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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Invisible Children

This is a non-profit organization that is trying to help the kids in Uganda. There has been a war there for over 20 years. And one of the armies, is taking kids and kidnapping them and making them fight as their soldiers. This organization is trying to help those kids as well as help end the war in Uganda.

Here is a video about them and what they do:




Here is how they describe themselves on their website, www.invisiblechildren.com
Please go check them out and see what we can do to help.

How It Started

In the spring of 2003, three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story. What started out as a filmmaking adventure transformed into much more when these boys from Southern California discovered a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them, a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.

After returning to the States, they created the documentary "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," a film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda.s night commuters and child soldiers.

The film was originally shown to friends and family, but has now been seen by millions of people. The overwhelming response has been, "How can I help?" To answer this question, the non-profit Invisible Children, Inc. was created, giving compassionate individuals an effective way to respond to the situation.
Who We Are

We are storytellers. We are visionaries, humanitarians, artists, and entrepreneurs. We are individuals part of a generation eager for change and willing to pursue it.

As a non-profit we work to transform apathy into activism. By documenting the lives of those living in regions of conflict and injustice, we hope to educate and inspire individuals in the Western world to use their unique voice for change. Our media creates an opportunity for people to become part of a grassroots movement that intelligently responds to what.s happening in the world.

But our work extends beyond our borders. In war-affected regions we focus on long-term development, working directly with individuals and institutions that are eager to realize their full potential. Through education and innovative economic opportunities, we partner with affected communities and strive to improve the quality of life for individuals living in conflict and post-conflict regions.
How We Make a Difference

Our approach to humanitarian work is founded in the strength and intelligence of the Ugandan community. We learned early on it was not only important but essential to heed the wisdom of people that had not only lived in the war, but were surviving it. People who would know better than anyone what the greatest needs were and the best ways to meet them. What we came to find is that while there have been many efforts to address the issues that stem from living and fighting in such a long-lasting war, the people of Uganda are asking for a future beyond the conflict.

Their pleas have become our development strategy.

All of our programming is a partnership between those of us at Invisible Children and those in the Ugandan community. We focus on long-term goals that enable children to take responsibility for their future and the future of their country. Our programs are carefully researched and developed initiatives that address the need for quality education, mentorships, the redevelopment of schools, resettlement from the camps, and financial stability.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mr. Rogers Tribute Week


When I was a kid, I use to watch Mr. Rogers all the time. I liked the show, but the puppets use to scare me. But, Fred Rogers was a presbyterian minister who used his show to promote good values. Yeah, it was bit cheesy, but when you were a kid that was ok. I don't know if he was ever cool, but people always seemed to like him. Anyways, here is an article about his tribute. On March 20, which would have been his 80th birthday, everybody is supposed to wear a sweater. I think I'll have to go out and buy one.

Dodgeball

This is a fun game of dodgeball to play on the computer. My top score was 8250, after playing 2 games.
Check it out and tell me what your top score is.


http://www.stridegum.com/#Dodgeball

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Winter Retreat

This past weekend, we had our Winter Retreat at Mo Ranch. Friday morning, we loaded up at the church and took off for Hunt, Texas for a weekend to be focused on living like Jesus. But, it should have been called Winter Retreat on the Equator because it was super hot. I think it got into the 80's every day. The Senior High Leadership Kids planned everything and they basically did everything.
Nathan led worship, and I think that's the best I've ever seen him. He did a great job with Daniel and Andrew backing him up. He also spoke the first night about obeying Jesus. Daniel spoke the next morning about praying like Jesus before our quiet time. Molly then spoke about loving like Jesus. Andrew spoke Saturday night about serving like Jesus. I spoke before the next quiet time on Sunday morning about withdrawing like Jesus, to get away from distractions and to get our focus back onto God. And then Jerry finished things up with tying everything together of living more and more like Jesus. I feel like everybody did a great job.
We also played a lot of games and had some small group time. The junior high small group leaders loved their groups and think they got a lot out of it. I was near Tammy's group most of the time and it seemed like all of her girls enjoyed the small group teaching and activities.
We played a lot of football during the free time. I'm still a little sore from that. I did grab a couple of interceptions. We also got to go canoeing and several of the kids jumped in the freezing cold water. At night we played Silent Football, which is one of my favorite games of all time. It doesn't involve a football or anything. It's mainly a game of systems and following those systems, but if you mess up, then you get pegged with a ping pong ball. You'd be surprised at the kind of welts a ping pong ball can do to someone. I still have a couple of circles on my belly today. But tons of people came in to watch on Saturday night and hang out. It's fun to play, and it's fun to watch.
Altogether, I think the weekend was a lot of fun, and it seemed like a lot of kids made commitments to follow Jesus in a different, stronger way. I can't wait to see the long-term effects of this retreat. I'm adding a ton of pictures from the weekend here.




















Jim and Casper Go to Church



This was another book I finished about an atheist and a Christian going to church together and writing about their experiences. Jim (the Christian) was the same guy who paid $504 for Hemant to go to church in the book "I Sold My Soul on eBay. This time he went to church with the Casper (the atheist) so they could discuss it and talk about it from both viewpoints.
They went to all the big ones, from Saddleback, Willow, Lakeview, and Mosaic. They went to some emergent churches, Imago Dei and Mars Hill. Casper even went to a house church with one of his friends. They went to one church in Chicago that I had never heard of called Lawndale, and that seems like a church I would like to go to. Lawndale meets in downtown Chicago and they really try to meet the needs of the people there. They've started a free medical clinic. They have a developer who helps lower income people with homes. They have a recovery program. It's all to help this community, which I think is awesome.
Casper didn't like churches that seemed to go over the top in their spending. He seemed irritated by all the technology that churches had, when they could have been using that money to do real ministry, like Lawndale was doing. Why spend thousands of dollars on a crane to operate a camera. Did it really make that much of a difference in worshiping Jesus? I think that was a great point. Is the Sunday Morning service that important that we must spend all of this money on equipment. Or can the same message get shown without the pastor's head being on a 20 foot projection screen. Unlike Hemant, Casper liked the small churches and didn't like the mega churches at all. It all seemed to polished and fake.
The only part I didn't like about this book was the conversations between Casper and Jim seemed very fake. Nobody talks like they did to each other in the book. It was usually to make a dumb joke or pun. Also, Jim kept talking about his other books, which seemed like a sales pitch every time. Maybe the editors edited the conversations to make them a little more smooth. But to me, it made them sound weird and unrealistic.
Anyways, I think the book was good to see what we take for common in church and how it is interpreted from someone who doesn't believe in God and isn't connected to church.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wed. Night Impact




We had a fun Wed. night at Impact. We had a competition between the boys and the girls of who could get the most here. Morgan Canon represented the girls and Chase Brady represented the boys. The winner got to throw a pie in the face of the other. At the beginning of the service, when the music was starting there were a couple of more girls than boys.
Our worship was pretty good. One cool thing is that we had a new guitar player playing this week who just happens to be a junior higher. Bobby did an awesome job, and I heard he even did better in high school.
I spoke about passions and the passion of Jesus. The reason Jesus came was to preach the good news about the kingdom of God (Luke 4). This superceded everything else. Yes, he was loving, he came to save our sins, and things like this, but primarily he wanted to focus on the kingdom of God. I showed 3 things he was passionate about as a result of his main purpose for coming to Earth.
First, he was more focused on truth than miracles. He knew miracles would give fleeting belief. Truth is eternal, and that's why he always focused on truth and only used miracles to grab somebody's attention or when they showed him they had faith. But he almost always told the people he healed not to tell anybody. (I wrote a blog about this a little bit yesterday).
Second, he came for the unbelievers (Luke 5). Jesus was questioned about why he hung out and ate dinner with the tax collectors and the sinners. Jesus said that he came for the sick not the well. He came for the people who didn't know God. He came for the poor, the oppressed, and the sick. If he was passionate about these things, then we should be too.
Third, I talked about how his passion brought about action. He was passionate about God's house. He was passionate about people taking care of others. And when he saw people not respecting the temple, and religious leaders taking advantage of people, it made him so angry that he started flipping tables and running people away.
So I ended with what we should be passionate about. If we are truly passionate about God, then we'll sing songs and not joke around during the praise time. We won't pass notes or make paper airplanes during the Bible study. We'll be concerned about the people who can't take care of themselves, and that's the call that I want to give to the kids. Be passionate about what Jesus was passionate about.

By the way, when everything was over last night, there were 37 boys and 22 girls. So Morgan got a pie in the face. The funniest thing about it was that David Jackson was standing directly behind Morgan, and when Chase threw the pie in her face, it went all over David. It was hilarious. Here's some pictures of it (even though they're not that good because they were taken with my phone).



Super funny video

This video had me cracking up. It's really just a recording and no picture, but it's hilarious.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Faith

Yesterday, while I was reading some scripture in the Bible, I noticed something that I hadn't really noticed before. Well, I noticed it, but now I'm thinking this particular scripture in a new way. It's from Luke 9, and the story is about a boy who was possessed by a demon. The disciples had been trying to get the demon out of the boy, but they weren't able to. Jesus came in, and seemed very disappointed in them because of their lack of faith.

This made me start thinking about my faith. Yesterday, my wife had a real bad headache and she was feeling sick all day long. I was praying for her and asking God to take her headache away. It seems like such a little thing for God to do. And the Bible says if we have faith the size of a mustard seed we should be able to tell mountains to get up and walk. So apparently, my faith is so microscopic that I can't even have God take away a headache. You would think that if God would have healed Suzy's headache, then that would raise my faith, which would make me bolder in my prayers.

But, Jesus says to the disciples a few times that they have such little faith. And these guys were with Jesus all the time. They saw the miracles. They heard all of his teachings first hand. Some of them saw him at the Transfiguration. They saw everything amazing that he did. And still, these guys had little faith. To me, it seems that even miracles may not raise somebody's faith. If God answered my prayers and healed Suzy of her headache, would my faith really be strengthened long term? If I saw God change a zebra from black and white to yellow and purple, would that strengthen my faith? I would think that if I saw God working that powerfully, then my faith would grow in leaps and bounds. But even the disciples' faith was described as too little.

I still want to think about this a little bit more. How do we build on our faith? How do we grow our faith to the size of a mustard seed? And maybe I shouldn't get so down on myself for having such little faith that even a headache won't go away. Because I also noticed yesterday that every time Jesus did a miracle at the beginning of his ministry, that he always told people not to tell everyone else (even though they always did). That never made any sense to me either. Why would Jesus not want people to know about his power. That would make more people believe, right? But Jesus' reason for coming was to tell people the good news of the kingdom of God. He was more focused on the truth of God, and didn't want people to focus on the miracles (which most did anyways). And even the people who saw the miracles turned against Jesus in the end. Miracles have a way of being explained or otherwise forgotten. Truth should be eternal. So, to build faith...maybe it will take learning the truth of God, more so than seeing a miracle of God. God seems to use miracles to grab attention, not to fix the problems of the Believers. He's got my attention...So what do I do with it.

I'm going to be thinking and learning more about what it means to have genuine faith.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I named all the states in 2 minutes 1 second!!!

Presidential Paintball

This was a fun little game. I really like playing against Hilary. My score was 26310. See if you can beat it.




Games at Miniclip.com - Presidential Paintball
Presidential Paintball

Hillary, Obama, Giuliani & more play paintball for the USA Presidency!

Play this free game now!!

Awesome Baseball Prank

This was a prank on a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher that seriously required a lot of work and set up. I really can't believe they pulled it off. So many people were involved in this prank, and nobody started laughing, even when the guy looked like he was going to cry. They got the manager, the secretaries, the news camera men, everybody involved to make him feel that he was getting traded to a team in Japan. The funniest part is that the name of the player they were trading him for in Japan is the Japanese hot dog eating champion. Check it out.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Rating System

I'm trying to think of a new rating system for movies I see, books I read, and new music I listen to. I don't want to use something that has been used before, such as stars or thumbs. I don't even want to give them a grade, like a B-. One thing I was thinking about is if it was good it would be a donkey, if it was ok, it would be a mule, and if it was bad, it would be a horse. But after I thought about it, that's super dumb.
But now, I think I'm going to use pie, like the trivial pursuit pie. However good it is will determine how many pieces of pie there are in the pan. This would be a great movie or book.
Anyways, I like this better than stars and me just saying that stuff is super great.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Do you think this marriage is going to end in divorce

This was a cool video about a couple who has been married for 83 years. I think this is pretty awesome, and amazing that 2 people could live that long together. They still seem to be in love, even though the man kinda looks like he's in a coma.
Watch it here.

Sunday Morning Impact


This was a great Sunday Morning at Impact. It was definitely an above average week. We started, again, with a game that I made up. I need to come up with a name for it, so if you can think of any, let me know. Basically, the kids had to stand on one leg while holding the other leg with their hand. Then they had to hop around the room. The last one still on one leg at the end would win. But when I said go, they could try to knock the other people over. I was expecting some of the guys to win, but Bree and Jamiqua won. But to be fair, we started to let high school kids play and they went after the bigger boys. But I think it was a fun game.
Gideon led worship again. I know I say this every time, but he does an awesome job. The coolest thing about this week is that 4 of the people leading were junior highers. Only Gideon and Andrew were up there who weren't in middle school. Andrew was playing the keyboards and Santos was on bass. Amber and Morgan were singing. I think it was awesome that they were leading out like that. I hope to see that more often, and maybe eventually have our own junior high band.
Jeff Roussin, one of the high school volunteers, spoke this morning. I love Jeff, and he's a good friend. I think he is one of the most passionate people for Christ that I know. So, I've been looking forward to him speaking to us all week. He spoke about 1 Timothy 4:12, "Don't let anybody look down on you because you are young, but set the example to the believers in your speech, life, love, faith, and purity." I love that verse. It's a great youth ministry verse. Jeff took it from the view that we are to be radical in the way we love God and love others. When people see us, they are going to know that we are Believers. We aren't going to let our actions not match our words. Whether you are taking out the trash or doing your homework, you are going to do it for the glory of God. Jeff is very passionate when he speaks because he sees such an urgency to show kids the truth of God and His Word.
Jeff talked a little bit about his past and how he was always the kid causing trouble. I've talked to him a little bit before about it too. And when God forgave Jeff of his sins, Jeff had more than his fair share of sins to be forgiven for. And so he sees how important it is for kids to live out their faith and not to see the Christian faith as a game. I loved his talk this morning, and I got a lot out of it. And I think that the kids did too.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Jesus Junk

Every time I go into the Christian book store I see a bunch of junk that they are selling with Jesus' name on it. For instance, the christian candy corn that they sell at Halloween. That's ridiculous. It's cheaper at Walmart, but we should pay more because it has Jesus' name on it, and so I guess that means when we hand it out to the Trick-or-treaters, they'll get saved. Well, here's one that I think is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in this category. Let me know what you think.


hit to friendly atheist

Middle School Bans Farting

A middle school in Maine has banned farting. I guess a group of boys started a little joke of farting out loud, and then it became a game to see who could fart the longest or loudest (sounds like an awesome game to me. I would love to see the winner). But because it can cause disruptions in class, the students now can receive detention for farting in class. Here is the whole article.

hit to Marko

Friday, February 15, 2008

Eleventyseven-Love in Your Arms


I saw this video by Eleventyseven this morning and thought it was hilarious. I couldn't put it up on this blog because it is copyrighted. So here's the link. Another cool thing is that Flatffot 56 are the hoodlums in it. This reminds me of some old 80's videos. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wed. Night Impact


Happy Valentine's Day. Last night, I spoke about dating, since it was so close to Valentine's Day. Jerry did a great job with worship, and the kids really seemed to respond well to the praise music. Jerry made a contest between the boys and girls to see who could get more people here next week. Morgan represents the girls and Chase represents the boys. Whichever group has the most people come next week, their representative gets to throw a pie in the other's face. It should be fun.
So, back to dating. I started by talking about how easy dating use to be in the past. Cavemen just beat the girl they liked with a club and drug her back to the cave. Not very complicated. Then parents started arranging marriages for their children. In the pioneer days, you dated people who were close to you and in your same age bracket because of lack of options. Now it gets complicated because there are so many options and so much pressure on kids to date.
I told them to do 3 things if they are going to date. First, guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23). I told them that whoever they are with now, they probably aren't going to marry. That means somebody is going to break up with the other and it will cause heartbreak. Don't keep putting yourself into situations where you're going to continually get your heart broken. Instead, just be friends and go and do group stuff together. Middle school kids are so young, and don't need to worry about all the junk that goes on in relationships like that.
Second, I said they have to honor God. If you are going to date, make sure that it honors God. Are you both growing closer to God within your relationship. Or is it becoming a distraction between you and God. If it's the second, then you don't really need to be dating yet. Also, stand up for what you believe. If you don't think it's ok to kiss, then don't let your boyfriend/girlfriend pressure you into it. don't let your friends pressure you into it. It's ok to stand up for your beliefs.
And the third thing I told them was to make sure they honor their parents. If their parents say don't date until your sixteen, then you better not date until you're sixteen. Don't go behind your parents back. Don't try to get away with something. Just honor your parents and have that standard set.
If you disagree with me on any of the points I would love to hear about it. Parker is about 10 years away from even thinking about girls as anything more than something to push against a wall, so I may see this all very differently when he is older. I just want kids who are thinking about dating to do it responsibly and make sure that they honor God through it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Parents and Discipline

This was a video I saw on yahoo this morning. It's about a 2nd grader who kept getting in trouble at school and how his mom was going to discipline him. He had to do a public apology by holding a sign about the things that he did wrong on a street so everybody could see what he did and how sorry he was. I thought it was creative.
The one thing that I liked about this video is that there was a mom out there who was willing to discipline their child so that they can get an education at school, without beating the snot out of him. I don't know if I would ever do that same punishment to Parker, but who knows what I'd do if he finally put the straw up there that broke my back. But go see this video and let me know what you think.
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/251.7/popup/index.php?cl=6358220

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I Sold My Soul on eBay

"I Sold My Soul on eBay" was an excellent book. I just finished reading it last night, and there hasn't been a book since Donald Miller's "Blue Like Jazz" that I've liked more and haven't been able to put down. This was a man who is an atheist who put himself up on eBay. For every $10 that somebody bid, he would go to a church service. Little did he know that somebody was going to pay $504. He had to go to 50 church services. He went to small churches, medium churches, large churches, and even mega churches. He went to traditional, contemporary, emergent, and catholic services. He hit rural, suburban and inner-city. He went to a huge variety of worship services in search of God. He thought that maybe he missed something and was checking to see if he could be convinced about the truth of God.
The part I enjoyed the most about this book was when he was critiquing the churches. He talked about everything from the parking lots to the music to the sermon. It was interesting what he liked and what he didn't. There were a lot of things that he didn't understand or that he thought were ridiculous that are some of the same things that I think are ridiculous or I don't understand at church. (Not so much that I don't understand them, I just don't understand why we continue to do them). He brought a different light on how to reach people who believe differently and he ended the book with what it would take to convert him and what churches could do if they wanted to reach more unbelievers. Interestingly, he said that churches should do more service to the community and help meet needs. It just so happens that we are going to the Baptist Children's Home this weekend to do that very thing.
I would recommend this book to anybody who wants to know how to help unbelievers see a different view of God. I also think it is great to see a different view of atheism. I have to admit, I always think atheists hate God and hate Christians and just want to fight all the time, but Hemant seemed very open to Christians and wanted to help them do a better job at attracting those who think different than us.

Be the Change


I finally finished reading this book a few weeks ago, not because it was long or because it was a hard read, but because I was reading a couple of other books at the same time. And I'm just now getting around to writing a review of this book. I think it's great. I gave a copy to all of our Jr. High Student leadership Team. This is all about following your passions and changing the world. Zack Hunter's passion is sslavery and ending it throughout the world. He talked about different people who were young and made a difference to end slavery. He talked about different abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman, William Wilberforce and and many others. I think this was a great book for getting people to see that they can make a difference and how we do need to stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. The best thing about this book is that the author, Zack Hunter, is only 15 years old. I hope you'll check it out.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday Morning Impact


I would say this was an average week for Impact. We played a game called "Toe-fencing" where 2 people pair up and they grab one hand. Then they have to try to step on the other person's foot without getting their foot stepped on. It looks like a funny dance when they get going. Ashley won yesterday.
Nathan led worship and did a great job. He did some older songs, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it and have a great time. Our lesson was called "Worthless Worship." It was about times in our lives when we don't feel like God is hearing our prayers or our worship. We used 2 passages, Psalms 33 and Isaiah 1. In these 2 passages it is because of sin that God doesn't accept our worship. Psalms is about David's sin after he committed adultery. Isaiah was about the people going through the motions of worshiping God, but they didn't live it with their lives. They weren't taking care of the widows and the orphans. Instead they were treating them badly.
My small group with the 6th grade boys was above average. We had a good conversation and I think they got the point. We also had an activity where they had to make collages from pictures in magazines. I think they had a good time going through the magazines and cutting out pictures and putting them together on a piece of paper.
I think it was a good week, and the kids were able to take something away with them.

Parent Survey

I got an e-mail this morning from a guy who wants to write a book for parents of teenagers. It's about how the media affects the lives of teens. The authors name is Brooks Gibbs. His website is brooksgibbs.com. I hope you will take this survey if you have time to help him with his research for his book. It's only for parents who have teenagers now.
Thanks.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cloverfield


I went and saw Cloverfield today. I heard it described as Godzilla meets the Blair Witch Project. It was shot in a style like it was all videotaped by one of the actors. The guy behind the camera was hilarious. I thought the movie was more funny than scary, but it definitely had a lot of action. I loved it. But the ending was left me unsatisfied. I want some closure. But movies seem to be doing that lately, they leave holes in the plot and ending. I guess I like it because there is a lot of conversation and discussion about the things that the movie doesn't fill you in on.
For instance, I have no idea why the movie is even called Cloverfield. There wasn't a field or a clover in the movie. Well...I guess Central Park was in it for a minute. Is cloverfield another name for Central Park? Also, I wonder what the thing was and where did it come from? I took the guy I'm mentoring and we had a good conversation about some of things that we didn't see in the movie. I like being able to use my imagination a little bit and fill in the blanks, because my ideas are probably better than what the movie director would have been able to do anyways.
But, if you like action...this was a good movie. However, I pretty much like every movie I see, except for dramas and movies with Steven Segal or Jean Claude Van Damme.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I'm 31% likely to eat you in a blizzard

At least, that's according to this quiz.

31%

Tejeda

This morning I spoke to a Bible Study that meets at Tejeda Middle School. It's really awesome how they have it. I think it's run by mostly parents and students. But they had about 100 kids show up 40 minutes before school to participate in this Bible Club.
I spoke about loving your neighbor and really loving Jesus from Matthew 22 (the Greatest Commandment). These are 2 things I talk about often, but I've just been thinking about it so much lately. What does it really mean to love God with all my heart, mind and soul. If I'm loving Him with all my mind, then I probably won't start daydreaming through my prayers. If I love God with all my strength and soul, then why do I sometimes have a hard time finding time to spend time reading my Bible. I get too busy. But I know when I was "in love" with girls in the past, I thought about them a lot. But during my day, how often does God just pop into my head because I love Him so much. I still have a long ways to go in this and a lot of thinking to do about what loving God like this really would look like.
Then I talked about loving our neighbors as ourselves. Do I really love people like I love myself? Not if they cut me off in traffic. Not if they take too long in the grocery store line. There's a pastor in California who decided if he was going to love people as much as he loves himself, then that means that he is going to spend as much on others as he does on himself. He gives to the Children's Hunger Fund. I think that's amazing. If he's convicted to do that, then great. So far, I'm not at that point, and don't necessarily think I have to be, but I think it's admirable anyways. But I have started thinking about what can I do to show love to our world. We help with feeding hungry in Africa. We help with former prostitute teens in Thailand. I take our junior high students on service projects around San Antonio where people are hurting. I want to do more.
I just heard a term called "christianaphobia." I wrote a blog about it last month, and you can read that here. This is the fear of Christians. It's particularly happening in Europe and the West Coast of the US. Non-believers are afraid of Christians because they think we are angry all the time. We're always against people who aren't like us. The rest of the world sees us as a Christian nation, but we fight so much and are in war a lot, and it seems like we strive on that. I knew some homosexuals in San Francisco who hated Christians because of how they were treated. And because of that they didn't want to know God. It makes me sad, because this is the second greatest commandment, to love our neighbor. If we were truly loving our neighbors in a radical way, people wouldn't be afraid of us, they would be attracted to us. If we were loving in a radical way, we wouldn't be so concerned with what we didn't have or keeping up with the Joneses. We would be more concerned about helping injustices in our world.
I went into things a little bit more in depth here than I did this morning at Tejeda, because I've been thinking about these things a lot the last few months. And so, since this morning I talked about these things a little bit, I've been going through everything in my head about how I can follow these 2 greatest commandments.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Cool Youth Videos in the News

I saw these 2 news article videos on yahoo yesterday that have to do with youth doing some amazing stuff. The first one is a contest for students to make a movie about things they care about. Some of the videos have to do with rights for disabled, people living with Aids, to helping the poor. It's cool to see that young people can make a difference, and can use their talents, such as making movies, to make that impact.

Contest Encourages Youth to Film their issues
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/251.7/popup/index.php?cl=6312295

The second video is a weekly segment called "Youth who Rock." It has to do with a young person who is doing big things. This one is about an 18 year old senior who has started a business that has 300 employees already. It's a website that has college reporters all across the country who report on things that young people are interested about. Right now their big thing is the election, because it can have a lot of impact on the young people in their future. It's amazing the kind of things that kids can do when they are allowed to.

Youth who Rock
http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/ver/251.7/popup/index.php?cl=6308716

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cool Idea

This is a cool video, and could possibly be a fun idea for a youth event.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Impact Sunday Morning


I think this was an above average Sunday. We started off with a game called Top Monkey. The object was to become the Top Monkey. It was kind of a cross between Simon Says and Paper, Rock, Scissors. Kenny, a 6th grader, ended up winning the game.
Gideon led worship, and he did a great job. I love it when he leads worship. We started out with Undignified, and that always gets the kids going and jumping around. The next 2 were a little slower, and the kids were right with him, and it seemed that they were in a great place for worship.
That was great because our lesson was about worship. It was about having your whole life as an act of worship, not just the songs we sing on Sundays or Wednesdays. We talked about how there are alot of different ways to worship, and just because somebody does it differently that we do or we are comfortable with doesn't mean that it's wrong. For example, Church of Christ don't worship using instruments. That doesn't mean they are wrong in how they worship, it's just different. However, worship has to be done in spirit and truth based on John 4. This means worship is wrong if it's not done in the truth of Jesus Christ.
We broke up into small groups to further discuss it, and as far as my group of 6th grade boys went, it was a great morning. We had good discussion and I think they got the point of the lesson.

Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials

Here are my Top 5 Super Bowl Commercials

1. Amp-"Push It"
Anytime there's a fat guy with jumper cables attached to his nipples and dancing, that commercial is going to win with me.




2. Pepsi-"Justin Timberlake"
2 Reasons. 1. Justin Timberlake gets knocked in the woo hoo. 2. It's got the guy from SNL dressed up like some girl, that was very disturbing.





3. Bud Light-"Fire Breather"
I thought it was hilarious when he starts sneezing and blowing everything on fire.






4. Bud Light-"Will Ferrel Commercial"
I just love Will Ferrel, and I can't wait to see Semi-Pro



5. Diet Pepsi Max-"What is Love"
Based on Night at the Roxbury song. It would have just been an ok commercial if Chris Kattan didn't show up in the end.




Honorable Mentions go to the Doritos commercial that had a guy dressed up in a mouse suit who tackles the guy eating the Cheese Doritos. The Bud Light commercial that had the Dalmation train the horse to pull the carriage to the theme of Rocky. The peanuts commercial that had the girl with unibrow.

Paintball


Last Saturday we took the jr. high boys small groups to play paintball. We invited all the dads to come as well. We had a great time. Altogether, there were 24 of us. 16 kids and 8 adults. I was a big target, and seemed to be one that people were going after. I was killed pretty quick in every game. The first game I took one right on the top of the ol' noggin. That one hurt. After that I got hit in the heart, the leg, the stomach, the face, and the chest. On the last game, Clarence nailed me on top of my head again. That one hurt too. I have a welt of my chest and by my bellybutton (which I don't even remember getting shot there). And I got a couple of bumps on my head.
I ended up shooting mostly adults, until the last game where it was kids versus adults. The kids won both games, but I got to shoot Jacob, Chase and Jesse. I think everybody had a great time. We're planning on going back in March or April. The only bad thing that happened was when Evan got shot in the face, and it went through his mask. It scared him a little bit because it went into his mouth. He lifted his mask up for half a second, which is a BIG, BIG-time No-No. They told him he couldn't play for the rest of the day because of that. And this happened in our second game. I felt super-bad for him.
Here are a couple of pictures from the day.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New York Giants


So, Pastor John has been saying for weeks that there's no use in watching the Super Bowl because everybody already knows who is going to win. He was implying that the Patriots were going to win because they had the perfect season.
I hate the Patriots. Tom Brady was awesome all year and was the reason I did so well in my fantasy football league, but I hate the Patriots as a team. Just like I hate the Yankees, but I like Jeter. So, I'm so happy that the Giants came together and won tonight, in one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever (next to the Jaguars/Titans in 2000).
It's crazy how insane people get over this game. I was excited when Eli escaped the sack and threw a 30 yard pass to complete the first down. I was yelling at the t.v. at different times, scaring Parker. And I didn't even care. I got so excited about this game, and I realized that I rarely get this excited about God. I don't know what it is. I've experienced God in some great times of worship, and I still didn't yell and get as excited as I did tonight in a game between 2 teams I really don't even care about. I don't know WHAT needs to change, but I know something definitely has to change in my priorities.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I'm a Big Loser

Hopefully anyways. I've entered a contest with a bunch of other youth pastors across the US to see if we can lose more weight in 3 months than the president of youth specialties, Marko. I've already lost about 65 pounds, but I hope I can lose about 30 more by Beach Blast. So, don't offer me cookies or anything for at least 3 months. If you see me eating things that aren't good, call me on it. I'm going to try to work hard, and see if I can beat the other youth pastors.
Also, I just found out this morning that I'm going to have a story published in a new youth ministry book by Kurt Johnson, the junior high pastor at Saddleback in Orange County. It's actually not a new book, just a revised edition of a book called Controlled Chaos. I thought that was a pretty cool thing though.