Saturday, January 28, 2006

Weekend quotes

Names have been omitted to protect the innocent.....and to try to keep Dad out of trouble!

"Diet Coke with Lime is a gateway Diet Coke!"

"I've tried thinking didn't help!"

It was a good weekend.....KT was home, broomball on the tennis courts, family meals....good times!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I get it....but what do I do with it?

Over the course of three days - in different settings - I have run into this verse.

First in a book I'm reading, then as worship assistant it was part of my reading, then a friend of mine e-mailed it to me as part of her "verse of the day" she gets at work.

Okay, God, I get what am I supposed to do with it?

(I think I know.......)


I was able to spend yesterday at the Arboretum as a mini retreat. This past couple of weeks has been crazy busy and I have been immersed in details and minutia - important stuff - but stuff that has kept me from looking at the big picture and visioning for the youth ministry and myself.

Yesterday, God breathed some new life into my thoughts and ideas for direction - it was a wonderful day.

A 3 mile walk in the woods conversing with God - praying and focusing on his abundance in my personal life and in our church. Time spent reflecting on being a leader and how to lead "from the inside out".....first thru being in tune with God and letting things flow out of that. And then finally, time spent in how to share what seems to be laid before me.

Praise God for beckoning me.....and for people praying me thru these days.....

In an ideal world, I would get out there once a week.......we'll see.....

Sunday download....

Okay, I admit it. I absolutely love teaching kids, hanging out, nurturing, challenging, and in the process....they do the same for me. A few highlights of our morning and evening gatherings....

SMYG - Last week was "feet"...this week we focused on "hands". We put up pictures of all kinds of hands in the room and on the cross. Some young, old, different races, open, closed, hurt.... Then we talked about how we use our hands and how they can reflect Jesus and engage or push others (and ourselves) away. Then we USED them at "service stations" - made blankets, wrote letters to our Compassion child, and named a specific person and act of service we could perform for them after which we place our handprint on a banner with Gal 5:13 as our "covenant" to follow thru. Seemed to flow well.....and our hands were busy......

Crossroads - Finished our series on Creed Construction. Focused on the Holy Spirit and the church. Then had everyone read a phrase, sentence, paragraph from what they had written - it was so cool. These young people impressed me with their depth of thought and expression of what they believe - it has been a good starting point for them I hope. I bet they can hardly wait to not sit at tables next week and listen to me tho.....

God is good.....

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Kimpa and I had dinner with some great friends last night.....sharing laughter, hopes, concerns, encouragement, and pizza......

It just doesn't get much better than that (and they picked up the check, too!)

Good times.......

Monday, January 16, 2006

A full Sunday - part 3

Creed Construction - my fancy way of saying "faith statements" so that we don't scare kids away!

We started a two week focus on writing our creeds during Crossroads. My hope is that this isn't an assignment but a place to begin - a point of reference on their journey - that they can use to see how their beliefs evolve, change, and differ from each other.....but that we can all remain in community. Tried to make the process as interactive as possible - some highlights:

Steal the bacon - have to start with a game right? And as I don't usually hang with Crossroads crowd this was my first time playing.....all I can say is.....I ROCK!

Brief intro and then we listened to "Creed" by Third Day. Quick look at Apostle's and Nicene Creeds. I asked if anyone had any questions about them and didn't really expect much of a response some great questions about "descended into hell", "We look for the resurrection of the dead", and was great.

Then did some small groups - what might be hard about writing your creed and why might it be a good thing? More great discussion.....

Then....the moment we had all been dreading....actually writing what you believe. We focused on what they believe about God and Jesus. Brainstormed some words and phrases about each and then had them write.....and they did......humbling. I hope I can get them to share what they are writing.....

Then we tried a new thing....worship at the end of the evening. I had my reservations at first. I mean, in my three years of doing various forms of youth group (such extensive experience...I am an expert, right?) the standard formula is game, worship, message, small groups, hang out time. But the worship at the end was good - especially after spending time discussing what we believe....and it's sort of cool thinking that the kids may take one of the songs into the night with them and carry it thru the week.....intentionally or accidently noticing God/praying to Jesus thru humming, etc. Nice prayer is that it is happening and that we all are growing.....

That's the end.....a full sunday. It has been a good day. Jesus rocks!

A full Sunday - part 2

After SMYG I went to our farewell worship service for Pastor J. She has been a great interim - what an example of having a servant heart and speaking truth into hard situations. She has such a strong faith. One of those people whom I don't always agree, but have a great relationship with. Today was her last day at EPPC. 20 months together (and in that time 27 baptisms!) and quite the journey. The service was a wonderful celebration of our time together and she left us with challenging and encouraging words (and of course one more shot at doing a Lectio Divina with the congregation couldn't be passed up!)

Before the service she had come down to the youth room and saw what we were setting up. (See Part 1!) I asked if she could take off her shoes and put paint on her foot and walk on the cross. I think I might have even said something to the effect of "Because you have left such an impression here" Anyway....she graciously agreed....but for the first time was a little flustered.

Then after she had walked the cross.....I knelt and got in position with soap and water....and she said "You're going to wash my feet aren't you?" Yeah....and pray for her....granted it was sort of an ambush of her on an emotional day but it was something I felt i was to do. It was a privilege walking with her these past 20 months....I have grown in my respect for "order" (even if it drives me crazy sometimes!) and have seen some great modeling of service and loving people. It was cool to wash the feet that have journeyed so faithfully and for so long, to pray a blessing upon them and her, and to share my love of her as a sister in Christ this way.

Pastor J - Blessings to you on your continued journey. You have left quite an impression on this heart. You will be missed.....but we will gather together again when the "way has been made clear"....praise God.

The day continues in part 3!

A full Sunday - part 1

Teaching SMYG (our name for Jr./Sr. high Sunday School....Sunday Morning Youth Gathering) and Crossroads (our Sunday evening Sr. High youth gathering) and in between attending our farewell worship service for our interim pastor. Quite a's the highlights....

Part 1 - SMYG - Hands and Feet

We've been doing lessons on being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Today we focused on "feet" and dug into the passage from John where Jesus washes the disciples feet. After reading the text I washed the other leader's feet (no advance notice for them!) as we all discussed the text. Then we brainstormed on how we use our feet to serve - "walk", "take a stand", "dig in", "leave an impression", etc. Cool discussion. .

Next we dimmed the lights, played "If we are the body" by Casting Crowns and had the kids dip one of their feet into some paint, walk on a huge white wallpaper cross on the floor, and had a leader wash the paint off as he prayed for them (thanks to YS Creative ideas for the idea!). Then the leaders all walked the cross and three students washed their feet....very cool.

We now have a really cool looking cross hanging on the wall - white with yellow, blue, and red footprints. We're going to leave it up until the famine in about 6 weeks.....

I'm sure some of the kids thought it was just fun or even goofy. But others....I think really started to have a feeling for what that Last Supper might have been like.....and their hearts for serving grew just a little least that is my prayer (for myself and the kids).

The day continues in part 2!


Stratego - remember that game?

Well - it is Alexey's fav right now.

After womping Kimpa last night (for real, no "letting the kid" win this time!) Alexey was reflecting on his victory and said, "I don't think mom gets the point of the game."


"Mommy is way more fun than the mall" - Alexey, just after we got the call we can have lunch with Mom instead of Dad's plan to go to the foodcourt at the mall.

"Thanks for teaching me to make an egg sandwich!" - Alexey after...well isn't it obvious?

Monday, January 09, 2006

Crowder Kudos

This is my fave album from 2005


Such an eclectic mix of styles......but immersed in hope and praise.....very cool! (Check it out!)

Sunday, January 08, 2006


A while back, my morning routine was to get up and make coffee, get the paper, wake up my wife and then head to the kitchen by myself and read the paper/drink coffee. Then, one day, my wife asked me to spend my morning time with her - time to just be together, talk a little before we engaged our "schedules"........

What a blessing we have found this to be.

A great reminder of the simple, yet powerful, gift of presence......

I love that she wants to be with me after all these years!