Sunday, May 31, 2009

The limitations of sleep...

OK, so it's been kind of a marathon this week. And there's no end in sight until a week from today. So it's going to be a lot of loss of sleep and dragging my feet. I've been running around trying to finish preparing VBS, I have missions team training the next three Sunday's, AND to top it all off, I have Daddy/Mommy class Saturday; oh, and did I mention that this week is the kick-off to our ecumenical youth services? Yeah, an idea that me and another guy are kind of spear-heading (not to say it's all us, but rather has been hugely helped along by the rest of the members of WAYMA). SO, at the end of it I going to have any energy? I don't know...but I DO know one thing for sure...sleep and coffee aren't going to cut it.

What? Who would ever make a bold statement that sleep and coffee can't fulfill the energy requirements of such a packed schedule? I would, that's right, it's a bold statement, especially for those of us that are addicted to coffee.

I came to this revelation today. All this week I've been tired. Between the countless hours at work, babysitting my 1 year old niece all day Friday, high school graduation parties, and the on-set of a mild illness (I don't know which one's just kind of yucky right now); I've gotten the sleepies. Oh I was in church, don't get me wrong, I was there, gave two announcements even. I listened and yawned often. It was tough! But then afterward we had our mission team training...and here's where I discovered the wellspring of energy that will sustain my busy schedule through the month of June...loving your job. I am, as most of you know, a youth pastor...and I LOVE my job. Not just coming to work...that could drain your soul right out of you. Rather being with youth. We had an hour of team training this afternoon and coming out of that time I feel more awake that if I'd have had 13 hours of sleep last night...of which I did NOT get! You see, I've found, since I've been working at the church, that I've felt most alive and awake doing what I love. And it doesn't have to be youth ministry...but rather loving what you're doing at any given moment. I know there are times that dictate a less than desirable situation, but I ask you, is it the work that sucks or is it something else? When I worked at the tractor salvage, was it the heavy lifting, welding, shipping, inventories, disgruntled customers that made the job suck? NO, it was my attitude that made it suck...and the fact that other employees' attitudes also sucked. There were times that I loved working at the tractor salvage. Who doesn't love welding, driving huge machinery, or shaking the hand of a man that provides food to the world? (I know, that last one is a big statement, but it's true.) Anywho, this is just an encouragement to love what you're doing, even if it sucks...cause if you don't love it worth doing? And if you HAVE to do it, isn't it worth loving?

My $.02.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

For my political friends...

OK, i don't want to start a political war at all...they're stupid, especially when they occur within the realms of blog posts/, this is not to stir up any ill-feelings towards me or my friends...this is just something that i was contemplating last night. i don't know what brought it on...yes, i have been reading Red Letter Christian by Tony Campolo, but haven't read a page since mid-week last week (until this afternoon that is). now conservative friends, brace yourselves...liberal friends, brace yourselves.

i am pro-life...but not the traditional, "if you have an abortion, you are the most vile specimen of human life known to man..." no no, I'm more the, "yeah, it's a baby from conception, there are certain in-alienable rights that it should have...there are highly useful options other than abortion for this child...but ultimately it's your decision," way.

but here is an issue that not many pro-lifers take time to think about...universal health care. yeah i know, what does that have to do with unborn babies? well, since I'm pro-life and believe that ALL life should be protected, it only makes sense that there is either a) universal health care which provides each person, young and old, medical care to live; or b) massive health care system restructuring that would manifest itself in procedural caps in medical care which would make ALL health care affordable to ALL US citizens.

sounds like I've got my feet on both sides of the fence right? well, i believe you can't have one without the other. if the conservatives have their way and make abortions illegal, then they CANNOT oppose universal health care. one of the leading reasons babies are aborted is because of the lack of ability, financial and emotional, to care for this child and raise it to be a fully functioning part of society. SO, if you are going to mandate that a child be born but refuse to support/pass universal health care legislation, you are almost guaranteeing that child be brought up in a less than healthy environment, which will just perpetuate a cycle of poverty and poor choices. why would you force someone into poverty for the sole reason of a poor choice made with the assistance of hormones and passion?

of all of this i know these things:
a)abortion alternatives should be the foundation of the pro-life movement, NOT anti-abortion legislation.
b)the health care financial structure is run by more crooks than Wall Street, the greatest economic stimulus package could start with an overhaul of the medical world's billing system...$20 for a tube of lotion? really? an industry that is vital to the nation's well-being cannot operate on fiscal endeavours, rather it has to be operated with the greater good in mind.
c)you may agree or disagree, but i implore you to be consistent in your faith, be consistent in your politics.

my $.02

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ways my education has failed me...

ok, this is NOT a rant about my YM education in any way. i actually value my YM training at OHCC and various YS events. what this IS, is a fun little post for all youth pastors to post various names of classes that were not required in formal YM training that may have come in handy. if you add one or two, have fun with it and give a good description of the class and if you're really ambitous write a short story/reference as to why this particular class would be useful.

here's my list thus far:

1. Graphic Design 301 - After completing GD 101 & 204, you will expand your design skills beyond the clip/word art tools within various word processors. You will take your paintbucket/paintbrush skills that you learned from MS Paint and better develop them into a higher quality GD program such as Photoshop or GIMP. (we all know where this one comes can't have crap advertisements and believe that kids can't tell the difference between your ad that looks like the clip art monster threw up on it and the church down the road that has a graphic designer as a YM volunteer. you need to represent, son!)

2. Computer Science 204 - Required for those working in churches with an average congregant age >40. This class is to teach you the in's and out's of word processing format tools, email configuration, hardware and software installation, and local area network layout. if you take this class with an emphasis in sound technology (which is required if the average age of your church congregant is >50) you will learn the in's and out's of sound boards, sound mixing, microphone set up, and room acoustics. (Let's face it you ARE the youngest person employed by the church by at least 20 years. You are the only one on staff that grew up with technology and are thus deemed as the "go-to" guy/gal concerning all things technology.)

3. Party Planning 105 - This class is a supplement to Event Planning 102. in PP105 you will learn how to plan, advertise, and execute a party with minimal ministry impact and which is also commonly referred to as, "something nice to do for them..." Everything from meal planning, RSVP accumulating, party execution, and efficient clean-up strategies will be covered.

4. Vending Machine Maintenance and Repair 203 - VMMR203 will teach you the tools you need to know to maintain and repair a vending machine. It will teach you how to de-jam the coin slot using less than desirable tools, efficient loading strategies, and how to keep that ol' can-machine-that-the-pop-company-has-forgotten-about running to maximize said machine's lifespan.

5. MMA Rules and Regulations 101 - MMARR101 will teach you the rules, regulations, and how to identify/execute various submission holds. It will teach you dangerous sharp edges/corners to keep an eye out for during an impromptu match. And will also introduce you to various MMA/UFC fighters so you can be relevant to your UFCer youth.

that's just a few...what classes do you wish YOU had?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Seeing Red? no no, living Red...

ok, so there are two different books that i've been devouring as of late. yes, i know, over-achiever. but i have found that i need to read two books at a time so that i don't get bored with either one. the first book that i'm reading is Sacrifice by Karen's a star wars book...i know, nerd. but that's the magic of reading two books...the first is a fictional, impactless book that is for pure watching saturday morning cartoons. but it's a good addition to the nine-book for all you star wars nerds (and i'm one of them), check it out.

the second (and the reason for this post) is Red Letter Christians by Tony Campolo. let me tell you, this book is rocking my world right now. yes, it's a political book. yes, it slaps hard-right, republican-christians in the face...but yes it also gives a swift kick to far-left liberals. it does come off as more of a liberal book...BUT, Campolo is well informed on the issues he describes and presents sound advice and guidance. but the point is not to sway one to the right or to the left on all topics. rather, it is to encourage each christian (especially those that want to call themselves evangelical but are uncomfortable with the far-right flavor that comes with it) to explore their stance on hot-button issues. as campolo says in the book, "At election time when you are asked, 'Are you a Democrat or a Republican?' your answer should be, 'Name the issue!' On any specific social or political issue, you must be ready and willing to work out which party and/or candidate best represents your convictions." this book encourages christians to approach each issue with the knowledge and wisdom of Christ...hence the name, red letter in, the red letters in a bible are the words of a red letter christian is one that bases his politics on the words of Christ...NOT the words of hard-right evangelical republicans...or far left "feel good Jesus" christians.

anywho, it's a good book (so far, i'm only half-way through and it's proving to be another Campolo masterpiece). and if you don't think so, or are questioning me...go out and read it...then we can debate.

IF, you happen to buy into this guy...or this will more than likely NOT like this don't bother, you're already tipping the scales of crazy.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh the bitter taste of nostalgia...

ok, a little back story.

corrine and i moved down the Heron Lake back after the summer of '07. we had both graduated from college the previous spring and worked at camp during the summer. well, when we moved out of bemidji, we had a full uhaul and truck of boxes that got moved into the house we live in now.

they sat in the back room from that time until just recently. we never felt good about unpacking them because we thought our time in the house was temporary as we were both looking for jobs that may take us out of the area. well, two years later, we both have jobs we love, are living in the same house, and have a room that looks like the warehouse from indiana jones (i actually do wonder if we have the ark stuffed in a box in there somewhere).

SO, since we don't have any plans to move anymore, it's time to brave the unknown and tackle "The Back Room" (((((scary echo))))).

last thursday we both devoted much of the night to pulling boxes out of the room and going through them. it's not an easy task going through boxes of stuff that you deemed important, but really want to just get rid of. there were a lot of memories in those boxes, a lot of memories since those boxes, and going through them brought back things that seemed like a lifetime ago. for instance, we both had a lot of high school stuff in those boxes as both our parents were ready to unload that stuff as soon as we got our own place in bemidji. so we were going through the boxes, deciding which memories were worth physical reminders, and which memories didn't make the "legend" list. i threw away a lot of pictures from high school, prom, my first couple years at college. mostly because they weren't of anything monumental enough, or trying to explain all the people/places/events that are in the picture would take way too much time and most people wouldn't care anyways. but what struck me while i was going through those boxes, looking at all those pictures, remembering everything that happened...i noticed something. of course i remembered the events, not every detail, but the memory was there. but then i started looking at the faces...mine in particular. now, i've known my face for a long time, i've looked at it many times (almost daily) over the course of my years. but looking back only 7-10 years i noticed that back in the day, i looked very very confident, happy, unwavering. and i think, well, back then i didn't have that much to worry taxes, no deep relationships other than my family, no debt, didn't really worry about what was happening in the of course i'll look untouchable. but then i got thinking further and wondered if this was God giving me a visual lesson of the "Do Not Worry" parable that Christ gives. a side by side comparison can clearly show that back in the day, when i didn't care about much at all, i looked like i was at peace. now i think of all the things i have to worry about with work, at home, with my family, with the youth, and i feel like i'm melting like Palpatine did in Episode 3 (i know, lame star wars comparison).

but then the question arises, which is worse, worrying about all these things, or allowing yourself to be ignorant and indifferent. aren't we supposed to care for our brothers and sisters? aren't we supposed to make our biggest concerns God and our neighbors? how do we approach life without worrying about it? especially now when you need a helping hand to really start your life after college/high school. i know corrine and i would be SOL if it weren't for close friends and family. but maybe that's where the faith comes that it will all work out. so when i read Matthew 6 i can't help but think to myself, "Dee Dee Dee!"

i know one thing, i am NOT who i was ten years ago, i am NOT indifferent, i refuse to be ignorant, and i am striving to refuse the crap of life it's strangle-hold on me...also i know this:

If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Matthew 6: 25-34, The Message

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

i know...mad skillz...with a Z

ok, no real point to this except that it'll brighten your day...maybe encourage you to get your dancing shoes on...BUT THIS IS A NO GRINDING ZONE!!!

(and yes i know in my last post that most feats of awesome on the internet are fake...but i'm really hoping this one is not)


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

simple object lesson...

ok, so i enjoy watching mythbusters...not really because i ponder all these urban legends/displays of idiocy. but rather, who wouldn't want to see what lighting 1 million match heads on fire looks like (brian i have an idea...)?

anywho, last night (i think the original air was 4/29) mythbusters was on, they were building a 7 foot tall lego ball and were going to roll it down a hill to try and bust this myth.

This is what happened.

lessons we learned from this:
a)what you see on the internet (especially great feats of victory) may be (and probably are) fake.
b)no matter how hard you try, crushing a car with legos is near impossible.
and finally, most importantly...
c)life is like the lego ball rolling down the hill...the mythbusters video is like going down the hill of life alone, without God and the hope/love of get going, things look good, but then...EPIC FAIL! BUT if you have Christ in your life, it's like the indiana jones lego ball video (no, not faked...that's not the point i'm trying to make), you get rolling, get may hit some turbulence (aka, a car) but in the end, you come out with little damage and able to roll down another hill the next day.

have a great day!