Monday, December 22, 2008

Kennedy's Solo

Last night was our church's Christmas program. Kennedy had been singing "Go Tell it on the Mountain" all afternoon, so I made her promise to sing it as loud as she could that night at church. Here is what follows:

video
My favorite part is when , in her embarrassment, Kennedy hugs the little girl next to her. The program as a whole went a lot like that, at least with that first row of kids. Every little girl showed us her belly button and Carsen mostly tried to make sure no one took his spot. And he liked when they got to sit down.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

toilet humor

A few kid quotes from the last couple days:
Our newly remodeled bathroom upstairs has an exhaust fan. Kennedy likes it to be on when she is in there. On Sunday here is what she told Shiloh:
"Hey mom, I want to turn off the poopy light." Yep, we have something in our house that is now called a poopy light.
On Sunday Shiloh was cleaning the bathroom. Carsen came in while she was cleaning the toilet. He looked inside the toilet and exclaimed, "Mom, Jesus wouldn't like that."

Also, I'm pretty sure with blogs you're supposed to make a big deal out of "milestone" posts. This is post #100 for me. Yeah! If I made money or something from it I would give away a Wii or a car or something. Instead you'll have to settle for this rambling little paragraph!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Suffering

"Relational ministry presupposes suffering; when we are called to go, we must give our very selves to others, for this is following the Crucified." -Andrew Root

This semester has been a semester of learning the truth of the above statement. It's nice to plan great events and small groups and have lots of fun in youth ministry, but the students I come into contact with are not always having fun anywhere else. Or maybe the hate the very idea of God. Whatever the case, it leads to the need to enter into the dark places of their lives and just be there. And for me, that's hard. But through the Holy Spirit I'm learning and changing. And getting amazing opportunities to love teenagers as Christ loves them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Good Parenting

Although it won't lead to great grades on color tests, I'm proud to report my sons view of colors as we looked at the neighbors Christmas lights on Friday night:

Me: Carsen, what colors are the lights?
(Correct answer: Red, blue, green and orange.)
Carsen: I think there's red, green, blue and Broncos.

Go Broncos!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Preschool

Yes, you read that right, my little, tiny, just-born-yesterday kids started preschool this week. They are going two days a week and giving their mom a deserved break while they go learn some sweet stuff.
Getting ready to go in:Kennedy loves her Spiderman "pack-pack." She picked it out and thinks it is the greatest backpack a kid could ever have. Carsen says his is a mommy lion because he has a little lion stuffed animal that he sleeps with at night.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Communion

I have been asked by my pastor to lead communion the first week of October. He wants it to be creative and different (and he really means it.) I have a few ideas, but I would love to hear some thoughts on creative ways you have taken communion before. Comment away!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Be Creative!

Continuing in the tradition of such great Christian products as the "A bread crumb and a fish" shirts made to look like abercrombie and the massive number of bands that decided to be Christian versions of Creed 8 years ago comes this. Christian Guitar Hero. It makes Christ look cheap to knock off the world for Christian consumption. And we are no safer from sin if we insulate ourselves from the world than if we embrace the fact that God put us here. We sin because we are human and we are fallen, not because we play fake guitar to a song by weezer.

Christians need to step up and create out of the creativity and beauty instilled in them by God, not by the creators of guitar hero.

end rant

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chickmunks!!! (or this post is for Bonnie)

The last week of July we spent a week in Breckenridge with Shiloh's parents. It was the perfect way for us all to reconnect after a month apart due to my many trips and working on the house. Pictures follow:
Kennedy doesn't wear glasses, but she found these and thought they looked fantastic , so should put them on and proceeded to have a hard time walking.We went to a place in the mountains where you could feed the chipmunks out of your hand. Carsen loved it. He would call out "chickmunk" in a high pitched voice and wait for them to come and eat. Kennedy would stand and watch for anything moving. If it got within three feet of her, she would yell "chickmunk" at the top of her lungs, throw the sunflower seeds at it and try to get away. Needless to say, there are no cute pics of her feeding the chipmunks
We went one morning to the children's museum. Kennedy decided she wants to be a doctor when she grows up so she can dress in pink. Carsen would have gladly spent the rest of his life catching magnetic fish off of the floor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Planning

I had my fall planning and dreaming meeting with my volunteers last night and we had a great time! I was so encouraged just to hear their continuing passion to serve and love students as well as to talk through the things they saw as successful and not so much last year. We kick off our fall programming two weeks from tonight on a new night. I can't wait to see how God meets students and staff this year in the youth ministry.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Loving People

I recently read an article in Spin magazine about hip-hop artist D'Angelo, who is trying to make a comeback after going through multiple alcohol treatment centers. Here is the description of one of his friendships:
While they've since patched things up, Thompson has continued to keep his old friend at arms length.
"It's a fear thing on my end," he says, sighing deeply. "I'm afraid I'll lose him. If I'm there and I lose him, I'll have those feelings of guilt, like, 'What could I have done to save him?'"

And now here's the description of Jesus and his love towards us:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31-32

I am so thankful that Jesus comes for us wherever we are at and loves us right there. I pray I embody that trait as I minister to students.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Shen Bible Camp

In late July I got to go to Shen Bible Camp near Tok, AK. I took a few students and we served 10 to 14 year olds all week. The camp had no running water or electricity, and the bunk "beds" were just pieces of plywood. Very rustic. But it was a great week being away from the internet and tv (but I really like running water, it's always bad to be too far from that, esp when you are sharing a room with 10 and 11 year old boys.) My students jumped in and did a great job leading devotions and games, sharing testimonies, being playgrounds for rowdy kids and whatever else they were asked.

One of my youth group kids, Jake, got baptized at camp. It was raining, there was no sun and we were all huddled closely together to stay warm. Talking with him about why he wanted to be baptized and then watching him be baptized was one of the highlights of my week.
Plastic+Lake water+soap=homemade waterslide. I didn't go on it, I think it was maybe 45 out that day. In fact only the three littlest boys went and the rest of us chickened out.Four Mile Lake, where camp is at. Every camper had to hike 1 mile into camp because you can't drive anything but ATV's in.
Dune Jumping in Alaska:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Soccer Camp

Carsen is doing a soccer camp all this week at our high school. In his own words, his favorite thing about soccer camp is "kicking" and he likes the "big blue men" (the coaches). I'm pretty sure he's a future MLS superstar (if those really existed!)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Prayer for Students

I haven't been together with students on a Tuesday night for almost an entire month because of mission trips, camp and vacation. But tonight I finally get to be back with them. Here is the passage I've been praying for them today:

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fireworks

I went to our local fireworks show last night here in Lander. Our church had a bbq in someones backyard and we watched from there. It just so happens that the guy who did fireworks for the Salt Lake Olympics lives in our town, so we have the best fireworks in the whole state in our town of 7000. Lots of fun. I wish my wife and kids could have been there with me.
The Final 3o seconds:

Monday, June 30, 2008

Funny Facebook Email


I got this email in my facebook inbox today:
Did steal a fly rod from you about 8 years ago?
That was all. And the answer? Yep, he did, sorta, and I loved that fly rod. Maybe I will get it back now?
(really he borrowed it and then we never reconnected for me to get it back)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Euro2008

I've been taking in Euro 2008 in the afternoons when I have time and have seen some incredible finishes and goals in the last few weeks. Croatia-Turkey is currently shaping up as one of the most exciting 1-1 games I've ever watched. And maybe it's just the accent (I am secretly mad at my parents for not living somewhere where I could grow up with a sweet accent) but the announcers are much better for soccer than for NBA or NFL. Anyways, there are still quite a few games left, every afternoon on ESPN. For me, it helps that I'm on vacation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

First off, apologies are due to my blog. I'm not mad at you, and if you'll have me back, I'll try to do better and write more often. So very sorry.

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:4-6

I need to remember as a youth minister that God carries the work in a students heart on to completion. I'm there to love, encourage and challenge, but not to work the actual change in the heart.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Home Remodeling

This last week marked one year for us in our first house. Mostly I hate our house because it steals any and all free time I get, but I can see a time in the very near future were we won't live in the basement and I will really enjoy what we have. On to some pictures of what we've been doing. You can go here to see some older pics of the remodel.

This was the least fun window to replace. And I did this one by myself. Up and down the ladder all afternoon! Our upstairs has 9 windows and because I have very generous friends, I only had to do three of them by myself, which was a huge blessing.
Jordan (my brother-in-law) came out and gave me a ton of help in January. We hung drywall in the bedrooms and refinished the bedroom and hallway floors. The picture below is after one pass over the floor on the right and nothing done on the left. After three or four passes we had a nice looking floor. Somehow I managed to not get any pics of the finished product and now it's all covered up with plastic and cardboard to protect it. So you'll just have to wait. But it really looks amazing.
This is the hole in the floor that my wife fell through in January. Her brother was helping me refinish floors and hang dry wall and we had taken out the floor grate and were just working around it. Shiloh chose to try to levitate over it instead, and through it she went into the water heater room. Luckily all she received was a scraped up hip. Here brother said she was there and then when he tuned around she had just vanished! That hole is now recovered with the grate as well as filled with plywood supported by a few 2x4's.

A few guys came over and helped me replace our ginormous 9 foot long window and finish hanging the drywall. To make the new header fit into the wall we had to use two car jacks to raise the ceiling up just a tad. Let me tell you, there is almost nothing worse than hearing the entire roof of your house creaking all around knowing you have to make it go just a little more. Big thanks on this day to Al, Richard, Jerry, and Josiah.
My dad helping pour and finish the concrete pad for the new shed
Our new shed all finished. I also built shelves and a workbench inside. My friend Daniel helped me for an entire Sunday afternoon and evening to get this thing up. I think it took about 25 man hours in the end
This last weekend I pulled the siding off of the house so it can be resided this week and next. The guys that are doing the siding are also building us a new front porch for a sweet price. Along with all this I got to jackhammer the front two steps off the old concrete porch. One piece of advice: DON'T EVER USE A JACKHAMMER. IT'S NOT FUN OR COOL. IT JUST BEATS YOU UP HOUR AFTER ENDLESS HOUR! Obviously, I enjoyed the jackhammering.
There are millions of little things that get done but that never get a picture taken. We replaced the screen door, I installed cable boxes, Shiloh has painted for hours, we planted grass and a tree and the list goes on and on. Finished pictures to come this summer!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Why my pastor is the coolest

This morning my pastor wanted to let me know he made coffee in case I wanted some. The following exchange ensued:

Richard: I made coffee if you want some.
Me: Cool, thanks. I'll go get my cup.
Richard: Oh and we're out of creamer, so I took some ice cream out of the freezer to let it melt.

So we're having our coffee with ice cream this morning!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

April Showers bring...






May Snow? Although really it was April snow that brought May snow, which I really, really hope doesn't lead to June snow.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Volunteer

Tonight I have a new volunteer staff person starting at youth group. I am so excited! First of all, she is a she, and that has been hard to come by in our ministry. Second, she has a real heart for the girls in the youth ministry. And last, she is the best looking volunteer I've ever gotten to work with! (I was going to post a picture, but blogger won't let me right now, so to end the suspense, the new volunteer is in fact my wife!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Family Core Values #1

During Sunday School at church (where else would it be, I guess) we have been talking about our churches core value of "Building Strong Families." The teacher has encouraged us to be coming up with core values for our families and so, away we go.

#1: Love God
Jesus said it well in Mark 12:30: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." I hope my family lives this out together, individually, and through involvement in Christ's body, the church.
Together
We try to spend time talking about things we are seeing God do in our lives (or maybe what we want to see but aren't). We spend time talking with the kids about God and read through Bible stories with them. As the kids grow I hope we can openly and honestly talk about faith and life and doubt and God all together. I definitely struggle to lead this one in my house. I spend a lot of my job doing this very thing for a bunch of students and get lazy with my family. But I am a work in progress and God is full of grace.
Individually
Pretty obvious, I hope my relationship with Christ is not all that tethers my wife or kids to Christ. I pray that Shiloh will be continually drawn to have depth in her quiet times with God and that my kids will make the decision to follow Christ not because I do, but because they fall completely and totally in love with who he is.
The Church
God gave it to us to live in and know him better. It's easy to get disgruntled with the church (I have spent way too much time there) and just quit being a part of it. Love it or hate it, think it should stay the same or change radically, I hope my family always is a part of what God is doing to and through the church.

#2 to theoretically come tomorrow. Also, as this is about family I plan on showing off the cuteness that is my kids pretty much every time I post.

What do you think? What is a core value that guides your family?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Proud Dad

This morning as we were getting ready for the day Carsen came over and sat on my lap. He looked at me and then started chanting, "Rock Chalk Jayhawk" four or five times and then he went on his way to the next thing. At least he's learning something good from me! Hopefully I show him what it looks like to follow Jesus as well as I've taught him to love the Jayhawks and Broncos.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Casper

2008 has been complete and total insanity for my family. Our house is slowly moving toward finished, Shiloh is still teaching and I'm still staying home with the kids while she teaches and then trying to work 40+ hours a week. So this weekend we decided to run away for a night and go to the metropolis of Casper, WY. (Seriously, there are almost 50,000 people here, I tend to forget such large numbers of people can live in one place.) We have had a great day of being a family with nothing to do but spend time together, no drywall to be done or papers to grade. I wish we could convince ourselves to do this more often. I can't wait for tomorrow and more time with my family!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rock Chalk


GO KU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Revenge

This weekend I am preaching in church on Romans 12:17-21. It's kicking my butt! I want revenge in some way, shape or form on those who hurt me. But this passage commands me to not only lay aside all thoughts of needing revenge, but it calls me to love. To love so much that those who have wronged me are convicted of their need for Jesus and repent. That's a lot of love, and most days I probably don't do that real well. But that is the greatness of Jesus and his love, it can do that.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"[d]says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."[e] 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Totally Wired

I just finished "Totally Wired" by Anastasia Goodstein. It's purpose is to educate people about how teens are using the internet. Lots of basics, explanations of social networks, IM, technology use in schools, and so on. Now, I'm sure this book would have been awesome if I was scared of computers, but since I'm not, this book told me a lot of things I mostly already knew. So all in all, a book I would only recommend to those who are fearful of computers and how dangerous they are, or to parents who see their kids on the internet all the time, but have no idea what they are doing. If you just want to know everything about youth culture, check out Anastasia's blog, which as a youth pastor is a must read every day.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008

Guitar Strings...GRRR!

On Saturday, in preparation for leading worship yesterday at church, I decided to change the strings on my guitar. For those who don't know about changing guitar strings, when you put on a new set, they take a little while to "settle in" and stay in tune. After changing my strings I played for a while and things seemed to be in good shape. The next morning at practice some minor re-tuning was needed but no big deal. Then service came.
On the first song my 'b' string seemed to be a bit out of tune, so I re-tuned it and went on my way. But after each song it was more and more out of tune. I tried to play only low strings or adjust the fret or two during the song, but mostly it just sounded terrible. By the next to last song my 'b' string was dropping a minor third (down to G# or as bad as it could possibly make my guitar sound) after just a few strums. One of the women helping sing that morning stepped up to the mic and said something to the effect of it being good that God hears the praise of our heart, out of tune guitars and all.
After finishing, I went and removed the string and put it right back on. Problem solved (although I still don't know how the first time I put the string on things went so badly). Just a good reminder of what is important as I lead worship times and youth group things. Our hearts have to be offering all of ourselves to God.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Teens Need Adults!

I know, I know, I've gone post crazy! Two in a day!

I just read a blog post over on YPulse about the dangers of growing up in the suburbs. Basically, the thought is that suburban kids have higher rates of drug and alcohol use than inner city kids. Here is Anastasia's conclusion:

The article points to the need for more adult interaction with teens -- I don't think this has to be just parents, but what cities often offer that suburbs don't is a bigger sense of community and less isolation. My sense is that teens who live in cities do interact more with adults than the kids getting wasted on the golf courses....


I hope our youth group here in Lander is a place that is providing opportunities for those relationships between students and adults. I know relationships with adults had a huge impact on the choices I made as a teen. Just a good reminder of the importance of building relationships over making things that are flashy or cool just for the sake of being flashy or cool.

Utah Symphony Orchestra

Last night Shiloh and I went and heard the Utah Symphony Orchestra here in town. It was a nice evening out and the music was excellent. But as always, something much funnier happened during the performance (otherwise, why blog about it?)
Sitting in the row in front of us was a family with four kids. Their girl, maybe 9 or 10, thought the first half of the evening was the worst thing she ever had been to in her entire life. First, she tapped one of her brothers on the shoulder and pretended to yawn to show how boring this all was. Then came my favorite part of her act. She used her right hand to form a gun and put it up to her head and took the shot. Now that is all well and good, but she used her left hand on the other side of her head to show her brain blowing out every time she pulled the trigger. Occasionally she also would add sound effects. "pow" "bam" and other explosion related noises. Hilarious! She spent the second half of the night pretending that she was the conductor, which was mostly a distraction from hearing the orchestra play Beethoven's 7th Symphony which they did in amazing fashion. Also, the conductor had incredibly bouncy hair, my wife and the high school girls sitting behind us all said so. And best of all, it was a night out with my wife!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

HA!

At youth group on Tuesday night I asked students to answer a couple of questions so that I could share the answers with parents to hopefully spark conversation and open up dialogue. My favorite answer of the night:

Q: What is the biggest thing your parents don't understand about you?

A: That I keep my room dirty so I don't have to look at my ugly carpet.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's a Marathon

I was talking this morning with one of my youth volunteers over breakfast about the Dalai Lama. I had just read that when the current Dalai Lama dies, the powers that be will re-find him when he reincarnates as a baby. They will spend the next 20 or 30 years educating him on his past lives and training him to be a spiritual leader. Obviously I don't agree with the whole reincarnation thing, but I love the view of how things happen. They realize that history is long, and great things can take a long time to accomplish. So they spend a couple decades getting ready for each generation. In my experiences of church in America, we usually go for the quick payout and want immediate results. The Bible, however, models something different.

John the Baptist's whole ministry was one of preparation.
Moses wandered and wandered and wandered in the desert.
Jesus spent 30ish years preparing and 3ish years ministering.

And then this afternoon I came across this quote from Mike Yaconelli:
Jesus knew hurried disciples become ex-disciples. Modern youth ministry needs to understand our mission: planting, watering and waiting... in other words, unhurried discipleship. Jesus knew, and so should we, that discipleship lasts a lifetime.

In other words, this May when seniors leave the youth ministry, I don't need to be concerned that they have met some predetermined criteria for having been successfully discipled. I do need to be concerned that they are equipped to continue on the journey of knowing and following Jesus for the rest of their lives.

In your place of ministry are you willing to be a preparer if that is where God calls you to be and leave the results and the time line to the Holy Spirit?

Driving Your Phone

A couple days ago I was putting together a toy kitchen set that my kids got from their grandparents for Christmas. Being the responsible male I am, I was occasionally glancing at the directions. As I looked, I saw instructions for cleaning the toy phone that came with the kitchen. I decided to read that section, as it seemed pretty obvious to me as to how to clean a little toy phone that has batteries in it. Here is what I read:

Directions for Cleaning Phone
Slightly dampen a cloth with water or mild detergent solution and wipe surface. Never submerge in water or spray liquid directly on steering wheel.

And that's when I realized why they had instructions, I didn't even know the phone had a steering wheel! And until I find the steering wheel, I am going to be watching my kids very closely to make sure they don't submerge the steering wheel in water. That sure was a close one!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Prayer

"Lord teach me to know you more, to love you more and serve you more faithfully in my life"

-St. Ignatius

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January 246 Minute

If your interested, the youth group newsletter is available over on my churches website. Make sure you have adobe reader installed. And if you want an email about when the next one is available (mom) just leave a comment with your email and I'll add you to the list.