Thursday, May 31, 2007

Student Ministry Confessional: 5/31/07


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

In Peru: Monday PM

We got to the mission base with our caiman tail and a warm heart from our incredible experience. Took the opportunity to shower off, blow my congested nose and pack my bags for our 12:30 Pm flight to Lima. Before that we ate the caiman tail with chicken and white rice, all prepared by a local lady. The flight to Lima would be the 7th flight on this whirlwind trip. We arrived in the capital around 1:30 PM and visited my friends in-laws. A great opportunity to see what a local house is like and give me a better taste of the culture and people. We grabbed a ride into another part of Lima, to shop a little bit in the market. I was able to finish up my family gift finds at what is called Indian Market. Cheap and fun are the words to best describe this experience. We then hopped a taxi to the ocean side of Lima. This was great, just driving through the different parts of this wonderful metropolis and seeing the various districts and the unique architecture. We arrived at our destination, La Rosa Nautica Restaurant. Speechless, again, in Peru. This restaurant was just perfect. Literally ON the Pacific Ocean with a beautiful pier to guide you to the front steps. I had Se Veche (lime cooked fish), Rock Fish, servesa and of course dark chocolate cake. Great meal, great time, perfect atmosphere with the Pacific waves crashing in the background. The only thing missing? Mi espossa, of course. Dinner was over we hopped a taxi back to the Lima airport for our 8th flight in 6 days to return home from the fast yet wonderful trip to another world. Thank you Tim and the guys at NutraMedix for including me in this adventure of a lifetime!


Monday, May 28, 2007

In Peru: Sunday PM/Monday AM

Tonight we hopped another plane, this time to go to a small Indian village that is around 60 miles from Pucallpa. We took a seaplane (first time in one), it took around 25 minutes. The flight to the village was very insightful to the jungle community as you see all of the small villages that lie on the banks of the rivers. We land in the village, which is named Utocuro. As we land I look to the banks and I see what looks like the whole town gathered to greet us. When I get out the plane all eyes are fixed on us, weird stuff. You can tell that the children are amazed by the whole experience of watching a plane land and seeing a tall bald white guy with a beard. My experience would be just as amazing, maybe more so. The children flocked to me and the other guys I'm with. Touching my arms, staring at me. I know they were chatting in their dialect about the encounter. As the night progressed I was able to connect with some of these children even though we didn't even speak the same language. I taught them to high-five (completely new to them). You could here children randomly bust out "hi-fi" with their hand high in the air. Very cool. We were set up to sleep in the village medical building, a real treat considering it is the nicest building there. We set up our mosquito nets in several of the rooms, had an impromptu church service with the villagers and then ate some jelly sandwiches to prepare for the caiman (alligator-type thing) hunting expedition we were to go on. We got into our man made dugout canoe and headed down the jungle creek. The noises, the smells, the visual. One word: surreal. Kind of what Disney has tried to create on their jungle cruise, but real. Real monkeys, birds, critters, mosquito's and oh yeah, the caimans. Flowing up and down this river was just amazing. The moon and stars were brighter. The wildlife was more wild. My adrenaline more flowing. We got back to our visited village around 3 AM and hit the mosquito nets for a quick snooze. We woke up with the sun and children peeking into the windows of the building we were lodging. A native gave me a tour of the village. I saw too many disturbing and eye opening things that I don't have room to post on, just believe me. Our plane departed with the villagers looking on in amazement. We arrived at the mission base around 20 minutes later to a totally different world.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

In Peru: Sunday AM

Woke up with a mess of a sinus infection and cold. Had breakfast with the hole crew then we headed off to church. I really didn’t know what to expect. I haven’t been to a different church in years. We drove through the center city of Pulcalpa (very interesting) towards the river (which is the heart of the jungle) and parked in front of the Indain center. This is a place where indigounous peoples come for refuge, it’s a safe house, as a lot of the tribal people have a hard time getting plugged into the culture of this metropolis in the jungle. This place was so incredible. Let me start with the people in the center. They are just looking for a place to fit, the outer jungle now longer is home and they want to enjoy the luxuries of the developing world. Just picture a Salvation Army type of mission, that’s what you have except for 2 things: the Bible College and of course the church where we were about to experience the Sunday service. What a blessing to see people from a different world from me worship and learn about the same God that I serve. It’s so humbling to see people pour their all into the ministry. I could write on and on but, you know. After church we went to lunch, I didn’t eat (still sick, no taste) and had an Inca Cola. Top notch, No better soda on the planet.

Here is a video clip from the Indian Church


In Peru: Saturday

We left Huaraz around 8 this morning to catch a fight back to Lime. I’m going to miss this place; I felt like I left part of me here, oh, I did leave part of myself here (see Wednesday night). We were at the Huaraz airport and I must say, it was the most beautiful, most picturesque ever (see). Our flight arrived back in Lim where we met up with some folks from SoFlo. We were at this delightful place for about 4 hours. Time to shop a little, eat and Skype mi espossa. Our next flight would take us to the deep jungle where piranha and natives call home. I was completely surprised by the size Pocapalla. There are 400,000 that live here. Tom Hough, is our contact here, he has lived here his whole life (I think he was born here!). We came to home base where I couldn’t believe my eyes. This place is a total oasis in the middle of the bustling jungle. Oh yeah, no altitude sickness here, I did pick up a nasty cold though. We finished the day with a healthy filet mignon at Orlandos then a hot shower.


Friday, May 25, 2007

In Peru: Connected.

I love Skype! Freakin' awesome. Here is a cap of me chatting with my love and parents. Also, Cingular (the new AT&T) is top notch. I have 4-5 bars in the middle of now where and I'm able to recieve e-mail. How much will it cost? I'll find out. Skype is cheap though.


In Peru: Friday

This morning I woke up tossing and turning with the same pounding headache that got me off to such a great start yesterday. My crew took off without me to go to a higher altitude (14,000-17,000 ft). I knew I couldn't hang so I stayed back here at our guest house with another guy from the group. The remedy that I keep having to down to help my altitude sickness is the coca tea (same coca as cocaine). It smells like fish, but is rather tasty. I was able to Skype mi espossa (my wife for you gringos) this morning. Technology is so wicked cool. My morning continued as I laid in bed and watched the first season of "The Office", read a little bit and of course filled you all in on my trip to the beautiful and diverse country of Peru. The pictures you see are of the Andes Mountains that surround the city Huaraz. It's simply indescribable. The pictures you see I have taken from the roof of our guest house. One you see the range of mountains. The other is a school behind us. You see the kids in line? In uniforms? All of the teachers had whistles and weren't afraid to blow them or grab the students that were misbehavin'. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to post as we will be going to the jungle. Unreal, the mountains, the jungle, the ocean (Lima).


In Peru: Thursday

We woke up early for a ride back to the airport, not too bad. My head just pierces out the window taking in the quick sites of Lima. This city is massive. People say it takes 4 hours to cross. We have an American breakfast at the airport (yum) then hop on board our 19 passenger twin engine for the mountains. Once we arrived in Huaraz I could tell that I was not at sea level, instant light-handedness. These mountains are massive, like 20,000 feet above sea level massive. Very imposing, yet majestic. We hopped a taxi into the city. On the road in we saw lots of the Peruvian mountain people walking on the street. We got to our guest house, settled into our rooms then headed out to the market. This is where my experience started taking a turn. When we first got out of the vehicle I instantly noticed the overwhelming smells. Burning wood, food, sewage, exhaust form buses. At this point I’m starting sensory overload. The market was amazing. Just walking shoulder to shoulder to the people of Peru was incredible. I guess they don’t see too many 6’4 bald headed, bearded guys around here. I constantly had people stop and stare at me. One time an elderly gentleman form the higher elevations (they have a certain look) stopped me took my hand and said “Ahhh, gringo! Big!” We went on to eat at a Peruvian restaurant. Not bad. They gave us all these skewers with beef on them. Pretty good, until I realized they were cow hearts. Then all of a sudden the taste wasn’t so good. Finished my meal of chicken and rice and we were off to go into higher elevations. Remember the sensory overload thing? Well the higher we would drive in elevation, the worse I would feel. Headache banging, stomach churning, things weren’t good, I know my face had to be green. We got to an elevation of about 11,500 feet and stopped for awhile. The little villages in these higher elevations are fascinating. The people are so nice and the air is fresh (but hard to breath!) We made our way back into the city of Huaraz I got out of the vehicle ran up stairs and blew chunks for the first time since 1993! I got altitude sickness. What a long miserable night. Tossing, turning, pounding head ache and oh yeah, the nausea and puking. Hopefully I won't die, I prayed.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

In Peru: The Arrival.

I have never been to South America so this trip is going to be quite interesting for me.You hear stories of food, language, etc. Our flight left Miami at 5:30 PM We arrived in Lima, Peru around 11 PM on Wednesday. The Lima airport was the nicest I have ever been to. We stayed in a hotel not far from the airport and enjoyed the crazy drive on the city highways. When we first got to the hotel (this picture is from my room) we had some coca tea, supposed to help with altitude sickness, we shall see.
Anyway, we are to take a plane out of Lima early Thursday to the mountain city of Huaraz.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Get your Schrute Bucks!!

Print out your own Schrute Bucks! If you get 1000 you get an extra 5 minutes for lunch. Maybe you just want a Stanley Nickel.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Crazy stuff.

The next few weeks are going to be nuts. First, tomorrow is huge day for our church. We are officially breaking ground on our first permanent facility. This means I will have my hands full doing whatever I can to make this process as burdenless as possible on my pastor. On Wednesday I head off to Peru for 5 days. Should be a cool trip. Going to Lima, the mountains and the jungle. We are supposed to go alligator hunting with some natives in the jungle. Hopefully I will be able to post while I'm there. Next Wednesday we are having our last large group meeting of the school year. We are having a "Schools Out Party". June 4-8 I'm taking a bunch of students up to Stetson University for Student Life Camp. So, needless to say, my life will be slightly hectic (no complaints). What do the next few weeks hold for you? Anyone going out of the country? Where? Miami doesn't count.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

My House and Hood.

When you see someones neighborhood and house you get an idea of what that person is like. Well, here you go, a quick glimpse into my little life here in SoFlo!

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Friday, May 18, 2007

The Office: Season Finale

I have to post on this. Last nights episode of The Office was freaking awesome. From Mike and Jan's weird reunion to the reignition of Pam and Jim. Perfect. I have chosen one of my favorite exchanges from the season finale:
Dwight: Don’t you want to earn Shrute bucks?
Stanley: No. In fact, I’ll give you a billion Stanley nickels if you never talk to me again.
Dwight: What’s the ratio of Stanley nickels to Schrute bucks?
Stanley: Same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Student Ministry Confessional: 5/17/07


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hot Spot?

Click this link to see if your town is a "Hot Spot" for FREE wi-fi? Unfortunately the closest city on this list is 70 miles away. Miami only has 23 free hot spots. I think Jupiter has house.

#1 Austin, Texas: 292 Hotspots

HT: The Homeless Guy


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Americas finest and Guitar Hero

My boy Justin is an Air Force pilot. Here is a snap shot of him in between flights in the Middle East getting his groove on with a little Guitar Hero. This game is like crack or vicatin (if your House). The '80's version is coming out soon and so is the Wii version. Guitar Hero is so 2006.
ht: Mike West


Monday, May 14, 2007

Summer Time

Every year that I have been pastor to students in our portable church we have made changes in our environments. This year will be no different. We will continue to meet for our Bible study environments on Sunday (AM for middle school students and PM for high school) but our last Wednesday evening large group environment meeting will be on May 30th. We do this for a few reasons. The first being a relief to our hard serving volunteer staff. Each and every Wednesday through the school year we have a team of student and adult leaders that show up at 5 PM to set up our environment. Whether it's the chairs we sit in or the fold up tables that we use as a wall around our sitting staging area. The band set ups and tears down our snack area, sets up and tears down. Our activity area set and tear down. You get the point. It's a nice break from the whole set up/ tear down deal. Changing gears in the summer also gives us the opportunity to build relationships with the students in different surroundings. You see we are having a "Summer Tour". This will be our third summer doing so. We will have bus pick ups and take students to a different location each week. It may be a different student ministry or a unique service opportunity. The "Summer Tour" has been a win for our ministry in the past and we believe it will be this summer as well. We have 6 dates scheduled for the tour and we have started promoting already through MySpace and our Student Ministry Blog.
Is your church portable? What do you do for your summer environments? Any new ideas?
I look forward to hearing from you.


Heroes: David Kush

David Kush is my brother in law. He and my wonderful sister (Bethany) were married in August of 1989. Over the years David has been such an incredible example to me as to how you can raise children in a world that is becoming more and more difficult to father effectively. He has always been around his family and they are his number 2 priority to Jesus and this you can tell by the life he lives. I have had the privilege of watching this Godly man grow up and become what I would consider one of the great men I know. David takes time with each of his children. Whether it was reading a book to his infant son (at the time) or watching an educational film on Discovery or praying for his daughter, I have watched him and hopefully I can become half the father he is. When his mother died suddenly several years ago I saw a man handle such pain with dignity and just plain respect for his mother and family. He has always provided for his family. Everything he does or participates in is done with excellence as he knows his Lord would want nothing less. David is a man of example, excellence and humility. He has been an amazing example and standard for me. I don't know if he even knows this but he is a true hero to me.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mothers Day!

Hey mom, this is for you!
HT: ysmarko

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Some thoughts....

I'm really tired. I thinks it's getting close to vacation time.

Does anyone know of a Student Ministry Confessional? I think I'm going to start a video confessional next week. Any student pastors care to join? Why do the worship guys (Pete, Los, Victor) get to have all the fun?

I got a couple of pairs of new sneaks today (wicked sale). Plain white Pumas and some black Adidas. Love the old school shoes.

Last nights episode of The Office slayed me. Stanley cracked me up with his eye rolling and sucking up. Go Pam in her speech! Where is Andy Bernard? That part was amazing. Andy floating on the lake in a sumo suit. Brilliant.

I'm going through "Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know" by theologian Wayne Grudem with 2 guys I'm discipling. Our Student Leaders will be starting "Help! I'm a Student Leader" by Doug Fields. Any other suggestions?

On my iPod this week: The Classic Crime, Falling Up, Gorillaz, and Mark Driscolls series in Nehemiah.

The iPhone comes out in like a month. Should I go for it? I still like my 8125. Works like a charm.

I'm having knee surgery on June 26th. I will be able to run again, yea!


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Filet o' Fish

Filet o' Fish. A double. There is nothing right about this, nothing. Is there anyone out there that can honestly say that they have had one of these? Come on, 'fess up. Oh yeah, go to the website and play the incredibly addictive games. They advertise with dolphins. Does that mean that the fish is actually dolphin, like porpise? Too many questions.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Homeless Church.

Tonight our Young Adults Ministry from church took a group into West Palm Beach to participate in a church service for the homeless. I have had numerous opportunities in my life to experience various ministry environments and this was definitely one of the most unique of them all. We met at the church (Westgate Tabernacle) at 7 PM. When we arrived there was one of the ministers waiting for us. He took us on a whirlwind tour of the church grounds. Very simple. A kitchen and dining room to feed the hungry (over 300 meals a day), an office area and then of course the infamous sanctuary/sleeping area. (FYI the church is known for housing the homeless on the floors of its sanctuary.) When we walked into the sanctuary the gentleman on stage (Carl, pictured) welcomed us and invited us to sit up front. This is considered quite an honor. The people in the crowd clapped and Carl continued to thank us for coming out to participate. He led us in some karaoke songs and sang a couple of solos then asked for some testimonies from the audience. This was when the evening hit its pinnacle in my humble opinion. This when Clarence stood up and said "I just got out of jail this week. The only place I knew to go was Westgate Tabernacle. I knew you all would love me and accept me. I need a new start, and this where I believe God wants me." The night went on. Several people gave sermons. Nothing spoke to me more than the words of Clarence. The night was complete for me already. When all was over I had the opportunity to meet Clarence. To thank him and to embrace him. His words to me "pray for me, man, pray for me". My response "I promise". I was thinking to myself, would Clarence feel this way about my church. Would he say "this is a place that would love me and accept me." I can honestly say I believe he would.


Monday, May 07, 2007


By Life & Times guest blogger Tony Taylor

You will wake up one day, probably between 31-33 and ask yourself "what happened to my life"? Throughout my 20s, I found myself well able to be gainfully employed, volunteer a few evenings a week at a church, socialize with friends almost every night, play my guitar, and watch reruns of Cheers and Night Court ad nausaum. Today, I find myself working around 70 hours a week, spending my free time reading research for work or studying for NASD exams. My social life has been reduced to clients and coworkers. I have to employ a cleaning lady to come to apartment once a week, I have all my laundry sent out, and I have not had a home cooked meal in 6 weeks. Now, part of this is due to my job, part is just due to the fact that I've been in New York for 6 weeks and that's just the way things are done here.
At the end of the day though, this whole issue of lacking free time is something that I know is plaguing thirty-somethings nationwide in all career types. Be it constraints of a new family or work, I think all of us that were once labeled "Gen-X" are now echoing those famous words of Ray Davies, "Where Have All The Good Times Gone?" In the last year I cannot tell you how many cds, books and dvds I have purchased on that I still have not even opened. ( is an addiction I think economically eclipses that of heroine, crystal meth, and cocaine per capita quite easily for people our age). Timothy Leary once said "Tune In, Tune out, and Drop Out." Reject society, Reject the materialism. Well, people did that for a while, enjoyed it, relaxed, grew their hair, but then they realized how dreadful life was without money, got their act together, got jobs or started businesses and now all live in subdivisions, have two cars, play golf, and listen to adult contemporary radio. I think sometimes about dropping out, but I love material things!
I guess my point is this, am I just having growing pains with adulthood? Am I just having the same pangs of maturity that our parents once fealt? Or do I need to re-examine my life and what is truly important. I started this piece as a warning to young adults and will end it that way as well. Enjoy every minute. Eat as much Taco Bell as you can, when you get older it will gross you out. Drink as many Slurpees as possible, when you get older you won't like 7-Eleven as much. Listen to Prince's "Rasberry Beret" as much as possible so you can sing it to your children as they are lulled to sleep and finally, if any of you youngsters coming up do come up with a way to do things better, a better way to "do life," let me know. I really think you guys will do it better--mainly because your generation is lazy, but at the end of the day--you can't argue with inspiration



About a year ago a friend of mine asked if he could post on my blog. I reluctantly said I would consider. Well, last week I gave in saying he could post once a month. So here goes. My friends name is Tony Taylor. We have known each other for about a dozen years now. He's quite insightful and articulate. So I hope all Life & Times readers enjoy Tony's monthly contribution to this blog.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Nice free app.

Do you ever look at you desktop and say "What a mess!" Well, I do and thanks to the guys at Desktopple you can hide your mess! Sweet little app. Check it out here.


Some thoughts...

I am going to talk to a bunch of non-Christ following students at a campus club today. You never know what may happen!

Have you got your Virb on yet? What are you waiting for.

Last nights episode of The Office was very disturbing. Michael Scott may be the most ridiculous character in TV history! Dwight Shrute may be the weirdest TV character in TV history.

I took our Student Ministry staff to Youth Specialties CORE Training last week. The theme was Helping Hurting Kids. Wow, it was powerful and very practical. If you have the chance to attend, do it, it's a great bargain for the wealth of information you receive.

I was introduced to a really good band yesterday, Falling Up. Good stuff. Another band that is growing on me is The Classic Crime.

For you basketball fans: No Heat, no Mavericks. Who will be the new NBA champ? My guess: Detroit, just a hunch.

Still no word on our Russian adoption.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Virb up.

Los had a post the other day where he recommended Virb as a social networking alternative to the crappy and abused MySpace. I now have a new Virb site. If your up to it, come on in and set yourself up with a site. It's pretty amazing.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A great article and whacked out video.....

A great article:
One of my mentors (Bryon) has written an article for a local newspaper about one of my other mentors (Andrew). Great read.

A whacked out video:
Marko from Youth Specialties talked about this video that I just couldn't help but post here. Holy crap, people are nuts! My thoughts on the video: I don't want to go to that place that this video depicts.

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Joost goes live, gets unlimited invites

Following a limited trial run, Joost today announced that it had officially launched its self-titled Internet TV service. While still in late beta, the peer-to-peer TV network is now said to be in full business and is said to have high-profile ads already lined up to appear this month, including segments from Coca-Cola and others. So, I your wanting to get JOOST, let me know. I now have UNLIMITED invites! Just leave me your email address and name and BAM, its yours.........

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