Tuesday, November 01, 2011

To Church or Not To Church?

Every day now, my inbox is filled anew with requests to join new websites, or add someone as a friend, or join an online group. I have reached a point where I have to try 5 different passwords because I belong to so many sites! On Facebook, I'm a member of about 20 groups, whether they are for social purposes, or a product that I like, or a sports team. What keeps me coming back to these sites? Well, to be honest...I visit the sites that have something to offer...to ME! My interest wanes if they don't post new content every week or so. Giveaways are nice; don't ask for contributions, though. I really don't want to contribute anything, whether it's money or an article, or my opinion, or my information. I just want your stuff! Unfortunately, this seems to be a growing attitude towards the church. If I'm going to come to church, what's in it for me? Can I get everything done my way? I really don't want to get involved, I just want to watch. I'll gladly take a handout, I just don't want to give you my information or a contribution. Oh, and don't ask me to donate my time either. Everyone at church needs to pursue me as their best friend. If I don't have friends in two weeks...I'm gone. No, I don't have time to join a group that visits newcomers to our church. I don't have time to make friends with everybody!! Many run from churches at the first sign of disagreement. Conflict resolution is a lost discipline among individuals. Churches contain people. Sinful people. Relationships with these people are sometimes messy and need regular maintenance. Being a member of a church isn't just about what you can get from it, but what can you contribute? Is there a problem in your church? Before you give up, I beg you, ask how you can be a part of the solution. Don't give up on church, God didn't!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Taking the Family to Camp

As a youth minister, my family usually does not get to attend long, weekend trips. So, it was a joyful blessing when they got to tag along this past weekend to a rally held at our summer camp...Nebraska Youth Camp. Not only did I want my boys there just for their presence, but also so they could start to enjoy camp the way I've enjoyed it. For those in youth ministry, it's a great idea to take your kids to "work" and make sure they enjoy being with you during ministry activities. Church offices should be family friendly. Hopefully, the other staff at your church loves your kids and shows it when they come to visit. But, back to camp... We decided to hike around the large pond. Fischer discovered a small dock that I had never seen. Milkweed, caterpillars and monarch butterflies were scattered all over the side of the path. Birds and squirrels jumped playfully from tree to tree. A fish leaped out of the water as if it had legs. The pathway itself was small, but clear...until we reached the northeast corner. "Ouch! Honey, there are stickers," my wife said calmly. Fischer noticed some on his pants. "Daddy, help me!" I picked them off and we continued. Tracy screamed. She had stepped on a sticker. Yes, she was wearing flip flops. No, I don't know why! This startled Fischer, who looked down at his own pants again and found more stickers. He proceeded to roll up his pants and found a dozen more on the inside of his pants. His face immediately went red and he started to cry. "Oh, nooooooo!" "Fischer, let's just keep going..." "I can't...we'll never make it!" he droned. "Fischer, it's OK..." "SOMEBODY SAVE UUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSS!!!" I don't have to tell you that we survived the evil, sticker monsters. Other than that, they kids thoroughly enjoyed the camp. Dirt to play in, tetherballs to hit, swings, a pond with some rocks that are great for throwing, and a bunch of teenagers to give them attention. Stickers aren't really a problem in the summer. So hopefully the boys won't be too scared to go to camp on their own in a few years!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fischer's Firsts

Fischer has had a few "firsts" lately. It's so exciting watching these things happen through his eyes.
His two bottom teeth have been "jiggly" lately, but I haven't forced anything.
I remember the horrendous experience of my own dad saying, "Lemme grab the pliers and we'll pop that tooth right out!" I remember strings and doorknobs and gobs of blood and sobbing.
So, Fischer has allowed me to reach in his mouth several times and just wiggle the tooth.
But, last week, it must have really been bothering him. He wanted me to remove it! It was already lying flat in his mouth. With a quick twist, it squirted through my fingers and we had to pick it up off the floor.
"It didn't even hurt, Daddy!" he said through his now toothless smile.

Last night he had his first sleepover with a friend. Ahhh...the sleepover! It's every kid's dream and every parent's...well, you know! If you never experienced a sleepover as a kid, your childhood is not complete! Even the teenagers I work with at church still LOVE it when we have a lock-in! Me? I'm getting too old for that!
You want to guess what Fischer's biggest problem was?
They slept in a tent in the backyard, and...the "bugs were too loud!" He was the last one awake, and actually came in to tell his host parents about the loud bugs.
That's my CITY BOY!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Our Youth Rally

So, last night our youth group sat down to iron out some details for our annual youth rally. Among the topics was, "Who should we get as our speaker?"
Our teenagers are fantastic. I asked them to list some qualities of the person they wanted to bring in. I was prepared for descriptors like, "spiritual giant," "thought-provoking and deep," or "inspirational."
You know what we came up with?