Reflections on my life from my perspective.


On the Road Again

I'll be taking a break from blogging and a few other things this week. I'll be in Texas all week for team meetings- one for YouthWAVE and the other for Whitewater Ranch. Student's calendars fill up fast; must get next summer's events planned early. These are both great events, and I look forward to hanging out and doing some planning with my partners in ministry. See you next week.


New Stuff

I've just added some new blogs to the "blog role" and a list of books I'm currently reading. Check 'em out.



Our minstry to students has a simple motto --"Disciples Making Disciples." With a foundation in the great commandment and challenged by the great commission, we exist as a mission to middle school, high school, and college students. It is our hope that students would follow Jesus Christ as disciples and in the process guide their peers to do the same.

Recently, I read two articles by Mike Yaconelli (owner of Youth Specialties) regarding the topic of student discipleship. Here are a few excerpts, as well as links to the full articles:

In Hurried Discipleship he says,

"I disagree with the popular practice of involving young people in an intense regimen of Bible study, prayer, worship, leadership, evangelism and accountability where young people are challenged to "take the campus for Christ," "be radical for Jesus," and "give 110%."

I know; I know. How could any Bible-believing Christian not believe in a youth ministry that encourages young people to be "on fire for Jesus?"

Well, of course I’m in favor of young people knowing Jesus. What I’m not in favor of is young people doing Jesus because what most youth oriented discipleship programs are about is doing—reading the Bible, praying, worshipping, attending, leading, and evangelizing with no mention of intimacy, waiting, listening, noticing, and paying attention.

Youth-oriented discipleship programs have reduced disciples to cheerleaders and political organizers. Discipleship has been turned into a measurable, external activity instead of an immeasurable, internal lack of activity. Spending time evangelizing has replaced spending time with Jesus, and sharing our faith with others has replaced growing in our faith with Jesus. But there is another, more serious problem.

Young people are…well…young, which means they are immature, confused by their hormones, inexperienced, naïve and idealistic. None of these qualities are "bad," in fact, they are wonderful gifts of youth that are needed in the church, but they are not neutral. Simply put, discipleship is a lifelong process, not a youth activity.

and in Disciple Abuse he says,

"I don't believe in student discipleship.

I believe in encouragement, affirmation, education, service, and study. I believe in relationship, community, and fellowship. I believe in training, beginning, starting, and learning. I believe in praying together, playing together, talking together, hanging together, and living life together, but I don't believe in "pouring my life into a student." I believe in showing my life to a student and living my life in front of a student; I don't believe in discipling young people.

Young people are too…well…young to be disciples.

Apprentices? Of course. Beginners? Sure. Trainees? Interns? Absolutely. But not disciples.

We've convinced adults and parents that we have a program that can produce disciples. We perpetuate the illusion that we can take 13-year-olds and make disciples out of them. We actually act as though we can transform a group of inconsistent, uncommitted adolescents into mature, committed disciples by spending an extra hour or two a week with them.

Not possible."

Although I disagree with Yak's assertion that teenagers are too young to be disciples (even some of Jesus' twelve are thought to have been young men) and probably even his explanation of "discipling young people", his thoughts are worth some investigation. Youth Ministry is not about filling in blanks and doing stuff, it's about calling students to life-long, intimate, and sometimes messy followship, or as I would say Discipleship. And that means even at 13. But, as Yak points out, this takes time- lots of time. The strange thing is that the true evidence of our effectiveness in disciple making, or even beginning this process will not come for many years after students have left our youth groups.


Bono Quote of the Day [from]

"Christ's example is being demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy, which is AIDS."
-- Bono, 2002


Coffee- Now or Later?

I read this article in the Dallas Morning News about saving money from one Starbucks drink a day, and in turn becoming a millionare when you retire. You can read the whole article for yourself here (you'll have to register with Dallas Morning News, but it's free.) You can read my comments here....It is interesting, and as the guy says nothing new or revolutionary. The main point is “delayed gratification.” A tough idea to really live by in “privileged America.” I guess I agree with these ideas in principle (and we do save quite a lot towards our retirement,) but I have to ask- is giving up great coffee and conversation and experience worth the rewards? I think too often people extremely focused on the future miss out on the present. And, who’s to know for sure if one will even be around in the future to enjoy their delayed gratifications. However, that’s no excuse for not taking care of your family’s future. One final thought….this article seems to be about saving for one’s own personal future joy. I’d rather see someone make the case for taking $3.50 “latte money” and investing it in the Kingdom of God. How about using that money to bless someone else, today? Just like He did with Abraham, God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.


Mr. Mom

I'm spending the weekend taking care of my kids as my wife heads off to a well-deserved retreat with our church's women's ministry. My goal for the weekend is not perfection, but simply keeping two children clean, fed and happy. Well, maybe just clean and fed. I think it will be fun!


Good Books

I finally finished The Story We Find Ourselves In, Brian McLaren's follow-up to A New Kind Of Christian. The second was equally as challenging as the first, at least for me it was. I highly recommend both of these books. If you are currently in ministry, do yourself a favor and read both of these books; then find a good friend who has read both books and have a nice, lengthy conversation. My friend's name is Shane. By the way, Shane, when are you going to start blogging? Now, it's time to turn more pages....

I finally picked up the copy of Lesslie Newbigin's Proper Confidence that I bought months ago. Already into the third chapter and this book is rich. Although I have to read each paragraph a couple of times to undertand it, there is a huge pay off when I finally figure out what he is trying to say. This book is already helping me understand what's behind many of the conversations I've had with students regarding faith and doubt.

I'm also reading Brave New World, Aldous Huxley's classic novel. Written in the 1930s, but still has much to say about today....and tomorrow. Very interesting.


Letter to Fellow Movie Watcher

Dear Parent(s),

I want to thank you for bringing a new perspective to my viewing of The Matrix Reloaded. Although I had seen this film once before, I had not yet been able to watch it along with a room full of children. That was until last night. Hearing your babe coo, cry, yell, and laugh at the most inappropriate times throughout the movie definitely brought new meaning to Agent Smith's relentless pursuit of Neo. Hearing your young one's voice and seeing her scurry around the theater distracted me from a movie that requires so much concentration that in fact I think I understood it better this time. Let's see- causality, reality, choice.

What caused you to think it was OK to take your two-year-old to see The Matrix-- maybe it was the intense violence, the adult themes, the references to various eastern religions, or maybe it was just a way to share some good quality time as a family on a limited budget? Whatever the cause, I know the effect was bringing you and your children closer together, as noticed by the way you kept telling her to be quiet.

Did you really think that this would be OK with everyone else in the theater? I guess in your world (reality) loud crying and seat kicking make the movie more realistic.

And I am sure I now understand the oracle's description of free choice, because we had none. We did not get to choose whether or not to watch this movie in a peaceful theater; that choice was made for us. We are now only left to decide why we chose to stay for the whole movie.

But I guess I can't blame you. You weren't the only one who chose The Matrix for your children's movie experience. I heard and/or saw at least five other pre-school children in the theater with us. Seriously, what are you people thinking? R does not stand for Romper Room. But, I must accept the possibility that I am way behind the times. Maybe this is just something I haven't caught on to yet. Maybe I should have brought my four-year-old, or even my six-month-old to see Neo, Trinity and Morpheus fight it out against those evil machines. Hey, maybe our kids could all meet up at Starbucks after opening night of Matix Revolutions and discuss the prolific use of metaphor and allegory to present idealistic philosophies and deconstruct fundamentalist presuppositions about the universe over a venti chocolate milk. Or maybe not.
Well, anyway thanks again for the enlighting experience. I can only hope that it was as enjoyable for you.

p.s. -I thought you'd like to know that there is a blog site called The Matrix Essays where your daughter could post her thoughts on how the Wachowsky brothers have altered her view of preschool. That is, if she's not too busy watching South Park.

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