Archive for December, 2007

New Year’s Resolutions in Bite Size Chunks

I taught about Resolutions in Sunday School (somebody should rename that beast) this morning. I’ve got four I’m leaning in on. Actually, there are a dozen, but I’ve narrowed it down to four … figured that’s enough to focus on in any given year.

One of my resolutions is to read more. 2007 was a horrible reading year for me with all the my life, job and geographic changes. I decided to be “resolved” a little early, but figured that’s ok. I listended to Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point on the way home yesterday and over Christmas began Carly Fiorina’s Tough Choices. Great stuff. I’ll give you the cliff notes to Carly’s book within the next month. While I’d love to read a book a week, I’m setting my goal at reading one book and listening to another each month. By the end of the year, I should have digested 24 books. While not huge, a bite size chunk I think I can handle.


Wow What a Day (or do you count that as two?)

Back home, rather than doing Christmas presents, some friends and I decided to get a couple of hotel rooms at the Marriott, have dinner at the Emporium, swirl around in the whirlpool and just enjoy each other’s company. There were eight of us, so it was a cool little party. We went to bed kind of late (at least for them 🙂 ) at around 1 a.m. I proceeded to wake up bright-eyed at 4:30 a.m. thinking about one of my old Oasis students, Jami, who lost her dad two weeks ago. Thoughts were swirling around in my head on what we could do that might actually help … even in a small sort of way. I thought, prayed and came up with a game plan (too many times I’ve thought and prayed and never followed through, lesson learned along time ago on that one). So I headed downstairs to begin to put the plan into action, adding it to an already busy day … take a look.

6:45 a.m. Purchased stuff in the gift shop for some gifts and checked email in the lobby

7:30 Josh called and was puking his guts out. He had to leave the hospital to go home. Asked if I could get his van over to Elkhart General in case baby Sarah got released (she was a little dehydrated from the flu, which she proceeded to give Josh. All is good, she is home).

8:00 – 10:00 Got the keys, got the van, drove to and from EGH, watched the baby while Dee took a shower at the hospital, then dropped Loretta back off at the hotel

10:15 -11:45 Met with Seth and Sarah, got caught up and talked about what we think God’s dream is in each of our worlds. Awesome friends, some of my favorite people to dream the dream with.

12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Met with Rhonda, Denise, Danielle, Jami (who lost her dad), Loretta, Bob and Karen for lunch at South Bend Chocolate Cafe. In the middle of it, took a time out to do a short call with Andy over at Simply Youth Ministry to talk about Jeanne’s portion of stuff. Gave Jami different gifts God laid on my heart. It wasn’t a ton, but I hope it helps in a couple of different areas. Great friends and great fun all around.

2:15 – 3:15 Checked out of the hotel, drove to vet to talk with her on Zach’s diagnosis and picked up his medicine. I should of asked for a script for CVS; vet charged me $30 for 30 pills, could of got it for $18 at CVS. Lesson learned, don’t get your animal medicine from the vet if they have the same stuff at the pharmacy (which we learned with Ben, vets can write a prescription for). Between vet bill and medicine, forked out $225 to find out that Zach has what I figured out from the internet … a hyperthyroid. NOT great fun for me or Zach.

3:15 – 4:30 Met with Naomi and we talk about “knowing God’s will for your life.” Wonderful friend, fun discussion.

4:30 – 6:00 Met with Rachel from Arizona and talked about youth ministry, life in general and her first year in the Cadre. Once again, amazing friend, good times getting caught up.

6:00 – 7:00 Tossed all of my clothes and stuff at my sister’s house into my car and picked up stuff for party at Chris’ house. Forgot some stuff, but sister had my back.

7:00 – 12:30 a.m. Had a blast with 60-70 AMAZING friends. Mike, Scott and I aren’t in town much, so we like to see people in masses when we come home.

12:30 – 1:30 Stopped at my mom’s house to drop off Zach’s medicine and some paperwork.

1:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Drove home to Atlanta, needed to be home by 3:00. Normally only an 11 hour trip, but needless to say took some naps along the journey

Ok, after all that … can you say STUPID! What in the world was I thinking? I’m going to bed now. Oh, wait a minute, what about all that stuff in my car and, oh yeah, have to teach Sunday school in the morning. Oops, better get to work.

While I’m in cold, snowy Indiana for the week enjoying time with family and friends, right before I left Atlanta we did a fun outreach night. One of the transition videos between short dramas can be seen here. The guy playing the Christmas tree is Alex and, while he’s silly here, is one of the most amazing worship leaders. I describe him as “the guy who when he opens his mouth, heaven comes down.” The other guy in the picture above is Vinny. Vinny is a first year Master’s Commission student who seems quiet and reserved. However, he is a total comedian on the stage. With any luck maybe I can get Sterling to post some of Vinny’s stuff from the fall retreat where he and Grant stole the show.


The FIRST YEAR MASTER’S COMMISSION ATLANTA pics from the Christmas Party are below, along with the staff’s pic. Eventually, I will post the second and third year MC ATL pictures as well.

While I absolutley love, love, love working with youth pastor’s in the CADRE, these students have been a pure joy and make me laugh and smile so often each day. While I don’t walk with them on the academic side every day, I do spend considerable time with them between projects, Cadre and other activities. For some reason, God has granted me favor with a lot of them. It would be cool if every church in America, remotely doing things right, would run one of these (of course, only if they are going to do it well…which is no easy task). The work load to teach, train and manage them is enormous, but the outcome – should you be willing to deal with a few more dings in the wall and stains on the carpet – is revolutionary. Between what we do with the Cadre and MC ATL, it really does feel like the MULTIPLICATION EFFECT at its finest hour.

Cool Coversations

I just had the most amazing conversation with five Master’s Commission students at 10 a.m. at night, all standing and sitting around my relatively small office. There was so much energy and excitement in the room I could hardly stand it. I spent an hour dreaming, vision casting and encouraging them on what it means to “champion” people and projects … what it looks like, how it’s played out, how it’s evidenced in your life… In the end, I’m not sure who left more on fire … me or them. It was a cool night.

Dealing with the Desert Times and Alliance

Early, early this morning I listened to the final edits of Youth Leader’s Coach for December. It’s called Dealing with the Desert Times. All I can say is WOW … hands down one of the top five most powerful, and helpful, messages I’ve ever heard.

Great quote and thoughts from Alliance’s Leadership Team Meeting today…

It’s far too easy to be a full-time minister but a part-time follower of Christ.

Jesus made himself of “no reputation”. He chose not to claim His rights as God.

What rights did you “choose” to give up last year?

What do you do when you realize you are the most important person in the room? At the Last Supper, Jesus chose to wash people’s feet.

Another Great Jeanne Quote

A divided church will never conquer a unified Hell.