Thursday, December 28, 2006

Merry Christmas to me

So I gave myself an awesome Chirstmas present this year.

Six, yes six, stiches. I know, it is pretty exciting. And many of you are wishing that Santa had brought you the exact same thing. Well, next year just wash some glasses and hope that one of them breaks while your hand is inside it.

You will be happy to know that I am not the only one that was gifted with this awesome blessing. When I was leaving the emergency room, my neighbor was in the waiting room. Guess what she was there for, you got it!! She cut her left little finger, same one I cut, while she was washing glasses. See, that is all it takes.

Hope you had an awesome and blessed Christmas and I am praying for the same for your New Year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I have an idea

The problem with ideas usually comes when we share them with others. Well, I decided to share mine. I am toying with the idea of running a marathon. Now, that may cause most people who know me to laugh, and for good reason. But I am really toying with this idea. I have begun to look at some training programs for those of us who don't run. I ran (get it "ran") across one titled, "From coach potatoe to 5k". I certainly fit the coach/chair/floor potatoe catagory. Anyway, there is my idea.

Now I actually have to begin working on it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

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Monday, December 11, 2006

sphere of influence

so i got to meet with some of my friends this morning to begin having a conversation. i have to say that it was pretty stinkn' sweet. even in our first meeting there are things for me that are beginning to be deconstructed and i think that is a really good thing.

one of the things that really stood out to me was our conversation about our sphere of influence. the fact that we have an obligation to share the love of Christ with everybody in our sphere of influence. when we stop and think about it, we have a global sphere of influence. there is really no place on the earth that we are not able to get to. we have no less of an obligation to people in another country than we do here.

this came out of a conversation regarding serving people in other countries. someone said to me once that we should take care of our own country first. i disagree with that. i believe that we have an obligatioin to serve not just our brothers and sisters in Christ, but every person.

so our sphere of influence is global.

Friday, December 08, 2006

I have elfed myself

I found this rather amusing. Here I am as an elf.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Something to chew on.

This is a quote from Tony Campolo.

"I am as conservative as the Word of God and I am as liberal as the Love of God."

Monday, December 04, 2006

last day

well, i am ready to go home.

today was pretty low key for me. i slept in packed and then walked over to meet with my spiritual director. this time was entirely different than my last spirtual director meeting, but just as profound.

i am so thankful that ys provides this for us each year. i was reminded that the best thing i can do is to begin again simply. having felt empty and distant from Christ of late, i was reminded that no matter how far i feel he is right there.

tie that in with what i heard from rvl and the proverb i heard from marko and this was a pretty full cycle for me.

i am so glad that i will get to see my wife and boys soon. my wife has never gotten to go to an event like this. i talked with her about this last night. it will take some saving, but i really want my wife to be here with me next time. i have grown tired of going to stuff without my wife. i have this spritual high and try and explain it and she is like, great... the boys are driving me nuts. I would react the same in her place. want her with me from now on. will have to work that one out a bit.

all in.... nywc was well worth it.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sunday at NYWC

WOW!!! What a day. So the reason that I came to Charlotte instead of going closer to home was because of Ray Vander Laan (RVL). That was really the deciding factor for me. And I am glad to say that I was not disappointed. RVL challenged me in ways that I have never been challenged. He talked about what a real disciple is and what a real disciple looks like. And let me tell you, I do not measure up by any means. The passion that he talked about a real disciple having, I don't have. But it was not one of those moments that I walked out feeling guilty or down or worthless or whatever. I listened and longed for what RVL was talking about. At the same time I would be the one saying that I didn't want it so bad that I want all the work involved. To which RVL said "Then get another Rabbi!!!! To which I respond, I don't want another Rabbi, I want Jesus. So I realize that I must work. And I will... but where to begin. I walked out and was paralyzed. Not sure how to begin, because it seems so huge.

Later, I was processing this with a friend. It was during that conversation that I was reminded of a quote I heard yesterday. "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time to plant a tree is today." So, I begin today.

This has been an awesome day. I have been challenged, stretched, encouraged, confused, enlightened, amused, and all the others that I could possibly think of.

I am planting my tree today.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

More from Sat.

Lots of Tony Jones today. Listened to him this morning and then again in the afternoon. I have to say that I rather enjoy seeing and hearing him get rowdy. It is fun, at least for me. I am sure that he gets quite tired of it. Here is the thing about Tony for me. The guy really challenges me. He really forces me to think. Which is a really good thing, but sometimes I get scared, sometimes I get frustrated, sometimes I get angry. Angry because I begin to realize that I don’t have a freakin’ clue. I am so far out of my league when I am around these discussions. But I love it!!

Something that he said that stands out to me. I am going to try and get this as close as I can to what Tony Jones said.

-that the Holy Spirit guarded the canonization of the scripture by guiding it through the ages.

I am pretty sure that I got that right or at least the basic premise of what he was trying to say.

Absolutely loved the late night discussion. Really enjoyed the fact that Tony would not let anyone get sloppy with their comments or quotes.

Again, I just sat back and soaked all the discussion regarding prayer and what is the purpose of prayer. And again, I really felt out of my league. But, I am learning that I need to be a part of these conversations. At least a part in that I have a hearts desire to hear them and maybe someday verbally contribute to them.

Tony, keep going. I for one am loving it.

Marko and leadership. It was good. I liked this idea of level 5 leadership. I too strive for that, not there yet but working towards it I hope.

I can’t find my notes from this class so I will have to finish this one tomorrow. My mind is mush right now.

All in, I am loving the convention. Sure there are things that bite a bit, but I love being here. Marko, not sure if you are reading this or not, you guys are doing an awesome job and I thank you.


i am feeling much better about my jedidiah experience today. it actually started off worse after another incident but by the end of the day and some clarification, i like em'.


I heard Mark O. say something today regarding balance. He said that he does not necessarily believe that we can be “in balance”. He said that the only time he really thinks a person is in balance is when the pendulum is swinging from one side and crossing over to the other. Interesting thought. As I reflect on my life and my quest for balance it seems that I can certainly see that has been the case for my life.

More later from the day.

Christian Commercialism

I can’t help but think sometimes that these conventions are the picture of Christian commercialism. Sure, I know that selling stuff is part of the convention that it is providing resources to youth workers. Heck, I even purchase stuff here. But sometimes I feel like I am at the Golden Corral and that I am faced with this buffet of stuff… that I can just binge on. I also realize or assume that much, or part, of the profit gained here probably goes to helping fund the convention so people like me are able to listen and learn from the likes of Tony Campolo, Tony Jones and so many others and even have lunch with Mark Yaconelli, but every so often I get this odd taste in my mouth about the push to purchase. I know that some might say that I don’t have to be here, that it is my choice. And they are right. But it is like my desire to go eat at the Golden Corral, I don’t have to go there, but I just love being there, I love having all those options. And then while I am eating and enjoying that which I chose, I bite into something that is really hard and hurts. No, maybe it would be better to say that while I was eating what I chose, I bit my own tongue, or indigestion from my over consumption. Man that sucked. I didn’t like that. But that doesn’t stop me from going back. I don’t know, maybe I just need to find the balance for myself.

Session with Tony Jones

Session with Tony Jones this morning. “An identity Crisis: How New Research Is Challenging What We Think We Know about Adolescence.”

The interesting thing is that I was not just challenged about adolescence, Tony shared some stuff that challenged me regarding how I raise my own children. Actually, there were a couple of times that I really got to thinking about how I am raising my own children. Which I must obviously admit I think about often.

I continue to be amazed at how little I really know about this kind of stuff, like how the brain develops and how that affects the person we become, the things that can affect the way our brains develop.

Tony mentioned from the study “Hard wired to connect” that the whole idea of nature vs. nurture is not really valid any more. Because the nurture we receive or don’t receive becomes nature. I did not say that exactly as he did, but I believe that is the basic premise of it.

This study also confirms the need for community, not just community as in our youth group, but also specifically community as in a holistic faith community. This study specifically talks about the need for youth to be in authoritative communities.

One person asked during the session if, because of the fracture in families, youth ministries should replace the parental authoritative community. I think we that we should become a complementary authoritative community.

More on this later….

Friday, December 01, 2006

The rest of the day

I love being here. I love being around so many youth workers. I love that I got to come with these three guys, Kenny, Mike and Jeremy. The discussions that we are having are awesome. They are not about what new program, book, or thing we need for youth ministry. They are about Kingdom, the theology of lyrics in the music from the stage, war, homosexuality, how we are growing and being challenged. This convention is so different for me than my first. Which was in Sacramento, I think four years ago.

I remember thinking that to be a youth worker I had to be silly (sometimes stupid) and I had to act like a teenager. Man, I am in a totally different place now. I have come to learn that the best thing I can do is to simply be Dean. To be as real to who Christ created me to be as possible. I have come to realize that teens can see right through all the rest. Now, I am glad to say that some of the sillyness and even the stupidity has stuck with me, which I rather enjoy.

Campolo continues to spur me. That by the way is a really good thing.

I continue to have these themes that pop up in my life. Sabbath, simplicity, intentionality, guiding by living…..

Lunch at NYWC

Got to have lunch with Mark Yaconelli today. First I have to say that I felt very inadequate to be sitting at the table. Not necessarily because of Mark. It had to do with everyone at the table. Most of whom I know, one who is a very good friend of mine. I just remember sitting there thinking, what in the world am I doing in this discussion? I just felt like the best thing I could do was to sit and listen. So I did. Man, there was a lot for me to process out of the whole conversation. Mark was talking about a need for youth ministry to be dismantled. Speaking about the disconnect between teens and the church as a whole. I told him later that in hearing the words “dismantle youth ministry” I get really tense inside. Not sure why, it was just something that I sensed inside myself. Not really even sure what dismantling entails exactly. I just realize that those words made me nervous. Maybe it is because the first thing that I think about when I hear this word “dismantle” is my livelihood, my “job”. Which I think is a discredit to me.

Other stuff that came up:

-Church as a culture. Meaning our religion should mean more than “I live like everybody else, I just believe differently.” That our religion should effect, should change how we live, eat, act and dress.

-The idea that a sabbatical is a communal event, not just an individual event. This is because the sabbatical changes the individual; it allows growth, healing, rest, and inspiration for the individual. Which in turn is healthy for the community.

- The idea of youth pastors being a missionary to the local church. And using the “position” as a means to begin to really unite the adults to the youth and the youth to the adults. It was said that this might be most effective if it was subversive.

-Mark asked us a question that was asked of him at one time. “Will what you are doing today be beneficial to the church in 500 years?” What a question! It begins to put things into perspective. I don’t think we ever think of our ministries or our lives in light of that question. So, what will be beneficial to the church in 500 years. An all-nighter with the teens or being at home with my wife and three boys?


I had an interesting/frustrating experience at the Jedidiah booth today. I am going to be intentionally vague because, well... because I think it is best to and I still need to check myself about it. Maybe more later.