Thursday, April 26, 2007


Life flashes by at breakneck speed. Work, phone calls, visits, planning, meals, meetings, projects, more meetings, requests for help...oh, and did I mention meetings?
I take a breath to slow things down and realize that a week has gone by. I have no particularly fond memories, only flashes of hurried activity.

I sigh as I realize I will never get that time back.

Life doesn't stop for anyone until the end. "Time" never takes a time-out. But I can sure wrangle it in and slow it down from time to time!
What are you doing right now? Get off the computer! Go to your loved ones and just look at them and enjoy it! Quit making new projects for yourself! Take a nap. Read a book. Read a magazine the whole way through. Have a conversation that lasts for longer than 15 minutes. Stay at the church building instead of rushing off next week.'s a novel idea...get rid of ONE commitment (remembering that we should never get rid of our commitment to God!)
Remember..."if the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Blessing

One of my favorite Bible verses is the blessing which the priests gave to the Israelites long ago...
"The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace
." (from Numbers 6:24-26)

My interpretion of this passage would sound something like this...
May the LORD take care of you and hold you in His loving arms
May you see the LORD smile and feel His loving kindness
May God turn His face towards you so that you feel at peace.

In a few weeks we will be blessing our graduates. I constantly struggle with how to bless people. It is a foreign concept to our culture. And yet, I know how sweet it is to hear a blessing from a loved one.
I hope I can continue to learn how to bless others. What to say, how to say it.

May God Almighty bless you today
Feel His presence as He walks beside you
Know He loves you as you look at the sky
May the LORD keep you and your loved ones wrapped in His protective arms
May He give you abundant joy and contentment
As you rest in His presence.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"I Want To Kill Him"

These were words written by the shooter in the recent massacre at Virginia Tech. Apparently, they were written about his stepfather.
Sigh...poor kid.
My first reaction is to scream, "What's WRONG with you? Why would you do something like this?"
My next reaction is to calm down and say, "No, seriously. Why WOULD he have done something like this?"
Apparently an extremely shy kid...Cho never spoke to anyone. He had moved from South Korea when he was eight years old.
Starved for attention, he would "sign in" at college classes with question marks instead of his name. It seems like he was subtly asking the professor, "Do YOU know my name? Do you know who I am? Do you care?"
So we have a kid transplanted kid from another country, leaving everything he knows to come to a new and strange place. His relationship with his stepfather is already not a good one. He arrives and perhaps some people tried to reach out to him, but he is painfully shy. He gets made fun of by rich kids and develops a deep anger towards them which is never released or resolved.
Could the love of Christ have reached Cho? God loved Cho with a relentless love. He was always there, offering his love and hoping.
This incident just reminds me how important youth ministry could be. Reaching out to "the new kid" is one of the best ministries you will ever do. Breaking through the "shy" kid's wall is extremely rewarding. Coaching a teenager along spiritually, emotionally and socially is SO important!! Teaching how to properly release your anger is a must for us all.
Victims, survivors and prayers are with you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Snapshots of Life

Snapshots of life float around in my memories...
  • Fischer (my son) with spaghetti all over his face...not a care in the world!
  • The day Fischer was born. Stressful, joyful!
  • Shadow puppets with Tracy (my lovely wife) on a Friday night when we had nothing else to do.
  • A kid in my youth group getting busted by the police!
  • A kid in my youth group catching fire by sitting too close to candles I had set out!
  • A radiant and beautiful Tracy walking down the aisle on our wedding day.
  • The look on Tracy's face as I proposed.
  • My mom's smile as I walked with her down the aisle at my graduation.
  • Sneaking chocolate chips with my dad, and sitting in his lap to watch Star Trek as a kid.

Oh, I could go on and on and on!!! You know what, though? The times I remember being terrible...well, they don't seem so bad when I recall them. I seem to remember happy times much better than sad times.

Maybe that's God's way of reminding us to dwell on happy memories. Maybe it's His way of saying, "See how many great things have happened in your life?" Maybe it's His way of cheering us up when we've had a bad day and a friend calls chuckling about an old memory. Maybe it's God's way of making life even sweeter!

What are your favorite "snapshots of life?" (Doesn't matter if we know you or not...please share!!)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Youth Ministry Information Overload

Over the past few weeks, I've become frustrated with the "talk" in youth ministry circles. Oodles of resources are out there...magazines, books, seminars, and blogs (yes, I know I have a blog. I am reprimanding myself, too!)

I've read several books and articles recently that make claims about teenagers. Apparently, we are in a new "phase" called post-modernism. The problem is, now we are putting teenagers in a box! Not all teens fit into this "model." Not all teens are the same! I can tell, for example, that there is a difference in the teens from Oklahoma and teens from Nebraska.

But the other thing that upsets me is all the TALK about how to minister to teens. We study them, analyze them, poll them, observe them, and make programs designed for them. All this "information" is driving me crazy!! One week someone says we shouldn't create big programs because teens aren't drawn to that anymore. But the next week, I hear from a church that started some program that has tremendous success among teenagers! One week, we should be a service-driven church, and the next we should be purpose-driven!

I dunno, maybe I've been reading from James too much (this is our study for Senior High this quarter) whose main message is "Quit talking about it and DO it!!!!"
I think I've been looking for information, but I have lacked motivation. I want to know, but I don't want to go.

I have been very much challenged this year to start practicing my faith. One was a lesson from Chris Seidman in which his challenge was for us (as teachers of God's word) to DO IT OURSELVES before teaching it to the church!! "No more canned illustrations from other people!" he cried. "Let's start sharing our OWN stories where God has worked through us!"
I was encouraged by the folks at Crossings Church, who are challenging each other to share their faith!

Knowledge, it seems, can only get us so far. "Faith without action," says James, "is dead."

God, I don't want to have dead faith. Forgive me for talking when I needed to be doing. Father, help me to have living faith! A faith that is backed by action! Help me to overcome the temptation to do "concept youth ministry" instead of the real thing!

Please note: If you blog about doing ministry, this is not written as a slam against you! As I mentioned earlier, I have talked about ministry on this blog also! I hope that we will be encouraged to start sharing stories of God working rather than just ideas and concepts.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Music Tag

I was recently tagged by Carrie to name 7 songs that I am currently listening to or mean something to me...
1. Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster. (Just listen to it!)
2. Where I Belong by Mercy Me - This song means a lot to me because I really feel like I am where I need to be.
3. Make Me A Storm by Watershed Worship.
4. Watching You by Rodney Atkins - You can see the music video on YouTube. A song about a little boy watching his dad. gets me every time!
5. Anyway by Martina McBride. I teared up the first time I heard this song sung live on some music award show. Very inspirational. "God is great, but sometimes life ain't good. And when I pray, it doesn't always turn out like I think it should. But I do it anyway. I do it anyway."
6. We Trust in the Name of the Lord Our God
7. I Worship You by Sandra Corbett - I just learned this at the Tulsa workshop and it feels like I've known it for years. What a beautiful song!

OK, so I'll tag (if they want to do this)
Jim White
Shane Coffman (let's see what a worship leader listens to!)