nested meditations
Friday May 26th 2006, 1:03 pm
Filed under: faith

a couple ‘nested meditations’ from the book , by kevin anderson (see my review here).

God is.

God is
the Eternal Head!

God is
the eternal head-
water of every stream.

God is.
The eternal head-
water of every stream
of consceiousness flows in.

God is.
The eternal head-
water of every stream
of consciouslness flows in
the heart of every moment.

God is.
The eternal head-
water of every stream
of consciouslness flows in
the heart of every moment
I immerse myself in deep awareness.

and another…

I could never hold a candle.

I could never hold a candle
to your life.

I could never hold a candle
to your life,
but i will do my best.

I could never hold a candle
to your life,
but i will do my best
to hold my own.

this is the kind of evangelism we need more of!
Friday May 26th 2006, 1:00 pm
Filed under: church

(hint: sarcasm)

saw this truck driving in front of me on the freeway the other day. i’m sure san diegans came to christ by the thousands.

Thursday May 25th 2006, 2:52 pm
Filed under: personal, tv/movies

i got DVR (digital video recorder) from my wife for my birthday last night. can’t wait to try it out when i’m back in town! never again will i miss an episode of 24!

off to join the other sinners
Thursday May 25th 2006, 9:37 am
Filed under: faith, church, personal

five years ago, two friends of mine who worked at navpress (at the time, that is — they both work at ys now!) and i dreamed of starting a little group of guys who would meet every year for a few days, following the model mike yaconelli lived with about a dozen guys for years in a group they called ‘the notorious sinners’. yac wrote about this group a bit in both dangerous wonder and messy spirituality. we decided to call our group the ‘young notorious sinners’ — really, only in comparison to the original group, not that we’re all that young (clearly, i’m not!). most of the time, these days, we short-hand it to YNS.

we invited a half-dozen guys and met our first year in breckenridge, co. we shared an idea of meeting once a year for the rest of our lives. of course, anyone can quit whenever they want — but that’s the vision. i suppose you could call it an accountability group, but that’s not quite it. i wrote about it last year (and my thoughts about accountability vs. shared life) here and here. the second year we added a few more guys and i hosted it in san diego. last year, 3 hours north of toronto, in a cabin in the woods. this year, the 9 of us are meeting (it’s now a closed group — there’s too much ‘back story’ and understanding of each other to introduce new people to the mix at this point) at a house we rented on the northwest corner of lake tahoe, in nevada. we have three guys from toronto, one from mahattan, one from atlanta, one from denver, two from san diego, and one from nashville. we actually added a guy from northern ireland this year, but he had to pull out for family reasons this year.

our format is simple in concept, but relies completely on personal investment in the process (which is true of accountability, i guess — it’s just that we in the church have often had this false sense that the process or structure or list of questions can provide the means. that’s crap: it’s only personal volition that provides the means. you want me involved in your life? you want to know what i think about how you’re living the choices you’re making? then, it’s completely up to you to reveal the truth of your life to me.). we each take about 30 - 60 minutes to share what’s gone on in our lives over the past year. by doing this once a year, there’s a significant amount of change to talk about! then the group asks questions. and because the whole thing is done with a prayerful sense of expecting god to speak discernment through the collective group, it’s amazing how we’re able to rather quickly drill in on the real issues going on in that person’s life. most of us end up in tears. sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s comforting. but there’s ALWAYS a sense that there are 8 other guys who are committed to me and will walk with me. i know they will jump on a plane and stand with me in a time of crisis. i know that they will constantly give me grace and support and truth-telling.

so… that’s what i’m off to today. return monday. don’t know about internet access. postings may be normal or substantially limited.

jh summit notes, part 6
Thursday May 25th 2006, 9:37 am
Filed under: youth ministry, faith, youth work

over the next week or so, i’ll post slightly edited versions of the notes from our junior high pastors summit. they’re pretty fragmented for someone who wasn’t there, i’ll admit (they weren’t ‘taken’ for this purpose). but for those who would like to read, i’m excited to share them with you.

parts 1, 2 and 3 are the summaries of the morning scot mcknight spent with us. then, parts 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 are the pieces of our discussion. one bonus post will have the book recommendations from the group to one another (this is one of our traditions each year, to share two or three books we’d recommend to each other).

here’s part 6…

Framing Young Teen Decisions with the Long-View in Mind:
Parts or Whole? Thin Slicing?
Kurt – there is some truth in the fact that not every JH kid is going to make a commitment, therefore we need to start with a process mindset
Marko – we need to reinvent how we look at our ministry – it’s ok if a kid only walks away feeling loved – not converted
John – instead of being concerned about the decision we focus on the journey, our piece of the pie is relationship
Marko – what is a JH disciple?
Jeff – it is exposing them to an environment that allows dialogue about faith and God
Marko – what are we calling kids to? Once they crossed the bridge
Heather – kids in college are ok with questioning theology where they don’t feel safe doing that in JH
Alan R - we have to be OK with kids graduating on and not seeing results
John – what if we took the whole concept of altar calls out of our conversation
Scott – what decision are you calling them to – it’s important for them to understand it’s not about just getting into Heaven; it’s about a relationship, community, etc.
Heather – it forces us to present the gospel every day in our ministries, not just when we are preparing for altar calls
Marko – the tendency for a lot of us is to turn this into a talk series and that’s ok but that’s not the point – it needs to somehow become a part of who we are for ourselves as well – we understand it cognitively but do we understand it wholly in our own lives – it needs to be filtered through so small group leaders are also making it a part of their lives and groups
Jim –if we know the kids well enough we can walk with them through this mindset
John – pg 11, the church always performs the gospel it proclaims –
Cristin – how do students decipher which community/which person to model their lives after when they are involved in many communities and not all set good examples
Steve – it’s tricky when you get to layers and performance
Alan – we have a tendency to want to be perfect…
Johnny – we need to set up a culture that kids can feel spirituality
Eric – how are we going to call people to ministry when things are messy,
Cristin – it’s a journey together – leaders and students
Sean – what good does it do if the senior pastor doesn’t agree with this idea
Do you go about it covertly or do you just present it?
John – if we can make changes in student ministries it will have a trickle affect and spread to the bigger church
Andy – things can start in student ministry – JH experience their faith best through service – we need to bring freedom to kids in using “weird” church language
Marko – if this is true how can we only use parts of it
Kurt – thin slicing is taking the gospel and putting it into thinner slices – more simplifying than thin slicing – this is important because we need to help kids “get it” because when they leave MS ministry they are not being taught this…
Marko – we want it to permeate our ministry – then trusting the Holy Spirit to take control
Kurt – this idea forces us to just be part of the process and trust the Holy Spirit
April – this lowers the bar of our youth ministry
Judy- we need to tell them why they should love God and others,
Jason – do kids get it?
Marko – preaching is not a good method of communication for kids
Ken – can’t be hypocritical, matching their life/talks
Eric – if youth groups are just celebrations it’s inadequate, the ethos we create in a group is the real message
Jason – youth pastors need to let kids come to this decision on their own and not just cram the message down their throats
Johnny – kids often relate the person up front with being cool, etc – kids want to be a part of a community that person is a part of
Judy – the hard part of being part of a big YM is living “words can inspire but experience transform”, sometimes our job is to just hold onto them
Steve – what Gospel is seen by our community? We need to help create that even though the students can’t verbalize it – they were able to be in a place where they didn’t have to be perfect and they were accepted
Ken – this is something we need to live in our own lives – what are we afraid of in stopping doing numbers, altar calls, etc.
Marko- the fear is that the Church (you’re a part of) is not going to accept this
Johnny – it’s better to have kids tell their story – it’s more holistic
Marko – like Andy said – it’s good for kids to have 4 stories (my restoration with god, self, others and world) – if we get kids to be able to tell 4 stories, than it’s “theirs” and they can take it into HS ministry and beyond…4 chapters in one book – if kids can articulate that then they are telling the story
April – it’s important that MS kids are taught the bible stories because they don’t necessarily hear it after HS
Eric – it’s important to draw kids in with biblical stories and personal stories
Marko – the contemporary church realized it’s important to take care of people’s felt needs just recently and therefore kids don’t know bible stories – the pendulum needs to swing back somewhat
Ken – it’s been misplaced because the parent’s don’t know the scripture anymore
Marko – how do we tell the stories of the gospel without sounding like a 2nd grade Sunday school class?
Kurt – there will be various series – Bible driven series and felt need/topical series – the bible stories are just as intriguing to kids
Jim – it’s important to take all stories that are shared and reveal how they incorporate God, self, others, world
Judy – the Bible stories should be shared just as often with the definition intertwined as personal stories
Kurt – the Story is Created – Cracked – Christ-like, a way of telling that story is using God, Self, others, world

the result of my cleanse
Wednesday May 24th 2006, 5:37 pm
Filed under: personal

my cleanse officially ended last night. perfect timing with my birthday today, so i can eat the “no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies” leoney (our receptionist) made for me today.

now, as a result of my cleanse…

1. my hair is shinier

2. my voice is lower

3. my children are better behaved and getting all A’s in school

4. my dog has calmed down

5. my day has 2 extra hours, every day

6. my savings account has doubled

7. my TV is 6″ larger

8. and my blog traffic has tripled.

uh. yeah. not really. the truth:

1. i feel great.

2. i have a new relationship with food. (a healthy one, that is)

3. i lost 14 pounds and one hole on my belt.

4. my colon is so clean (yes, i even had my first colonic on monday morning) i can whistle ‘mary had a little lamb’ with it (well, only a slight exaggeration on that one).

i’m old
Wednesday May 24th 2006, 10:08 am
Filed under: personal

yesterday i was mentioning that today i turn 43 to a few co-workers. i mentioned that it felt a little weird, as i realized i can’t even say i’m in my “low40s” anymore. toben responded, “oh, sure ya can. 40, 41, 42, and 43 are low 40s; 44, 45 and 46 are mid-40s; and 47 on up are upper-40s; AND there’s one year of wiggle room at the transition year — for instance, if you’re 33 and you want to think of yourself as younger, you can say you’re in your young 30s; but if you want to seem more ‘mature’, you can say you’re in your mid-30s.”

he had the whole system worked out.

so, now i’m not really sure if i’m in my low 40s or my mid-40s. but three things are clear:
1. no one can say “young 40s” with a straight face. “low 40s” maybe, but not “young 40s”.
2. today is my 43rd birthday.
3. i’m old.

i distinctly remember being a little kid and day-dreaming about the then-very-future year 2000, and doing the math to figure out that i’d be 36 at the time. and i thought that just sounded like one-foot-in-the-grave territory. i couldn’t even fathom being 43.

well, there you have it. young 40s or low 40s or mid-40s or old or middle aged or whatever — i don’t feel a day over 30-something!

(and, yes, that is me in the picture, lower right corner, circa roughly 1966 — i’m guessing — about age 3.)

jh summit notes, part 5
Wednesday May 24th 2006, 10:05 am
Filed under: youth ministry, faith, youth work

over the next week or so, i’ll post slightly edited versions of the notes from our junior high pastors summit. they’re pretty fragmented for someone who wasn’t there, i’ll admit (they weren’t ‘taken’ for this purpose). but for those who would like to read, i’m excited to share them with you.

parts 1, 2 and 3 are the summaries of the morning scot mcknight spent with us. then, parts 4 - 8 are the pieces of our discussion. one bonus post will have the book recommendations from the group to one another (this is one of our traditions each year, to share two or three books we’d recommend to each other).

here’s part 5…

Defining the Gospel in a young teen context –
“The work of a triune God to create a community to restore cracked eikons for union with God and communion with others with a missional direction”
John: Joining the Church-once saved what’s next (bridge), social justice, personal commitment/personal faith
Marko – God, self, world, others
John – it has as much to do with purpose as it does with being restored, when God is glorified in us we see God in others, Jesus should be seen in who we are, it becomes more active not just passive
Andy – God Creates, relates, rests
Jason - it’s more than just restoration with others and the world, God and self needs to be added in
Nate R – having 4 talks on God, self, others, world – people don’t see it as gospel
Kurt – how do we find JH friendly words to define the gospel?
Marko – God is making a community of messy people made in his image…
Heather/Jeff – instead of making a community of messy people – how about gathering a community of messy people?
Alan – the “old” gospel is a narrow view, it’s telling the whole story of God that is the gospel
Kurt – to be able to say “this is what I am a part of”
Johnny – isn’t this why we are supposed to tell the stories
Alan – we teach the entire story and expanding on that…
Kurt – how do we equip our kids to articulate the big picture of their faith
Marko – we as adults need it, therefore kids need it
Andy/Steve - it doesn’t need to be simple, having our ministry focused on “God, self, others, world” (those are the anchor points)– it’s not just about series and themes, helping them articulate God’s story, their own story, their world’s story, their community’s story
Eric – it’s like kids and video games – they need to see it, not just hear the words – it would be better to have kids say it in a messy way than repeat some definition we came up with – not that giving them definitions is bad
Kurt – it’s ok to equip kids with a part of the whole gospel so they can start to learn all the parts
Andy – help students have stories to tell…small group, homeless shelter, etc.
Jim – it’s taking the topics and interweaving the definition within them, kids over the years will get it
Eric – Sex, kids talk about it with great enthusiasm – how do we help them find that enthusiasm with their faith
Alan R - If we want something to measure it by – are we discussing/living the church, social justice, commitment/faith
Steve – how do we define the word restoration so kids get it?
…fuse, rebuild, repair…
Sean – we can’t change the word restore, we need to help define it
Ken – who is the community the church or the youth group?
Marko – Community is 3 spheres – youth group, local church and whole church
Johnny- get them involved in the church so they can see the definition
Nate S- asking every family in student ministry that has a kid in YM to adopt a kid from that village, (picking a village with World Vision) goal would be to have monthly contact and every 2 years go visit that adopted child, JH mission trips are all family mission trips – hope is to give people tools, prayer, restoration happening in both places
Eric – by constantly giving kids the kingdom
Scott – what word can JH kids use in their language with their friends in replace of restore? Bring Back…

20 ways to be left alone at work
Tuesday May 23rd 2006, 10:00 am
Filed under: humor

1. Grag your phone when it isn’t ringing and scream, “Stop taunting me like this!”
2. Show up doused in White Out. Tell everyone you’re just trying to cover your past mistakes.
3. Announce that tomorrow you will bring fruit salad for the entire office. Use durian.
4. Add, “Please see attachments,” to every email you send. Include JPGs of Captain Crunch or He-Man.
5. Learn to whistle through your nose. Deny doing it.
6. Announce in a worried tone that your pet Hobo spider is missing.
7. Ask Human Resources what their policy is on chronic bedwetters.
8. When asked what you did on vacation, reply sincerely, “Visiting the holy sites of Waco, Texas and Lincoln, Montana . And some golf.”
9. Scream at the copy machine, “You call this a reproduction? This is crap! Get your act together or you’re out of a job, mister.”
10. At your performance review, state that your five-year goals include interpretive dance lessons for the upper management.
11. Practice polytonal throat singing like the Tibetan monks do. Chant all meeting notices this way.
12. Show up early to lunch and bend all the spoons in the cafeteria. When coworkers arrive, hold a spoon up to your forehead and concentrate.
13. Ask how the fax machine works. When informed, look stunned and well up with tears. Walk away silently, shaking your head.
14. Ride a Galapagos Tortoise through the office.
15. Wear a black suit and stick hundreds of white threads all over it. Pretend not to notice. When it’s pointed out, remove only one and thank the person profusely for saving you from embarrassment.
16. Do the Time Warp at your desk at 17 minute intervals.
17. Keep a bowl of dog biscuits at your desk. Offer one to anyone who comes to your desk.
18. Demand equal rights for all legless employees. When it’s pointed out that you have legs, call them lowlife bigots.
19. When a coworker uncaps a marker, act extremely high. Hallucinate and scratch your forearms.
20. Put up a flyer announcing gender change operations to be performed in your cubicle all week. Discount for employees with promotional codes.

(slightly edited, from davezilla, via bob carlton)

fun game
Tuesday May 23rd 2006, 10:00 am
Filed under: youth ministry, youth work

steve case posts about a silly and easy (and a bit messy) game on his blog. look at this post, and the three previous posts (the previous posts have pics, which, when viewed with the written post, explain it all).

previous »
« newer