Monday, November 26, 2007

"Why Not Me?"

Lori Miller is a woman in our community who has struggled with mulitpule rounds of cancer since the time I have been here in Francesville. Lori recently published “Why Not Me?: A Story of God’s Goodness Through One Woman’s Struggle with Cancer.” Cancer has made little impacted on my life. No one in my family has been affected by it. Therefore, it is difficult for me to understand the toll cancer can have a person and there family. Lori’s book helped this youth minister understand this struggle better. I am a better minister for reading her book.

A Rewarding Day

On the day known as “Black Friday” the important women of my life went out shopping. I however, went hunting. After four missed shots about to other deer, my fifth shot finally connected on a seven point buck. He is nothing to boast about other hunters. In fact, some would question me for shooting a deer with such a small rack. But I don’t hunt for trophies…I hunt for the enjoyment for the small successes. Also, I am pleased to say that I processed this deer myself, which is a first. I shot him at 8:00am and he was in my freezer at 1:30 am that night. It made a long day but it was very rewarding.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Courier Article

Another round of the Indiana Christian Youth Convention has come and gone and I am proud that the student ministry of the First Christ Church participated in this event. A total of fifteen from the church, eleven students and four adults, went to Anderson, IN to join another thousand students for a weekend of worship, teaching, and being connected with each other. Attendees from this convention came from all corners of our state. (I think I even saw some church vans from Kentucky & Ohio.) The convention talent came from all over the country: Texas, Missouri, and California. This event was well organized and a worthy investment of time and resources to have our students involved.

I am sure that the congregation of FCC would like to know that one of it’s own, Charlie Ketchen, played a key role in this year convention. Charlie warmed the crowded up for each main session by providing a comedic element to the program. Despite his very alarming/disturbing cut off blue jean shorts and the “I’m a redneck from Francesville” reference (sarcasm should have been implied while reading the previous statement and if you didn’t, visit to see the pictures…you’ll understand then), FCC should be proud of its young “Timothy”. He did a great job.

As always, I am very grateful for the support of the FCC to make is event avable to our students First and foremost, I am thankful to the adults that sacrificed their weekend to be with us: Rae Boehning, Tina Davis, and Jake Schlatter. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. Likewise, I am thankful to all the contributors of the church’s youth fund. Your finical contribution helped pay for some of our sponsor’s expenses, lodging, and a round of pizza for us to enjoy as we relaxed at the hotel for a few hours before we went to another session. Your contributions are an important part of our youth ministry to which I am very grateful. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Swing and a Miss

The most embarrassing thing a hunter can say is, “I missed.” Well, not only did I miss once but three times. The evening hunt was uneventful until I heard a doe calling in the woods. Three deer eventual came onto the field to cross. It’s hard to judge the distance: any were from 80 to 125 yards…maybe. They were a long ways away for an open sighted shotgun. I tried three times, I though I connected with the second, but I missed. Every time I took aimed, I lost the target in my view. They simply disappear from my sight. Now I know why guys put scopes on their shotguns. Chalk it up as a learning experience. Buy your own gun with a scope on it.

Two Passes

No shots were fired this morning but I had an enjoyable hunt. Deer where running around me. A herd of six does walked past me. I passed on taking a shot. A small four point buck was making a rub. He was close but he was in the brush thus making him next to impossible to see. I had a head shot but I passed as well. Im in for lunch then I’ll head back into the woods. Good times.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Your Story

Twice I’ve listened the online teaching from Don Miller spoken at the Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids. Miller’s message was about story. (Check it out the Mars Hill message on Nov.11) Here’s the just: if you life were movie would people watch it? People do not watch movies were the main character is self-seeking, selfish, shallow, and uninspiring. They identify with a person of selflessness and person of depth. God has given us a pen filled with blood so that we can write out a story that honors Him. This makes me think, what story I am telling? How about you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Bad Baptism?

The opening chapter of A Search of What Makes Sense: Finding Faith gave me much to think about as a youth minister. McLaren, as do many others, contends that everyone has faith including an atheist. You either have good faith, bad faith, or a “leap of faith.” His description of bad faith connected with my belief that baptizing students to soon is unbiblical and unhealthy. According to McLaren, bad faith… (The additional comments are mine as it relates to youth ministry.)

…is based on pressure and coercion
. In our desire to see young people embrace faith, it is possible that some are pressured into the baptistery by their parents, grandparents, and spiritual mentors? I am confident that this is unintentional but I belief it is a legitimate factor.

…is the result of social or psychological need for belonging. Most the students I have baptized are in their early stages of adolescences; whose craving to belonging to anything may surpass the desire to follow Christ. Have you noticed that amount of attention a kid gets after a baptism? People wait in line to shake their hand or give a hug. Some parents even through parties. Maybe they say yes to being baptized because of the attention they will receive.

…appeals to self-interest and base motives. The fear of hell is often a leading contributor for a student to “make a decision for Christ.” Baptism is often taught as a theological loop hole to avoid hell. Bottom line…”I want to be baptized so I don’t go to hell.” That’s not a commitment to Jesus Christ. apathetic. Is there a better word that describes the faith of so many Christians? Apathetic is defined as: having or showing little or no emotion and not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive. Sadly to say, this describes most of my baptized students. The biblical example of baptism assumes a change has take place a person’s life. Though I believe that it can have that same effect today, most people do not become passionate intentional followers of Christ until later on in life, well past baptism.

…is a step backward. “Better safe than sorry” is the term I have often heard (and makes me sick to my stomach as to what that actually means.) Could a premature baptism do harm? Is there such a thing as a bad baptism for a teenager? That’s a question I would bet few Christian Church leaders have never asked! I can think of three disadvantages off the top of my head: a false assurance of salvation (to all parties involved), a nonexistent praxis of faith, and unrealistic expectations of a “Christian” kid that who is not really a follower of Jesus.

These are compelling thoughts that I believe more youth ministers should talk about. I hope someone who reads this will leave a comment and tell me what they agree with but more importantly…what they don’t agree. These thoughts could have major implication on what we do as youth ministers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Courier Article

An opportunity presented itself for me to me to join my Father and youngest brother on a hunting trip in the commonwealth of Kentucky. Having a handful of vacation days left, I took a day off this Sunday to spend time with family and enjoy the outdoors. The weather was beautiful and the visit with family was memorable. For those outdoor persons interested in my hunt; I didn’t even see a deer let alone get one. I hope to have better luck here in Indiana.

The holiday season is upon us and I am looking forward to it. But the youth minister within me, however, has a twitch of sadness. This is the season when our youth ministry tends to slow down. We meet less often in the later part of the Fall but I guess that overcompensates for the busy early Fall schedule.

As I look back on the past three months I am very pleased what has taken place. Youth leaders are energetic and willing to take on responsibilities. Students have shown a renewed spirit of participation in youth events. Numerous activities such as parties, 5th Quarters, the Fall Festival, and Fun Nights have been very successful.

So as we enter into this Thanksgiving season, I am very grateful to God for what has taken place in the start of this school year. I am thankful for a group of great students and committed volunteers. I am thankful to be apart of a church that provides space and resources to minister to young people. I am thankful.

I hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving season. We have much to be thankful for.

A "Think Green" Funny

I am all about the stewardship of God’s creation but this “green” thing can be pretty funny. Last Friday morning I was watching the Today show on NBC when they ran a heart warming story of the acquisition of the Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York City. This is the tree that has thousands of ornamental lights strapped on it and will likely be turned into mulch a few months from now. As the piece came to an end, Matt Lauer said (be careful or you will miss it), “This tree was cut down by hand to save electricity.” That’s funny.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Vote for Zac Hunter

Here is a blog post by Marko that I simply copied. Hunter is behind by just 400 votes. Marko wrote...

we at youth specialties just found out that zach hunter has been nominated as a cnn hero in the youth category. the winner is determined merely by vote (which, since zach doesn’t have a big organization behind him like some of the other nominees, is unfortunate). but we’d love to get the votes going!

winning would allow zach to appear on a prime time special with anderson cooper, to talk about modern day slavery, and how he (zach) feels god is calling his generation to bring freedom. there’s a cash price also; and zach has already said he would donate it for aftercare and education of rescued child slaves.

help us get the word out — to your churches and youth group and friends.

vote here (btw, the info is wrong: it says zach has raised $20,000 to end slavery. that’s how much zach has personally given, from speaking fees and book royalties. he has raised well over 10x that amount.)

you can vote as many times as you like until monday at noon.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

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Google Reader

A youth minister friend, Charlie Ketchen, sent an email stating that he had become an official blogger. He encouraged us to read other blogs and to use a free program called Google Reader to be more efficient in our readerings. I took his advice, found the program to be handy, read from 20 bloggers, and am now wondering why I haven’t done this sooner.

Smoky Moutain '07 Day 4

Day 5 is still in the works.

Smoky Moutain '07 Day 3

Smoky Moutain '07 Day 2

Saturday, November 03, 2007