Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ministry: Thoughts on the Mega-Church.

I have always enjoyed the show King of the Hill. I really think it's a brilliant caricature of life in middle America. One thing you can count on with Mike Judge (Beavis & Butthead, Office Space) he interprets culture in a very unique and humorous way. On a few occasions Judge has tackled the subject of church culture. Several years ago there was an episode where Bobby Hill started going to some super-hip youth group. Then there was the episode when the Hill's Methodist church brought in a woman pastor. Now, this time (2 weeks ago) he chooses to give his interpretation of the mega-church. I have posted the whole episode here and would love to hear your thoughts on this. I think it is interesting how a non-Christ follower sees the whole mega-church thing. Please watch and comment.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Entertainment: Superhero Test.

My boy Bryon encouraged me to take this test. I really was hoping that the bottom four for me would be Robin, Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Catwoman. Sad thing is Robin was my runner up superhero and the girl superheros all ranked higher than Batman and Hulk. I guess that Green Lantern isn't so bad. Which super hero are you? Click here to take the Superhero test.

Green Lantern 55%
Robin 50%
Spider-Man 50%
The Flash 50%
Superman 45%
Supergirl 40%
Iron Man 40%
Catwoman 30%
Wonder Woman 25%
Batman 20%
Hulk 15%

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ministry: Middle School Campout.

When you hear the words middle school and camping in the same sentence it may scare you, creep you out or it may even make you cry. Well, me and some of our Student Ministry staff took some middle school students camping in south-central Florida this weekend. The weather was great, no mosquitos, and the oak trees provided incredible shade. Needless to say we had a great weekend. Campout's are a great way to build community and get students out of their elements. Here are a few things we did this weekend....
Campfire - There is no campout without a camp fire. On Friday night we all gathered around a campfire. Bryan, our worship leader lead us in a time of singing underneath the wide open country skies. Its amazing how many stars you can see without the pollution of city lights. Our speaker for the weekend, Jimmy Grosz, talked about having a relationship with Christ. We then cracked open the package of marshmallows and had some smores.

Rope Swing - as you can see in the picture I conquered the rope swing. We went up a day early and hung a brand new rope and made a "platform" to launch from. It was a beautiful thing. It gave students hours of fun and excitement. We were on the Kissimmee River, which is pretty shallow and dirty, so we had to be careful with rope placement and length.

More Water Activity - Kayaking is one of the coolest things ever! I love the fact that you control your own mini water craft and don't have to worry about a bad rowing partner like you may have with a canoe. After a 30 minute trip my shoulders had a slight burn and I felt as if I had just had a nice little shoulder and arm workout. On our trip we were looking for 'gators, but the best thing wed could come up with was a couple of 2-3 footers and a bunch of jumping fish.

Lots of good eating - One of the parents from our ministry went to our campsite early and hooked us up with some island cooked chicken and fresh corn. Very tasty. We then fed the students Grandmas cookies and as mentioned earlier, smores. You want to have a good student campout? Provide lots of food. Lots.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Entertainment: On my iPod.

The Black Crowes - there's nothing like good old fashioned rock and we all know that's what the Crowes bring to the table. I just bought their greatest hits deal and I cant get enough of it! "Hard to Handle", "Remedy" and "Jealous Again". Need I say more?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ministry: Thoughts on Portable Student Ministry.

For the past several years I have been a youth pastor for a growing church in Jupiter, Florida. We are in a very unique situation: we are portable. This means we don't have a building. There is no "youth room" or "center". There is no gym or central meeting place. I must admit it can be very difficult and without a creative mind, a lot of flexibility and a complete dependence on the Holy Spirit no one could last. If you are just getting started, know someone who will be getting started or your just intrigued with portable student ministry here are a few keys to making it happen:

Key # 1: Get on Campus. One of the obvious disadvantages of being portable is having no central place to bring students in. So the natural way to connect with students is to go to them. I'm a firm believer in going to the mission field and that's exactly what campus ministry is. While on campus the main goal is to be visible and available, plain and simple. You want students to see you and become used to seeing you. As they see you and you interact with them, communicate to students that you are available. Become a volunteer on campus, help when you can. Talk to coaches, teachers and administration and let them know they can trust you and that you are available.

Key #2: Invest in People. My pastor has always said that we will be a church that invests in people first. I know what he means. As a portable church we have a distinct advantage over many churches that have huge mortgage payments and massive utility bills. Instead of pouring booku-bucks into a building we are able to build into our teams and staff. As a Student Ministry we have been able to hire several interns that have specific job descriptions (Worship Leader, Ministry Assistant, Middle School Leader) . We feel as if we are building into the ministry future of several young adults. You must identify those you would like to invest in, and build into their lives. Remember we are in the people business.

Key #3: Keep it Simple. I think too many ministries get complicated. Portable ministries deal with this as well as ministries with facilities. You must simply lay out your vision, identify your environments and make it happen as simply as possible. I am always thinking how I can simplify the Student Ministry. From environments, to scheduling, to activities. We must filter all we do with the question "How can we simplify this ?".

Key #4: Communicate Often. It so easy to let weeks go by without communicating with your team, parents and students. We mail out a quarterly calendar/newsletter to ALL of the families in the church. I think its important that the entire church body knows what is going on in the Student Ministry. Utilize e-mail, cell phone, MySpace, Blogs and every other form of communication. Meet with your staff as often as you can. One thing that I wish I could do is meet with my team each week before each environment. Because of the set up/tear down situation we really can't. So we meet every second Saturday of the month to share, pray and strategize. Communication must become a priority, especially in a portable ministry.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Resurrection Sunday.

"if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."
1 Corinthians 13:14

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday.

I would encourage you to take the time to watch this video. It is a reminder of what our Lord endured for us that day at Calvary.

"What Do You See"

The Ambassador

Cross Movement Records

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Entertainment: Baseball '06.

Baseball is back again! I have always been a big baseball fan and every year I look forward to the boys of summer as they try to entertain a very impatient sports culture here in the good ol' US of A. Here are a few thoughts on this baseball season....

Florida Marlins - This is my team. Mostly because it's geographically the closest Major League team and I'm a firm believer in local team support. Unfortunately, they will be awful this year. I'm expecting 100+ losses. Ouch! At least we get to see a couple guys (Hanley Ramirez, Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida) break into the league and set themselves up for future fortunes else where.

Chris Carpenter - I hope he has another year like last year so I can keep bragging to everyone about playing little league with him. Yep, that's right, I played little league with last years NL Cy Young Award winner! We called him Topha' and his brother Robbie was a much better pitcher than him. It's amazing how a kid from a little town in New Hampshire can grow up to be such a force at this level. Topha' for Cy Young!

Barry Bonds - I hope he will NOT pass Babe Ruth and definitely not pass Hank Aaron on the home run list. I believe this record is reserved for the legends and Barry is NOT a legend. He's a self-centered, steroid shooting, jerk. I think of Hank Aaron and his class, he deserves the honor of the most cherished of all sporting records, not a cheater like Bonds!

Red Sox & Yankees - I know its taboo to talk about both in the same sentence but that's ok, its my blog and I can write what I want. So here we go......I, being a former Red Sox supporter (because I lived in New England at one time, see Florida Marlins above) and current Yankee hater, believe that neither team will win the American League Pennant, but Cleveland, yes the Tribe will win the AL. Here's why: 1. They are pretty young (Martinez, Peralta, Hafner, Sizemore, etc.) so they should get a lot of miles out of these guys. 2. They have a great closer in Bill Wickman. 3. Good young arms (Sabathia, Westbrook, Lee).

Pete Rose - For crying out loud put the guy in Cooperstown! They call it the Hall of FAME! Dude was the most famous player of his time and his stats are unreal. So what if he's a bad guy. This isn't the Hall of Good Guys. Put him in the Hall!

NL MVP: Albert Pujols (duh!)
AL MVP: Vlad Guerrero
NL Cy Young: Topha'!
AL Cy Young: Johann Santana
Biggest Bust: AJ Burnett (he's a head case!)
Best Free Agent Pickup: Reggie Sanders (just a random pick)
Yankees Mid Season Pickup: Barry Bonds (why not George, it would make for great headlines!)
NL Champs: St. Louis Cards (sorry Mets, you can't buy a Championship!)
AL Champs: Cleveland Indians (sorry Sox, Yanks, you can't buy a Championship!)
World Champions: Cards (I'm an NL guy, sorry.)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Entertainment: More On My iPod.

Johnny Cash - when I was young I would go to my grandma and grandpa's house. They had this old, big wooden container. The container housed a turntable, radio and speakers, very old school. My grandpa would often throw Johnny Cash on the turntable. I was always intriuged by his style, and he almost scared me. As I have gotten older I have learned to appreciate "the Man in Black". Now a days I listen to Cash at least once a week. If you dont own a Cash album then "The Legend of Johnny Cash" is the one to get (on iTunes of course!). It's so good because it covers his whole career in one volume. It even has some of his later years cover songs like "Hurt" and "Rusty Cage" as well as some of the Cash staples "Ring of Fire", "Boy Named Sue" and "Folsum Prison Blues".

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Banana Republic.

I live in Palm Beach County, Florida. I'm sure this brings you instant thoughts of wealth, beaches, sunny weather and plastic surgery. I must admit there are certain items of attraction that often make me say "thats why I live here!". The weather and beaches are two of them; other reasons I like it are my family, friends and church are here. Other than that, I would have to say this place is for the dogs. It's not just the nasty traffic that often builds up, or the influx of New York visitors and transplants, it's the lack of leadership from a civic standpoint. Let me tell you about this.

Election 2000 - we all remember the whole hanging chads deal. What an embarassment! This really set me off and proved to me that we have a bunch of incompetent leaders, too scared to make a decision because it might cause a law suit. Spineless sycophants. Thats right sycophants! The whole election debacle was brought on by on by a bunch of complaining elderly in the southern part of our our county (think Boca Vista of Seinfeld fame). These folks often complain and the first person they call is Democrat stalwart Robert Wexler. He's a former famed attorney that tries to make himself look like he's a "for the people guy" but my gut instinct tells me he is a powermonger that seeks every opportunity to get his face on tv, especially national tv. The whole outcry by Wexler and his Gore people was the voting card was unfair (although created and approved by hard core democrats) and we should have a re-vote (bet you didn't hear this on CNN or MSNBC). Anyway, I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. It was a joke around here during Election 2000.

Dixie Highway - in our biggest city, West Palm Beach, there is a main road named Dixie Highway. Five years ago the city, county and state all set out to re-do this road. Well, it still isn't finished! The reason? They are all bickering over funding, mean while the contractor say's "I have other jobs, so while you all are fighting we will go start another job." The road still sits there, like a battle zone in Baghdad.

Church Zoning - the county commissioners here in Palm Beach County want the Planning and Zoning Department to draft an amendment to the land development code that would severely limit the size of any future church to a scale based on the density of the neighborhood population. Under the proposal, a church in a high-density area could have 750 seats, while a medium-density area could have 500 seats. Buildings in low-density areas would be limited to just 250 seats. I'm so glad that our Banana Republic down here in SoFlo has taken it in their hands to determine the size a church! God really needs their help in this matter.

Terrorism Connections - there are a few terrorist connections to our wonderful county. First of all, five of the terrorists that flew planes into the WTC and Pentagon trained here in PBC. They lived here for over six months and learned to fly airplanes out of our local small plane airports. They also had gym memberships at a local Golds Gym. Secondly, do you recall the whole anthrax scare? Well, it started right here in PBC. The National Enquirer building in south county was ground zero for the contamination. Is this all a mere coincedence? I don't think so.

There are other things I could bring up, like the mayor of West Palm Beach was the first director of the Palm Beach County chapter of the National Organization of Women. Or just recently in a local election, a declared winner was un-declared a day later after a bad vote count was determined. I will stop there.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Entertainment: John Legend.

John Legend - I have always been an R&B fan and Legend is the next great artist in this genre. The first time I heard him do his thing was when iTunes offered his song "Used to Love U" for free. I couldn't wait till his release! This year he was rewarded for his hard work at the Grammys where he won like a gozillion awards. You should check out his videos too, pretty cool. The only thing I am kinda sketchy about is his connection to Kanye West (I can't stand that guy!). Anyway, you should check his "Get Lifted" album out.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Entertainment: Gavin DeGraw.

Gavin DeGraw - I guess I have been drawn to him because of the attempts by American Idol contestants trying to sing his songs. Dude is gritty and rocks. I'll be honest with you, I don't know a lot about him, but his music is good and really easy to listen to. I'm looking forward to a new release.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Entertainment: On My iPod.

I like to ask people the questions "So what's on you iPod these days?" Not only is it a great conversation piece, but it is a great way to discover new bands. So with this in mind here is what I have listening to on my Pod this week.....

All Star United
- I'm sure some of you know this band but for those that aren't familiar, they were way ahead of the game in regard to the current throwback-new wave rock sound that has become popularized by the likes of The Killers, The Bravery, Hot Hot Heat and others. These guys are lead by front man Ian Eskelin and are very fun to listen to. If you don't have any of their music, get it, it's timeless. Some songs that I enjoy most, "Savior of My Universe", "Drive" and "Tenderness".

Over the next few days I will share with you five bands that have been played most recently on my Pod. Feel free to leave a comment with your most common "Playlist".

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Entertainment: iPod Accessory.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the local Apple Store and bought the coolest iPod gadget for my car. It's a DLO Transdock. It plugs right into the car lighter and broadcasts to any FM channel. I love this piece of equipment. If you have an iPod and enjoy transmitting through your car stereo this is for you. Yes it's pricey, but it works tremendously well. One really cool feature is the fact that you place the iPod into the cradle and the volume adjustment from the Pod doesn't affect the volume transmitted through your stereo. You control the volume directly through your stereo. Nice product, I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Here is a list of more features and spec's:


  • Transmits music on your iPod to your car radio using any available FM frequency from 88.1 to 107.9
  • Charges iPod battery while in use
  • No installation necessary--simply plugs into any available Auto Power Outlet
  • Four assignable Presets let you jump to commonly used frequencies
  • Extra Input lets you connect and transmit any other MP3 player or game system
  • iPod Line Level Output available for car-based auxiliary inputs or cassette adapter

  • Modulation: FM Stereo
  • RF output frequency range: 88.1-107.9MHz
  • Default preset frequencies (MHz): 87.9, 94.9, 100.9 and 107.9
  • Transmitter power: 1.5 W
  • Transmitter range: Up to 30 ft./9 m
  • Input voltage: 12 to 16 VDC
  • Input current: <300ma>
  • Direct input/output connectors: 3.5mm stereo mini jack