Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I'm back

Well it's been a wonderful Christmas vacation and I'm back. I return refreshed, motivated, and a few pounds heavier.

It was great to see my friends and my family. I sure have missed them. The only thing I was real bummed about was that there was no snow at all. I think these scientists might be onto something with this global warming thing ;)

I spent the last few days (Christmas Eve and Day) with Rachel's family. It was a bit sad on Christmas not being with my family (it was my first Christmas in 26 years not being with my family), but I soon got over it and had a wonderful time.

As for the loot you ask? Lot's of clothes (needed), some cash (always appreciated), an air mattress that I really wanted, a great board game that I've wanted for 5 years now, and the new Switchfoot cd (my gift to myself). Not bad!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

prayer request for my friend Jason

Please pray for my best friend Jason Nelson. He and some people from his church are on a mission trip in Burkina Faso in West Africa. I just received an urgent email from him that there has been some militant action around where they are staying. For now, he and his group is safe - but they are concerned about the fighting being so close to where they are staying. Pray that God would bring peace to the conflict currently going on there and that they will all make it home safe.

***UPDATE***

Jason and his missions team are safe and will be headed into the bush to continue their trip on schedule. Praise God for keeping all of them safe. Thanks for your prayers, I'll let you know if there are any other significant developments.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Long time, no blog

From my lack of posting, it might seem like events in my life have ceased. This can't be further from the truth. I've been real busy with ministry related activities as well as the "holiday rush."

It's been a wii bit difficult for me over the past month or so, but I'm getting through all of the real fun wrestling and struggling. The great thing/difficult thing about ministry is that you are contently in need of growth, motivation, inspiration, and reflection. November on into December has been that kind of time for me. I think I'm finally ready to move forward in life and in ministry.

As I look forward to a new year, I'm already planning some great changes for our student ministry and I look forward to what God is going to do in our midst in the months to come. Continue to pray for guidance since I'm still trying to flesh out some of my ideas. Above all, pray for a continued work in the lives of the teens I work with.

I'm going home to Ohio for the week before Christmas and I'm taking a lovely lady with me (Rachel). We're really looking forward to spending some extended time together as well as getting to spend a week with my family. I'm hoping for a white Christmas although at the moment it doesn't look like it will happen. If there is enough snow, Rachel and I might go skiing (her first time).

Christmas eve, Rachel and I will travel 12 hours back to Alabama to be with her family on Christmas Day. Crazy huh?

Well that's it for now. I'll try to post more as I travel (I'm taking my lappy).

Friday, December 01, 2006

Today is World AIDS Day

Take a moment today and reflect on the thousands dying every day in Africa from AIDS. Then, consider what you can do to help. There are many great AIDS relief related causes out there you can contribute to. You can even buy an iPod Nano that helps to support the relief effort. Check out the (RED) website for more info. Another great way you can be part of the solution is to sponsor a child from a AIDS ravaged country. Click here to visit World Vision's Website.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Recovering from turkey and welts

It's been a blast of a holiday weekend for me. Thursday was my birthday/Thanksgiving and I spent it with Rachel and her family. On top of the really good food I got a fresh amazing chocolate cake and some sweet birthday gifts (the old Star Wars trilogy and an Erwin McMannus book).

Saturday, I took my student ministry teens to Paintball Quest in McCalla, AL. My only regret is that paintball was cheaper and I was better in shape. We had a blast!

All in all, it's been a great weekend. It was great to spend time with Rachel and relax. I even got a chance to spend some time with Nathan, Austin, and Marko - three of our college students. Marko...I want a rematch!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Congratulations Ohio State :)

Sure, the big news today is that Auburn beat Alabama...but I don't care! My favorite team, Ohio State beat rival Michigan today in a nail biter moving on to the Rose Bowl. Great job OSU!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Once again, I'm kicking myself

If you remember back to Christmas time last year, the hot item was the x-box 360. There were limit numbers of the new gaming system and an overabundance of rich parents who just had to have the box for their spoiled little girl or boy. Laughingly, x-boxes were selling on e-bay for thousands of dollars. I remarked to myself that getting an x-box early was a guaranteed way to make some quick cash. I even thought of pre-ordering a PS3 and selling it on eBay.

Oh, why didn't I pre-order a Playstation 3 and sell it on eBay?! They are going for over $6000 right now!!! In the words of Homer Simpson: DOH!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A shameless plug

Christmas is coming and so is my Birthday. This year I get turkey and birthday cake on the same day (by b-day is on Thanksgiving). Are you wanting to get your favorite friend/youth pastor/cool guy that you happened to read his blog today - a present? But what would I like for my birthday/Christmas? Do not fear! I have provided all the 411 you need in my handy-dandy Amazon Wish List. Come on...you know you want to buy me something ;)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Pastors and sin

If you have been following the news you will know that last week the leader of the Association of Evangelicals- Pastor Ted Haggard was accused and admitted to charges of sexual immorality, and illegal drug involvement. Ted Haggard was the pastor at a mega-church of over 14,000 people. The news of this story has rocked the Christian Church here in America. How could such a prominent and popular leader and pastor be a hypocrite? You can read a response letter written by Haggard on New Life's Website.

As I think about this story, I can't help but revisit the truth that Christians all too often idolize our leaders. How is it that we think our pastors and leaders are somehow more holy and pure than we are? The truth of the matter is, they are human just as much as any other person on the planet.

How has this story affected you? How does this change (if at all) your view of pastors and Christian leaders?

Being a pastor myself, I am constantly having to check my motives and struggles so that I can be an effective role model for the teens I minister to. I think it's important to remember that even pastors need accountability and transparency in their lives (maybe even more than the average Christian).

As I read the letter Haggard wrote, something he said stood out to me. He mentioned that when he stopped talking about his struggles and kept them to himself is when he was given over to them.

When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

It's important to remember the necessity of transparency and accountability as a Christian leader. When we start to be secretive about our struggles is when they can most control and dominate our lives and our ministry.

The moral of the story:

  1. Don't hold your Christian leaders above God - don't let news of a leaders sin drive you away from your faith in God. We need to be careful not to hold our leaders in too high of esteem and we need to make sure that they have accountability in their lives.
  2. If you are struggling with something - any sin at all, you need to tell someone about it. The Christian life was never meant to be lived solo.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

another life update

It's been a while since I've posted on what I've been up to, so here it is.

After our district retreat last weekend, I have been slowly recovering and have finally caught up on my sleep. Other than the regular ministry-type activities there hasn't been any real exciting things going on (that's because Rachel is away at college at the moment).

I just saw a really good action movie: 16 Blocks with Bruce Willis. He played a real good alcoholic-aging cop. If you're in the mood for a good action-thriller, I'd recommend it. Also, the actor that played the alien friend in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is the other lead actor in the movie - and he does a great job.

I've been playing a game called Kingdom Hearts in my free time - it's really good and I'm about to complete it. That means I'll have time again to read... lol. I'm working on Barbarian's Way by McManus right at the moment, but does anyone have any other really good book suggestions?

This Saturday our youth ministry has their harvest party, so that should be fun. I'm doing a quick grow-out job on my goatee and I'm going as Shaggy from Scooby Doo. I just got to find a v-neck green t-shirt and I'll be set.

I'm looking forward to November since it's not only Thanksgiving (good food), but my birthday as well (on the same day!). I also get to see Rachel a lot more and our student ministry is taking a paint-ball trip at the end of the month. All in all, it will be a great month :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

music I'm currently listening to

Here are several albums I'm currently listening to:

Leeland - Sound of Melodies

This is a band that I would otherwise look over because I would lump them in the "soft rock" CCM category. I heard a lot of buzz about them and decided to pick up their CD. It's amazing. Great melodies and song writing. It's basically a worship album and it does a great job at bringing the listener to a reflective/worshipful mood. ****


Jars of Clay - Good Monsters

I never picked up their last album and I thought I was growing out of them, but I was really wrong. Their newest album is amazing! I love the variety of songs and their honest approach at songwriting. Jars of Clay really know their music - on this album they take it up another level with a slight bluegrass influence. There are some great sing-along songs as well as a song with the longest bridge I've ever heard: "Oh My God." I think this is their best work yet since Flood. ****1/2


Skillet - Comatose

I just picked this one up yesterday and if you're a Skillet fan, you'll love it. This album isn't quite as hard as their last effort Collide, but it still is very enjoyable. My first impressions of the album have been mostly positive - good songwriting, good enveloping sound and instrumentation and classic Skillet vocals with both guy and girl parts. ****

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My best friend is a daddy!!!

Jason Nelson is my longtime friend and was my college roommate. He and his wife just had their first child today. Their baby is 4 weeks early, but healthy. Evan Craig Nelson is his name! Be praying for Jason and Miriam as they venture into the exciting/scary world of parenting - and be praying for Evan that he doesn't have any health complications.
here's a picture of the little cutie

Friday, September 29, 2006

Look out Warf, cloaking technology is on the way!

I was reading an interesting article of Popular Science's web site today, check it out:




"The trick is to use metamaterial, a complex hybrid structure of metal and insulator that makes light move around an object like air flowing over an airplane wing. In a process called refraction, these materials interact with light in such a way that it travels faster through the metamaterial than it does through a vacuum, the famed c in Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Properly tuned, the light emerges from the shield as if there were no object present. But unfortunately for would-be spies, it’s very difficult to make cloaking devices that work on more than one wavelength of light at a time."

Pretty cool, huh?

Monday, September 25, 2006

weekend update

This weekend rocked! Saturday I got to visit Rachel in Tennessee. We had a great time hanging out and running in the rain. We rented a movie (which we didn't watch) and came back at were forced against our will to watch disk one of Arrested Development. Decent show, but 5 episodes back to back was a little much. Afterwards we caught the end of the OSU game (Go Buckeyes!). I must say that it was well worth the 6 hours of driving (even in the super heavy rain!).

Sunday was more of a recouping day, but it still was great. I had a good time down at Safe Harbor Church in Pelham at their Lights Out service - it's great to just attend a worship service without being in charge of anything.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Arrrghhh! Avast, there!

Today is national Talk Like a Pirate Day. Come on now, let's hear it! I can't believe it, but there is a nation holiday just for pirates :)






So batten down the hatches...

Avast belay, yo ho, heave to,
A-pirating we go
And if we're parted by a shot
We're sure to meet below!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Oh, My God

Here is an excerpt taken from Oh My God from the new Jars of Clay CD "All Good Monsters." This whole cd is amazing, but this song stands out to me above the rest.
Liars and fools, sons and failures, thieves will always say
Lost and found, ailing wanderers, healers always say
Whores and angels, men with problems, leavers always say
Broken hearted, separated, orphans always say
War creators, racial haters, preachers always say
Distant fathers, fallen warriors, givers always say
Pilgrim saints, lonely widows, users always say
Fearful mothers, watchful doubters, Saviors always say

Sometimes I can not forgive
and these days mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I'd dream we're better, scales were gone and faces lighter
When we wake we hate our brother, we still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes and all the fear the keeps me silent
Falls below my heavy breathing, what makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder, we all have the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up, all the times I had to give up
Babies underneath their beds, in hospitals that cannot treat them
All the wounds that money causes, all the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children, this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers, this is our greatest offense
Oh my God Oh my God Oh my God

Warning: includes technical jargon


Yesterday I spent a good portion of my day trying to figure out why in the world I wasn't able to use many of Google's services (gTalk, gmail, this blog, etc.). No matter what I tried, I kept getting nowhere. Now I get to my church and find that I can sign on from here...so I'm thinking it's my ISP.

This week is my church's annual missions conference. Tonight and tomorrow I will be spending some time with Bob Hepakowski who is the field director in Chile. I'm looking forward to hearing some great stories of how God is at work abroad. My hope is that our church will catch a fresh excitement and motivation to be missionaries here at home through this missions conference.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Security or Liberty?

Last evening, I watched a Ted Koppel special on the Discovery Channel about how America has responded to terrorism and security since 9/11. Now, 5 years later - are we safer than we were before? What liberties are we willing to give up in order to maintain our safety and freedom. How should we treat those at home and abroad who are found to be terrorists or associated with terrorists. What constitutes torture? Is torture for the greater good ever ok?

These are the kind of questions that where being raised in last night's program. Personally, I think that we need to be incredibly careful about giving up our freedoms and rights to be more secure. If you have ever seen the movie "V for Vendetta" you can catch a glimpse of what a culture would look like if they let "Big Brother" take over for the security of the Nation.

Is our fight really against Terrorism or is it against Fundamental Islamic Extremism? I think the language of our current war needs to change. If we were at fact at war with tyranny, then we'd be fighting regimes and governments from all over the world. Tyranny and terror isn't just a problem in the middle-east, it's a human problem everywhere.

As Christians, how should we respond to global terrorism (or Fundamental Islamic Extremism)? Should we kill all the terrorists? Should we hate them? Should we become fearful, racists, and discriminators of Muslims and middle easterners? Should we pray for the salvation of Osama Bin Laden? Have you ever thought of praying for and loving the terrorists? Doesn't Jesus call us to love the sinner and hate the sin?

I don't know...what do you think?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Life updates

Not to confuse, this post is about my life updates, not LIFE updates - big difference ;)

Things have been busy as usual in the Pasco household. Most of my time lately has been involved with the youth ministry at BRAC. We're going full throttle into the new school year and I'm trying to reach ahead and plan for the future. We've had a great time recently exploring the Will of God and how to understand and seek it. This week, we started our D-Groups back up and I'm already enjoying my D-Group guys (they rock hard!).

Youth ministry (well, any kind of ministry) can be hard at times - especially when you're paid to do it. The crazy thing about full-time ministry is that you get paid to do what God has called you to do. Sometimes, it feels like a "job" while other times it's a pleasure and joy. One the biggest challenges for me lately have been to get outside of our church walls to meet people who don't know Christ. When you eat, sleep, and breathe church - it can be hard to reach out to others. This is even further compounded by living in the South. It's not that everyone down here is saved...it's that they think they are. So the challenge is to find and reach the marginalized and oppressed people because often times, they are the most receptive to the message of Jesus.

I spent Saturday with Rachel and her family. Her uncle passed away Saturday so please remember to pray for her and her family (especially her aunt who is struggling with the loss of her husband).

So that's a snapshot of what's going on in my life right now and things I'm wresting with. Now that I have this new-er blog, I hope to update it much, much more. Until we meet again (in cyberspace or in person)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Atheism

I was doing some research for a youth talk this afternoon and stumbled upon an atheist website set up to disprove the existence of God and Jesus Christ. I followed a link to a youtube video about how to disprove the existence of Jesus in 5 minutes (yes, that is 5 minutes). After watching the video (which was basically centered on asking Jesus to show himself to you and then using his absence to prove that he doesn't exist), I was greatly distressed by many of the comments on the video. Both Christians and non-Christians alike were posting, arguing and calling each other names.

It made me sad. Not just that there were those who didn't believe in God, but that there were "Christians" who were calling atheists names and throwing bible verses at them. To be honest, I couldn't tell most of the Christians for the atheists by their attitudes.

To my Christian brothers and sisters out the please hear this: do not belittle, insult, condemn, or speak harshly to an atheist in hopes that they will take it well, because all you are doing is "proving" to them that they are right and you are wrong. They see our lack of love and continue on in their Godless lives. Neither the atheist or the Christian should debate with a sense of "I'm better than you." This is arrogance and is sin.

Have any of you ever discussed God with a seasoned and intelligent atheist? What was your experience?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Very Bad Idea CBS

I was reading Marko's blog this morning and learned about the new season of survivor.
the new season of survivor will have four teams, divided by race. it seems confirmed in this article. one team each for white, african-american, hispanic and asian. wow.

I can't imagine this being a good idea. The article cites a social experiement as the reason for doing the show...I would say it's for ratings. Unless they were to do the show like the movie Crash, I think all they are going to effectively do is spark critisism and maybe a boycott.

What do you think about this new season of Survivor?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Blog 2.0

Update your feeds and bookmarks:

http://erikpasco.blogspot.com/index.html

This will be my last post on this blog. I'll try to merge it with the new blogger blog when the option is available.

Erik's Blog 2.0

You gotta love Google for keeping things fresh. I have been informed that after a while, I'll be able to merge my other blogger blog with this one, so there you go. My blog, version 2.0.

One thing I'm psyched about is the addition of labels. That means you can browse my posts based upon subject (so you can skip all my boring posts).

If you would like to give the new blogger a test run, visit http://beta.blogger.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

a heckofalot of toilet paper

I feel like I have finally transitioned to Alabama. I am going into my third year of pastoring here in Alabama and just last week, I finally ran out of toilet paper.


Let me explain. As a going away gift from my last student ministry, I received a very special gift. A Playstation 2! ...The other special gift I received was a truckload of toilet paper. So much that it took me 2 years to use it all!!!


So, with a sniffle, I bid goodbye to my cheap-generic toilet paper with thankfulness in my heart and buy a new 9 pack of Angel Soft.


Onward to another year of student ministry!

Monday, August 07, 2006

God's Will


I took a personal retreat at the end of last week and while I was there I read a book by the late pastor Kyle Lake called "Understanding God's Will." In this book he discussed God's will and explored how we understood it in our lives. Is God's will a formula to crack (or a detailed blueprint), or do we do better understanding God's Will through our understanding of who God is.


What do you think, does God have a detailed - specific will for your life? If so, where does it leave off? Does God have a will for your breakfast choices (cereal or oatmeal, bacon or eggs), or do our decisions come into play more than we feel comfortable with? Does God have an "X" on a treasure map for us to discover in our lives or does he empower and enable us to make our own decisions with His guidence?


How do you discover God's will for your life? Answer any or all of these questions if you would like...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dandelions

Gently lifting hands to heaven,

softened by the sweetest hush,

a Father sings over his children,

loving them so very much.

More than words could warrant,

deeper than the darkest blue,

more than sacrifice could merit,

Lord, I give my heart to you


Lord search my heart

create in me something clean

Dandelions...you see flowers in these weeds

Monday, July 24, 2006

I hope this isn't a growing trend


Today as I came home to my appartment, I discovered this little guy sitting on my floor near my kitchen. I must admit, this is one of the only times I've ever seen a scorpion (in the "wild"). I probably should have pest control visit my home since I've seen quite a few creepy-crawlers over the last month.


Somehow I'm reminded of Luke 10:19, "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you."


Something tells me I shouldn't test this verse ;)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Loving Jesus Doll?


When I was surfing this morning, I came upon this at duellikerealmen.com

So...yeah - something about this doesn't seem right.




So do you think that Christian marketing has gone too far? I think so. Sometimes I walk in a Christian bookstore and just cringe.




Check out other great (sarcasm intended) Christian-themed materials on the duellikerealmen website.

Monday, July 03, 2006

New Orleans Pictures


It seemed like everyone and their brother was taking pictures in New Orleans, so I thought I'd just use my camcorder to take a few pics. Unfortunately, my video camera takes better video than pictures, but they're better than nothing.




I'll post our video recap when I get it done this week.




view my web-album here

Friday, June 30, 2006

Emerging vs. Emergent - what's the difference

Big thanks to Jonathan for posting this on his blog, it has helped answer some of my questions about the terminology of the emerging church:




check out this short video clip from Mark Driscoll on on this topic

funny clip

Thanks to my friend Luke Camara for this clip:




Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Orleans

This week (and last), I've been down in New Orleans on a work-mission trip with my church and youth ministry. So far, we've had a great time and have got a lot of work done. We are rebuildign the interior of one house and we have already completed a roof on another home. This week we will be building an entire back-half of a house. It's hot, it's hard work, and it's worth it!




I'll post some pictures when I get back. We took a tour of the devistation and...wow - it's bad. You haven't seen destruction until you've seen a shrimp boat sitting on a residential street, or a truck sticking out of (and through) a house.




P.S. I still don't like fish ;)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

my week at summer camp


Well, I just got back from a crazy week at summer camp. I got the opportunity to speak the entire week as well as run most of the media/video stuff with Nathan. All in all, I think that the week went very well. We learned what it means to be a Catalyst and learned how God wanted to change us so that we can in turn change the world (turn the world upside-down).




We have tons of pictures and video from camp and I'm going to publish some of it in the next week or so. If you would like to see any of it, visit our camp website: http://southerncma.org/catalyst




Just as I get settled in this week, I'm gearing up for another crazy trip to New Orleans. Our church is taking a mission trip to help those in New Orleans deconstruct and reconstruct their homes. Please be praying for us as we travel starting next Monday (June 19-29th).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

my weekend trip to Pittsburgh/Ohio

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Pittsburgh, PA and Akron, Ohio where Rachel and I traveled to a friend of mine's wedding. It was great to see my family and friends over the weekend, my only regret is that I didn't have more time.



The wedding was beautiful and the reception was a blast. My only complaint about the reception was that our table got served last (#17!). By the time we got our food, everyone else at the other end of the room was done with their food. I was hungry!



Friday night I got to see X-men, Last Stand. If you have not yet seen it...Don't read the rest of this paragraph. Actually, I saw the movie 2 times this weekend and I must say- good effects, but VERY disappointing for X-Men fans. They managed to kill of 3 extremely important characters to the franchise AND botched a lot of details in the story line. I was disappointed that a third movie in a trilogy would be so poorly put together. My advise to Hollywood: if you are going to make a comic book movie, try to stick to the comic book! There is a reason that people of all ages read comic books...That is that they are good. Generally they have well thought-out writing and a humongeous fan base. After seeing the "Last Stand" I highly doubt there will be a (good) X-4. I read that they are doing another movie but the only way they can get out of the mess from this movie is to make it a prequel or a bad dream or alternate reality. Rule number one for a successful movie franchise: don't kill off your best actors/characters if you want to keep the franchise going. (/rant)



All in all, it has been a great weekend and we had a ton of fun. I know I've seen enough of the inside of my car for a while, but I couldn't have asked for better company. Here's another picture that my friend Jason sent me from the wedding, check it out:



Friday, May 19, 2006

If you LOVE music, read on

A teen in my youth ministry introduced me to the very best music website I have ever seen on the internet...really. If you know me at all, you will know that I simply love music. I have hundreds of CD's (iTunes says I have 8.1 days of straight music).




In the last 5 years, my taste in music has grown immensely. I used to listen to Christian music exclusively (with the exception of Wierd Al). My reasoning was that "all secular music is bad for you." Have you ever thought this? I just figured that if I bought only Christian CD's that I wouldn't have to worry about what lyrics I was putting into my head. I guess for a time in my life, that was good for me.




I have not abandoned Christian music, but I am getting to the place where I like and appreciate good music. My definition of good music would be when the lyrics and the music fit together in perfect harmony. Songs and bands that seek to do that, I enjoy very much. So what's a 25 year old youth pastor to do when it comes to discovering new music? Open up Pandora's box.




If you have never visited it before http://www.pandora.com is simply amazing. You can select pretty much any artist or song and it will build you a radio station based upon that genre of music. Not only that, but there are over 400,000 songs in their library. If you don't like something they put on your playlist, you simply give it a thumbs down and it removes that song and others like it. You can add more songs and artists to diversify the music pool. They classify songs not by their religious tones, but by music alone. That means I hear Christian AND "secular" artists (and those who are not looking for Christian music will find it). Try it out...see if you agree that this is one of the best music resources on the internet. You won't be sorry.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Going to Pittsburgh (and Ohio)

Just when I thought I was done going to weddings, I have one more. My friend Marvin is getting married at the end of May and I am using the wedding as an excuse to have a mini-vacation as well as a chance to see my friends and family. An added bonus is that I am brining a travel buddy with me: Rachel. We get to spend some extended time together AND we are going to stop by and have dinner with my family on the way back, so they get to meet my girlfriend finally (which I admit, having family in another state is difficult for those kind of reasons).




In other news, I've been racking my brain (and the brains of my teens) for media ideas. I will be speaking at our camp in less than a month and I'd like to use multimedia clips throughout. I have a new video camera and I would like to pre-record some funny & serious clips to show. If any of you out there in cyberspace have any ideas, feel free to share.




I'm also thinking about doing some sort of video or audio podcast. It could be my Wednesday night talks or something else...dunno. I just don't want to have to spend several hours a week working on multimedia stuff. Once again, any comments/ideas?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

odds and ends

Welcome to those of you visiting from Canada and Germany (eh, and da - respectively). If you are an international visitor, please take a moment and post a comment and let us know you're here.

I've been spending much of my time recently preparing for our Annual Youth Auction and dinner (May 6th at 5pm, tickets are $8...shameless plug). We have some really great donors this year as well as some great slave...er servant labor for sale as well.

I've discovered some really cool online tools recently. One is Google Calendar and the other is Google sketchup (a 3D modeling tool). I'm liking this web 2.0 thing, and there seems to me more and more free (and useful) programs available.

It has been difficult for me to read lately, but I just started reading a book by David Crowder called "Praise Habit." I must say, I didn't know what to expect from a quirky musician like him. Well, what I discovered so far is that his book is very much like his hair, fun and a bit weird. In the first half of the book, he explains about what a Praise Habit looks like (a lot like a nun). The second half of the book is full of excerpts from the psalms and his personal reflections. I love his creative way at looking at praise. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to better understand what praise is and how to incorporate it into your every day life (or if you are a fan of strangely written books with pictures of nuns).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

District Summer Camp


I've been working on a ton of new websites lately and this is one that I just finished for our camp. Thanks to Shana for the logo design and Jonathan for the theme idea. I just found out yesterday that in addition to the current speakers, we will also be flying in none other than Kelly Clark. Kelly is an Olympic snowboarder and took 4th in the woman's halfpipe in Torino, Italy this last winter. In 2002, she took the gold in Salt Lake City. Kelly has an amazing testimony and will be sharing one evening durring the week. Click here to see the camp webstite and to learn more

Monday, April 17, 2006

Kudzu is very flammable

Down in the south, we have a wonderful plant/vine/weed/sentient plant lifeform called kudzu. There are acres and acres of kudzu all around our church and the surrounding community. While I was away yesterday, I learned that some of the kudzu around our church caught fire.

As the story goes, some kids were playing with fireworks and BAM! We had a nice and smoky/crispy field of dead kudzu. The bad news is that the fire department had to be called and my people that were parked at our church couldn't leave until the fire trucks left. The good news is that our church didn't catch fire and we killed a good portion of the hard-to-kill kudzu behind our church. Here's a picture of the aftermath:

Friday, April 07, 2006

long overdue update

Well, it's been a CRAZY last week for me. Thursday through Sunday I was at my friend's wedding. I got back Sunday night, had my D-group over (5 minutes after I got back), packed up and left early Monday morning for District Conference.

District Conference was better than expected. We met at First Alliance Church in Chattanooga, TN and stayed nearby at a Day's Inn. Although the conference was great, I would have to say my biggest highlights of the week were seeing "V for Vendetta" and spending time with Luke and Rachel. I'm glad that our district planned the conference 15 minutes from my girlfriend's school (I'm sure they did it just for me).

For the rest of this week I am trying to catch up with office stuff and well as prepare for the next few (crazy) weeks. If you are around next Thursday night, I'd like to invite you to our "Walk With Christ to the Cross" worship service- it's going to be a great time to relax and connect with God. We will have several "hands on" ways for you to participate and "experience" God through worship.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Britney Spears is a great way to get your blog read

I was discussing blogs tonight with my good friend friend Luke Camera and told him how if I had Britney Spears in my blog title I would get more page views on my blog. He seemed skeptical, so I'm going to try it. If you have got to this blog somehow by searching for Britney Spears, please leave me a comment and let me know.

Friday, March 24, 2006

the shadow proves the sunshine


I was wandering around our church this morning (trying to warm up, it's cold here!) and I found some sunflower sprouts that were sitting by a window in our church kitchen. At first glance, it looked like the sunflowers were broken. Aren't flowers supposed to grow up straight? These little guys were straining and stretching towards the window to get more sunlight - they actually grew that way.

How about us? Do we strain and grow towards our Sunlight? Jesus says - "I am the light of the world." I made me think, how am I growing? Do I strain and stretch - even uncomfortably - to get into the light of my Savior Jesus? Is my knowing relationship with God shaping me and guiding me towards His truth and light?

I think that often times when we see God's light we don't grow towards the light like sunflowers, we grow away from it like mold. Mold thrives in the darkness. Left in the dark, it grows wherever it wants to...except of course in the light. Are we mold or sunflowers? When we see the kind of lives that we are to live in Christ...in the light - are we growing towards God or away from Him?

All this metaphor and analogy makes me wonder if we are...if I am willing to grow in God's light even if it's painful. Even if I have to change directions and plans and submit to his growing path for me. It's the only way I'll bear fruit (or seeds).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Doubt Night

For the next two Wednesday nights, our youth ministry is going to wrestle with the concept of doubt. I guess some pastors and Christian leaders would be nervous bring up doubts about God - after all, aren't all good Christians supposed to have faith and not doubt?

Well, being a Christian for most of my life, I've come to realize that it's not only ok to doubt God - but it's normal and healthy. God is Pro-Wrestling (no, he's not in the W.W.F.). God enjoys it when we care enough about our faith -our beliefs- that we seriously address the issues, wrestle with them, and doubts in our hearts. I believe that wrestling with God is an act of worship.

That is why we will be spending the next two weeks talking about our doubts. We recognize that as Christ followers, we will doubt...a lot. This week I am setting up a "Doubt-Box" in our youth room for teens to write down their questions and doubts about God. Next week I will open up the box and we will have "Doubt Night." We will look at our doubts with honesty and explore what the bible teaches about some of these doubts. I'm not afraid of coming to a question I can't answer. I don't know everything, but God does.

My hope is by the end of these next few weeks, we will begin to break down that attitude that Christians must know it all to believe in God. God is mysterious, hard to put in a box, and really, really big. Isn't it great?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Erik is a cowboy?

I got a chance this weekend to attend a rodeo in Montgomery, AL. I have never before attended a rodeo, so I didn't really know what to expect.

Rachel and I wound up getting good seats and the music wasn't all country (there was even some electronica and lasers). All in all - very entertaining and I even understood 50% of what the announcer was saying (with the help of Rachel).

For those of you who have never been to a rodeo (especially those of you up north), just picture the kind of crowd you would get at a state fair. Take out the demolition derby and add some bull-riders. There you go.

It's been a busy week and even busier weekend, but I managed to survive. At the end of the month I get to see family and friends back in Ohio for my friend Jason's wedding. On top of that, I get to preach at my home church (Chapel Hill). Hopefully I'll have something to say when I go, I'll be preaching on loneliness. I certainly have my way with happy topics!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

my bible software is a liberal

I was doing some bible research/study this morning and I came across this entry in Hitchcock's Bible names dictionary:


I really have no message to say here...Just thought it was funny. This can't help his approval ratings can it?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

new website needs beta testers

On top of being a youth pastor, in my spare time - I help design websites for people. Over the past few months, I've been working with Luke Camara on his church's website. It's coming along great and we're ready for people to try it out and to begin and put the finishing touches on it.

Here is what Luke wrote today on his blog:

Our new website is Up...and I need your help to test the site..

Please open up the link below and check for the following:

properly grammar and spelling

All the links are working properly

Images are compelling

Easy to understand what time we meet at, where we meet, what we offer for families.

Easy to navigate

Easy to load

Please note what you clicked on first, (you can leave all your comments below in the comment section of this post)

Thank you for your comments!

And here is the link...Enjoy! Safe Harbor Beta Website

So will all of you please check out the site and post your comments on his blog or mine. Thanks for the help!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A touch of the flu or... I probably shouldn't eat at Dairy Queen again

So I'm a bit under the weather today. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I know I had Dairy Queen for lunch and it has sad bad ever since. I lost my appetite and got a bit woozy. So yeah, please pray that I get better soon - we have a youth event tomorrow night and I'd like to be well by then.

Also, I just found out from my friend Paul about a Pro-Life search that seems to donate to the cause for everytime you search google. Check it out: http://prolifesearch.com/

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

an encouragement

I have a lot of friends right now that are going through some rough depression. We all need hope in our lives. It helps to know that there is hope: rescue is coming.

There’s a darkness in my skin
My cover’s wearing thin, I believe
I’d love to start again, go back to innocent
And never leave

Don’t give up now
A break in the clouds
We could be found
There’s nothing wrong with me
It’s just that I believe things could get better
And there’s nothing wrong with love
I think it’s just enough to believe

Rescue is coming
Rescue is coming
Rescue is coming
Rescue is coming

And there’s nothing wrong with you
And nothing left to do
But believe something bigger
And there’s nothing wrong with love
I know it’s just enough to believe

Don’t give up now
A break in the clouds
We will be found
Rescue is coming now

Rescue is Coming
by David Crowder Band

from the album " A Collision"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Christian music from an atheist perspective

I found this article today about two atheists that made documentary film about the Christian Music scene. They spent several years attending Cornerstone Music Festival (a festival that I have been to 3 times).

The result of their work is a film that some reviewers are hailing as the most objective perspective film they have ever seen. Impressive from two non-Christian filmmakers.

I liked what I read so much that I bought the film. Talk to me if you would like to borrow it or you need more information.

Monday, February 20, 2006

my weekend

This Saturday I made a trip through the ice and snow to Cleveland, TN. All my Ohio friends are asking...what is this Cleveland, TN and why are they stealing our city names? Well I'm not sure, but it was near Dayton, TN (I think TN is trying to be like Ohio).

Despite the sometimes dicey driving conditions, I had a great trip and had a good time visiting Rachel and meeting some of her college friends. We watched the Pink Panther (the old one) and visited their mall which was small, quaint, and seemingly obsessed with weddings (there were all sorts of wedding-related booths set up around the mall).

While I was at the mall, I met some very interesting law-enforcement officers. Here's a picture of their vehicle:


















I was also able to snap a picture of them in uniform. Kind of wierd yes, but I think they might be from Canada or something:


















And now for the thought of the week...

"If a tree falls in the forest... do the other tree's make fun of it?"

Friday, February 10, 2006

Asbury College/Seminary - another revival

I was checking some blogs today when I stumbled upon Jonathan Herron's news about Asbury College. Check out this excerpt taken from the college's web site.

"WILMORE, KY—(Feb. 8, 2006) Praise, worship and release continue as students are still gathered around the altar in Hughes Auditorium where they have been since Monday. After today's powerful chapel celebrating the work of the Holy Spirit on the Asbury College campus, God'’s work carries on."
Back in 1970 and then again in 1995, there have been incredible revivals at Asbury College. Out of these past revivals came many missionaries (both locally and globally) and pastors. In the past, these movements spread all over the country to other college campuses. I pray that this happens again. This generation has been waiting to make a difference in this world and I believe that many are now realizing that the time has come to fulfill those dreams.

Wow. Read more about it here

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Daylight

Jesus Christ, Light of the World
You never did forget me
and when i bled in darkness, You held me
still held me
when desparate nights i cursed You
You loved me, still loved me
Jesus Christ, You dry the tears
You break my heart of stone
Your words are life
cut marrow through
the darkness, to the bone
a heart of flesh You gave me
only You can save me

Savior
Daylight
I am coming home

Taken from Daylight - by Brave Saint Saturn


Sunday, February 05, 2006

and the winner is

Congrats to the Steelers for the big Superbowl win. I'm only a Steelers fan by association - my best friend Jason comes from Pittsburgh and it's his favorite team.

For anyone interested, Google is hosting all the Superbowl commercials. I'd suggest snagging the ones for PSP or iPod because the other format is a proprietary format that you can only use Google video player with (and you have to be connected to the internet to use).

Here's the link: http://video.google.com/superbowl.html

Some of these videos could make great talk illustrations. Or just a good laugh. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Happy Groundhog Day


Bill Murray...Isn't he great?

Well, it's now February and I thought it would be good to give everyone a friendly update.

Things are truckin' along for me and our student ministry at BRAC. We just got done with a slew of planning/review related activities at church and now that it is already the second month of the year, I think we can finally look forward to 2006 and what it has to offer.

Things at BRAC Youth have been going well. We have several new students that I am having a good time getting to know. We are still improving our new youth room with hopes of eventually having a full service cafe counter along with tables, new lighting, and a new A/V system. Continue to pray with me for God to provide the money and supplies we need to move in this new direction.

Next Wednesday I start the first of two weeks of leading our middle school's First Priority program. I'm looking forward to sharing with the 80 or so teens that normally attend. Although this doesn't happen all the time, I believe God has something specific to share with the teens and I'm anticipating how they will respond to God's word. I'll let you know how it goes.

Today I filed for my 2005 taxes - they are done!!! I think this is the earliest I've completed my taxes. I'm really excited about what I will be spending my tax money on...A new DV camcorder! Now I'll be able to use video more in our church and student ministry (and post them online for all of you to see). If anyone knows of a good camcorder for $800 or less - let me know ok?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

wow, that's old!

I was changing a bulletin board here at church today with my intern Marko when I discovered this underneath the current board paper:


Is it me, or is 2001 a little old!? Just goes to show you, things change slowly in traditional church culture ;)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

what's up?

well, I'm back from my weekend of craziness. I had an awesome time this weekend at my friend Chad's wedding in Ohio. Friday, we went to a waterpark/resort in Sandusky Ohio (it was indoor for all of you wondering). I got to ride this really cool wave/surf machine, you know- like those ones you see on cruise ships? Very cool stuff. I also nearly was obliterated when 3 heavy guys and I rode the raft-in-a-tube ride. It almost flipped over. Seriously, I think I saw my life flash before my eyes ;)

As soon as I flew back from Ohio, I headed to Poplar Point Camp to catch the 2nd half of our District retreat. I must say, it was great. I only wish I could have been there for the whole thing.

The next couple of weeks should be interesting to say the least. In two weeks, we will be starting a new series on prayer. I'm very psyched about that. The coolest part is that we will have a contemplative prayer chapel set up every week for our teens to experience before our Wednesday night meeting.

Chao!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

a life update

I have a hard time writing profound things every day here on this blog. It always seems easier to just talk about my life and the things going on (it sure is busy enough!). For deep spiritual insights your going to have to hear me on Wednesday nights or the few times I preach throughout the year. Speaking of which, if you are in Ohio April 2nd, I'll be preaching Sunday morning at Chapel Hill Church if you are interested in coming and making faces at me.

This weekend will certainly be interesting. Thursday late afternoon, I am flying to Ohio in order to be in my friend Chad's wedding. It's interesting because I also have a district retreat this weekend. I will be flying back Sunday afternoon and going straight to our camp to catch the last half of the retreat- crazy.

This new year will pose some interesting and difficult challenges for our church. I really feel that God is trying to give us a not-so-gentle nudge towards outreach and growth. I am prayerfully anticipating the wonderful things that God is going to do through the faith and dependence (on God) that these challenges will create.

If you haven't yet seen it, our youth room is in the process of being transformed. We spent a few days last week paining the room and preparing to turn it into a cafe-like atmosphere. Here's a pic for those of you in other states.


Not a whole lot right now, but here's a quick peek at the paint-job.

In the coming months, we will add a cafe counter, track lighting tables and chairs, and a new sound system (all God willing, donations needed!). The chairs in the picture are from a cafe table that we had donated, but the table is awaiting a middle (we got the base and the top, but something's missing!).

For more pictures of our ministry, teens, and events you can check out the pictures page of our website.



Sunday, January 01, 2006

a fresh start

Have you ever heard of “do-overs?” Any self-respecting child that has ever played games with other children (or adults) knows exactly what I’m talking about. The do-over is the savior of many ill-fated children all over the world, an “easy button” if you will. When things don’t go the way we like, it is always easier to try again...to get another chance.

I was pondering recently the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Generally, most Americans tend to be a bit pessimistic (ok, a lot pessimistic). New Year’s seems to be the only time of the year that most Americans are optimistic. Suddenly with the advent of a new year, it is like we get a huge do-over- a chance to redeem our failures and set goals for the next twelve months. Thinking about all of this reminds me of a song by Five Iron Frenzy called “New Years Eve.” Here are a few lines from it:
“It's New Years Eve and I'm full of empty promises,
I half pretend to keep this time, just like last year...
And then with thunderous praise and lofty adoration,
a second passes by, yet nothing changes...
A year goes by and I'm staring at my watch again,
and I dig deep this time, for something greater than I've ever been,
life to ancient wineskins. And I was blind but now I see.”
In 2006, let us not just make idle resolutions- let’s set real goals we can accomplish. Goals that have eternal results. Goals like pleasing God with our lives, loving others, being more generous, laughing more, or enjoying God’s creation. Instead of cry out for a “do-over” let us do something fresh and new. Let’s let go of the past that we often keep in a death-grip and embrace the present keeping an eye out for the future. Happy New Year!