Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2011

By Kimberly Palmer – Mon Dec 27, 9:15 am ET

Whether you want to ramp up your earning power, finally start a retirement savings account, or just stop feeling like you're wasting money, now is the time to put together your New Year's resolutions. We've pulled together 50 ways you can improve your financial life in 2011, based on the latest economic research and interviews with financial experts. These ideas, which focus on spending, saving, and earning, give you the tools for a complete financial makeover. Read them all HERE.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Ornament

Blank Project Ceramic Ornament
Unique party invitations and greeting cards by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Boy's Prayer

A little boy was overheard praying: "Lord, if You can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am."

Monday, December 20, 2010

An Atheists' Conclusion

Malcolm Muggeridge, the Socialist and Atheist British columnist from the 60's said: "I have never wanted a God, feared a God, or felt under necessity to invent one. Unfortunately, I am driven to the conclusion that God wants me!"

Church Rules & Youth Ministries

"Youth ministry is dangerous. When you and I are trying to follow Jesus we're going to get into trouble. Trouble-making is what discipleship looks like. Our role is not to create nice, compliant American citizens ready to get a good job and have 2.4 kids. Our job is to introduce young people to the life-ruining Jesus who causes nothing but trouble.

"Listen ... if your church doesn't have a rule made just because of your youth ministry (no soccer in the sanctuary, no orange punch in fellowship hall), you aren't letting Jesus be first place in your ministry. Trouble is the yout worker's middle name." - The late Mike Yaconelli, founder of Youth Specialties

10 Commitments of Youth Ministry (Doug Fields)

  1. I will move slowly (Proverbs 14:15-16)
  2. I will regularly check my motives and evaluate my heart (Proverbs 20:8-12)
  3. I will steer clear of the numbers game (Matthew 18:12)
  4. I will not criticize the past (Philippians 3:13)
  5. I will avoid the comparison trap (Galatians 6:4)
  6. I will focus on priorities (Matthew 22:36-40)
  7. I will pace myself (Hebrews 10:36)
  8. I will serve (Matthew 20:26-28)
  9. I will be a learner (Proverbs 4:5; 13:20)
  10. I will pursue contentment (Philippians 4:11

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Elf Yourself

Friday, December 17, 2010

Surrendered & Untamed ... A Video inro

Got word today that my college freshman year roommate, Jason Clark, has written a book. In addition to being an incredible musician and worship leader, it's awesome to see him add this book to his contributions to the conversation of faith in our generation. I'll be getting a copy of the book soon and writing a review. Enjoy this video introduction by Jason himself.

S&U An Introduction from Jason Clark on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Killball (Dodgeball in laymen's terms) Rules from Saddleback

Here is a link to putting together a great killball (dodgeball) tournament from Taffy. Click here for the rules and release form they use.  Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Surprised by Hope

Just finished re-reading one of my favorite books - one of the most informative and transformative books I have ever read - N.T. Wright's Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. Brilliant! Fantastic! Inspiring! Hope-filled! Can't recommend it highly enough!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dress Like Your Parents When They Met

The Ragamuffin Gospel

This week I finished reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. A fantastic book that I couldn't recommend more highly-especially if you've felt burnt by the people in the church who supposedly represented Jesus. You need to know that God is crazy about Ragamuffins like you and me. :) Be blessed and enjoy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia

I am a bow in your hands, Lord ...

"I am a bow in your hands, Lord.
Draw me, lest I rot.
Do not overdraw me, Lord. I shall break.
Overdraw me, Lord, and who cares if I break."
- Nikos Kazantzakis

Heaven & Earth

"Heaven is important but it's not the end of the world." - N.T. Wright

Thursday, December 9, 2010

12 Things We Hate About Youth Ministry

Yesterday, we reflected on 12 things we love about youth ministry—it was hard to keep the list to just 12! Serving in youth ministry is great, but sometimes we allow our priorities to get mixed up and give it more than we should. When the needs of the ministry consume and devour our lives, and it results in no margin, no accountability, and no joy…it’s time to change things. Here are some of the warning signs, 12 things we hate about youth ministry: HERE

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12 Things We Love About Youth Ministry

By Doug Fields and Matt McGill

The Christmas season has a lot of movement. People are usually stressed and borderline psycho during a time when they should be slow and reflective. The pace quickens: Christmas parties, visiting family, special church services, and last minute shopping. Everything seems more urgent.

With a little intentionality, this season can become a natural time to reflect on the important things in life. So, instead of singing the 12 days of Christmas (which we would love to do, but you would hate it), we thought we’d share 12 things we love about youth ministry: HERE

Monday, December 6, 2010

Grandma & Grandpa Larkin's Visit

This past week we have enjoyed having my grandparents, Dan and Nancy Larkin, with us. Among other things we were able to go into Mew York City for a day and visited Ground Zero (which has a new tribute museum), took the Staten Island Ferry and saw Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and spent time in Times Square, and went to the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center). My grandfather has not visited NYC since only one of the Twin Towers was standing, and my grandmother has not been in the city in 56 years (since 1954) when she came to the city on her senior trip from high school. During that trip she saw the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. My Grandfather called me a few weeks ago and said he wanted to surprise Grandma and take her to see them again as a Christmas present. I got some tickets and we pulled off an amazing surprise (see her reaction below when we told her were were going into the theater to see the show!). The show was tremendous and it was a real treat to be able to enjoy it with my grandparents. Another day we enjoyed a nice drive out to the Montauk Lighthouse at the end of Long Island. Great memories!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ice Cream Throw Down!

Todd Cavanaugh's Proposal to Elisabeth Baldanza

Todd Cavanaugh is the director of BASIC college ministries. I remember him as a little kid. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are so thankful for all of our friends and family. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!


Stiller & Meara a Rant on Thanksgiving ... Hilarious!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No More Braces!

After 2 years Claudia got her braces off yesterday! Yeah!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Daughters Serving Jesus

In the past 48 hours I have had the tremendous privilege of witnessing both of my daughters actively serving the Lord. On Sunday morning I watched my oldest daughter Claudia leading her peers in worship unto God as she sang on our student worship team. Then this morning I walked out of my office to see my youngest daughter Natalia leading the Bible Club she started during recess at school. It fills my heart with wonder, joy, and hope as I see them loving Jesus and loving others with their gifts and talents.
(Claudia wearing the white shirt in the front.)

(Natalia is standing in the middle.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life Without Limits

Just finished reading the book Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic. Here's a video clip of Nick sharing some of his inspirational story.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vote for one of my Emerging Leaders!

One of my former students who is currently serving as one of my emerging adult leaders, Teresa Rojas, is in the running for a Young Christian Leaders scholarship. Would you do me a favor and vote for her? You can do so once a day while voting lasts.
Vote for Teresa up to once a day here.

Kevin Dynamite

These videos were made in honor of my arrival at Smithtown Gospel Tabernacle in 2005.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

To Date or Not to Date?

Tonight we are beginning a 3-week series on dating in the high school ministry, PI-912. Students will be given booklets and we will be talking about:

  • Dating & The Bible
  • Principles for Building Healthy Relationships with People of the Opposite Sex
  • Seizing the Date Day

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Imagining Jesus in Election Season

I found this article by Mark R. Wenger to be excellent food for thought. It was written prior to the recent elections, but is quite insightful. Enjoy and be challenged.

"Jesus the Christ couldn't stop talking about politics.

I know it sounds crazy, but please hear me out. What did Jesus talk about more than anything else? Answer: The kingdom of God.

Sometimes he told stories about it: "The Kingdom is like a woman making 100 loaves of homemade bread." Sometimes he was very blunt: "Let me put it to you straight. It is next to impossible for the rich to get into the Kingdom of God."

Again and again Jesus ... Read the full article here.

What if Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

From Esquire:

This radical Christian's ministry for the poor, The Simple Way, has gotten him in some trouble with his fellow Evangelicals. We asked him to address those who don't believe.

By Shane Claiborne

To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives. I am sorry that so often we have forgotten the Christ of our Christianity.

Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of God.

The other night I headed into downtown Philly for a stroll ... Read the full article here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Family Vacation: Saturday & Sunday

On Saturday we very much enjoyed watching the new movie Megamind. So funny! Afterward we ate lunch - the girls at Chick-Fil-A, and Ady and I at In-N-Out right next door. We then bummed around a shopping center for a bit, went back to the hotel for a quick rest, then at 4pm we drove to Saddleback Church where we attended the 4:30 and 6:30pm services. At 4:30pm Claudia went to Wildside (the Jr. High ministry), Natalia went to Extreme (for 3rd & 4th graders) and Ady & I went to HSM (the high school program. At 6:30pm Ady went to the Overdrive venue and enjoyed hearing Rick Warren. The entire church is doing a campaign called Decade of Destiny. Their topic that night was physical health, and outside of their church they had a Health Expo with booths by health professionals to help people in their efforts to live healthier. After the service we went out for dinner with our friend and the high school pastor Josh Griffin, his family, and his high school staff. So fun!

This morning we attended another great church just around the corner from our hotel called Mariners. Really an amazing church and we very much enjoyed it. After church we drove to Laguna Beach where we ate lunch and hung out on the beach for a few hours. We then drove up to Newport Beach where we visited Fashion Island - an outdoor mall. I've never seen so many dogs at a mall - not just outside, but being walked through every major department store. So cool! Made us miss our dogs.

Family Vacation: Friday - Sea World

On Friday we visited Sea World in San Diego. Fantastic! See more pics here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Family Vacation: Thursday - Beaches

Today we hit up Long Beach and Huntington Beach. It was 95 degrees out and beautiful as always here. This evening we had a great dinner with our friend Doug Fields. Unfortunately his wife Cathy was a bit under the weather and unable to join us. Praying she gets well quickly.