Monday, February 28, 2005

Say it don't pray it

I posted this yesterday but blogger kept asking me to login so the post never made it.

Preachers: When I prepare a message, sermon or lesson for my students or the church I feel that what I am talking about is important and really want them to get what I'm talking about. I believe in what I talk about and I believe it can change their lives for the better.

But when I preach and when I hear others preach often they don't get the point across as strongly as they want to or sometimes they just fail miserably. Rather than just take the fall count their losses, pack their Bibles and leave the pulpit they do the miserable. They pray. Now I love prayer and I think it is such a wonderful gift that God has blessed us with. I believe in the power of prayer. But when a message is miserable preaching the message again in the prayer is not recommended. God already heard your message, he unlike the congregation was paying attention and heard every word. His life doesn't need to be changed, he's already perfect.

Bottom line: don't pray your messages, hold the value of prayer higher than that!

Friday, February 25, 2005


I confessed to my friend Steve this morning that I was having a hard time not getting stressed out. I also told him that I was putting emotions about one item into the arena of another and that was not fair. I have been stressed lately and having a hard time trusting God. I say I trust him, I know he is trust worthy but my actions have not been matching my words.

This morning I spent a brief time in the word and just left feeling like I had fulfilled an obligation not connected with JEHOVAH. So I went to a book I have and the devotion was on trusting God with all things and being content in trusting him. As I read those very words the cd player says “I will give you all my worship”.

I had to say God I will give you all…as worship.

He’s worth it, He’s trust worthy!

Actions, Start acting right!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bobble Head Jesus in all his...boredom! Posted by Hello

Tonight's Message

Message: I'm talking about the Clay cups I mentioned at the beginning of the month tonight. I know it will be impacting to the students. Not because of my but because they have hearts of gold and want to serve and help others.

Below is the message:

The Story: India is the largest democracy in the world. This means that they boat of having a government where not only are all people created equal but they all get an equal say in elections. One would think this would be a wonderful place to live. All men are equal, no racism, no prejudices, just all people equal.

The truth of the matter is that long ago the priest of the religion of Hindu set up a caste system. If you don’t know what a caste system is think of it like a pecking order. Kind of like high school, seniors are the best and can do anything they want; juniors are still cool but just need to listen to the seniors. Sophomores really just need to keep quiet unless they are liked by the juniors and seniors. Freshman are just punks but still tolerable.

In India there are 4 classes of people or castes. There is nothing you can do to change castes or status you are merely born into a caste and you will die of that same caste. This isn’t such a bad thing if you are in one of the top castes but if you are of a lower you are stuck.

I said the Priests set up this caste system thousands of years ago. Which caste do you think is the highest caste? Brahmins or priest. Next comes the Kshatriyas: soldiers and administrators. Then the Vaisyas: the commercial class and then the last the Sudras: the farmers and peasants.

Being of the lowest caste is pretty rough life. People ignore you, think you are white trash; you are prejudiced against just for being born poor. I have a horrifying thing to tell you. There is a caste lower that the lowest class. These people aren’t even considered good enough to be of a caste. They are called Dalits. Dalits means “broken to pieces” “outcaste” and “untouchable”. Another meaning of the word is “mistake to be born”. The rest of the nation treats these people as if they are mistakes to society, they are as good as never born. These people rank in treatment lower than animals.

There was a law passed about 50 years ago in India stating that society could no longer treat these people as badly as they were doing. But the law has meant nothing. One prime example of how rejected these people are this: Dalits by law are allowed in restaurants and other places. But if a Dalit is given a beverage they are given the drink in a cheaply made clay cup. After the Dalit drinks of the water the cup will be broken and thrown away so no one else will be contaminated by their “dirtiness”. Dalits are not allowed to draw water from the community wells. Because of this Dalits are forced to sit by the well and beg someone of a higher caste for a drink. Normally no one will give them a drink, sometimes they will but they will give it to them in a clay cup. If the shadow of a Dalit crosses that of a high caste that person is considered dirty and must go through a cleansing process.

In the wake of the Tsunami we are all aware that part of India was hit. One of the communities that were struck was a Dalit community. Naturally when they lost everything they went to refuge camps. In these camps they were told to go away that there was no assistance for them. They were told that they would be given no help. They weren’t even given the tools to bury their dead just alcohol so they could get drunk to forget the stench.

Boys playing Cricket, a British form of baseball, at school get into a verbal argument. One side was Dalits the other was of a higher caste. Most of the Dalits were able to escape but 3 were caught by the higher caste. They were drug inside a house and forced to drink urine from a shoe at gunpoint. Then the police were called and they spend 8 days in jail.

I hope I have described to you in enough detail the horrendous treatment these people must endure. This doesn’t just happen to a few people but to the whole society. 25% of the population of India is Dalit, which is about 250 Million. Wow!

Well the song we just heard is from Caedmon’s Call and is called share the well. The band went on a world mission’s trip last year and go to know the Dalit’s story and their need. They wrote this song with authentic Dalit people playing the drums in the background and Dalit vocals. It is about the story of the clay cup and the oppression of the people. They wrote the song on two levels. On the physical level that the people are just oppressed, they need education, food, water, and a chance to succeed.

They also wrote it on a spiritual level. God created and I believe intended all humans to be treated as equals. I believe that the Bible teaches us that salvation is for all man. If we think of the water as Jesus Christ and the well just happens to be the place where it is kept. I think the water in that well is available to all man. God does not look at outside appearances or cares what caste you are part of. He loves you for who you are. It is only when a Dalit hears the gospel of Jesus do they know that they are loved by God the same. They are taught by Hinduism that they are sub-culture. Lower than dirt and outcastes. When they hear about Jesus they realize their worth and they receive salvation not only from their sins but from thinking they are worthless.

Listen to this song again. This time I have a clay cup for you. Inside this cup is the story of the Dalits. On the cup is a website that you can go to learn more about the Dalits and their story and you can do a google search for Dalits and read lots of their stories.

There is enough Jesus to go around: We do no have a monopoly on Jesus. He is for all people and his sacrifice covers a multitude of sins…whether we like it or not. Over time and I don’t blame you guys I think you’ve learned it from someone older than you and even older than your parents. We figured that if we can’t control the water (Jesus) then we can control the vessels (ourselves). We treat sinners like they are filthy, we give them only a little portion of Jesus and that’s the portion we want them to have. Then when we are done giving them charity we go back to our safe corners and break the cups so we don’t get dirty. Jesus wasn’t afraid to get dirty and I believe that he asked us to no be afraid also. He wants us to give to people freely his love. He asks us to be the vessels.

Do you view unbelievers as a lower Caste?
Are you willing to reach into the sin and see the believer?
Even if it means getting a little dirty?
Will you share the well?

Call to action: You may keep the cup free of charge. Please keep in mind that these cups cost me $.25 a piece and I don’t mind covering your cost. But please know that the average Dalit makes a quarter a day. For this next week I am asking every person to go without one thing that costs them money. When you go without take that money that you would spend and put it aside. Next Wednesday bring the money and we will give it to an organization that helps the Dalits.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Don't Do it

"Don't thank God," Rock said. "God's busy working on the tsunami, so leave him alone." Chris Rock commenting on acceptance speeches at the Oscars.

Monday, February 21, 2005


It is Easier: I think people in evangelical circles today want to get away from Legalism. The problem is it is to scary on the other side. The unknown side of a life of grace. It's easier to know the list of do's and don't's and know how much God likes you on that grade scale than to...

More to come later I just wanted to get this thought down.

Saturday, February 19, 2005


Parents: Heather and I just got back from Borders where we were reading up on magazines and just enjoying one of my favorite things BOOKS! I finally got to read the new TIME magazine and the article on parents involved in their childrens lives. The article admitted that increased parental involvement is a burden to educators. It noted that it's not the involvement that is the problem but rather the type of involvement. To sum it up the article stated that educators need advocates in parent's not adversaries. Parents: stop babying your kids, stop worrying about perfect grades and build some character in your children. Teach them to be responsible, take risks, do their work on their own, teach them to succeed (don't succeed for them), teach them to fail (and how to prevent it).

My favorite thought was: By the time your child is 18 they will have spent 13% of their lives in school, you focus on the other 87% and let educators take care of their 13%.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Quote of the Month

I was talking to my Dad today on the phone

Dad asks "how has your week been?"

I say "pretty good, I've been lazy all week and I feel like I wasted it"

He says "ahh it's ok, it's a long life you have to pace yourself!"

that's why it's always good to talk to Dad!

The Hat

Nationals: So I've decided to bail on the Baltimore Orioles and make myself a D.C. fan all the way...well not quite but the Redskins and the Nat'ls. So like every good fan I must sport the home ball cap. Too bad the one I want is out of stock. Grrrr.

People: I think I've figured out why I get so frustrated sometimes. I have literally given my whole life up to this point serving people. I do it because I am serving God and being obedient to him. But still the same my main business is people. I invest my time, money, passions, emotions and much more into people. I want to lead them to better things, to abundant life, to a relatonship with Christ. The pain and frustration comes in when you invest and that investment comes back void, or when you invest and then those people aren't willing to invest in your both. I love people I really do but sometimes I feel like it's all take and no give.

God gives the strength to carry on!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Appropriate Language

Swearing: I was watching the Westminster dog show the other night and the winning dog and her handler were in the winners circle and the judge was standing with them. The interviewer asked the judge, "out of all these spectatular dog why did this one stand out as the winner" The judge said "There was just something spectatular about his bitch"

Even though I'm 25 and my wife is 26 we just cracked up laughing. Not because we're potty mouths you just don't hear that word too often.

Dogs: When I was shopping for my dog about 4 years ago I noticed that's just what dog breeders call the females and the males are called sires or studs. It's not bad, it's not foul language, it's just what the word bitch means.

I hold myself in contempt!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Hockey: So Hockey might resolve their labor conflict today. If they don't do it today then the rest of the season is done with. I only have one question. Who cares? I seldom watched hockey but appreciated the fans, I always enjoyed going to games but who has $30 a ticket to sit in the nose bleeds? I think it was in 95' when Major League Baseball had their strike. I used to watch every game that came on tv and followed all the stats when the labor dispute came and they quit playing I quit watching. I gradually watch more and more but not as much as I once did. It's been 10 years. I wonder if hockey is prepared for a loss of fan base?

Nat'ls: Speaking of Baseball. I think I've decided to quit rooting for the Orioles and start rooting for the new team the Washington Nationals. I have been and O's fan since I was about 9. I have to be honest my reason for jumping ship is a bad one. The O's are in a division with both the Yankees and the Red Sox so their chance of every making it to another world series is pretty low. With a new team coming to D.C. now is the perfect time.

Light: Last night we were driving back from wal-mart, the sun was setting, almost gone from the sky but about 1/8 of the sky was still light. The rest of the sky was pitch black and you could see the darkness advancing on the small portion of lit sky. Something with that scene resonated with me and defined my life perfectly. I feel like I have a bit of light. I have dedicated my life to spreading that light and sometimes is just feels like the darkness keeps creeping in.It just reminded me we put our hope in an eternal future.

Gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight - BNL

Monday, February 14, 2005

Buying Stuff

Buy ME! I'm a buyaholic, I don't really like to shop but I sure do like to buy stuff. Normally my wife and I get an allowance at the beginning of the month and that's what we use to buy haircuts, beauty stuff, shoes...really anything that's not a must have for survival which is most things we buy if we're honest. In an effort to save money for the baby coming I have forgone my allowance and just done without...well I get a haircut still but that's it. At first it was hard because I like to buy stuff but this morning I realized that I really don't miss it...It's for a good cause!

Sunday, February 13, 2005


The Present Future: I finally got serious about this book and finished it. It was an exciting read and quite hands on for as philosophical it was. The question I keep asking myself in my mind is "is it really possible to do church this way." The relevant, caring, God ordained way of doing church...correction not doing church being church. Being a believer a follower of Jesus Christ that cares more about others and increasing the kindgom that about self and increasing his/her church.

We are called to introduce people to Jesus and a relationship with him not churchianity.

I'm fired up now...oh to remain unfrustrated!

Saturday, February 12, 2005


6:45 am: It's funny cuz I'm not really a slacker I'm just a night owl. I condition my body to stay up late and then wake up about 8am so it's not that I get more sleep than regular working people I just get my hours at a time more preferred by me. 6:45 really isn't all that early but it feels bad when you go to bed at 2 am.

7:15 am: The best part about leaving the house for a youth trip this early is that I feel entitled to some starbucks coffee as a reward for my good deeds. So I am faced with the perilious question of Mocha of white chocolate mocha...

life's tough decisions

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Present Future

The Present Future: Reggie McNeal--I started to say that this book is a must read for all church going people but I don't believe that it really is. It is a must read for people who are tired of "doing church". If you are tired of being part of a religious club, if you are tired of your holy huddle, if you read the stories of Jesus and have asked yourself why can't I be just a little like him, if you are a rebel, a fire starter, a brave soul then read this book.

The world is depending on you.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Fur coats

PETA: The people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has found a way to recycle fur coats that they have collected. They were giving them to the homeless of Washington D.C. Good Idea PETA! That's the first constructive thing I've ever heard of PETA doing. Where I'm from they stand at the fishing piers and yell at you.

Fur Coats: One time my Uncle Lenny set up for me and my sister to work at the coat room of the local Elks Lodge. It was their annual Christmas dinner so the men and women were dressed to the hilt and of course they had their fur on. They would hand us their coats and we would hand them their tags. The women would reek of perfume and I would grab the coat and this horrendous smell of cheap perfume and nasty fur coat would envelope me. It was quite tramatic if I remember it 18 years later.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday: I went to the local Catholic church this morning. I just missed the Ash Wednesday morning mass but was able to see the people walking out. I always enjoy going to St. John’s and this morning was no different. I must admit one thing before people start thinking I’m some sort of…well I don’t know what. The reasons I go are two fold and two fold selfish. The first is that it’s easier to be quiet and solemn at such a sombering place. The second reason is that I like to get ideas for experiential worship.

I was just talking to a guy the other day that LOVES to try “new” things in his youth worship service. He was just talking about how he rips off the catholic ideas all the time. As I entered today what appeared to be an exiting from a funeral, I then sat down on a pew about half way back. There was a group of senior citizens that must not’ve got enough during the mass because they were holding their service on the opposite side of me. Nothing to terribly alarming about that.

As I was reading my Bible and looking at the crucifix at the front of the church I couldn’t help but hear the holy seniors prayers. One Lord’s prayer, some scripture reading, another Lord’s prayer and then…much praying to the “virgin” Mary. As they began those prayers, and I don’t mean to offend Catholics, I felt very uncomfortable. I pray to one God. I believe this is a Biblical truth and praying to anything else is idolatry. I tried to ignore it but as their prayers went on there was a check in my spirit and I had to leave. They were praying to a false god, putting their trust in a woman, who gave birth to the son of God, no small feet, but in the end was just a woman, not a god.

I know that experiential worship has led us to the things of the past and anyone who knows me knows I love experiential hands on worship but we must remember our separation from the Catholic church and why as we pilgrim ahead…err…back.

Monday, February 07, 2005


Driving: Heather and I went for a drive today. There are some foothills near our house and we enjoy the seclusion of the woods and the ability to get away such a short distance from our house. Both of us had the day off and so we went for a drive. The drive was nice, uneventful and gave us sometime to just talk and enjoy one another. I enjoy those times.

George: I have a dog, he's about a 14 pound jack russell terrier and he's the best dog in the world. He obeys better than most 8 year olds and he's good for a laugh and unconditional love. George listens really well and is well trained...lately when I let him out back he doesn't come back in when I call him. He knows it's muddy outside and I don't want to get my feet muddy so he just ignored me when I call him. Today he was out back ignoring me as usual and I picked up his air filled and kind of soft green ball. I yelled "George if you don't get in here I'm going to hit you in the head with this ball". He turned and glanced over the forty some foot spanse and just laughed. I thought I hear him mutter "you don't have the arm woman" but you can never be sure. So not wanting to throw out empty threats I gripped the ball firmly and gave it a nice line drive throw.

:it was at this exact time that the stars aligned, gravity reversed and God smiled down on me: As the ball left my hand I felt the magic, I believed in the power of positive thinking and I knew the throw was going to strike home. Sure enough just as George looked up and muttered oh %$^# (he has a foul mouth for a dog), the ball struck him right in the skull. It was simply amazing. I called George again, this time he came back in the house.

It's not every day something like that happens I mean throwing a soft ball sized ball at a baseball sized head at 40' and hiting my target, the gods were with me. Reminds me of the time in youth group growing up we were watching Tremors in the yg room and I said I hate this movie I'm turning off the tv and from 15' away I threw a gummie bear and hit the off button and the tv turned off.

What will tomorrow bring?


ADHD: I thought that'd be a cool name for my youth group. If you have to have a name why not have one that describes one so well.

Seeking employment: Youth pastor looking for mediocre church. Church I am desiring has enough people to pay the bills but not enough to make anyone uncomfortable. I am looking to work a maximum of 35 hours a week and I offer limited creativity. I want a church that is dedicated and committed to the status quo and not too concerned with reaching the lost. I feel this environment is safe and does not offend anyone nor will it require to much of me. My talents are in maintaining and patting current believers on the back and telling them they're doing a good job. Sustaining is my middle name. Churches finding this description matches up with their values please call, I think we're a match. I can be reached via email...

No offers? I didn't think so.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Dress up day...

Suits: The first sunday of every month at my church is communion sunday, it is also the one week a month that I am required to wear a suit. Our church is an otherwise dress casual atmosphere and I enjoy that. But communion sundays...well I hate wearing a church. Don't get me wrong I like look dapper when going on special nights with my honey or other sophisticated occasions. I guess the reason is those night I'm trying to impress someone or feel important. At church I've already impressed the one I want to think me important and when it comes down to it HE is impressed with me not because of a thing I do but because of everything he has done.

In the end I just hate wearing a suit to church, no reason to overspiritualize it I just don't like it.

I'm going to go cry now!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Car woes

So the heat in the big green beast (96 Ford Explorer) hasn't been working on those really cold days. It's not all that bad really except you can't feel your fingers, talk on the phone, or breathe deeply...ok it's horrible. So today I bit the bullet and tried to figure out what it was. I suspected the thermostat so I bought one ($4) and installed it. It didn't take very long because I have done it before. As I was finishing up I looked over to my wife's car and noticed she had a flat tire. What the crap? I was so irritated. Not that Heather did anything to do it these things happen but the timing was just pretty bad.

I got it done, washed the dog, vacuumed the house, and layed on the couch. Perfect lineup for a saturday and it's still only 5:30.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Well I wanted to be a nerd. I was hoping but then I took the test...I'm not a nerd. What a sad realization! Posted by Hello

I'm going to smash your pinata!

Do it the way I normally do it...: When a sentence begins with those words and I am being asked to do something I kind of just chuckle. If you want me to do something but want to tell me how to do it and want me to do it like you do it...then why don't you just do it yourself. That's the beauty of other people doing stuff they're going to do it their way and it's going to be different.

Messy: Yesterday I had the opportunity to view and interact in a meeting as an outsider. It was a group of youth pastors for a nearby county. I had no investment nor would I gain anything from the planning to I listened and I observed. The intent of the meeting was to plan a session 2 hours a month where paid and unpaid youth staff could come and interact with other youth leaders and hear from a trained professional in some field about a topic that should benefit the youth leader. As the planning and brain sparking was going on I thought the ideas were flowing and the team was working well together. The structure of the event was being set in place but was not exceedingly rigid and seemed quite interactive and free flowing. This this dude says...but we're messy people. He didn't want any structure to the event. He just wanted...chaos? I'm all about messy and I know spiritually I'm not all put together nor do I think my end goal is to be all put together. I am a man on a quest, the quest has no end but is merely about the people on it with me...and my relationship with HIM. The way this fella was talking was as if structure was bad, organization was bad, and planning was even worse. I don't think that's what messy means but I can see some youth pastors in the future saying...I don't have to play ahead, have permission slips or do paperwork be cause I'm MESSY. How about LAZY!

Post-Modern: At the above mentioned meeting their started talk of doing a session on Post-modern thinking and the church. One of the guys spoke up and said some stuff he was doing with his group and instantly there was a buzz about how pomo this cat was. Now I'm no pomo specialist. I've been studying the emerging church and my emerging students. I have had to reconcile in my mind many things theologically and I have been on a major journey these past 7 months about the whole emergent church and I believe I am better for it. I see a strong need for the church to adapt to the culture because if we do not then the church will DIE. What I was hearing from these guys is that we can change the aesthetics of what is being done. We can generate some hands-on stuff twice a month or even every week; We light a few candles, throw some sand on the floor, draw a picture and we're post modern...hooray we have arrived! Post modernism and being emergent is doing interactive worship...bull! It's more than aesthetics and experiential worship it's a mindset that we must adopt, that our spiritual walk is not a destination but a journey that is often ugly, marred and not dictated by stages.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Some people call me space cowboy

Some call me gangsta of love, but most just call me Padre.

Biblical Virtues: I've been praying through this book mark I got for my unborn baby Nathan. 31 Biblical Virtues to pray for your kids by Bob Hostetler.

Buck Wild: I live in a city that has expanded by about 100k people in the past 14 years. The problem with that is the roads and traffic patterns have not been able to keep up and what's even worse is the people that lived here when it was a tiny farming community still live here and get spooked by all the traffic. I used to think they were the worst of traffic problems. I have since change my opinion.

I've noticed the past few days how confident people are in their cars. For little or no reason at all they will start yelling at you from their drivers seat, or one time it was the passenger seat. Do something they don't approve and you almost guaranteed to see their faces turn red and their mouths open with profanity. I think it's kind of funny but mostly sad. If their life is so fragile that driving makes them rage then they must have a pretty rough life. What's unusual is that I'm not a small man. I have never been sworn at in public to my face because frankly people are afraid and if not afraid have a healthy respect for my substantial girth. Basically people don't give me lip...put them in a nice safe confined car and they'll jump on you like stink on a buffalo fart.

Juggling: ESPN 2 has had on the World Juggling Federation Championships. Who know there was a such thing?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Groundhog's day

Big Cars: I understand that as you get into your senior citizen years you have a need to be comfortable. I'd like to think I respect the elderly very much. But why oh why must they drive the huge cars. They have a hard enough turning the wheel and seeing out the windshield without the car being roughly the size of a humvee. I wonder if we could start a national campaign to get seniors to drive toyota echo's or Chevy Cavaliers. I'm writing them a letter today.

Democracy: So Iraq had their elections...that's pretty cool. I think their might be a problem though. Saddam Hussein, you know their former dictator, was actually registered and eligible to cast a ballot. He did not vote from the confines of his prison but it leaves one question unanswered...who would he have voted for?

Cancer: They don't prepare you for this at Bible College. Got a call monday telling me that one of my key students (17 years old) has two spots on his thyroid and that they are cancer. He went in for a PET scan yesterday and the cancer HAS NOT spread to any other area. God is good. He is having surgery today to remove his thyroid. We are confident that God is going to remove this surgery and that David will never have to deal with cancer again.

Jesus Christ is LORD of all!

God gave me this verse in my time with him to show David
"Don't be afraid, for you are deeply loved by God. Be at peace; take heart and be strong!"

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Clay Cup

I received a free box of youth pastor goodies from our local Christians bookstore. I have connections there so they are always sure to reserve me a box, great people! In that box was a single of Caedmon's Call new album Share the well with the song Share the Well. I heard the song and enjoy it's Indian flavor. In that same box was a clay cup, about 4" tall and quite crudely made. I laughed to myself and wondered if they had given me the Holy Grail by accident.

A while later in the day I revisited the box and was reading the devotional guide that go along with some of the CD's. On the very last page was a devotional about the song Share the Well and it told of a society in India called the Dalit's. Dalit translates "broken in pieces" or "ground". In the caste system of India they are the lowest class, even lower than animals. They are not allowed pots or buckets to get water from the community wells and are instead forced to beg the higher castes for water. Often they are overlooked and ignored. When they are given water they are given it in a crudely made clay cup. The reason for the clay cup is so that it can be broken when the Dalit is done drinking so as not to contaminate anyone else.

You can read more about the Dalit's and clay cups HERE

the devotional thoughts in this post are derived from Youth Pastor Perks and I believe written by Mike Wilson.