Friday, April 30, 2004

Missions Charts and Graphs
Praying for Hollywood
Cool site here that mobilizes people to pray for Hollywood. Some really neat things going on in their newsletter. I'm going to be there next weekend, I'm excited as I've never been to CA before.
I'm most excited about possibly seeing the LaBrea Tar Pits with one of our cousins when the Origins conference is over. I used to live dinosaurs when I was a wee lad.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Missions Prep #3
Our 3rd meeting is this coming weekend. I've decided we will talk about teamwork and stuff like that. Something like:
- culture game
- study on Romans 12 (different gifts, etc.)
- Myers Briggs test, including charting the people on your team for where they are
- the Hardy Personality
- study on Phil 2 maybe
- everyone's status on fund raising
- the 8 great questions (taken from the Short Term Missions Workbook)

I hope it goes well. I'm going to have my mountain climber, Applachian Trail hiker friend G come for Prep #4 and he is going to do some serious team building initiatives. So we talk about it this time and next time, whoa that is going to be hott.
Empty Tomb
Wow just found this site which studies national church financial and giving patterns. Some of the information on there will probably really make you mad. Either it will make you mad at what they are implying, or it will make you mad that our 'discipleship' in the American church ends when it comes to money. In either case, it is compelling evidence.
If giving in American churches went up to 10%, there would be an additional $86B for missions. Note what the chart says that number can do around the world.

In regards to our summer missions stuff:
2 trips raising support
total needed = $9450
total to date = $4201
# of weeks spent raising support so far = 4
I'm not writing this to boast at all, mostly I'm just trying to get it straight in my head. But I also think that when people hear about the need, not just financially, and they see the opportunity to partner with our mission efforts, money is just a detail.
WWII memorial
Check out the new WWII memorial panaramic here. If you are like me and live around DC, you probably hardly ever take full advantage of everything to do in the city, most of the Smithsonian being free. It's kind of too bad.
Headed to the Origins conference next week. Should be a great time. Travelling with our youth admin/catalyst, a young adults pastor, and a youth small groups coord. Great group of people.
Also found this link from someone who went last year. Nice set of notes.
In preparation, one of them gave me a CD to listen to from Erwin. Intense, my notes are below.

I sam 14

biblical change agents

redepmtive XXXX
the longer we live the more we want to hold on to what we have
to live impetuously
not to protect what he had but to expand
an expansionist - driven by urgency
jonathan was an expansionist
paul was a protectionist

the resources of God
the authority of God
the urgency and passion of God
put those three in the same people

a biblical context for what we must become for God's future
8 characteristics of a biblical change agent for God

1 - take initiative
amazed at how many christians are passive about God's will

we are egocentric about God's will for our lives
the center point is MY life

the people that i know that initiate -
they look at humanity, they see the brokenness, their hearts
are transformed by the longing of humanity
they stop saying 'God what is your will for MY life'
they say 'God I want to make a difference in someone elses life'
they stop worrying about what their life is supposed to be about
they worry about what God wants done in human history
they ask, 'God what is on your heart?'
they ask, 'What is breaking your heart Lord, what do you want done?'

Amazing how God can shape a life when they move based on what
they feel is on God's heart

2 - understands and uses influence
use the influence properly
Jonathan does not wake up his father
does not wake up his army
understands appropriateness

some people feel like they are powerless to make change
trying to bring change up instead of sideways and down
God doesn't hold you responsible for influence he doesn't give you

there are people in your life that are living passive apathetic lives
because you are

how come this new person is taking on some much responsibility?
'the kingdom of God is not a labor union'
when a person comes to Christ and recieves the urgency of Christ,
their influence expands

a holy life is not a passive life
i don't do drugs anymore
i don't beat my husband anymore
salvation and transformation is not just about what you do not do anymore
Christ was ressurceted not to stop you from doing something but to get
you to do something

people with intense characters are the leaders
the way you expand your influence in the kingdom is that you deepen your character in Christ

3 - operate in the realm of uncertainty
jonathan wakes the armor barer up
when Jonathan says, "Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf"

you never absolutely know
become a risk taker for God

willing to live in the realm of uncertainty

some things we know certainly:
Jonathan understands who God is - that is certain, concrete
do you wait to act until you have concrete evidence?
paradigms sound like the concept of faith
two levels of faith:
a - God speaks to us and its outside of our experience
God calls us to a level of living outside of our experience
God inviting us to where we have not been before
the realm of possibility

b - in the realm of the impossible
beyond the explainable
Sarah's faith and Mary's faith
the church normally identifies faith as anything outside the realm of our possibilities
God is calling us to live in the realm of the impossible
when we begin to live in the impossible, when God does not do it, we fail

4 - they embrace inherent dangers
v. 8
cross over towards the men, but let them see us
we are afriad to declare anything that is from the Lord
we are afraid to risk anything that might fail
won't we ruin God's name?
when you work with the poor, every single day is a test of viability
the Bible has no promise in it that you and i will survive this war,
but we will be part of the victory celebration
are we willing to inherit the dangers of glorfying God in the impossible?

5 - strategize from an advance mentality
the high place is the strategic place
high ground
God is calling us forward, never backwards, never stationary
it's not hard to avoid God - think small, dream small, live small
as soon as you start thinking big - God becomes involved
Jer 33:3
the impossiblity zone is the God zone
it's over when you decide you have to give your life to something bigger
than yourself

knowing that God always calls you to more
ideas are a dime a dozen
biblical risk taker doesn't just cast vision
a person who allows Jesus to incarnate his life

6 - they draw others into the movement
they don't live alone
they don't see the battle as theirs - they see it as the Lords
the 2nd most outstanding soldier was his armor bearer
other people take note, but they don't understand

7 - is a person who God uses to bring communal help
there is a lot of brokenness and dysfunction
kingdom risk takers make people healthy
they move people to health
a critical missing ingredient in humanity - we were created for mission and purpose
created by God to live with intention
the less intention we have, the more broken we become

God heals them when they get into the battle
if we as God's people will move together with courageous faith,
that we will see multitudes come to Christ and find healing in the battle

Youth Pastors doing stupid things
A list here. Yes, hilarious. Yes, scary.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

"Our help comes not from the Lord, but from Colorado Springs."
This article brings up a couple good discussion points about how American Christians give and help.
- Watch how and what you write
- Know who you are supporting/partnering with
- Insist that ministries work together and are a team
Good stuff. It gets me thinking about our propensity to just give money, without being more strategic about it. If we give money, it must be a pretty viable ministry.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I Peter 4
Last night our study with our couples group was on I Peter 4. What an interesting passage, speaking about suffering and all. Like we know how to suffer here in the US. In the most affluent county in Maryland, boy, do I suffer.
Some notes that came to mind from the passage.

v. 8-11
A true community is something you’ll have to fight for. You’ll have to fight to get one, and you’ll have to fight to keep it afloat. But you fight for it as you bail out a life raft during a storm at sea. You want this thing to work. You need this thing to work. You can’t ditch it and jump back on the cruise ship. This is the church, this is all you have. Without it, you’ll go down. Or back to captivity. This is the reason small house fellowships thrive in other countries: they need each other. There are no other options. - Eldredge

The purpose of the church cannot be to survive or even to thrive but to serve. And sometimes servants die in the serving. – Erwin McManus

v. 12-13
From Perspectives:
- Explain the strategic value of suffering and martyrdom in terms of the triumph of truth, the defeat of evil, and the glory of God.
Three things from Martyrdom/Suffering
1. The triumph of God’s truth
The unredeemed world lives in spiritual darkness. When the ambassador of Christ speaks the truth in love and meets death with joy, a strange miracle occurs – the eyes of the unbelievers are opened.
Many, many groups of people on this planet have testified that the darkness which had been over them was dissipated only when a missionary was killed there.
2. The defeat of Satan
The death of martyrs opens the eyes of unbelievers, and when they see the light, Satan’s power over them is gone.
3. The glory of God
In Christ’s voluntary suffering for the salvation of mankind, the true nature of God was revealed. His essence was shown to be perfect love, utterly and unconditionally giving itself to others.
People see the love of God in the death of the martyr and are compelled to believe in God’s love and sacrifice for them.
Something strange ?
I Peter 4:12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.

In the course of planning and building mission teams, inevitably, there are team members who have to drop. It usually happens, family plans, jobs, weird circumstances, etc. To me, it's never been a big deal. I always make sure the parents are totally comfortable not feeling like they have let someone down, making sure the students feel ok with making a commitment and then having to go back on it. Life happens. My trip is not and will not be the end-all/be-all mission trip of eternity. Even this year, I have had 2 students drop from NYC already. Both of them had unforseen family circumstances and were totally ready to go, but the trip had to give. It's ok.
But, I just got an email from another student with a totally different perspective. She felt like a failure because she couldn't make the next meeting and hadn't sent her letters out yet. The language of the email was doubtful and almost resigned. I wrote her back to make sure that she knew she was on the team and that the small things of sending support letters and one prep meeting were just that, small. I believe preparation for mission trips are just as important as the trip itself, but I also know that this student is going to thrive on this trip, it is going to change her worldview and she is going to look at missions so differently. And the rest of the team, me included, needs her. And she needs us.
Is it no surprise that Satan will attack all of us as we prepare, meet, get to know each other, think about what our summers will hold for us? Why wouldn't he send elements of doubt and resignation to us to make us believe that we aren't worthy, that we don't have what it takes, that we cannot possibly make a difference.... Whether it's at the beginning of brainstorming and planning summer missions, when I felt like I was most attacked, or today, as a student believes she has let everyone else down, Satan is at the heart of us feeling like something is trying to stop our efforts in bringing the Gospel to the nations.
"Listen carefully: any movement toward freedom and life, any movement toward God or others, will be opposed. Marriage, friendship, beauty, rest- the thief wants it all." - Eldredge

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Summer Scheme
This is a pretty cool page that shows all they are doing for student summer missions, info meetings, pre trip retreats, etc. I like it. A definite goal for next Spring... I mean Winter...
One thing did come to mind - that is one humongous church... Wow... 17K in services every weekend. Is that what Jesus wants the Church to look like...I'm asking because I'm not sure...
Parents Info Mtg #3
Had another parents info mtg today. #3 out of 4. Only a few showed up. Granted, the PR for it was probably lax. That's ok, I feel like you only really need to have 2 or 3 really fired up students and then the trip starts to build momentum itself. The last major one I organized, for a whole grade level, we sent out 60 postcards and only 6 parents showed up. Anybody else out there have tips for running parents meetings? Would love to hear them.
Students to Africa
Found this while googling 'missions mobilization high school'. Looks like this church has got it going on. Check out the students that put together a trip to Africa. Sounds like they did it out of their passion. Cool.

Friday, April 23, 2004

You are currently using 0 MB (0%) of your 1000 MB.
Wow. I'm liking gmail more and more the more that I use it. But I'm still playing with it. If you've got a sec, drop me an email. The more I get, the more I can test it. tonytsheng at gmail dot com

Prayer for Students
Mykel has started blogging prayer requests for his students. Very cool. Mykel - it's great to see you shepherding your students like this. I'm encouraged and challenged by how well you know them, and how well you know their potential. Sweet!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

SPACE intro - updated
Here is the official link to the SPACE page on the GCC YM website. Enjoy. I think it waxes to poetic of me, I'm a little embarassed....
I was chatting with someone when they mentioned that someone 'lived in the ghetto.' I replied, 'There is a ghetto in Howard County?'
I was, if you didn't know, being facetious. There is not a ghetto in Howard County. Some interesting figures from the census:
Median household money income, 1999 - $74,167
Persons below poverty, percent, 1999 - 3.9%

Plugging in$74K into globalrichlist , I got this:

You are in the top 0.755% richest people in the world.
There are 5,954,658,435 people poorer than you.
One hour's salary = approx $51.38
Oh, and in case you’re interested you are the 45,341,565 richest person in the world.

Please don't say 'ghetto' anymore.
Interesting article here about Columbine and the two teenage killers. Still hard to believe it happened. From the article, sounds like it might be a blessing.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Went to a Youth Min staff meeting a few days ago, I only go once a month, and only since this year, so I'm still getting used to it. It was good though. I've always felt that it's more fun than work for me to go to those, the meetings that I go to for work are just that - work. They are about software designs, implementing software, software bugs, fixing and implementing software bugs, you get the picture. But these Youth Min staff meetings, they are the stuff of life, at least more so than work.
There was a discussion the other day, it got a little personal, as some meetings, secular job or church job, can get. What impressed me was that there was an honesty, an openness, a 'lay it out and let's get the details as well as the feelings right.' That's some good staff relations. I'm proud to be part of it.
So I got to be a beta tester for Gmail, via a link on Very cool. I've only played with it for about 15 minutes, but I like it. It's got a cool interface thats very snappy. It's a little confusing, but I'm sure it's just a matter of getting used to it. The 1G inbox had me drooling for weeks. I was just looking at all the folders I had with my yahoo mail. Yikes. I heard someone saying that their dealing with attachments still needs some work. I do know that I had played around with sending a Word doc and that was fine. But I liked the way they lay out attachment info when you get one. And I liked the zippiness of when you reply/forward and how the frames 'jump' to life. Cool. A nice perk to using blogspot.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Students and Local Ministry
From the YPNation News Network, a topic suggestion close to my heart - Succesful ways you've gotten students involved in local community ministry...
I thought I would outline the big winners we did this year with our students. Before that, I thought I would share a little background:
- Our ministry did not have a missions/community service component to it prior to this year. Most if not all of that was up to individual small group leaders. That's good and bad. Good because they know the kids and if you get a leader to do it, you probably get most of their kids. Bad because it's a lot to put on a small group leader. I think, and lots of other people agree, that our small group leaders probably put in the most time across all the volunteers in the whole church. Sunday worship, a Bible study every week, contact time with kids, every other Friday night outreaches... It's a lot. Who's got time for community service, and don't even think about a summer missions trip. And forget about the leader's family, if they have one, or a full time job. At best, it makes for a very hectic and busy lifestyle; at worst, we setup leaders for a habit of ministry overload and all that comes with it. So one of our goals was to provide these service opportunites that leaders could just show up to.
- We have kids that have a heart for service and missions. They came out of the cracks when we started this. I suspect you do too. In fact, I think we are dealing with a different generation. When I was a high schooler in the 80's, all I wanted to do was watch MTV. The students we have these days are different.
- I spent the prior 4 years being a small group leader, so I saw the gap of what I wanted to do, and any attention the overall ministry was giving to it. So, I had a lot of input into this piece, so much so, now I am one of the leaders for it. Nice, huh?
- Our kids worship like whoa. I suspect you probably have kids like that too, but these kids worship like nobody's business. I can't understand it at all, but it's inspiring. A natural outflow of worship should be action. Hence, I felt like the engagement of a service/missions aspect of students was ready for prime time. If any students could be engaged to do something like this, it would have been our students purely on the critieria that worship was an intense experience. However, I think we are seeing a generation that worships like no other.
- We wanted to see our community service be strategic, well thought-out, smart. We would not do any old community service just because someone suggested it or thought it was a great idea. For example, Toys for Tots - great community service. But not for us for a variety of reasions.
- Tried to find ones that had a potential for relational impact as well as community impact. Keeping in mind the principle of cultivate, plant, reap, some do any one of those things, we wanted to do things where kids could talk to people. Not always possible, but a goal.
Ok, wow. So here are some areas of community service we pulled off this year, and some thinking behind them:
1 - Feeding the homeless.
Students arrived with their bag lunch. We had stuff there to make more lunches. They made them. We left and went to DC, where each kid had 2 lunches. We sat in a park and ate lunch with homeless people, getting to know them, conversing with them, etc. Spent about 90 minutes there. Saw three other churches come through and just served, delivered food. The kids saw something different and cool about the way we did it.
Then went to a food bank to help pack, stock, sort food. Nice complement with the two events.
The thinking -
In the year 2025, there will be over 4B people that live in cities. The urban slum inhabitants will number 1.5B people. If we don't talk to our suburban kids about reaching the cities for Christ now, we are making a mistake. Additionally, it's a pretty well documented fact that there is plenty of food for the whole world. The problem is in food distribution. Add to that some statistics about the number of children that die everyday from hunger and preventable diseases (34000, that's 24 a minute), homelessness and the related issues should be one of the ways we impact the community with our students.
2 - Raking Leaves
This idea was not mine - but driving around a neighborhood in a school bus, and then stopping at specific (or nonspecific) houses and all the kids getting out and raking the leaves up, bagging them, and moving on. We took the idea and ran with it though, and it was so cool. Really. We had neighbors getting out and looking to see what was going on, one lady took pictures of us.
The thinking -
The idea was based around strategic thinking. We talked to the kids about what it was like to think about these people for a few weeks, knowing what we were doing today. And that's how God thinks of us. He's got us in His mind all the time. And how that translates to their lives, when they ponder the people around them, how they can impact them, etc. We did 7 houses, it lasted all day, and we fed them pizza for lunch in the middle.
3 - Pro-Life
Around January, we decided to do something based on pro-life. We had a guest speaker come who had had an abortion when she was 16, got pregnant again when she was 24, became a Christian during that pregnancy, and was raising her daughter as a single mother. The idea of giving up a child once and no way in doing it again - wow, that was intense. As she spoke, some of our kids were listening with their jaws open. She really made an impact. After that, we made and delivered some meals to people in the church that had babies recently. Then we went over to a local pregnancy center and sorted clothes, packed baby bags, etc. That was a lot of fun too.
The thinking -
Of course, the abortion issue is a huge issue in our country. Pregnancy centers almost always need help. It's perfect and easy. One thing that I see with this area, is setting up a partnership of some sorts. Part of that idea is still swimming around in my head, but it has to do with partnering with local ministries. Same with the homeless idea. You can feed homeless people yourself, but what would it look like to team up with someone who's full time job is to minister to the homeless. It's a better investment, you make more of an impact, you are working on a team.
In my mind, the jury's still out on whether there is more impact to the kids or the community. My hope is that these kids think in a different manner after going on one of these things. That's why we won't just do a service project that is off the top of our heads. We want the service to be a catalyst for discipleship, a mission minded heart, a student that is transformed into a Christ follower.
Wow, I've written a lot. One more thing - for each of these, we teach before we start. We debrief when we end. They go hand in hand with the service activity. Don't underestimate the value and investment of each of these pieces.
I'm not going to write the same kind of thing on summer missions quite yet. I want to see how it goes after the teams go out, come back, debrief, etc.
Search Terms 04/18
- "where is the money from american churches thats for missions"
nice. let's just say that American churches have 80% of the world's resources. yeah
- "jarrett stevens"
great guy, pastor of Axis at Willow Creek. I've heard him speak to the youth min I work with a few times. Very very good speaker.
- "tony sheng"
uh thats me. someone from i wonder who it is?
there's actually two people that googled me. the other one didn't have a domain listed.
- "How to run a Missions weekend ideas"
very cool. would love to hear your ideas.
- "shareplex news group"
something for my day job. Shareplex is a tool used to replicate data back and forth from Oracle databases. are you bored yet?
- "the passion in kuwait"
good stuff happening huh.
- "grace cares" foundation
probably not related to GCC's Grace Cares ministry, but who knows.
Bridging the Gap
So in church this am, PM talked about David and the task before him when he was going to build the temple. The ideas and principles behind when there is such a monumental task before you, that you only know that it is God behind it and who can orchestrate it coming through. PM framed it in light of our building process. For those of you that don't know, GCC has purchased some property and is close to groundbreaking for a new building. It's been a pretty wild experience. Some things include:
- finding this 30 acres via a very strange relationship
- purchasing the property for $50K an acre, when the land around it is easily going for 4 or 5 times that much.
- having all the county and state approvals with no contest, especially in Howard County, which isn't known for letting churches just pop up
- asking the county if it would be possible to extend their water and sewer facilities for us, and them saying yes as long as we pay for it
- raising $5M from the congregation in the midst of today's economy

In essence, we are still $1.5M away, hence the gap. So PM asked everyone to see:
- what they could do
- talk to people around them for what they could do
- leave the results up to God

And then on May 16, we are having a Bridge the Gap Sunday, a big one outside service on the property where people are going to bring their one time donations and see where we end up. It's pretty cool, I'm way excited to see how God moves in people. I know that in the past, when we as a family decided to step out and give on faith, funny circumstances have about. Some might call it coincidence, but I know that when we do that, either God gives us more or God reduces something we need to pay for. Anyway, it will be neat to see what we can do as a family for this, seeing how creative we can be.

What is just as cool, was to sit in church and look around and see all the people that make GCC what it is. The way they serve, relate, care for one another. And just to realize that its not even close to being about the building. The building is strictly a means. Not the end all be all.

I also got to thinking, for the four weeks, what else could I do to make some extra money. Maybe get a paper route? No way, can't get up that early. Get a part time job? Not a chance with two little kids at home. Time is too precious with them. Then I thought, and here is where you blogspot readers come in, maybe I could do something for you guys out there? No idea what specifically... Maybe write a Bible study for you? Point you in some direction for youth and missions? Network you with someone else? But then I thought, thats kind of lame. I already try and do that for free. How could I ask for money to do that? PM was right, creativity is certainly going to come in the play here.
Warehouse web
Our new website for GCC youth min launches tonight at midnight. Our youth building is affectionately called 'The Warehouse' so that's where that comes from.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

My friend PA came this morning to talk and sketch with his paintboard for our missions prep mtg. It was pretty awesome. I accomplished one of my goals - for kids to see a different kind of gospel presentation. It also got him some visibility at GCC, which is something that I think will be good for him.
He talked thru Acts 17 including:
- the word evangelist is only used 3 times in the NT
- the word 'witness' comes from the same word that we get the word 'martyr'. Scary.
I will probably update more when I find my notes. In any case, thanks PA!

Funny because I just read this from McManus last night:
"The New Testament word for ‘witness’ is the same as for ‘martyr.’ We have come to know martyrs as those who have died for the faith. They didn’t survive, but they died facing the right direction. The purpose of the church cannot be to survive or even to thrive but to serve. And sometimes servants die in the serving."

Friday, April 16, 2004

SPACE intro
I get people that ask me about SPACE all the time. I talk about it so much, it's almost something I've memorized. I guess that's a good thing, since I think I'm pretty passionate about it. I just hope I don't talk too much when people ask me. I hope they don't walk away saying, "Man, I wish he would just shut up about this SPACE stuff..."
Anyway, the GCC YM website is launching on Monday. Here is the quick write up I wrote about SPACE for it. I like it, I think it sings.


(Students Prepared to Act for Christ's Empire)

SPACE is the intersection of students, service and missions;
the GCC Youth Ministry's component of strategic community service
and worldwide missions.

SPACE exists to:

- Provide students and their leaders with opportunities
for strategic community service. These opportunities are typically
community service days during the school year and occur around
5 times during the school year. We call them 'Launches'.
Past Launches have included outreach to the homeless, a day
centered around the Pro-Life movement, and the school
bus that loves to rakes leaves.

- Propel our students into worldwide missions
with a strategic, progressive and prepared edge.
SPACE partners with the GCC Missions Task Force in
ensuring that our student missions trips are strategic
with where the Body of Grace is going throughout the world.
We seek experiences that will allow students to progress
in their missions experience as they go from middle school
thru high school.
We prepare our students going out on summer missions
in the concepts of worldwide missions which includes teaching on
culture, team building and the unreached.
Just like us?
My friend T and I had breakfast the other day. He mentioned that he was at this conference for young adult minstries and met Mark Batterson from NCC in DC. This is a church that I have followed on and off for a little while, since they are in DC and I love their whole approach. I asked T what he was like and he said, "You know, hes in his mid 30s, has a few kids. He's just like us."
That's funny. The idea that a pastor could be just like me, it's weird and different because of my experience as a young Christian. But I think it's right. And I'm glad my thinking is changing.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Mission Prep Mtg #2
Some of my notes for this mtg on Saturday.
And my friend PA from OAC is coming to speak too.
Lots of it is right from SEMP.

Team Time

Part 1 – Paul’s testimony

1. Paul’s life before Christ
Read through Acts 26:4-11

Describe what Paul was like before he met Jesus.
What kinds of things was he involved in?
How famous was he for those things he was involved in?
Was there one key problem in his life?

2. How Paul met Christ
Read through Acts 26:12-23

Describe how dramatic Paul’s experience with Jesus was.
Why so?
How does Paul explain Jesus and his work?
Did Paul’s initial response to Jesus change?
If so, how?

3. Paul’s life since he met Christ
What are some things Paul is continuing to deal with?
How has becoming a Christian dealt with his problem?
Part 2 – Your testimony
My life before Christ

Include good elements of your life before Christ
Identify one key problem that characterized your life before Christ
Show how this problem affected your life
The Early Years
Tell how you were provided for as a child
Tell how your need for Christ was made evident

How I met Christ
Be specific
Avoid confusing Christian jargon “redeemed by the blood of the Lamb”
Talk about Christ and His work

My Life Since I’ve trusted Christ
Tell how Christ dealt with your problem mentioned above or if yours was an early conversion Describe a positive benefit of following Christ.
Be honest.
Include an invitation to know Christ personally.

1. Do you identify with something from the person’s life before Christ? Explain.
2. Was the gospel clear?
3. Could the average person understand? Were there too many confusing statements or Christian jargon?
4. Did they share how Christ is working in their lives today? Explain.
5. Is there an appeal to know God personally?
6. What can be improved to make things clearer, understandable, or relate better to the average person?

Wednesday, April 14, 2004


Our Youth Administrator and Catalyst (that is her real title, cool huh?) gave me this book. I started to read it last night, and I really like it. I'll post more notes about it later. One of the cool things is that Erwin has quoted two people related to Perspectives. I think it's cool because so much of the American church is missing our sense of mission. And Perspectives puts it all into, er, perspective. I'm sure I can write better than that.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Spring Break Mini Launch followup
I realized that I never wrote about what we did or how it turned out.
So I thought I would fill you happy readers about it.
The idea was to have a mini launch since it was Spring Break for our students and since it was almost Easter weekend. I wanted to do something and have it be somewhat targetted for the holiday weekend. So the prayerwalking idea came to my head. And I wanted to do it at the Mall. We had done a small prayer thing with some of the SPACE crew there a few months ago, and they just ate it up. The prayerwalking idea is different though, since no one is supposed to know that you are praying, but you are, just with a small group of people as you walk through a certain place. You also have in mind certain specific things you are praying about, and are trying to let God speak to you for who and what to pray for. I think it can seem a little mystical at first, but that's ok.
So we had about 15 students show up and one of the leaders brought his young adult Bible study, which was cool too.
I introduced the whole night with talking about how Eldredge talks about that we need to believe that God still speaks to us, and then get into a position where we are listening. And how our American modern church disbelieves that to a certain point. And the story of one of our student's moms who had a dream about one of our college students who was on a missions trip - that he had something in his eye. Turns out he had pink eye, while on his missions trip in Indonesia. I had also printed a list of stores they could pray for, and an idea or snippet of how to pray. And then they broke into small groups to go off and prayerwalk for about an hour or so.
After it was done, we did a quick debrief near a hairdresser. This lady that was getting her hair done was looking at us pretty strangely. It was funny.
Here is my list of stores and things to pray for: (I for one, thought some of them were funny.)
Starbucks - Friends building good relationships
A&F - Kids to understand how God sees them
Chick Fil A - Kids meals
Gymboree - Stay at home moms
Fountains - Living water
Disney - Impact society for Jesus
Bookstores - People finding and reading books about Jesus
BOSE - God to free people from materialism
LL Bean - See God as the Creator
Panera - People to see Jesus as the bread of life
Hot Topic - Young people being protected
Nordstrom - God sees you as glamorous
Movie Theater - People moved by The Passion
JCrew - God is cooler than your clothes
Music stores - Power of music
Build a Bear - Love of a creator
Sports stores - Jesus competes for your heart
Victoria secrets - True beauty
Ice Cream- Strong families
Bank - Money is not the end goal
Merry Go Round - Christ to capture kids early
Jewelry - Christ light of the world
Maternity - Safe babies
Shoe stores – people would walk with Jesus

And then some things we talked about for debrief:
1. Was it weird?
2. Did it make you think a little differently?
3. Did you feel effective?
4. Any interactions with people? Strangers?
5. Did God speak to you about anything or anyone?

The overall feedback was that they enjoyed it and thought it was a little uncanny and weird but fun. They said we should definitely do it again. Some people heard them praying and looked at them funny. And one of the guys said he was so used to sharing and talking with people about spiritual things, he felt funny holding back and just praying.
Fun stuff!

O snap
From dead youthpastor walking. Ouch. I hope it hurts because we know it is true.
This is an interesting article. It's funny, I helped out with a trip to a DM conference back in the early 90s. You can either like DM or not like him, but you have to admit, he's reaching loads and loads of kids. What I liked about the conference was that he pretty much set you up as a youth ministry to take his content and go deeper with your kids. What I didn't like is that our particular leader team didn't take advantage of it. But that's the overall story a lot of times. We take kids to these big events, but never go deeper. Speakers give us almost everything we need to strike up conversations with them... We just don't take advantage of it....
I've only spoke at two retreats, but when I did, taking the example of some really good speakers, I had a list of questions that small group leaders could use to follow up right away. I know when I was on a retreat that was set up like that, I had some phenomenal personal times with students.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Joe Gibbs and his faith
If you now me, you know I'm not a big fan of professional sports at all. But being from DC, I have a slight interest in the Redskins. Great article about the new coach and his faith here.
Shepherd versus Administrator
Read this.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Off to CT this weekend for Easter. I know its tough for you guys and gals that 'work' these big holidays, in terms of full time ministry. So my prayer is that in the midst of all the setup, practicing your talks, getting communion ready, sunrise services on the Beach, trying to keep kids awake or quiet, balancing your ministry and your family, helping your little children and your teens understand Easter, and all of that.... My prayer is that you yourself enjoy and embrace Easter and the truth that it represents. Jesus is Alive!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Walt Mueller nails it again.
Check out his post here titled "Do we mind or nevermind?"

"This weekend as you remember, ponder, and celebrate the salvation secured for you on the cross, think about Kurt Cobain and those represented by his voice. I wonder if his cries went unheard for so long that he finally gave up and walked away from life while saying “nevermind.” God “minded” so much that He sent His Son into the world and to the cross. As His followers, we’re called to “mind” on His behalf. Will we “mind,” listen, and answer with the Good News?"

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

SPACE crew movies
From the app to go on the SPACE crew mission trip,
"What is your favorite movie and in what way do you relate to it?"

LB - Shadowlands
SD - The Empire Strikes Back
CN - BlackHawk Down
TS - Lord of the Rings
AW - Dead Poets Society
KS - The Matrix
BC - Bad Boys 2
AW - The Other Side of Heaven

Well, it's a somewhat insightful question. Anybody out there have their favorite question for an application for a missions trip?
Recent Searches
Some recent searches that have brought people to this page:

"missionaries unreligious tribal THUMB" - yeah definitely. THUMB - a very cool acronym for the unreached. Tribal, Hindu, Unreligious, Muslim, Buddhist. Nice.
"youthworkers glorified baby sitters" - ouch. I guess its the nature of the beast. Some people will think of youthworkers as glorified baby sitters. Sad but true.
"muslim woman in image in sad presentation in nursing home" - weird. hmm. I hope this person found the image they were looking for.

Fun! I'm a big fan of sitemeter. If you are not using it for your blog to track where people come from, you should do it. It's easy to set up and fun.
Out of 3 searches, I think those sort of hit the mark on what I'm trying to do with this website.
Funny Tax Quotes
Look both ways, who is a part of YPNation, has some funny quotes about taxes. In fact, they are very funny.
Walnut Hill CC
Found this church from a friend of D who has recently been going to a moms group there. Looks like a pretty great church. Check out their missions page here. I like the whole consortium idea - "loose confederation of churches whose goal is to send new missionaries from our churches overseas as quickly and expeditiously as possible."
That's a great idea.
Three churches that I know in this consortium:
Black Rock - Kevin Butterfield - who was the youth pastor, is a high school friend of D. The first time I met Kevin was at SEMP in 2000 when he did a concert of prayer. I had only heard the name before, I had no idea who he really was.
Trinity - D's family's home church. And Len Evans who is a part of YPNation.
Valley Community - I heard the missions pastor speak last Fall about short term trips at an ACMC conference. He is money.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Stuck in my head
Lamb of God
by Rebecca St. James, Matt Bronleewe, and Jeremy Ash

I hear a voice of many people
I hear a voice like a mighty thunder
Singing Hallelujah for the Lord reigns
Singing Hallelujah for the Lord reigns


Lamb of God
Lord You are
Lamb of God
You are

So let us be glad
Let us rejoice
And let us give honor, glory to the Lord
And may every tribe and every tongue
Gather and sing praises to the Holy One

Sunday, April 04, 2004

SEMP 9th grade
My key leader for SEMP for 9th grade has signed up. So in other words, the 4 trips I had dreamed of are almost a reality. Wow. I still can't quite get over it. It's not about me, it's about engaging kids to see missions in a new light, to get out into the world and help people glorify God, to see the essential task and how they are so so so integral to it.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Good reading
For some reason, I haven't added lots of links to the margins of this page. I don't really know why. But here are two that I love. Because they are a little off beat, but so well written. They talk about faith and real life in a way that evokes so much emotion, its rather incredible.
Anyway the first one I've been reading for a while. The second one I just found this morning.
Real Live Preacher

"Friendship, like marriage, like parenthood does more than simply give us a moment's pleasure; it helps remind us who we are."

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Spring Break mini launch
Talking about this idea tonight when we meet with the SPACE crew at the new opening of ChickFilA... Funny place and time to meet, but one of the kids wanted to do it. Building indigenous youth to lead....
I have this desire to do something with SPACE during Spring Break.... I think it's a great time to engage kids, especially with Good Friday and Easter at the end of their break. So I'm thinking about something like this at the Mall. I'm thinking, just in general, of the movie theater where the Passion is playing, Hot Topic, and stuff like that... Hmm. Anyone done something like this with students before?
ML and J
Great meeting last night with ML and J. They are close to signing up, they just have to check a few things. Even cooler, I think they get the picture. It was fun. They are quality people, they desire to walk with Christ with all their being, and desire to bring people to know Jesus. So fortunate to have some many people around us that really are sold out disciples....