ok, this will be no big deal to anyone. (1) no one reads this blog (2) the three of you who do have much too busy lives to worry about it.

i've realized my time management is junk. not acceptable. so i'm downsizing and laying off in the industry of my life (why not follow the trend, right?)

i'm getting rid of most of the extra stuff i spend time on. facebook, twitter, blogging, reading 1,024,384 other blogs a day, etc. i'm going back to journaling on paper in a book, reading the Bible, and working.

if i figure out how to do that, and then add in some of the other stuff, i will. but i don't think i can. so, i won't be posting on this site again any time soon. if you need me, just call. it's better talking to you live anyway.


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Your Autograph Please

Another really cool resource I've come upon, and it actually works. www.yourfonts.com is the place. you download a template, write in the alphabet in your handwriting, scan it, upload it to them, and (shazam!) you have a True Type font from your handwriting to download and use in docs and publications. It works like a charm, I did mine this morning.

The only advice I'd give came from our Admin guy, Scott. Don't give them your signature in digital form on the bottom. They offer for you to give your signature, and you can use it to put on letters and such. But having your signature floating in space may not be the safest move.

Other than that, have at it. I only did page one, and it's awesome. Check it out.

Lesson Co-Op

Alright, I've got an idea. I've been writing lessons for years. I write them weekly. When I look at the stuff that is out there, both free and for sale, I'm rarely encouraged. What if some of us simply pool our stuff and make it available to each other. I've set up a Google Docs file and am uploading my lessons as I write them to the file. If we all did, and organized them, they would be permanently available to any of us at any time. We could even include video links, links to published curriculum (as long as we don't just post stuff we buy in complete form and violate copyrights), etc.

Just a thought. If you're interested, let me know, and I'll get you access to publish to and from the Google account.

Leadership Teams

Talking with Michael, our other youth pastor today. We were discussing how another youth ministry we respect in our area runs off of a student leadership team. Most of the youth pastors time and energy goes into the kids on this team. About 35% of his ministry is currently on this team. High commitment, multiple meetings, service expectations, reading, journaling, the whole nine yards.

I struggle to find the balance between calling kids to a higher level of commitment, and adding to their unhealthy schedules. I don't feel prayer, Bible study, and service are the problems. It's the extra meetings it takes to keep students motivated. We can say they shouldn't need these meetings, but they are developmentally not at a stage where they can do self-motivation yet. They need loving, regular accountability. Hence the need for meetings.

We discussed how we need to help parents change THEIR values so that the students will have support at home to do these things, even in the face of dropping other events. That's the tough sell. As I'm aging as a youth pastor, I can tell I'm going to need to spend more time mentoring parents. Sigh. I've turned down some beautiful opportunities to be an adult pastor, so I could stay in youth ministry. Only to find that youth ministry is going to require me to pastor adults. God is too funny that way.

Anyway, any thoughts from you guys who drop by here from time to time? Anything you're finding effective, or ineffective in these areas?


Today has been one of those days. I had one meeting scheduled for this morning. The rest of the day was set aside for administrative stuff and lesson planning. It's noon, I'm on my computer for the first time, and I have had four meetings. I have two phone messages from people needing to talk with me. And yes, I'm aware I'm blogging instead of working. I have to talk it out somewhere, and this is where.

I'm not mad at these people. I am struggling with time management lately, I admit. But, at the same time, none of these meetings were pointless issues. They were real. They weren't chats.

I have to readjust my boundaries again it seems. I have gotten slack in how tight I am with my time, and I can't do it. I hate the in between land. I want to have time to listen to people and serve them as the needs arise. But I have admin work to do because of a growing ministry.

Give it away? We can't afford another staffer when Michael leaves. Our admin assistant is part time, and works mostly for our senior pastor. A volunteer just never seems to work out.


It seems like I'll have to buckle down. I can do it. But it never lasts as a permanent solution. Pray for me, and share your ideas.

A Prayer for the Day

Jude 1:20-23 (NLT)
20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,
21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.
22 And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.
23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

May it be so with me.

30 Hour Famine - Cover Charge Required

We've always done the 30 Hour Famine. Every year, without fail. It's a great event. If you don't know about it, check out the link for more info. Anyway, we've always done it. But the last few years, I've had students showing up with a $5 donation, or even $1 once. We are trying to raise money to save kids lives, and the kids just come for the event.

It has always bugged me when this stuff happened, but I let the students come hoping that being a part of the event would open their eyes to the needs around them. It doesn't. It just doesn't. So, this year, I snapped. I just can't do it anymore. So I got with Renee, our leader planning the event, and Michael, our other youth pastor. We agreed to put a base amount on the event. Any student can do it, and raise $5 if they want. But they can't come to the Friday night - Saturday event. To get in on Friday night, they have to raise at least $75. No admittance without it. And I told them that that was the bare bottom ministry. If they show up with $75, don't be proud about it. You scraped by.

I don't know if any one else would agree with this approach. I'm sure there would be a whole host of people in youth ministry who disagree passionately. That's the advantage of writing a blog that no one reads. I won't hear from them. But I believe it's a good move. I want our faith to mean something. I want following Christ to be a sacrificial adventure. These kids carry $150 dollar cell phones. They can raise $75.

It will be interesting to see how it impacts the famine. I'm actually looking forward to the Famine now in ways I haven't in a long time.

What do you do with the Famine, or events like this?

I Still Love Youth Ministry

Can I tell you, I love high school students! Last night was my first night back with out youth group in a couple of months. (December was worship, party, and time off. January was a four week series with the parents. Last week was super bowl, and I missed out on it.) Plus, I got to switch places with Mike Farnsley, and teach our 9th and 10th graders. They are amazing! I love how they want to grow, to learn, to reach. There is excitement in the group, and they are responding to where we are pushing them hard. Even had one girl who absolutely can't stand me (it's not a secret) who was tracking with the lesson by the end. Too fun! God is so good!

i need You

my God, my Savior,
i need You.
i need You to be Strong,
because i am weak beyond measure.
i need You to be Faithful,
because i am a cheat and a thief.
i need You to see me through,
because all i can do is fall short.
i need You to Protect,
because i seem to want to damage everything.
i need You to be Truth,
even though i run and run from the truth.
i need You to be my Father,
because i am a poor child.
i need You to be Wise,
because i am so drawn to foolish ways.
i need You to be the One,
because i chase so many other empty ones.
i need You to be Grace,
because i am so broken.
i need You to be Mercy,
because i can do nothing other than fall short.
i need You to be Arms and Hands,
because i am broken and must be carried.
i need You to be Hope,
because i choose darkness and loss repeatedly.
i need You to be the Word,
because Your voice creates new worlds and universes within me.
i need You.
i need You.
i need You.

i need You.

Be What?!

I was reading today's devo in the One Minute Bible. (It always takes me more than a minute, I'm a little slow.) Looking at the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5, and comparing it to verses from Psalms 51:17, Job 34:17-19, and Isaiah 57 and 66. What does it mean to be meek, to mourn, to be pure and holy? I look at those promises, and just wonder. My view of following Jesus is so based on competition and being the best, and this has little to do with it.

Doug Fields writes in the side bar about Jesus: "Here's what He said: Mourn and you'll be COMFORTED. Be gentle and you'll INHERIT THE EARTH. Show mercy and MERCY will be shown to you. Have a pure heart and you'll SEE God. Bring peace to others and you'll be God's CHILD. Be treated badly for doing good and you'll be HAPPY."

Is the path to happiness suffering for God? No, I mean, is that REALLY the path to happiness. Everyone in America, including me, is consumed with how to be happy. Wander Borders or browse Amazon, they make a living off of the idea. Jesus tells us point blank that if we suffer for God, we will be happy. If we are meek, we will inherit the earth. We want to earn and buy the earth. Jesus says you can't, but you can inherit it. By being meek. Gentle. Quiet. Suffering for doing what is right.

I'm so far away from this idea. I realize this is the challenge of history, that volume after volume have been written about this idea, and how mankind falls short on it.

But Jesus says it. Point blank. Crystal clear.

There has to be something to that.

Too Many Questions

As a pastor, I'm not sure what to make of John 6. Jesus feeds the five thousand, walks on water, and then teaches in Capernaum. But what He tells the people is so harsh, so strong, that He runs most of them off. The disciples stay with Him because they claim to have no where else to go. I just don't know what to do with this idea. Jesus says that everyone who comes is drawn by God, and He will have them all. He is fearless about scaring away people who are looking for something other than salvation.

Yet, I want to draw people in so that they might see and hear Jesus. He did feed the five thousand, after all. If he wasn't into drawing people to Him, He could have told them all to get lost. And these people traveled around the lake to find Him. They were definitely interested in being around Jesus, seeking after Jesus. But it was the "jesus" they were wanting that He wasn't interested in.

How do we know when to cut people loose? How do we know when we are entertaining too many lookers who want the wrong "jesus"? Is it possible to move a person from the wrong camp to the right camp? Don't we all want the wrong "jesus" at different times?

Oooo.... Jesus makes my head hurt.
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