over at the Warehouse. D had saved me a seat so I sat down. She pointed to the guy in front of me and asked if I knew him. I said no. She then proceeded to tell me that this guy sat down in a seat the lady next to him was saving for her husband. Not only that, when she told him, he said, basically, 'since he isn't here, he isn't sitting here...' or something to that effect. He also shoved all of her stuff off of the seat. Of course, they went on back and forth for a little bit. Totally rude. Incredible. We just could not get over it. Needless to say, it blew Pastor M's message for us, which makes me pretty irate now that I think about it more and more. D had to leave for a few minutes she was so incensed.
I decided during the message that I was going to say something to him right when it was over. Maybe he was a visitor, maybe he got confused, maybe he's had a rough morning. I thought, I talk about how this is really my church, how we belong here, how I help out with students, that gives me - almost entitles me- to a sense of ownership. What happens here really is important to me. I belong here. Things that happen here affect me and my family.
So right when Pastor M was done, I jumped up, introduced myself, told him I help out with students. I asked him if he was new. Nope, been going here for a few years. What? Anyway, I won't go into the details, but D and I got nowhere with him. The gist was that he felt like he was entitled to a seat. And he was pretty bitter about all the married people saving seats, that married people were so bad and selfish about it, it made it very hard for single people to get a seat when they come early. What? I just don't get it. And I really didn't want to anymore. He was very amicable, just hard headed. In the end we chose to disagree and walked away from it, on a pretty civil tone. Not to mention that he used the word 'bullshit' two times in our conversation. Now, I'm not against using that word, but I wouldn't do it 1- in church, 2- with someone I just met. That's pretty lame. And I think it's pretty indicative of his heart. Shock people, be bitter, live life how you want to live it.
I'm still in shock. And I'm sad that the couple (she by the way left when the message started to stand in the back with her husband who in fact did come in) had to experience something like that at a church that I so believe in.
Let's just say that this guy won't be coming into any contact with my students if I can help it. At a minimum, he needs to clean up his mouth. At the extreme, he needs to work on his heart.

Friday, February 06, 2004

James 1:27
As Charlie invests himself significantly in the lives of other people, his is finding fulfillment in, as Scripture says in James 1:27, 'visiting orphans and widows in their distress."
Read the whole story here.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

When Fellowship Fails
D and I have been talking a lot today about a couple that we know whose not doing to well. I think the church has failed them in many respects.
1 - They have made them 'do' too much, in terms of church programs. Teach this, lead this, be here for this. Despite your young family, despite the fact that there are older, wiser people, more along in their journey, who don't need as much time at home, all who are plenty capable to do those things.
2 - Their 'good' friends have failed to call them on some pretty significant issues. It's sad, because if I were in their shoes, I would want someone to say something, if they felt like it was a big enough deal. Like, "Hey, I think you being stoned while driving your kids to school is bad." Of course, I'm making that extreme example up. But if you were crazy, wouldn't you want your friends to say something?
3 - Their 'good' friends have seemingly almost given up on them. No one seems to be seeking them out when they don't show up for things they have made commitments for. It's almost that the couple has maybe given up on the idea that anyone would care.
It's pretty sad. But I do need to mention that, I'm not in any of their shoes, so I really don't know first hand. I could be more off than imaginable. I would hope, with all my heart, that if that was me/us, our fellowship would dive to any depths to rescue us. And if it was someone in our close midst, we would do the diving...
Pray for the Bs if you could, for restoration and the Enemy would leave them alone.
V Day 2004
So I'll spill the beans here, since I don't think anyone reads this.
The next SPACE launch, for both middle and high schoolers is on vday. We are going to throw a beach party at a Senior Citizens home. It's going to be cool.
The reasoning behind it is simple - we want to talk about love, on the day that the world takes time out to talk about love, in a different way. We want to impact a major segment of society, steering them into the meaning of true love. We want to expose these great, wise, old people to the author of real love, to the One that went all out, that spoke and acted on love that was greater than any other kind of love imaginable. And we want to get kids to do that.
Can I just tell you, I know God is going to use it strategically, in a pretty significant way...
Here are some of the plans:
- beach music
- limbo (but prob not for the senior citizens)
- vday cookie decorating
- vday card making
- a 'tell your true love story' thing (we'll have a computer and a printer and have residents tell us the story and we'll print it for them on some nice vday paper)
- some live worship
- a short gospel presentation (by one of our students, Leslie. This is probably what I most excited about - indigenous leadership - adult driven/student led, etc.)

We did this last year, with my Dteam from 03. We went to this place for 3 weeks just hanging out and helping with bingo, making friends, playing poker. On the last night ,we brought the girls from the grade, flowers, cards, pictures, etc. It was pretty neat. But I think this year is going to be better.
What Church People Ought to be About
'I simply argue that the cross be raised again at the center of the market place as well as on the steeple of the church,
I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles:
But on a cross between two thieves; on a town garbage heap; at the crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek, and at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse and soldiers gamble.
Because that is where He died, and that is why He died, and that is what He died about. And that is where Christ?s men ought to be, and what church people ought to be about.'
- George MacLeod
Taken from Scott's blog.
The Growing Church in Afghanistan
Read the quick blurb here
- a surprising 2 million refugees have come back, and some are bringing with them what they didn't have when they left: faith in Christ.
- It is unnatural for Afghans not to talk about God.
- Many had supernatural dreams, where Jesus appeared to them and revealed Himself to be the truth.
Make no mistake, God is moving around the world...

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Another Passion Writeup
I'm only posting this because Barbara thinks this is good, and she knows a lot better than I do. Read it here.
Playing at a Church Near You
Cool, lets do some advertising for church, with the opening of The Passion. Read it here. I personally think its a cool idea.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Holding on through the Teen Years
Good article here. I liked:
- Insist teens give you at least one day's notice of any request.
- If you can't stay up until your teen's curfew, sleep in his bed.
- Don't dismiss puppy love.
Some other good advice on acne, sleep habits and straight talk from (gasp!) actual teeenagers.
I thought most of the article was pretty right on. But on the other hand, it made me realize that the students I come into direct contact with, wow, some of these things don't apply. Because I think:
#1 - they are mature
#2 - they understand life's priorities correctly
#3 - they have a realization that they have it pretty good in comparision to the world around them.
Am I that kind of Manager?
Good tips on being a good manager. Read it here.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Bar Codes that look like Jesus
It's weird but kind of cool.
Jeopardy Winner volunteers with IJM
This guy writes about how he won on "Jeopardy" and went to volunteer with the IJM for a few weeks. It's nice to see someone live with conviction..... Read it here but you have to scroll down to "No, I didn't go to Disneyland"
US States I have visisted
You can generate a map of states you have visited, as well as countries around the world you have visited too. Neat-o.

create your own visited states map
Super Bowl
Wow, of course lots of controversy about the commercials and especially the half time show from last night... Nothing more than I need to mention here, except that if you know me, you know I have a big disdain for professional sports. I usually never watch them, because I'm not convinced its a great investment of time and I think we as a culture have a slight problem with the way we treat atheletes and the amount of money we spend on pro sports. Please understand, I'm not taking shots, just reflecting how I personally feel. But despite all that, I watched the whole game, and it was quite a game. Kudos to the Pats and the Panthers on some good competition.

Read what Walt Mueller says about the Super Bowl here, find the heading "Lettin' it all hang out...". Very good critique. "I am fully aware that those who would be critical of my criticism will say I should have just turned it off. Sorry, but that's not the answer. I may not have watched it, but millions of other impressionable young kids will have. I think we need to be advocates for them and protect them from physical, emotional, relational, and moral harm." Go Walt!! We can't engage or dialogue if we hide from it...