Wednesday, September 30, 2009

YM as a MT?

I admit it. I am guilty, 100% guilty. I fell for it, I bought into it, I totally invested into it and was completely and utterly emotionally destroyed last week when I had a killer evening planned for youth group. I planned for 15 (which is a high number for our church) and was completely ready just in case I had a couple of extra people come. I was excited to redeem myself from the previous week's flop of an evening (it's hard to make pizzas when it takes an hour to cook them...and then enter the constant white noise in the fellowship hall and you have a group of chaotic hungries that ooze frustration for two hours).

OK, so my plan was great, a fun, active game, an active lesson, time for discussion and then bring it home with prayer and hangout time. Sounds good right? Now remember when I said I was prepared for 15? Well, it's hard to do a large group lesson/game when only 4 show up...and one of those was a half hour late. UGH! (((heart slowly breaking))) I dragged myself home that night defeated. I had taken extra time planning the night, even rushing through a meeting for another church ministry so I'd have extra time to fine tune things. I even called a couple youth to come in early and help me set up...they were one half of the total group that night. I fell for it, I bought into it...and I failed...I failed at the numbers game. I bet Louis Palau would laugh at my small, teeny, tiny little spec of youth ministry in my church.
So the next morning I dragged myself into my office thinking that I was on the fast-track to a firing..."how can a church financially support someone who's only having 4 youth show up at YG? My church needs results...these aren't results...they are results of failure..."
Enter Pastor Gordon..."Do Hard Things"...and a return to what I know.
Ok, after a long talk with Pastor Gordon, I'm rethinking my ministry with the youth. So apparently I was the only one that was super upset with the turnout last week. From the mouth of Gordon, "Don't worry about numbers, worry about quality ministry." And he's right. It's what I've been taught all the way back to my first week in a YM class at Oak's not a numbers game...and I shouldn't have let it become one.
So, what's "Do Hard Things" have to do with it? Well, I'm sure many people have heard of the book written by the Harris twins. Well, it's been on my "To be read" shelf for quite a while and I finally pulled it into my "Reading" group of books. I got four chapters in and had a revelation (most people would call it God speaking to me...which is probably more likely the case). "Ok, if I'm only going to have 4 youth show up...we're going to impact our community. What if we approached youth ministry as a mission team?" So here's what we're going to start doing. Each month has roughly 4 Wednesdays. The first Wednesday we head to the High School to engage in the Worthington Area Youth monthly gathering. It's a monthly gathering of all Worthington youth groups to worship, learn, and grow in community. That leaves 3 weeks to Do Hard Things. I'm going to be devoting probably about 90% of our youth programming to prayer and service. I received a globe donation last year that I was going to utilize for this. But then I had a different idea. In order for the youth (which is a small group) to see what sort of impact we can have globally through prayer, I got some Post-it flags. I'm going to have the youth watch the news for things they feel led to pray about (like the tsunami in Samoa or the earthquake in Indonesia) and write the prayer request on the flag and point it at the location of the event/request. Then we'll devote time during the meeting to praying for these events/requests. Over the course of the school year the globe will be covered in flags showing the breadth of our prayer, but also God's presence across the globe.

Now I know there's not much mission in just praying, so in order to impact our community as a group, I'm going to get a hold of the Catholic Charities director in town and see how we could best volunteer in the community. Then the bulk of the extra three weeks each month will be us out in the community volunteering. Who doesn't learn best by learning? Doesn't this fall into Paul’s, "Work out your own salvation..."? Or how about, "Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." (Zechariah 4:10 NLT). I'm excited to see these youth grab onto this! I'll try and keep everyone posted on how things are working out with it. But first we're going to do a 6 week study through the book, "Do Hard Things" to hopefully empower the youth and motivate them to take action! Watch out Worthington, FMY IS COMING!!!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Donations Welcome!

Ok...I never really thought I'd have to pick a side. I never really thought that I'd be put into a situation where I'd have to choose one or the other. I thought they were equal in performance, productivity, and overall value. Sure, you'll pay a little more for one than the other, but you also get a slightly less nuanced product with a little more cash. I've thought the ads for both were equally clever and insightful. But I never thought that I HAD to have one over the other. I made sure not to let myself fall into one camp or the other because of the image that would be projected upon me because of the equipment I used. I always just thought that I was an equal opportunity user. Whatever was present, that's what I'd use. But alas, after the last week of torment...I'm proud to announce that I'm...a Mac.

That's right...I have chosen, made up my mind...I will not buy another PC until they get their poop in a group. Here's the low-down for the past few days.

It all started late last week, when I decided to update my computer. Things were running a little screwy, and I knew that I had some software updates to download and install. So I decided to take Thursday and update my computer. Now the church has a decent PC for me to use. It's not the fastest, most powerful, or even the best equipped, but it gets the job done. So I'm in the process of installing Service Pack 3 for Windows gets all the way to the end and then says, "Cannot complete Installation of Service Pack 3, Uninstalling all updates." (or something to that effect) and then continues to uninstall all the service pack. Well, the kicker is that after it had uninstalled everything another message pops up, "Windows was partially updated, it may not run properly"...boy were they right. After the mandatory restart nothing would open. Not the internet, not Outlook, not even the calculator. went into the shop.

During college I had a laptop, bought brand new in 2002. It's completely outdated now, but at the time it was top of the line. Windows XP, Pentium 4 processor, 30 GB hard drive...I know, top of the 2002. Well when I got married, we decided to use Corrine's desktop as the family computer and my laptop got set in a box to be used in emergencies. Well, I pulled that old laptop out of the box when my work computer crashed, thinking that I'd be able to take a day and update Windows to current and be on my marry way, back to work. I figured it run slower than what I was used to...I mean with only a 30GB internal memory and various other specs that are very very lackluster these days, I figured it'd be slower...but I'd still be able to work.

So yesterday I started the updating. It was running smoothly. I got through the first 40 (yes, forty) updates with ease. It took some time, but I got it done. I defragged it overnight and was ready for another day of updates! I got to work this morning and noticed there was only one update to be had. So I went for it, thinking that in my excitement to update I'd be past it by 10am and onto possible other updates soon after, and maybe, just maybe be completely updated by the end of the day. I saw that it was Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. I thought, "No problem, I didn't have any problems with SP2 with the other computers, it'll be a breeze." So I started the download/install. Downloaded just it started the installation. An hour later after I've been sporadically watching the progress bar and it's well past the 50% marker...BAM! "Windows XP SP2 failed installation. Starting Uninstall Wizard" "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" (Head-desk) So I thought, maybe if I try it again. So I wait for the Uninstall Wizard to finish (another hour) and try again. This time I sit patiently, watching intently, thinking that maybe I missed a box or window that needed an "OK" click. Yeah, that's probably it...I just missed a box that eventually timed out and therefore SP2 couldn't finish the install. Simple, I'll just sit, watch, play FreeCell, and show this SP2 update who's boss.

After an hour and a half of me intellectually and strategically dominating FreeCell, watching the program update like a hawk..."Windows XP SP2 failed installation. Starting Uninstall Wizard"...AAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!

So, it's now 2:17pm, I'm no closer to updating my computer than I was at 8:15 this morning and am ready to throw in the towel. I will use the church's PC, I will use my old laptop...but I will never...EVER buy another PC.

In unrelated news...I'm taking donations for the "Mac book for Kyle" campaign. You know how to get a hold of me to make donations.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why "Abstinence Only" classes DON'T work...(sex has nothing to do with it).

Ok, so now that I've opened up the can of worms that most Christians don't want to touch, I'm going to go out on a limb (a limb that's been silenced by the greater Conservative Christian church) and say that I don't like Abstinence Only classes...even though there's good information and important issues discussed...they just don't work.

Now you may be thinking (especially if you're a parent), "What the crap Kyle? My kids aren't going to have sex until they've got three kids and half-way to retirement!!!" Well, I'm sorry to say...probably not. We all know the statistics around premarital sex. So why should we be telling people to not have it? Disease, unwanted pregnancy, etc...Oh yeah, and there's that whole purity thing.

But you know what? This little rant isn't about sex at all...I know, an Abstinence Only post not about sex? Nope, not about sex at all. This post is about marriage.

In almost all Abstinence Only curriculum, somewhere along the line someone will talk about saving sex until marriage. Sounds good right? Marriage, the land of milk and honey and endless amounts of wall thumping, primal screaming, and passion! You can get it whenever you want to...right? Well, probably not. But that's beside the point. Look at marriage in our society. Look at it! What's the divorce rate at these days?

But this post isn't about divorce either...rather it's about how youth see marriage. It doesn't take long to pick the happily married couples out of the unhappily married couples. You can tell which couples still talk to each other, value each other, and love each other and which ones don't. Youth can see this! Youth are some of the keenest observers on the planet and couples that don't like each other are easy to pick out of a crowd. And it doesn't take much to make the connection to presume that marriage isn't as great as Abstinence Only curriculum makes it out to be. Youth see miserable married folk and think, "Are you kidding me? They hate each other...and if they hate each other they sure as heck aren't getting it on! I'm not waiting...screw that!"

So, the answer? Well, how about about a call to romance? How about the men take intentional steps to win their wife’s hearts back. How about the women let the husbands be the heroes. Why don't we all take a step back and remember why we got married, how great it was right away, and what we did then to win each other's hearts and why we aren't doing it now. I think the most poisonous idea that we get as married people is that we are entitled to each other's love. "I earned it and I'm not going to do anything until they give me what's due!" WRONG! Each day is a new adventure. Why do you think Paul writes in Ephesians 4:26-27, "In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."? If we cannot deal with the supposed wrongs that our spouse's commit, how are we going to live out our oaths and vows that we made in our wedding? We can't! It is only through the continuing devotion and commitment to love our spouse that we can live out our vows. And if (and I realize this is going to be a slow process) each work on our own marriage and fight for our spouse's heart, then I assure you marriage won't be looked upon by society as ~10+ years of torture that almost always ends in divorce. The only way that Abstinence Only curriculum will work is if we can fix the miserable marriage problem we have in America. Otherwise we might as well be handing out condoms and birth control pills.

My $.02.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Right now I'm at about a 5 lb test...'s post has to do with anger, frustration, and all out rage.

Right now I'm angry. Very angry. Someone said something today that absolutely made me livid! Now I'm not going to go into too many details, but basically someone that I don't even know, said some very horrible things about a very close friend of mine. I'm not one that usually lets my anger get the best of me...I'm married, I don't have that luxury. But if I would happen to meet this doorknob on the street sometime in the next 24 hours, let's just say no amount of restraint from my wife would keep me from verbally and probably physically confronting this guy.

Long story short, I have a close friend that made the paper. Online newspapers usually have a comments section. Some dude that apparently was browsing the MN newspapers from Florida makes a very narrow-minded, uninformed comment about my friend. The end result is me being mad. The worst part about it is that my friend cannot even defend himself. Which makes me even more mad.

So, the topic today is anger...biblical? Sinful? I've heard both sides of this argument before. But I seem to recall Paul saying somewhere that anger about injustice is permissible, it's just the actions that come from the anger that is the sin...doesn't it go like, "...and in your anger, don't sin."?

I don't know, through this whole ordeal my prayer is that this dude in Florida somehow sees his error. My heart wants this dude to meet the same lack-o-grace that he apparently lives by, but my head says pray for this dude...or maybe that's God trying to knock my upside the head with a 2x4 again. Either way, God's grace will prevail, God's justice will prevail, sins will be forgiven, and truth will reign.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why Steven Colbert should change his name to John Lennon... we've all gotten them. We've all gone to our Facebook pages and had the group requests. And then, if we have REAL friends, we get invited to some sort of cause group, or common interest group. Because hey, what better way to cure cancer than to join a group of 300 other people that think they're going to find 1 million people to stand with them to cure cancer. The really ironic thing about this whole group thing is the social implications you can find by comparing the titles of groups. Just in this little "1,000,000 strong...cancer" niche, you have ~300 people that want to cure cancer, but almost 1.5 million that hate cancer. Basically, out of those 1.5 million that have somehow been wronged by cancer, only 300 want to cure it. And what can we draw out of this? Well it seems that this may be our society's Freudian slip. Basically we can all see the pain, the sickness, and dislike it very much...but when it actually comes to doing something about it..."Well, ummm, I don't really have the time or want to get THAT involved." Basically our society wants to take a stand...but not an active stance. Maybe this is why so many people are against the war in Iraq, National Health care, tax reform, or really anything that means things are going to be messy for a while and may require a little more effort on the part of our citizens.

Now when I started this entry I was going to write about how Jesus will never have one group that has more than a million strong in his favor because the church would rather split over unimportant theological smears than unite under the one love, one Christ, and one God which happens to put all things into motion. I was also going to point out that Steven Colbert has more than a million strong for him...which would mean that he's more popular than Jesus.

But rather this post has been turned into a call to whining. We can see how our nation is, we can see the injustices of the medical industry, injustices of tyranny overseas, and the injustices of poverty. We can hold protests for either side of any topic and have a grand ole time waving our flags, getting mad, possibly getting arrested only to complain about the police force doing their jobs...but what will really come out of it? The problem with speaking out is that everyone has the choice to listen or not. Now with the speed of technology, silencing a protest is a matter of turning the channel from CNN or FOX News. But the real protest is one that is an active process of changing the current situation. If you are against the War in Iraq or National Health care or tax reform, don't just complain, get involved in letter writing campaigns or better yet, work to get a position in the government and work to make changes from within. It's only when you take an active part will your voice ever be heard, otherwise you just remain a loud cymbal...annoying, but through the noise, eventually muted.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'm going to run a year.

Ok, there's no biblical point to this post, more of a personal one. But I'm announcing that I'm going to be running a 5k next fall...2010. Now if you know me you know that I'm not in running shape...heck I'm not in jogging shape...I'm in couch potato shape. So this is a big step to actually training for an event. Over the course of this summer I had taken up running and knocked over a minute off my one-mile time. But when baby came, running went out the door. So now I'm a month and a half removed from my running, back in the same shape I was before I started running...and announcing I'm committing to a road race.

Ok, here's the whole story. Last night Corrine and I were over at some friends of ours, Brian and Betsy's. We were talking about working out and different things we were going to try and accomplish with all of our new baby's. We are currently slowly creeping towards Turkey Day here in Worthington, and the 5k race came up. Then, from our wives, Brian and I were challenged to a race. Boys v. Girls, Turkey Day 5k 2010. So, as men with our pride on our shoulders, we accepted. There's a few rules that we agreed on, and the challenge was ON! So now I find myself just 12 hours after this challenge, more motivated to get out and run than I've ever been. 12 hours ago if you would've asked me to go for a run I'd whine and complain...but now ask me and I'd beat you out the door.

So the challenge is on...I'm going to try and conquer a personal feat larger than I've ever conquered...this is day 1.