Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday's Two-Cents

thoughts about past week(end) ~ it was a busy weekend with Dare-2-Share going on. It was great to worship with a group of my youth and a couple of leaders. my hope is that the youth who experienced this, well this experience, will hold on tight to all of what they felt - the commitments they may have made and all that God showed them - will hang on to it - not returning to who they were going into the weekend.

this weeks to dos ~ had a bit of time off after D2S and then it'll be back to it Wed. I've got a lot to get done in the office this week - cleaning, meetings, prep for some new series at WAVE, clean-up from D2S, prep for a weekend event and the list goes on. This weekend I'll be in Omaha twice (once to visit family, once to worship with my youth group at Winter Jam 09). Stephanie and I also are continuing in our hunt for a new home!

book i'm reading ~ looking to get into the new Rob Bell book this week as well as some Scripture.

tunes that triggered ~ mainly Fee - haven't heard them - check out their tunes.

thoughts on the coming week ~
it'll be long - but I'm really looking forward to it! :-)

think about a thought ~ how will you use the season of Lent to 'prepare?'

Scripture to skim ~ Romans 12

Monday, February 23, 2009

40 days...

This Wednesday, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent - 40 days to refocus, refresh, renew, and reflect on our relationship with Christ. 40 days of preparation.

Preparation for what though? Many take this as a time to "give up" something - candy, pop, smoking, school, etc. But this year I'd like to challenge folks to do two things -

1. Give something up. Take time today, and tomorrow to really search out what is (has been) getting between you and your relationship with Christ. Is it candy or pop? Maybe it's spending so much time on Face Book, or listening to your iPod too much. How about a bad relationship...or surfing the Internet to sites you shouldn't be at. Or could it be the friends you run with, how you treat your parents. Whatever it is...ask God to help you figure that out - and then make that commitment to Give it up for the sake of your relationship with Christ.

2. Pick something up. In addition to taking time today and tomorrow to figure out what to get rid of in your life - I also want to ask you to find something to add to your life too. Something that will help to improve your relationship with Christ. Could be taking a few minutes to (really) pray, or getting into Scripture; you could maybe read a chapter a day (try one of the Gospels), or work to memorize some passages. Maybe you could start spending more time with your family, or meeting with a mentor. It could be any number of things that would help to improve your relationship with Christ.

For both of these, seriously take some time today and Tuesday - talk with G0d, talk with your parents, talk with a mentor and figure it out. There is nothing in this world that is greater than, more important than or more deserving of our time and attention that our God!

Once you've figured out your #1 & #2, I want you to do something - tell someone - obviously I want you to talk to God about it - but tell a parent, mentor, someone to keep you surrounded in prayer over the next 40 days. Comment here too - let me know what you're plan is - I'll be praying for you too!


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday's Two-Cents

thoughts about the past week(end) ~ the weekend was chalked full of meetings, house hunting and WAVE...

this weeks to-dos ~ my primary focus is getting ready for Dare-2-Share this weekend...both for our group and for overnight guests. that about sums it up...

tunes that triggered ~ VOTA & David Crowder Band topped my list

thoughts on the coming week ~ it's gonna be busy...

Scripture to skim ~ Romans 5

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday's Two-Cents

thoughts about the past week(end) ~ it seems to have been a busy one...Friday night Stephanie and I went to a nice dinner at Shogun and then to see the National Acrobats of China at the Lied Center. it was great to have a night out with no other obligations to worry about. Saturday we attempted to make a dent in the cleaning of our apartment - we're both ready to pack and move - which leads us to Sunday where we (in between worship and WAVE) went and looked at a bunch of open houses - for those of you keeping tabs on our house hunt - nothing yet!

this week's to dos ~
several meetings...prep for youth group, tec training begins this weekend, Valentines Day (pizza & a movie - it's our tradition)...there seems like there was something else...hmmm...oh right worship Thursday night with David Crowder Band - that'll be a great time!

tunes that triggered ~ listening to a lot of DCB for Thursday nights worship, Leeland and Fee and then some other songs I'm trying to narrow down for an upcoming youth event....all good stuff!

thoughts on the coming week ~ ummm, well I get to worship with VOTA & David Crowder so that alone makes it all a 'good' week...

think about a thought ~ what if someone walked in the room right now and wanted to know about your relationship with Jesus - what would you tell them?

Scripture to skim ~ Luke 19:28-40

Monday, February 9, 2009

I Will Sing of Your Love Forever...

Youth Group this week was quite different & fun I might add...

If I had to sum up our "theme" for the night it was a 'modern day parable' with the backing of "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever."

With two (three if you count the leaders) groups working under the 'modern day parable' theme they developed a skit to present back to the entire group.

By the end of the night we had seen two great modern day parable skits, heard a great testimony (thanks Tyler) and wrapped up the night in the same fashion we opened in. My hope is that each of our youth WILL sing of His Love this week and beyond!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Youth Ministry Took a Hit this Week

Youth Specialties (YS) is widely known in the Youth Ministry circuit as...well I don't even know how to describe them - they are one of the top "resource providers," training providers and supporters for those who have the privilege of serving in Youth Ministry.

This week YS announced that they are going through another re-structuring - this one doesn't seem as "happy" as the last. YS is letting go of 14 of it's staff. (keep in mind - YS is in comparison to most a small company). Although all 14 are equally important to the ministry of YS around the country and world one has hit close to home for most of us who consider YS a friend. Tic Long, the President of Events will be leaving the company in a few months. Tic has been 'the face of YS' for thousands of youth workers - when we think of YS we see Tic. He has been with YS for 32 years, giving of his time and God-given talent to minister to those of us who minister to youth.

Honestly I cannot put into words how important the ministry of YS is to many youth workers around the U.S. and beyond. They truly care about the hearts and souls of each of us they serve.

Although the state of our economy and country brings no need for panic (cuz ultimately in the end God has it all worked out) - we want to pause and refocus where we are putting our attention in these times. Not only is YS having to reduce staff, but there are stories emerging of some churches due to "giving being down" having to also cut staff - including their youth leaders.

Most will say I'm biased - but cutting Youth Workers is the same as cutting the teachers at our schools. They both play a vital role in the development of our future. I hope you will take a moment a pause to pray for some of my colleagues in ministry...those who have already lost their job....those who are on the brink of losing a job....and those of us who for the time being seem to be okay....PRAY that we will all focus on The One who matters most - The One who has control over EVERYTHING. PRAY that regardless of the situations around us, that for those of us Called to serve in ministry will remain obedient to our Call through the toughest of times.

Lastly, PRAY for the youth of our nation - yes, youth workers might lose their jobs - but who in the end will really lose? Our Youth!

Teens Say The Darndest Things...

A student was quoted saying: "Can we invite our friends to church?"

Ummm, did you really just ask that? Last time I checked Jesus said to make disciples of ALL nations - so, yes, you can and should invite your friends to church.

Who are you inviting to worship this week? Will you work to make them a disciple?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesday's Two-Cents

thoughts about the past week(end) ~ a good yet tiring weekend - one lock-in, one super bowl party and little sleep. and of course yesterday was my 27th birthday - so all in all a good weekend spent with family, friends and a bunch of youth!

this weeks to dos ~ wow - where to begin...mission trip prep that NEEDS to get done this week, a few meetings, send out invites for a fund raising dinner, program prep for a few things, clean up from the weekend and....well the list goes on....

book I'm reading ~ ahh a bit slow in this department - working on Corinthians and finishing up another book I'm in the middle of.

tunes that triggered ~ I'm in a DCB mood - I guess getting myself ready for the worship experience with David next week.

thoughts on the coming week ~ it appears a bit daunting looking at my list of things to do - but I'm excited for the National Chinese Acrobats at the Lied this Friday.

think about a thought ~ how will you worship this week? (comment me let me know)

Scripture to skim ~ Genesis 3

Monday, February 2, 2009

Can We Go Out and Pray?

You read correctly, "pray" not "play." Although I questioned for a moment when asked this question if the six senior high boys really wanted to go out to play instead of to pray.

You see, I spent most of my weekend with Jr & Sr High youth - and don't get me wrong I love all of my youth - but sometimes i hate LOCK-INS! Here is a short play-by-play of one reason why:

Saturday ~
1:30am ~ Youth Leaders are trying to herd the last of the youth towards their room for bed.
One youth, we'll call him Herman, is shoving several pieces of pizza in his mouth and washing it down with Hawaiian Punch. A youth leader says to Herman "that's exactly what I do to get ready for bed each night, shove down a few more pieces of pizza and some Hawaiian Punch." We laugh!

1:35 ~ We must physically take away the Hawaiian Punch and continue to heard what we think (& hope) is the last of the youth down the hall to the room they'll be sleeping in.

1:45ish am ~ Head count ~ we're missing 1 - or I mean 2. Three leaders locate the two missing boys "hiding" under a table in a downstairs Sunday school room. Why? don't ask me???

Missing boys returned to their sleeping room only to find a table blocking the entrance - from the inside. Can we all say FIRE HAZARD!

(side note: the girls are all in their room and getting to sleep)

(back in the boys room) the guys are warned that it's time for bed and to get to sleep. Several excuses and questions are asked - all replied to in a NO fashion. We think boys are actually getting to 'sleep' at this point. So, the leaders all get settled and plan to try and get some sleep themselves.

Now, in nine years of ministry I've learned there are two great places for me to sleep - one is my own bed - that's not really an option here - so second place is right outside the door to the boys sleeping room...so I get comfy as I can - sleeping on a church floor and start to drift off...

...then I hear the door - six high school boys emerge from the doorway - and this is what I hear - "can we go outside to pray?" I kind of had to check to make sure I was really hearing this....my response after a laugh was NO - I know you're thinking how horrible of a youth director to tell his youth they cannot pray. Let me set this straight - my "NO" was to the 'outside' portion of their question - not to the can we pray....

I suggested they each go back to bed and they could pray themselves. Apparently they didn't yet know how to take that suggestion from a leader and really follow it....they proceeded to turn around go back towards the door and make a circle and then they're praying....and singing....ahhhhhh I just want to get to sleep (note: it's now past 2:30 am)

They go inside the door and I'm assuming make home on the floor right inside....cuz for the next 30+ mins I hear whispering and talking....

This concludes the short play-by-play of why I sometimes hate lock-ins....the jury is still out on whether or not we'll have another!