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Thursday, January 31, 2008

God Still Loves Us


A couple of weekends ago, Suzy and I went and saw the first movie we'd seen in probably 8 months. It was "I am Legend." I really liked this movie. Suzy got scared though. Last night, I had a dream that the dark people were chasing me and I kept using a camera flash to keep them away. It was a pretty cool dream.
But because of that dream, I've been running through the movie in my head. I like to think about what I would do if I was the last person on earth. Where would I go? What would I do? What would I drive? I'd probably drive a Ferrari. I'd probably go somewhere that has roller coasters. I'd probably live in Marin County, because I think it's beautiful there and they have big houses.
But during the movie I saw a common thread about God. In the beginning there was a poster that said, "God still Love us." At first I was like, oh great, they're going to try to show that because of all the bad things that are happening, God doesn't care for us and isn't there for us. Towards the end, though, they really showed that, yes, God does love us and cares for us and wants to help us. We're just not listening to Him. We're caught up in our own ways. And when Will Smith finally started listening to God he was able to help save mankind. I'm interested to see if anybody else thinks the movie had this underlying message through it or not.
So, today I came across this website called godstilllovesus.org. It started out as a marketing site from Time Warner to help promote interest in the movie. But instead it has become a forum where people can talk about strong issues. I was reading some about homosexuality and God. It was very interesting stuff from both perspectives of conservative Christians and homosexual atheists. There are a ton of different forums that discuss a wide range of issues that people are concerned about from a theological viewpoint. This site has morphed into something that even the creators aren't sure what's going on. It's very cool though to look at these things from different people's eyes. And everybody is pretty respectful of others' thoughts. There are occasional f-bombs, but that's to be expected with people who think and act differently than the typical Church person.

Super Bowl Heart Attacks

I just watched an ABC news segment about the increased risk of heart attacks during major sporting events, especially close games. I know that during OU football games that were close this year or the ones that they lost, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack (not really, I actually felt like I was going to throw a remote through my t.v.). Anyways, watch this video:
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/251.7/popup/index.php?cl=6194702

The Turning

Last night we had The Turning come in and do a concert for us. They are going to be our worship band for Beach Blast, so we were super excited that they could come out and do a show for us and let the kids get to know them a little bit. Their cd is called "Learning to Lose."

I bought it on I-Tunes last week, and it's very good. It's a lot mellower than most things I listen to, but they are great musicians and great songwriters. (By the way, cd's are always cheaper on I-Tunes than stores like Best Buy or Walmart and definitely cheaper than Family Christian)

I was a lot more interested in listening to their worship, since that is what they will be doing for us at Beach Blast. They were great. I think that was their real talent. They were able to do some songs that the kids knew, but they did it in a way that was different. I really loved their worship leading. The guys were great guys too. I spent some time with them during the afternoon, and I think they'll be great hanging out with the kids and getting to know them this summer.

Speaking of Beach Blast, we have several ways that kids can raise money and do some fund-raising. Just let us know if you need help with it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Paintball

This Saturday, all of the jr. high boys small groups are going to play paintball. I love paintball. It's so fun to run around and play pretend war, and if you get shot, you get to come back in 10 minutes. There's always a ton of stories when we get back to. To me, that might be the funnest part, hearing all the stories after the games are over. I still tell people paintball stories that happened to me from 10 years ago. Another good thing about this Saturday is that all the dads are invited. This will be fun, cause I think everybody wants to shoot their son every once in a while.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday Morning Impact


This was a pretty good Sunday morning. It started again with a game called "Musical Backs." It's like musical chairs, without the chairs. The 2 winners were given Heart Support t-shirts. Nathan Keith led the music, and he did a good job. He pulled out some older songs which everyone always loves. Our lesson was about worshiping God, and I gave a little opener. We broke up into small groups, and the lesson was on why we should worship. We worship because of how great God is, and because of all the great things that He has done throughout history. My 6th grade boys were great in our discussion. Overall, I would say that it was an above average Sunday morning.

One thing I wish would change


I love sports. I love watching them and I love playing them. I'm a big OU Sooner football fan. I love the Oakland Athletics and the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. This year OU went to the Big 12 Championship and the game was in San Antonio, so Suzy and I got tickets from a friend and went to the game. It was a lot of fun, especially since OU dominated Missouri.
But I started thinking about how much we spent. I've been talking to an orginazation that helps free girls who were sold into sex slavery. For the amount of money that I spent that night, we could have helped 2 girls stay out of the brothels for 2 months. It made me start thinking about my priorities.
I just read this article about the price of Super Bowl tickets. The average price is $4300. Some are paying as much as $40,000 for their tickets and hotel rooms. I just pulled out my calculator. $4300 could give schooling, medical supplies, and food to 12 children in Africa for a year. $40.000 could help 112.
$4300 could support a former sex slave for 3 and a half years. $40,000 could support her for 33 and a half years. And people are using it for some entertainment that will last about 5 hours.
A-Rod signed a deal for $236 million. He could not look me in the eye and say he believes he is worth that much money for playing a game. But the Yankees are willing to give it to him, so why not take it. Tom Cruise can't tell me that he feels he is worth $20 million a movie. But the producers will pay it, so why not take it. The producers and the Yankees aren't really the ones paying for it. They're still going to make their money. The people are paying for it are the fans. They'll keep raising ticket prices for movies and for games as long as people keep paying to go see them.
I don't think we should boycott movies or athletic events, but I think we should start looking at things from a different view. Instead of paying for tings that really don't matter and won't mean anything in 50 years, let's start doing stuff that can have an eternal difference in somebody's life.

Homeless Ministry

This past Saturday we went and did homeless ministry. Once a month our church goes to the Commerce St. bridge and hands out food and toiletries to homeless people. They also have a Children's ministry and an adult Bible study for those who want to participate in that. They've been doing it for 14 years, and it's really done well. Usually, I walk around and talk to the people, but this time I served drinks the entire time. Our kids did an awesome job. They worked hard and they were great about going up and talking to the people. It was fun to watch. Here are some pictures from the day.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Heart Support


The Family Force 5 concert we went to the other night was sponsored by a group called Heart Support. It's an orginazation that helps kids with their troubles by sharing their stories and being able to read other people's stories, in hopes that kids will feel like they are not alone. The problems the kids deal with on the site range from eating disorders to cutting to depression to substance abuse. Any issue that kids struggle with are on this site. They have counselors who e-mail kids and talk with them, and they encourage them to get local help from counselors. They think the first step to recovery is being able to talk about the issues that you are going through, and this site is designed to help the kids get there. If you know anybody who needs help in a certain area, use this as a resource. It's www.heartsupport.com.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Family Force 5

Last night we took a bunch of kids to go see Family Force 5. These guys are such a good live band. They have so much energy and are able to get the whole crowd excited. During their set, the kids jumped the entire time. The only bad part was that they didn't allow moshing. But, even with that, the kids had a great time. Falling Up was another band who played. They were good. A lot of our kids really liked them. I thought they were kinda boring. Spoken was the second band to play. I've been listening to these guys for about 10 years. The first time I saw them was in a friends living room. The opening band was This Beautiful Republic. I heard of these guys a year ago and liked them, and after seeing them last night, I think they're great. Overall, the bands were all great and everybody had a lot of fun...but it would have been funner with moshing.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

25

I do still feel like I'm 25.


You Act Like You Are 25 Years Old

You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel like an adult, and you're optimistic about life.
You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

You're still figuring out your place in the world and how you want your life to shape up.
The world is full of possibilities, and you can't wait to explore many of them.

I'm a Golden Retriever


I took a test a couple of weeks ago about strengths. Basically, it's a personality test that has 4 levels: lion, otter, golden retriever, beaver. A lion is the CEO, aggressive type people. An Otter is a spontanious, fun-loving person. A Golden Retriever is a loyal, friendly person. And the beaver is a hard working, organized person. I was one point off from being an otter.
It was a pretty good test, I guess. There were some tings that I think they nailed me on, and some others that I was like, "That's not me at all." I do put people and relationships first. I like to feel valued and I'm easygoing. The thing it said about me that I don't agree with is that I have to live by routine. I really like change. I love moving and being in new places with new people. But it was fun to see where the other people on staff were at. Most were lions, which explained a lot...and I'll just leave it at that.

We Got The Beat Dance

This is a video announcement that me and some of the students made last week. I think choreographed dancing is hilarious.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Texas politicians

There were 2 articles on the odd news section of yahoo news today that had to do with Texas politicians that I thought were funny.
The first one was headlined as "Texas candidate alters photo in mailer." Basically he attached his face to a slimmer body. My favorite line in this article:
"(Dean) Hrbacek (former mayor of Sugarland, TX) has been so busy that he had no time to pose for a full-length photo for the mailing, (campaign manager) Broschart said."
He didn't have the 1/10,000th of a second for a photo. Basically, he just wanted to look skinnier for the voters. The funniest thing is that he got caught. Someone getting the mailer must have been like, "Hey, he's a lot chubbier than that."

The Second article was headlined as: "Texas Mayor in Dog Fracas Could Lose Job."
Basically, she was dogsitting for a neighbor for the summer. She called them and told them the dog was dead, but instead just kept the dog. She faked a death, hid evidence, lied to the family, and kidnapped a dog. My favorite quote from this article was:
"She told me that if she were a single woman, she would not care if she went to jail for the rest of her life before she would give the dog back."
That a mayor would be willing to lose her job and go to jail for a dog suggests some sort of mental illness if you ask me. And these are the types of people who are getting elected into office in Texas. Almost makes Arnold getting elected as governor of California not seem so odd.

Gay Jesus?

This is a ridiculous article. There is now a play called, "Corpus Christi," that is about Jesus and the other disciples being gay. It's as if people are just looking for a way to offend anybody who follows Jesus. The play was written by a gay man from Texas, and it's supposed to symbolize his life growing up in Texas.
There are 2 things that I automatically think about this. First, I know we are to love everybody, but it makes me so mad when people mock Jesus, just to be offensive. Jesus came to love people and show us how to be more like God. He created us and he loves us, but people show such disrespect to him.
Second, I think this writer has some serious hurts that were caused by people he saw to be Christians while he was growing up in Texas. Because of these hurts, he wrote a play blaspheming Jesus (apparantly to get back at Christians). We need to realize that how we treat people and each other can have a huge amount of impact on a person's life, good and bad. Unbelievers aren't to be held to the same standards that Believers are to be held to. Why should they follow a book about a God they don't even believe in. We first need to love people, and let God be the judge. I knew a lot of homosexuals in San Francisco who were good people, but many hated Christians because of how they were treated. I hate that! I hate that somebody who is a follower of Christ treated them bad, because I think Jesus would have sat at this play writer's table and had a meal with him and shown him love. I think Jesus would have had a conversation with this man and spoke truth to this man.
I hope that we can watch out on jokes that we say. I hope that we can be careful of our judgmental views. And instead of focusing on somebody's sin, focus on the fact that Jesus loves this person as much as he loves me, and because of that I should love this person as well.
(Mark 12:28-31)

Sunday Morning Impact


We had a good Sunday morning yesterday. We started with a game. 2 boys and 2 girls went against each other. Both people were blindfolded. One person had 5 clothespins put on their shirt sleeves. The other person, after we said go, had to take them off with their mouth. Neither person could see, and it was fun to watch them trying to find it with their mouths. The boys ended up winning.
Gideon led worship this week. He really has a great talent at playing music, but he has a gift for leading us into worship. I always enjoy it when he leads worship.
Elizabeth Kieslich spoke about being a hero. She started out with this video.


I forgot all about the Greatest American Hero. It sure is funny. I think I'm going to have to rent the series. But her whole talk was about God given us the power to change the world if we are willing and available.
At Christmas, I gave all the junior high student leaders this book. And Elizabeth used it for her talk a little bit. This was written by a 15 year old boy who has helped raise half a million dollars to help end slavery. Elizabeth talked about other young people through the Bible who God used to do amazing things. Then she even talked about other young people through history who have done amazing things. She tied in Martin Luther King Day and everything, and it was all layered and intertwined with scripture. She was very passionate about this subject and I think she did a great job. I hope our students know that they can do amazing things with God's help. I hope they find what they are passionate about. I didn't know much about modern-day slavery until about 2 years ago. And since then, I have been wanting to find out more and more about it, and what I can do to help end it.
Overall, I think this was a great Sunday morning, and the kids seemed to have learned a lot about God's plan. I hope they continue to look for ways that God can use them.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Flatfoot 56

I just love this band. I think they are the best Christian band to come out in a long time. I also got to meet them last October and they are some of the nicest guys too (and tallest).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wed. Night Impact

I think this was a great Wed. Night. It was a low attendance night because a lot of kids were home studying for finals, and some were sick, but I think we still had a great night. We did 3 worship songs, the last being Empty Me. Jerry spoke about getting rid of everything that was distracting them or keeping them from experiencing God, so that they would be able to hear from God tonight. I think that set a good tone for the rest of the praise and worship time.
I spoke about The Stomach last night. The week before I had talked about the heart. It was really about starvation. It wasn't about feeding the hungry in Africa or anything like that (although I think that is super important). It was about how we spiritually starve ourselves. I said sometimes we see ourselves as this:but God sees us as this:


Reading the Bible and prayer are as vital to our spiritual lives as food is to our physical bodies. If we aren't spending time with God we are starving ourselves. We can put on a good face, like we're spiritually strong, but we've actually starved ourselves. If we are feeding ourselves with regular Bible reading and prayer, then we won't be strong when bad stuff comes into our lives. We'll start to believe people who tell us lies that sound good. We'll fall away, because we are so weak.
We need to see reading the Bible as a way to know God more. It's not a checklist thing, where we can check it off for the day just like we do chores that need to be done for the day. It's to build our relationship. I spent most of my Christian life living this way, as a series of checklists. I read my Bible and prayed for 5 minutes today, so I'm good. I didn't cuss today. I didn't shave any stray dogs today, so I'm alright with God. I think I missed out on so much by living my life that way. So much that God wanted to show me or for things that he could have used me.
I used the passage from Hebrews 5:12-14 that talks about maturing on to solid food and leaving milk. If we spent our whole lives on baby formula, we'll quit growing. If our parents feed us from a bottle into adulthood, we won't grow. We won't learn how to do things. Plus, think about all of the great things that you would miss out on. You'd miss out on pumpkin pie, lasagna, burritos, and spaghetti. If we're still living on what we learn on Wednesdays or Sundays, and that's all the time we're spending with God, we missing out on so much.
I challenged the kids to make it a habit of trying to spend time with God every day, and making that a priority. I challenged them to join discipleship groups that start in February. But mainly, I challenged them to fall in love with Jesus, and show that by getting to know Him and His word deeply.

The Cutting Edge

Yesterday I was having lunch at Wendy's with some guys on the staff here, and we started talking about different things that are going on in our ministries. One got some complaints about music he was playing, and the complaint was that it was too loud and hard. It was David Crowder, who in my opinion is great, and kinda on the softer side to the stuff I listen to. We sing David Crowder songs during worship all the time, so it was weird that he got a complaint.
So, he was told to tone it down and play some older contemporary stuff, like Delirious and things like that.
I started thinking about this. One, you're never going to be able to please everybody. Somebody is always going to have a different opinion or a different preference to what they want to experience. Two, you are never going to be cutting edge if you continue to go back to where people are comfortable. If we stay in the 80's or 90's, we'll only attract people from that era. In my opinion, this is one of the things that has been hurting the church for several decades, that people get stuck in routine and traditions that remind them of times in their past. I think we need to be looking to the future. It's weird when you go into a church and it seems like you've hit a time warp back to 1985. We don't have to adapt to culture and let it impact us, but we can see the quality of things that people are listening to or watching and attempt to match it, or even attempt to set the bar for that quality. I think I could go on about this for a while, so...I'm going to stop. I am interested in what others think, even if you disagree with me, I would love to see it from another angle about what people want out of their church experience.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I wish there were more news stories like this


I read this article off of Marko's page, and thought I'd pass it along. It always seems that the News is so full of bad and terrible stuff, but this article is great. It's one that makes my heart happy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

108 Minutes

This was a game that will seriously drive you crazy. It's called "Escape" and you have to try to figure out how to escape from this office. It took me 108 minutes, and Sharlette and I had to put our brains together to get through it. I did some stuff she would have never thought of and she did a big thing that I never would have thought of. I hope you have fun with it. But don't ask me for the answer, cause I'm not telling

The Good ol' Days


I came across this site that reminds me of when I was a kid. When everything was a little more simple. And when video games only had 2 buttons. This is a nostalgia site for me with every NES nintendo game that you can play online. So far I've played Super Mario Bros., Techmo Bowl (which it's great to score a touchdown with Bo Jackson) Baseball Stars, Contra, Skate or Die, Mike Tyson's Punchout, and Zelda. I still want to play T & S Surf, Street Fighter, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The only games it doesn't have are the ones that you have to use the zapper, like Duck Hunt. If you are online and want to waste a little bit of time, go to this site.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Where it's not easy Being a Christian

This is an article about Christianity in Europe and a phenomenon called "Christianophobia." I don't think America is that far away from this either, and I saw a lot of it in San Francisco. It breaks my heart that people are so hostile towards Believers. But looking how a lot of Christians have behaved and treated people through history, I see where some are coming from. I think we need to continue to love Jesus radically, and love others radically. Maybe, people will begin to see a difference in Christians, and the fear and hostility will go away.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What Bible does this lady read?

This video honestly makes my stomach hurt. I feel that one of my purposes in life is to help change the way the world percieves Christians, and then some lady who claims to be a Christian gets up there and gives people so many reasons to hate Christianity. I'm interested to hear what people think about this video.

Sunday Morning Impact



I feel like today was just an average Sunday morning at Impact. We started off with a game called scalp. All the kids were given a piece of masking tape and we put it on their shoulders. One kid was the scalper and he had to take the tape off their shoulder. Once their tape was off they also became scalpers. This kept happening until there was only one person left. The game ended up taking too long, and we ended it with about 5 winners, which was fine.
Nathan Kieth led worship. I think this was only the second time that I heard him lead worship and he did a great job. The girl singers with Nathan were also amazing.
I did a little opener about laziness and about how I hate ants in my yard. But we can learn from ants cause they definately aren't lazy. Then we broke up into small groups. I didn't like the lesson much, because I would rather talk about Jesus a little more. But it was a good topic for kids. I know I was pretty lazy when I was in junior high. Hopefully, we were able to bring out how God wants us to be and how not being lazy is a good quality that God would like us to have.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wed. Night



This past Wed. night I spoke about the heart. I used the scripture of Saul and David. Where Saul was the king but he kept doing things against God's command. So God decided to make David the king of Israel. In 1 Samuel 16:5, it basically says, man looks at the outward appearance, whereas God looks at the heart.
I started talking about why do we care so much at how we are looked at by our friends and why do we care so much what they think about us. Let's start worrying about how God sees us and what He wants for us.
So, how does God want our heart to look. I told them that he wants us to be "fat." Faithful-Available-Teachable. I also got to throw in some good stories on that.
God wants us to be faithful, which means lasting and having confidence in something. We have to continue to follow God through the good times and the bad. We also have to act the same whether we're at church, home, school, or hanging out with our friends.
Being available means being willing to be used by God whenever he needs us. I used the scripture from Isaiah 6, about Isaiah telling God, "Here am I, send me."
Being teachable means that we are always going to continue to learn about God, and try to get closer to God. We're going to learn more about his purposes, his character, his ways, so that we can be more and more like him.
Overall, I think it was a pretty good message and had a good response from the kids. Several came up and said they liked it. The worship was great, the dodgeball was great, so overall I think it was an above average Wed. night.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Texas Youth Commission

I'm going to start being a mentor for the Texas Youth Commission. This is for kids who have committed serious crimes, and they're not charged as an adult, but it's past the juvenile detention stuff. It usually has to do with super violent crimes or sexual assault crimes. My job is going to be to mentor a kid after he gets out on parole.
I'm super excited about this, really, more excited than I have been about anything in a while. I know it'll be hard, but it'll also be great to be a positive influence on a kid and have the chance to make a positive impact into someone's life.
I met the parole officer today and next week I'll get to meet the kid I've been matched with. Pray for me about this, that I'm able to build a good trusting relationship quickly.
Here's the site for the Texas Youth Commission in case anybody is interested in becoming a mentor too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

1 vs. 100

The other night, Suzy and I were watching 1 vs. 100. Even though I would rather swim in lemon juice than listen to Bob Saget, the show is pretty interesting. Anyways, last week was a battle of the sexes show. The man who went up against 100 women was a kid who goes to UC Irvine. Suzy and I just liked him so much. He was kinda dorky, but had such a great personality. He really reminded us of one of my friends from California, David Lawrence Guttfeld. Anyways, this kid became the first person on the show ever to win $1 million. Really, this kid was great, and we became of fan of his by the end of the show because of his comments and the way he jumped and punched his fist every time he got an answer right. We were just super happy that he won, and this video just brings a smile to my face.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Christian Loopholes



















I wonder how long this will actually last. Somehow Texas found a loophole about letting the Bible be taught in public schools. Look here to read the story.

Baptist Children's Home

About 4 or 5 times a year, we take a group of students to the Baptist Children's Home and hang out with kids there. Most of the kids there were taken from their families by CPS and were removed because of some kind of abuse or neglect. We have a lot of relationships with the staff and the kids who live there. Last Friday one of the girls was killed while running away from the facility. Please pray for this girl's family and for the kids and staff of the Baptist Children's Home.

Here's the article.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Too much time on his hands

This kid needs to get outside and play a little bit in the real world. But this is pretty impressive.

Jr. High Impact

Today was a pretty good weekend for us at Impact. We started off with a game, where all the kids had to put clothespins on their sleeves. When we started some music, they had to take the clothespins off of their sleeves and try to pin them to others. Whoever had the least amount of clothespins on their clothes was the winner. I like games that gets everybody involved.
Gideon led worship this morning. I really think this guy has a gift for leading worship that comes straight from God. He does a great job. It was an acoustic set this morning, and it was very cool. It's a good change to mellow things out every once in a while. The only thing is that I'm kinda tired of "I can sing of Your love Forever." I could sing to God forever, as long as it's not that song.
I spoke this morning about Zaccheus. I think his story is a good one for New Years because there is such a huge change in his life. I talked about how people saw Zaccheus and how people were mad that Jesus was going to his house. I told them that we need to try to see people how God sees them. We also need to see ourselves as God sees us. When we start believeing lies that people tell us about ourselves, such as we're stupid, no good, an accident, then we aren't listening to what God is telling us we really are. We're listening to lies instead of the truth that God has given us, and we aren't living up to the purpose God created us for. I ended up talking for a lot longer than I was expecting, which is bad, but I thought it went pretty well. Overall, I think it was a good Sunday morning at Impact.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Junior High Ministry

I'm a junior high pastor in San Antonio. I love doing this. They have so much energy, and they'll basically do anything you ask. "Drink a soda with somebody else's sweaty sock covering it." And they do it. And they like it. They're a lot of fun. Also, they still think even a guy as old and dorky as I am is still a little cool. But also, we get to set a set of values that will stay with them as they are developing who they are. Most people who accept Jesus as Christ do this before they are 14. This is a very important time in the spiritual development of kids. So I get a chance to help develop that. I'll talk about things that God is teaching me. I'll tell stories of kids in the group. I'll tell jokes that I think are funny. I'll pass along information about junior high kids for parents. Hopefully, you'll find something interesting and useful for you.