Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books I Read in 2009

  1. 99 Thoughts for Youth Workers by Josh Griffin
  2. A Walk Through the Bible by Leslie Newbigin
  3. Adventures in Missing the Point by Tony Campolo & Brian McLaren
  4. Book Manuscript by my main man Scott Wozniak
  5. Christianity & Social Order by William Temple
  6. Contemplative Prayer by Thomas Merton
  7. Dad's Everything Book for Daughters by John Trent
  8. Darwin In A Nutshell by Peter Whitfield
  9. Devotional Classics Edited by Richard J. Foster & James Bryan Smith
  10. Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren
  11. Foreign to Familiar by Sarah A. Lanier
  12. God Has A Dream by Desmond Tutu
  13. In The Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri J.M. Nouwen
  14. It's Not About Me by Max Lucado
  15. Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin
  16. Love: The Words & Inspiration of Mother Teresa
  17. Martin Luther by Edwin P Booth
  18. Miles to Cross by Mike Howerton
  19. Myth of a Christian Nation by Gregory Boyd
  20. Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  21. Peace Child by Don Richardson
  22. Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life by Tony Dungy
  23. Refuel by Doug Fields
  24. Reverse Mentoring by Earl Creps
  25. Sabbatical Journey by Henri J.M. Nouwen
  26. Shake Hands With The Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda by Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire
  27. Simple Church by Thom S. Rainer & Eric Geiger
  28. Streams of Living Waters: Celebrating the Great Traditions of the Christian Faith by Richard Foster
  29. Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
  30. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. Edited by Clayborne Carson
  31. The Case of Roe v. Wade by Leonard A. Stevens
  32. The Chris Farley Show by Tom Farley, Jr., and Tanner Colby
  33. The Coming of God by Jurgen Moltmann (only read 1/2)
  34. The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard
  35. The Divine Hours Pocket Edition by Phyllis Tickle
  36. The Essential Gandhi: An Anthology of His Writings on His Life, Work, and Ideas by Mahatma Gandhi
  37. The Great Emergence: How Christianity is Changing & Why by Phyllis Tickle
  38. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  39. The Horse & His Boy by C.S. Lewis
  40. The Illustrated Guide to World Religions by Dean Halverson
  41. The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey
  42. The Kingdom of God is Within You by Leo Tolstoy
  43. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  44. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
  45. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
  46. The Love Dare by Stephen & Alex Kendrick
  47. The Meaning of the Millennium Edited by Robert G. Clouse
  48. The Millennium Myth by N.T. Wright
  49. The Open Secret: An Introduction to the Theology of Mission by Leslie Newbigin
  50. The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
  51. The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
  52. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  53. The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter & Matt Smay
  54. The Words of Gandhi
  55. The World as I Remember It by Rich Mullins
  56. The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen
  57. UnChristian by David Kinnman & Gabe Lyons
  58. Walking by Henry David Thoreau
  59. When Generations Collide by Lynne C. Lancaster & David Stillman
  60. Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
  61. William Booth: Soup, Soap, and Salvation by Janet & Geoff Benge
  62. Also read several books with my daughters: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Jungle Book, The Secret Garden, Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christianity & Social Order by William Temple

I just finished reading a little book by William Temple (1881-1944) called Christianity & Social Order. Fantastic! In the book he lays out principles to guide Christians in their involvement in social life. Talk about a guy who was ahead of his times! Challenging and well worth the read!


"The Christian churches today largely define faith as knowing, and even being certain about your knowing, when in fact it means exactly the opposite! Faith is being willing not to know, and still being content, because God knows." - Richard Rohr

Monday, December 28, 2009


"Ignorance does not result from what we don’t know! Ignorance results from what we think we do know—but don’t! Most ignorant people are, in fact, quite certain." Richard Rohr

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Nativity Story Movie

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Waiting to be Rediscovered & Explored

"The deep hidden stream of Christian meditation, mysticism, adoration, thanksgiving, wrestling with the anguish of the world in the presence of God, and celebrating the joy of the world in the presence of God, is waiting to be rediscovered and explored." - N.T. Wright The Millennium Myth, p. 84).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Snug Wow!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009


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Snow Day Study

Today our church services were canceled due to a snow storm that whacked us overnight. This was a common occurrence for our family growing up in upstate New York, and when it would happen, out family would have our own little church service. I thought I would pass along a short Bible study for you to do at home today by yourself or with others. May you know the love and peace of the Lord today!

- Kevin

Read Luke 1:26-37

"26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail." 38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me according to your word." Then the angel left her."

Study Questions:

What are the descriptions given to Mary about her child? (1:31-35)

What are some of the characteristics of Mary that you see in this passage?

Read the account of Gabriel’s prediction of John’s birth to Zechariah in 1:5-25. How was Zechariah’s response to the angel similar to Mary’s? How was his response different?

When Mary questioned the angel (1:34), he answered her question. When Zechariah questioned the angel (1:18) he was made unable to speak. Why? (1:19-20)

After the angel had answered Mary’s question, what was her response? (1:38)


In His sovereignty God chose Mary for the important task of giving birth to His one and only Son, Jesus. A study of her life will reveal important insights into her character and some clues as to why she was a candidate to be used by God in such a special way. For the sake of our purposes today we want to take a few minutes to focus on four aspects of Mary’s response and posture in this particular scene.

  1. Greatly Troubled. When Gabriel spoke to her, Mary’s first reaction was one of disturbance. Most of us would have been freaked out simply because we were seeing an angel! But Luke says that Mary was agitated – filled with inner commotion and turmoil – not because she had seen an angel, but because of what he said and the nature of his greeting. Interestingly, he had not even gotten into the details of his message yet. All he had said up to that point was “Hi Mary. You’re highly favored! God is with you.” That was enough to throw Mary into a troubled state.
  2. Um, I Have a Question! After an attempt at reassuring her, Gabriel goes on to tell Mary the meat of his message: that she is going to give birth to the Messiah. The second thing she did was ask him a question. “Um, Mr. Angel, sir! That’s really nice and all, but I have a question – it’s kind of an “In the Know” thing: How can this be? I have never even been intimate with a man before, and I think that’s kind of the way things work.” Gabriel then goes on to tell her that the Holy Spirit is going to cause her to become pregnant in a mysterious way.
  3. Master and Servant. After getting this cleared up … sort of (I would still have some serious questions, wouldn’t you?!) … the third thing we notice is Mary’s statement: “I am the Lord’s Servant”. The Greek word used for Lord is kyrios and was a term of reverence and respect. It was a title given to God recognizing His supreme control. Mary viewed God as her Master and properly saw herself in light of this reality – as a servant whose sole purpose was to fulfill the desires of her Master.
  4. I Submit. Fourth, and finally, Mary says, “May it be it me according to your word”. Gabriel came bearing the word of the Lord, and Mary’s response demonstrated that she was fully submitted to the plans and purposes of God.

Like Mother Like Son

When Jesus was confronted with one of the most difficult moments of His earthly life in the Garden of Gethsemane on His way to the cross, He prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Like 22:42).

God chose Mary for the special task of bearing His Son because of her readiness to fully embrace the will of God. Is it possible that Jesus had the character to fully embrace the will of God – not just because of who He was the Son of God, but also because He saw it modeled by His mother while He was growing up? The Bible doesn’t say, but it is interesting for us to ponder this possibility.


The reality is that God is looking for people who are willing to walk in total submission to His will. Are we going to have concerns? Yes! Will we have questions? Absolutely! But like Mary and Jesus let us embrace an attitude of submission to the will of our Creator. Let us surrender to the One who created us and truly and ultimately knows the reasons for which we were given life. Let us follow Him - walking in faith, trusting that He knows best.

Reflection Questions:

What are some of the fears you have when you think about submitting to the will of God? Explain.

What is at risk when you say “yes” to God’s will?

What is at risk when you say “yes” to your will?

If you're in a group, share with one another areas of your lives that you are not fully submitted to the Lord in. Then take some time to pray for each other.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Today I was out doing yard work preparing for the snow storm when my wife arrived home from a wedding makeup job. She asked me to come inside - that she had an emergency. When I came in I was shocked to see my mom and dad sitting on the couch! They had decided to fly out to spend Christmas with us, and I think that's the first time my wife ever kept a secret and surprised me like that. So fun! The day was capped off in perfect fashion ... watching the Cowboys beat the previously undefeated Saints with my dad. Thank you Jesus for a great day!
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Devotional Classics

Today I finished up a tremendous collection of devotions that I've been working through for a few months in a book called Devotional Classics edited by Richard Foster & James Bryan Smith. I read it for a class in seminary many years ago, but, as with many books one reads in college, while it was good, sometimes I was rushing through to get it done in time for class and didn't fully value the content. I am so glad I dusted it off and went through it again, this time at a more leisurely pace so I could absorb it into my spirit! It was a much richer and more meaningful experience for me at this point on my journey. I highly recommend getting it and working your way through it with your morning cup of coffee. Well worth it!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Master vs. Father

"God is not so well pleased with being our Master as he is with being our Father; he is not so pleased with our being his slaves as he is with our being his children. This is what God truly wants. This is why he did all that he has done, not sparing his only begotten Son, that we, as adopted sons and daughters, might love him as a Father. God's exceeding desire to be loved comes from loving exceedingly." - John Chrysostom (345-407)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

I saw this on HLN News this evening and it so resonates with me! I hope it will with you as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

C-Lite - "No Tombstone" Featuring Sheena Lee

Hey guys! Check out this music video directed by my good friend David Ham. We will be having the artists featured in the video at Planet Impact in the coming months, so look forward to it! - PK

2 New Christmas Videos from After Edmund w/ New Manager Jim Bob

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Chinese Buffet

This is one of my favorites! There is one curse word in it, so be forewarned. It's too funny! Enjoy!

World AIDS Day Speech

After my message at Planet Impact last week, many of you have asked for a copy of the World AIDS Day speech that I delivered on December 4th which I made reference to. I need to mention that I am indebted to World Vision for many of the statistics given in the opening. The description of God is adapted from an e-mail forward I received many years ago (no original source was given). OK, here it is ...

World AIDS Day was started in 1988 in order to bring attention to the global AIDS epidemic. Tonight we gather to celebrate 21 years of raising awareness and focusing attention on AIDS and its affect on our world.

Over 33 million people worldwide are living with HIV and AIDS.

Last year 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV.

Every day more than 5,700 people die because of AIDS – that’s more than 2 million people a year.

Those hardest hit are often children. More than 2 million children worldwide are living with HIV.

More than 15 million children have lost one or both parents because of AIDS.

By next year the global number of children orphaned by AIDS is expected to surpass 20 million.

Rising mortality rates and falling life expectancies due to AIDS mean that much of the progress that has been made fighting poverty in recent decades is being lost.

For example, in the hardest hit areas – particularly in Africa, an emerging middle class is being pushed below the poverty line by the loss of income and exorbitant medical bills. Few can afford to see a doctor, and even fewer can afford AIDS medications.

When children lose parents to AIDS, grandparents often become guardians. If the grandparents are gone, the older children must drop out of school to look after their younger siblings.

While AIDS has devastated millions of people – some of whom were friends of those of you gathered here tonight – I come this evening with a message of hope. I believe there is One Person who can give us hope in the fight against AIDS. It is not President Obama. It is not Bill Gates. It is not even Bono. The Person I am referring to is ...

The First and Last, the Beginning and the End
He is the keeper of all creation and the Creator of all
He is the Architect of the universe, and the Overseer of all times.
He always was, always is, and He always will be …
Unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone
He was bruised and offers healing
He was pierced and eases pain
He was persecuted and offers freedom
He was dead and offers life
He is risen and offers hope
He reigns and offers peace
The world can’t understand him
Armies can’t defeat Him
Schools can’t explain Him
Leaders can’t ignore Him
Herod couldn’t kill Him
Scholars couldn’t confuse Him
People couldn’t hold Him
Nero couldn’t crush Him
Hitler couldn’t silence Him
Oprah can’t explain Him away, and
AIDS does not intimidate Him
He is light, love, liberty, and Lord
He is goodness, kindness, gentleness, and God
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure
His ways are right
His Word is eternal
His will is unchanging, and
His mind is on you and me
He is my Savior
He is my Redeemer
He is my best Friend
He is my Guide
He is my Peace
He is my Joy
He is my Comfort
He is my Lord
He rules my life!
I serve Him because His bond is love
His burden is light
His destiny for me is abundant life
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise
The power of the powerful
The Ancient of Days
The ruler of rulers
The leader of leaders
The overseer of overseers
The Sovereign Lord of all that was, that is, and that is to come
His goal is a relationship with you and me
He will never leave me nor forsake me
He will never mislead me or forget me
He will never overlook me, and
When I fall, He lifts me up
When I fail, He forgives me
When I am weak, He is strong
When I am lost, He is the way
When I am afraid, He is my courage
When I stumble, He steadies me
When I am hurt, He heals me
When I am broken, He mends me
When I am blind, He leads me
When I am hungry, He feeds me
When I face trials, He is with me
When I face persecution, He shields me
When I face problems, He provides for me
When I face loss, He comforts me
When I face death, He carries me home.
He is everything, for everybody, everywhere, every time, in every way, for all time
He is God
He is faithful
I am His, and He is mine
God is in control, and I am His child
That means I will do not fear, I am not afraid
I trust my Father, and all is well with my soul
I love the Lord, and I thank Him for Who He is and all that He does in my life
Therefore I am here to tell you tonight that God is the Source of all Life
Whoever you are, wherever you are from, whatever you are going through, God IS!
He is the reason you are here, alive, and breathing at this very moment
Without Him we are nothing and can do nothing
But with Him we can do all things ...

Including not just slowing AIDS down, but putting a stop to AIDS once and for all!

So I ask you tonight, who or what is the leader of your life? Who or what is your confidence in for solving the AIDS crisis? If your answer – and I mean actually, not just verbally – is anything other than God Himself, then I want you to know tonight that your hope is on shifting sands.

I believe with all my heart tonight that the peace and fulfillment that you long for in your life, and the hope for ending AIDS is not to be found in programs or prescriptions – it is to be found in the Person of Jesus Christ who is the hope of the world! Tonight I challenge you to commit your life to His care and His lordship, and discover for yourself the joy and purpose that you were created to live with.

Let us pray.

God of healing and compassion touch those who are suffering from HIV/AIDS. Through your Holy Spirit comfort those who are grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from AIDS. Guide them into your truth and help them find hope and strength and purpose in you alone. God of mercy, help those who have sinned against you to repent and receive your free gift of grace, forgiveness, and eternal life through Jesus Christ. God of wisdom, help us to find a cure for this disease. God of love, help us to do our part to build a world of care and compassion. Help us to seek first Your kingdom – to love you with all of our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Serving Granny Frannie

Yesterday a group of 15 of us from Planet Impact went to the home of our favorite adult youth leader, Granny Frannie, and completely cleaned her yard, removing leaves and debris. We also presented her with a check for $150 which students from our youth ministry collected in a special offering for her. Granny loves our students and it was a joy to be a blessing to her during this holiday season. Many thanks to Tim Mee for heading up our efforts, and to all who came out to assist us. We had a great time working together, serving Jesus.
Granny was recently inducted into the Suffolk County Women's Hall of Fame for her lifetime efforts for civil rights.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Boy!

Friday, December 11, 2009

"Satisfying This Tiny Heart"

"Real joy and peace do not depend on power, kingly wealth, or other material possessions. If this were so, all people of wealth in the world would be happy and contented, and princes like Buddha, Mahavira, and Bhartari would not have renounced their kingdom. But this real and permanent joy is found only in the Kingdom of God, which is established in the heart when we are born again.

"The secret and reality of this blissful life in God cannot be understood without receiving, living, and experiencing it. If we try to understand only with the intellect, we will find our effort useless. A scientist had a bird in his hand. He saw that it had life, and, wanting to find out in what part of the bird's body the life was, he began dissecting the bird. The result was that the very life of which he was in search disappeared mysteriously. Those who try to understand the inner life merely intellectually will meet with a similar failure. The life for which they are looking will vanish in the analysis.

"In comparison with this big world, the human heart is only a small thing. Though the world is so large, it is utterly unable to satisfy this tiny heart. Our ever growing soul and its capacities can be satisfied only in the infinite God. As water is restless until it reaches its level, so the soul has no peace until it rests in God."

(Foster & Smith, Devotional Classics, Sadhu Sundar Singh (1889-1933?), p. 310)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ultimate Praying Championship

Got this from a friend. There's one swear word in the middle, so ... sorry about that. It's still super funny, though. Enjoy!

A Leadership Liturgy of Praise 2009

I put the following together as a way to recount and honor of the wonderful team God has given me to work with in youth ministry, and how they have served the Lord this past year. May it bless, encourage, and inspire. - Kev

I was reading in Judges the other day in my Holman Christian Standard Bible, and something struck me because of the way it was worded in this particular version. In Judges 5 we find the record of what is known as The Song of Deborah. Deborah was a married woman, prophetess and judge in Israel (4:4). It was customary for songs to be written to celebrate victories, and in this passage, Deborah describes the Israelite victory over Sisera and the Canaanites. What I found particularly interesting was that the first words out of Deborah’s mouth had to do with leadership and volunteerism: “When the leaders lead in Israel, when the people volunteer, praise the Lord” (5:2). A few verses later she says, “My heart is with the leaders of Israel, with the volunteers of the people. Praise the Lord” (5:9)!

I really resonate with Deborah’s words. I love when I look out over the landscape of Planet Impact and I see leaders leading and people volunteering. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: Without caring, committed adult leaders we could not have a successful youth ministry. You are the ones who make great youth ministry possible. I want you to know afresh that my heart is with you. I am constantly thinking of you, praying for you, trying to come up with ways to bless you, encourage you, and equip you to be even more effective in loving and leading students to Jesus.

As I look back over this past year, I can say that we have battled and it has been a victorious year for us. Since I can’t sing to celebrate our victory, I have decided to write something of a poem or even a liturgy of praise to God for your faithful service unto the Lord. Enjoy!

Julianne takes girls to Starbucks and talks to them about life and hair.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Don runs wires all day for Verizon, then races to the church on Wednesday afternoons so he can mold young musicians into true worshippers of God.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Janis has a passion for seeing young people discover freedom and healing in Christ and pours herself into them by serving as a teacher for Life Hurts, God Heals.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

David desires to see students worshipping God with reckless abandon and works hard to create environments wherein they can experience God’s presence in a powerful way.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Joey sets up his DJ equipment and entertains students at our Serve and Swim parties and Invite Nights.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Teresa is an encourager and gets up early to go and support students attending See Ya At The Pole at Connetquot High School.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Ines brings her entire family to church on a Saturday to serve lunch to the elderly at the Senior Saints’ Luncheon.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Jean engages with students in lively discussions in small group.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Ren starts Planet Impact TV and gets the Internet buzzing about our youth ministry.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Bob Kogut loads up his truck with tools and materials and works hard to make our Winter Retreat vision come to life.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Stan works alongside our friends from London at Hobbs Farm, pulling weeds so food can be grown to feed the poor.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Tommy Labarbera sets up cones and directs traffic on Sunday mornings and plays sports with students on Monday nights.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Carlo builds relationships with students in his small group and facilitates discussions that cause students to grow in Christ.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Kim meets with girls in small group to talk about godliness and purity.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Lily goes to the city with a group of students to attend a concert. Along the way she laughs with them and talks with them about their lives.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

John Long goes on his 80th missions trip, cooking for the team so they can minister in health and strength.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Patrice oversees registration and serves as a liaison with Tuscarora, ensuring that everyone is taken care of at the Winter Retreat.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Adriana talks to girls on the phone and has them over to her house for conversations about the things of God and to help them discover their identities in Christ.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.
Frank and Diane sit with students to discuss life and faith on Sunday mornings. They also give friendly smiles and answer questions for people on Wednesday nights.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Josh works with students on the Tech Team on Wednesday nights, helping them develop their talents for God’s glory.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Tommy and Naomi show up to Lauren’s Sweet 16 to encourage her and speak blessing into her life.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Tim gets a group of students together and spends a Saturday blessing Granny Frannie by cleaning her yard.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Carmen loves on students during Life Development, patiently interacting with them about important topics.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Mama Muller sees students in the hallways and makes them feel loved and cared for with her contagious smile and warm hugs.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Nico serves as a small group leader, letting students know he cares about them by being a good listener, asking questions, and offering life perspective.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Bradley has an eye for students on the fringe. He greets them and makes them feel welcome on Sunday mornings.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Rolf welcomes students to youth service and ensures that they are kept safe by helping with security.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Richard serves pizza with a smile and makes it possible for James to be a part of our youth ministry by driving him home each and every Wednesday night.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Mike becomes a staple of the youth ministry announcement videos, keeping students informed about what’s happening.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Amarisa is a willing servant and gladly helps people at the Resource table on Wednesday nights.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Granny Frannie lets students know that she cares about them and wants to see them live well and make right choices, and she inspires all of us to invest our lives in the next generation.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Giovanni shows confidence in Justin who now leads a group of his peers on Wednesday nights, handing out goodies to everyone for Cuz We Feel Like It.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Bob Zuber identifies, encourages, and gives students with technical abilities the opportunity to grow in their giftings as He serves the Lord with gladness, faithfully modeling servant leadership.
When leaders lead and people volunteer, praise the Lord.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great Christmas Gift!

Give your friends, volunteers, small group leaders, teenagers ... OK, anybody a gift that will entertain them as well as help them engage in better conversations this Christmas! Order a signed copy of my book What Would You Do? for only $8/copy (retail $10.99) and receive FREE SHIPPING! (Bulk pricing also available!).

Ordering Information:

Make check payable to Kevin Mahaffy and mail to: 58 Brooksite Dr.Smithtown, NY 11787

If you would like the book addressed to someone specific, please include information along with check.

Contemplation & Action

"Sometimes it is action itself which leads us to our best contemplation. If we contemplate too long, we sometimes avoid the necessary action." - Richard Rohr

Monday, December 7, 2009

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Return to the Doghouse

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Helping People Deal With Loss

Last week we had several tragedies in our community in the days before Thanksgiving. On Tuesday night an 11-year-old girl was killed crossing the street right in front of her mother in a hit and run accident on Main Street. On Wednesday afternoon a 15-year-old boy was killed crossing a major road on his bike just two miles away. Two college students on their way home for the holiday were killed in a car accident. Such horrible tragedies intensified by their proximity to Thanksgiving. Some of my students were friends with the 15-year-old boy who was killed, so I thought it would be appropriate for us to take some time as a youth ministry to talk about how we deal with loss. Here are some thoughts.

We all live with the reality of loss. Whether it's a family member or a friend, at some point all of us are going to deal with the pain of losing someone. In those times our faith is put to the test. Faith can be understood as putting all of my weight on. What or Whom are we putting our weight on during times of crisis?

The end of life is a reality all of us will face. Whether through death or the return of Jesus, this life as we know it will come to an end for everyone. (Job 1:21; Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

It is OK to grieve. Having questions, doubts, fears, frustrations, even anger are all normal during times of loss, and we need to give people permission to grieve. Hey, even Jesus wept. (John 11:35)

Griveing is not a lack of faith. Christians do not grieve as those who have no hope, but the DO grieve. (I Thessalonians 4:13)

Go to God. A look at the Psalms will reveal a guy (David) who wrestled with God, who poured out his emotions and frustrations, but he did it in the right way. He didn't hit things or cut himself or vent with rage on other people (that we know of), he poured out his heart to his Creator. (Psalm 23:4)

Receive from God. He knows what we're going through and in His love, He did not leave us to walk through tough times alone. We need to help kids receive the help and the grace that God has provided through His Holy Spirit and through His Church. (Isaiah 53:3, Hebrews 2:18; John 14:26; John 15:26)

Trust in God. Help students know that even when things don't make sense and they don't have all the answers, they can trust in God because His very nature is love and He is trustworthy. (Isaian 55:9; Proverbs 3:5; Philippians 4:6-7)

The question is not whether we will die, but how we will live. When our time comes to an end, we are going to be asked whether we were known by God and we are going to be judged based on whether we were living for His purposes. Students should be challenged to evaluate their lives and respond to the good news of salvation through Jesus (Hebrews 9:27; Matthew 25; II Corinthians 6:2)