Friday, May 31, 2013

Delta Small Groups End of Year Party

On Wednesday night we had our Delta End of the Year Pool Party. It was a fun night for the students who were connected in our small groups this year to get together one last time before summer. A very fun night for all.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Kevin James LIVE Pics!!!

Tonight Adriana and I were so blessed to be able to see Kevin James do standup with our good friends the Dantonas. We sat in the second row and thoroughly enjoyed laughing our heads off the entire time. Opening act Richie Minervini was also good. What a treat! What a fun night!

Matt, Dominic, MaryAnn, Adriana, Kevin, Danielle

Richie Minervini - Opening Comedian

Going to See Kevin James!

The months of waiting is over tonight! Adriana and I are going to see comedian/actor Kevin James do standup with our good friends Dominic and MaryAnn! So excited!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Help Kid President Fix Global Sadness

Kid President's Pep Talk.

Kid President is The Man!

Help Kid President Fix Global Sadness.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Coldplay Live 2012

Fantastic concert! Someday we're going!

Excellent Date Night in NYC Featuring Daniel Bennett Group

On Saturday night Adriana and I went on a very nice date in New York City. We went to see the Daniel Bennett Group at Tomi Jazz in Manhattan. Daniel and I have known each other since we were kids. We both attended the same high school and church. It was really neat finally being able to get into the city to see him in concert. What a super nice and tremendously talented guy! We so enjoyed listening to him and his band play while we ate dinner at this great little hole in the wall jazz club. They played some songs off of his new album which is releasing July 10th. Excellent classic jazz!


Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Life of the Body

The last couple of years have been a whirlwind of change for our family, and I must confess that I fell out of the healthier rhythms I had been in for about 5 years. I got away from the regular exercise I had maintained during that season. I stopped really caring about the food I was putting in my body, and perhaps more significantly, started eating more and bigger portions than I needed. My sleeping patterns, which have never been very good, got even worse.

I just finished reading The Life of the Body by Valerie E. Hess and Lane M. Arnold. I needed this book! I needed a wakeup call. I needed to be reminded of things I know. As we all know, there's a difference between knowing something and doing something. I needed something that challenge me to get out of my head, get off my butt, and get on with the business of healthy living. This book was that something for me.

I need to be healthy.

My family needs me to be healthy.

The people I serve need me to be healthy.


Because: "Our body is where we live each day. Our heart, mind, soul and spirit lead us to ponder meaning within this body. Together, every component of who we are informs and impacts the other components, forming us more or less into the image of God.... let us be diligent to consider how daily choices affect future realities" (p. 118).

The health of my spiritual life is inseparable from the health of my physical life. The two are so intwined and must be viewed and approached in an integrated way. The body is good, created by God, which He will ultimately redeem in the resurrection, and must be stewarded as such in the here and now. To view it otherwise is to embark on a slippery slope toward gnosticism. (This is also true of the earth itself, which is also touched on in the book.)

I very much appreciated that Hess and Arnold pointed out that health doesn't necessarily mean looking like the models our culture sets forth as pictures of perfection. In a world inundated with media espousing what we are "supposed" to look like, we all (and especially our children and teenagers) need to hear this. We must embrace  living "a healthy lifestyle in the body shape and size [we are] given" (p. 80) and not compare ourselves to what culture says we need to look like. 

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

God, forgive me of not caring for the temple that your Holy Spirit lives in. Help me to honor you in my body so that I can be who you've created me to be and do all you've called me to do. Amen.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why You Need a Strong Youth Ministry

“Our findings suggest ... that the greater the supply of religiously grounded relationships, activities, programs, opportunities, and challenges available to teenagers, other things being equal, the more likely teenagers will be religiously engaged and invested. Religious congregations that prioritize ministry to youth and support for their parents, invest in trained and skilled youth group leaders, and make serious efforts to engage and teach adolescents seem much more likely to draw youth into their religious lives and to foster religious and spiritual maturity in their young members.... Stated negatively, when religious communities do not invest in their youth, unsurprisingly, their youth are less likely to invest in their religious faith” (Smith, Christian in Soul Searching, pp. 261-262).

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How We Initiated 6th Graders and Welcomed Them into Student Ministries

In just a few weeks the 6th graders of Shelter Rock Church will be officially moving up from Children's Ministry to Student Ministries. We believe it's important for us to help kids make this transition, so this past weekend the Tweens (5th and 6th graders) went on a camping trip. I took some of our current Jr. Highers (7th and 8th graders) and we went on a Secret Mission. While the Tweens were out on a hike, we hid in their campsite, and when they returned we jumped out with water guns and captured them for a couple of hours. We took them to Wendy's then to play mini golf. Everyone had a really fun time! Before returning them to camp we gave them each a bucket with candy, gifts, and our summer calendar and told them how excited we are to have them moving up this summer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence

Last week I finished reading Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence by Paul Feig. Through comical recollections of his adolescent years  I was instantly transported back to my own growing-up years. Beyond simple entertainment value, the biggest takeaway for me was simply remembering the awkwardness of those years. As a youth worker it is always good to be reminded of the incredible amount of change my students are going through.

I've often said, the older I get, the better I was. Reading this book reminded me that I too was once a weird kid, and I too once dealt with all of the things that kids today are dealing with. While kids today deal with some things more intensely that we did due to the advent of the Internet and social media, the reality is that kids are still kids, and at the core the things they struggle with are the same things we struggled with. Identity. Security. Relationships. Purpose.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Useful Dog Tricks

Adriana found this video yesterday. Love it!

Our Relational Approach to Reaching Students For Christ

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mission Impossible Parody: Bridge Jr. High Secret Mission

Today I took a bunch of our Jr. High kids on a secret mission to raid the Tweens campout and capture the 6th graders who are about to move up into Student Ministries and take them out as something of an initiation/we're-excited-you're-moving-up-this-summer time. I'll post footage of our event soon, but for now here's the video they were shown before engaging the mission.

Visiting Our Favorite 92-Year-Old Youth Worker!

Last night Natalia went on our church's Tween campout. Adriana and I drove Claudia to Smithtown to spend the night with her best friend. We decided to take the scenic route down Rt. 25-A. As we were driving through our old stomping grounds I felt led to stop in and check on our favorite 92-year-old youth worker and friend Granny Frannie. While she can't get out of her home much any more, this woman loves teenagers and in my book continues to be a great youth worker because she prays so diligently for them. We picked up a card and popped by unannounced, but we ended up staying for about 45-minutes and loved visiting with our dear friend. Her house is like a museum of black history (literally) and we always learn so much when we visit. Newsday recently did a piece on her. So neat! Granny is so full of life and wisdom and it was indeed an honor and a privilege to have her speak into our lives. Before we left we prayed for her and she prayed over us. A very special God-moment. We cherish every minute we are blessed to share with her.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Labor Pain Simulation ... LOL!

Hilarious Guy Parody of Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Here's the real video which is quite moving.

Monday, May 13, 2013

How Do You See Yourself? Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Pastor Jack Crabtree showed this video this morning during our Mother's Day service. Fantastic!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

To my Mom ...

To my Wife ...

To my Grandmas ...

To My Mother-In-Law ...

and To my Sisters and Sisters-in-Law ...

Sister April

Sister-in-Law Christy

Sister Naomi