Archive for September, 2008

I’ll be back…

I’m taking a break from the blog world for a little while. I sincerely feel the need to take a break from blogging and seek what God wants to say to me, do through and how He desires to move in me.

Its not that the blog is “evil” or anything like that. I really feel compelled right now though to be away from blogging so that I don’t have mental push to blog. It gives me a while to take some things off of my “to do” list so that I can focus on my “to be.”

Things are moving well in my church, in my youth church and soon to be in county and when I come back I’ll tell you all about it. Until then, I’ll reach be reaching out to some people on a personal tip. Other than that, I’ll see you when I return.

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3sixteen – Fresh Clothes

I’ve had my eye on this clothing line called 3sixteen for quite some time.  I REALLY dig graphic tees and these guys knock it out the box with there designs and use of color. BUT, despite how much I liked them, I still hadn’t purchased anything. For a while, 3sixteen was the cute girl who sat across the classroom; I liked her, but I never had the courage to do anything about it.  Until now!

I saw they were running a RIDICULOUS sale on their website last month so I decided to bite the bullet and make a purchase. I got 5 shirts, a fitted hat and some stickers for $60 bucks. That’s about a third of the normal price!

These guys get it RIGHT! the fit, the colors, the styling,  the feel – everything you like in a graphic tee these guys have it! Not many Christian labels get the graphic tee right. Most of them are corny designs and cheesy Christian gimmicks. (Remember this one?)

I wanted to post some pics of the clothes I got but most of the stuff is SOLD OUT online so I couldn’t find any. Check back to this post and I’ll post some pics of me sporting the new gear.

Go check them out. Get you some!

You’re not a Christian? THAT’S AWESOME!!

Every week in our youth church, we try to capture as much as information as possible from our attendees. Last night, we didn’t have a regular service. Instead we just had a cookout. This is not something I normally do because I believe that our Wednesday night services should be used to focus on our “Link to God” aspect of our mission. But, this time when the idea was presented by members of the team, I felt compelled to run with it.

It drew out people we hadn’t seen in months and people we had never seen before. It was GREAT. But, my favorite part of the night is when I looked at the information sheets we had people fill out. On the sheet, we ask “do you consider yourself a Christian?” Why do we ask? So we can get some kind of gauge as to how we are doing to reach the lost. Surely some people answer the question causually and just say yes because they aren’t any other religion. But some answer honestly.

Last night I saw my FAVORITE answer to that question on the sheet. Some people answered “No.” SWEEEET! You’re not a Christian? THAT’S AWESOME!!

Why is that awesome? Because it shows us where the Great Commission can be acted out in our setting. It shows us where the chance for the ultimate miracle can be done right in front of us. It gives evangelism a new face every week. It gives another opportunity for the angels in heaven to rejoice after the person realizes the realness of God and what Christ did for them. It gives them the chance to encounter the love of God and the love of His people. Plus, it shows us we’re not just a gathering place for church kids to feel safe, but a place where unchurched people can come and safely hear a dangerous message.

So when I see people coming in that aren’t Christians, I get excited because I believe God can reach them and at some point someone will ask them if they are a Christian and one day they will say “Yes.” Not because they come to our youth service with other Christians, but because they’ve dedicated their lives to Christ personally. And that’s awesome.

Ashamed or just uninformed?

One thing that has always been a pet peeve of mine since I began my life in the faith is when I find Christians who live in shame of their faith. I’m not talking about Christians who are quite about their faith and let their light shine by their lives. I’m talking about Christians who are ashamed of their faith. Won’t talk about it anywhere outside of church and doesn’t want anyone to even know they have any faith.

While that is STILL a pet peeve of mine, I’m now met with a question: Why? Why are some Chrisitans ashamed of their faith? Then I thought that if they knew about…wait…maybe that’s it. Maybe they don’t know.  Maybe they don’t have the information.

So my question as a Christian, disciple and a youth pastor is this: Are people ashamed or just uninformed? I mean really, is there a more uncomfortable time than the times when you are ill-equipped to do something?

Imagine the time when someone like a teacher or employer put you on the spot about something you didn’t have the information to give a proper answer. Imagine being called on in your first day of advanced calculus to solve a problem in front of the entire class but your math skills are only informed enough to handle basic algebra. How would you feel? Stupid and ashamed? Probably. Well imagine living that way. Imagine being in that type of situation but instead of calculus, you have to answer the most important question you will ever ask – the reason for your faith.

I think that’s how most Christians feel. Not shame because they are embarrassed about what they believe. Just shame that comes from probably the biggest issue that plagues Christians today – ignorance.

So how can we as pastors, leaders and laymen help people to be more informed about their faith and not just inspired?

What do you do when you think EVERYONE is full of it?

This will be one of my last politically based blogs. I’m actually just writing this blog to get the thought off of my chest. But I figured if I’m going to get the thought off of my chest, I might as well share with you and hear your thoughts on it too.

After watching the interviews and the speeches and the conventions and the rallies and the political spin doctors at MSNBC (waaaay left) and Fox (waaaay right), I’ve come to one conclusion: EVERYONE is full of it! When I say everyone, I mean everyone involved in this political race for president. Obama, McCain, Biden and Palin are ALL full of it. They are full of rhetoric and propaganda and they are using their campaign managers and PR people to spin the information to fit their slant. I mean EVERYONE is saying the other one is wrong about the same thing.

The thing that set me off was as I watched most of the speeches, I noticed all of the major candidates said something that was blatantly NOT TRUE. I heard Obama do it, I heard McCain do it and I heard Palin do it. I can’t say I heard Biden say something that was flat out false, but that SURELY didn’t mean it didn’t happen. In the follow up responses from the opposite party, you heard words like “patently” and “categorically” to discribe the untruths told by the other party’s representatives. But when 38 million people watch your speech, but only 800,000 saw the defense of the other person – it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t true. Why? Because relatively no one heard the rebutal. So guess what? In the eyes of John Q Public, the statement was true. But in REALITY it wasn’t. And we’re being told that we should base our votes on these people’s words, but yet the words aren’t true.

Then, on top of all that, I never get to hear a candidate’s REAL opinion on anything. The only thing I hear is what the polls say. The polls say something and the parties respond. The polls said Obama better for economy and McCain better for Commander in Chief.  So what did we hear? From Obama you heard how he can be the best commander in Chief – even though that was not part of his campaign strategy – and you heard what McCain would do for the economy even though that’s not part of his campaign and a known weak point for him.  The polls said they thought Clinton represented more of the same and they thought McCain is just like Bush. What did you hear from them? Obama picks Biden and McCain says the word “maverick” 13 times in his speech and talks about – FOR THE FIRST TIME – that he is the candidate of change. Change wasn’t even his platform or his opinion. In fact, he argued against the “change” strategy from the very beginning. Now all of a sudden he’s the change candidate. McCain’s not jiving with evangelicals, what does he do? He gets Palin – a woman he barely even KNEW! He’s been in Washington for 30 years and he pulls out a candidate with 2 REAL years of experience? Obama seen as a Muslim extremist and not supportive of Israel. What does he do? Meets in some of the most Jewish communities in the country and takes a trip to Israel. That wasn’t his campaign strategy at the beginning. He even said that what happened with the brief war was BOTH of their faults. First the war is your fault and now we support you 100%. You don’t even know what these guys think or believe anymore.

So I asked myself the question: What do you do when you think EVERYONE is full of it?

For me, I’ll stay away from ALL the pundits and one on one interviews and all the expose pieces, and I’ll wait for the debates. HOPEFULLY they just discuss the ISSUES. But even then, I’m sure I’ll hear from more people that sincerely want to lead the strongest country in the world – but are sincerly full of it.

Let’s Discuss it – Abortion

Okay folks, let’s discuss it! Every 4 years it becomes a HOT topic of conversation around America so I’ve decided to open a place to discuss it right here.

ABORTION

What do you think? Is there EVER a time when abortion is okay? I’ll give a few REAL examples of people I know and you tell me what YOU believe their response should have been. Again these aren’t hypothetical situations. These are REAL cases from people I PERSONALLY know. The names have been removed.

Case #1. I young lady I know was raped. Not date raped. Not “I said yes then changed my mind” but raped by someone she knew. The end result – pregnancy. Should she have carried through with the pregnancy and have a living reminder of that horrible event and deal with the psychological effects of having to live with that man’s seed inside her for 9 months carry through with the excrutiating pain of giving birth? Or should she have an abortion?

Case #2. A young woman with a history of troubling health issues sleeps with an old boyfriend at the party and gets pregnant. Due to her health issues, the doctor tells her she won’t survive the pregnancy. Later test show that if she carries through the pregnancy, neither her OR the baby will survive birth. Should she continue with the pregnancy and hope the doctors are wrong? Should she continue with the pregnancy and accept the responsibility of her actions that will cost her her life as well as the life of the unborn? Or should she abort the pregnancy?

Case #3. A married couple had been trying for YEARS to get pregnant with no results. Finally after years of vitamins, trips to the doctor and cold underwear – they get pregnant. One problem – the baby’s brain isn’t properly developed. In fact, tests show that the left and right hemispheres will never connect because of a pocket of water in between the two. The child will have a lifetime of surgeries, pain, under development, may never walk, and will never come close to a normal life and the prospect of a long life is nill. Doctors say MAYBE the child will make it to 20 and those 20 years will be miserable. The parents will struggle and statistics show the marriage will likely end in divorce. Should they terminate the pregnancy or take their chances at healing?

Tell me your thoughts.

Did Barak Obama copy Andy Stanley???

For 2 consecutive weeks, we get to see history. Last week, we saw an African American accept the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Tonight we’ll see the first woman accept the Republican Vice Presidential nomination. Historic 13 days indeed.

I joined 38 million of my closest friends around the world watch the historic speech last week. I started off completely amazed at the speech – the style, content and delivery. Especially given the fact it was made on the 40th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” speech. That made it even more surreal.

Towards the end of the speech, my father in law said “Notice how he keeps saying ‘you’ in this part of the speech?” Then I began to rehash the speech in my head and then I said “Watch him end the speech saying ‘we’!” And I was right! How could I guess the speech would end that way? Well if you’ve ever read Andy Stanley’s book “Communicating for A Change” you would have noticed the style of the speech.

Me-we-God-you-we

Well, maybe not the “God” part. But he just replaced it politics/politcal agenda and voila! The “change” candidate was communicating for a “change”…

Watch the speech here and notice his transitions from “me” to “we to “politics” to “you” to “we.”

Teens respond to the Palin Pregnancy

CBS worked to get some responses from people regarding the Palin Pregnancy the media world is buzzing about. This post isn’t looking for YOUR response to it. There are PLENTY of blogs and messageboard forums covering it.

The thing I find striking is the YOUTH response in this video. As a youth pastor these type of responses intrigue me. Check it out. What do youth think about the response of the youth in this video? What about the response of your own children or youth in your church? 

Check it out and sound off.

*notice the kid with the blunt in his hat. HE has an opinion about the morality of the situation.