Friday, January 14, 2011

Groove is in the...

So, from time to time I like to share with you my new favorite thing.

And right now it is...GROOVESHARK.COM.

For those of you still in the darkness (like I was until recently), Grooveshark is an online music listening tool which allows you to search their nearly exhaustive catalog of music, listen to that one song you can't get out of your mind, or make custom playlists. I've been making some playlists!

Most recently I made the "Bad-One-Hit-Wonder-Dance-Music-from-the-Late-80s" list and the "Thought-Provoking-Emotionally-Stirring-Mainstream-Alternative-Where-Are-They-Now-Groups-From-the-Early-90s" list.

Good stuff.

I actually said that out loud while listening to these lists.

Several times.

Which prompted my wife to say, "I think this means you are getting old."

See, we've long had this theory that when a person gets stuck in an era of fashion or music or media that is the sign they have gotten old. That they have stopped making progress and decided, at whatever level of consciousness, that mullets and bon jovi tshirts will ALWAYS be the right choice.

These are the people we shake our heads at (or make lucrative yet exploitative websites featuring candid photographs of them...but I don't know who would do something that mean.)

I have fought long and hard against becoming that person...

But this week I have a new plan.

See, since I've started making these playlists, an amazing thing has happened in my house - my kids LOVE IT!

They come from the four corners of our home to dance their hearts out with me. They close their eyes at the meaningful parts. We laugh together.

Just a couple nights ago, my two-year old son Isaac began humming the tune and rhythm to "Ice, Ice Baby!"

Completely out of the blue!

And it was at this beautiful moment that my new plan hatched.

I'll bring back my favorite music.

I'll shape a new generation by exposing them on a regular basis to the things I truly love. I'll make the old new. And, if I do it well, they will think they discovered it themselves.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to help me change a generation?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!

"Hey kids! Let's go sledding!"

Shoes and socks - 2 pairs - and coat and boots and gloves and mittens and hats and snow pants and...times seven!

The wonder of it all




Brothers and Sisters NOT fighting.

"You want to get on the sled, buddy?" "No! Ball!"

A wonderful time...and now time to go home.

So what did you do on your Snow Day?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it...

Snow is magical.

And I think this is regardless of age. No matter how many times I've seen it, played in it, ate it, it doesn't lose it's wonder.

And even though I no longer have any direct tie to the school, it still sent a thrill through me when we found out last night that school was canceled for today.

(I still get the automated phone calls from the school district even though none of my kids attend there and I no longer work for them...which I love because I love being in the know;)

And I'm planning on getting some fun-in-the-snow time with the kids today. To make some memories. (I'm sure pictures will follow soon.)

But it got me to thinking. We live in such a face-paced, technology driven society. We have new gadgets coming out literally daily to "make our life better." And it all makes it hard for anything to really impress us. The newness wears off so quickly because it isn't new for long.

But snow. That never gets old.

And it reminds me that our awe of God should be the same way. Our wonder at our Creator should never wear off.

This weekend our Sunday School class was looking at Revelation 1 where Jesus appears to John to give him the message to the churches. And when John sees Jesus in all His glory.

With pure white hair...

And flaming eyes...

And bronze and gold all over...

And a roaring voice...


John falls down like he's dead. But Jesus tells him not to fear. That everything is going to be alright. That his hope is in Him, not his circumstances. (John was exiled on a prison island due to persecution for his belief in Jesus)

So today, I pray you have a great snow day. But I also pray that the wonder of it all reminds you of the wonder we should have for our Lord, who, despite our circumstances, is still in control.

He has your life in His hands.

God bless.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Where There's a Will...

I just continue this week thinking about the newness of the New Year. (I mean after all, it's new!)

In our Creative Worship Team Meeting this week, we talked about some of our personal New Year's resolutions, and then we turned our discussion to New Year's resolutions for our Youth Ministry.

There were several mentioned but the one we kept coming back to was Bible literacy - how well we know what the Bible really says.

It got me to thinking about a familiar verse:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

Now I won't go into a full exegesis here, but just point out a few things.

First of all, one of the most asked questions of me is "How do I know God's will?"

According to these verses it is possible to test and approve that will.

And how do you do that?

By not conforming to this world, but renewing your mind.

And how do you renew your mind?

I believe there are a lot of things wrapped up in that statement, but definitely studying and knowing God's Word is among them!

So I pray for myself and the youth of 180 (and anyone else reading along with my rambling!) that we would enter this New Year with an increased desire to renew our minds by knowing our Bible.

We've got some ideas of what that looks like, but we'd like to hear your ideas as well.

So let me know how you renew your mind.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 I was txtng!

So I had my favorite social media moment of the week yesterday.

I think I'm going to start recording these events here on the blog as they are an increasingly frequent occurrence: A situation that I witness involving some sort of social media that confounds me!

So here was yesterday's.

I was sitting in a room conversing with some young people while waiting for a meeting we were having to start. Suddenly another young person arrived, entered the room, looked directly at one of the people already in the room, and said, as if already in a conversation with them, something to the effect, "Yeah, as I was saying, Ryan said a 20 would work..."

It took me a few confusing minutes to realize these two people had been previously texting to each other about some matter up to the point where the one entered the room. Therefore, they no longer needed to text, so they just continued the conversation out loud.


The fluidity in which they move in and out and between forms of communication.

So, here's the question(s). Is this a wonderful breakthrough?

or the further convoluting of genuine conversation and relationship?

Let me know your thoughts. God bless.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Creepy...but nice!

There is something magical about creepy convenience stores at odd hours of the night.

If you've never been on some sort of ridiculous roadtrip and found yourself having to use the bathroom/grab some snacks to wake you up/top off that tank while traveling through uncharted regions, you probably won't understand that statement.

But for those of us who have, you know there is a whole new world opened up to you at these bastions of weirdness.

A world full of interesting characters, questionable hygiene and odd products. It is here where people who are lost, unable to sleep or just have too much time on their hands converge, and the collision of these elements create a wonder unexplainable.

Last night I got to experience that again firsthand. My family and I were traveling home from visiting some family in the hospital when we heard a couple little voices from the backseat:

"I've got to go...BAD!"

So we found the first place to pull off - a 24 hour convenience store! Inside were the classic characters: A loud, outgoing (if not slightly off) clerk, a group of slacker teenagers just hanging out drinking energy drinks, a guy who just got off some undesirable shift at work, and us.

So we went about our business, soaking in the atmosphere. Afterwards we decided we needed a snack for the road. So upon perusing the consumables aisle, I came upon this wonder...

Now my family accuses me of picking out the worst stuff in these situations. And admittedly I'm a sucker for weird snacks and weird drinks, but these were awesome. (And how could they not be given they are a marriage of two of the greatest junk foods of all time!)

All in all, it was a great and nostalgic experience that reminded me of how much I have loved those late night convenience store excursions. It always gives me a window into humanity. And often has afforded me the opportunity to stop and talk to some genuinely interesting people.

So, take some time this week to visit your local 24 Hour Lands of Wonder and let us know about your experience.

God bless.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

All the leaves are...?

The last two days of 2010 here in ol' Buffalo, MO have been a whirlwind of weather.

We have experienced the "Spring warm-up" with 65 degrees and sunshine. We saw a Summer-esque Thunderstorm. We've felt the mild rains and gray skies of Fall. And then back to the chill of Winter. All in a matter of about 48 hours...and in the last two days of December!

But it has served to further that desire to reflect on the past year and look forward to the next as we see 2010 slip into 2011.

I've been thinking a lot about New Year's resolutions during these days. (I know you'll be reading this after the New Year, but it's never too late to start thinking about a resolution:) I am somewhat on the fence on them.

On the one hand, I think they are ridiculous as we make them up out of peer pressure to commit to doing things we already know we should do but probably don't really want to do.

On the other hand, I do think it is good to spend time reflecting on our lives and searching for those places we need growth and change. I think tangible goals are great. And I think we all need a good reminder of what needs to be done from time to time (as we as humans tend to lose vision;)

So, with that in mind, here is my list of new year's resolutions (aka things that I know but tend to forget):

1. Make a short list of people whose opinions really matter. This point was made to me during our Summer Youth Conference this year in an adult leader meeting. Why do we let people who aren't qualified sway our opinions of who we are or how good a job we are doing. When I stopped and thought about the three or four people who are godly, mature, humble people who love me no matter what suddenly alot of my fears and anxieties were able to leave based on their view of me. (I'd forgotten this one since summer;)

2. Live to please God; not make a product. It is easy, especially as a minister, to evaluate my life based on results: attendance, conversions, events, money raised for missions, number of people who know my name. But at the end of the day (or for that matter our lives), all that really matters is if I've listened and obeyed my Lord.

3. Get healthier. I know. This is so cliche, but stick with me. I want to improve my health - mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. - because I feel better and accomplish more when I do. So, my wife and I have already got a jump start on this one: we've been working out together 20 minutes a day for the whole month of December! We want to eat healthier. We want to speak healthier. We to create healthier rhythms in our lives, so we will be able to respond healthier to the crazy world we live in!

I know these are basic, but they are the things I need to constantly remind myself of - the things I tend to forget and lose sight of when things get hectic.

So how about you? What are your resolutions? What are the things you need to remember. Maybe we can help each other remember them better this next year.

God bless & Happy New Year!