Monday, October 29, 2007

So, The Red Sox won the world series

Ho hum, this is becoming a habit winning, you would think the Sox have become the Yankees. Oh wait any child in kindergarten and younger have lived on this earth without ever knowing the Yankees as world champions.
I wrote the day after opening day that this was not going to be the Red Sox year. I thought there offense was old and past their prime. I was wrong.
I am glad this series did not go 7 games, the lack of sleep is starting to get to me.
In 2004 I was able to see the Sox play in one spring training game and 3 regular season games, including being in Boston to see Schilling win his 20th game.
2007 I was able to go to 2 spring training games, 1 regular season game, and the last loss they had for the year in Cleveland.
I am a proud member of Red Sox nation.

Monday, October 22, 2007


I have changed the comments to let anyone who wishes can leave a comment and not just registered users.

Happiness comes in all shapes and sizes

One of my biggest growth projects for my life over the last few years is to find peace in quietness, in the small moments of life, and spending time with family and friends. I tend not to live a peaceful existance, I tend to be busy, waste money on things/experiences that will bring me peace and not spend time in the quiet.
Ok, Last night my happiness came in the loudness of the culture of American sports. As much as I want to stay away from consumerism and all the junk that goes along with the sports business, I can't quit the Red Sox. Last night was beautiful. There is beauty in baseball. :) (I did tell one of the kids I work with at Christian Haven that there is no hugging on a football field but I think there can be exceptions on the baseball field). Unfortunately the Red Sox have begun to shed some of the loveable loser mentality. When I was in Cleveland the fans were razing us about trying to buy a championship team. The Red Sox are becoming a different team than when I was growing up. If it gets too bad I may become a Royals fan. Until then I am going to savor this day and all the days until they destroy the Rockies.
In our decision to move to Goshen, Jill and I want to take a step back in life. Not, that Valparaiso is the fastest paced place in the world. We (ok more me) want to buy an old farm house in the middle of the country by Goshen. We have talked a lot about adopting one more little rascal if not more. I wasn't thrilled with it at first but then I started thinking of the reasons I didn't want to and all of them were selfish reasons. It is going to be a work for me but I want to be able to find peace and happiness in living in the country spending more time with family and friends and not trying to fill up my life with busyness, stuff, and food.
When this transpires you are all invited to spend time with our clan. :) I believe that there is much ministry that God has called me to do, but more than that I believe He has called me to teach and live out a more peaceful less busy life for myself and my kids.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I wanted to keep you all updated on my process and status with youth for christ fundraising and what was going to happen next. In two months I raised 2% of the funds I would need. I have been working 3-11 tuesday-saturday at a theraputic treatment centerfor children and teens. I have actually enjoyed the work but 3-11 is a horrible shift to work especially with kids in school. I knew this wasn't goingto be a long term solution so I have been able to deal with it. With only 2% of the money, I had a couple of different choices, I could send out another letter, I could work 1/4 time and hope money would come along with my 3-11 job or I could see this as maybe a door closing. I chose that this is a sign the door was closing. I didn't want to live in limbo any longer than I had too, this scenerio is fairly tough on the family and It wasn't my desire to work like this for the next year.We have had numerous opportunities come up in the past two months and one really made sense. So we are moving to Goshen, and i am going to be working in an inner city type church that is strongly missions/outreach/church planting minded. I am going to be a youth pastor there.There is a couple of other reasons that Goshen made sense to us, my parents bought a house in Goshen about 6 months a go, and my brother and family lives about 20 minutesfrom there. My wife also can get a job being a dental hygienist in the office she worked at 8 years ago when we lived in Ligonier. We have a peace about this decision, we still need to sell our house and at this point of the year it is going to take a miracle. We believe God has opened this door and we believeHe is going to work out that part also.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tuesday night can not come soon enough.

I do dumb things fairly frequently. It is tough for me not to be spontanous, my personality profile likens me to a dog who is into everything always curious. With that said I bought Red Sox playoff tickets for Tuesday night in Cleveland. In one of the many deals I have made with my wife, I made a deal to go to a Red Sox playoff game this year if it wasn't "too" expensive and I didn't have to a week off of work. Both of those feel into place for next tuesday night. Along with my myself I convinced my brother (not to hard) and two of my softball buddies to go.
I am sure I will write about my experiences after Tuesday, also next week I will be making an announcement on my future and it does involve sled dogs, the artic circle, and an igloo.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What is the real problem?

As a youth pastor I spent so much time dealing with teen behavior. Most talks Youth pastors give are about behaviors, they are about sex, not doing drugs and staying away from alcohol. Behaviors have to be dealt with or else utter chaos occurs. Where do these behaviors come from? How can they be dealt with in a way that really creates change? If we as the Christian community are being effective in the way we deal with problems then why is the world or more importantly America declining in "Christian morals"? In my mind in just dealing with behaviors we are never getting to the root cause of the problem. By the time it has become a behavior it has gotten past being just a thought, it has traveled through the process of a feeling that has now been acted upon.
Why do any of us pick unhealthy habits? Example: smoking, porn, unhealthy relationships, abuse of alcohol, or even biting our finger nails? Is it a coping skill that we have used in order to make us feel better on the inside? I am pretty sure most of us don't pick up destructive habits on purpose. We don't one day say my life is good but I would rather be an addict. In my mind these behaviors are just an outpouring of the emotions that are going on in the inside. When some one hurts us what do we do? This action we do to deal with this feeling is a coping skill and it can become a cycle in dealing with pain, hurt, or even anger. We may subconsiously do these because this is a habit we picked up many years ago, or we not know a better coping skill than what we currently do. We may think that when we get angry at least I didn't punch some one instead I drank 17 beers and I am not driving anywhere. Ok in some ways that may be a more positive coping skill but there are still going to be negative effects from that coping skill.
As I have thought about Christianity and behaviors I think that we need to continue to extend grace to people. If we want people to deal with things in a more healthy way we have to teach them. We also have to realize that we have coping skills of our own that are not 100% healthy. Next time you feel stressed see what the first thing you do is? It may not be alcohol, it may not be going and getting a gun, but does your dog have broken ribs?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Who makes a good youth worker?

I was in training for working with at risk kids a couple weeks ago. The trainer was experienced in both church youth work and thereputic systems. This training was some of the best that I had in working with teens. Throughout the two week training we had some dialogues about different aspects of teens. One of the questions I asked him was who makes a good youth worker? It was a question I had asked myself many times while being in church ministry. When I asked the question the trainer smiled and wrote this on the white board: selfless and selfish. He went on to explain in his experience and knowledge about teens there are two types of people in this world selfish people - who only think about themselves, and selfless people- those who think about others. He said that anyone who has some degree of selflessness makes good youth workers. I was thinking youth workers needed some sort of skill and some natural bend toward teens, but in reality it is true. Anyone who is willing to give of their time, listen, comfort, and genuinely care can make good youth workers. The most important thing that I learned through this training is that the number 1 skill when working with at risk kids is myself. I can learn programs, I can learn descalating techniques, and I also learned restraints, but when it comes down to it either I can be selfish or selfless. The one that I choose is going to determine if I am successful in working with teens. Of course when choosing a mate, friend, a new place to work, employee etc it is good advice to also pick the one who is selfless.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Ideal Person- Lessons learned from commercials

Commercials on tv are trying to sell us some sort of product, car, food, toy, etc. I don't know if any of us consciously buy because of these but it may influence it to look twice at a product. I have become more interested in the type of people who are trying to sell us these products. If these items we are to buy is the american dream then the type of people represented in the commercials are the ideal Americans.
What are the characteristics of the people in commercials? In the brief stetches what type of attributes are being shown and encouraged for us to be like? I first starting watching the business related commericials this way. There are certain ways that I think about business and sales people, and most of them are not positive. Words that come to mind are egotistical, liars, hard nosed, only out for number one to name a few. In commercials these characteristics are not encouraged if someone is this way, they are the "villians" of the commercial. The people who win in business commercials are people with a smile, who talk so the customer can understand, and seem to genuinely want what is best for customer.
To cars, sports, and beer commercials. These commercials are geared to help with the experience. Car commercials are never about the vehicle itself, it is about where you can go and the experience you can have with it. In these commericials the "hero" most of the time seems to have a relaxed attitude. We can only assume the experiences he/she is having in the vehicle are after a long day at work or when they go on vacation. This is helping to relieve their stress. We can see the same with beer and sports related commercials. These products are going to enhance their times of relaxation. The "hero" of the commericials are usually someone we would want to be like in their interaction with others and their care free attitude. Of course there are the commericials that only there to make us laugh but usually we feel sorry for the "hero" because they are a loveable fellow.
After watching quite a few commercials I have found that Americans still value the fruits of the spirit shown through people's lives. The majority of the "heros"depicted in commericials are loving,joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, long suffering, and self controled. Along with these attributes, I think there also is a general sense that the ten commandments are important. Beyond the fact that commercials don't encourage, stealing, murder, adultry (whether it be married or not monogomous relationships are the norm),or bearing false witness against your brother. They do encourage rest where I think the sabbath plays a part in that. The use of the Lord's name in vein is not used, and for the most part when families are depicted the children are respectful. The one that in my mind can be debatable is the lusting after someones stuff. I can see both sides of that played out in commercials.
Again this is just my short observation and I may be wrong, but I honestly think that consciously or subconsciously advertisers still see that Americans do want to be the types of people that the Bible tells us to be. Anyone elses observations are welcome.