Monday, May 31, 2004

Happy memorial day!
Well, we sent my dad off to the airport with two young children on Saturday. I realize how much I love the wonder of kids. I spent half an hour roaming around a Cracker Barrel toy section just playing make believe with my nephew. It was great!

An interesting thing happened to me on Friday. I slipped into my office while my dad was taking a much needed nap. I have noticed how my dad now requires a lot more rest and walks much slower. Anyway, when I walked into my office I saw one of my former students (he's now a sophomore) having a deep conversation with the high school intern. It bothered me. To put it bluntly, I was jealous. I am the one who put in three years of love and energy. The student should want to open up to me. I guess I wasn't angry so much with my former student or by my office mate. I got upset because there aren't a whole lot of times where I get that interaction with my current students. It made me look deeply into my calling to middle schoolers. Doubting my calling is something that creeps up every once in a while. It is a constant struggle for all people who live in a world of intense comparison...yes even in the church.

While talking with my wife, she reminded me why I do middle school ministry. A few years ago when we were first dating I told her that middle school students are the most unlovable people in the world. They are extremely self focused. They can't express themselves well. They don't reciprocate love very wll. They stink and smell. They are unlovable. I told my wife I was called to love the unlovable. I thank my wife so much for that gentle reminder. I realized that my jelousy for a former students means that I have done my job. They are no longer dependent on me and they have developed the ability to trust other people. Taking a step back and understanding these things makes me realize how proud I am of my former students and how sinful I have been...making ministry about the strokes to my ego.

God, I am called to love the unlovable, because I am unlovable. The ministry is not mine. It's not to make me feel good about myself or to see my own accomplishments. It's about students meeting you and become like you. May my resolve for this purpose be passionate and steadfast. In Christ, Amen

PS. When I walked into my office on Sunday morning I found a note on my computer from that former student. It said, "Josh loves you." There are about thirty more just like it that I've collected since they went into high school. I treasure each one.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Bienvenidos a Padre
Well, my dad is coming in this afternoon for a whirlwind three days. He'll leave on Saturday afternoon. While here we will probably visit the house the 'rents purchased a few months ago (I shall hereby refer to said property as German occupied territory [G.O.T.] in honor of the nice German couple who are renting the place). Saturday morning we get to see my nephew play in a T-ball game. I am sure we'll squeeze in a game of bones (dominoes) or two. I am really looking forward to the time.

The past few years (since I left for college) have made the father son relationship strained at times, but things are much better. It's amazing how my father, who for a long time tried to convince me that youth ministry was not my calling, is now interested in my ministry. He asks questions and we even share in a theological conversation or two. I don't believe he knows Christ, so just having his support means the world to me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Well, this weekend was fun. Saturday was the big lake party down in Granbury. I love the lake and everything that entails. The water, the boats, the wakeboarding...even the sunburns. I guess the lake is the closest thing to an ocean we have here in north Texas.

Sunday, we went to see Shrek 2. It was awesome. I have to say that it was as funny as the first one. The addition of Puss 'N Poots (played by Antonio Banderas) added so much. I especially love the scene where he coughs up a hair ball.

Oh, and I got this really cool welcome mat from Target yesterday. I have been eyeing it for some time. It will go nicely right in front of my office. Trust me, it goes with the rest of my Hawaiian themed office.

By Kevin

So, as I was kneeling to capture some pictures to our server, this happend. I am kinda miffed because these were my favorite shorts. My wife has been telling me I need to retire them for some time. I guess I have to now. Honey, we need to go shorts shopping.
By Kevin

Friday, May 21, 2004 on Andy Kaufman's reappearance
Urban Snopes on Andy Kaufman's reappearance

Here is the skinny on Andy. Either way, I think it's pretty funny.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

If you believe they put a man on the moon?
Well news came out that Andy Kaufman, the famed comedien who was known for pulling outrageous stunts, faked his own death 20 years ago. Now he is back from hiding. Here is the story and here is his personal blog. Now I don't know if I believe all this, but that is exactly the nut Andy was. What do you think? Read the sites and tell me your opinion. Or do you even care?
 Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

This is my first photo post. I thought it would be funny to use a pic my wifey made of me and one of our students. I'm just glad she gave me a full head of hair. Posted by Hello

Guys and prayer
Last night was one of the best times we've had in our couples group. We shared prayer requests and then split off, guys and girls. As guys we prayed for our spouses and each other. I have been extremely encouraged by the intimacy and spirituality that has grown in our group recently. It looked pretty bleak for a while, but now it is really awesome.

While on the subject, I have something to confess. In a lot of ways I am anti-establishment...Especially anti-Christian establishment. I have been in ministry long enough to spot the ministries out there that are fake and the ones that are extremely cheesy. Whether it be Christian fly-fishing, Christian breath mints, Christian diets or the myriad of other things that Christians grab onto to legitimize making a buck. My confession is that I have had the same ideas about Christian wrestling. I guess I lumped what I thought was a cheesy idea in with the rest of them. What I learned last night (with the help of a brother named Travis, who happens to be a wrestler) is that I need to shut up a little. Travis is a great guy who has broken many of my stereotypes concerning wrestlers. He is a genuine guy who loves the Lord and wants to make an impact on other people. For him, wrestling is a hook to bring the Gospel to other people. I can respect that.

Being anti-establishment I often point out how others are quick to make judgments about my point of view, but quite consistently I make the same snap judgments. I am sorry for that. I want to thank Travis for unwittingly breaking down some of the sin in my own life. To all the wrestlers out there trying to spread the Word of God I say to you, "Let's get ready to rumble!"

Monday, May 17, 2004

In a daze
So, we had a canoe trip this weekend. Went to Broken Bow, OK. It was a great time. I love camping and especially love being on the water. I got a mild sunburn on my legs, but in the grand scheme of things it was worth it. Woke up on Sunday, sped home so I could make it to a friend's wedding ceremony. It is cool to see God bring two people together and to watch our church couple's group gather around to support them. After the wedding (which was concluded by some awesome homemade mexican food) we spent time with some friends of ours from our ministry. The parents help us out big time and the kids are involved. We finished the night by watching Big Fish with some other pals. Our friend said this was one of his top movies of all time, so my expectations were high. I found the movie entertaining and moving, but as with many things never truly being able to live up to grandiose expecatations.

So, here is where my daze comes from. After such a long weekend I decided I would sleep in. We went to bed at around 10:30 and I woke up around 11:30 this morning. I am sure I needed the sleep, but man oh man, is my brain messed up! I feel like I am in a cloud. I feel like I could sleep for another 13.5 hours.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Here's my face
Bud Light - Playback

Bored out of your mind?
Try making a talking face of your own.
Bud Light - Select Image

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Hot Dogs and Hearty Laughs
Kudos to Valerie for a wonderful night last evening. It was her husband Jacob’s b-day so we headed to a Ft. Worth Cats game last night. I don’t like watching baseball, but I really do enjoy going to a game with a bunch of friends. Afterwards there was a fireworks display. There is something tangibly American about going to a ball game, having a hotdog and peanuts, and watching fireworks. The experience wraps you in a blanket of nostalgia that doesn’t leave you cold. For the first time in a long time I felt exuberance for our country that I don’t often feel. I tend to make my God my god, not my country, which leaves me with little patriotism at times. Last night, however, was a much welcomed rift in that pattern.

Divine appointments
This morning, though I wanted to, I couldn’t sleep in. Something kept saying to me, “Get up you lazy bum!” So I got up and decided I would spend some quiet time with God while throwing a Frisbee golf disc around. I figured I would get some leisurely exercise and be able to listen to God in between holes. God had a different plan. On the second hole I was walking up the hill searching for my wayward disc when a dog ran up to me. Behind some trees I hear a voice say, “Have you seen a red disc anywhere?” It was Claudio. We ended up playing the rest of the course together. It was fun and there was some good conversation. I don’t get a chance to spend time with non-believers very much (working at a church and all) so the only place I see them is on the course. Many of them are young guys with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. Some are socially awkward but many are really nice guys. I have decided that the disc golf course is my link with the outside world…a link that I desperately need. I’m not out to be the Billy Graham of Zebo’s Frisbee Golf course. I am, however, happy for guys like Claudio who keep me connected with a lost and dying generation. After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Blessed are the disc throwers…” I’m still trying to find the exact reference of that one.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Well, I hope you like the new look! This weekend was good. Lots of hang out time with friends (again). Yesterday I bought the Futurama game for PS2. So far I like the game. Tons of laughs and I get to shoot mutants with a ray gun. How much fun is that?

Tomorrow I get to go fishing with the padre-in-law then come back to make my famed pork dumplings for a party. The Hand's are moving away and I figured the most fitting way to say, "I Love you" is with a belly full of dumpling goodness...mmm. Did I mention that I will miss the Hand's terribly? I can't express enough the joy they have given my wife and me.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Middle School Silence
Last night our middle school group spent some time praying creatively. We used pictures cut from magazines to praise God. We used a map of the world to pray for missionaries. We used bead bracelets to remind us to pray for other people and we used sand boxes to confess our sins. What I cared about mostly was letting our students spend some time in silence. I was amazed how well they handled it. In fact, the comment that I heard the most afterwards was on how great it was to have some time of silence to focus on God. Even as one who loves the middle schooler, I often don't give them the credit they deserve. They, too, want to experience God. They, too, can handle deep spiritual practices. You just to be creative about it. Although I know I can sit back and think that it was MY creativity and ingenuity that gave these students a great experience, I must confess that the power isn't in the activity. The power is in the living God we serve. I am just so lucky that I get to see Him work in the lives of students. It makes all the hard work worth it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Yet another great site courtesy of BW.
Jay Maynard's TRON costume

Try this out.
I thought this was pretty funny. This is a tribute to my friend Rodney who works at Starbucks.
:: The Oracle of Starbucks ::

Monday, May 03, 2004

What a weekend!
We had a jam packed weekend. Friday night we decided to stay home and watch the major thunderstorms from our apartment. One of my favorite things to do with my wife is to watch thunderstorms in the dark. There is something primal about looking out the window at the terrible sight of lightning and rain. The sound of falling raindrops soothes my spirit and relaxes me intensely. Funny how weather can bring a sense of awe and wonder for our Creator.

Saturday I was up bright and early to help a friend move. He is the former high school pastor at the church and one of my most treasured friends. I guess helping him move brings me one step closer to the realization that he'll be gone soon and I'll have to make time with him a vacation instead of a regular occasion.

Saturday evening was spent glutting on lasagna and brownies with friends from church. The evening capped of joking about great films such as "Friday" and "I'm gonna get you sucka" (Thanks to BW).

Yesterday, woke up and taught at church, had a mission trip meeting, then a nap. Man oh man, naps are the best part of a Sunday afternoon. We later headed to Dallas with him and his wife. The gluttony was resumed at one of our favorite places. You can read more about it from my wife, who is a much better restaurant reviewer than me. Needless to say, I am still enjoying the satisfying taste of Latin American cuisine. He and his wife are moving soon to Vancouver for grad school. I will miss his thought provoking questions, quiet curiosity, heart warming hugs, and keen fashion sense (yes, his butt did look great in the expensive jeans). They have made our lives truly blessed. Thank you Robert and Michele! Keep following where the Lord is taking you.

Yeah, it was a great weekend.