Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rosebud & the face of Jesus

Lyrics from "What now?" by S.C. Chapman

I saw the face of Jesus in a little orphan girl
She was standing in the corner on the other side of the world
And I heard the voice of Jesus gently whisper to my heart
Didn't you say you wanted to find me?
Well, here I am, here you are

So, What now? What will you do now that you found Me?
What now?What will you do with this treasure you've found?
I know I may not look like what you expected
But if you'll remember this is right where I said I would be
You've found me. What now?

Thanks Deb for hooking me up with this. It's grabbing my heart.

Matthew 25 (English Standard Version)
The Final Judgment
31"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?' 40And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[f] you did it to me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

May God help us feed and clothe the least of these on this trip to the Rosebud. I pray too that God will grab students' hearts to go there.

Disturbing Numbers - Today's Youth Culture

U.S. High School Statistics On Behavior 2003

From the Center for Disease Control


11.5% of girls and 8.5% of boys attempted suicide

6% of teens have carried a weapon on school property

12% of girls have been forced to have sex

22% of teens smoke cigarettes currently

58% of teens have tried smoking

28% of teens report heavy alcohol drinking in the last month while 45% report drinking alcohol in the last month

22% of teens report using marijuana in the last month

12% of guys and 7% of girls tried marijuana before they were 13

15% of high school teens have had 4 sexual partners

Only 63% of teens use condoms during sex

About 1/12 high school senior girls have been pregnant

These are numbers I copied off their survey - and I could have made a mistake in copying (that's my excuse if I got anything wrong).

I don't have lots of great deep thoughts. I'm just saddened by what's going on in our world. The Church needs to be a real light. We have hope. We have the answer. Let's get it out there.

High school is such a rough place. So is Junior High. People are brutal. I guess it's not too surprising with all that's going on.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Great Weekend - Olson Update - nothing deep

What a great weekend. It started off with Triple Espresso in the Twin Cities with a bunch of youth pastor friends (youth pastor and wives retreat). The ride up with youth pastors and wives was fantastic. The meal out together was fun and then the show was incredible. They are worth the $35 or so. Originally written by Christians and the craziest, funniest, clean comedy show you could ever see. Worth it. They are in the Twin Cities and somwhere out west. Check them out: http://tripleespresso.com/

Before we left, I had one of those - wow - I love being a dad and have an incredible son - moments. The short of it - Benjamin, the awesome drummer, played drums for 3 youth pastor couples (I accompanied him on the guitar - I think we played God of Wonders or You Are So Good To Me). He did so well. He's going to be good. We're going to rig up some sort of pedal system so he has a bass kick going. It was cool. And I'd love him to death even if he couldn't play drums.

Can I say again - what a joy to talk to other youth pastors (just being with believers and having good conversations is great). Great weekend. And Lori and I had a good time together too.

Oh yeah. I went to a guitar shop quickly with Josh (we weren't in it long, but he didn't know how to find it so it was actually a rather long trip for the distance covered) and played a couple incredible guitars. This shop had guitars priced from $1000 (I think some were that cheap) up to over $10000, I believe. I played a $4000 guitar - and wow - I was hooked. It's amazing how great a guitar can sound.

We got to lead worship yesterday morning in church. I really enjoyed it. I usually do, but maybe enjoyed yesterday more than usual. It's amazing what we can do with the little talent we have.

Last night was the Third Day and David Crowder Band concert in Ames. It was a great concert. I didn't know the stuff Crowder did - he didn't do much old stuff. He was rockin', though. I like his stage presence and his humor. Third Day was a blast. They started with new stuff I didn't know - but then did tons I did - God of wonders, Always loved you, You are so good to me, Consuming fire, King of glory, Blessed Assurance (cool version). A highlight was talking to some students on the trip (I'm getting old to be enjoying the conversation more than the concert). It was encouraging spiritually for all of us that went on the trip.

God provides in many wonderful ways. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills - both the cattle of the saved and unsaved.

Mac from Third Day shared about his 6 year old daugher recently asking Jesus into her heart and his skepticism. He said - I'm not sure if she fully understands. Then he said that God then spoke to him (not audibly) and said - Mac - you don't fully understand. Simple and profound.

Thanks God for a great weekend. And my wife still loves me after keeping her so busy. Praise the Lord! Even if the weekend had been horrible - Praise The Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, 8 days - Caedmon's Call concert (my favorite band!!!). Yes!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Youth Group Thoughts / Questions

Justin did a great job teaching last night - again - on Muslims and Christianity. What a great conclusion - the importance of God's Word.

I don't normally give out paper with basic points on it to help people take notes, but I think I should. Justin's been doing that. I guess I don't do it because I often think that the few students who really want to learn (horrible presupposition on my part) will either bring their own paper or don't like taking notes. I need to do it, though - to at least give each student a shot at taking notes - and learning more - and having something to look back on. So, Justin has inspired me. Go Justin!

I often am afraid to aim too high - and I can't always aim way high. But... I need to teach a long time at times (if I think it necessary) and go deeper - even if I lose some. It's just a tough balance.

These are random thoughts. What are your thoughts on such things?

There are other issues - I get studenst one hour a week or maybe two, compared to school and coaches. It's a rough go. And at school, repetition is so key - and so I have that issue facing me too. On top of all this, I can't test (at least not so that they felt compelled to learn it because of a test) to make sure they spend time learning it.

Still, it all comes down to God at work in hearts - not me. I can pray. That needs to be my focus.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wow! Great Job Servers (Valentine's Banquet)

We had our annual church Valentine's Banquet - and our students rocked! Only four showed up and they served 90 people - and did it well. My glass kept being refilled. They smiled. They didn't spill on me. They were just pleasant. And... this is big for me... I didn't have to be in charge. I ate a great meal with my wife. It was wonderful. I knew we had good students serving and that they would do a good job, but they went above and beyond. I've heard so many good comments. You go, girl and boys!

Monday, February 20, 2006

EFCA Statement of Faith - their blog

The EFCA has revised their revision of the EFCA Statement of Faith - I would actually say - they've revised their rewrite. They've also got a blog there to interact with. I submitted something - not sure if they'll post it. I was nice and kind - so I think they will. I'll put that in here if they do post it.


Check it out. The blog hasn't gotten much on it yet. Don't know if it will. But... - even so, there is the revised rewrite. You can read it - and if you are E. Free - you ought to read it. It's good to do and you might learn something - and maybe you'll add to the conversation (that's a wonderful emergent word).

What do you think of the whole thing?

What do you know about Muslims? (Youth Group)

What do you know about Muslims?

Justin will do part of his series on Muslims this week. He did a great job 2 weeks ago on it and I'm sure he'll do a great job this week.

But I'm curious - what do you remember?

Who is the common ancestor of Arabs and Jews?
How many pillars of the Islamic Faith are there? What are some of them?
How does their view of women differ from the Biblical view?

I could list the answers here, but that wouldn't be fun. Here is one website that gives an overview. http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/islam.html

Me and My Kids

I need a picture of my wife with us. Don't have a good family pic at work. In about 4.5 months we'll have another one to add to this. Can't wait. Posted by Picasa

Just meandering thoughts

Monday. A new week (though Sunday starts it, but I guess with my job, I feel that Sunday ends it). I'm still excited to be doing this job (though tired - stayed up too late).

I'm enjoying the Olympics. Snowboarding Cross is the best - by far. So much fun. And no, it's not at all like Nascar. They actually turn left AND right. It almost makes me want to learn to snowboard - then I realize that as fat and old as my body is, it still works - basically. I think I'll keep it that way.

I don't push myself mentally nearly enough. Not even close. It's pathetic. I need to get on the stick. My excuse is being busy and tired - but that's stupid. People say that I am so busy, but I have plenty of time. It's all about priorities - and sloth. I've got to push myself mentally. Doing homework isn't enough.

The more I think and read of emergent stuff, the more I'm convinced I'd be best served by sticking with the classics. This is pretty simple.

I am really enjoying the Home Bible Fellowship I'm leading. We are studying 1 John. This time - no study guides, no cute questions, no curriculum, no verses we just have to get through. I'm learning, I think others are. I just love to be with other believers and dig into God's Word. We picked 1 John as a group - which was a good choice - especially since it's a book I don't know that well - and one that many of my friends know well and love. I really love it when you read verses that don't fully make sense to you (or haven't), and then as you study them in context and put things together as a group, you get the big picture and it makes sense of other verses. Thank you God for HBFs.

My son prays the neatest prayers. This morning he prayed for Elise, that she would come to know Jesus some day - and then prayed that he himself would come to know Jesus some day. Precious.

Monday, February 13, 2006

This is a scary world

I've just been reading email (and also talking online and on phone) from some friends - mostly students. I really sense a degree of worry and uncertainness. Certainly we don't know the future. But we know who holds the future. Still, it's hard to trust that when things look dark. I'm not sure I have nice simple answers for them - and I'm not sure they want answers. Hopefully some of it is just the Winter Blues. If I really knew how all my students felt, wow - I'm sure I would give in. I like to think I'm making a difference. I'm sure God is using me in some lives. But there's a lot of pain out there.

Becoming like Jesus is a painful and painfully slow process. There are a lot of things that (we let) hinder us. I need to pray more. Stop typing and pray. Yeah.

What will God do today?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Worship Seminar

I just got back from a Worship Seminar at Hidden Acres (Dayton, IA). I only went for one day - but they started the night before. I really enjoyed it. There are always things to improve on - but that isn't my point.

Probably the biggest practical thing I walked away with is that I am going to use a metronome or click track in all my practices from now on (my students will hate me). I need to do it for me and for them. I think I may find some metronome loops that are downloadable and burn them to CD - and give them to students to practice with. It's that important (for the groove - as one teacher said).

I also met at least one more worship leader I can ask questions of. That excites me.

I do sometimes wonder how God will use these very simple gifts of mine (guitar and music stuff) in the future. Will they play a larger role in my life or not? I certainly love guitar.

I think I'm going to start a Worship blog. I bet lots of people would eventually find it and comment on it.

For all of you not reading this blog, thank yourself. You have saved minutes of your time.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Life Update

I can almost always say this - I suppose because it's true - we've been very busy lately - and there is no end in sight.

A highlight in life has been a dear friend of ours, Pastor Umar Ado, from Nigeria, who had a believing friend whose life was threatened (his name is James). James was taken captive by some Muslims, beaten horribly. Then the chief officer took him and freed him and confessed that he was a secret Christian. The two of them are in hiding now. It's amazing what God is doing. If you want more info, just ask.

Prayer is powerful (duh). I just need to keep putting it to the test. I had our Senior High students pray for our Junior High Students for our Junior High Retreat (Winter blast). It was the best we've had. I really beleive God worked in many students' lives.

This weekend we have scrapbooking (Lori does) Friday night and then I'm at a worship retreat/seminar for the day. Next week we have our CDSM meeting (Iowa youth pastors) on Valentine's Day, we have a Vday banquet, and something else.

We're working on getting ready for our summer missions trip to Rosebud - our 4th one to the same place - Wood, SD. I'm excited for it. Hope we get enough students there. People are busy.

Last night had its low points (youth group). Our music was bad. Really bad. I need to make us practice - but we're so busy. It's tough. Worse than that, I heard one of our students is no longer coming because his parents won't make him come anymore. It just kind of takes the wind out of my sails.

My family is great. Elise is teething and going through many pair of clothes a day as she fills her pants (and clothes) with runny mush often. Benjamin is doing so well. What a guy. He has great prayers and is just a lot of fun. Lori really is doing incredibly well for being pregnant. We find out in a few weeks what our baby's gender will be - if it will cooperate.

I need to figure out how to get pictures in here. I'll try.