Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Toy

Now that we have moved to the midwest, we have the ability to do more skiing. This year I have two outings planned where I would have had to rent a snowboard. Well, I ended up buying a new snowboard the other day. This will save me a couple hundred dollars a year since we have ski mountain just down the street.

I took one of my students with me to pick out the board. We visited a couple different stores and looked at several different types and sizes. He gave me the information I needed on what size is best, how wide it needed to be and what bindings and boots to buy. I was pretty stoked as we were shopping around. After about 3 hours I ended up buying a Burton Bullet, Burton Custom Bindings and Burton Tribute boots. Burton is supposed to be one of the best board makers out there, so I am stoked about getting this board within my budget. I got it all home (like a little kid) and put it together and played around with it. Then I drug it to church so I could show everyone there.

All in all, I am happy. I can't wait for the snow to fall so I can try it out for real. My kids are also excited because I promised them we would go skiing this winter. They have little cheap snowboards that we got at Target...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 11/25/2007

Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Living God Loud: Soul Purpose: I Sam 16 & 17
Fun Factor: Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Average
Music: Below/Above Average
Lesson Quality: Average
Length of Lesson: 25
Student Response: Above Average

We finished out Living God Loud series this Sunday. A series was supposed to be only 6 weeks turned into 10 because of interruptions in my schedule. I think overall the series went OK in what I wanted to accomplish. I am hoping that students know think more about what it means to Live God Loud and to strive to put Christ in their life, rather than just living. I think we are really starting to move in the right direction. I think the ministry has some great teachers for Sunday School and Bible Study and the students like that. I am seeing a shift in the students who are attending, we have several new kids who are now coming consistently and are really enjoying the service.

Our next series will be short (3 weeks) and will revolve around the Characters of Christmas. Focusing on the different players and ending with a special off-site trip...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Reign Over Me: Movie Review

Reign Over Me was a great movie. I was hesitant to see this movie. I like both actors (not always Sandler) and it looked like something I might watch. Once I found out that it had a R rating, I decided against watching it in the movies. I am sorry I waited to watch it. This was a great movie. I was very impressed with the acting from both Adam and Don. This was probably the first serious character that Adam played that I have seen.

The premise of the movie (Watch out for spoilers) is that Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) is a dentist with a great life, possibly too good. His marriage has become mundane and predictable. His wife Janeane (Jada Pinkett Smith) and him have lost some of the spark that happened in the early part of their marriage. Enter Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler). Charlie enters the movie in what seems to be a crazy person on a scooter. As the story unfolds we learn that Charlie's wife and kids were lost in one of the planes of 9/11. Alan rekindles the friendship he had with Charlie while they were both in dental school and slowly unravels the mystery that is Charlie Fineman. Alan begins to spend a bunch of time with Charlie and does his best to befriend him and help him whenever he can. You can tell that Charlie is suffering from nothing more than a broken heart, and the movie ends with some breakthroughs in Charlie's life. There were other characters that appeared in this movie:
Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Saffron Burrows

Like I said, I loved this movie. Not only was it an original, it had a great story to go with it. The writer/director Mike Binder did a great job in creating a story with interesting characters that worked well together. I was intrigued throughout the entire movie and moved by the love in Charlie's heart after the loss of his family. The only problem I might have with this movie is the language. I don't think it was way out there, but it was there. Most of it is what you would hear in a non-secular conversation in New York.

I would recommend this to any adult to see it. I would be cautious of recommending it to a teenager just because of the language. I think this movie had some great points when it comes to communication and how we deal with problems. Alan has marriage problems because he isn't able to talk to his wife. He doesn't know how to display his feelings with his wife and his business partners. Obviously, Charlie has problems communicating his feelings of the loss of his wife and kids. I watched this movie having no idea how I would respond if that was me. I could completely see what happened to him and I would be the same way. Another great point of the movie is having someone to talk to. Charlie really befriends Alan because he didn't know his family. Alan was someone who wouldn't ask him questions that would remind him of his family. But as much as Charlie needs Alan, Alan needed Charlie. Alan needed to have someone to talk to and help him see what he was missing.

I am pretty sure I will use some clips from this movie in future lessons. I could think of a couple topics that would work...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving...

Happy Turkey Day to everyone... Just wanted to shout out to everyone out there.

I am thankful for everything that God has given us. This is our first Turkey Day in KC and we had a great time at our Pastors house. So much has changed since last year and I am so glad.

What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 11/18/2007

Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Living God Loud: Can I Get a Witness? I Peter 3:8-16
Fun Factor: Average
Volunteer Involvement: Below Average
Music: Above Average
Lesson Quality: (Jr High) Above Average/ (Sr High) Below Average
Length of Lesson: 25
Student Response: Above Average (Depends)

Tonight was a rather interesting night. Having two services is always interesting because you usually make some adjustments after the first and then the second is better. Tonight it was backward. The Jr High service was good, but the Sr hight was not as good. They seemed very distracted and not wanting to be there, almost bored. We are almost done with our Living God Loud series and talked about Witnessing. Most of the time our witness is the lifestyle we live and how those around us, see who we are. Peter tells us to always be ready to get an answer for why we have hope and that is something our students need to be prepared for. Their friends are looking for something real and something to believe in, but if our lives don't tell our story, then our mouths surely won't.

I will wrap up this series next week and begin some holiday series...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Taking the Day Off

Mondays are normally my day off. The last few I've spent working. What can I say, I love what I do. It is weird not working when everyone else is. Beth works now, so I can't hang out with her. I have figured out that not taking my day off can really have an affect on me. I get bogged down in stuff and seemed to become somewhat depressed or lethargic.

I know that taking a day off is important. I am supposed to be off on Saturdays, but in youth ministry that seems to be the default day to do things, so that is out of the window. God tells us to take the Sabbath off, but I "work" on the Sabbath so I really need to make sure and keep mine on Monday.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up 11/11/2007

Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: No, You Hang Up!
Fun Factor: Average
Volunteer Involvement: Average
Music: Average (Used videos)
Lesson Quality: Average
Length of Lesson: 35
Student Response: Above Average

Finally, I am back. We continued the Live God Loud series in talking about Prayer. One of the easiest and most important part of our Christianity, and most of us rarely do it. Sure we send up quick prayers to God when we need help or when we think about it, but most of us don't have any kind of real prayer life. A prayer life that is consistent and worthy. I struggle through this also. Not always coming to God just to talk but when I am in a hurry and need his help. Jesus gave us an example to pray in Luke 11:1-4, a prayer that all of us learned in Sunday School. There are many reasons that we don't pray. Sometimes we are afraid, don't know what to say, too busy or just don't think it is important. We think our prayers are just words that go into the air, sometimes to come through and sometimes not. We don't fully understand that God who hears those prayers and wants to answer them.
We ended the service by standing in a circle and holding candles. Mine was lite and before I lite another students, I prayed for him. The students were also told that once they had a lighted candle, that they were to pray for another student and then go light their candle. I think most of them took it seriously, some just kind of played around but hopefully they got something out of it. Mostly, they know that at least one person prayed for them today.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Emerging Church

One of the sessions I sat in at NYWC was about Theology and the Emerging church. Actually it was 2 seminars and a forum. I found it very interesting. I wasn't sure what to expect because I didn't know a lot about the Emerging church or movement, and I still have a lot to learn about it. The seminars I sat in were just one man's perspective and he doesn't seem to be saying the same things as some of the other leaders in that group.

The emerging church seems to be very similar to a house movement, pulling away from the denominations into smaller groups of people. At the very far end, the Emergent church is a small group of people who discuss what the Bible means, how God moves and other theological thoughts. There is no "pastor" or leader. Services are normal except that the discussion happens between everyone there and no one person runs the show. The role of the pastor is no longer, people are allowed to make their own theological discoveries whether good or bad.

Now some of you may not see a problem with that, but I do. I believe that everyone can interpret the Bible how that want, but that doesn't make them right. While sitting in these classes, the words egotistical keep coming to my mind. Like how are we supposed to determine who is right and who is wrong. And I know that sounds weird, but that was almost the impression I got from my classes. So we will see. I am looking more into this movement to see how people take it in. I am part emergent movement in that I believe not everyone learns about God the same way, or prays the same way, but I am not to the point of abandoning denominational churches just yet. I guess I believe on working from within to change...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Backing up 1 terrabyte

So how do you back up 1 terrabyte of data. On our home machine I have 4 hard drives that give me a little more than 1 terrabyte of data. We have tons of music, movies, applications, pictures, documents and everything else you can think of storing on a pc. Well a couple of weeks ago, we lost it all. We had a hard drive crash (40 gig) that held our Operating System and all the installed programs we had. Somehow in the process of trying to reinstall Windows, I lost all the data on the 40 gig and a 250gig hard drive that held all our applications, documents and pictures.

I initially thought that was all we lost. Luckily (if you can call it luck) we had some backups, about 10 dvds) that held most of it. We did lost a lot but not all. So I went through the process of transferring everything from the DVD's to our hard drive. I still had my other two SATA drives to get up and running. It seems during the move, I lost the driver install cd's for my motherboard. This wasn't a huge issue but I didn't have the drivers for the raid card which controlled the sata connectors. So I kept putting it off till I had time to try to find the disk or the drivers. Tonight I figured I would get it done. I went to the controller website and got the drivers, installed them and tried to get the hard drives to work. Well, they didn't. Windows kept asking me to format them. I was not happy at all.

I was headed to church so I thought I would take the drives there and see if I could get the data off with our new pc's. That didn't work either. It hit me. I lost over 500 gigs of music and movies. All the backup's I had for my dvd's. I also realized I would spend the next 3-6 weeks re-ripping all our music back to the hard drive. I have emailed Apple to see if (by the grace of God) they would let me redownload all the music I have purchased from them. Otherwise I have lost a lot of money...

Live and learn I guess. Next weekend I will spend a bunch of time burning my stuff to new dvds in case this happens again. I am also looking to buy an external hard drive to store our data so we don't have this issue again.

Rules to live by... always backup your data, no matter how much you have. The extra time you spend can save you a lot of time and money...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Envy by doug fields

I really did learn a lot while at the NYWC Conference. (Since the church paid for it, I am sure they are glad I did) I enjoyed the different main speakers we had. I didn't watch all of them, but Doug Fields was one I wanted to see. Doug has done a lot for Youth Ministry and I was interested to see him in person.

Anyway, his talk was about envy within the Youth Ministry community. One of easiest traps to fall into as a youth pastor is seeing people who have it better than you. They have a bigger church, more kids, bigger budget, laptop, a great and supportive pastor, etc. We tend to look at others and want what they want. Always thinking the grass is greener on the other side. I have worked in various churches. Small, medium and large. My former church didn't have a youth budget at all, we ran it on the donation of a single person. Before that, my church had a smaller budget but seemed sufficient. Right now, I feel that God has put me in the perfect position. I love my church and what I do. I have a great budget and a very supportive pastor/staff. My parents are excited about what we are doing and try to help as much as possible. Hearing all that, you wouldn't think I would be envious of anyone. I have it all and should be doing great, but we have our problems. Bigger doesn't always mean better, sometimes it is just bigger.

I look at other churches that are bigger than us and wish we could do what they do. One church we use as an example of where we can be is Rezlife @ Church of the Resurrection. Their youth pastor, Jason Gant, is a great guy. He runs a good ministry and does a lot to keep it going. Me and my staff look at what they do and use them as examples. I don't think we envy them in a major way, but they do some things we would like to do.

Doug has always been very open about not trying to copy exactly what he does because he is at a larger church, but says to always take it and adapt it to your ministries certain situation. I can understand how youth pastors can envy other ministries. We all do it. In life, work, family and everything else in life. Maybe that is why God added the commandment to not covet...

NYWC Day 2

This day was a little more relaxing than yesterday. I got to sleep in
this morning and take my time getting to the conference. I skipped
the early morning seminar and first session. There wasn't much that
interested me, so I took some time to myself.
One of the session I went to was with Tony Jones and talking about the
Emergent/Emerging Church. Now unless you are in youth ministry you
probablyh hve no idea what that is or why I would be concerned about
it. The funny thing is, there is no hard definition for what it is.
that was something I was hoping to get answered this weekend amd why I
went to the session. Tony was one of the most interesting sessions I
went to because he got beyond programs and into the thinking of how
you define your theology or even what your theology is. I have always
loved learning more of the 'why' we do things than the how. I love
asking the question, 'why are bad words bad?' because most people
don't have a good answer to it beyond saying that someone or society
told them so.
To me that is the Emerging curch. Ask the qustion of why we do things
in the churc and how does that affect or life. I fit into that camp,
maybe not as much as Tony and the rest of the movement but to a point.
I believe in questioning why we do things in worship, why we believe
what we do about God and Jesus, is the Bible real and how do we know
and many other things. Tony seems to think that takes you out of the
denominational group, to a point. 8 am not sure I got it all but that
might be the point.

Will blog more...

--
Roy E. Probus Jr
Youth Pastor @ Platte Woods Church
Cell: 816.522.2946
Blog: http://soulshaper.blogspot.com

Friday, November 02, 2007

What is Discipleship

I started this post during the National Youth Workers Convention and never sat down to finish it. I am not totally sure where I wanted to go or why even write this, but I figured I would finish it.

Discipleship to me is the building of a relationship with Jesus Christ through learning. I know this probably isn't the best definition or even correct, but that is what I think. I have always tried to find the best approach for discipling students, to help them know more than I do. Discipleship is more than a Wednesday Night Bible study or Sunday School or even Worship. Discipleship is what a youth ministry should be. Everything that is done within the youth ministry should be about teaching our students to grow deeper in Christ.

As a youth pastor, my job is to help students know Christ more. To lead them on their journey and with Gods help, give them the tools they need as they leave my ministry and go into the "real world". When I was at Covenant and up until that point, a lot of what I did was trial and error. I would come up with an idea that I thought was great, sometimes they would work and other times they wouldn't. Here at Platte Woods, I am trying to do my best at making the entire program work and flow together. This would include all the events we do, the games we play, the music we listen to and our themes in our lessons. We are getting there slowly.

To be a true Disciple of Christ is more than just lip service. Teaching students to be disciples is even harder. Most students (especially in my group) have been there and done that. Whether they have attending church their whole lives, or have known friends who have or who just don't care, showing them the how/why/where/whats of Discipleship isn't that easy and takes real work. Our ministry is trying to be very calculated in what we are doing to make sure that we balance out everything. We try to make it fun, but you still learn. Exciting but Jesus centered. Creative but still focused.

I believe that we as youth leaders need to remember why we are doing what we are doing. I know too many youth pastors (myself sometimes) who get caught in the doing and forget to think about the whys and the who's. Discipleship is all about getting closer to God, not playing the latest game or using the latest technology.

Day 1 in the books

Well, I finished my first convention day around 10pm. Not as late as I thought I would be out but I bailed on the worship service before it was over. I have mixed feelings about the convention. I was bored for a bit. Having no one to talk to while walking the store and exhibit hall was pretty sad. I did get some really cool stuff, 3 shirts (1 I am wearing), pens, Frisbee and a button and other odd and end stuff.

I was hoping to get online when I got back to the hotel but I guess high priced hotels don't have free internet. go figure. so I just relaxed for a few minutes before going to bed. Was kind of nice not being glued to the internet.

Today will be cool though because the conference actually begins and we have some great sessions lined up. I am looking forward to hearing from some of the big names in youth ministry and getting some great ideas.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Shallow world

I just finished my first session at NYWC. Deep Ministry in a Shallow World. I started reading the book this week because I know I would be in this seminar. I was amazed at some of the stuff we talked about and what that means for my ministry. Some of the things they talked about I knew bout or had an idea but some of it just floored me. I almost cried in hearing about how we as adults are hurting our kids and causing all kinds of problems for them.

Now that isn't sayking all the problems are all the fault of the adults but we do play a big part. We are selfish in how we put pressure on students to fit into our box and what we believe how students should act. I am amazed but also saddened. We as adults and parents (myself included) really need to think about the pressures and expectations that we are putting on our kids. Are we giving them the tools to make it in this world? Do we even know the world they are living in? So many parents I know have a very small clue of what their student is actually going thru and base their expectations on how they (The parent) had to deal with as a teenager.

I am excited about the rest o this seminar and then finishing reading the book. I know this will/has changed the way I do ministry.

NYWC 2007

So this weekend I am in St Louis for the National youth Workers Convention. This is 4 days of training, worship and fellowship with other youth leaders. This is my first time doing this and I am extrememly excited. I am looking forward to here some new ideas and ways that I can bring back amd make my group that much better. We have some struggles in the group and hopefully something this weekend will help my bring things together.

I am hoping that next year I won't be by myself and can bring some of my team here. Our budget has some money for that training.

Look for updates throughout the conference and I as go to the different training sessions...

Free 'Stuff from Sermonspice.com

I love getting free stuff. I have a huge collection of backgrounds and other media that I have collected from all over the internet. I get lesson plans, and ideas for free from wherever I can.

There is one site I use that gives a free video each month and is also offering another free gift for me just blogging about them. Sermonspice.com is a great place to get videos, countdowns and loops to use in your sermon, lesson or talk. I have bought a bunch of different items from them, as well as downloaded their free stuff when it is available. As a church we have started using them also, so that pastor can "spice" up his sermon.

But the reason I am blogging about it is that I get a free $20 gift for doing so. :)