Friday, February 29, 2008

Leftovers Part 4

Yesterday we left our home and drove to Lynchburg, Va. to watch Chicago, my niece played the role of Roxie and did a fabulous job.  They may be the first high school to take on this play.  
It was good and all that jazz. (hardy har har.  Another sign of old age is when you think you are punny).  I was impressed with the skill level of these students.  I came away feeling a little more cultured after an evening at the theatre.

Today, The Texas Inn.  Cheesy with extra relish and a bowl with relish.  That's all I got to say about that.

What's a Cheesy?  Glad you asked.  The chef (and I use that term loosely) takes the burger that has been cooked and marinated in essence of hamburger (grease) and drops it into a small skillet which has a scrambled egg cookin in it.  The egg then envelops the burger.  It is topped with a slice of cheese and slid off onto a bun.  They top it with their secret recipe relish (which I have) and slice it in half and place it on a small dessert plate and slide it down the counter top to the waitress.  The waitress then delivers it to you and says, "here you go honey".  Keep in mind this women could jerk you across the counter and slap you silly.  It' s such a home-like atmosphere for so many.  

The Texas Inn is a landmark establishment in Lynchburg.  It has been in downtown forever.  There are about 20 stools at an L shaped counter.  That's it.  You can have an attorney on your left and a retired little grandma on your right (the T room brings people together).  No orders are written down, the waitresses shout your order and the cooks in their open "kitchen" (I use that term loosely as well).  They don't miss a beat and if per chance they do the entertainment begins.  Side note - most of the older Lynchburgers have their T room food with a carton of buttermilk.

I'm looking forward to my lunch there today.  Last time we took Ty he couldn't eat a hot dog on a bun so we ordered a hot dog, no bun.  The waitress yelled, "Weenie on a plate" and that is exactly what slid across the counter to us.  It was great.  Today Ty will tackle the weenie on a bun.

This isn't something I eat everyday (mainly because I don't live here) but is a special treat and will be a special family moment together.  Nothing like a leftover vacation day well spent.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Throw Your Hands Up!

One of my favorite times at youth group is when we introduce a new youth group "member" to the whole group.  

If a student attends three times in a row and then fills out the information sheet that gives us all the basic info for contact, parents etc...  The back of the page gives us an idea of where they stand in their relationship with God, which comes in handy, it helps to know their testimony or what they believe salvation is.  We also give them the option to check a box that says "I haven't made that decision yet."  No pressure but it is helpful.

Once we get the white sheet the student gets a magnet with their name and their contact info on it.  When they walk into the building for youth group they move their magnet from the "I'm not here" magnetic dry erase board to the "I'm Here" magnetic dry erase board.  This helps us to quickly identify who is absent from youth group.  Their "family group" then sends someone to write down the name of whoever is missing from their group and their phone number or e-mail and then the group contacts them to let them know they are missed.

The magnet is also a quick way to grab a students number should there be medical emergency.  The emergency contact info is on their as well.

Finally, at the beginning of the youth group meeting we crank some hip hop or rap music super loud so the sub woofers are vibrating our hearts (great feeling).  Then we intro the new group member, they then are given their magnet to take out to the magnet board.  There is some dancing and lots of applause.

Last night was fuuuuun!  We introduced one new member and three that had taken a "break" from youth group (if a student misses 3 weeks in a row we attempt to contact them and then after a period of time the magnet goes away to a little box).  We also gave the new young lady and the friend that invited her the choice of a new Bible or the One Minute a Day Bible (it's a devo book by Doug Fields).

Generate excitement about the newbies and watch more newbies arrive on the scene.  Next week we intro 3 newbies!!!

You can listen to some great Intro music on the music player here on this blog.  Pettidee is our favorite for intro music.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leftovers Part 3

Today was another leftover vacation day.  It wasn't quite as fun as yesterday.
  • I spent about two hours this morning at the eye doctors.
  • I found out I'm getting glasses.  Not bad because I'll pick out the coolest frames I can find.
  • I discovered that my pterygium had grown larger on my right eye.  The result of getting liquid bleach (not diluted) in my eyes many years ago.  It is now scooting to close to my pupil which would then mess up my vision.
  • I was told that I needed to carve out a couple weeks of time when I'm not busy to have this ptergyium sliced off my eye.  Hello!!!!!!  I said sliced off my eye!!!  FREAKY!  and then they will graft some sort of amniotic (just wondering what that is all about) tissue onto my eye to replace the tissue they cut off!!!!!
  • I was given a prescription for expensive eye drops.  They are EXPENSIVE!  I'll be using those for three months.
  • I found out I get to visit my eye doctor (she was super helpful in explaining things to me, I had a hard time getting past the slice part) next month, in 6 months, then again in a year.
  • I'm supposed to wear sunglasses anytime I go outdoors so if you see me wearing shades just pretend I'm really cool.
  • I ate a super lovely Sonic lunch with my family in Currituck on the way to Ty's dental appointment in Va. Beach.  A little cleaning and the dentist was going to take a look-see.
  • We got there way early drove around to kill time.
  • When they called Ty back the nurse stopped us behind the door and asked us to wait in the lobby while they brushed his teeth and got him prepped because they were crowded back there.  They would come get us when the doctor was looking at Ty.  
  • Ty's 3 and a half and he is not going with a stranger anywhere for any kind of medical stuffs at all without mom in tow.  
  • Meanwhile some kid is screaming at the top of his lungs as he is being tortured, I mean worked on.
  • We let the nurse know that we were going with him or he wasn't going at all.
  • They didn't budge on  their "policy" and we didn't budge either as his parents, we are responsible to protect him.  Plus a 3 year old can't explain to you what happened back there in the exam room.
  • We walked out.  A wasted trip to Va Beach.  Now we have to find a good pediatric dentist.
  • He lost us as paying patients for the next number of years.
  • He will be getting a letter of complaint from me and an invoice for 5 hours of wasted time in my life and my gas costs to travel to Va Beach and back.  It won't accomplish anything but it will make me feel good.
  • I'll be rating him on Yahoo.  They have a rating thing for dentists.  Yahoooooo!
  • We thought we would go to Lens Crafters to get my glasses while up there.  Discovered that glasses are cheaper here at my eye doctors office.
  • Hindsight is 20/20

Leftovers Part 2

OK.  So as I re-read my blog on leftovers from yesterday it got me wondering. . . 
How often do our families get our leftovers?  How often do we come home from work wiped out, tired, and just want to sit in the recliner or even go to bed early?   Meanwhile our kids need our attention, not for attention's sake but because as parents God has given us the responsibility to pour into their lives.  What message do we send them when watching the news is more important?  What message do we send them when we don't have time to play a game with them but we have time to read a book?  What are we doing when Dad goes to bed at 7:30 or 8 and they are up on their own for 2 or 3 hours figuring out ways to "kill" time?
Ever said, "Go do your homework!"?  Sure, most parents have.  The question is this, were they told that to "get them out of your hair"?
"I don't have time to. . . ".   Ever said that to your kid?  My guess is a parent who "doesn't have time" is probably the first one in line for lecture time.  I got time to lecture you but no time to spend with you.
I guess my line of thinking is this:
If we give our family our leftovers what are our kids gonna think when we take the time to share Christ with them?
Some ideas:
  • Carve out a some time each day where your focus is on your child.  This may freak your teen out at first but they will appreciate it down the road.
  • Wake up Saturday, load the family in the car and take a spontaneous day trip.  Drive to Hatteras and take the Ferry to Ocrakoake for lunch and to see the ponies.  Load em up and go up to Chesapeake for some ice skating.  Take the family to Laser Quest, nothing brings a family together like a good game of laser tag or paintball.
  • Have fun with you kid on a daily basis.  You don't have to spend a lot of money.  Take them to school in a game of Uno.  Have fun!
  • Have them help you cook their favorite meal.  Ty loves doing this.  
  • Have family movie night.  Pop the popcorn and settle in for a movie marathon.
  • Take the family on a destination unknown.  (that would be brilliant for a summer vacation)
  • Guard your calendar and schedule in some time for your kids that are non-negotiable for you or for them.
No leftovers!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Sometimes leftovers are good.  It just depends on what the meal is.

Giving God your leftovers is bad, no matter how good you think your leftovers are.

My family often gets my leftovers because of a busy schedule, gone from home too much. . .

Leftover vacation days are great.  This week I'm using up leftover vacation days from '07 which, according to policy, must be used before March, use 'em or lose 'em.

Today was great.  Ty and I spent several hours outdoors in the backyard.  Then we moved the fun to the park with a pb&j picnic and lots of sliding on the slide.  Then we moved back to the house and washed and vacuumed the car.  He found it loads of fun to crawl around in the car while I vacuumed it out.  Then we came back inside and watched several episodes of little bear, ate some chili, read some books, got a good bath and then off to bed.  He was out in less than 5 minutes.  Lots of hard playing today.
So today was a good leftover.

Tomorrow another leftover vacation day.  I start it off at the eye doctor's office, that's right I'm getting old!  (plus getting straight liquid bleach in your eyes doesn't help, it's an old injury that I'm quickly growing tired of)  So by tomorrow afternoon I could be a 4 eyes.

Pray for my friend Claire

My friend, Claire D, is having a pretty serious surgery this morning.  Please keep her and her family in your prayers today.


My Actions, My Heart, My Worship, My Mouth

  • 4. 
  • He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
  • 5. 
  • He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior.

My hands - None could enter the mountain of the temple if they were ceremonially unclean.  One of the things we must strive for in our Christian walk is living a clean life.  Living in such a way that we don't get caught up in a sinful lifestyle. When we trust Christ as our Savior our sins are forgiven, past, present and future but there are times we get "dirt" on our "hands" by sinning.  It is in these times we need to confess, agree with God about sin.  If we are gong to lift up our hands in worship they must be free from the dirt of sin.  By the way this applies to living our lives as acts of worship on a daily basis not just at church on Sunday.

My heart - It can be easy to appear on the outside to have clean hands.  When can fake that all is well in our lives between us and God with those around us (at least get away with it for a certain amount of time with those that truly know us).  How am I inwardly?  Is my heart pure before God?  Am I as clean inside as I appear to be on the outside. Reminds me of the time that Jesus said the religious leaders were white washed tombs.  They looked good on the outside but inside were full of dead bones.  Like a cup clean on the outside but dirty on the inside.  If I'm going to truly worship the one who died for me to save me from my sin I must make sure I'm clean on the inside, not hiding any sin in my life.

My Worship - Who or what do I worship in life?  I must be on constant guard that nothing or no one takes the place of worshiping Christ in my life.  Am I worshiping material stuffs?  Where my treasure is my heart will be also.  Do I treasure Jesus Christ?  I guess the proof could be in my check book register, in where I spend my money.  
As a husband and daddy I have to be extra careful not to put my son and wife ahead of my Lord.  This can be tricky can't it?  I see believers do it all the time.  It's is easy to slip into that mode.  If I truly treasure my Lord I'm going to make sure that I set the example to my son.  If I truly treasure the Lord I'll make sure I teach Ty the importance of worship daily and personally.  If I truly treasure the Lord I will make sure that Ty is at Lil' K on Sunday and when he is older Kidmo on Sunday and when he is older and a teen I'll make sure he is at youth group whether he wants to be there or not.  My responsibility is to teach him the importance of treasuring the Lord, my responsibility will end when he is an adult and responsible for himself before God.  (Andy is now stepping down off of his soap box, that's the youth pastor coming out of me)

My Mouth - Have I been lying?  Have I trashed others with my mouth?  Have I gossiped, even under the guise of a "prayer request"?  Am I keeping my promises?  Are my words building up or destroying?

If I want to be the one that seeks after God than I must check my actions, my heart, my worship, my mouth.
How about you?

Top Ten Reasons You Know Rick is Out of Town

#10 - Andy is preaching in blue jeans and a t-shirt

#9 - No Shameless Self-Promotion 
( This was on the screen behind me as I read #9 : Andy's blog: is way better than Rick's blog)  that was funny stuff

#8 - The sermon is shorter 
(it was actually 36 minutes, 16 minutes longer than I like, but 9 minutes shorter than Rick)

#7 - There are still donuts left after the 9am gathering
(on a personal note I didn't eat any donuts yesterday)

#6 - Everyone is waiting till church is over for nap time
(a few struggled in the 11 gathering but the 9 gathering did just fine)

#5 - There are no typos in the sermon notes

#4 - Dots?  What blue dots?
(if you have helped set up chairs you would get this.  If you haven't helped set up and you are a member of NHC it's time for the "experience")

#3 - If you came to church late it wasn't brought to the attention of the entire congregation
(this was my personal favorite and got lots of laughs at the 11 gathering)

#2 - The ushers are in the kitchen finishing off the juice from the last Lord's Supper gathering.

Drum roll please
#1 - First time guests actually indicated they would be back next week.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Smells of Sunday

Nothing like coming home to a house that smells of home made goodness baking up in the oven on a Sunday afternoon.  After locking up the church, it was my turn, I headed home.  The services went well this morning.  The top 10 was good stuffs, thanks to CJ for adding the drum rolls, perfect touch.  We forgot to add that with Rick gone the newspaper and comic page on the men's restroom wall wasn't replaced.  We read last weeks sport's page and comic page all over again.  You were missed Rick!

Both services were well attended and I noticed more new faces in the crowd today.  The worship team did another great job today leading us in worship in song.   Lots of good fellowship happening over a Krispy Kreme donut and coffee in the big lobby.  It is a lot of fun for me to look around and see people hanging out together in the big lobby.  Fellowship is important to connecting with other believers and building relationships.  I'm beginning to think the lobby is my favorite space in the new building (and not because of the coffee and donuts). 
This week I hope we allow God to rule over our emotions and feelings rather than our feelings and emotions ruling us.

Oh yeah, got home to find my lovely spousal unit had cooked home made chicken pot pies (thats right pies plural) the crust was flaky, the pie was loaded with chicken, shrooms, peas and carrots ("Jenny and I are like peas and carrots") and some sort of saucy goodness.  It was like a thousand flavor angels were dancing on my tongue.  Mish followed  up with a homemade fruit salad, it's  like dessert, it is so good.  It's great to come home to great food smells in the house.  Then we all snuggled down for a wonderful Sunday afternoon siesta.  

One more picture from my trip to Duke with Mike last week.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I need your help

Rick is out of town this weekend and I'm preaching.  I would like to start off with a top ten list.  "Top ten reasons we know Rick is out of town"

Whacha got?

OK a few need some help.  Think David Letterman show....

The Gift of Life

It is "strange" for most to talk about organ donation and possibly seem weird to others that people would be excited about organ donation. The fact remains that we die, people die everyday. What is the old saying? Two things we can't avoid in life - death and taxes. Nathan put this all in words very well on his blog. It is not a celebration of someone's death but the celebration at a chance for life. In Gladiator, Maximus said, "What you do today will echo in eternity." I think Maximus was on to something. Till this event in the life of Tricia I had never given much thought, if any, to being an organ donor or even about the donation process and what that means to someone struggling to live longer. I don't have much I could give anyone in this life but imagine the gift of life my life could give.

That sounds familiar doesn't it. Christ didn't have anything on this earth, not even a place to sleep at night. He was financially poor, lived the humblest of lives, yet gave the greatest gift. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."(Jesus, in John 15:13) Jesus Christ gives the gift of life, real life, life abundantly.

So if praying for Tricia's new lungs feels weird to you, just remember that her new lungs are coming from someone who was thoughtful enough to think ahead and to think of others. Saving a life is an organ donor's desire and wish. We should be thankful for that person and be praying now for their family. How do we pray in this situation? Read this blog for more insight.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Big News Here!

(Bump) Welcome to my blog party!

This post was to party for the over 50,000 mark.  The party is now moving to a Tricia is listed and activated party.  So what are you "bringing" to the party?  We may be running out of "food".

I just noticed I went over 50,000 hits today.  
So I'm throwing a blog party.  This may be the first ever blog party, but I'm not sure about that.
So please comment on this post and let me know what party food you "bringing" to the blog party.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

2 Miracles and my vegetarian lunch (yes, I said vegetarian)

Today I got to go on a day trip to see my 2 miracle nieces.  Tricia looks fantastic and I found myself feeling old as I heard the words, "Your color looks good" (that is so grandma-ish) come out of my mouth.  I enjoyed sitting with her in her room and with Nathan and our friend Mikey H.  We had a good time talking together and laughing together.  Some people are just fun to be with.  Tricia's nurse was  friendly and attentive to her needs which made Uncle Andy feel good.

Gwyneth looks great too.  She has grown a bit since I saw her last and her little cheeks are filling out.  I got to hear her squeak!  It's amazin
g to watch the nurse work with Gwyneth, I would be scared to death to move around or hold a baby that tiny.  I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but Gwyneth seems to be doing well.

For lunch Mike, Nate and I went to the Mellow Mushroom in downtown Durham near the ball park.  We had the hummus and garlic pita chips for an appetizer.  It was very very goods.  I even ate a fork full of hummus just because I had never eaten it before without putting it on something.  That was a bit strange.  Nathan enjoyed a philly cheese steak, Mike had a meatball sub, I went vegetarian.  You heard me!  Vegetarian.  I ate a calzone with artichoke hearts and feta cheese, it may have been the best calzone I have eaten in m
y lifetime to this point.  So I highly recommend the Mellow Mushroom, the food was tasty and the price wasn't crazy.  They also had lots of mushroom decor going on and the booth we ate in had a table top wrapped in metal, it was cool. (collecting youth room decor thoughts)

Now after 518 miles of travel, 8 hours on the road, 2 gas stops (that's fuel, not what you 7th grade boys are thinking), 4 hours of chillin with Nate, Tricia and baby Rose, McDonalds, Mellow Mushroom and Cracker Barrel, and watching the satellite get shot out of space, I'm tired and going to bed.

Mike and I take a photo op.  Doesn't he look like an alien?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Mission, My Responsibility

If I told you that you could go on a mission trip each day where would you want to go?  My mind drifts to Hawaii at this point.

If you knew you could wake up each morning and take a mission trip to a certain people group whom would you want to reach?

Part of my responsibility as a parent is to teach Ty that Jesus Christ has called all of his followers to be on mission in their world.  This means that every day when we wake up as followers of Christ we step out of the door of our home and into the mission field.  It doesn’t have to be a foreign land.  As a matter of fact we now have missionaries from other countries to the USA because we are that messed up, and obviously the followers here (self included) aren’t doing enough to reach our own country.

If I’m going to teach my son how to be a missionary then two things are going to have to happen:

  1. He must see me doing missions.  More is caught than taught. 
  2. I must give him and show him the opportunity to do mission.

This is our responsibility as Christian parents, to do any less is messed up and failure.  Could we even be bold enough as to say it is “sin”?

This morning I attended the FCA at FFHS.  I was so impressed that this group of students would make the effort (mission takes effort) to get up early and head to school for FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and most aren’t even athletes, which it is great that FCA is reaching the non-athletes as well.  I went to do a little videoing and while there I noticed that our youth group was barely represented.  This made me realize a couple of things:

  1. I haven’t done a good enough job publicizing this group with our students.
  2. I haven’t stressed the importance of campus mission with parents.
  3. I haven’t shown our students the potential for them to reach many students with the good news of Jesus Christ by using a club on their campus, their mission field.
  4. What is the purpose of this FCA huddle?  Does the huddle even know?

Parents, if your school has a Christian club you have an excellent opportunity to teach your child about missions by making sure that the parent taxi (another blog coming soon on this topic of parent taxi) is running early, work with other parents to car pool, to get your son or daughter to their school to meet with this club.  On top of that use this as an opportunity to pray with your teen in the car on the way to school asking God to help him or her to be a missionary to the largest mission field in America, the public school system.

As a parent are you modeling mission to your teen?  

As a Youth Leader are you modeling mission to your teen?

As a teen are you modeling mission to your friends?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Fringe and our Responsibility

So this past weekend in a 45 minute break out session with a bunch of youth leaders (most of which were volunteers in their church.  God bless those people! a few were paid youth workers and even had one that was paid and since he was the "hired" man let him do it all.  Yikes!) and in this 45 minute session we attempted to tackle 3 issues, without much success because you can't tackle most of these topics of youth ministry in 10 minutes.  In this session I could sense some serious frustration and strong desire to be affective in reaching students.  (it was that obvious)

(One of our topics was moving students from the Fringe the outside looking in) to the Core.  How is that accomplished?

The following are the thoughts of The ADD Youth Pastor (and I approve this message.)
Let's look at just moving them from the fringe and into the community.  From hanging on the outside of youth group, coming to Sunday morning church with mom and dad but not showing up to participate or get connected to the rest of the youth group.   Some thoughts:

  • The Core has to discover that they need to be the ones to reach out to the Fringe.  (it just comes better from a peer than from a overweight, old, youth pastor)  So their is a student's responsibility from the Core.
  • Youth group has to have a draw.  If it is boring, if there is no hang time, if it is an hour long lecture, if the adult leaders sit around in their own little pocket of fellowship instead of rubbing elbows with a student and whooping them in a game of Uno, if the Core are snobs then why would a Fringe want to take part.
  • The Fringe has to take a gamble and try youth group at least once.  This is where positive peer pressure can really come into play.  Which leads to the next. . .
  • Parents have to parent.  Christian parents have to take the lead by setting the example.  Are they connected to a small group themselves?  Is corporate worship a priority in their home?  Parents have to say, "Wednesday night I'm taking you to youth group.  If this is freaking you out find a friend and Ill take them with you".  Possibly stop for pizza on the way back and debrief and find out how it went.  I'm a parent and I can tell you that I will never let Ty not go to school because "I don't want to go" comes out of his mouth.  I'm the parent and I'm supposed to know best.  How much more important is surround our children's lives with the Word of God?  I have always liked this parenting saying:  "If you don't parent your teen you won't like who will.
  • If the Fringe doesn't have Christian parents that is where it is our responsibility as a church to step in and mentor  the Fringe as a community of believers.
So evaluate:
The youth group meeting
The Core student's attitude towards the Fringe
Your responsibility as a Parent before God  (Deut. 6)
Your responsibility as a community of believers to students that are in need of Christian adults influencing their lives.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Wrap it up to go please!

Wow!  The 6th annual The Call at NHC is over.  What a truly incredible weekend we had together.
Lessons I learned:

>I don't think we fully grasp the fellowship that the church in Acts had.
>My connection with God will affect my connection with my church
>How important is my relationship with my fellow believers at NHC?  
>Matt Orth certainly got my wheels in my mind turning.  He did an awesome job at teaching about Connecting.  (I'm hoping to have his messages available on The Call's site soon)
>I got some good bloggin material on youth ministry from my time with other youth leaders.
>Worship in song is not about the style of music.  Worship is a matter of the heart, drawing your heart to God's heart and it can be expressed in one of the great hymns of the faith like Amazing Grace or in a rockin song like Salvation is Here.  Who created music?  God (this is one I could blog on for hours, not something I learned this weekend but was reminded of)
>Students want some serious Bible teaching and not a youth ministry full of games and fluff.
>NHC has an incredible bunch of partners that are ready, willing and able to serve.  Ministering is something they desire and are passionate about.  
>As I get older I get tired easier.  I'm thinking it is time to start walking the hood so I can have a little energy when an event like this is over.
>My favorite aspect in ministry  is teaching students. (it's the best)
>My next favorite is talking with other youth leaders.
>Youth ministers everywhere want to know how to get parents involved in youth and parent ministry.  I think that takes a lot of time and a lot of work.
>I think we need a bigger box
>Exodus is a great bunch of young champions from LU.  They did a wonderful leading the worship in music.
>Andrew from Exodus lived across the street from Mish and I when he was just a couple of year old and we just met this weekend.  Crazy!

Now let's talk about The Call 09. . .

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Call Day 1

Today  I woke up at 6am.  Eyes blinked, mind said, "get ready for The Call. " 

I was joined by a few during the day at the church helping me out to get ready.  It is fantastic to be part of a church that "gets it" when it comes to ministry.   A bunch more joined us this evening to help man the concession stand, product tables, clean up, greet people, get the youth groups checked in and help our however they can.  "It's not about me" is one of our mottos at NHC and it is awesome to see that in action.

Tonight Exodus did a fantastic job leading us in worship in song.  Matt Orth did a great job talking about connecting with God and how that happens.  

Amy did a great job teaching leaders about planning and calendaring  in youth ministry.  A lesser known but very handsome youth pastor Andy talked with the students about self image.

Soon I hit the sack, I'm sure all those youth groups in the hotels are still up and probably will be for a couple hours more and there are probably a few youth ministers running from room to room telling kids to "get to sleep".  I will be in my king size bed snoozin like a big dog.

Tomorrow morning we kick it off again and have a blast worshipping God and investing in students lives and helping leaders in youth ministry.

My last observation.  There is always a group or groups of kids that obviously don't get it.  They are there for the fun.  That's a good thing.  If we don't have some in our church and youth groups that don't "get it" then we aren't reaching out.  I pray that before this weekend is over those students will come to know God in a real and personal way.

I would also like to add that The Call team did a fantastic job!  We have an awesome church.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My son and my first wife

I knew the "first wife" bit would get your attention!   Mish is my first and only wife.
For twenty years now I have celebrated Valentine's Day with my beautiful (I'd say knock down gorgeous) wife.  This is the only day of the year we celebrate love or even say "I love you".  Just joking!  See, I got a few of you again.  

The fact that God has blessed me with Misha is truly a miracle.  Look at me - Now look at her. What's up with that?  How did I end up with someone as beautiful as her?  It's obvious that God really likes youth pastors because every youth pastor is goofy looking and his wife is a babealicious.   My love for her drove me to pursue her passionately.  

I'm thankful that Mish has been my best friend and the love of my life all these years.  How could life be any better?

Well I tell you how.  Not only have I been blessed with Misha but I have also been blessed with boy genius, Ty.  I thought I knew what love was all about until Ty came along.  Then I discovered a whole new realm of love.  Just watching him walk down the hall in the morning with his hair sticking up in his footy pajamas and to hear that little voice say, "Hi daddy!", it doesn't get any better than that.  I love my son beyond what I can even explain.  I can't put my love for him  into words.

I love my God.  Here is why I love my God, because he first loved me.  While I was still a sinner Christ died for me.  He loved me enough to die for my sins past, present and future.  God pursued me with a passion and His love for me can't be put into words.  His love for me was expressed without words but on a cross.  I hope you know that God loves you and wants a relationship with you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's a Kingdom thing

This afternoon I had my monthly Outer Banks Youth Ministry Network meeting.  I'm excited about this great group of youth leaders and hope this network continues to grow.  I think the coolest thing is we don't have a sense of territorialism.   We have, currently, 3 baptists, 3 methodists, 1 presbyterian, 1 assembly and 1 non-denominational involved.  That's cool!  Our focus isn't about doing monthly youth group activities together.  We will do about three events together per year but our main focus is a time for a devotional, prayer requests, sharing what's happening in our youth ministries.   The part I like best is when we start sharing ideas.

The purpose of NHC's youth ministry is to reach students to discover life in Christ.  I think rubbing elbows with these other youth leaders helps sharpen me as a youth pastor.   We don't sit around and talk about numbers or compare.  We are all different and have probably as many different approaches to youth ministry.  

I think networking with other youth leaders is one of the smartest moves a youth leader can make, whether that leader is a paid staff person or a volunteer leader.  I know some youth pastors have this fear of getting together with other youth pastors and leaders and I think it boils down to  territory battle.  (if you are in youth ministry check this site out)

We are currently pooling our resources to present a parenting seminar that really none of us could pull off as an individual church.  We are bringing in author, speaker and educator,Duffy Robbins, to lead the Understanding Your Teenager seminar.  Duffy is an excellent communicator and every time I've heard him share I've learned something.  Hopefully the parents of teens and pre-teens on the Outer Banks will be wise and jump on the chance to attend the seminar.  Parent ministry is a huge part of youth ministry.  If youth leaders can support the parents as they teach their children the Bible the impact in a student's life is huge.

I'm glad that the Outer Banks Youth Ministry Network is about the Kingdom and about working together to better minister to and reach students.  If you are a youth leader and you aren't networking with other youth leaders I would strongly encourage you to do it, even if it means you putting it together with other leaders.  The benefit is worth the investment.

Now get out their and impact a student's life for the Kingdom.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Call is Closing In

Here at NHC we host an annual youth conference, The Call.  This is the only purpose driven student conference on the east coast and possibly the country.  (The dude at PD didn't know of any other one)

We focus each year on one of the aspects of our purpose in life.  This year we zoom in on fellowship, connecting with the church.  Three out of four Christian students are graduating from their church and faith when they graduate from high school.  I believe there are several factors that play into this statistic:
  • No discipleship at home from Mom and Dad
  • Not learning to "self feed" from God's Word
  • Haven't developed the HABITS necessary to grow in faith
  • Don't know what they believe and why they believe it
  • Never really connected with the church
Our focus this year is on that important connection.  In many churches students are looked at as the "future church" but I believe that they are the church present.  Students can serve in ministry, students can give both financially and of their time, students can be a vibrant member of the church rather than just a "ministry group".

When I was a kid I really didn't truly appreciate my house.  I had nothing invested in my house, I moved a lot and lived in many different houses.  I don't feel connected to any one of my many childhood homes.  Why?  I had no investment in those homes.  Today I appreciate my house.  Why?  I have a lot invested into my home.

Same principle applies to teenagers.  They will have more of a connection to the church if they have an investment in the church.  Students will be more likely to stick to their faith when they graduate from high school if they are connected.  

"My teenager is in church every Sunday morning."  Sitting in church doesn't mean that there is a connection.  Many adults go to church week after week and many especially like the churches where they can just walk in sit in a spot with the rest of the crowd, get their religious duty for the week checked off their "to do" list, and the leave as soon as the service is over without having any real connection to the church.  Don't want to give, don't want to serve in ministry, don't want to get involved in a small group Bible study.  When students aren't taught about connecting, fellowship, then they become the adult I just described.

At NHC we offer opportunity to connect for students:
  • We offer a weekly youth group meeting.  A time for students to get together hang out, have some fun and learn from the Bible a lesson that is relevant to their life today.
  •  We offer weekly in-home small group Bible studies.
  • We encourage students to get involved in ministry and mission. 
  • We are striving  towards the goal of equipping and giving parents resources to disciple their teen.  This is one of our main focuses this year in our youth ministry.
This weekend 300 students and their leaders will come to NHC for a weekend of challenges.  During our main sessions Matt Orth will bring some sermons on Connecting.  Our worship in music is being led by Exodus, a student band from Liberty University.  There will be break out sessions for the leaders and pastors that attend.  We also have some break out session for the students on topics like dating, gossip, self image and priorities.

The Call is always a great time at NHC and I can't believe it will be here in just 3 days!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Core Truth #2 - The Virgin Birth - Part 2

The following "short" version of our Wednesday night youth group lesson is from Alex McFarland's book, Stand.  Core Truths for an Unshakable Faith.  The bottom of this post contains some discussion questions for parents and their teens.

Core Truth #2 - The Virgin Birth

  • Common Objections to Belief in the Virgin Birth
    • the first objection some scholars raise centers on the language of the Bible.  Some translations of  Isaiah 7:14 read “ a young woman shall conceive and bear a son” rather than “a virgin shall conceive. 

When Isaiah was written in the Hebrew language did the word that’s translated as “virgin” mean what we think it means?  Had Mary truly been a virgin or was she “just a young woman?”

 The Isaiah 7 word that is usually translated “virgin” is the Hebrew word almah.  It occurs only seven times in the entire Bible.  Scholars have noted that in every case, “virgin” is the only meaning attached to the word.

 When the translators were taking the Hebrew to the Greek they used the Greek word, parthenos, which can only mean virgin.

    • The second objection is disbelief in miracles

For about 150 years, since the theory of evolution became popular, there has been a widespread belief that miracles do not occur.

Naturalism says that there can be no miracles, absolutely nothing supernatural.  For them God is not a factor, they think the universe evolved.   One objection they use is against the virgin birth because it goes “against nature”.

  The naturalist says “The virgin birth story arose at a time when people were too ignorant to know better, after all we all know how babies are made.”

Think of the arrogance behind that statement.  Do they really think that people 2,700 years ago didn’t know how babies are made?

So how does all of this relate to the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ?  Simple, If God is powerful enough to create this planet and all of the people on it why wouldn’t He have the ability to work within it.

Who Jesus was and what Jesus did and what he said all of these mean nothing if Jesus was born mortal like us.


The Greatest act of Caring

Matthew 18-12-14

You matter to God.  Jesus virgin birth and miraculous life are proof positive that God cares for you.

 Because of sin, there was need for a Savior.  Jesus Christ met all the qualification for “saviorhood.  Psalm 40 was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born and later cited in Hebrews 10:4 as proof of Jesus authenticity, predicts that God would one day take on human form.

79% of Americans say they believe in the virgin birth.  

Parent/Teen Discussion:

What do you think your friend's objections to the virgin birth of Christ might be?

Parents, you may want to share the opinion you had before trusting in Jesus as Savior or share the opinions of some of your friends with your teen.

Do you believe in miracles?  Why or Why not?

Why do you think the virgin birth is important to our faith?

Spend a few minutes reading together the scriptures cited above and talk about any questions or interesting thoughts either of you might have.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Mouth, My Heart

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.  Psalm 19

Two important thoughts in this verse.  The Bible teaches us that our mouth and our thoughts are connected.  What's on the inside is going to come out.  The heart overflows out of the mouth.  My mouth is like a waterfall of what is going on inside of me. 

Our words are to be pleasing to God.  Think about that.  This thought is hard for my add brain to wrap around because my mouth runs all day long and as a result there are many words flowing out of me.  Are my words pleasing to God?  

As a parent are the words and the way you use them towards your child pleasing to God?  Students, are the words you use towards your parents pleasing to God?

Think of all the words that come out of your mouth everyday.  Are those words pleasing to God?  Think about it, if we truly considered this verse much of our vocabulary would change.  For many their parenting style would have to change because all they know to do is yell at their kids.  Think of the peace that would result in the home if children would take this verse into practice in their lives.

...the meditation of my heart
What consumes your thoughts throughout the day?  Do those thoughts please God?  What do you think about others, those you work with, live next door to, in your own home?  Meditation is more than just a passing thought.  Meditation is dwelling on a thought.  Someone hurts your feelings or offends you and then that is all you think about.  Then soon you have bitterness as a result of the meditation of your heart.  That bitterness will eventually flow our of your mouth.

Why not think about those things that please God?  Why not meditate on a scripture verse or on a Biblical principle that God is teaching you?  What are you meditating on right now, today?

What a finish to a chapter, "my Rock and my Redeemer".  Why not meditate on this verse a while?  Is God your Rock?  Is Christ your Redeemer?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Brussel Sprouts, Facebook, and auto flush toilets

Brussel Sprouts were first grown in ancient Rome.  Thank the Roman empire for these little mini-cabbages.  They are, by the way, from the same family as cabbages, actually they started out as a wild growing plant.  Brussel sprouts as we know them today were grown as early as 1200s's in what is now Belgium.  During the 16th century the popularity of these little green morsels of goodness started to spread.  Brussel sprouts are packed with vitamins, folic acid and have been considered a preventative to colon cancer because of the sinigrin they contain.

There is your short little lesson on Brussel sprouts.  Now I can't ever remember eating one of those little dudes growing up.  I have later found out in life that the reason why I probably never ate them was because my dad didn't like them.  To be honest I probably would not have eaten brussel sprouts as a child due to my immature taste buds.

Last night at supper I steamed some brussel sprouts and then covered them in a healthy cheese sauce.  They were quite tasty (I also like them covered in olive oil, salt, pepper, and broiled in the oven).  Ty didn't go for them.  Funny that after the meal I was reading my What matters to Moms, Parenting magazine, they suggested not feeding a three year old brussel sprouts because their taste buds are so sensitive and brussel sprouts are very strong in flavor.

I felt great about eating the healthy sprouts our family then went out and celebrated with the buy one get one free blizzard at the DQ.

I'm not trying to brag but I was nominated for the "funniest person on Facebook" contest.  Now again I'm not bragging, it's just that I never get nominated for anything.  What makes this nomination even better is that I was nominated by Mark Lowry's sister (not giving her name to protect the innocent).  We grew up together as "Jerry's Kids" and went to school together. Perhaps I should add this to my bio, if I had one.

Parenting tip of the day - For those that are potty training your little pre-schoolers the auto flush toilets can be a little scary, especially since they can flush while you are still sitting upon the throne.  Carry some post it notes in your purse or pocket, cover the sensor eye with a post it note until the job is done.  This will, of course, prevent the toilet from flushing while the little girl or guy is taking care of business.  This is the pay off of reading a parenting magazine targeting moms.

Human tip of the day - You can use the same technique as described above to keep the toilet from flushing as you try to put the toilet seat protective cover on.  How irritating that can be!  I once flushed 3 down the toilet as I tried to put them on the seat.  The beauty of post it notes, the possibilities endless!  (the airport in Nyguya, Japan, has temperature controlled toilet seats that you can adjust to your liking, very nice, I know because I've been there)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Blown Away!

I attended the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) this morning at FFMS.  I was blown away by number of students in attendance.  The guest speaker shared his testimony of how God had radically changed his life.

As Dale wrapped the meeting up I counted heads, I counted 90 and thought to myself, "you messed up counting".  I counted again and came up with 89 students!  I'm not sure how many students attend FFMS but I bet that was easily 10% of the student body.

The public school is America's largest mission field.  I pray that our FCA huddles at FFMS, FFHS, and soon in Manteo, will reach their schools.  I also pray that our communities on the OBX will support FCA.  With 90 at FFMS and around 50 at FFHS the potential for something huge at these schools is incredible.  Then let's reach Hatteras and Currituck.

I'll post pictures as soon as my wonderful embarq "high" speed dsl starts working faster.  Don't know what the deal is there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Faithful Reminder of God's Faithfulness

Psalm 19 is an incredible chapter.  I woke up early Sunday morning and glad I did because I forgot to set my alarm.  I went ahead and got out of bed knowing that I wouldn't fall back to sleep, so I might as well get up.  I did my usual beauty ritual and made sure my spikes were all in their place. 

Since I was up early and ready for church I thought I would have a sunrise breakfast.  I packed a bowl of cereal and some milk and headed down to the church.  I went up on the balcony in the big lobby and poured my milk into my cereal and watched God put on an incredible show.  This show never repeats, it looks totally different every time.  The Sun coming up over the horizon in the atlantic is truly an awesome event, and it happens here every morning, the sun hasn't missed one yet. Who says God's not faithful?  
Check out what David wrote about the sun:

 In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, 5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

What a great description!  God has given us some great reminders of his faithfulness.  Who holds the ocean back from washing us away?  Who keeps our planet tilted just right so we don't freeze or burn to a crisp?  Who hung the stars in the sky?  You know the stars are there every night even if you can't see them.  On those cloudy nights when the stars are nowhere in sight you know they are there.  Why?  Because the night before you saw the evidence, you saw their light.

I look all around me on this playground we call earth and I see evidence of God.  I know he is there even though I can't see him when I wake up in the morning.  Why?  Because I saw his evidence the day before.  I see evidence everyday.

You can count on God, he is faithful.  In Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5 we are reminded that God will never leave us or forsake us.  

Monday, February 4, 2008

hilarious and a little creepy

Someone e-mailed this to me.  I first of all find it hilarious.  Second it is a little creepy.
The photo his called, "HillBilly"

Since there never has been a "first gentleman" in  the white house would President Bill Clinton be responsible for planning the dinners and teas and social events?  I can just imagine Bill in charge of White House Christmas decorations.  (in the voice of Bill) "And this is a cool ornament I picked up at Bass Pro Shops, it's a Brittany Spaniel on point.  And this is an 8 point buck ornament. . . "

Friday, February 1, 2008

I laughed so hard I cried

Mish and I are sitting in the living room watching TV.  Ty's in bed so this is our "down" time.
A commercial comes on for Heritage (must be insurance or something).  The narrator says, "If you were born between 1928 and 1968...."  
Oh My Word!!!!!!!  It hit me, I'm officially an old man.  I'm getting offered the "old folk insurance program".  We both laughed our heads off.
Next I'll be getting Ed McMahon trying to get me to buy some sort of senior products or programs.
I guess soon I'll be down at the Senior Center shooting billiards with the boys.  And I have a three year old boy!!!!!

Someone bring me a throw for my legs they are cold!  Is the heat on?  Where's my tea?  Turn on Lawrence Welk!

Best video to watch in the world today

I know that 90% of my blog guests bounce over from cfhusband.  But if you stumbled here without going there first you need to check out Nate's most recent post.
It is amazing and you better have some kleenex nearby soon.

Two Announcements

1.  The Outer Banks Youth Ministry Network, of which I am a member, announces their new web site:
2.  I have a new view out of my office window.  A new road!

My Second Political Post

Last night (and I realized I'm getting old and crusty because I'm enjoying these things) I watched the democratic debate.  And then there were two.  I think there is a strategy going on here.  My opinion is we will see a Obama/? ticket or a Clinton/Obama ticket.  I don't think that Senator Clinton will settle for second fiddle.  

I was gong to post: "Last night I watched the democrat debate and that's all I have to say about that." (in the voice of Forrest Gump)  But I do have a few observations:  (I realize some will disagree with my thoughts but you know what?  It's my blog!)

>I don't like the smirk on Hillary's face when Obama is talking.
>Both were dressed very nicely.
>Obama's stand on abortion is far from my Biblical stand.  So if he gets on the ballot he won't get my vote.  
>Hillary's stand on abortion is as far away from my Biblical stand.  So if Hillary is on the ballot she won't get my vote.  (I believe that if we should honor God not our pocket books)
>Interesting that President Clinton was nowhere in sight last night.  Think they are taking their party's suggestion?
>Chelsea could very well be a president's daughter all over again.  Think she will get the same bedroom?
>Senator Clinton was trying hard not to get vicious and vindictive.  I could see the pain on her face.
>Can anyone say "plastic smiles"?  (McCain was sporting one as well during the republican debate, it's a skill acquired in DC and Hollywood)
>Obama hammered Hillary several times about her support of invading Iraq, while he stated he was opposed from the beginning.  Which is true.
>Hillary says she would not have supported the decision if she knew now that the intel reports were wrong.  (What do you think the President based his decision on?  The same intel reports.  So if Hillary had been president at the time she would have had made the same move.  We know this because she supported the invasion.  I'm not sure but when you learn to double talk from the best you are bound to be good at it as well.  "I did not have sexual relations with that women."  Remember that lie given to us from the oval office on our TV sets?  I'm still amazed that we voted him in office again after lying right to our faces)
>It would have been fun to have Ron Paul in their debate as well to add to the entertainment factor.
>I believe that if we knew everything that goes on in our government we would be scared, very scared.
>Interesting that Hollywood's big gun actors were all sitting up front and regular americans had to sit in the back.  Seemed a bit like the seating order for an awards show to me.  Again another strategy.  Hopefully America was smart enough to catch that strategy.

And now an ADD moment:

It's interesting if you read the transcripts from the 60 minute interview with the interrogater of Saddam (I read them).  Saddam intentionally led America to believe there were weapons.  He also stated he thought we would just air strike for a few days.  He asked his military for two weeks of war and then it would become his secret war using insurgents. 
I think if you are going to pick a fight you better think about the outcome first.  Lost his country, lost his sons, lost his life.  

So this should be the last of my political blogs for a while.  Basically I would love to see a normal man get in office.  Maybe a guy that grew up learning to read in a log cabin by the candlelight.  That would be refreshing wouldn't it.  Or possibly a youth pastor with ADD?  
Then we would all have official government days to play games like "Pudgy Bunny" and "dodgeball tag".


Made the Top 40 Youth Ministry Blogs

My blog made #30 out of the top 40 youth ministry blogs according to I don't know what that means but "thanks!&quo...