Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spring Break 2007

This coming Thursday my family and I will be going on our first big trip as a family. We are heading to Florida, you can see the map of our trip above. I am really looking forward to getting a week away in a warmer climate and spending some time with my family. We are going to be staying at Marina Bay Resort in Fort Walton Beach, FL. This is where my parent's have a timeshare and so they are letting us have one of the weeks to use.

And what is going to make this trip even better is that we will get a chance to meet some fellow YMXer's on the way down. Our first stop is going to be on Thursday, April 5th, in Cincinnati, OH where we will meet Angie and her family. Unfortunately, her husband is a Buckeye, but we can't all be perfect.

Then on Friday, April 6th, we will be stopping in Nashville, TN and meeting Brian and his family. And after having to spend an evening with some Buckeyes, I will get to spend and evening with some Wolverines!

And then on the way back home on Saturday, April 14th, we will be stopping in Nashville, TN again and getting a chance to meet another fellow YMXer, EXVOL. I am really looking forward to getting a chance to meet some of the friends that I have made on the forums. And despite what one of my fellow co-workers says, I am pretty sure none of them are axe murders or will cut me up with a chainsaw. At least I hope not.

I am getting really excited and counting down the days until we are actually in Florida! One week from today!



Thursday, March 29, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Cover Art

Yesterday the cover art for book 7 was released.

And here is the full book jacket.

(You can click on both pics for the full size.)

Read more about it here.

You can watch the unveiling here or below on the YouTube video.

Here are the UK adult and children versions. There is lots of interesting information on these jacket covers.



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How Can Churches Keep People Away?

I ran across the following blog that had a list of 10 Ways to Keep Me from Discovering Your Church, you can read all of the authors comments by following that link. I found it pretty interesting and I will add my comments below.

  1. Don’t have a website: This is the information age, even 107 year old women have blogs, but not your church.

  2. Be completely inactive in the community: In fact it's really just best if you stay completely inward-focused and don't do anything missional in your city.

  3. Don’t answer your phone: ....and don't ever answer the phone on Sunday mornings. That way when I'm lost en route to service, I'll have no choice but to drive around aimlessly until I give up and go home.

  4. Allow misinformation

  5. Lack clear signage

  6. Have insufficient parking/seating

  7. Ignore Visitors

  8. Respond half-heartedly to inquiries

  9. Be evasive about your beliefs: When I ask a direct question about the church's beliefs, ignore the question or act like you don't understand and then start telling me about your denomination or church programs.

  10. Lie to me: When all else fails, simply lie to me about your church. You might just get a few weeks of attendance out of me before I learn the truth.

  1. I really believe that having a website in this day and age is extremely important. There really is no reason for a church to not have one. Especially with there being many low cost options out there to create one. I am not sure how necessary it is to have an rss feed, but keeping it up to date is a must.

  2. This one goes with out saying and is the sad state of far too many churches today.

  3. It is amazing to think that a church would not have an answering machine and that they would not leave pertinent information on there for people who call. The idea of answering the phone on a Sunday morning is a very interesting idea that I never thought about. HMMMM

  4. Sadly sometimes churches and denominations can be so slow to update information on their websites. It is honestly not that hard to change things on a website to get it up to date.

  5. I disagree with the sign thing to some degree. Rob Bell's church Mars Hill Bible Church has grown to over 11,000 people and they have no sign on the road. And Rob is adamant that they will never have a sign out front as long as he his the pastor there, because he wants people to understand that the church is not a building, but people. On the other hand, if people can't find the place how can the attend? I guess that is why you need your people to help reach into the community and bring their friends. Makes that all the more important.

  6. People who visit a church will not stop if they can not easily find a place to park. I have always encouraged people at the churches where I have been a pastor to makes sure they save the prime parking spots for visitors. Visitors should find spaces to park really easily, because they are all up front and close.

    Seating is another thing will cause people to walk out of your building. If visitors can not find a place to sit easily they will just walk right out the door and not come back. Ushers should be trained to help everyone find a seat, even if they are regulars, but especially if they are visitors. And ushers shouldn't be afraid to ask people to scoot into the middle of the row to make room for the visitors on the ends.

  7. Greeting people at the doors and noticing that if they are new and helping them find their way around. That is why there should be multiple greeters so one can leave their post and help a visitor find the bathrooms, children's area, welcome desk, etc. They should be their personal guides until they feel comfortable. My wife and I attended a church that was horrible in this area. We went to the check in desk to register our kids and they knew that we were new because we had to fill out info to get them registered for the first time. And the people behind the desk merely pointed down a hallway and told us to go down there to drop our kids off at their classes. We found my son's and then got to the end of the hall and couldn't find where my daughter's class was. The guy at the end of the hall didn't even know where she was supposed to go. Needless to say we never went back there.

  8. There is no excuse for any church to do any of that.

  9. If you believe it state it. Don't try to be vague just to get people in the door. That is deception and somehow I don't think that belongs in churches.

  10. Churches will do anything to boost their numbers and lying is one of the most despicable ways to do it. No wonder why so many people stop going to church.

All in all I think this person has made some excellent points and that churches need to seriously look at what they are doing and strive to improve. Or else they are destined to keep people away.



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Apple Presents The "iRack"

Now this is funny, I don't care who you are!



Monday, March 19, 2007

One Year Ago Today.....

It was one year ago today that Kimmy and I came home from church and found that the dog that we had since the very beginning of our marriage had died. You can read the story of it all here. I loved my dog and still miss her. As much as I love Zoey and I am so glad we got her, I will always miss my Haley.



Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...

You scored as Albus Dumbledore. Strong and powerful you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Albus Dumbledore


Hermione Granger


Ron Weasley


Harry Potter


Remus Lupin


Sirius Black


Draco Malfoy


Ginny Weasley


Severus Snape


Lord Voldemort


Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with



Saturday, March 17, 2007

Random Funnities

I do not like email forwards and most people know that, so I tend to no get a lot of them. Which makes me very happy, but occasionally I do get some and they tend to be some of the better ones. I recently received the following from a friend and wanted to share it here. The first one is a mind bender, because the letters are all mixed up. See if you can read what it says. The last one is just a funny list of current life oddities.

Most of my recent posts have been pretty serious so this is a nice break from that. I hope that you can LOL.


I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh?



1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries.

7. Every commercial on television has a web site at the bottom of the screen.

8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

10. You get up in the morning and go on line before getting your coffee.

11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)

12. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.

13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message. (That is if I was one of those annoying friends who forwarded things on like this to everyone in my address book.)

14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.

15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

AND NOW U R LAUGHING at yourself.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Hurting Youth Workers Fund

Unfortunately not only is the world of youth workers fairly small, but it also tends to be a very wounded group of people. Over 2 years ago I stumbled upon a forum for youth worker's that was hosted by Youth Specialties, which has since been essentially moved onto Youth Ministry Exchange, it was the first time that I had ever been on a forum or posted on one either. I had always felt alone in the youth ministry world, because I was part-time at my church which made it hard for me to connect with other youth workers in my area. But this forum gave me that opportunity. And as I went through my painful departure at my church these new friends of mine where there to support me.

I was fortunate in many ways than some of my other youth worker friends, because though my church didn't live up to their promise of the 3 month severance package that I was told I would receive when I left, I had a good job to turn to. But many youth workers do not and so they are left stranded. When me and my friends started up YMX we had a dream of a place where hurting youth workers could find a place of refuge and comfort, so we started a special area in the forums for them called "The Oasis", it is a place where they can vent and get some advice while they heal but is safe from everyone's eyes. We also wanted to find ways to help hurting youth workers in other tangible ways, so when a family lost their house on Christmas Eve a few years ago, we had that person set up a Amazon Wish List so we could all buy the family things. And we have done that for other people who have gone through tough times.

Recently, one of our own was let go from his church very poorly. This person is newly married and his wife is 2 months pregnant and the circumstances surrounded his dismissal are not good. Originally, they were but on the end it wasn't. So Adam and Derek decided it was time to do something. So the ball got rolling for a "Hurting Youth Workers Fund". This will become a separate part of the YMX Community, but be very much so the heart of YMX. It will be a charitable organization that will help youth workers who have either been hosed by their churches, which is far too common, or are just having a tough time for whatever reason. Youth workers are unfortunately seen as a dispensable commodity in a church, instead of as an integral, indispensable asset to the churches community.

So we at YMX want to step in and be a help to them. A board is being assembled to assess the needs and dispense the funds as necessary, but for now we need the funds and that is where you come in. We need your help. You will notice on the right sidebar of my blog a widget that will link you to the PayPal account where you can make a donation to help hurting youth workers. So please pray and ask God what it is that you may want to give to help contribute. But I want to first list the rules that Adam posted on his blog....

The rules

I want to be really blunt. We don't want anyone to give $1 to this fund if they are not giving biblically to their local church. We're not doing this to circumvent any church, nor are we encouraging anyone to sin and withhold from their local church to help us. We're serious about that, please... if you aren't giving to your local church, please don't give a dime to this fund. Seriously.

If you can't contribute but would like to post the widget on your blog or Myspace all you need to do is click where it says "copy" and it will give you the code so you can copy the html code to use on your blog or Myspace. Thanks!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Living The Dash That I have

First of all let me state that I do not know who this is, even though we share the same last name. There is always something familiar about tombstones. There is the name of the person who passed away and then there is the year (and sometimes date) the were born and then when they died. But there is a part of that tombstone that most people often overlook, but is very significant. And that is the dash "-" in between that dates. I have been reading Soul Cravings by Erwin Raphael McManus and then at my church on the most recent podcast, Rob Markus spoke about the very same thing.

So what does that mean? Well, the dash is the whole of your life. You don't have any choice about the day you are born or really the day that you die. That you do have a choice about what it is you want to do with your life. I have been thinking a lot about this lately, especially given my current life circumstance. I have laid the proverbial fleece out there and have asked God for a sign about what I am supposed to do. And I am hoping to have that sign by the end of this month.

But one thing that I do know for sure is that I am no longer going to be sitting on the side waiting anymore. I really feel that God is telling me that it is time to move and do something. So depending on how this fleece thing turns out, I will begin to do something with the dash of my life. Not that I already have not, but what I mean is that I am going to begin to do something that will lead into the ministry that God has called me to. The fleece will help me to determine what that is and what it will look like. I am really excited to see how this all comes out.

One thing that I am fairly sure of is that I believe God has told me that my time as a pastor to students has come to a close and that it is time to move into other avenues of vocational ministry. Don't get me wrong, I love student ministry and I plan on always having some involvement with it, but I just feel that it is not the course of vocational ministry that I am supposed to pursue. So it will be very interesting too see how this all plays out.

But my question for you is what are you doing with your dash? For me, I am going to begin to start doing something about it again.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Should Churches Be Green?

I have been thinking a lot about ways that I can be more environmentally friendly. After all it was one of my New Year's resolutions. So my wife and I have made a concerted effort to begin recycling, which has reduced the amount of garbage going out to the curb in half. And I have also gotten my parent's to start doing the same thing. I find great pleasure now in taking my garbage out to the curb along with my recycling bin knowing that I have reduced the amount of waste we send to the dump.

Then it got me to thinking about why it is that churches have not taken a greater role in this as well, because churches produce a lot of trash. The Bible says in Genesis 1:26-31 (TNIV)....

Then God said, "Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created human beings in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

So if we as Christ-Followers are supposed to care for the earth then shouldn't the church take the lead on being environmentally friendly? I don't know where I stand in regards to global warming, but even if it is not true, how hard is it to not waste and instead recycle? Why not do what we can to be better stewards with our resources? With all of the paper from bulletins/programs that are left over, plastic water bottles, etc. There is so much that can and should be recycled.

Then I also started thinking about the amount of energy a church uses in electricity. Why can't/shouldn't a church line their roof with solar panels and harness the power from the sun to power the church. Think of the amount of money that a church could save by doing this. Not to mention think of how much better using them could be for the environment. Sure it would be a big up front cost, but somehow I think that it is worth it. Plus, then you would never have to cancel a service due to a power outage and we all know that pastors would love that idea, because that means that they won't miss out on a week's offerings.

And if a church is building new facilities I think that they should see what they can do to try and meet the standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. That way we are building churches that have a low impact on the environment and I think we are doing our best to bring heaven to earth. We are told right in the beginning to take care of the earth and to do that, I believe, we need to start being a lot more environmentally friendly. And churches need to start taking the lead on this and showing the world that we believe that God's creation is just as important to save as our friends who do not have a relationship with Christ.

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