Friday, August 31, 2007

Student Ministry Confessional: 8/31


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Spider-Man Dance Off

You MUST watch this video! It was created, edited and 100% completely made by Aaron Mondok, blog-star Bryons 18 year old son. This kid has some major talent, huh?


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Office: What I Did This Summer

The Office returns in late September. I can't wait. This 3 minute clip is a-mazing.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Team Building

This past weekend I had the privilege of taking 24 adult volunteers and student leaders to Lake Aurora Christian Camp in Lake Wales, Fl. for a day of team building and connecting. They have a low ropes challenge course where we divided into two teams that were lead by some camp employees. It was so cool to watch some of our student leaders and volunteers work together to accomplish the particular task at hand.
Examples of the tasks were: "Truth Fall" - each team member is asked to climb up a tree to a platform about 4-5 feet up and stand on it, turn back ward and fall into the arms of your team-mates. "Spider Web" - pass your team-mates thought the holes made from a rope that is stretched and staggered between two trees that creates a web like deal. There were several other tasks, but you get the idea.
In my opinion this day was one of the most productive team building and empowering events we have ever been a part of. It was an event where we all learned the importance of communication and encouragement. Communication was completely necessary as the teams set out to accomplish a particular task. Student leaders would talk to adult leaders and vice-versa. Age wasn't an issue. Adult volunteers would encourage a student leader. So much accomplished. So effective, yet simple.
What types of activities have you lead your teams on? Do you have leadership training days? If so what do you use to train?


Monday, August 27, 2007

Van Halen: The True Story

By Life & Times guest blogger Tony Taylor

Since May of 1996 I have begun each and every day of my life with a ritual of first checking my email and secondly going to a website called This stands for Van Halen News Desk. I realized that last week that I have spent each weekday of the last 10 years of my life keeping up with what I consider the greatest rock and roll band to ever come of out the States. Ever since I was a kid, I remember being in second grade and seeing all the 7th and 8th graders scrawling the classic VH logo all over their book covers, jeans, walls and anywhere else that would piss off our parents. Last week when Van Halen announced a tour with original singer David Lee Roth, I already started planning weekends in Chicago, and Charlotte to see shows and have already gotten my New York tickets. The people I know that get it, get it and the rest that do not understand how monumental this occasion is don’t understand the power of rock. When I was growing up, Rock and Roll was an event. In the 80s when The Who or The Stones came to your town, EVERYONE KNEW. Everyone wore the t shirts, bought the LPs, bought the pins for their denim jackets and it was good. When you were a kid in the Midwest and bought a Van Halen album you went to California.
This is a band that you knew about maybe because of their videos, maybe because of who their guitarist was married to or maybe because like me you just connected to the music and no matter what was going on in your life, if you were happy it made you elated and if you were feeling down, it made things sunnier. These songs made you feel invincible and remember who you were again. The story of this band is like an epic poem. You have two brothers that are half Dutch and half Malaysian coming to this country on a boat from Holland at ages 8 and 10 with 75 Dutch Guilders, a piano, and the little clothes they could afford. Their father would work as a janitor for 8 hours, a dishwasher for 8 hours, and then play Clarinet on weekends just to provide food and roof for his family. These kids couldn't communicate in English very well and were ostracized and begin spending all their time in their garage playing Cream and Dave Clark Five songs. A few years later they meet Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth (one of if not Rock’s greatest showman and frontman) and soon were playing backyard parties that would swell to 1,500 people to hear them play. This was rock and roll at its purest. They played at volumes that would make most American Idol contestants and judges cry and call their mothers to pick them up. To hear Edward Van Halen play guitar is like seeing Mozart or DeBussy. There is a connection between his heart and hands that defies explanation. They played the LA scene of the Whiskey and The Rainbow for years before getting discovered by Gene Simmons and went on to became the 19th highest selling artist in history. Around the world selling over 100 million albums. If the music doesn’t inspire you, hopefully the story does.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Redneck Jesus?

I can't help but post this. It has been something that has bothered me for a very long time. What is up with the whole Dale Earnhardt fetish with some people? I was walking into our local mall a couple of days ago and this horrible window sticker caught my eye. I think that there is a sort of sick obsession with a guy who has been dead for a few years. Think about it, people have pictures of a dude who took left hand turns for a living. I follow football, baseball, basketball and tennis. I just couldn't imagine having a sticker made of a players head and put it on my car. It's just weird! I see NASCAR #3 very often and I don't understand the fixation. Does anyone understand this? Does anyone have one of these crazy stickers in their window? Can anyone help me understand NASCAR?


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Calling all church people!!!!!!

As you all know our church is in the process of building our first facility. I need your help. Could you please send me 5 pictures of your facility including: floor (wood, concrete, carpet,etc.), main auditorium, lobby, cafe' (if you have one) and signage. Just send them to me at If you will be able to do this could you leave a comment letting me know so I can look forward to getting your pictures. Thanks all.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

And the paper trail continues....

Yesterday Penny left to visit her family for a couple of days in the All-American city of Charleston, SC. After a month or so of silence on the adoption front (if you didn't know, we are adopting 2 kiddies from Russia) we get a call from our agency telling us that the first week of September will be a very important week for adopting families in Russia as they will be processing families for adoption of children. Of course, nothing has been easy with this process and this continues as we have been told that we MUST have ALL of the paper work by next week! Well, I have had to Pinch Hit for my wonderfully patient wife and try to compile as much of the paper as possible. What a grueling job! This makes me appreciate so much all of the hard work and patience that Penny has put into this process. Please pray for us as we are continuing with adoption fatigue. It's brutal. That's all I will say. For more Russian adoption news go to our adoption blog HERE. Stay tuned....


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The iMac is fixed!

Back in November of '06 our iMac G4 started acting up. Eventually it just didn't work at all. I knew that it was the logic board but wasn't sure if we could salvage it because it is one of those weird iMacs that nobody wants to work on. In July I found a place that would fix it for DIRT cheap. We sent it off and 2 weeks later it runs like new! I feel like it's an antique, but it's only 4 and half years old! I guess that is an antique in the tech world.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Some Thoughts....

School starts on Wednesday. Summer is over. Thank goodness.

I'm about 20 pounds over weight. Once my knee has fully recovered I will get on some sort of workout schedule. Any suggestions?

We saw Transformers on Saturday. Wow! This movie had it all: action, thrills, romance and comedy. Good stuff. Honestly, I never watched the Transformers cartoon when I was a kid, I was a little too old, but this movie was sick! If you haven't seen this movie, you should, it's still in theaters.

Our church building project is moving rather quickly. The trusses for the roof are on and we are almost ready to completely seal it off. Jeff and I went to visit the property last week and we both got chills. After 10 years of being a portable church we finally get the opportunity to serve in a permanent facility. Click on the picture for better detail.

Football season is looming! University of Miami opens against Marshall on September 1st and the Miami Dolphins play their first game on September 9th against the Washington Redskins. Can't wait! Go 'Canes! Go Dolphins!

Went to the doctor this AM and I got a good knee report. He said I'm ahead of schedule and to be careful because the new ligament is at it's weakest until 5 months (I'm only 2 months from surgery). Anyway, I should be able to do some more athletic activities soon!

I'm real excited that blog-star Bryon Mondok will be visiting this week, we are hanging out on Saturday. We have been talking about watching the movie "Last King of Scotland" for a long time and will finally be able to do so.

I'm so glad that Hurricane Dean didn't come our way. No hurricanes, please! Prayers to our friends in Jamaica.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Dunbar Village

Today our church participated in a unified "Prayer Walk" that was hosted by Urban Youth Impact in Dunbar Village, West Palm Beach, Fl. Most of you have heard the horrific story of gang rape that took place in this housing project earlier in the summer. This crime made international news and again put my hometown on the map for all of the wrong reasons. If you are not familiar with the story, you can read about it here and here. There were about 500 or so people from all different churches and denominations that showed up for a time to pray and intercede for a community that has been devastated. I have uploaded some pictures from our time there. It will be interesting to see God's response to our cry.

Stage area

The heart of Dunbar Village

Penny pointing to our church name on the UYI banner


Friday, August 17, 2007

Me and my boy

Grommit is my dog. We have had him for 7 years and he is the best. One really cool thing about him is he has vitaligo. It's that skin disease that washes your pigmentation (aka, Michael Jackson disease!). Another cool thing is his nature. He likes to sit in your lap and just chill. This picture was take a few minutes ago by Penny. I apologize for writing this like a 7 year old, I'm tired. Good night.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cool iPhone Application

For those iPhone owners and even haters, I heard about a cool app from the Unofficial Apple Weblog this morning. It's from and its a chat app. Works great! I tried it out on friend and blog-star TransitionPete this morning. You can set up for free here. Anyone else know of some free iPhone apps or programs?


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Student Ministry Confessional: 8/15


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another Worship Confessional

The worship guy at our church, Jeff, has posted his first Worship Confessional. If you are interested check it out here. Ok all of you student ministry guys, lets get our confessionals going.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Knee Surgery Update

Tomorrow it will be seven weeks post reconstructive knee surgery and I'm doing well. My physical therapist told me that he was quite impressed with my progress. That put a smile on my face. I'm at around 65%. That means I'm walking good (no more cane!), have full extension and 85% bend. Not too shabby! I can't wait to be able to start running and cutting again. Life is starting to get back to normal for me and my precious wife who has served the heck out me. The coolest thing: I can take a shower with out sitting in a ridiculous shower chair.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bagman Dance

Watch this and you will feel better about yourself. This might be the most ridiculous thing ever.
I apologize now for tainting each and every one of you with this video....


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vacations Over!

After one week of relaxation and all the other stuff that comes with a summer vacation I'm back! To be honest I'm ready for what lies ahead. There will be major changes in my life coming soon including our adoption of 2 kiddies from Russia, a new church facility and of course another school year begins. God showed me a few things this week. He revealed my selfishness (seriously, all I do is think of me!); I need to become more others minded and most importantly God pleasing. There are some other things that I will share later but for the most part that was the core of my learning.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Another Vacation Update

For the most part all that I have done is gone fishing, read, fished some more, ate a lot, drank some sweet tea (props to my sis!). This little lake and village have been a real good environment for me to relax and recharge. Here are some pictures of my experiences...

Kissed my bass!

Me and Penny in a natural spring.

Another catch.

Cool dock from our cabin to the lake

Passin' time


From Starbucks.

They have FREE wi-fi at this particular Starbucks in downtown Ocala, Fl. It's a beautiful little spot in a refabbed old school building. I'm still shocked that there is FREE wi-fi! In Palm Beach County they would find a way to charge you. Hope to show some more vacation pictures soon.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Florida Skunk Ape.

In the spirit of "the great outdoors" of Florida and the whole vacation thing how about a little folklore? Since my chidhood I have always been a sucker for the Bigfoot stories. We have our very own Sasquatch down here in Florida. The Florida Skunk Ape is said to be approximately 7 feet tall with red (and black) hair, similar in appearance to an orangutan or gorilla, and to reside in or around the Florida Everglades. It was reportedly seen in West Palm Beach only a few short years ago. A witness said, “My window was down and it was horrible, like diarrhea that’s been sitting in the toilet for three hours”. He said he saw the creature on the side of the road. “I’ve never seen anything like that before. I think its eyes may have been red because of the reflection in the headlights.” Evidence of the Florida Skunk Apes’s existence includes hundreds of documented sightings, some hair samples, and several foot casts. This week (during our vacation)there has been much Skunk Ape chatter around the lakeside cabin we are staying in. The only evidence of a Skunk Ape appearance has been an occasional gastly smell. Have you ever seen a Sasquatch? What is your local mythological beast? Please share.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dragon-Fly Porn.

I was out fishing and this couple landed on my hand. No shame.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Calvary Jupiter Worship Album

Please be a good Life & Times friend and check out my churches worship album on iTunes. Jeff and the guys did an amazing job on this project. I know I'm biased but it is one of the best modern worship albums ever. I would consider it progressive in nature and definitely isn't your mommas nice little songs for God. Good stuff!


Vacation Update.

I am definately relaxing. Every year I have the opportunity to get away with my family and just chill. That is exactly what we are doing. The highlights thus far have been: fishing on the lake with my bro-in-law and nephews(the big one got away!), reading alone underneath the dock (much needed shade), saw "The Bourne Surpremecy" at Belleview Cinema (old school theater, smelled like old popcorn) and just plain talking with my family. I am truly blessed to have a functioning family that cares and is involved in my life.


Monday, August 06, 2007

The Decline of Western Civilization III

By Life & Times guest blogger Tony Taylor

For last two months, I cannot turn on the TV, or even check my email without being inundated with the latest intelligence delineating the sordid lives of Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Nicole Ritchie and Lindsay Lohan. I am more in tune with the lives of these three useless girls than some of my cousins. I have no idea how this happened. I don’t think it’s just me, it’s you too! How did this happen to us as a society?
I could understand us being interested in the lives of our favorite athletes, musicians, politicians and weathermen, but these young ladies are not of that ilk. I know Lindsay Lohan has a few movies under her belt, but I am sure the crux of her fame belies her substance issues rather than her stagecraft.
When I first started thinking about why these girls get so much attention, I first thought it was gender bias. Girls aren’t supposed to act like this, hence the attention. I’m sure on any given night of the week an Ozzy Osbourne or Robert Downey Jr in their heyday could put these girls substance abuse issues to shame. Is that it? Is that why these girls get so much news coverage? I don’t think so, I think the reason is the same reason traffic on I 95 slows down when someone changes a tire. As a society, We love a train wreck. We cannot turn our head from what Don Henley so eloquently called “Dirty Laundry” We don’t care about Paris or Britney’s music, we know it’s manufactured crap, We are infatuated with failure. I think we feel better about ourselves the more we see the misdeeds and posturing of these young ladies. At the end of the day, I think I’d rather just shut off the news and listen to Don Henley anyway. Kick em When They’re Up, Kick em When They’re Down.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Lake Sunset.

This lake is absolutley gorgeous. The sunsets here are sweet!


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Off to Mars.

On the road this morning we saw this big fire ball in the sky. It was the rocket sending the Pheonix Mars Lander (Read the article here). Pretty amazing. In a few years when this thing is chipping ice on Mars I can say, "Yeah, I saw it take off." One of the perks to living in Florida, watching rockets take off from Cape Canaveral. That along with Mickey and the beaches.


On the Lake.

I took this picture with my iPhone. It looks like I have some seeds or something in my teeth, but thats the lake. It's beautiful. More to follow.


Friday, August 03, 2007

Weird Vacation Spot.

Every summer Penny and I take off with my family on a week long get away. This year we are heading to central Florida in the lakes region, Lake Weir in particular. You won't believe the history of the place we are going. Just think old lady gangster, thuggery, FBI. I would tell you more about it, but I just couldn't describe it as well as my sister does. From her post "Vacation Countdown":

This year the destination is Lake Weir in Oklawaha, Florida. Yes, it's another one of those funny names you find on signs all over the peninsula! Never heard of it? Well here's my chance, as a home school mom, to give you all a little history lesson!

During the Depression years when people were reeling from the disastrous stock market crash, gangs erupted. Not gangs like we know them today. I'm referring to the bank robbers and kidnappers of the "Bonnie & Clyde" era. One infamous gang in particular was the Barker-Karpis gang, headed up by Kate "Ma" Barker. She and her four sons terrorized the midwest up until the time when the FBI started clamping down and caught up with one of the sons, imprisoning him and scaring the rest of them into hiding. In 1934 Ma and her son Fred, as well as some of the other gang members, found a quaint little town in Florida that was an ideal place to disappear - or so they thought.

They rented a retreat in Oklawaha on Lake Weir, pretending to be vacationers enjoying a getaway. The FBI finally caught up with them and on January 16, 1935 when Ma Barker answered the tap on their front door, she was faced with an agent looking for Fred. She slammed the door and the struggle ensued!

Mother and son were home alone, but had an arsenal at their fingertips and were able to hold their own for hours. Eventually the large number of lawmen and no small amount of tear gas finally prevailed.

Upon entering the home, agents found Ma and Fred dead from "massive gunshot wounds" still holding their guns.

So the legend of "Ma Barker" is still strong in Oklawaha, and the house we're renting, just a stone's throw from the fugitives' famed hideaway!

Beat that for a vacation spot! So what is the most interesting place you have been for a vacation? Bizarre place? Scary place? Do tell!


Movie of the Year?

Some people get excited about Harry Potter, I don't. Jason Bourne gets my blood flowing, so today is a big day for me. The Bourne Ultimatum comes out in theaters. I have prepared myself for this epic by watching the previous 2 Bourne movies, again. These movies are just plain sick. Jason Bourne, is a former trained assassin who has lost his memory and takes on the world of government paid assassins as he tries to figure who he was before the memory loss. Personally I think Matt Damon should win every award know to man for this convincing role. If you haven't seen the first 2 rent them, watch them, then head out to see the latest installment.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Calvary Chapel and the origins of Christian music

One of the earliest and most influential Jesus freaks was Lonnie Frisbee, a tripped-out young man who grew up in Orange County, Calif., saw God on LSD, and became a Christian in the height of the Jesus People Movement of the '60's. This article is pretty intreresting as it is a take on Calvary Chapel's influence on Christian popular culture and music.

read more | digg story

Knee Update: Hot Rod Gimper

I started walking on Monday. My doc said it was time and my physical therapist agreed so I threw away the crutches (not literally) and started limping around with a new cane. Ah yes, notice the cane. My parents are fans of the show "House" as I am, and thought it would be cool to get a "House cane" for their gimpy son (it makes me look fast!). Anyway, I'm gettin my bend back and should be running in about 6 months. In the mean time, I am one hot rod gimper.

Watch House unveil the hot rod cane: