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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Prayer Of The Weak

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy, that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen


This is a new digital short by Pixar, the creators of Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Toy Story. It's a super creative bit on aliens abducting a human. Made me laugh.

Pixar - Lifted

Friday, July 27, 2007

Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes has to be one of the greatest comic strips of all time - my personal favorite. I came across these the other day and thought that in the heat of summer, it would be nice to have some cooler thoughts...and funny ones, too.

So over the next couple of days, I'll be posting some classic snowman strips. Too funny.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

UD Update

For those of you following along, I interview last week for one of the graduate assistant positions. This is a follow up post.

It's a good news/bad news scenario. Bad news first...I did not get the position. When the called and told me, I was, needless to say, very disappointed. The guy I interviewed quickly followed it up with some good news that he and the associate dean were talking and said there was another position that would be calling me that might be more fulfilling for me. So that is good news.

Later in the day, I got an email asking for my resume and asking to schedule a time for an interview this Thursday. So I am traveling back to Dayton this Thursday for an interview with DECA - Dayton Early College Academy. It looks interesting. But like I've said, I'll do anything they need me to. I do not care. I just want to work hard, learn, network, and help ease the burden on the fam.

So there you have it. Here's to the life of faith - rarely easy, usually full of surprises, but guaranteed to change your life.

I'll let you know more later this week. Thanks for praying. Almighty, I lay it at your feet.

Prayer Of The Weak

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, who knowest our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion, we beseech thee, upon our infirmities, and those things which for our unworthiness dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask, mercifully give us for the worthiness of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and thy Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Friday, July 20, 2007

State of Corrections

I love Thriller. Just the other day I was actually telling Kelly that I would love to get a Michael Jackson greatest hits cd. I remember when Thriller was shown on MTV and played every hour on the hour for weeks. I also thought Ola Ray (chick in the original video) was totally hot.

That being said. This video is out there. There are prisoner incarcerated in the Philippines. Is this radical therapy? Post-modern correctional techniques? Kinda cool? Or just play goofy? I'll take all of the above. Then I'll laugh and cry because it's as good as Cats! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

UD Update

It's been awhile since I last posted something about the journey back to school. Here is a quick update on where things are at and how you might pray with us. This past Monday, Kelly, the kids, and I were back in Dayton. The primary reason for the trip was the interview that I had for one of the eight graduate assistant position openings. I met and interview with three staff from the Department of Education and Allied Professions. It was a good interview that went very well. I am hugely thankful for that! I won't know if I landed the position until maybe tomorrow (doubt it) or early next week (most likely). This position would be huge for us: free school and a small stipend!

The secondary purpose of the trip was to "window shop" for houses and see what the market is like. We saw about 4 or 5 houses, but nothing really jumped out to us except maybe one. But who knows...we can't do anything until we sell ours here in Indy first. The other thing we are reminded of is how great the house we live in really is. We are so fortunate! We will miss it and our awesome neighbors. They are the best.

The third component of the trip is was for me to register for classes. And that is officially in the bag. I'm taking 12 hours with classes being Monday-Thursday evenings. I also got my student ID OneCard! So student movie ticket prices here I come!

There you have it. Quick and easy. Pray with us in this order:

1. I would secure that grad. asst. position.
2. We'd get this house under contract by the end of this month.
3. The Cubs would stay hot and the Brewers would stay cold.

Peace and late.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Folk Rap

For all you gangsta folk rap fans out there, this one's for you! Flight of the Conchords has made one of the funnier videos I've seen in awhile. They are a comedy team out of New Zealand that is pretty funny. Makes me laugh. Subtle. Dry. Crazy talented. These guys are good. PG-13 for some language stuff.

(bu to Tim via email)

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Art In Me

As I reflect on my time in Indy, there are lots of stirrings inside my heart and soul. God, his people, and his creation have taught me tons of things. One of those things comes as a big surprise to me. It is a greater awareness to see beauty and look for beauty in and through people, nature, and art. Art has been a cool discovery that has come through the interactions with artist friends of mine here: D.L., Mickey, Rome, and Dave B. to name a few. And what is cool is that they have simply opened my senses to the art that was already in my past and present via artistic family: brothers Matt, Bret, Joe and Jim to name a few.

And so with the onset of digital photography in our world and for my family, I have begun to play with art. Nothing serious. Just an experiment in keeping my eyes open to what beauty may be out there. To find a story in a single picture. To capture something unique in a photograph. To be surprised by what might "turn out".

So I thought I would just put on here some fun I've had with taking shots that I thought might be cool and that turned out as I expected or were "mistakes".

Ferris Wheel at Dusk

Strung Lights

Blue Dolphin

A Face Full of Pollen

Pray for Me

Trip To The Fair

I can't believe I haven't posted on this! I'm such a slacker.

Back in April, the Rings clan hit one of the carnivals that come to Noblesville every year. We had a great time sharing the night together as a family and with some friends. We ate. We drank. Eat was better than Cats!

Sarah was my big surprise on that amazing spring evening. She wanted to do all the "big kid" rides that she was tall enough to ride. You know: the roller coaster, ferris wheel, and to my shock, the tilt-a-whirl! What amazed me was that my thought was that she would be timid about riding on those things given her cautiousness in lots of other areas of life. But not here. She was my little daredevil wanting go higher, faster all the time, and over and over again.

Here are a few pics from the night. If you have kids, take them to the fair. It really is cool to be there experiencing these joys in the lives our youngins. Plus it's cool to people watch. The carnival culture is so freaking unique.

Our friend, Cara, and Kelly.

Sarah, Parker, and Evan (Cara's son) enjoy the boat ride.

Half-time dinner break at Steak & Shake

Sarah getting ready for the start of the roller coaster.

The view from the ferris wheel. Can you find Kelly and Cara?).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dream Flight

"Man flies 193 miles in lawn chair"

Did you see that headline in the news? Well it's true. And it's amazing. I'm so jealous (Kelly's probably not though). Here is a blurb about the flight:

Kent Couch, a 47-year0old gas station owner, attached 105 colorful helium balloons to his lawn chair and took a 193 mile trip across Oregon. Couch is the latest American to emulate Larry Walters -- who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons. Walters had surprised an airline pilot, who radioed the control tower that he had just passed a guy in a lawn chair. Walters paid a $1,500 penalty for violating air traffic rules. As [Couch] made about 25 miles an hour, a three-car caravan filled with friends, family and the dog followed him from below. Couch said he could hear cattle and children and even passed through clouds.

Wow. I remember the first guy, not because of seeing it on the news or anything, but because I saw it in a Youth Specialties illustration book for youth workers. I kind of thought it might be urban legend, but nope, it's not. And then to have this happen is so stinkin' cool.

This guy rocks. Pursuing some wild and crazy dream like this is awesome. He's making his dreams come true in some pretty incredible ways. It makes me ask myself what am I doing to pursue my dreams? That even begs the question of what are my dreams? And what are my WILD and CRAZY dreams?

I gotta figure that one out. But for now I'll savor this guys moment in the sun and let it be my inspiration for takeoff.

Last thought: would you have the guts to pull this stunt off?

(bu to Boing Boing)

Every Bass Player in The Known Universe

Before Tenacious D, before Weird Al there was Spinal Tap (click here for highlight clips).

Spinal Tap, the great spoof glam rock band of the last 20+ years performed at Live Earth. For their song Big Bottom they brought out every bass player performing (that was back stage) to play with them on this huge song. It's a slice of who's who in the bass world. All I can say is wow - both awesome and hysterical. That would have been a riot to experience live.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven

...But Nobody Wants To Die or (the eschatology of bluegrass).

I was tracking through some blogs I follow a while back trying to find my next read. It's such a great thing to ask people you know what they are reading. And in this age of the Internet you could see what others you respect are reading and recommending (and you probably have never met them!). Anywho, my friend/mentor, Marko, does some serious reading (I mean SERIOUS). So I thought what better way to find a really good read than see what he likes.

He pointed out on his blog that this was the best book he read in 2006 (click here where he first post about the book). I was really excited about what he wrote and what other commented on about how great the book was. So...i jumped at it.

Here's my take: it's a really good book. Well worth the read and insight. But I didn't get it. I mean it was really well crafted as a piece of literature (written by band mates David Crowder and Mike Hogan), with amazing info, and really funny at times, but here's why it fell short to me. I don't have the life experience or emotional capacity to get it...yet. You see, I think you need to have someone close to you die. The authors did. Marko did. And it was profound and devastating for them both. But I haven't. And so I missed some (maybe most of it). My brother Blane and his girlfriend would probably understand it. My parents would understand it. Some friends, students, and families that I have done life and ministry with would understand it. But not me. Not yet.

So if you are in that place...get it. You'll love it. If you aren't in that place, but are seeking to understand those in that place...get it. If you are looking for a great book on the soul and death...get it (but be prepared not to get it).

One day I'll be coming back to this book for it's insight at a whole new level. I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm more prepared than before and I'll need it.

Missional Youth Ministry

Though my vocational youth ministry days are over (for and I don't ever know for sure), my heart has been and always will be about Jesus, students, the Kingdom, and bringing all those together (whether it's overt, subversive, vocational, secular, and/or volunteer). In light of that, I found this "call and response",if you will, very good for those of us that love and work with kids (and adults for that matter). It's on missional living and it's context in ministry.

Here’s another letter used with permission. I’ll reply later, but what would you say — how do we make our ministries, including those with our youth, more missional?
(read more…)

Hi Scot,

I have touched base with you a couple times in the past. I appreciate how you take the time to help me work stuff out. I have been enjoying your blog. Your blog has been very thought provoking for me lately. i have been struggling with a few questions about ministry and i was hoping you might have some thoughts on the matter. ready for them? ok.
so, what does a missional youth ministry look like? i am a youth pastor at a traditional mennonite church i grew up in. how does a traditional youth ministry become missional? what does that even mean? has anyone done it that has shared about it? any books? what are the implications for wednesday night b.s. and sunday school? how do i get over that hump? i am feeling the tension. it is good though. i just dont know what to do about it. talk to you soon. thanks for your time.

Joe Troyer

Dear Joe,

I thought noon might be a good time to weigh in. I want to suggest that we think in terms of models of what we are doing and I want to create three models of what our “gatherings” look like.

Overall, for some they are imitate Sunday morning services. Let’s call this the worship model. Singing, praying, sermonizing, singing, praying and dispersion. It’s desiged to get the job done. It doesn’t get the whole job done.

A second model is the classroom model. Singing, praying, teaching/educating/instructing is the focus of the youth pastor. The idea is downloading information into the students’ heads. This, too, gets some of the job done. We need to educate our youth.

A third model is the mentoring model, and I believe only a mentoring model can create a missional youth ministry. Worship is important as is education. But, the only way to create a missional model is to mentor in the act of embracing the other. What I mean is simple: you can worship God and that might (but probably won’t) lead you to see and serve your neighbor’s need. You can educate and that might lead you to see and serve your neighbor’s need. Missional goes further because it builds on the worship and educational models to be a guide to those who are serving and to model how serving occurs (and to learn together — not just be a model) and to guide within that serving is the best way to create a missional model. Missional will come out of seeing and serving your neighbor’s need and the youth pastor will be the mentor in that missional work.

So, the “gathering” can simply be worship or education or it can be more. For it to be missional, though, it has to be story time and mutual fellowship of what we are doing as we each contribute to one another. The youth pastor sometimes has to be the informer and the teacher and the guide and sometimes the youth pastor can sit there and watch it all happen as students help one another.

Missional is about serving and so it will be focused on teaching and guiding the development of those skills. More can of course be said but others will surely have more to say.

Hope this helps brother.



(bu to Scot and his Jesus Creed blog)

Where Are You On Healthcare?

Here's one side. Google has Michael Moore's Sicko free on it's website for a certain amount of time. And so for as long as they run it, I'll have it posted to give us a perspective I'm not all that familiar with. I know there are two sides to every story. And every story has it's bias, agenda, and propaganda, but the process of understanding this (his) perspective was fascinating.

So if you have two hours to spare. Grab some popcorn (and your friends). Put your thinking caps on. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Please have your cell phone turned off though and no talking. Please. Thank you.

(It has finally been taken off of Google Video. I hope you got to watch a free movie that will challenge your perspective and make you think.)

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Prayer Of The Weak

I'm an borrowing this blog idea from Scot McKnight. Every Sunday I will post a prayer from The Book of Common Prayer and it's collection of propers and traditional collects or prayers. They have been meaningful to read on his blog and since I own a copy of The Book of Common Prayer, I thought I would write them and share them with you as you visit this space.

O God, who hast taught us to keep all thy commandments by loving thee and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of they Holy Spirit, That we may be devoted to thee with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with the and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Home Run Derby Tribute

Instead of showing you highlights, I'm going to let you be your own All-Star by playing in your own home run derby. Have fun. The first two games are ok, but the third one is my favorite.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Are You Following It?

Because I'm not.

It's wild to think that in our country and in my world of sports addiction that one of the grandest chases for the most hallowed sports record is simply an afterthought.

Holy Crap! Hank Aaron's home run record of 755 is being tracked down by Barry Bonds and I could barely give a flying leap. What the heck?! That's nuts. It shouldn't be that way and it makes me angry and sad.

I'm angry because the greatest record in all of sports is going to be broken by one of the biggest cheaters our sports arenas have ever know (allegedly). This makes me sick. I should be watching Ken Griffey Jr chase this down, but a few years of injuries derailed his run for Aaron. I should be watching this on pins and needles. I should be watching SportsCenter, the late local news, and internet highlights to see what Barry's done tonight. But I can't. Steriods has killed it for me. Barry got sucked in and thus I got turned off.

And so I am sad. As a kid and as an adult I have loved following baseball and what it means to me about Americana, summer, and family/friends. I remember tracking Cal Ripken as he hunted down Lou Gehrig's iron man record. I remember watching ever stinking game of the home run chase in 1998 between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire (little did I know that was tainted. They were probably filled with more juice than a can of Tropicana. Oh, how ignorance was bliss back then). All of this bums me out because I know those feelings: how fun that was and how cool it was to be apart of nation cheering together. But not now, even though there is a part of me that so wants to. But I'm not.

Suck wad. Am I really feeling this?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Top 5 Best and Worst Video Games of All Time

Thought you (esp. my gaming family and friends) might enjoy seeing what "you" said were the best and worst video games of all time. Very cool.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Transformers Review

Transfomers is one of the coolest flicks I've seen in a long, long time that actually lives up the hype. If you are going to see the is movie for character and plot developement, then rent Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List (both great movies). This movie is about three things: good vs. evil, action, and holy cow cgi animation. I don't think you will be disappointed if you go in with right mind set. I had a blast watching it and it's one of the few movies that I'd love to go back and see in the theater for a second or even third time - so freaking cool!

I went bumping around to refresh my memory on a History of Transformers 101 and found this "Preview Review". It's pretty good, but does give hint to some movie spoilers. Enjoy and go see the real thing!

My Fellow Americans - Happy 4th of July

Blogger's note: Roosevelt gave this address over radio from the Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, New York, on July 4, 1941. That day he proclaimed the holiday as a beacon for the world in its fight for freedom. Little did the nation know that only a few months later on December 7, Pearl Harbor would be bombed and the nation would be at war.

My fellow Americans:

In 1776, on the Fourth day of July, the representatives of the several States in Congress assembled, declaring our independence, asserted that a decent respect for the opinion of mankind required that they should declare the reasons for their action. In this new crisis, we have a like duty.

In 1776 we waged war in behalf of the great principle that government should derive its just powers from the consent of the governed. In other words, representation chosen in free election. In the century and a half that followed, this cause of human freedom swept across the world.

But now, in our generation in the past few years a new resistance, in the form of several new practices of tyranny, has been making such headway that the fundamentals of 1776 are being struck down abroad and definitely, they are threatened here.

It is, indeed, a fallacy, base on no logic at all, for any American to suggest that the rule of force can defeat human freedom in all the other parts of the world and permit it to survive in the United States alone. But it has been that childlike fantasy itself that misdirected faith which has led nation after nation to go about their peaceful tasks, relying on the thought, and even the promise, that they and their lives and their government would be allowed to live when the juggernaut of force came their way.

It is simple I could almost say simple-minded-for us Americans to wave the flag, to reassert our belief in the cause of freedom and to let it go at that.

Yet, all of us who lie awake at night all of us who study and study again know full well that in these days we cannot save freedom with pitchforks and muskets alone after a dictator combination has gained control of the rest of the world.

We know that we cannot save freedom in our own midst, in our own land, if all around us our neighbor nations have lost their freedom.

That is why we are engaged in a serious, in a mighty, in a unified action in the cause of the defense of the hemisphere and the freedom of the seas. We need not the loyalty and unity alone, we need speed and efficiency and toil and an end to backbiting, an end to the sabotage that runs far deeper than the blowing up of munitions plants.

I tell the American people solemnly that the United States will never survive as a happy and fertile oasis of liberty surrounded by a cruel desert of dictatorship.

And so it is that when we repeat the great pledge to our country and to our flag, it must be our deep conviction that we pledge as well our work, our will and, if it be necessary, our very lives.

Researched by James R. Heintze. American University, Washington, D.C.

The Hunger Site

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