Monday, May 26, 2008

The Irresistible Revolution

I just finished reading The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. It is easily one of the most incredible books I have ever read. It is a modern day classic and a timeless treasure in the annals of modern church history. There is so much that I could say about this book - I was underlining like crazy. But suffice it to say, this book has totally rocked my world, and I highly recommend it! Be forewarned, however - you will never see the world in the same way. In fact, I am personally going on an extended fast to digest the powerful messages contained in the book and to discern what God wants me to do with the challenge that has been placed at my feet.

In the book, Shane talks about two tax collectors who had encounters with Jesus - Zaccheus and Matthew. One of them left his job to follow Jesus, the other redefined his job. This is the question I am confronted with. Not to leave my job right now - I know that the Lord brought us to our church for this season, and I am committed to fulfilling my commitment. But, down the line, does God want us to stay within the traditional church context and allow this transformation within me to redefine what I do - why I do what I do, and how I do it - and thus affect a Jesus revolution internally? Or would He lead us to start a new work that embraces these transformational values from the inception? May the Lord speak. May I have ears to hear.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

This is Exactly How My Wife Sneezes!

Psalm 23 Paraphrase

During my quiet time this evening I was meditating on and studying Psalm 23. I am practicing an ancient form of Scripture reading called Lectio Divina which means "divine reading" using a book by our friend Duffy Robbins called Enjoy the Silence. I mentioned the book and talked about lectio divina in a blog a couple of days ago if you want more information. I highly recommend it to you. As I was meditating on the words of this passage, I decided to go to the original Hebrew text. As I studied I put together a paraphrase of Psalm 23 from the literal Hebrew words. It was a fresh and insightful for me to consider this great passage. May the Lord encourage you through it as well.

“The Lord is my leader and provider, I shall not be lacking; I shall not fail. He makes me rest in a pleasant place, He protects and sustains me as He guides me along peaceful and quiet waters, He cause my life to return to its proper rhythm. He guides me along the track of right and justice in order to honor Him by showing forth His character. Even when I walk weakly through the gorge with the shadow of death cast over me and calamity all around, I will not be frightened or overwhelmed with fear, for You are right there inside me; Your rod of authority, and your walking stick of guidance bring me great comfort and assurance. You arrange a table and prepare a meal, inviting me to eat in full view of those who want to cause trouble for and even kill me. You anoint my head with oil; I am filled to overflowing, and I am completely satisfied. Truly goodness and beauty and kindness will chase after me every day that I am alive, and I will abide and remain in the family of the Eternal God forever and ever and ever.” (Paraphrase by Rev. Kevin Mahaffy, Jr.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Gladys Knight Auditions For "Pips"

Smithtown Has A What?

Several weeks ago I called our Town Hall seeking contact information for our congressman. No, I wasn't trying to stir things up politically. I needed his help to get bailed out of jail. (Just joking!) As I was listening to the pre-recorded menu, the voice said, "For Youth Bureau press x." Youth Bureau? Smithtown has a Youth Bureau? I quickly grabbed a pen and jotted down the extension. I couldn't believe it!

This past Monday I finally made the call and set up an appointment to go and meet with the director of the Youth Bureau. Yesterday Adriana and I showed up to the office building on Main Street downtown. Even in our little town it was a little hard to find. Why? The sign for the Youth Bureau was not in front of the building, or even on the door. The sign was on the side street in front of the neighboring building. When we arrived we met the director, Patsy. I thanked her for carving out some time to meet with us. I explained to her that we had been working here for three years, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found out we had a department dedicated to the youth of our community. She said that my response was a common one due to the lack of visibility, even physical visibility, in the community. She shared about the history of the youth bureau - how it started, how it was run, the great opportunities the future holds, etc. I told her that I wanted to serve in any way that I could, and that I wanted to get the kids from my youth ministry more involved in the community. We also talked about networking for various things that are happening that would benefit teens and parents of teens. Before we ended our time she invited me to come to the next gathering of community leaders who are committed to young people. I left so excited about this new open door!

Our theme for this next year is REACH, and this is the opening of a door that will allow us to get outside of the four walls of the church and to start being the Church! May the Lord help us to see how we can be salt and light in our world.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Jesus for President!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Making Cookies with My Daughters!

Had a really fun evening with my daughters today. My wife had to go and speak at her gathering with the pastors' wives, so I was home alone with the girls. They asked me yesterday if we could make cookies together, so we did. From scratch. My kind of scratch, though. That means I didn't buy them made. We had to turn on the oven, open the Betty Crocker box, mix the ingredients, insert them into the oven, and exercise tremendous patience as we waited for them to bake. That's scratch for me. lol We made brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Family Memory Makers!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Practicing Lectio Divina

I was talking with my beloved grandfather on the phone last week. We were talking about spiritual practices (or disciplines, as they are traditionally called) and he said, "Kev, I don't read the Bible like I used to." He then told me that he has begun a new practice that is actually an old practice which was started by the Desert Fathers and Mothers during the 3rd and 4th centuries called Lectio Divina which literally means divine reading. The key to this form of Scripture reading is listening - sitting in a portion of Scripture for an extended period of time and allowing God to bring the Scripture to life and speak to you through it.

I told my grandfather that I was aware of a fresh movement within youth ministry in this regard. A more familiar term for this stream is Contemplative Youth Ministry. People like Mark Yaconelli and Duffy and Maggie Robbins have been revisiting this ancient form of connection with God. After we spoke I decided to pull yet another Robbins book off of my shelf called Enjoy the Silence. (I know, I know, soon I will have read all of George's books, and I'll move on to books by Jerry and Elaine and Kramer.) The book is a 30 day experiment in listening to God. I have begun journeying through the 30 days, and after only a few days, I can say that the Lord has been speaking very deeply to my heart. Setting aside at least 30 minutes a day and just soaking in a passage could sound boring, but I assure you it is the furthest thing from it! It is extremely refreshing! I highly recommend it. If you would like an easy place to start, pick up this book.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Questions from my New Book Tested & Proven Effective

Just got home from the diner where I had brunch with my wife, her mom, and her sister. I decided to bring along the questions from the first draft of my new book and try them out. I have never had such a long, fun, and engaging time with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law. If they can help relations with in-laws, they can work with anyone. Ha Ha! But seriously, I am super excited about how well they worked, and even more excited about getting the book published and into the hands of people who can use it to deepen their connection with pne another and with God!

Another Book I Wish Someone Had Made Me Read During My First Two Years in Youth Ministry

A number of years ago, Doug Fields published his book Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry. It is a wonderful book, and the first one I recommend to anyone just starting out in the field. In fact, the book came out when I was in my third year of youth ministry, and I would recommend it to anyone in youth ministry, period.

Last year when I was at the National Youth Worker’s Convention I saw a book entitled The Ministry of Nurture by Duffy Robbins. Since Duffy was going to be our speaker at our winter retreat just a couple of months later, I decided to pick it up. However, it was not until recently that I had a chance to actually sit down and read the book. As I began to read, everything was so relevant to what God is teaching me about ministry during this season that I found myself nodding my head in agreement with so much of what he was saying.

When I happened upon the date the book was written, I discovered that Duffy had written it in 1990. I wondered how this book had slipped through the assigned reading for my youth ministry classes both in Bible college and in seminary. After reading it, I would re-title it Another Book I Wish Someone Had Made Me Read During My First Two Years in Youth Ministry and package it as a combo with Doug's book.

It is a tremendous book that takes the youth ministry vehicle to the shop, puts it up on the lift and gives it a good inspection to ask whether we are really making fully-devoted, life-long disciples of Christ. It causes us to slow down, examine our programs, and really helps to focus us on the process of youth ministry.

Obviously, given it's release date, some of the illustrations are dated. There are also some things that he suggested in terms of practical application for deepening our ministries that we have come a long way on and are actually much more conscious of, intentional about, and engaging in in many youth ministries across the country today. Finally, having read some of Duffy's more recent works, there are a few things from this book that he has clarified and/or repackaged after another 17 years of learning. Nevertheless, these are inconsequential and do not negate the timeless principles and challenges the book contains.

Duffy is coming to be with us again next week, and I have asked him to bring me several copies that I can purchase for my core leaders so that we can walk through it together. It was that good! If you haven't already read it, it's not on your shelf, or you haven't already gone to SYM or YS and ordered it, what are you waiting for? Get to it!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New Books in the Works!

Sunday Night I finished the first draft of my new book. I will keep you in suspense, but I am excited about having created another resource that will help youth leaders. Pray for me as I clean it up and begin pitching it to publishers.

I am also beginning work on a writing project for Youth Specialties with my friend Jack Crabtree. Our deadline is August, so pray that we will complete it and that God's heart will come through in our work. It's another amazing resource for youth leaders that I will tell you more about when it is complete.

May God be glorified and may fruit remain!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Mommy!

Today I celebrate my mom, Gale Mahaffy, and my wife Adriana who is such an amazing mother to our daughters! I also want to send out my love to my grandma's. I love you all! Thanks for being such awesome women of God who have modeled and instilled a legacy of godliness in my daughters.



Friday, May 9, 2008

Terminator Meets Jesus ... Very Funny!

I've Finally Figured Out Why They're Called Generation Y!

The Silent generation, people born before 1945.

The Baby Boomers, people born between 1945 and 1961.

Generation X, people born between 1962 and 1976.

Generation Y, people born between 1977 and 1989.


Dad sent me this one. Thought I would pass it along. Good apples!


Dear Ma and Pa,

I am well. Hope you are.

Tell Brother Walt and Brother Elmer the Marine Corps beats working for old man Minch by a mile. Tell them to join up quick before all of the places are filled.

I was restless at first because you got to stay in bed till nearly 6 AM. but I am getting so I like to sleep late.

Tell Walt and Elmer all you do before breakfast is smooth your cot, and shine some things. No hogs to slop, feed to pitch, mash to mix, wood to split, fire to lay. Practically nothing. Men got to shave but it is not so bad, there's warm water.

Breakfast is strong on trimmings like fruit juice, cereal, eggs, bacon, etc., but kind of weak on chops, potatoes, ham, steak, fried eggplant, pie and other regular food.

But tell Walt and Elmer you can always sit by the two city boys that live on coffee. Their food plus yours holds you till noon when you get fed again.

It's no wonder these city boys can't walk much. We go on 'route marches,' which the platoon sergeant says are long walks to harden us. If he thinks so, it's not my place to tell him different. A 'route march' is about as far as to our mailbox at home. Then the city guys get sore feet and we all ride back in trucks.

This will kill Walt and Elmer with laughing. I keep getting medals for shooting. I don't know why. The bulls-eye is near as big as a chipmunk head and don't move, and it ain't shooting at you like the Higgett boys
at home.

All you got to do is lie there all comfortable and hit it. You don't even load your own cartridges. They come in boxes.

Then we have what they call hand-to-hand combat training. You get to wrestle with them city boys. I have to be real careful though, they break real easy.

It ain't like fighting with that ole bull at home I'm about the best they got in this except for that Tug Jordan from over in Silver Lake . I only beat him once. He joined up the same time as me, but I'm only 5'6' and 130 pounds and he's 6'8' and near 300 pounds dry.

Be sure to tell Walt and Elmer to hurry and join before other fellers get onto this setup and come stampeding in.

Your loving daughter,

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What Would You Do? To Be Featured Tomorrow!

I just got word that my book will be featured on the Simply Youth Ministry e-newsletter tomorrow! Totally stoked! Praying that it will get into the hands of youth workers who can use it to engage in powerful conversations with students.

Order from SYM today:

Monday, May 5, 2008

What Would You Do? Now Available Through Simply Youth Ministry!

What Would You Do? is now available through Doug Fields' Simply Youth Ministry - one of the most popular (and my personal favorite) youth ministry sites.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Working On Our Marriage!

"Is that hard work?" I asked him?

"Nope," he replied, "it's just work."

I was 21 years old, and I was the volunteer youth pastor at a church plant in Lapeer, Michigan. Our church didn't have a building - we met in a school auditorium on Sunday mornings - so our youth group would meet at the pastor's house. One day I stopped by and the pastor was pulling up carpet in a sun room when I stopped by. He was all sweaty and I could tell he was working hard. The exchange above was the beginning of a conversation that we engaged in as I jumped in to help him. It was a teachable moment that I am sure he has long forgotten, but one that has stuck with me for eleven years now, and will remain with me as long as I live.

Why do I bring it up? Well, just remembering that sometimes things just take work has helped me through many situations in my life, but I was thinking of it today in relation to my marriage. My wife and I have been married for 12 years now, and we have had quite a fun ride as a whole. This past year in our youth ministry our theme has been "Connect" and I have been challenging our students to engage in deeper, more authentic, and more meaningful connections. As I have been walking through this year, the Lord has simultaneously been challenging me in the same vein regarding my marriage. See, I have recognized that all too often we settle for wading in surface conversations rather than swimming out into the deeper waters of communication. We've played it safe and/or avoided the scary waters of true authenticity. I am a joker, so when we start getting to the uncomfortableness of realness, I have had a tendency to bust a joke to redirect the conversation back to safety. But God is calling us out into the deep, and that means work.

This past week my wife and I have had a couple of real heart-to-heart sharing times, and I am sensing a breakthrough in our marriage. That talk took work. The solutions that we developed for taking our relationship to a deeper level require work. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it. We are going to live out the authenticity that we preach and call our students to, and model for our own children and anyone else who observes our marriage what a Christian marriage should look like - not perfect, but covenantly committed to growing together. We're tired of the status-quo, and we are committed to the work - sometimes fun, sometimes easy, sometimes awkward, sometimes painful, sometimes hard; but at the end of the day, just plain old work - of making our relationship Christ-like.

Pray for us that God would empower us by His Spirit to make our marriage everything He intends it to be.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised by Prayer!

I have to be honest. I was not looking forward to it. Fridays are my day off, but in general not much happens on Thursday nights for me, so I usually come home on Thursday nights and check out of work. But today was the National Day of Prayer, and our church was hosting a unified prayer meeting for churches in our area. Our pastor shared with us that it has taken their network of pastors many years to get to the point where they were willing and able to do something together, and this was finally it. He said he would be ecstatic if three or four hundred people showed up.

When I arrived, I would estimate that closer to 600 people were there, and I was pleasantly surprised with how wonderful the meeting was. We had pastors from the different churches get up, read a couple of Scriptures on various topics, give us some prayer direction, and then we clustered together in groups of 4-5 people and prayed on that topic for about five minutes. Then we would sing a song, and the process would be repeated by another pastor concerning a different topic.

If you've ever gone to something half-heartedly or reluctantly you know how I was feeling when I was walking into the church. However, I am so glad that God did not allow me to stay in that state. I felt so blessed by the sight of so many people from many different churches gathered together that it inspired me and lifted my spirit so that I was able to honestly engage in heart-felt prayer. What a joy! Thank you Lord that I traded my sorrow for Your joy!