Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adult Leaders' Christmas Party

This evening we had a lot of fun with many of our friends who are members of our Adult Leadership Team as we got together for our annual Christmas Party. Our party was scheduled before Christmas, but we got whacked by a snow storm and had to postpone it. We enjoyed lots of food, a white elephant gift exchange, and at the end we presented them all with a small gift as a token of our appreciation for their partnership in youth ministry. It was a wonderful time of celebration, laughter, and friendship. Thank You Jesus for being able to do ministry with friends!

Monday, December 29, 2008

TV Converter

New Study Says Many Teens Don't Keep Virginity Pledges

I read this article about a recent study which found that Many Teens Don't Keep Virginity Pledges.

Questions for discussion:
What do you do in terms of purity programs/pledges?
How do you involve parents and families?
What curriculum do you use?
Do you like it? If so, why? If not, why not?
What have you found to be helpful in your program?
What would you not do if you could do your program over again?
How do you measure the success of your program?
Would you say your program has been successful? Why or why not?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Books I Read in 2008

Here is the list of books I read in 2008. I have underlined the ones that were most impactful for me personally.
  1. 25 Ways To Win With People by John Maxwell & Les Parrott
  2. A Christian Manifesto by Francis Schaeffer
  3. A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren
  4. Beyond Your Backyard: Stepping Out to Serve Others by Tom Ellsworth
  5. C.S. Lewis: His Life & Thought by Terry Glaspey
  6. Christianity Through the Centuries by Earle E. Cairns
  7. Conspiracy of Kindness by Steve Sjogren
  8. Courageous Leadership by Bill Hybles
  9. Covenant Marriage by Gary Chapman
  10. Creating Community by Andy Stanley
  11. Deep Ministry in a Shallow World by Chap Clark & Kara Powell
  12. Do They Run When They See You Coming? by Jonathan McKee
  13. Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper
  14. End of the Spear by Steve Saint
  15. Enjoy the Silence by Duffy & Maggie Robbins
  16. Experiential Story Telling by Mark Miller
  17. Getting Fired for the Glory of God by Mike Yaconelli
  18. It's the Little Things by Lena Williams
  19. Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw
  20. Jesus-Centered Youth Ministry by Rick Lawrence
  21. Mistaken Identity by Van Ryn & Cerak
  22. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
  23. Red Letter Christians by Tony Campolo
  24. Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard
  25. Samson & The Pirate Monks by Nate Larkin
  26. Sex God by Rob Bell
  27. Son of a Preacher by Jay Bakker
  28. Soul Shaper by Tony Jones
  29. Speaking to Teenagers by Doug Fields & Duffy Robbins
  30. Starting Right: Thinking Theologically about Youth Ministry by Creasy Dean, Clark, Rahn
  31. The Bible in 90 Days
  32. The Book of God by Walter Wangrin Jr.
  33. The Dirty Little Secret by Craig Gross
  34. The Go-Giver by Bob Burg & John David Mann
  35. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis
  36. The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
  37. The Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse
  38. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  39. The Ministry of Nurture by Duffy Robbins
  40. The Pilgrim's Regress by C.S. Lewis
  41. The Shack by William P. Young
  42. This Way to Youth Ministry by Duffy Robbins
  43. Thrones of Blood: A History of the Times of Jesus by Josephus
  44. Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand
  45. Tribes by Seth Godin
  46. What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Before He Speaks

My friend Linda sent me this video. I am sure it's not about me because she doesn't hear me preach. lol!

How to Clone a Twinkie!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas Everyone! We have had a wonderful morning. The girls woke up at about 7:30 and came down stairs to discover that Santa Clause did indeed make it last night! We then went downstairs and opened our two big family gifts - a ping pong table and an air hockey table. The girls enjoyed playing with their new games and watching Prince Caspian. I then went to the church and played drums for our Christmas service while Ady got some more sleep. When I returned home we opened the rest of our presents. We are now hanging out together, eating brunch, and enjoying our gifts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Click to play Merry Christmas 2008
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American teens lie, steal, cheat at 'alarming' rates: study

A friend passed this article along to me the other day:

Hangin' with My Nieces

My sister April and her husband Lalo ...

(Get ready! This is where things get tricky!)

who is my wife's brother ...

(I'll give you a minute to do the math. It's not incest, I promise!)

... are here visiting from Virginia for Christmas. They have three little girls ages 4, 2, and 4-months. Yesterday I took their two oldest daughters along with my two to McDonald's. It was such a blast!

They were very excited about eating their chicken nugget happy meals,
dipping their nuggets in "chik-up" (Ketchup; which interestingly became "ranch" when they dipped their nuggets in it.),
getting "I-geem" (as the two-year-old said - "Ice cream"),
and playing on the playground.

They have also enjoyed coming to my office to see my turtle and get "Keen-E" (candy) from Uncle Kevin's closet. We have been having a lot of fun hanging out together.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teens Try To Steal Police Car With Officers Inside

Received this Stranger Than Fiction Article from the e-Journal of Student Ministries:

Christian vs. Christ Follower

Monday, December 22, 2008


My friend had this video on his blog. It's a short film with a great message!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Heaven, Life After Death, Life After Life After Death

I have been pondering, studying, and thinking a lot about heaven, life after death, and "life after life after death" (as N.T. Write calls it). I have been studying the Scriptures, early church beliefs, church tradition, as well as more recent understandings.
"Christians Wrong About Heaven," Says Bishop ... Read this fascinating interview with N.T. Write conducted by Time:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Another Child Drummer! 4 Years Old!

Simple Words ... Powerful Impact

Last week I met with the single dad of one of my students. After talking about a few things I asked him what seemed to me to be a simple, natural question, but an e-mail the next day revealed that it was in fact a powerful question that had deep significance for him. The question I asked? "How are you doing with all of the things that you have been through?"

Here's the e-mail he sent me the next day:

PK, Thanks not only for hearing me out, but especially for asking how my life is going. That question is rare. It means a lot to me.

What an interesting statement and a sad commentary on our culture - even within the church. Questions are a powerful tool that we have to help others. That's why I wrote a book of questions (What Would You Do? 500 Questions to Get Teens Talking).

What good questions have you asked this week?

What are some good questions you can ask in your encounters this coming week?

Lord, help us to demonstrate our care for others through asking good, open, powerful questions. Amen.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Giving for Christmas

This Christmas we decided as a family that rather than Christmas being about presents for us we wanted to give in a more substantial way to help others as well. We prepared shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, and candy for children at our friend's orphanage in Mexico City which we are sending along with about 35 other shoe boxes prepared by students in our youth ministry. We also decided to give the gift of fresh water through the digging of a well as well as chickens to help a family be able to eat and provide additional income through World Vision. If you would like to consider doing something similar, follow this link to World Vision to see these and many other options for giving:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Review: 10 Minute Moments

10 Minute Moments is a new devotional book by Kurt Johnson designed especially for Jr. High students. I decided to put the book to the test by giving it to Olivia, a 7th grade students who has been following Jesus for about a year. After a few weeks I asked her for her honest feedback. Here it is ... raw, unedited, and straight from the mouth of the target audience:

"It's really good. Not boring. I actually get to write my own thoughts. I like the journal part. I am learning different Scriptures. It is helping me learn more about the Bible. It doesn't take long. It really does only take about 10 minutes."

To receive 10% OFF this and other great resources, use the link to Simply Youth Ministry at the top of my blog or click here:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Conspiracy of Kindness!

On Tuesday I had to do some grocery shopping for our youth leaders' network Christmas party. When I got to the register, however, I realized that I had forgotten my tax exempt form. I called the church and asked one of the secretaries to fax it to the store. While I was waiting, I allowed a couple of ladies to pass me in line. Having nothing else to do, and waiting near the end of the check out line, I decided to bag their groceries for them. When the first lady realized that I did not work for the store she thanked me for helping, adding that I didn't have to do it. I told her I was glad to help. On her way out, she told me she had been having a really bad day, and that I had "restored [her] faith in the decency of humanity" through my kindness. I thought that was an intriguing line. Of course, I know that God was using it to do more than that, and ultimately I trust that it was pointing her beyond humanity to our Creator and His love for His children.

Claudia Gets Braces!

Wednesday was an historic day in our family. Claudia was the first one to get braces! Way to go Claudia! They put the top ones on. In two weeks she will get her TPA put in, and in a few weeks she will get the wire on as well as braces on her bottom teeth. She will have them for about 2 1/2 years. It is definitely an adjustment for her, but she is doing really great!

Family Night: Chefs in the Kitchen!

On Tuesday night, our weekly family night, our friend Chef John Long came over to give the girls a promised cooking lesson. Together they made John's awesome and famous clam chowder. Our friends Stan and Mama Muller joined us for dinner. It was a super fun night!