Posts will be a bit lighter this week. We are spending our spring break with my brother, Matt, and sis-in-law, Toni at their house in Gulf Breeze, FL, just outside Pensacola.
We got in yesterday and get home next Saturday. Should be a great week of exploring, playing games, watching movies, and plain ol relaxin'. I may try and post some pics from our time throughout the week, but there are no guarantees...I'm on vacation!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Posts will be a bit lighter this week. We are spending our spring break with my brother, Matt, and sis-in-law, Toni at their house in Gulf Breeze, FL, just outside Pensacola.
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I was relocating my woodpile the other day at the request (and great idea) of my wife, Kelly. While working, I had time to think. Thinking about the future and where God might be leading. Thinking about job stuff. Thinking about my family, kids, and my son in particular.
After a while my mind started to drift to the issues that face the church I serve and worship at, as well as, the state of the Church on the whole. What is holding us back? Where do we need to change? What do we need to go back to? How do teenagers really feel about church? What real influence are we having on this generation (and subsequent generations) of teenagers?
That led me to think about the emerging church and it's issues and ideas that it brings to the table, ecclesiastically speaking. I would love to see a truly emerging church in action. I've read about them. I've books by people who lead/pastor in them. But I don't know if I've ever actually been to one that has clearly defined, labeled, and missioned itself "emerging". Do they really exist or are they like unicorns: never seen, but only myth to be fantasized about in books and at conferences?
Are there really places that put the emphasis on people and not programs? Care more about justice for the poor than justifying their numbers: budgets or bucks? Think small not big? Move slow and not fast? Deep, ongoing conversion and not shallow, one-time converts?
But I do know this. That as much as I love the values and (most of) the ideology, I'm still a bit skeptical. I'm skeptical not that it's here to stay, but that it's here to change. Change in the sense that it will continue to evolve not just over the next couple of years, but will it commit to changing in the next 10-25-50 years when our culture, people, and contexts change as a country and church. What I don't want is an emerging Church whose core values (at some level) and commitment to solid biblical, Jesus-y, kingdom, gospel oriented theology do NOT change that often (if at all).
I want to see a movement that not only is committed to change now, but, again, when are culture needs it to adapt in order lead people to Jesus and Him crucified. When I culture thinks, sees, talks, hears, and experiences divine truth and love differently.
So talk to me in at least 10 years and we'll see if this Emerging Church is truly emerging. Until then, I'll enjoy the ride: understanding, sharing, and doing the ministry of Jesus, His Kingdom and His gospel.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
LAKELAND, Fla. – An eighth-grader was suspended from riding the school bus for three days after being accused of passing gas. The bus driver wrote on a misbehavior form that a 15-year-old teen passing gas on the bus Monday to make the other children laugh, creating a stench so bad that it was difficult to breathe. The bus driver handed the teen the suspension form the next day.
Polk County school officials said there's no rule against flatulence, but there are rules against causing a disturbance on the bus.
The teen said he wasn't the one passing gas.
Whether he did it or not, he might have gotten off easy. A 13-year-old student at a Stuart school was arrested in November after authorities said he broke wind in class.
They not only would have kicked me off the bus, back when I was bused, but they would have kicked me out of school!
And for all of us in youth ministry, if we kicked every middle school or high school guy (or girl for that matter) out of a small group or our youth ministries - trust me when I say this - we would have ZERO kids coming. Too funny!
Monday, March 23, 2009
On our way home from getting everyone from school, I had to call Kelly about pre-school registration for Parker. When I called, I got her voice mail at work. Upon hanging up, I had the following conversation:
Parker: Why didn't you talk to Mommy?
Me: She didn't answer. I got her voice mail.
Me: She's working hard. Probably at a meeting or something.
Sarah: Or she's probably going potty. You know how she is.
Oh, so true. Kelly, do they know you or what?!
Ever thought to yourself, "How much is a trillion dollars?" That's a popular number/dollar amount these days with the bailout/deficit/money printing our administration is rolling and dolling out in our land. Well here's a little comparison:
First a million (made up of $100 bills):
Now a trillion dollars:
One word: Yowza!
Check out what a one hundred million and a billion look like at here.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Funny little video on the Twitter phenomenon: love it or annoyed by it. Ironic thing is that I twittered about this very video about a week ago. Looks like it's making it's way around the net on fun, geeky sites like boingboing and neatorama.
Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Last night, the church that we serve and and worship at, had a kids' movie night. I think it was for kids K-5 grade. It was a simple, relaxed, relational time for kids to get together with leaders from the kreation kids ministry to play, laugh, and have fun together.
As it was coming up, Sarah wanted to take some friends. Initially, she wanted to take some churched friends from our small group that we are apart of that is connected to another local church. I held my tongue wanting her to develop and take initiative relational with other little girls in her life. A couple of weeks before the event, I mentioned in passing who she was thinking of taking to the movie night. She said she didn't know. I wondered with her if she had thought about taking any of her friends from school.
It was as though a light bulb went on! From that day forward she focused on who she wanted to invite. So some time last week, Kelly and Sarah called 4 classmates from her k-garten class to invite them to come. 3 said yes! She was so pumped. I was one proud pappa.
All the girls had a great time. Playing, laughing, building friendships, creating memories together, and catching a glimps that even church can be a safe, fun place to be yourself all while being introduced to Jesus. Wow.
What I am most stoked about was that a 6 year old, relationally cautious little girl stepped out and said yes to her friends. What I will continue to pray for is that her heart would continue to grow big for the heart of God. A Heart that beats for those far from Him. As a friend of mine, Tim, put it...that this experience would be normal for her. That it would be abnormal NOT to reach out to those that are lost without Jesus. That growing in love with God meant not more time in the pews of a church, but more time in the lives of people who need to see, feel, hear, and experience Him.
Draw her close, sweet Jesus. May her knowledge of your power, grace and truth compel her to place love and risk with those far away from you. And, while you are at it, make that a ditto for me, too. Amen.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
There is a pretty cool little series over at History.com about St. Patrick. There are lots of legends surrounding this patron saint and history.com looks to get to the truth behind the man.
Even more relevant to me that this being a day of green fashion, green rivers, and green beer, it's a day to celebrate the birth of my amazing mother-in-law. Louis Voet, you are a wonderful woman full of love, grace and wisdom. Thanks for being such and integral part of my life, as well as, the life of Kelly and the kids. You are a tangible blessing of God in our lives and we live richer lives because you are apart of it. Love you, Mom V!
I wish I could direct you, the reader, to a cool website about her, but sadly I can't. So I will have to direct you to history.com to give you insight in Mom V's Irish heritage. Click here for a short history into the life of St. Patty. Click here to take an Irish quiz. And click here to check out all the interesting stuff that history.com has to pass on wannabe's like you and me.
I love games. Most of the time a little too much b/c they add me from doing what I should be doing: work around the house, work for school, etc. Then I came across this game, Replica. Very fun and MEGA difficult! Don't let the first couple of rounds fool you...this is tough. I got about 4 rounds in. How good are you?
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I don't know about you, but I learn so much about faith, Jesus, life, love, and spirituality by listening to other people's insight, learning, art, music, story as it intersects with the events that take place throughout the Bible. It can be really powerful. Not so much to draw you to that specific person, but to point you to our Savior.
This video is no exception. It's simple, profound, thoughtful, and beautiful. It's the story, the art, and the music that make for such a captivating 4 minute piece about Jesus Christ's time of solitude, fasting, prayer, and subsequent temptation.
May it point you to seek Jesus fresh and anew today.
(bu to Marko)
Friday, March 13, 2009
In times of quiet and reading with Jesus, I have been reading through Leviticus again. A read of this Pentateuch book leaves one asking real questions as to why God would have this apart of his holy scriptures. I know the "right" answers, but if I were a first time reader with no prior biblical instruction or theological education, I would be asking some real hard questions of God.
It's a tough book to read. No doubt. It has truck loads of details about the law, religious systems, and subsequent relational approach(es) to God. Maybe it's God's great reverse psychology book on legalism. Maybe it's his great, yet subtle work on, things have got to be better than this. And, yet, possibly, He may have wanted future followers to have something that could put them to sleep at bedtime before the invention of Wild Turkey and NyQuil! Or, maybe, just maybe, he is daring us to go deeper. Deeper than the externals. Deeper than the law. Deeper than even sacrifices and offerings. And in those deeper places, we ultimately get closer to Him.
Maybe, I'll post on it another time some of the key phrases that you see over and over again in Leviticus that gets to the heart of this book and really the heart of God. But that is another day and another post.
For now, read Leviticus 21:16-24. To over simplify, but keeping it true and real: one basically had to be perfect to serve in the most sacred of positions in the most sacred of places in the temple. Wow...that's rough! Talk about your old school. This passage really frustrated me. That doesn't fit the box of the God I know and love. At least right now. But back in the day, I guess, that was part of his standard for his people.
But that got me thinking and thankful that that isn't the way he operates now...perfection wise that is. He still has standards of character, holiness, and integrity to pursue, but Jesus seems to reveal more and more of the heart of God. Look at the guys he calls as His disciples. These guys may not have physical issues, but they do have relational, emotional, and spirituals issues out the wazoo! But he used them to launch a revolution that is still revolutionary today, 2000 years later.
And then this radical truth from the writer of Hebrews that Jesus fits the bill of supremely perfect High Priest (Hebrews 5). And because of his sacrifice I can enter the most sacred and holy place, God's very presence, anytime I want and need (Hebrews 4). Amazing!
Thank you, Leviticus, for pointing me to Jesus.
Thank you, Jesus, for taking this broken man and using me for your holy purposes all the while being able to live in your most holy presence.
Thank you, God, that things aren't the way they used to be.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Terrell Owens, the controversial NFL wide receiver, was cut by the Dallas Cowboys this past week. You can find lots and lots of articles about him on the net and the trouble he's been and has caused on whatever football team he's played on whether in San Fransisco, Philadelphia, or Dallas.
That's what makes this clip from some movie dealing with Germany, WW II, and Hitler so freaking funny. Nice bit o writing for sure.
(bu to my bro, Blane, via email)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
For all of my youth pastor, full-time ministry, and school counselor/teacher friends out there that usually eat on the run for meetings or during a planning period, here is the list for you: America's "Healthiest" Fast Food Restaurants. The reason healthiest is in quotations is because, let's face it, healthiest for fast food joints is a relative term. There are plenty of healthier options out there, but if you have to go fast food, these place make the grade.
I think some on the list will surprise.
1. Chick-fil-A (love the Chick, but a bit pricey)
2. Subway (Five dollar footlongs...love 'em)
3. Jamba Juice (they serve food?)
4. Au Bon Pain (never eaten here)
5. Boston Market (did they go under?)
6. Cici's Pizza (problem is...all I want to eat are the cinnamon rolls!)
7. McDonald's (didn't see that one coming)
8. Taco Bell (didn't see that one either, but Kelly will be happy!)
9. Wendy's (mmmm...frosties)
See the full article here.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
I loved playing ping pong growing up whether they be at camps, retreats, college, or the basement of a friend's house. In fact in seminary, my friend Loren and his wife house sat for a family friend in Denver who had converted a whole upstairs bedroom with vaulted ceilings into a ping pong room. My buddies Barclay, Daniel, Loren and I would play these marathon matches for hours when we probably should have been with our wives or studying. It was a blast.
So when I saw this, I was totally cracking up. It's not long so watch until the very end. The last bit of footage at the scorers table is the best.
Take that T.O. and Ocho Cinco!
Friday, March 06, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
If you work with students in any capacity, hopefully you are always open, searching, and pursuing new, fresh, thoughtful, and truthful ways to reach, teach, care, educate, nurture, and love kids in your context. Why do we do what we do? How do we do what we do? With whom do we do what we do? Etc. As I personally sit in transition as to what my "youth work" looks like in the next 1-5 years, one thing has never changed: the chance to grow in my understanding and skill as to what it takes to help kids and their families out in life.
There is a thoughtful dialog over at Jesus Creed about some of those thougths as they pertain to mission in the context of youth ministry. There is some good sharing, dialog and conversing that could be challenging to you and your work with kids, but hopefully it's also encouraging that there are others out there in the tribe of people who care about youth that are similar to you!
Here is a teaser to the conversation. Go and check the rest of the conversation out now:
I'm certain that many of the people engaged in youth ministry think regularly about the mission and work before them. Our unsettled culture and its itinerant nature require ongoing strategic thought and practice.
In order to avoid being characterized by what Nietzsche referred to as the "fundamental form of stupidity" (forgetting what you were trying to do in the first place), I am sure that many of today's youth ministers have a variety of mechanisms to keep the mission of their ministry somewhere on the dashboard in bold, bright font. They are reminding themselves just what they are meaning to accomplish.
I'm wondering, however, just what the thing we are "trying to do in the first place" is, exactly. What is our mission? It appears that the mission of most youth ministries just might be as unsettled and itinerant as the culture to which it is attempting to impart the great good news.
(bu to Jesus Creed)
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
U2's 12th album is finally here: No Line On The Horizon. And I just downloaded it from Amazon for $3.99...are you freaking kidding me?! $3.99?! Wow! Not sure how much longer that deal will be there, but snag it while you can!
Here's a bit of the bands take on the new disc:
'We'd invited Eno and Lanois to come in as writers. It was a big step up for us to say, 'We wanna open the thing up and that will determine the direction.' From the first session Larry was performing on an electronic drum kit. Normally Larry drums so hard, it's very hard to spend hours working stuff up when you've got all this bang and clatter. But the electronic kit made him play in a certain way. So the music came from a different place.'
'Initially, the idea was to do this esoteric thing and have a few hits there as well. It's kind of morphed into something else. I think there is experimentation in there... it's just a different animal. It's not quite what people would expect a U2 experimental thing would be. I mean, if you think of Zooropa, or Passengers, this is not that. This has got a lot of weight... I think it's some of the best music we've ever written.'
Larry on recording in Morocco
'I want people to listen to it as opposed to just buying it. I want this to be an album people go back to, and really get into, in-depth. Like all the records I love... I think we've learnt a few things over the years... I think it could be a bringing to bear of all those eureka moments from the past. And I think it could be our best album.'
'...I allowed myself to wear the clothes of characters that wandered into my imagination. So the guy in (new song) 'Cedars of Lebanon' is a war correspondent. I meet a lot of them in my other life. And I have a lot of empathy because I'd probably be one (laughs). And then there's this song that is called 'Tripoli' at the moment, which is this guy on a motorcycle, a Moroccan French cop, who's going awol. He drives through France and Spain down to this village outside of Cadiz where you can actually see the fires of Africa burning...'
Bono On Writing in the Third Person
Check out this helpful and thoughtful review of the album by The Wall Street Journal's Marketing and Media department.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
I admit it. I've got a bit o geek in me. It comes out in lots of places: comic books, cats, video games, and blogging. What began purely as a place to journal (in a geeky kinda way), blogging has become something that I enjoy doing. It's kind of a creative, spiritual outlet for me if you will. This blog you are reading right now is my macro thing. But I also enjoy the micro blogging via Twitter.
I connected with Twitter initially because it was the newest hottest buzz on the net. Then I found out it could update "what I am doing" to my blog, Held Up High. Then I figured out that it could update my status page on Facebook without me having to log on there every couple of hours or so.
So when I came across this TED talk by Evan Williams the founder/CEO of Twitter about it's meteoric rise I just had to listen. Very interesting in both a geeky and practical way.
After you watch it, answer this question: How are you/is your organization (business, blog, band, youth ministry, non-prof, school etc) using Twitter in unique, profitable, or helpful ways?
p.s. Here's the link to Twitter Search (formerly Summize). Very interesting to explore.
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations; and, as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.