Wednesday, August 27, 2003

School was long, but good yesterday! I am stoked about the flexibility in my assigments.

The cool thing was that I woke up fairly refreshed this morning. If I were a cartoon birds would have been tweeting all over the place. God is so amazing!

Monday, August 25, 2003

Back to school

Tomorrow I start back in school. I'm excited but am reminded of the experiences of last semester. Being a commuter student to a campus over 40 miles away it was hard to build relationships with other students. I spent alot of time alone on campus. The few friends I did make graduated last semester. It was kinda hard. Ok, really hard, but it reminded me of my first semester at TCU where there was much loneliness to be had. I will be in a few introductory classes this semester and also have a youth ministry class, so I am hoping that I will be able to build some relationships with friends in those classes.

Another thing that has been wierd is that my pastor asked me to stop teaching at an alternative service we have that is geared for young adults. My primary focus is on middle school ministry, but I love teaching in different contexts. It has been a joy trying new things and being a little more real with a group of peers. I'll submit because he's my boss. I feel bad because the guy that is running the ministry is already working with no support. Teachers are hard to come by. I feel like this will really cut the legs from underneath him even more. We've already lost two good pastors lately, I don't want to lose another close brother in Christ.

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Super Monkey Ball 2

Played a cool game last night. It's basically a party game where monkey's in gerbil balls compete in different games (wacky bowling, hang gliding, pool). It was pretty fun also pretty challenging. One of the monkeys wear a red vest and you can see his white bare butt. As I always say, a monkey makes anything about 50 times funnier!

Monday, August 18, 2003

Mock Gubernatorial (sp?) Race

We are going to hold our own California Governor's race. Being from California I am deeply interested in the gubernatorial race. Here are the certified candidates. Look over the 135 people closely and vote for a winner.

My vote is for KURT E. "TACHIKAZE" RIGHTMYER, a middle weight sumo wrestler.

Well, this weekend was fun. I met the "potential dude". He seems pretty cool. His first question to me got us talking about late night talk shows. I was impressed when he said, "I love Conan's antics, but his monologue stinks!" I must say I disagree with him, especially when Conan does the "string dance". Anyone, however, who can appreciate it when Conan goes bowling with a huge whale costume as the ball is ok by me.

Saturday I finally broke down and bought a new pair of flip flops because my old pair (of about four years) had more flop than flip. We had some close friends over that night and spent the night laughing and playing "hide and go seek", which is every bit as fun as it was when I was young. We also spent a good 20 minutes figuring all the funny ways to use the word 'teat' in a sentence.

Over all a great weekend. Lot's of laughs. Good times.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Today I meet a guy who could possibly be our new high school pastor. I was really close to the last guy, so I know that I need to keep an open mind about him. It is going to be a really tough weekend for him. He got in last night, had dinner with one of the families on the search commitee. Today he tours the building and gets grilled by the senior pastor and some of the elders. Tonight another dinner, then the paid youth staff will hang out for dessert and games. More grilling tomorrow. Sunday, he teaches in front of the high school group. The guy knows he didn't impress the search commitee with his teaching tape, so there is pressure there.

As someone who will be going through all this when I graduate seminary in two years, I realize how much pressure there is. I don't even think he's the best person for our ministry, but I feel for him. Have we made church ministry about having it all together. We want the total package. We want someone who is a great administrator, dynamic speaker, can think outside the box, is highly relational, super relevant, great family man, relate to the jocks, freaks, preps, and geeks. All this and can walk on water! The body of Christ is meant to be a place where we don't need a superman! I sure as heck know I can't do all those things, why then do I put those expectations on other pastors? Where is the team work? Where are the different people with different gifts? I am preaching to myself more than anything because as youth ministry becomes more and more professionalized, it runs into the danger of missing the gospel of grace. It misses the point of being ok with the situation God has put us in.

I remember my high school pastor saying, "Kevin, I want to be there when you speak at your first conference!" In my mind I was stoked. I thought that my youth pastor was complimenting me by saying that I had what it takes to be a great youth pastor. I thought that when I do speak at a conference I will have "made it". The truth is, I may never speak to a huge crowd. I may never be a Doug Fields or Mike Yaconelli (two big names in youth ministry). God has me reach students with the amazing news of Jesus Christ. That is the thrill! That is the rush! I have "made it", all youth pastors have "made it" when they see themselves as God created them and where He placed them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Last night a few friends and I went golfing. Long story short we sucked, but I had a great time. I was on the sucky team, but we managed to grab a few good shots and plenty of laughs.

I came across a discussion on Miketodd's Blog called "The Least". I am intrigued by the question, "What is the least someone can believe and still be a Christian?" As Mark Oestreicher asks, "does a little dose of Buddhism thrown into a belief system somehow kill off the Christian part?" I don't know. I have often cited the Mormon's as a very very twisted religion, theologically. Ironically, I firmly believe that there will many Mormon's who we'll see in heaven.

What is the Gospel? What are the essentials to the faith? When Paul went to Ephesus for the first time, the Ephesians we living off of the baptism of John. They were waiting in faith for the Messiah. If no one had told them about Jesus, where would they be? Jesus, on the other hand, seemed to really enjoy pointing out how knowledge had corrupted the pharisees. Jesus seems to care more about religious the dangers of religious super-pietism than anything else.

Well, I'm rambling. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Day three of Celtic daily meditations

The Cry to God as 'Father"
in the New Testament
is not a calm acknowledgement
of a universal truth about
God's abstract fatherhood.
It is a Child's cry
out of a nightmare.

It is the cry of outrage,
fear, shrinking away,
when faced with the horror
of the 'world'
-yet not simply or exclusively
protest, but trust as well.

'Abba Father'
all things are possible
to thee...

Rowan Williams

Monday, August 11, 2003

Wake Boarding

Today I am going to the lake with the fellow youth staffers. I have grown really fond of wakeboarding the last few years. I don't get to go as often as I would like, but when I do go out I love it. I am not very good at it, but then again, when you are having fun what does it matter if you're any good.

Isn't it funny how doing the things you're not very good at can give the most satisfaction. I know plenty of people who love golfing who suck at it. Guitar, frisbee golf, and cooking. I love all these activities but I'm no good at them.

Friday, August 08, 2003

Last night at a worship service we sang a song (We Come to Praise You) that I hadn't heard since my high school youth group in Cali. It was one of my favorites in high school. Immediately I was taken back to my old youth room. I could feel my old friends around me and even the sights and smells were distinguishable. It was the closest thing to an out of body experience I've ever had. I wasn't freaked out or anything, I think God was giving me some peace in worship. I'm normally not a charismatic person. I am not against it, I've just never been blessed with experiencing worship that way. Last night reminded me that, just like most things in life, worship is is shaped by former experiences and revelations.

I won a poem contest on Redminister's site (look to your right) this week. You had to complete the poem:

Roses are Red, violets are blue...

Mine was

I think I got this one
Roses are Red, violets are blue
I have short term memory

I think I got this one
Roses are Red, violets are blue
I have short term memory

I think I got this one
Roses are Red, violets are blue
I have short term memory...

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Went to Six Flags yesterday with our youth group in record heat! It was 118 degrees in the park. I finally rode Superman Tower of Power. It was really cool...especially the take off. It shoots you up pretty fast and there is a great view from the top!

I realized yesterday that my body can't take the spinning and bumping like it used too. I feel old. The students were screaming, "More, More! but my body was yelling, "Stop!" It worries me. If God had called me into youth ministry, wouldn't he have given me a stomach of steel? He's certainly equipped me with the sacred Sword of Sarcasm and the Dodge Ball of Truth to protect me on my journeys. I guess I'm vulnerable after all...NAH!!!

When was the last time you got sick at an amusement park?

Monday, August 04, 2003

The trip to Austin was great. It was a blessing to get away and see new places. The central Texas hill country is a beautiful place. The people seem more laid back than DFW.

This weekend I realized how summer is coming to an end. I am a summer person. I love the heat and the water. I miss the endless summer of Southern California. Not that you go swimming every day in SC, but you don't have the winters of snow and perpetual cold weather. Those of you in the north who get like 60 strait days of blizzard conditions are saying to yourselves, "Kevin, you don't know what cold is!" You're right, I don't and I don't want to find out ever.

Friday, August 01, 2003

The week was a great but tiring one. After leading games for 200 elementary aged kids during the heat of the day then speaking to a youth group at night I am wiped out. Luckily, I get to take a short road trip to Austin and San Antonio with my wife. I know a road trip doesn't sound too relaxing, but I am excited to get out of town and see new places.

One thing I learned this week is how narrow I have defined a healthy youth ministry before this week. My friend's youth group is a small group with mostly homeschoolers. There is one down syndrome boy and another young man with some emotional and mental issues. The first night three of them got into a major fight. I had concluded that no usefull ministry could be done in "such conditions". Basically, I was a big spiritual snothead.

The second night we went bowling. The same group that argued bitterly the night before rallied around the same troubled youth who had previously caused the problems. They encouraged the down syndrome boy. They even helped and cheered for the problem child. I realized that they had their problems and fights, more because they were a close tight knit group than due to any spiritual deficit. The youth group I work in have no fights, not because everyone loves each other so much, but because they don't care enough about each other to get worked up. In the end I was shown that the true kingdom of Heaven is for the misfits who love each other enough to occasionally hate each other's guts, but still love and encouage one another. Thanks to SDBC for teaching me so much!