Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Pics from Chill Day

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Tanzania 2

Last night I went to bed at 1 a.m. I woke up in what I thought was the middle of the night only to discover it was only 2 a.m. Try as I might I could not get back to sleep. I tried different sleeping positions, I tried reading, I tried everything, but to no avail. At 7:30 a.m. I finally got a shower and went down to the house for breakfast. We had grapefruit, papaya, and toast with Anne Street’s home-made butter and jam. After breakfast we met a woman named Vicki from California who is boarding with the Streets, then grandpa and I went into town with Steve to get some supplies - a little rice, some wood, and some phone cards - and to run to the bank. When we returned I caught an hour-long nap and felt a little bit human again. A young missionary named Dusty from Georgia joined us for lunch. After lunch I checked e-mail, had some coffee with Anne & Steve, and took some photos of their property including a beautiful jacaranda tree and some of the lizards running around including a very colorful one called an Agama. This afternoon has just been chill as we’re still trying to get over jet-lag. I feel so fried and I am hopeful that tonight I will finally crash. Tomorrow I will be preaching at the Street’s church.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

Arrived in Tanzania Safely

Hello everyone! We have just arrived at the home of the Streets (missionaries) and have just settled in our rooms and are now having some coffee and cookies with Steve and Anne. We had a long trip here, but it was good. Thanks to a family connection we were able to fly business class from Detroit to Amsterdam. Grandpa got some sleep, but I only got an hour or so. At the airport we caught another brief nap before our flight to Kilimanjaro. On that flight I was able to get in about 4 hours of sleep, but I was jammed in the middle seat and it was really tight. Anyhoo, all in all it was long but good. It was 26 hours from the time I left JFK to the time we landed in Tanzania. We took about an hour to get our visas, immigration, customs, etc. but we got all of our luggage OK and about a half hour later we were at the Streets. Miss you all! Love ya Ady, Clau & Natis! I'm going to take a shower and get to bed.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Tanzania 1
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Goodbye" and Travel Days

This morning I said goodbye to my family and am on my way. I am presently sitting in the Detroit airport with my grandfather awaiting our flight to Amsterdam and then on to Tanzania. Missing my girls already!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Africa, Here We Come!

Tomorrow morning I am off to Tanzania, Africa for a time of ministry with my grandfather, Dan Larkin. We will be teaching at Kilimanjaro Christian College which my grandfather founded almost 20 years ago. I was there as a 15-year-old kid on my first international missions trip in 1991 and we helped to construct the college laying the foundation, making bricks, and building the walls to about 6' high by the time we left. It is a great joy and privilege to be able to journey back there 18 years later to train Christian leaders -- and to be able to share such a great experience with my grandfather. I will do my best to keep you all updated as I have internet access. Thank you for your prayers and support!

If you would still like to make a financial donation to my trip, you may do so by making a check out to Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle and mailing it to:

Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle
Attn: Kevin Mahaffy
1 Higbie Dr.
Smithtown, NY 11787

Monday, October 26, 2009

U2 Concert

Watched the live concert feed on YouTube. It was absolutely amazing! Watch the full rebroadcast here.

FREEBIE: Adult Youth Leader Application Packet

Here's a FREEBIE for you! It's a copy of our Adult Youth Leader Application Packet. It's what we give to prospective leaders. It includes an overview of our ministry, resources, and application materials. Feel free to adapt it to meet your ministry context. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Very Cool Online Product Catalogue ... MUST SEE!

HEMA is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4, 1926, in Amsterdam . Now there are 150 stores all over the Netherlands.

Take a look at HEMA's product page - just wait a couple of seconds and watch whathappens.

DON'T click on any of the items in the picture, just wait.

This company has a sense of humor and a great computer programmer, who has too much time on his hands.

Planet Impact Announcement Video

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"What Your Child Needs You to Be Above All Else"

Do you ever watch The Dog Whisperer? I love that show! One of the things that Cesar Millan says is, “I train people; I rehabilitate dogs.” His premise is that more often than not when dogs are having behavioral problems, it is not because they want to misbehave, but because the owners are not being the pack leaders the dogs need them to be. Is there not a grain of truth in that for us as parents? While our children are certainly not dogs, consider this. I sometimes hear parents say things like, “My kid is out of control ... I just can’t ... We’ve tried everything ... We don’t know what to do.” While issues surrounding parenting teens are complex, I believe sometimes we need someone like The Dog Whisperer (someone actually wrote a book a few years ago called The Teen Whisperer) to come along, ask us questions, and help us see things in a new light. Sometimes we need to look in the mirror and ask if we are doing all we can do as parents to give our kids the structure they need before we blame our kids and throw up our hands in despair. Perhaps you have heard the following story in the news the past few weeks ...

“When their teenage daughter Emma went into a goth phase a while back, Debra Kelley and Mark Niederbrock thought long and hard about what to do and decided to accept her adolescent rebellion rather than fight it.”

“Emma ... was just going through a rough period. Thus they allowed her to invite Richard “Sammy” McCroskey to fly out and spend a few days. Fearing that Emma might run away with McCroskey if they forbade her from attending a horrorcore mash-up called the Strictly for the Wicked Festival in Michigan, they drove the teens 1,300 miles there and back. ‘Debra thought at least if we take them there we’ll make sure they’re safe.”

“‘Debra and Mark were greatly concerned,’ says [a friend] ... ‘But they concluded ... that ‘you either go along with kids or watch them walk out the door.’ Now friends wish the couple had pushed back. On Sept. 18 police discovered the bodies of Emma, her parents, along with that of a friend ... at their home in Farmville, [VA] ...” allegedly murdered by McCroskey. (“Real Life Horror” People Magazine, October 26, 2009, pp. 119-121, (Underlines added.))

When I first saw this story on the news a few weeks ago, I was filled with many emotions, but one feeling that I did not experience was surprise. Unfortunately, as the story unfolded, I saw the recipe for disaster - a pattern that I see too often in too many families today (not yours, of course). Obviously, the tragic way this story ended is a rare exception, but take away the gruesome murders and you will probably recognize the story. Parents think child is cute and don’t discipline. Child hits adolescence. Child makes threats to get what they want. Parents panic. Parents give in. Child takes over.

I believe at the core of this scenario is one central issue: Lack of leadership! Parents giving in to the pressure of manipulative children who use their parents’ fears (ex. “I’ll run away!”) to get what they want. When I stand back I ask: Who is running this house? Too often the answer comes back: the child. This is not how God intends our homes to operate. Too many parents today want to be liked by their kids. Sorry! Being liked is overrated! Don’t waste your time trying to get your kids to like you. Seek, rather, to be a person with the fortitude to make tough decisions and stick by them, and the godly character that your children will respect. Your kid doesn’t need another friend. They need a leader! They need courageous parents!

So many of you do such a wonderful job of being the leaders of your homes. I always want to acknowledge that truth! You set such a great example, not only for your children, but also for other parents like myself. This is by no means meant to be a “beat-you-up” kind of article. On the contrary, my hope is that all of us would take some time to assess ourselves as leaders. Let’s not simply look outward; let’s look inward and ask if we are standing in the rightful, God-ordained place of leadership that God has called us to as parents. Are we being the leaders our children need us to be? Adriana and I are constantly asking this question of ourselves as we seek to raise our children for Jesus. Sometimes it’s easy. More often than not it’s very tough. But one thing I know: Leadership is always necessary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do it Better!

Some of Rohl's meditations are controversial, but I enjoy being challenged by his thoughts. I thought this one was quite good, so I'm passing it along.

New structures that can make the emerging church possible cannot be in opposition to any existing church structures; they cannot be against anything but merely for Something. “The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better” is one of our core principles at the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Don’t waste the next years of your life being against anybody, anything, any group, any supposed sin, or any institution. Just go ahead and do it better yourself. It’s so common sense when you hear it. As Mohandas Gandhi put it, “Be the change you hope to see in the world.” And in the church!

- Richard Rohl

A Prayer for Small Groups

Here's a poem I wrote that was published on SimplyYouthMinistry ...

Also check out this hot new resource that went on sale today! Get yours today!
  • Only 400 units available for the Spooky Awesome Bundle.
  • The bundle goes live on Wednesday and will be finished as soon as the units are sold.
  • We expect it to sell out by Friday.
  • $69 bundle with $280 worth of resources included
  • Click the coupon on the right side of my blog to receive and additional 10% off!

"Connect With People" An Excerpt from UnChristian

We have no record of anything Jesus wrote. He created no organizations. He eschewed political power, even though people expected him to embrace this form of influence. Instead, Jesus laid the foundation for the church through relationships. His influence was {and is} indelible because he changed people. His focus was on reconciling human beings to a holy God through his sacrifice. It’s interesting that Jesus frequently referred to God in relational terms. emphasizing the Creator of the universe as a heavenly Father. And one of the few “traditions” Jesus left with us is communion, which began in the context of a meal Jesus shared with his closest friends. Relationships mattered to Jesus.

When it comes to our interaction with outsiders, we have to realize that our relationships, our interactions with people, comprise the picture of Jesus that people retain. God has wired human beings so that spiritual influence occurs most commonly through relationships. One of the clear implications of our research is that the negative image of Christians can be overcome, and this almost always happens in the context of meaningful, trusting relationships. The goal of overcoming their negative baggage is not just to make outsiders think pleasant things about us, but to point them to life in Christ. We do not need to exaggerate or hype faith; we embrace and describe all the potency, depth, complexity, and realism of following Christ.

It is encouraging that our research uncovered scenarios in which outsiders’ experiences with Christians helped to reshape their perspectives about God and about Jesus. Rather than being unChristian, the Christ follower no longer seemed judgmental, offensive, or insincere. Meeting such Christians made outsiders believe that becoming a Christ follower might actually have merit. For a few moments they discovered that Christians think, love, and listen.

The caveat here is that such interactions were rare. It was also uncommon for an outsider to have a complete 180-degree change of heart as a result of a handful of experiences, although we do not know how his or her life will unfold in the years to come .... The important think is that these outsiders admitted their experience with a Christ follower had activated something in them. It left them more open, hungrier, and more willing to dialogue. And they were less hostile toward Christianity as a result. Because they felt as though Christians had listened and cared about them, they were less likely to reject Jesus.

Again, let me point out that it is not up to us to “fix” everyone’s ideas about Jesus. Even with the best of intentions, even when we live in a Christlike way, it is still possible to be misunderstood ....

Yet this does not give us an excuse. We are responsible for faithfully representing Christ within the natural network of our relationships ....

It is also important to remember that Jesus said we would be known by our love for fellow believers. The reality is that if we do not demonstrate loving relationships within the church, it does not matter how much we display Jesus to outsiders. Many outsiders specifically articulated that they think Christians “eat their own.” They pointed out that they see us critiquing each other, raising money to rally the troops against other believers, and acting in ways that they deem unChristian. Our witness will continue to erode if we cannot embrace fellow Christ followers. Relationships within the Christian community should be beacons of grace and acceptance, of biblical accountability within the context of love and relationship, of unity without blind conformity, of transparency, and of mutual support.

As it was for Jesus, our most important influence comes in the midst of our everyday relationships. Spiritual depth develops slowly, one life at a time. Living life together, learning to become the people Christ intended, being real about our faults - and our continual need for Jesus’ grace - are powerful antidotes to unChristian faith among a new generation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

12 Year Old Outdrives Tiger Woods

View more news videos at:

Some Classic Tony Campolo ... I love it!

Spooky Awesome Bundle!!!

  • Only 400 units available for the Spooky Awesome Bundle.
  • The bundle goes live on Wednesday and will be finished as soon as the units are sold.
  • We expect it to sell out by Friday.
  • $69 bundle with $280 worth of resources included
  • Click the coupon on the right side of my blog to receive and additional 10% off!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Back Home

We just returned home from a retreat out east with some of our Adult Youth Leaders. We had a super awesome time bonding our hearts together through laughter, games, eating, leadership training, sharing, and prayer. We also had some time cared out for personal time with God. So glad to be a part of a team! Will post pics tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adriana's Surprise Party!

On Sunday I pulled off the ultimate surprise party for my wife! A year ago she became a U.S. Citizen. At that time she was beginning 6 months of school to become an esthetician, so I figured we would just do a party for both milestones when she graduated. Well, life got busy in the spring and the summer was even more busy, so the idea just faded away from her mind. All the while, though, I was still wanting to do something. A few weeks ago I just went for it. I invited some friends and asked our friend Lily to set her up. It worked like a charm! The party was so far removed from those events that when she walked in and we yelled, "Surprise!" she could not figure out what was going on. She even had a moment when she thought she was going crazy, wondering if it was her birthday. We had a super fun time!
Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Ady's Surprise Party
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Misconceptions About Jesus

These videos came out many years ago and are completely hilarious! They are not intended to mock Jesus, but rather to point out the absurdity of the common misconceptions of Jesus.


"The contemplative mind is really just the mind that emerges when you pray instead of think first. Praying opens the field and moves beyond fear and judgment and agenda and analysis, and just lets the moment be what it is—as it is.

We really have to be taught that mind. We now are pretty sure that it was systematically taught—mostly in the monasteries—as late as the 13th and even into the 14th century. But once we got into the oppositional mind of the Reformation and the rational mind of the Enlightenment, the contemplative mind pretty much fell by the wayside. The wonderful thing is that it is now being rediscovered across denominations, and there is no select group that holds it or that teaches it. Catholics still use the word 'contemplation,' but usually have not been taught the practice, even monks and nuns and priests." - Richard Rohr

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Poem by Natalia Mahaffy

Here's a poem written by my 8-year old daughter. It was addressed ...

To: Mom, Dad, and Claudia
From: Someone Special

My mom is cool
My dad is cool
My sister is cool
And so am I
I love God
He's my awesome God
I love Him so much
He is my God
And I love Him
I love my cat
He is my favorite cat
I love my hermit crab
I love him so much
He is my hermit crab
And I love him so much
I love my dog
She is so cute
I love the way she jumps around
And she is so cute
I love my other dog
But he is slobbery
He is also funny
I also love my dad's turtle
He's named Fred
He is funny because
Whenever I put my finger on his tank
He will think it is food
But it is not
And last but not least
My sister's turtle
His name is Squirt
And he is only a baby

Monday, October 12, 2009

Incredible Hockey Shot!

Not a big hockey fan, but this is awesome!

Columbine Killer's Mother Bears Her Pain

The mother of one of the two Columbine HS teen killers is publicly speaking in detail about the massacre for the first time -- and says she had "no inkling" that her son was suicidal until she read his journals.

Read the full article here.

The Strength of Love

"The strength of people's love is shown in what they do." - Richard Rolle (1290-1349)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

True Connection Happens When ...

"... true connection to people and to Christ happens most often when we love and serve them. If our concern is that loving and serving them might somehow condone their behavior, we probably do not love people the way Christ does." - David Kinnman & Gabe Lyons in UnChristian (p. 107)

"Jesus doesn’t have any good news for those who serve the poor."

Intrigued by the above statement? It sure caught my attention!

Read this incredible article: Why I Stopped Serving The Poor by Claudio Oliver.

Richard Rohr on Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is always the refusing of power. When someone has hurt you, you are in charge for a while. When you refuse to forgive, you are holding onto a power you have over another person. Somehow it feels good, to put them down as an inferior person or to place yourself above them as a righteously aggrieved person. Forgiveness is impossible if power or control is your way of life. Maybe that is why Jesus almost uses forgiveness as the litmus test of whether you are a true disciple." - Richard Rohr

Friday, October 9, 2009

Physical Exercise, Spiritual Development

Today was my day off. After sleeping in, I enjoyed a great bike ride from my house to downtown Port Jefferson and back. It was a total of 23 miles which is the farthest I have ridden since I got my new bike about a month ago. As I rode I listened to a Simply Youth Ministry Podcast that challenged and inspired me, and also listened to the book of Acts which likewise got me thinking about the early church and God's heart for His church today.

In speaking with my good friend Scott the other day, he has been studying the affects of exercise upon the brain, and has been experimenting with how it influences his walk with the Lord. I have been exercising faithfully for five years now, and I also notice the difference in my life as a whole - spiritually, relationally, emotionally, etc. - when I am exercising regularly. I would recommend that (a) you begin exercising at least 3-5 days a week (if you aren't already), and that (b) you consider ways you can utilize your exercise time to grow in God (e.g. listening to audio books including the Bible, podcasts - many of which are free - that inspire you in the Lord, or praying).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to my youngest daughter who turned 8 today! Wow! How the time flies!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Natalia's 8th Birthday!
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New Painting: My Queen Adriana

Of course, by no means does this do her justice. My wife is so gorgeous! (See pic at the top right of my blog for the real deal!) I'm the luckiest dork in the world! lol

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday, October 1, 2009