Monday, April 27, 2009

New Edition

Welcome Silas Andrew to the family!

8lbs 10 oz
20.5 inches

lots of hair

jen and baby Silas are doing fine!

Thursday, April 23, 2009


precursor: a group of 17 youth pastors from 4 different states gathered this week to discuss the state of youth ministry and in particular, the book Youth Ministry 3.0. Check out JoelDaniel's blog for more...

Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where Weve Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go Youth Ministry 3.0: A Manifesto of Where Weve Been, Where We Are & Where We Need to Go by Mark Oestreicher

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
An easy read and i would say a must read for anyone in partial or full time youth ministry. i say it's a must read simply because whether you will agree with everything Marko writes, it will cause you to take a step back and think about not only the state of Youth Ministry in general, but your youth ministry.

the first half of the book takes a deeper look at the evolution of youth ministry and the various stages it has gone through. Youth Ministry 2.0 (for much of the 80's, 90's and 00's) has by-and-large been about programs, programs, programs and population. like whoever gets the most kids to show up, wins.

i like the challenging ideas Marko presents.

when programs become more important than relationships, there is a problem.

nothing was intrinsically wrong with YM 1.0 or 2.0, but Marko gives an overview for what 3.0 could look like.... sort of a 'less-is-more' approach where creating experiences for teens to interact with God is key.

i, personally liked the challenge and was encouraged.

i've never been a fan of the 'status-quo' and as a youth worker for 10+ years it is easy to fall into the rut of same-old same-old.

Youth Ministry 3.0 will make you think and hopefully evaluate what Youth Ministry should look like in the 21st Century.

side note: the Notes section at the end of the book are a worthwhile read... don't skip them!

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


i wasted 45 minutes trying to get my printer to print.

it reminded me of two things.
1. i hate pc.
2. time is precious. and i seem to waste a lot of it. it brought on some soul searching.

who knew a printer could bring on such reflection.

by the way, my printer still wont print.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

two years ago

two years.

i'd say pretty much every day i think about it.

times spent together.
the simple moments.
his stories.
his mannerisms.

mostly, i think about questions i never asked him or what he would do in a certain situation.

i'd say that the death of a loved one (friend, family member, parent, etc.) affects people more than anything else in the world.

i hear stories or news reports of older people or celebrities who are celebrating birthdays and if they are older than 70 i think to myself "that isn't fair." my dad lived 70 full years... more than enough. he did so many things. preached Christ. lived a wholesome life... and yet i think, in some ways, that he was cheated out of a few more years.

but i know that just as life happens, death happens.

it dawned on me today... does the death of Jesus affect me as much as the death of my father?

i don't know that i've truly ever understood what Jesus' death on the cross really means. o.k. i know what it means... but i say this because i don't think about it in the same way that i think about the death of my dad... maybe it hasn't become as real as it needs to be.

i need to ponder this some more.

my life has never been and never will be the same again, since that fateful morning two years ago when a heart attack took my dad away in some hotel room in Scranton, PA.

when i stop to think about it, my life has never been and never will be the same again since that fateful afternoon some 2000 years ago when Christ willingly took the pain, punishment and death on the cross so that i may one day live.

the neat thing is that the story of Jesus and his salvation truth was presented to me by my father. for that i am grateful. eternally.

it's weird that it may have taken me two years to correlate the loss of my father to the loss of God's son. that loss means so much more than most Christians could ever imagine.

the memories live on. and everything continues to change.
such is life. what will i make of it?

*i blogged this today sitting in the same office as the picture above. same desk pad and everything. that is probably 20 years old.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

let your light shine

on this dark night before the coming bright sun...

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
For to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
[or Some poor struggling, sinking sailor you may rescue, you may save.]

Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Trying now to make the harbor, some poor sailor may be lost.

written by Philip Bliss
his final hymn: Hallelujah! What a Savior!
before his untimely death.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Communion By Numbers

Communion By Numbers:

is a unique, interactive time to fellowship together, converse together, seek God together and experience the act of Communion in a new way together. We will remember Jesus and his time spent with the disciples during the Last Supper and we will remember the sacrifice He made, once and for all, so that we may live, and experience life to the full (John 10:10).


presented by the youth group

[a recap]

DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE BULLETIN HANDOUT WITH ALL OF THE COMMUNION BY NUMBERS ACTIVITIES LISTED: communion-by-numbers-bulletin [right click, save as, or click to print]

SET UP: We had 12 round tables with 7 chairs at each table. 75 people attended. Each table group could go through the Communion by Numbers handout with full instructions, at their own pace, pausing after #6, so as to do #7 & #8 with all tables together.
SUPPLIES: each table had enough of the following for each potential person (for us, 7 of each per table): rocks, nails, small black pieces of construction paper, tea light. Also needed: a box of matches per table, various images of Jesus and various markers.

We did this as part of a Maundy-Thursday service prior to Easter. Our youth group helped design the service. I got the idea from Jonny Baker & Grace Pocket Liturgies PDF download from Proost. (also avail. at

It could be adapted and used at any time of year for any age group.

Come Thou Fount [worship led by Bryan & Robin Kandel/stool, acoustic guitar, microphone]
composed by the 18th century Methodist pastor Robert Robinson

Come thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it
Mount of thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I'm come
And I hope by thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wondering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee
Prone to wander Lord I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above

BEGIN Communion By Numbers [Introduction & Welcome, Corey + Tim]

1. Introduction and Memorable Meal
Go around table, introduce yourself. On a night like this, just a few days before Jesus would sacrifice himself on the Cross for all humanity, he gathered around a table in the Upper Room for what is known as the ‘Last Supper.’ This became a meal that the disciples would not soon forget.
QUESTION: Think of a memorable meal. Families and friends often gather around the table for a time of fellowship. Share with the group a time that was significant and memorable and meal that was shared with loved ones. What made it so special and memorable?

2. Ebenezer
The 2nd verse of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing mentions raising an Ebenezer.

1 Samuel 7:12-13 reads “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and did not invade Israelite territory again.“

Ebenezer literally translates as ‘stone of help’. Samuel built an altar after God had protected the Israelites in a battle against the Philistines.
With the rocks on the table, build an altar together. As you build share a moment in your life when you felt God’s Real, Holy Presence and Divine protection.
May each and every one of us always be blessed by the grace and peace of Jesus Christ through the Ebenezers that God has placed in our lives!

3. Imago Christi (Image of Christ)
Look at the various pictures of Jesus on the table. Choose a favorite. Share why you chose the image you did.
Share what you want to remember about Jesus.

4. Confession
Think of something that has, at times, taken your attention away from God or has distracted you from God.
Focus, for a brief moment on that distraction.
Pray. Ask God to take away that distraction and to restore your connection to God.
Place an ‘X‘ on the piece of construction paper in front of you symbolizing the elimination of that which distracts us and takes us away from experiencing God.

5. Affirmation
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 reads “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Go around the table and take turns affirming the person to your left. This is a time to lift each other up.
If you don’t know the person to your left very well, offer some encouragement.

6. Nail
Not long after Jesus would share the Last Supper with his disciples in the Upper Room, he would hang on a cross in the company of sinners. In the eyes of the people who wanted him to die, he was a sinner. He spoke the truth about love, relationships, the church, the world, God... and people weren’t willing to hear it.
Sometimes we’re not either.
Take a nail and hold it in your hand and reflect on why Jesus sacrificed himself for all mankind. Think about some of the things that Jesus taught us. Maybe love the Lord your God with all your heart, or maybe love your neighbor as yourself. Maybe you’re thinking about the Great Commission: go out into all the world and make disciples. Maybe you’re thinking of the Beatitudes where Jesus says blessed are the poor in Spirit, for there’s is the Kingdom of Heaven. Or maybe it’s another truth he taught...
Reflect as you hold the nail in your hand. Then share with your group if you feel compelled to.


Show Safe Space Easter movie from Proost (i think that is where i got it) [1 min 30 sec]

7. Communion
After the short video clip and Communion prayer, uncover the bread and break it. We will take communion by intinction. Go around the table and serve each other. Take a piece of bread and dip it in the cup.
The Bread represents the body of Christ, broken for you.
The juice represents His blood, shed for you.
So that you may know and remember the sacrifice Jesus made for you, so that you may experience life and life to the full.

8. Light
Jesus Christ is the true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. (John 1:9) He empowers with these words: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (Matthew 5:14-15)
Light a candle and be challenged to let your light shine before all men.

Before you exit, come and place your nail at the foot of the cross on the stage. Give thanks to God.

“for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:49-50)

Go in peace.

show The on loop from Proost in background as people place nails at foot of cross.

table set up: pictures of Jesus, markers and pieces of black construction paper, bulletin, communion elements, tea light candles, matches, nail, rocks, etc.

nails placed at foot of cross at close of servicenails placed at foot of cross at close of service

ebenezer altar (stone of help)ebenezer altar (stone of help)

light of the worldtea light candles were lit at the end of the service. "you are the light of the world, a city on a hill can not be hidden."
communion elementscommunion elements

youth helpersyouth helpers
Communion By Numbers

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Late Breakfast

At our April 5th Sunday Night Youth Focus gathering, we participated in an interactive youth night called The Late Breakfast.

We used the breakfast theme throughout, with breakfast related food and snacks.

I also found some breakfast cereal related games to play. This online cereal quiz was a lot of fun:

Also, i found some vintage cereal commercials on YouTube and showed them.

cereal quiz w/ answers

guess name and cereal related to each character

Now for the spiritual side:

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. Don't believe me? read this nutrition guide. [ nutrition] Fro youth focus we looked at four different kinds of breakfast meals a person could eat and we paralleled that with one's spiritual life.

The four breakfasts were:

COFFEE. sort of the quick fix, boost of caffeine to get you going in the morning. usually one fades out soon after the fix is gone. Do you have a coffee-kind of faith? Is it more like a quick fix that fades quickly away?

FAST FOOD: for when you're on the go. we re so busy... our lives are filled with chaos... we don;t have time for a nutritious breakfast, so we go for the most unhealthy thing because it's quick and easy.

Do you have a fast food-kind of faith? are you too busy to invest the right amount of time to deepen your faith? do you want a faith that is fast and easy? if so, it probably wont be a very healthy faith.

CEREAL: for some, it's the morning ritual. same bowl of Cheerios and a glass of juice. you eat it because that is what you've always eaten. it's not bad. it might even be healthy. but is it just a ritual?

Do you have a cereal-kind of faith? just a ritual? no meaning behind it?

WATER: for those who want to skip breakfast. maybe you have no time. maybe you want to maintain your figure. maybe you just don't care or even think about eating breakfast. so a bottle of water will do.

Do you have a water-for breakfast-kind of faith? Do you neglect to realize the freedom you have to choose multiple options every day? Are you even thinking about your faith daily? maybe you see no harm in skipping breakfast. maybe you see no harm in skipping out on faith-building. what elements of our faith do we skip out on? how does that affect us?


The students split in to four groups and we rotated around to each station. During each station there was a time for students to reflect on a reading and each station had a small set up designed to add to the message of COFFEE, FAST FOOD, CEREAL & WATER.

If i had more time, I would have made the design of each station a little more in depth and would have further developed the atmosphere.

Here are some pictures of each station.

the late breakfast:  coffeecoffee

the late breakfast:  cerealcereal

the late breakfast:  fast foodfast food

the late breakfast:  waterwater

I printed off on card stock a Neon Yellow sheet that had a small reading for the group to look at. Also, I had a Neon Pink Small Group Leaders Guide with some follow up questions for each station.

You can download the PDF of the station information sheets and small group q & a here: late-breakfast-stations-yf-45
(right click, save as - or click and then print)

For an added bonus, Wikipedia has some neat information related to the typical breakfast meals for various countries around the world.


I should note that i got this idea from Santus1 who came up with this idea at Greenbelt 2004. View how they did it HERE.

Also, Jonny Baker had made The Late Breakfast idea on of his 'worship tricks'. view his notes HERE.

You might see that i have made cultural adaptions from England and designed this mainly (but not exclusively) for youth. I wrote the small group questions.

One final note: at the conclusion of our Late Breakfast, i had a series of 40 images posted in the gym for youth to walk around and look at. The images were created by Si Smith, an illustrator from the UK. The series was titled: 40.

View the images HERE.

they are available for purchase at PROOST.

the images depict Jesus in the desert during his 40 days in the wilderness. They are moving images and there is a written piece that compliments each illustration.

You can watch the illustrations put to an Explosions in the Sky song on YouTube HERE.