Tuesday, November 29, 2005

If I were a cartoon...

I do not watch South Park, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to make myself one of its characters...check it out!

If you want to join the cast just click here:

Not the most thought provoking of all my posts...but sometimes you just want a good laugh!



Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tuesday Tea for Three

Today is Tuesday.

Unlike the rest the days of the week this day holds a special place in my heart: let me explain. 4 years ago when I was a freshman at Briercrest Bible College, God blessed me with an incredible roomate-Corey, and another amazing friend-Jason. The three of us soon became inseperable, and to this very day continue to grow in our friendships. You have to understand one thing about Corey, Jason and I...coming from BC we really didn't enjoy the butt-freaking cold weather in Saskatchewan. I don't know if this is the true reason why we started our little tradition of drinking tea together on Tuesday nights, but it sure helped to aleviate the bone chilling cold.

You may be asking why I am writting about this part of my life history now--4 years later--well just recently I have been reminded of how precious this threefold friendship is. It had been a few months since the three of us got together for some guy-time...and we genuinly felt sick that we had forsaken our tradition for such an extended amount of time. Tuesday night Tea Time allowed the three of us to escape from all the stressors of College life, dating life, major papers- due-the-next-day life, and gave us the time to spend encouraging each other, praying for eachother, and laughing together. This was a time of spiritual refreshment that could not be duplicated. I treasure these memories, and know that if it weren't for the wise counsel I received from these brothers in Christ--who knows where my life would be. These 2 guys mean the world to me...(I love you too Charity)...and for you reading this right now I ask you this:

Do you have genuine & deep rooted friendships where you gather together for the sake of encouragement, prayer and laughter?

I ask this because I know that far too many of my brothers in Christ live their lives without ever experiencing such close friendship. God has hard-wired us for a relationship with him, and for relationships with others. Yet far too often I chat with people who can only hope for such deep-rooted friendships like the ones I have with Jason & Corey. There is a book out called "The Company You Keep" that sheds far more light onto the topic of male frienships that maybe is worth a read if this is an area that "strikes your fancy" (apologies for using somewhat corny Old-English). The book oddly enough is written by 3 BC-Boys (much like the 3 of us) and one is actually my friend Jason's father.

We as men sometimes all get painted with the same brush that stereotypes us as "cold, un-caring, un-emotional, barbarians" when in all seriousness the threefold friendship of Corey, Jason and I is nothing the like. If we as men do not seek out meaningful frienships where we pray for eachother, encourage eachother, and laugh together then our lives will lack in a richness that only comes from time spent together. I'm not saying that you have to specifically drink tea--or that you have to get together on Tuesday's--but what I am saying is that Christian men need to spend time together, in conversation, in prayer, to see their friendship grow and to see their faith come alive.

*Thanks Boys for sharing your lives with me. I pray that as we grow old together we will have many more Tuesday-Night-Tea-Times. Blessings on you both...


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

lives transformed...

*Warning: It's a long one (but worth it)*

Somedays it's hard to channel the whirlwind of thoughts that fill my cranium through my fingers-to the keyboard-onto this blog. Living a life entrenched in Youth Ministry never allows for a dull moment...let me explain:

This past Sunday I had the glorious priviledge of baptizing one of my youth. This was the first time I had ever baptized someone, and I can assure you that the flood of emotions that I experienced will stick with me for a lifetime. It's for those moments that any youth pastor lives for: forget the piles of administrative crap that we all have to unfortunately live with-can't I just equip students to grow into mature followers of Jesus? The question that I am wrestling with is this:

How can we tangibly recognize that the lives of our students are being transformed?

You can throw out the Sunday school answer here and say "hey, did you not just baptize someone?...that's a pretty good sign!" But it's got to be more than that. Baptism at its litteral sense is someone getting dunked while laying in a luke-warm pool of stagnant water. It's not until we give meaning to the experience that makes it more than just taking a bath in church. We talked about this "giving meaning to something" at our Fall Retreat a couple of weeks ago at Camp Qwanoes. We had students write out their burdens onto rocks and then we gathered down at the beach and hurrled them into the ocean. The rock is just a rock--the ocean is just salt water--but with meaning they metamorphosize into something more!

It's this metamorphosis that I long to see in each of my students lives. But I still wrestle with how we tangibly recognize growth since each student has their own uique relationship with their Creator. One area of significant growth that every youth pastor longs for is when a student decides to stop living for the world, and to start living their lives for Christ. But how do we determine when that person "is a Christian?" Do they have to pray a prayer? Some of you may say yes...some may say no-I think you both have grounds to camp there. Maybe I need to direct you to someone who's recently been wrestling with the same sentiments as I have:

Thoughts on conversion... by Walt Mueller

Coming to faith and being transformed. . . . isn’t that what we hope to see happen in the lives of the kids we know and love? Sure it is. For some reason, I’ve been thinking a lot about how we facilitate this reality in our youth ministries. I know there are differences in how we all communicate the Gospel and invite kids to “make a decision” for Christ. Of course, then we spend time counting up the numbers so that we can judge our “success,” validate the effectiveness of our methodologies, and look good when we report back to our supervisors and church boards. Okay. . . . if you know me well you were able to read that last sentence understanding the appropriate measure of sarcasm in my voice. I think what’s prompted my thinking on this matter is a publicity piece I recently read regarding a youth evangelist who’s had “success” by leading over 1 million kids to Christ. Sorry, I just can’t take that too seriously. If he’s led over 1 million kids to Christ, where are they? Perhaps it would be better if we were just honest with ourselves and we reported back to headquarters with something like this. . . . “He’s convinced over 1 million kids to come forward or raise their hands.” Let’s be honest. When push comes to shove we ask for a lot of commitments to Christ, but have we really taken the time to warn kids about what a life of following Christ is all about, how difficult it is, and what it requires. Do we ever talk about the fact that following the God-man who was on the cross requires “taking up” a cross of our own? Do we ever get beyond the promise of heaven to talk about what life as a follower is all about here on God’s earth? Do kids really know that there’s a life of integrated faith to be lived between not going to hell and going to heaven? I hope my random thoughts here are making some kind of sense. I’ve always been skeptical of easy evangelism that requires a few minutes with someone lost, a formulated method, an invitation to pray according to a script, and a quick “goodbye” to move on to the next project (I mean, person) whether our prior project (I mean, person) has said “yes” or “no” to our invitation. Okay, so maybe we aren’t doing evangelism this way. But then again, maybe we are. Because something about this hasn’t been sitting right with me for years, I’ve tried to direct some large blocks of reading, thinking, and praying time in this direction. I’m currently reading Turning To God: Biblical Conversion in the Modern World by David Wells, one of my seminary profs back at Gordon-Conwell. Wells approaches this important subject (important because what we believe about conversion will impact how we do ministry) asking the most important question. That is, “What does the Bible teach?” rather than “What have past generations thought?” or “What sort of conversion experiences have people had?” Here are some of Wells’ thoughts on conversion based on what the Scriptures teach: “True conversion is not an isolated experience but one that is related to a life of discipleship. It is the point in time and experience at which we enter into such a life. Discipleship belongs to and should follow from conversion the way that natural life belongs to and should follow from live birth. Just as there is no life without birth, so there is no birth without an ensuing life, however long or short that life may be. And just as there is no discipleship without conversion, so there is no conversion without an ensuing life of discipleship that involves growth in moral maturity, a deepening faith, and loving service.” So maybe our numbers have been way off! I think so. Wells goes on to talk about our all too common measure of faith. . . . the testimony!: “Conversion is not an isolated event but is related to the entire life of faith that follows from it. It is the moment of birth into a new life. It is like a doorway into a room. A person is born to live, not to linger on the edge of the womb in a time limbo. A person opens a door not for the pleasure of standing forever on the threshold but to enter the room. The evangelical world has strangely perverted this truth. Evangelicals often make the test of spiritual life one’s willingness to testify about the moment of birth. Describing one’s sensations in passing through the doorway is considered proof that one is in the room! This shifts the focus from where it ought to be – the evidence of the Spirit’s renewing work in producing a God-centered life, a God-fearing heart, and God-honoring character and witness – and places it on a person’s autobiographical account of the conversion crisis. The only real proof of our conversion is an obedient and fruitful life.” And on the all-important “decision,” Wells says, “. . . . a decision for Christ is not the real measure of a conversion, although a conversion may occur in and through such a decision. Decisions undertaken with insufficient self-awareness, awareness of ourselves as sinners before God (however that awareness translates into felt needs), are decisions whose reality will be hollow. Decisions undertaken in the absence of a sufficient knowledge of God, his truth, and his Christ are decisions that will likely be malformed and so will probably lack direction and hence staying power. Decisions that occur in either of these ways are decisions brought about by pressures that should be considered manipulative: the crowd or circle of friends who exert psychological pressure or the evangelist who does a ‘hard sell’ and is so charismatic in personality or in presentation that the convert is drawn to the point of decision irresistibly. This person, let it be noted, is also being drawn foolishly and, perhaps, unethically. Decisions are not what counts. What counts is that there are men and women who, knowing themselves to be rebels and alienated from God, have sought in his Christ forgiveness and acceptance and, having sought and trusted, have been renewed by the Spirit and are impelled on to a life of truthfulness and love.” Hmmm. Maybe what we need to do to stop the epidemic of spiritual “still-births” and “birth defects” might be to add some serious “birthing classes” to our youth ministry efforts. Then, and perhaps only then, will spiritual births be healthy and followed by life.

*taken from www.cpyu.org

This stil leaves me with plenty of questions...but is deffinately helping me (and I hope you too) find some answers. I'll leave you with a verse that means the world to me: and I think is paramount in relating our love for Jesus with our love for students so that they have a similar love for Jesus.

"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." 1 Thessalonians 2:8

Friday, November 04, 2005

Finally we have proof


What once was purely speculation has finally been proven by a recently dicoverd photograph found in a previously locked metal case un-earthed from Einstein's former residence.

Scientists are flabergasted that Einstein himself humbly admits in this photograph that Tyler Hagan should be considered a Genius. One must note that Einstein himself lacked obvious elementary grammar skills as he himself mis-spells "Smart" as Smrt.

...REALITY CHECK...maybe because it's Friday...maybe because I feel sick (literal physical sickness/not the regular mental malaise)...or maybe because some days I just feel like being random, but I thought I would entertain you for a brief moment. Please feel free to create you own Einstein Quotes here:

Enjoy your weekends,


P.S. Thanks Haak for the link!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

prayer for a fellow pastor...gone to be with Jesus

I ask all of you today to spend some time in intercessory prayer for a fellow brother in Christ who was tradgically killed this past Sunday. Pastor Kyle Lake of University Baptist Church was electrocuted to death while standing in the baptism tank of his church. Read the official posting from the church here: Many of you might recognize the name of this church, as it is the home church of the David Crowder Band.

The following is a small blurb from the blog of Mark O. from Youth Specialties:

Kyle was in the baptismal tank during the church service, and was somehow electrocuted (it’s a bit unclear how this happened, at this point). he shouted out for help and went under. doctors in the congregation immediately came up to try to help, and kyle was transported to a local hospital. but he didn’t make it — he passed away.

I can't imagine what Kyle's family is going through right now, as well as the entire church family at University Baptist Church. So in your comings and goings for the next little while, lift up Kyle and his family in prayer...that healing will occur, and that through the life Kyle lived...many will come to know Jesus as their personal Lord & Saviour.

Soli Deo Gloria,