Friday, July 24, 2009


OK, so I've been following the blog "Indexed" for a little while. And although not every card is life-changing...most of them are funny, and do inspire some thought. This one today is pretty basic, but the discussion in the comments is worth reading in lieu of today's Health Insurance debacle. And I know that most of you that read this like to linger to either the right or the left...and that's fine...but I'm not looking for political debate. I found out political debates are worthless after the Palin/Biden debate...or lack thereof.

See the card and read the comments here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My own little Jedi Academy...

So when I started my job in October, I moved all my books from school and other various books that I've collected over the years into my office. On my bookshelf in my office there were already books there from the previous person, some good, some a waste of money, some I didn't even read the spine on. This book falls into the last category.

I was perusing my books this morning and found the book, "The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden" I know, long title. It piqued my interest. What's more interesting is that it's from the church library...and printed by The World Publishing Company and copyrighted in 1926. The introduction and preface were written by Dr. Frank Crane. At first I had reservations with having this collection of books on my shelf. It has various books in it like "The Gospel of the Birth of Mary", "The Protevangelion", and "I & II Clement". I know some of the excluded books weren't that bad, it's just they were excluded because their subject matter wasn't as universal as what was accepted. Also, there's the conflict of Gnosticism in most of the books written in the second, third, and fourth centuries and as Christians we're told to stay away from those heathen excluded books that may be the words of Satan himself! But then I read the Introduction and the Preface. Dr. Crane never had the books translated and published to push a Gnostic faith, rather he states in the Introduction:
As a believer in the authenticity of our accepted Scriptures I have no hesitancy in saying that I am perfectly satisfied to let the common sense of the world decide upon the superiority of the accepted text.

The publication of this book will do good because it takes away the veil of secrecy that has hidden for many years the act of the church in accepting certain Scriptures and rejecting others. All of the grounds are rendered perfectly intelligible to the common man.

So after reading this I thought, "Hey, I'll read some and see what it's all about."

Now I'll be perfectly honest, my Bible study times as of late have been a little sparse, and I'll admit I felt a bit guilty that I was so willing to read these other books written around the same time (supposedly about the same topics) of the "accepted Scriptures" and thought, "Why is it soooo easy to dive into this, but getting myself consistently in the Bible is like pulling fingernails?"

Sure I could chalk it up to the increased stresses of the new baby's impending arrival. I could even blame various events/people I've talked to/radio stations I listen to/things I read and say, "I'm getting my Bible through these various media..." But in all reality these pothole-crap-shoots of Bible aren't like really getting INTO the Bible. When I think of Bible study, it's not like studying the back of the Cap'n Crunch box at breakfast (read: lots of random messages all strewn together in a crappy version of Where's many Cap'n Hats Can YOU Find?). No no, studying the Bible should be like reading a good book...but then applying it to your life (like all those Star Wars books I've read...I'm THIS close to mastering my Force Push ability). Studying the Bible is reading the Bible, grasping the underlying concepts and themes, figuring out how they were applied back in the day, and then thinking, "Hmmm...I could do that!" and then DOING IT. You see, studying the Bible is the most active studying you can do. It's hands on. The Bible has countless lessons to be learned...and we can know them...but unless we're living them, they're worthless (like High School calculus). Come to think of it...studying the Bible is more like training to be a Jedi than getting an A in History. Our ENTIRE lives change when we study the Bible...and if they're not, put down your concordance, your parallel Bible, and cancel your subscription to Jesus Seminar Weekly: "Putting the Crazy in Exegesis" and get out and LIVE like the Bible tells us to. Bottom line, the person that knows it less but lives it more is closer to heaven than the person that knows it all but never takes a step.


Thursday, July 16, 2009


OK, so as we speak, this may be my last post for a little while, and i know what you're thinking, "You only post like once every week and a half or so, and sometimes it's some silly video on YouTube..." Right, well, sorry about that, but I can't be intellectual and write something relevant and worth while every day...what do you think this is? Stuff Christians Like? No no, that guy has like four people that write for him and has an endless subject matter...I only have me, myself and I, and random spurts of back off!

Alright. Moving on.

Today is Corrine's birthday, and the reason that I may not be posting for a while is because we are one and a half weeks away from her due date...soooooo...instead of writing short essays strewn with dry-backhanded humor that are funny yet carry a life-lesson at the end, I'll be changing diapers, helping my recovering wife, and honing my daughter's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skillz.

As I enter into this new endeavor of fatherhood, I feel a sense of excitement, fear, and anticipation. First the excitement...I love kids, I love playing with kids, I love talking with kids, I love kids...period. I love watching my good friend be a good father to his kids; wrestling with them, putting them to bed, spoiling them rotten with desserts when they're supposed to be in know, the things that all good fathers do. A lot of times (when he doesn't know it) I'm observing him...not really what he's doing or what he's not doing...but rather the facial and emotional reactions that I see. Now keep in mind...these cannot be faked, cannot be learned, and are the foremost indicator of someone's heart. I see it also in talking with my brother about my niece. My brother was a popular, cocky jock in high school and college; and to see his true colors come out helps me understand him even more. It's the same reason that fathers cry at their children's weddings, graduations, and individual achievements...pure, unadulterated love...THIS is what I'm excited about. I'm a sort of softy...I don't show it on the outside that much, but my heart-strings will be a chiming and my eyes will be leaking (cause men don't cry...right?) when Melody Mae gets here. But you know what, I'm okay with that. I'll be a blubbering idiot as she grows up, and as I help raise her. Which brings me to emotion #2: Fear.

Now I'm not afraid of my soon-to-be newborn. I'm not afraid that I won't be able to take care of her, provide for her, or help her as she grows up. But what I'm afraid of is her being taken from me. I'm afraid of being taken out of the protective role. I'm afraid of the day I have to give her away at her wedding (I know, that's like 25 years away...looks like a quarter-century of torture to me). I'm afraid that I will not be able to fulfill my fatherly duties. Don't get me wrong, if it's up to me I will raise the snot out of that child...but if something were to happen that would take me (or her) out of the picture and she had to raise herself it'd be close to unbearable. Okay...that may seem a little extreme...but think about having all of your power and responsibility stripped from's scary isn't it?

Now to emotion #3: anticipation. I expect each and every call from Corrine to be that of, "KYLE, COME GET ME!!! THE BABY'S COMING!!!" They haven't yet, but it's an anticipation that is crippling as each day passes. It seems like only last week that we found out she was pregnant. And I don't think it's actually hit me that I will have to help coach Corrine through labor. It's like preparing for the return of's something that's going to be awesome and amazing...but you have no idea as to when it's going to happen. At least with pregnancy you have a timeline. The only thing you can hope for is that the labor is as humorous as Bill Cosby explains it but not as terrifying.

All of this to say, I totally agree with my friends that say, "It will change your life FOREVER!" I know it will...but I'm excited for that. I can't wait for it to happen, yeah it's scary, but each and every moment up until this has prepared me for it. I know I know, how does Little League Baseball prepare you for fatherhood? I don't know...but I do know this. Each and every day we're confronted with lessons. Lessons that shape the very fiber of our humanity. Some shape us for the better, others worse. Some bless us, some taint us. But what if we approached life thinking that each and every situation has the capacity to change the course of time? What if we lived our lives as though the outcome would affect millions of lives? Think about it, you're walking down the sidewalk and come across a piece of litter, you bend down to pick it up and throw it away. At that exact moment, Little Jimmy who's playing outside across the street sees you and emulates you. Later that day Jimmy picks up litter in his back yard, his parents see him and all of a sudden a family is changed. Jimmy's family then starts branching out, getting an Adopt-a-Highway section. Jimmy's family's reaction to litter then inspires their neighbors to do more to clean up their community. All of a sudden you have an entire city changing city-policy around litter which then inspires the county to do more. You can see how quickly things can escalate! Do they always happen this way? No...but it's not outside the realm of possibility...or even probability. This is why I say we need to live like we're going to change the world...because there's always someone watching us (not in the Big Brother way, but the being in public way). And how we act and react to certain situations will either bless or taint the observer. I DO have faith in humanity, sure some of us are nutcases, but that just means the rest of us need to pick up their slack! So go out, be a blessing to others! Greatest Commandment #2: Love your Neighbor!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Your Tuesday Morning J4F (Just For Fun)

OK, I've stumbled across something that's hovers in the realm of Ultimately Awesome!

This video captures the essence of YM and youth pastors...check it out, and after you're done laughing let me know what you think and how many stereotypes you happen to fall in to...

EDIT: I tallied 17 including the pealing out of the church van at the end of the video...what's your score?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The dregs...the dregs...

OK, so I've had a week that has been awe-inspiring, yet emotionally taxing. A little insight as to where I've been the past week. Saturday, June 20th, the youth and I went on a short term mission trip to Charleston, WV...not going to was probably the best mission trip that I've ever been on. Had a nice chat with four Ohio Highway Patrolmen on the way out, got it all cleared up, and had a phenomenal week. We went with an organization called YouthWorks. Basically, groups from all over the country come together at one location and split up and work with various charity organizations, boys and girls clubs, whatever. We spend the week working with people or doing any number of jobs. The Charleston site this year was predominantly relational ministry; there weren't many physical labor things to do. Both of the groups that my youth worked with were different Boys and Girls clubs. So the week progressed, the kids built relationships with these kids, then we left and drove all the way back to MN. Like I've said, the trip was great, the kids invested themselves into these kids and the community, built relationships with other youth that we were working with, and at the end of the week we had a foot washing ceremony that was a primo time to get in some awesome prayer with my youth. Tears were streaming everywhere, Kleenex could have made a killing that day.

So I've back in my office on Tuesday, racing to finalize things for our monthly community youth gathering that's tonight. I come to work today, get a phone call from a friend that had a moment of weakness last night. Got another phone call from a youth that just graduated and wants to sit and talk because she didn't get accepted into the Guards. Talked with a friend about some massive life events that effect him and another mutual friend. All of this to's been a rough couple days back! But here's my point. I often wonder why youth pastors generally burn out after 12-18 months. I wonder if it's just they have overloaded schedules, or if they can't handle the expectations from the church/parents/youth, or if they are just using it as a fun temporary job before they move on to something else. But I think a large part of why people burn out of youth ministry (and ministry as a whole) is because they do not know how/want to deal with the crap that comes with the job. I'm not talking about the low pay, high expectations, lack of support, or terrible volunteers. What I'm talking about is the crap that comes with having to be open, honest, and present to those who need you to be. Now I stated before that the trip was great, and it was, but it was very emotionally exhausting being that vulnerable with the youth. And then to return and be an open ear to those needing to talk. It's a big deal, and emotionally taxing putting yourself out there for so many people...but how else can we do it? If we are not emotionally vulnerable to those that we are to minister to, we can only help them confront surface not returning the extra change that the cashier gave us, or feeling guilty we didn't stop the kid that stole a candy bar from Wal Mart. What about the deeper issues, the ones that if left to fester will systematically destroy a person? I'm talking about the deep dark secrets we ALL hide in order to save face, but ultimately are growing roots deep inside leaving nothing but a gaping hole for a heart and an overtly cold shoulder.

I once told Corrine shortly after I started working at the church that, "I finally felt like a pastor today. Someone came in and I had to help them through some big things..." I said it with a sense of pride...and I've regretted it ever since. How dare I find happiness in someone else's sorrow! I have kept a close check on these things ever since. And I can tell you, the WORST part about youth ministry is the crap that you have to help people through. Don't read that as me complaining about helping people, I'm not. What I'm saying is that I hate the stuff people go through, I hate people suffering, I hate the ambiguity that the future brings and that most things are not reconciled, and I HATE that repentance is oftentimes a life long process.

People may say, "All you have to offer is God's love." But I say shame on you! If all you're offering is God's love, how are the people that don't know God supposed to think of love? As distant? Or worse, absent? Is found in a book? Cannot be offered by people? Most times the only way people can even start to grasp the concept of love is by being loved first by someone else. A lot of times the only doorway to God's love is through us. We are vessels of God's love, not a handy pamphlet explaining God's love. If we keep our hearts closed to others, how are we supposed to open them to God?