Monday, November 28, 2005

Issues - #1

Every once in a while I would like to talk about issues that are facing the church and our youth ministries.

I feel like one of the most important issues we will face in the next 10 years is how we confront sin and how we confront a culture with a declining moral system. Last Sunday, I sat down with a group of 100 of our 8th graders and discussed confronting sin. I was amazed at the different views ideas and thoughts that came from the group. Some said they would always confront every sin they see, other said it depends on the sin and on the occasion and others said they would never confront sin.

It seems that everyone is teaching something different to their students about how to confront culture and sin. How do we train our students to love and confront to care and to still not compromise. It seems that most of our teaching deals with sin management rather than what the gospel is really about. It seems that we are more concerned with competing and comparing sins than we are about the grace and love offered by our father.

Simple question how do we teach our students to confront a sinful culture in love?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Cheesy Church Signs - December

Don't let worry kill you - let the church help.
Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
This afternooon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
Tuesday at 4:00 PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.
Wednesday, the ladies Liturgy Society will meet. Mrs. Jones will sing, "Put me in My Little Bed" accompanied by the Pastor.
Thursday at 5:00 P.M. there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All wishing to become little mothers, please see the minister in his study.
This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
The service will close with "Little Drops of Water." One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.
The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the church basement Friday.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."
Due to the Rector's illness, Wednesday's healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.
The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the church basement on Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
A song fest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.
Today's Sermon: "How Much Can a Man Drink?" with hymns from a full choir.
On a church bulletin during the minister's illness: "God is good - Dr. Hargreaves is better."
Potluck supper: prayer and medication to follow.
The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
The choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.


Which one is your favorite - share some new ones!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

O-H-I-O


Buckeyes - 25
Michigan - 21

All is good in Buckeye land - Today is a good day!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Preaching Articles that make me think!

Want some food for thought this week - Read one of these articles a day, great resources for those of us who are teaching often.

Found this one on preaching today - about preaching with and element of Mystery by Richard Hanson - http://www.preachingtoday.com/16853


This has some great resources in it Visual resources for preaching - by Michael Duduit in Preaching magazine -
http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=preaching&page=1&offset=0&result_url=redir%3Fsrc%3Dwebsearch%26requestId%3D38a8503789047d69%26clickedItemRank%3D3%26userQuery%3Dpreaching%26clickedItemURN%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.preaching.com%252Fpreaching%252F%26invocationType%3D-%26fromPage%3DHPPavTop%26amp%3BampTest%3D1&remove_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.preaching.com%2Fpreaching%2F

This one is from my pastor Dave Stone in leadership magazine - About being authentic with your congregation, so important for us as youth ministers -

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2004/003/1.37.html

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Podcast Report

Here are a few of my favorite podcasts and you can listen to some of my favorite speakers:

Erwin McManus - www.erwinmcmanus.com

Ed Young - http://cp.blogs.com/cp/

Southeast - Lift - h2O - http://southeastchristian.org/web_sermons.cfm

Some other good ones are - relevant magazine - ginghamsburg church and mars hill fetured audio ( Mark Drsicoll ) -

Rob Bell the best speaker out there no podcast but you can hear him @ - http://www.mhbcmi.org/listen/index.php

Tell me if there is another good one you know of - I just found out this week that there is a new podcast for the tv show Lost - not a lot of preaching there but the show is the best on tv right now!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Michigan Fans are people to



Ok this weekend is the Ohio State - Michigan game. Like any good kid from Ohio I have always been taught that Michigan is the enemy, not the state just the school in Ann Arbor. I have rooted for Ohio State and for whoever is playing Michigan for the past 30 years. I of course will be in front of the tv Saturday with my Scarlett and Grey on and I will be rooting like crazy for the Bucks. I have been to a few games this year the Texas game in Columbus and I drove up the road to see the IU game a few weeks ago. While we are at the game we began talking to a guy in the concessions line and he was a great guy, talked to me about his family and the Bucks and Michigan. Turns out he is Michigan fan, as we walk away my buddy says, "that really stinks, I hate to find out that Michigan fans are people to."

I just got done searching through a bunch of blogs about my church. I was amazed at the negativity, the harsh words and the ridiculous comments I just read. I honestly just read that our Sr Minister should leave the church for heresy, our people wouldn't ever invite anyone who is not rich into our community, our leadership is all about growing the church and doesn't care about people or God's will and my favorite was that at our youth group when you are new the other kids spit on you. Our teaching series this month is called the School of Love and we are teaching the story of the prodical son. I really wish when I looked up the name of our church I would find stories of how we love others and how we care for the community around us. I know that is what is taught at our place and I know that this is what the leadership of the church wants.

I guess this gets me to the question on my mind - Why are we so quick to judge?

Quick to judge other leaders, other churches, other people, Michigan fans, people who don't know God, people who believe in a different God.

How do we teach our students that the real message of the gospel is love? That the hope of the church is love and that the heart of Christ is love. How do we teach our students to confront our culture and to confront sin but to do it in love? I don't know if I know the answers but I pray everyday that our students will walk away each week knowing that they are loved by a great God and that they are to love others. Love God love others - good concept!

"may they know we are Christians by our love, even the Michigan fans"

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Top 3 - October

Here are my top 3 bands to check out and books I've read in the last 2 months -

Bands
1) - augustana - Can't stop listening to these guys - really nice sound!
2) - youth group - not a christian band - UK band really good
3) - The Afters - Normally I think Christian music is really bad but I like these guys

Heard the new delirious album this week and it is really solid also!

Books
1) - Renovation of the Heart - Dallas Willard - read anything this guys writes - he is so good
2) - Velvet Elvis - Rob Bell - A lot of his sermons but still an easy read and some good stuff
3) - The return of the prodical son - Henri Nouwan - Great book a must read!

Ok and I am the only person on the planet who hadn't figured this out until I got the dvd of season 1 lost is the best show on tv - brilliantly written, fresh and unique. Lots of ministry connections also!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Everything Speaks::no really it does

We get so wrapped up in this doing ministry thing that sometimes we miss the details of what is happening in our own world view of ministry. We measure our success wrong. It has been said but without real intentions or impact. The lack of impact
on our thinking is real. We continue to base our programs success on one or two elements. Did "blank" go well? Were they
listening. Was the worship real? I hate to say it especially as guilty as I am. We have to accept realities in these questions.
Realities that say we don't really know the answers, except what we think we see. We we don't accept the reality we leave many nights hungry for answers, how was it, did it work, or man no one was connecting! I challenge all of us to consider and recollect on this phrase that our team is saying more, and that I am being smacked in the face with more and more, everything speaks. Seriously it is more true and it is our roots as ministers of the message brought to us by our Bibles.

Just Tuesday it occured again as I sat down with two students in our ministry, to do something simple, brainstorm series ideas. That hour spoke loud to me, as two students left with a feeling of energetic hope. They felt a contribution was made. Their eyes and faces speak that they see possiblities for their life, because this was the part of ministry they had not been of part of yet. They had seen the mission trips and service projects. They had helped with setups, and cleanups. They had experienced all of our programs. Yet something in that hour may ring impact in their life for years to come. Especially if any the ideas that were birthed in that hour between 4:30 - 5:30pm actually get used.

Everthing Speaks, our interactions with students while playing Madden, talking to a kid while washing our hands, letting students into the behind the scenes, the worship, the creativity, the chairsetup, the giveaway that ties in to the topic, and yes our messages. We must view our ministry in the small and the not so obvious as well as the planned and large obvious. Our success many times is simply a state of micro ministry moments all added together.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Oops

If you haven't seen this already - Blake Bergstrom another Christian church guy that I know really had a miscue in a recent sermon. Check this out it is quite funny! Saw him at Catalyst and he said he was signing autographs from people who saw this video.

http://ship-of-fools.com/Signs/blunders.html

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Starving at the Feast (pt 2)


In Matthew Ch 15 Jesus makes a simple statement that may change the way we all should do ministry. He simply says, “I have compassion for these people, I don’t want them to go away hungry.” If this statement is made by anyone else then we know that the person cares and that is all good and nice but it still doesn’t change much. Turn the lense and see that, Jesus, God in the flesh in this moment sums up why he is there. Compassion for the hungry! "This is why I came because I saw my creation, that I love and I felt compassion for the fate that awaited them." We are all hungry because God created inside of us a hunger for Himself. The day my son was born my wife and I bowed and prayed that the Lord would place in his heart a longing for his creator. A hunger that can never be filled with anything else.

He doesn’t want to send them away because “they may collapse on the way.” As always with Jesus, you never know if he is speaking literally or if he is using all of this as a great metaphor for his teaching. Each week I don’t want to send away our students hungry. I know that every empty chair in our auditorium represents a student who was active in our ministry and is now gone or a student who needs to be a part of our ministry but hasn't connected. So many hungry students enter our building each week and I know many are still sent away hungering for a feast that is sitting right at the table in front of them. Somewhere along the way they will collapse on the road. The great menu of life becomes more appetizing and the super sized value meal of the enemy drew them in. Satan always promises a better meal but always leaves you with an empty wallet and an equally empty heart.

So the story ends and Christ feeds the 4000 and they were all satisfied and afterwards the disciples cleaned up 7 baskets of leftovers. When God offers food for the hungry there is always enough to go around but not all of the hungry will choose to eat. Some take one meal and never return. Others will eat for a while and then wander away. My job is to simply keep bringing them to the Lord’s table and asking Him to bless my efforts. Here are 10 questions I ask to measure success, and define whether or not I offered me or God to my students.

Question 1 – What did I offer my students today me or God?
Question 2 – Did I point to a huge God who offers an amazing feast?
Question 3 – Was my heart right in my presentation?
Question 4 – Were my efforts pleasing to the Lord?
Question 5 – Was I engaging and was my content beneficial to my audience?
Question 6 – Did I help develop passion for Gods word?
Question 7 – Did my message call students to a commitment?
Question 8 – Was my message challenging?
Question 9 – Did I connect biblical content to my students context?
Question 10 – Was I well prepared?

"May we bring our students to the Lords table, and get out of the way so that he can work."