Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Top Ten

Every body loves reading a top ten list. Well, here's a list that's fitting for the season. Here's my top ten things I am thankful for this side of eternity.

10. Cheap Bottled water. Man, down here in Fallbrook water from the tap tastes like they forgot turn on the DIRT FILTER when they made the water. That's why I'm thankful for Fresh n' Easy's 24 pack for $2.99

9. Technology. How in the world did youth ministry exist before email, ubiquitous cell phones, and ipods? Hmm...does that say something about my ministry?

8. Seasoned Youth Pastors. Because they get it.

7. Bloggers who actually have something to say, and people listen. I am not one of these, but am inspired by them. I don't even know what it takes to get there.

6. Falling gas prices. I just filled up our brown car for $15! The funny thing is that people are still complaining about ridiculous gas prices ("Well, with the way gas prices are these days...")

5. Really good music. The Beatles. John Mayer. Others. I love listening to good music. Brings a smile to my face.

4. Thanksgiving Meals. Not just Thanksgiving dinner. I'm talking about all the meals before and after and around Thanksgiving. It's not even Thanksgiving yet, and I've already had a Thanksgiving dinner, a Thanksgiving Luncheon, and a Thanksgiving coffee break.

3. The Church Family. One of the biggest joys of the season so far was walking through the crowd of our church family during our Thanksgiving dinner while we were all singing Great is Thy Faithfulness. It was beautiful, not in the sense that it sounded good, but in a different, more sentimental sense. It brought a smile to my face.

2. My Senior pastor. A lot of youth workers complain about theirs. I am thankful for him. I couldn't do what I am doing without his support. Truly a mentor and example.

1. My wife. Far and away the number one on this list. I seriously question my ability to exist without her. The biggest joy of my life.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holidays are Here

So, the holidays are here. Can you believe it? They always come so fast. Here’s something that J.I. Packer wrote that has impacted me. And I think it’s timely.

We talk glibly of the” Christmas Spirit,” rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis. But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry a tremendous weight of meaning. It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas. And the Christmas spirit ought to be the mark of every Christian all year round…The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob. For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor—spending and being spent—to enrich their fellow humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others—and not just their own friends—in whatever way there seems need.

As Christmas time gets nearer, let’s spread the Christmas cheer. And then, when it’s over, let’s do it again

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Close Up

Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe...And he said "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

After this many of the disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

Were they offended? Hurt? Was it because they couldn't understand? Was it because Jesus wasn't being politically correct? Was it because Jesus' words were just too radical?
In any case, Jesus was not afraid to speak the truth, even if it meant lower crowd attendance.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sesame Street Culture

No wonder school is boring. When you grew up watching this, why would you ever want to sit still and listen to a professional school teacher teach you to count to 8?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Argentina Here We Come

So a few weeks ago I got the okay to go to Argentina. Grace Brethren Church (the church that I grew up in) is going to Argentina. Greg Barshaw, the missions pastor who is leading the trip, invited me to come along as a chance to learn, be trained, and gain some experience in leading. I am so glad for this trip and I am excited for what the Lord is going to teach me.
Ashley is going too. I am so glad that she is able to go. It will be such an awesome experience going on a trip like this together. What an opportunity.
We are going to the city of Corrientes, in Northern Argentina. It's located by a college university campus so we'll be primarily working with some college age students. The missionaries that we are going to be helping out are relatively new to the area and will be looking foward to a team to come help them jumpstart their ministry there.
I don't know hardly any spanish. It will be interesting to say the least.
Pray for us. Pray that the necessary funds would come in. Pray that the Lord would use this trip in our lives and the lives of the people we'll be ministering to.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We're in Good Hands

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States of America.

God Almighty, the 1st and only sovereign ruler of the universe.

We're in good hands.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thoughts of an Inexperienced Youth Pastor Pt. 3

So truth be told I am struggling with the disappointment that comes from having a small youth group. There are so many reasons this shouldn't really phase me, and I know all the reasons. The simple truth is that sometimes it's just hard!
I'm not a numbers guy when it comes to youth group. I don't really count how many kids are there, I'm more focused on spirit caused epiphanies and those words: "O now I get it!" Sometimes, I just wish the youth group was bigger. Is that wrong? In a moment of weakness I googled "how to grow your youth group" and one of the first ones on the list was this. It really seemed to refresh me, even though it's kinda corny. I believe (and I constantly have to remind myself of this one) that the most important part of youth ministry (or any ministry for that matter) is being filled with the Spirit. Another little thing that helps is remembering that God is working, even though you may not see numerical increase...

But I still want a bigger youth group!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Lakers

I am proud. I am proud of my Los Angeles Lakers. Very proud.
When Shaq left LA with it was hard. I knew there could be no replacement for the self proclaimed MDE (Most Dominant Ever). And I knew that there would have to be a waiting stage. A rebuilding phase, if you will. I was not looking forward to it, but I stood by my Lakers.
It was hard to watch the Laker's 04-05 season. When they finished the season 34-48 and far from the playoffs it was just weird. I was used to getting together with friends and watching the playoffs. But there were no play offs.
A couple more years like this went by. Lakers blow a 3-1 lead over the Phoenix Suns in the first round. Mediocrity. And things seemed to only get worse.
My growing discontent for Mitch Kupchak hit its peak with Andrew Bynum the non-factor seemed to be a bust. I was bugged. I was deeply saddened when the rumors that Kobe wanted to be traded started circulating. Just so you understand how bad I was despairing, I started thinking that we were sinking into an organization similar to the Clippers' (drafting the Kandi Man in the first pick of the 1998 NBA draft just illustrates the direction of their organization). As you can see, it was a hard time for me.

I distinct remember the moment everything turned around. I was sitting in my locker getting ready for basketball practice when Joey Fuca came in saying that the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol. I couldn't believe. At first I was skeptical and asked who they traded, thinking that they had given up half their team to get him. When he told me that the only people they gave up was Javaris Critterton and Brian Cook, I was amazed. Who consented to that? Why wasn't it vetoed by the commish? What were the Grizzlies THINKING??

And it all happened right around the time Bynum started to prove himself. Suddenly, Mitch Kupchak looked like a prophet and I suddenly began approving him in everything he did.

And then they were finalists. I was so proud. I'll be honest, I didn't see it coming. But after a long and hard road, the Lakers are back on top, and I'm proud. They came so close to a fairy tale ending last year but it was just out of reach. This year is ours. I'm calling it now.
Lakers vs Celtics in the finals--

Lakers win in 7.