Monday, February 28, 2005

NYC youth leaders get ready for Billy

I wrote about proportions of students to leaders in our ministry, in a post here. Jeremy touches on the same kind of thing in his post about the largest gathering of youth leaders ever to prepare for the Billy Graham crusade in June.
- 787 youth leaders
- 289 public high schools
- 2M young people
That's cool. Sounds like prepping for the event as well as seeing it come to fruition is going to be pretty cool.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

SPACE Missions 2005 A - Trinidad

Our first student summer team is now in place. The current juniors will be travelling to Trinidad for two weeks at the end of July. They will be helping a GCC supported family who has been there for 15 or so years. The primary ministry activities will include personal evangelism, helping out with vacation Bible schools for kids, and general helping out the missionary family.
There are 3 definite leaders and the team will consist of a total of 12 people. So up to 9 students can go. There are two other leaders that will fill in if all 9 students don't sign up. Of the three definite leaders, one of them is a CpR veteran leader in his eighth year of leading small groups, MM. Another one of the leaders, JG, has been to Trinidad twice before, going on this same missions trip when he was a student.
Applications are due in one week, and then face to face interviews will be scheduled. (This year, we are starting the precedent that any overseas mission applicants will have to have a face to face interview.) The team will be decided on March 23.
The team hosted an information meeting last night. They cooked a bunch of Trinidadian food, talked about the trip for a few minutes and reviewed information packets. They also let me talk for a few minutes about my role in the ministry and about SPACE.
The team did a great job with the parents meeting last night. Parents always make for a tough crowd when you are taking their kids overseas.
Some of the questions included:
- how old are each of you leaders?
(the oldest is 30)
- is there an atomsphere of hostility from the Muslim culture there?
- are you going to fly on the cheapest airline?
I'm really excited about this trip, its got a great leader team and some great students involved. Also, this trip is the essence of SPACE missions - a group of students progressing through mission experiences as they get older (this team went to DC last year) - and a cross cultural team working with already well established GCC missionaries.
This is one of the best cross cultural experiences we can be doing within our student ministry.

Making a movie

Apple has some tips for making a movie. Pretty good easy to understand suggestions. I'm really wanting to make a short film, just for fun.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Joe Missionary - Garry Friesen

Joe Missionary has a great set of posts summarizing Decision Making and the Will of God by Garry Friesen. It's a great book to read and he does a great job of listing the big items in it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

My tech tools

Well I'm sitting here in the snow, refreshing a UPS tracking page at least every 10 minutes. I'm waiting for the delivery of a new Canon Powershot A95 digital camera. I'm looking forward to it. I had a Kodak DX4330 but it got swiped at the mall a few weeks ago.
In the meantime, I thought I would post some of the tech tools I use for ministry.
- IBM thinkpad T40 with Linksys PCMCIA wireless card
- Comcast broadband service
- Linksys wireless router
- HP Pavillion desktop with Linksys USB wireless adapter
I've had this setup for over 2 years and have had no major issues with the wireless network in my house. The SSID is not default and is not broadcasted. I also have WEP security turned on.
Some of the software I used daily:
- GAIM - multiplatform IM client
- Firefox (of course)
- VIM - text editor
- MS Office
- GIMP - photoshop substitute, I've only used it for a month or so
- Irfanview - lightweight photo tool
- Audacity - editing sound files

Order of the Mustard Seed

Just found this Order of the Mustard Seed site, associated with 24-7 and in the veins of Zinzendorf.
True to Christ
Kind to People
Gospel to the Nations

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

SPACE - The Black Hole Experience

I've been sitting on this set of ideas for a while. I don't know if it will really work out or not, but I am going to pursue it. And of course, since it's titled 'The Black Hole', I won't be able to talk about it anymore...

SPACE 2005
The Black Hole Experience

SPACE is inviting you - graduating senior - to the Black Hole Experience, a special SPACE weekend with you specifically in mind.
The BHE is an experience in:
* mission - you will serve with one of the premiere up and coming missional organizations in one of the most significant locales of the world
* culture - you will gain a new insight and perspective on the cultures of the world into which you are about to graduate to. get ready to see the world with new eyes
and ears
* the future - see the present with new clarity to aggresively engage your future

Black Holes are known for swallowing everything - matter, light, even anti-matter. Like a Black Hole, you will get NO advance information about this event (except this handout - but your parents certainly will...) Additionally, you will be asked to not repeat any details of your experience to others. We believe that with no advance information, your engagement of the experience, the community that partakes along and activities will be out of this world.

Reserve your place with your dteam leader ASAP and get prepared for blast off, into the Black Hole and out into the world that Jesus longs to be worshipped by.


Erwin's phd

Lon lets us know about a new PhD program that Erwin is doing. Sounds pretty cool.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

My take on the TNIV

I've been following some of the dialogue about the TNIV discussion lately:
One of the summaries against it.
Here is one from Mark D. Roberts, pastor in Southern California.
And here is another one from Tim Bednar, from
It irritates me. But first, here is what I know:
- I'm not Biblical scholar.
- I got a free TNIV NT from the Mosaic Regional Conference in Florida. I really like it. It's even leather bound and its got the cool Origins logo on it.
- When I was at Borders a few weeks ago, there were literally 30-40 Bibles to choose from. Everything from the Businessmans Bible to the Homemakers Bible to the Bible for Harry Potter fans. (Ok, maybe not the last one.) Seriously, you want to talk about the Christian ghetto marketing itself? Talk about Bible product lines instead of marketing the Purpose Driven brand.
I guess what really iritates me about this whole discussion is this: The fact that there are still three thousand people groups that do not have any Bible in their language. I will write it again so you can read it again. 3000 people groups. Yeah. 3000.
So lets get this straight. The argument is about a translation of the Bible in English. And there are 3000 people groups with no translation at all. 3000 people groups that have a ZERO percentage that they will understand the name of Jesus. And for all the writing about the TNIV, how fast is progress for these Bibleless people groups?
If we claim to be Christians, if we are sincere about following Jesus, do we think that He might care more about a spectrum of people on the Earth that have no access to His Word, versus the political correctness of one translation out of 20 to the English speaking world?
Wycliffe has a great interactive map where you can learn more about the Bibleless Peoples Project.

Resource - Paul's missionary journeys

Cool resource - Paul's missionary journeys found here. It's got maps, forward and backward links based on his travels and a nice quick link bar on the left.
Looks like this link is a part of the Unbound Bible project out of Biola University. Also seems like they have taken The Sword Project, which was an early rendition of a Bible for the PalmOS and converted it into a multilingual Bible for Palms. I used early versions of The Sword Project for my Palm back when I used to carry it everywhere.

Cold Weather Shelter this week

This week GCC is hosting Cold Weather Shelter. CWS is an initiative spread among a few churches in Howard County that have agreed to open up their space for a week at a time during the winter to house homeless people. It's really a great idea and I'm glad GCC is a part of it this year.
There is this whole army of people that are helping with it, in all kinds of needs such as transportation, food, entertainment, laundry, etc. Our SPACE crew team will be hanging out at CWS on Friday night, bringing some board games, cards, etc.
I stopped over there earlier this evening - one of the guy Dteams was over there hanging out with the residents. It was the coolest thing - to see a group of 10th grade guys take a little time to hang out with those less fortunate. Hopefully, this experience, along with the mentoring and wisdom of their Dteam leaders (two guys who I have incredible respect for) makes an impact on these guys -- what following Jesus really means to them and the things that they should not only believe but care passionately about.

Guat team prep

In a few weeks, I've got the cool opportunity to spend an evening helping our college aged Guatemala team prep a little bit for their trip. (See previous post here about the trip.)
I have two goals for this team prep. The first goal is about team dynamics, getting along with each other, etc. They are a large group, numbering about 25 or so people. And they will be gone for about three weeks. To do that, I will be doing something with The Hardy Personality. I'm not sure how specifically yet.
The second goal deals with essential elements of church in other cultures. I will probably use this exercise (those of you that have been to Perspectives will recognize it), dealing with what practicies are essential and what are not.
This team leaves in the middle of July and since October, they have been meeting on the first Saturday every month, for three hours each month. Usually, we have teams that don't do enough preparation. In this case, I think that the team leaders understand how important prep is (and they even went to a seminar series on prepping short term teams, after the ACMC conference had a promotion about it.)
Overall, I'm sure it will be a fun evening and I'm really looking forward to it. Two of my NYC team from last summer are on this team, and I really love the leaders of this trip. They are a blast to be around.

sick sick sick

Ugh... I'm still sick. Been sick since Friday night. Slight fever, cough, runny nose, achy. But I'm ready to start blogging big again when I get better.

Kottke goes full time

Interesting career move for Jason Kottke. This is my favorite quote --
Are you excited? If by that you mean "do you feel like you're going to throw up?" then yes.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Postmodern Children's Ministry

"The church's ministry to children is broken. A cursory look doesn't reveal its brokenness. From the outside children's ministry looks healthier than ever. But it is broken. ... And perhaps most importantly, it's broken when the church tells parents that its programs can spiritually nurture their children better than they can."
Read more of the intro to this new book and some perspective from Sivin.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Misc Weekend Update

I'm sick. And I have things that must get done. It's kind of a drag. Oh well.
Yesterday, I had lunch with two college kids from the grade that I was a leader for. I talked a bit about them in my previous post about emerging leaders. We really had a great time talking about how they are plugged into ministry at the Univ of MD, what they see for the future and what their summer plans are. The gist of the conversation was 'We would love to be involved with whatever you are doing this summer.' Do you run across at a lot college kids who just want to help out with students during their summers? I don't. Although I think I was one of those when I was in college... Anyway, we had a great time.
Last evening was CpR's annual All Around the USA dinner, one of the big high school outreach nights. The main church's auditorium was turned into a frenzy of food stations, celebrating all kinds of different food from all over the country. The food part lasted for about 90 minutes and then everyone went across to the Warehouse for a regular Friday night program. Lots of fun. The coolest part for me was seeing about 100 adult volunteers who help out with everything from food prep, setup, decorations, cleanup, etc. Let me say that again - 100!! adult volunteers. You think this adult body believes in students? It's pretty amazing.
Today is working on some home improvements - the fam is away for the weekend. Tonight is a meeting with the leaders of one of our mission trips, to prep for an info meeting next weekend. And then I have to work on a release - probably all night. And I think I'm sick now...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

My emerging leader list

I recently jotted down a list of emerging leaders. Just a list of people that I thought could help out with leading, faciliatating, catalyzing. In other words, people that could replace me. It was cool to get a list like that onto paper.
Of course, in reality, its a list of hopes and dreams isn't it? A list of people that we have some contact with, that we get to develop and mentor, but really, its a list of people that we hope continue on well past us, to do and BE so much more than we are. We hope that they just stagger us with the influence they have, the people they end up mentoring, the impact that they make. Our real passion is that they outdo us in every sphere.
The first on my list was the student who will be doing her mentorship with SPACE. She is ready to really dig deep and make some vital and significant contributions to SPACE. Funny thing, I'm actually more excited about how I think she will grow, versus the amount of tangible help that she will provide. Don't get me wrong, the help will be ...helpful. But, probably like most of you, I'm more stoked about her learning, growing, becoming.
Second on the list was two students that came out of the grade that I served as a small group leader. It's been awesome to see them from high school freshmen to college young adults now. And I still don't feel old...
They have approached me and expressed a big interest in helping lead kids in missional experiences during the summers. They have even said that they have thought about something like that as a significant part of their futures. And the media wants to tell us that all young people are apathetic and careless.
"20 somethings aren't anti-authority. They are anti-irrelevant. They don't rebel against authority, they rebel against irrelevance." Yeah, guess who that quote was by.
Jotting a list down like this is great, because:
- It focuses you on possibly who you should be spending time with.
- At least gets you thinking about the future.
- Provides a good start to put together a plan for how you are investing in the next generation of leaders.
Let me challenge you all to start putting a list like this together, or at least thinking about one.
I'll be having lunch tomorrow with those two that I mentioned above. I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

On the Mend

I think I'm on the mend now. Two specific ideas have really helped.
First, I've been listening to this new Chris Tomlin CD almost nonstop. You know how sometimes there is just this song that speaks to you - #4 - Your Grace is Enough. (You probably have to listen to it to know.) It was enough of a reminder to me that God isn't interested in me thinking I can do it all, like I wrote about in another post. In reality, He is interested in me relying on Him, in ways to shatter understanding. It has very little to do with my efforts, but a whole lot to do with my reliance on Him. And that, of course, His is enough. It was a pretty awesome reminder. I would like to think that I'm much more optimistic about things related to work now.
Secondly, I was reminded of another principle that I have really forgotten about at work - that being on mission clarifies. When you are on the mission Jesus sent us all on, you won't worry about normal things, like position, power, standing before men. Clarity about purpose and circumstance comes when you decide to live like you are on mission with Jesus. I had forgotten the real purpose of my job - not to push code or manage engineers per se. But to stomp out the darkness and fight for the souls of men and women.
Aaah, February...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Pursuit of "WOW"

Tom Peters has this phrase that he uses a lot, and it has stuck with me, for a long time. 'The Pursuit of WOW.' Doesn't that just sound so cool?
I remember taking a team to NYC this past summer. As we drove up the NJ turnpike, and then down to the river where we were to go into the Lincoln Tunnel, hearing a kid in the back seat of the van, looking at the cityscape, just ooze the word, 'Wow.'
I recall having finished dinner in a Brooklyn African buffet and walking back down to a city park, which was, unbeknownst to us, the worst park in the city, and setting up to play kickball. And 30-40 kids from every corner of the park running towards us, smiling, laughing, beaming. And thinking, 'Wow, the kingdom is near.'
I barley remember finishing the first hot shower in 4 days, watching one of my daughters drink her chocolate milk after counting 160 bug bites between the two of us. Not quite understanding the experience that we had shared together and thinking, 'Wow, she now knows that the world is waiting.'
Isn't that the kind of thing we all work for? That fleeting moment of WOW. The indescribable expression of awe, when they see a city larger than their imagination. When they see potential run towards them. When we realize that we have been a part of sparking the future. When we have been energized by knowing that we were made for this. When we fully understand how and why God has placed us at the intersection of history, people and His reach.


A few months ago I told you about a cool posting on the ZAMblog. Anyway, Willy has linked here, which is really cool. I think he is the first one who has done so coming from a non-religious background, which is really neat. Neat because he thinks this site is 'interesting' and he says that I am 'clearly passionate.' If he thinks I'm a freak, he is keeping it to himself.... :-) Thanks for the link Willy!
If you are interested in all things Zambia, you have to read ZAMblog. I've also added ZAMblog to the blogroll.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The Nns in Cameroon

A few months ago I wrote about the Nns. They are getting settled in Cameroon, doing youth ministry with The Navigators, and they just started a blog.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Users Guide to Middle School Romance

- Use your friends to find out if someone likes you.
- The person himself, and he alone, should do the actual asking out.
- Don't go out with someone your friends don't like.
- Hug, but don't kiss, in the halls at school.
- Don't bother with one-on-one dates.
- Tell your parents as little as possible, for as long as possible.

Kind of funny, huh? More here from the article in the Washington Post. Note also that the author wrote the book "Not Much Just Chillin': The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers."

Friday, February 11, 2005

Some great stuff

Work has lightened up a bit this week. Not the volume of things I have to do at work, just the pressure and atmosphere. It's been some needed relief. Last weekend, people on my team worked until 3am both Friday and Saturday nights, me included. Next week, the cycle starts again for two weekends in a row with some software releases we have to implement. Blah.
Some neat stuff has happened outside of work this week. First, I had a great phone conversation with Larry from Urban Impact about some stuff that might happen with SPACE in the spring. Very exciting. If you are looking to go to NYC to do some missional work, think about Larry. I can vouch for him doing missions the right way.
Secondly, I had another great phone conversation with a short term coordinator named John from Christar. Just really encouraging to talk a little bit about what we are doing with SPACE and what it looks like from the perspective of a mission agency. The main purpose of the conversation was to follow up on a possibility for the summer but we talked about preparing students, his background, their purpose with short term trips and stuff like that. Really encouraging to me.
Thirdly, I was given an incredible opportunity within our body. I still can't believe it. I'm not going to tell much about it except to say that it was such a honor to be thought of that way. We are still thinking and praying about it, but leaning towards declining, since it's a pretty big time commitment, for at least a year, and I'm already heavily invested in SPACE for 2005-2006 even already. And it would be a shift away from students. It would be a huge sacrifice, but its pretty incredible. Anyway, it's a cool thing to be deciding between multiple excellent opportunities.


For those of you that use blogger, you know how sometimes you post and people will end up on your site, via the 'Next Blog' button? Do you ever look at those? I do mostly and the sites usually don't interest me. But someone came here via Postsecret, and it's really intruiging. It is a collection of postcards that random people have written secrets on, and then dropped in the mail to someone that collects them, scans them and posts them. Weird, yet mysterious.

Toyota FJ

The Toyota FJ (better known as the Land Cruiser) - the standard transport for many mission fields. Autoblog has a pictorial history, including an image of the 2007 FJ.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

2005 summer mission trips - mission agencies

I thought I would kind of list out some hints for people that might be searching for a summer missions experience with a mission agency.
Of course, this is not everything.
But it gives a good starting point if you think you might want to go somewhere with an agency that specializes in career missions.
Most of the agencies that I have picked here are well known. They have proven track records, they are committed to the 10-40 window and unreached people groups and I personally know people that have gone either short term or full time with them. I've also listed some links to the well known youth missions orgs too.
I hope this helps some of you looking out there.

"Bringing Light to the Least-Reached"
Christar is offering STOP, their Summer Training and Outreach Program. There is a Chinese, Muslim and Hindu track.
The Chinese track is in the Far East, the Muslim track is in the Metro NY area and the Hindu track is in the US, South Asia and Holland.

Christian Associates International
"To reach the unchurched through the multiplication of high-impact
leaders and high-impact churches."
Lots of stuff in Eurpoe including France, Spain, Scotland and Portugal,just to name a few. Ministries such as kids camps, prayer walkers, woodworkers, youth and childrens ministry, and large
evangelism event support.

"mobilizes teams to glorify God among unreached people groups by initiating church-planting movements in partnership with local churches"
The Edge(for 18 and over only)
Including Bosnia, India, Japan, Bolivia, Thailand. Ministries include prayer walking, ESL, sports ministry, and Chinese Judo (I'm serious.)
Full pdf here

For YWAM specifics, it's best to get in touch with each specific base. The ones I know off the top of my head are NY, Orlando, Las Vegas, LA. Mission Adventures is the name of their summer missions segment and I took a team to NYC with this branch in 2002, with a pretty good overall experience.

Teen Missions
Of course, they have the whole realm of trips for middle and high school students.

Global Expeditions
The global missions arm of Teen Mania.
Trips in every continnet, here is a good summary of all
the locations and associated ministry activities.
Looks like generally for ages 11-19

Adventures in Missions
They of course have lots and lots of locations also.
Full listing.

Teen Missions, Global Expeditions and Adventures in Missions have lots of contacts and resources and always every year have tons and tons of options for young people.

Global Connections with the Navigators
Unfortunately, for these trips registration is closed
due to the high volume of applications requested.
But here are the ministry trip sites and activities.
This would also be for college students.

As you can see, the opportunities are incredible. Short term missions is big business. All the more reason why missions and mission should be driven by God's leading, a connection and a viable plan for ministry.

UPDATE 2005-02-11
Check out Jeremy's comments about Chain Reaction. Feel free to comment on other opportunites that you have had experience with and I'll continue to update this post.

"Radical Project"

Keith writes about some missionaries from the "Radical Project." Cool stuff. He also references an article in Evangelical Missions Quarterly about the training these guys go through. Read it for yourself.

Self doubt

Blogging has been slow lately. I have been crushed by work, and I feel like its this relentless pursuit of the Enemy. I really do.
For a few weeks, I have had these thoughts of doubt that have almost been paralyzing. One day last week, I sat in my car before having to go into work for a staff meeting,
just trying to take deep breaths.
I want to believe that I can have it all. That I can live a life of significance, that I can make a difference,that I can leave a legacy, that I am a part of something
bigger than myself. I want to think that I can have a great and challenging career,
that I can provide a good and comfortable living for my family, that my kids will never want for something that they need and that we cannot provide, that I can make a mark on a generation of students, that I can do all of this, and that it will be easy.
It ordinarly would be wouldn't it? Except for the solitary one that doesn't want it to happen. There is a great amount at stake.
What I really should believe, is that it is not even close to being about me having it all. I should believe that God is the catalyst here, the empowering force, the one that drives, paving the way, cutting the path, being the point. And that through His power, and His leading, Satan doesn't stand a chance. And that He knows what is at stake too, and sees even more about what hangs in the balance, what we are really fighting for. And God won't give up on that, no matter how many lies we believe.
Someone from our small group said it well last night, "Satan only has words." God grant us more power to not listen to the lies, catalyze us so that the deceit and self doubt the devil loves to throw at us just turns into mere words that we know are not true. God give us tangible reminders that you lead the way before us and that you have no doubt in your power transforming and enabling us.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Turbo Tax install errors

A listing of Turbo Tax installation errors.
Look also here for error codes beginning with "214702".
Yes, I installed it tonight. No, it didn't work the first time. Yes, it worked eventually, on the third install. No, it was not user error. (Although I'm certainly capable of it.)
What is this? JV software?

Yeah Patriots

Most of you that know me well know that the subject line of this post is a joke. Up until a few days ago, I didn't even know who was playing. But I sort of have this affinity to New England.
In any case, those of you that know me well know that I have zero interest in professional sports. In fact, if you ask me about it, I can be pretty negative in my opinion of all the wrongs done to society from professional sports. My opinion about sports is neither objective or fair. I know I need to calm done a little bit.
But I always try to watch at least part of the Super Bowl. Mostly just so I can converse a bit about it, but also too knowing that it is such a huge part of our culture. To ignore it and think that it isn't relevant is kind of irresponsible. And of course, who can say that they don't want to watch the commericals.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

A9 and images

Most of you readers have probably heard about the A9 yellow pages and how you can see pictures. It's pretty cool. I was playing with it the other day looking at the Marriott Marquis in New York.
Check out this page, which allows you to submit an A9 url, and then it will generate all the images it can, either to the right or the left. Very cool.

Friday, February 04, 2005

First Contact with Indigenous People

On a planet crowded with six billion people, isolated primitive cultures are getting pushed to the brink of extinction. Against this backdrop, a new form of adventure travel has raised an unsettling question: Would you pay to see tribes who have never laid eyes on an outsider?
Fascinating article here, link via Gadling. Really should bring up some questions about pioneer missions that seeks to reach remote, primitive people groups.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Feb again

I've come to realize that the months of February and March are going to really be rough for me every year. It reminds me of this post last year, and that Satan will use my job as a huge weapon in my life.
February is always review time, me doing reviews of my employees, as well as me getting reviews. This February also has 3 weekends of work, last February had at least two. And in the past week, stuff that should have been well prepared in advance for this coming weekend has pretty much gone down the toilet. Sigh.
Also, I got a really weird email the other day. I'm not going to go into it, but it was enough to remind me of the quote -
"Comparison, a great teacher once told me, is the cardinal sin of modern life. It traps us in a game that we can't win. Once we define ourselves in terms of others, we lose the freedom to shape our own lives." -Jim Collins
So strange. Strange enough to know that God is working through my job for one reason or another. In other words, no dream job or Jungle Cruise contract yet...
And of course, February is prime time to get summer plans for mission teams. However, I'm happy to report that out of four teams:
- #1 - is almost at the stage where kids can sign up, working overseas with a GCC missionary
- #2 - met with a potential leader this morning, and if it works out, we are going to really stretch the idea of a missions trip, while at the same time being strategic about our locality and doing some pretty awesome training in evangelism
- #3 - nailing down a date with a GCC supported missionary for a long weekend with middle school kids
- #4 - still brainstorming about a SPACE crew trip
Not bad progress for February.