Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 09/30/2007

Attendance: Below Average
Lesson Topic: Live God Loud: Where Are the People?
Fun Factor: Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Average
Music: Slightly Above Average
Lesson Quality: Average
Length of Lesson: 30
Student Response: Average

We jumped right into our new series "Living God Loud" and talked about church attendance. We looked at what it means to attend church and the excuses for missing it. We also talked about how church attendance was more than just being in the building, but that we were called to reach out to those around us that need help.
Our numbers seem to be down a bit, not sure why but I think our services are getting better with more response from the students.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 09/23/2007

Attendance: Slightly Below Average
Lesson Topic: Live God Loud: Turn Up the Volume!
Fun Factor: Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Average
Music: Slightly Above Average
Lesson Quality: Slightly Above Average
Length of Lesson: 30
Student Response: Above Average

We started our Live God Loud series tonight by talking about the Volume of our lives. Where does God fit in? Are we doing so much that we could never hear God talking to us? Our theme verse is Romans 12:1-2, where it talks about conforming to this world and being a living sacrifice for God. I know it isn't easy for students, because it isn't easy for adults, but we must strive to put God first in our lives and live like He would want us to. Look for the upcoming post regarding this series.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 09/16/2007

Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Super Soaker Sunday
Fun Factor: Way Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Averge
Music: None
Lesson Quality: None
Length of Lesson: NA
Student Response: Above Average

This was the end of a great weekend. Probably one of the best I have had since moving to Kansas City. We started Friday Night with Friday Night Flites, then played paintball with 20 students on Saturday (had a blast) and ended tonight with a great time of water guns and balloons. I am hoping to post some pics soon. Next week we start our Living God Loud series and I am looking forward to teaching it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Game Plan

I haven't been to the movies all summer. I think I have seen only a couple since moving to KC. I often get preview invitations for different Christian movies, or family friendly movies but don't often go. But last week I got an invitation to see a preview of the movie The Game Plan with the Rock in it. Since I don't watch a ton of tv but my kids are Disney channel freaks, so I have seen commercials for it and other interviews with the cast. I like the Rock (and not just cause he played football for UM ) but he just seems kind of laid back in his acting.

I wanted the whole family to see it but Beth had a Bible study to do, so I took Timmy & Abigail. They were both really excited to go (see Disney Channel info above). I am really impressed with this movie. I almost cried. Abigail & Timmy did. The whole movie was great. The acting was good. The Rock did a great job and so did Madison. The storyline was also very good. Normally, I have problems with Disney movies because they tend to blur the actual family lines, but this one didn't. The Game Plan really hammered home the need for a father, on top of taking the very selfish "Joe" and turned him into a big baby for his daughter. There was no language, no innuendos, just a good movie with a good story and good acting. I was glad that I could go and take the kids. They really enjoyed it.

I would recommend this movie to anyone, especially someone looking for a good family friendly...

Jr High Youth Group

Here is our Service from 9/9/2007. Enjoy it and let me know your thoughts...

Too Revealing or Over Zealous Complaints

I was sitting around watching TV last night and ran across this news story, I am always shocked when other people try to dictate what other people can wear. I believe that some clothes are revealing or just moronic to wear but I don't think I would ever goes as far as complaining to an airline because I believed that. The premise of the story is that the lady in the picture was asked to get off a Southwest flight because her clothes were too revealing, for what seems like another passenger. From the story it seems that someone complained to Southwest and they took it upon themselves to censor this woman from the flight. I am amazed that people are so self-involved that they feel the need to push their own agenda on other people and force them to change... I know that might sound weird coming from someone whose job it is to convince people that what they are doing is wrong and change it. I don't feel the need to go around and push my personal opionions of dress or anything else, on other people. I am not a tattoo or piercings person, but I don't condemn those who are. I know what revealing clothing is and I teach my daughter and students what it is, giving them knowledge to make the right decision, not forcing them to change to what I think is right. I believe we are too caught up in the little things to really see the major problems in this world. On a similar note, it seems Louisiana is headed in the same directions, they are banning baggy pants in their state. Now how rude is that. I believe that is over the top. What is next, no shorts in public because someone's legs are too white. This is what is killing this country, people who have nothing better to do than nitpick at other people just to make themselves feel better... Let me know what you think... Also, I do believe what this woman is wearing is on the edge of being too revealing.... but not enough that I would be embarrassed, I have seen way worse in public.

Favorite Football Team

I love watching football. I have watched the Miami Hurricanes for over 20 years, along with the Miami Dolphins. When the Titans came to town we started rooting for them (since they were in town). Now that we are in Kansas City, I am wondering whether we cheer for the chiefs or stick with the Titans. I love watching the Titans. I have never been a huge pro football fan, so I am not as worried about being called a Band Wagon fan, plus KC isn't all that great, so it won't be like I like them because they are good.

I have always found it funny how passionate people get about their football teams. I have complained about people being fans of teams in place they have never been. Like seeing UM fans in Tennessee who probably couldn't even tell me what city UM is in...

Let me know what you think, should I stay a Titans fan or move on to KC?

From Start to Finish...

Now that I am a full-time youth pastor I decided that I would try to write a 7 year curriculum for my youth ministry. I really believe this is something that needs to be done. If all goes as planned, a student in the 6th grade will finish the ministry getting a good grounding for their lives. The curriculum will encompass all the majors themes of the Bible plus many other topics they need to know.

Most of the people who I have talked to about this have told me Good Luck... I know this is a pretty big deal, but I think it needs to be done. I have an intern who is going to help me do it. He is in seminary and is supposed to be an excellent Biblical researcher. I have already laid down the major themes I want to cover, and this week him and I are going to layout the calendar for the next 7 years. I am praying that this will work out like I have planned. If all goes they way I want, then I will have a rotating 7 year lesson schedule to use, which will make planning all that easier, plus it will be easier for all the other teachers (Sunday School, small groups, etc) to be in line with what we are teaching.

My goal is to have the main topic covered during Youth Group (Sunday Night), then on Wednesday & Sunday Morning (small groups) they will reiterate what we talked about on the Sunday Night before. We will also have information to give to the parents at the start of each month or lesson series that they can use to open discussion between them and their students. This would be things like devotion topics, prayer topics, questions to ask, etc.

I will be updating my blog and site with our progress. I am hoping to get a couple years done before the holidays start. Just depends on how fast we can get things together...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mel Brooks kick...

I guess tonight I am on a Mel Brooks kick. Most of the time on Sunday Night I just come downstairs and work on some little stuff that I missed during the week. I also do the attendance for the week, etc. We have a pretty good size DVD collection but almost all of them I have seen many times over.

Anyways, tonight I put in Robin Hood: Men in Tights to play while I work and then when it was over, I put in Spaceballs. Both very funny movies (even after many viewings) by Mel Brooks. This gives me time to relax after a busy Sunday.

I am actually going to take my day off tomorrow. I didn't take a day last week, not an entire day, then the family and I are going to see a preview of "The Game Plan" tomorrow night. We haven't been to the movies in a while, so I am excited. I get preview requests all the time and this was one of the first I followed through on. I hope that it is good....

Wondering Thoughts...

There are many times that I question my calling. Whether I truly should be working with students or not. Most of the time it is because something I have planned didn't go well. I get pretty upset with myself if an event doesn't go as planned. I usually try to cover all the bases when planning my events, so if it doesn't turn out right, I begin to question myself or the loyalty of the students.

Such an event occurred this weekend. I planned to try to have a concert the first Friday of each month to help bring kids into the church in a non-threatening environment. We have had 3 such concerts so far and the number of attendees is dropping each time. We have gone from 100, to 40 to 16 on Friday night. I am not sure what the problem was. I know kids are busy but I figured that a concert by a good band would be worth the visit. One Star Story was playing and they did a great job. Vanessa, Geno and crew put on a great show and are worthy of playing at any venue. We will definitely be having them back. I was upset that we put so much into the concert for only 16 people. I have a hard time justifying the cost of a concert against the number who come. I am still trying to figure out what went wrong. I know we aren't advertising as much as we can. I am going to try this week and touch base with the other youth pastors in the area and some other organizations to try to get more people involved.

I do worry about my students, in this group and previous, when I see them not take God and Church seriously. I believe church is an essential piece of being a Christian. Not a requirement but something that every Christian should do, but more and more I see students making the decision to do other things besides church and more and more parents allow them to do other things. I remember when I was growing up, I was always made to go to church. My mother pushed me hard. She did me and my sisters. I struggled a bit in college but then (obviously) got back into it. I just hate that so many students don't believe God is worth the time, but so many other things are. Our next lesson series is on Living God Loud, and what it means to live your life for God where people can see God in your life without you even saying a word.

Weekend Wrap-up 09/09/2007

Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: How Does Your Story End?: Revelation 22
Fun Factor: Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Averge
Music: Above Average
Lesson Quality: Above Average
Length of Lesson: 25 minutes
Student Response: Above Average

This week was much better than I thought it would be. I have struggled this week with all other kinds of issues and I didn't think tonight would go well. I guess God had other plans. Our praise band is coming along great. Bill is doing a great job with them, and the other kids are getting excited. We will continue to push them further with some new music.
Tonight we concluded our Joining the Story series. This begin during the summer with Creation and finished tonight with a look at Revelation. The whole point was for students to realize that we are much bigger than ourselves and part of the overall Christian story. God is continually writing this story and we must get on board if we want to have an abundant Christian life. I think the lesson was well received by the students and all of them seemed to like it.

Look for the video to be posted soon....

Monday, September 03, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 09/02/2007

Attendance: Below Average
Lesson Topic: The Great Escape: Acts 16:16-40
Fun Factor: Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Averge
Music: Above Average
Lesson Quality: Average
Length of Lesson: 25 minutes
Student Response: Average

Again, the difference between Jr High and Sr High is enough that I should be blogging about both. I will get there. Our attendance was way low. The holiday weekend really hit it us in our attendance, we had about 1/3 of our students there. I think the Jr High service went great for having so few students, but Sr High still needs some work.
We talked about being falsely accused of doing stuff and looking at Paul & Silas being thrown in jail under false lies because of a healing they did. As a big program we can easily become happy with where we are and allow the little things to bother us. We must always be looking forward and not allow satan a foot hold in our program. We must also follow the example of Paul & Silas and deal with all problems by finding the good in them and continuing to try to better ourself.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What to blog about?

So this week has been incredibly eventful for me and there are so many things I could blog about but I don't know where to start. Hopefully I will get to everything in the next few days. As a youth pastor I deal in all kinds of issues, especially when you are dealing with a group like mine.
The one thing I want to blog about more than anything. This week has really shown me that God is in control of all that is going on. On Thursday I got an email from a parent telling me that a friend of her son had a father who passed away. I didn't get many details until later. It seems the father of this boy had committed suicide at his office in the courthouse. I couldn't believe it. I can't imagine it. I have dealt with the loss of a father but not in those circumstances. I spent yesterday and today at the funeral and the viewing making sure someone was there to be with their 8th grader and 5th grader. I also took some time to be with my students who were affected. My heart went out to that family and all the friends he left behind...
I was surpsrised to find out that this man was a good family man who spent many days watching and spending time with his kids in their sports and their lives.

One of the questions that camw up was probably the same question that comes up anytime this happens. Do suicide victims go to heaven? How do you answer that to an 8th grader who just lost his father... The deeper part of this question is. cana single act take you out of Gods grace? If this man was a Christian who lived his life for God but in a moment of temptation took his own life. does he deserve hell? That isn't an easy question to answer. You can say yes because murder is a sin and suicide is murdering yourself. Or you can say no because God forgives us for our sins. Explining this to students will never be easy and never should be. The biggest thing to realoze is that God loves us all no matter what we have done. He doesn't look for ways to keep us out heaven. He wants as many as will accept Him. His grace is bigger than any sin we can committ and I think it even goes beyond suicide. We all have our moments of weakness and as much as we would like to see everything end happily, it doesn't always, but God is still God and His love overcomes everything.

Ray for the Easton family and their loss.