Friday, December 30, 2005
Most of you know I spent my Christmas in Ohio with my family. Due to a family emergency, but trip came earlier than expected giving me over a week to spend in the buckeye state. Some important observations I made in the last week.
1. Though the benefits of driving 11 hours straight only stopping 2 times to get gas far outweigh the negative aspects, I wouldn't recommend doing it often. It took 2 days to get rid of soreness and pain in my back from sitting so long in one position.
2. The place where I get my oil changed must use blue colored water to fill my washer fluid. Not long after entering Ohio, I met up with some snow. The roads were ridiculously salted like usual and my windshield began to collect the spray from other vehicles off of the road. In no time, my windshield was no longer transparent, but translucent and I discovered that my windshield washer fluid was frozen solid in the lines. After several dicey attempts to spray my windshield, the salt had smeared everywhere causing me to stop for a window wash and a fill up on the good blue washer fluid. That stuff rocks.
3. You don't miss sweet tea the first few days, but then the sugar and caffeine withdraw sets in.
4. Sleeping in is good...very good
5. I visited my home church and discovered that once again, more people remembered my name than I remembered theirs. This is always awkward.
6. I could save a ton of money if I didn't eat out for a week.
For all of you who are wondering, my brother is doing better but could still use your prayers. I had a blast spending time with him.
I also got to see and meet with several awesome friends and fellow people in ministry. The first was Jonathan Herron. We got to catch up and chat a little about his new church plant in Kent, OH. This pic was taken at Friday's where we had lunch.
I also got to get together with Pastor Jeff Miller. He was my youth pastor when I was in high school (and now Sr. Pastor of my home church) and whenever I'm in town we get together.
All in all, I was a great trip to Ohio. I got to see friends, family, and get some R&R. I'm looking forward to this next year and what it has to bring. Perhaps I'll do some year in review thingy before the end of the year...we will see.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I am looking forward to hanging out with some good friends in the next few days. I'll try to post some pictures a little later. I found a Panera Bread near hear with free high speed internet so it will be easier to upload then ;)
Saturday, December 17, 2005
I'm heading home to Ohio for Christmas Sunday (going early to spend some time with my brother). I'm psyched to see my family and friends (and snow). I'll take my lapey with me so I'll update some more from Ohioland.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Betty Knopp passed away early December 15, 2005. She retired in August 2005 from her position as Church Relations assistant at the Rockland County Nyack campus and moved to retirement at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
Knopp wore many "hats" in God's call on her life but ambassador for Christ was chiel among her roles. Another of Knopp's claim to fame was her handwritten notes of encouragement. She penned nearly 400 notes each year to alumni and friends of the college. Following her retirement, member of the college community rallied to the call to write her each week.
We love you Betty. You will be missed!
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Please also pray for the girl's father. His wife (and the girls mother) committed suicide last year.
For those of you keeping track, we had our Christmas musical Sunday morning. I got to be dressed up like an old man (see picture).
All in all, I think it went very well - our congregation sure enjoyed it. We'll be picking the glitter (from the angel's costumes) out of our carpet for months!
Well I don't know about all of you, but I am looking forward to Christmas. I am really hoping that it will be snowing when I get to Ohio (we don't get much of the white stuff down south).
Saturday, December 10, 2005
I loved it. I was really concerned that I may not agree with Holywood's take on the book, but I think they did a great job for the most part. Part of me wishes they caught more of the phenomenal one-liners that Lewis had written, but I realize that you must loose much of the spoken text when you are making a movie from a book.
The digital effects were great and believable. I think they would fall into the category of "fantasy realism" where things are maintained to look more like a childhood dream than something from our world. Also, there was little to no blood and gore. Amazing considering how violent the Lewis books are (albeit children's fantasy violence, wars and the like).
Two of my favorite characters because of their acting were Jadis and Mr. Tumnus. I thought that both of those characters were dead on, horrible and charming respectively.
I really hope this film does well in the box office because I'm looking forward to having the other 6 movies made.
I also am looking forward to seeing the movie again soon ;)
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Most churches have multiple Christmas related activities before Christmas Day. Since we know Jesus was not born on December 25th, I think that a Christmas Eve service, or a Christmas musical the week before would be just as valid as having a service on December 25th.
As churches we often overemphasize special occasions holidays, and our Sunday services. If the church is going to be most effective in the world we are going to have to realize that the Church is far more than what happens on a Sunday morning.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Here's a clip of the article:
"The world is at our doorstep. Millions of people have been torn from their land due to war and political instability and have found themselves living and working in American cities."
- In 2000, 28.4 million foreign-born people resided in the United States, representing 10.4 percent of the total U.S. population.
- Nearly 32 million people in the United States speak a language other than English.
- ESL programs are the fastest growing component of the state-administered adult education programs.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
This Sunday is the BIG Christmas musical. I'm sorta the star of the show, and I still have a ton of lines to memorize. I think I might try sleeping with the practice CD playing and see if I wake up endowed with the proper lines.
Oh, and if you are feeling extra generous (or rich) this Christmas season check out my Christmas wish list to the right ----------------------------------->
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Here is my response:
If I started a church from scratch, I'd try to base it as much as possible on the teachings and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Worship services would be worship services, not seminar presentations set to music. I would want as many as possible to connect with the heart of God in a way that is not always comfortable, but real.
Teaching would come from someone living out his/her teachings. A strong focus on application and a love to wrestle and cherish the word of God (turn those facets baby!).
A community of others that are at a similar place in their spiritual journeys, as well as others who are a few steps further to guide the way.
A strong emphasis on social action...Jesus talked about this (and practiced what he preached) a lot. A church that is actively involved in the service of and redemption of their surrounding community.
A church with a global perspective. This community would realize that America is not the center of the universe and would seek to live out the Great Commission globally as well as locally.
As for dress, hair, worship music style...varied with no emphasis on anything in particular. Come as you are, no need to dress up and impress God (He's not easily impressed).
Home Bible study on whatever the group wants to go through. Emphasis on neighborhood/area Bible study - house churches that seek to meet needs and reach those in their immediate neighborhoods.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I am thankful for family, friends, my salvation, the students of my youth ministry, my health, my talents, my dreams, my life. Lets focus this week not on what we want, but what we are thankful for. I think it's funny that the biggest most evil shopping day of the year is the day after Thanksgiving - a day where we are suppose to put our needs and desires aside to thank the Giver of our blessings. It's like saying "Thanks God" and right after that saying "BUT, I need to get a great deal of stuff that I NEED to get my family for Christmas." Ah materialism...
I'm thankful God for my stuff, now lets go out and get some more.
Oh, and for you who forgot - yesterday was my birthday! I'm now a quarter of a century old. If you are feeling extra giving, check out my Amazon wish list (on the right panel ------------>)
It's going to be a busy rest of the week. I'm traveling today, going to a local band show Friday, having a halo tournament at our church Saturday, and preaching Sunday (please pray for me!).
Have a great Thanksgiving all :)
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
You're~Sweet and Kind~Himora kenshin. You're the
most sweetest and kindness person ever. You
bring peace to everyone, dosen't matter what
they look like,act or what their personality is
and you bring a smile to everyone you meet.
You're sweet heart is Ms.Kaoru. She hasn't
showed her feelinds, but you know.
what anime guy are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Today was the big Alabama vs. Auburn game. Auburn won, yea (not that I'm a fan, but just 'yea' for them). In more important news OSU beat Michigan (go Buckeye's!).
I've been heard at work (or is that hardly working?) on memorizing my lines for our upcoming Christmas musical at church. I get to be a grandfather. I don't know why I got cast as a grandpa, I guess I was the only one with enough time to do it. I have a TON of lines to memorize, and I'm really thinking of getting some sort of CIA in ear devise (you know, like what the politicians wear in their ears when they have debates?). I guess I know why movie stars get paid so much money, this is hard work - it's not even worth a million dollars (wink).
I'm looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with yet another new family this year (last year, I spent it with my friends Heather and Brooke). I'm looking forward to some good eats =)
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Read about it here: http://www.cmalliance.org/news/news.jsp
Also, to those curious, here's the picture that is getting published that I talked about in my last post.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
It's been a few days, and some very interesting things to report.
First up, my friend Jonathan Herron whom I worked with at my first church is now planting a church in Kent Ohio. Knowing him, I'm not very surprised. He has a huge burden for the lost and specifically for young adults and teens.
Second, I got an email today from the photo director of inTune magazine. Seems that he found a picture I took in NY this summer on sxc.hu - a royalty free website for sharing photographs. I'm going to be published (well, my Times Square photo at least).
That's it for now, make sure to check out some new stuff on my youth ministry's website, www.bracyouth.org
Saturday, November 12, 2005
"I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
And wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need You now
I owe You more each passing hour
Battles between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
And wash the feet and cleanse my pride
Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
My sin-soaked heart, make it Yours
Take my world all apart
Take it now, take it now
And serve the ones that I despise
Speak the words I can't deny
Watch the world I used to love
Fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
Wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
Steal my heart, take the pain
Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
Take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
Take my world apart"
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Monday, November 07, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
Some good comments. From time to time I will post questions like this one. Not that I believe it, I just want to discuss it. I took this question partially from a book on marriage that said "what if God created marriage not to make us happy, but to make us holy?"
I believe that our true happiness comes from living the lives God intended us to live. So as we seek holiness, we will find God's happiness.
I just think that way too many Christians (especially in the USA) are so focused on their happiness that they forget (or ignore the fact) that the Bible uses language (I'm reading Job right now) that suggests that we will not always be happy as Christians- that life will not always be a cakewalk.
I believe that the most fulfilling happiness that comes from God is not through His blessings, but through knowing and discovering Him. Blessings are like the icing on the cake.
If we make knowing God our aim instead of His blessings, we may do a better job of avoiding the emotional-spiritual rollercoaster many Christians deal with.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
So I have to say, I HATE MYSPACE WITH A PASSION
I went to check out one of my teen's blogs tonight and everywhere I went were nasty, intrusive sexually-charged banner adds. I think they should rename Myspace to: "Softcore Porn Space" or "Myspace: the Gateway to Porn" or "We Like Distasteful Banner Adds."
Sheesh, I am so glad I use Blogger and that when people visit my page, they don't get morally perverse junk piped into their computers (other than what I write, lol).
Anger subsiding...breathing returning to normal...calmness restored
Sunday, October 30, 2005
In other news I must have "missed the memo" about the time change today. I was at the church bright and early this morning an hour ahead of time. I guess I should watch the local news more. Oh well, who needs sleep anyways?
Thursday, October 27, 2005
"Many of our attempts to understand Christian faith have only cheapened it. I can no more understand the totality of God than the pancake I made for breakfast understands the complexity of me."
-Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz
Today has been a good day off. I got a ton of work done and I tried out and earned the main 'role' in our church Christmas musical (now I have 6 pages of lines to memorize...joy).
I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'm going to see the new Zorro movie tomorrow night, let's hope that it's one of the better movies playing this weekend.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
"Thank you God for your creation, you are so beautiful to me."
Monday, October 24, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
Later on in the week I got an opportunity (that is, I made an opportunity) to visit the Prayer Chapel...WOW. The atmosphere felt so safe and there were some amazing creative ways to worship and express prayer. It was all self-guided and very peaceful. My favorite was the prayer closet. It was simply a closet in the room with a small table, chair and a candle on it. In such a huge conference it was an amazing place of solitude.
Sunday, I attended a seminar entitled "Spirituality for the ADD." The entire seminar was devoted to understanding and working with people with ADD in a ministry context. The funny thing was that 5 out of 6 people in the seminar were ADD! A priceless moment was when- halfway through the class- Third Day started to warm up in the main convention hall and our whole classroom started to thump and shake. One of the two people facilitating the seminar stopped mid-sentence and noted: "For my own sanity and as an ADD person, I just want to acknowledge the huge distraction of the band warming up...that is all." It was great :)
One of the major highlights of the trip was when I won a little something called
So that's my trip in a nutshell. The best thing about the trip wasn't the PSP, it was spending time with my friends from college (and one from Ohio), enjoying their fellowship. I'm so blessed to have such great friends!
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Saturday, October 15, 2005
After driving 15 hours, we arrived here in Pittsburgh, PA Thursday night. Not much to say other than "really tired."
Friday was the first full day of the convention. Some of the alliance pastors attending got together with Kent Julian for lunch at a really fancy California-style restaurant. I couldn't pronounce half the stuff, but it was great.
The main sessions were amazing and the speakers were very challenging. Doug Fields spoke in the evening and challenged us to practice the "art" of saying "no." After the session, I got to pre-screen the new Nooma video entitled: Rythm - it rocked as (no big surprise there). After the evening session, we all went to see KJ-52 and his "DJ iPod."
Today has been the best day yet. We had a great time relaxing this morning and after lunch we returned to the convention center for a great seminar on "community building" (that would be leading games). Only at an Youth Specialties Convention can you have a seminar where you spend 3/4 of the time playing games!
Other than the business, I have had a blast with Marko and some of my friends from college. Other than those staying at Jason's with us, we saw (by surprise) some other people we knew from college. Lots of fun :)
If I can get my laptop online, I'll post some photos to the blog. Check back for more updates.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
God has given me a heart to love teens, even the awkward, weird, energetic people we call middle school students. I love 'em. Today I had an opportunity to attend a First Priority meeting at one of the local middle schools. Not only did I get to see my students, but I got to meet some of their friends. It was way cool. I got several remarks that I look like "another kid." I guess I still fit in well with that crowd (can't say I'm much more mature ;)
I'm looking forward to getting more involved at the middle school and getting into the lives of these teens. I have heard my fair share of stories of brokenness and hurt that these students go through at home, in school, and with their friends. Pray that God will give me an opportunity to share His love with these students.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I'm heading out on the road Thursday morning to Pittsburgh for the National Youth Workers Convention. I'll be taking my lappy with me so I'll post updates and pictures from my trip when I get a chance.
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
I got the album Wednesday and it has been stuck in my CD player ever since. What I really enjoy about the DCB (David Crowder Band) is their commitment to good music. All of what DCB does is worship music, but I have never had the sense that any of their songs are just thrown together.
Collision is a fusion of modern rock, folk, alternative, and electronica. The CD is packed with 21 tracks and while some of them are "filler" tracks, you really get a sense that you get much more than you paid for. I highly suggest this album; once again the DCB raises the bar for modern worship music making beautiful music along with beautiful worship.
Also, this weekend I got to see the new movie: Serenity
At first I thought this was going to be another cheesy sci-fi movie: boy was I wrong.
Other than the fact that many parts of the movie reminded me of the old Star Wars movies, I thought that the plot was wonderfully compelling and the social (and religious) commentary embedded in the film was thought-provoking.
Add some wonderful action sequences and some genuinely funny dialogue (Captain Mal: "Do you want to run this ship?" Discontented crew member: "Yes." Mal: "Well, you can't") and we have a great movie. If you enjoy sci-fi movies and don't mind some similarities to the old Star Wars films, I say check this one out.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
I thought I'd share with you today a quote from the Chronicles of Narnia the Last Battle:
"Further up and further in!" - I believe this perfectly describes the Christian life. No matter what happens this should be our battle cry. I feel that God is calling me both in my personal life with Him and my student ministry to go "further up and further in." Further up into both a better (and more simpler) understanding of who God is and further into the presence of the Living God.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14
Thursday, September 22, 2005
A old friend from Ohio (LONG LIVE SDS!) posted this link as a comment today, I thought it was worthy of a blog post:
Looks like Switchfoot is about to become very popular...but not for the best reason.
Here's the actual message board post to verify the article (which is always necessary on the internet)
I think that while what Tim did was noble... It may have been a bad career mistake. Or it may have been brilliant. Time will tell I guess. Of couse he was not encouraging fans to steal music illegally, just how to transfer their CD's to their portable music devises (which is legal to do).
Sunday, September 18, 2005
I'll type more about my "experience" later when I'm less sore and able to move faster than a geriactric patient.
Your very sore friend -
Thursday, September 15, 2005
So I'm without a car tonight and hopefully will get it back early tomorrow. So much for my Thursday night plans (and other errands I had to do today).
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Seriously, this thing is fascinating...I spent over an hour last night just playing with it. Check it out here:
It adds a whole new meaning to: "hey I can see my house from here!"
On a completely different note. Check out this interview with the director of "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" - I don't think I'm going to see this film, however it's a great to see that Christians are penetrating even the Horror genre.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I highly suggest the album...but then again, I'm biased ;)
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Among the many organizations you can give to, you can give through the C&MA's "CAMA Services." CAMA stands for Compassion and Mercy Associates. “Services” refers to a variety of relief and development ministries that flesh out the good news of God’s love for people—body and soul. Combined, the two words refer to compassionate servants ministering to people in crisis situations through word and deed.
Whatever organization you choose to work with, please give something towards the effort. To donate to CAMA services online click here
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Sunday, August 28, 2005
As I was reflecting I came to the conclusion: very little. Nurturing the soul is so much more than a prayer time, or a musical worship session. The soul is the fundamental part of us that defines who we are. It is from the soul that we gain our strength to face the world. I believe that it is the soul that mingles with our spirit as we seek a real relationship with God.
How do you starve a soul? By ignoring it. Not taking time out of your busy day to reflect or to dream. Spending quality time with a good friend feeds the soul. Snuggling up in your favorite blanket reading a good book feeds your soul. Doing absolutely nothing for absolutely no reason can feed your soul.
When we begin to pay closer attention to our souls, it's like learning to breathe. If you have ever studied how the lungs work, breathing isn't just the process of bring in oxygen, but also expelling waste and toxins like CO2. When we breathe with our souls, we inhale God & His creation - and we exhale the chaos and clutter that threatens to choke our clarity, identity, and life direction. This reminds me of a the song "Learning to Breathe" by Switchfoot:
"This is a way
That I'm learning to breathe
I'm learning to crawl
I'm finding that You and You alone can break my fall
I'm living again, awake and alive
I'm dying to breathe in these abundant skies"
What are you doing to feed you soul? Leave a comment and let me know.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
That's how you set up an rss agregator to read different blog websites.
You can see that mine would be http://bracyouth.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Now, if you use Firefox (which you should) you can get a decent aggregator (rss feed reader) here
So, yeah...I'm a geek and I know it ;)
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Monday, August 22, 2005
She is now 10 years old and when she painted this picture, she was only 8. Her testimony to her gifts are amazing to read. It reminds me of a verse out of Joel:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days." - Joel 2:28-29
Sunday, August 21, 2005
School is back in swing here in the South (which is weird because schools start in the middle of August). Last week we launched a new talk series at church called "Get Real." This is a series that has been on my heart for several years now. We are spending the next 3 weeks talking about what it means to be an authentic Christ-follower.
I get to preach again this Sunday for Youth Sunday. The title will be "When God Changes Our Name."
As for life outside of Church nothing too new to report. My two good friends Chad and Jason are both getting married early next year (that means some extra time seeing you Ohio-ans).
This week I just finished two (very different) books - Messy Spirituality (Mike Yacanelli) and The Silver Chair (C.S. Lewis). I'm happy to report my reading block (call it post college book rejection) seems to be over and I'm attempting to be reading at least two books at a time. We'll see how that goes (ordination books will have to be in the mix I guess).
Lastly, I'm tossing the idea around of getting a cat. I've had mostly good experiences with friends of the feline variety and I thought it might add some warmth (and fur) to my humble abode. If anyone knows of free kittens, let me know.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
The week was wonderful. It was great being back at my old "stompin' grounds." We had a great time going into the city and sharing the love of Christ with everyone we spoke with. Overal, Connexion was much better (material and training wise) than OGN (Operation Good News, the old Alliance evangelism event of the past.
If you're the pray-for-someone type, pray for Mike. We met Mike Saturday at Central Park while he was walking his two dogs. Mike is a Cancer Research Biologist and lives in the City. We had a great conversation with him as we walked all over the park. He says he's never read the Bible before (even though he was raised Catholic). At the end our time together, I asked if we could pray for him and he was more than touched. Please pray that God will continue to work in his heart and bring him to a saving knowlege of His Son, Jesus Christ.
One of the most important things I think I took away from this trip is the constant need to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that I have. I need to be prepared in every situation (and to look for and sometimes create those situations) to share my Christ-in-me Story and the truth of the Gospel with anyone I come in contact with. In our world today, more and more people are needing to be reached with a more relational approach to evangelism. Through careful listening and fervent prayer, I believe we can have a real impact on those we rub shoulders with every day.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
I'm typing this from La Serena next to where we are staying in a
hotel. So far, this week has been amazing. Everyone has been having
a great time and we have had many opportunities to get to know some of
the locals. For the last 3 days, me and a crew have been putting 2
layers of drywall on the ceiling of the church.
I think the number one thing God has been teaching me so far on this
trip is to remain flexible. This trip has been adventure after
adventure. I'll try to post more if I get a chance. Keep praying for
us that God will keep us safe and in good moods. We have a lot of
hard work ahead, but it´s worth it!