Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weekend In Review 5/20/12

Awaken Teaching Series: The Book - How To Read The Bible (week 6 of 8)

Message Summary:  R.E.A.D. the Bible.  R = Ready Yourself, E = Explore, A = Ask Questions, D = Decide what to do in response to this scripture.  If we approach scripture this way, it will show up in our lives.

Fun Stuff:  Doing push-ups and your mouth to move checkers into a stacked pile was pretty entertaining for our Ultimate Showdown game.

Worship Setlists: First Service - Like A Lion, The Stand, How He Loves
                          Second Service - Like A Lion, Rise and Sing, Like An Avalanche

Video Elements: Watched the rehearsal/music video for The Digital Age singing "After All"  Awesome song.
More importantly, we played a video of Christian comedian Michael Jr. asking random people at a mall to finish well-known scriptures.  It was eye-opening.

I Won't Soon Forget:  During second service, Todd decided to invite everyone to take communion when they were ready during the last song, "Like An Avalanche."  Made for an intensely cool moment.

Up Next: The Book - Living The Book (week 7 of 8)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Weekend in Review 5/13/12

Awaken Teaching Series:  The Book: The New Testament (week 5 of 8)

Sermon Summary:  The New Testament has 4 main sections.  The Gospels are like a biography of Jesus and the world around him.  Acts is a history of the church.  The Epistles(or letters) are a good source for instruction and information on Christian living.  And Revelation is a vision of the end times.  We can look at this in the way a person comes to believe and become a Christian.  They seek to understand who Jesus is, they find a church home, they discover what it means to live a Christian life, and at some point consider their ultimate destination.  

Fun Stuff:  We started a series of challenges called "The Ultimate Showdown."  This week, two contestants had to pull a dollar from their wallet and sit on it.  First to do so got to keep both dollars or trade them for candy.  

Worship Setlists:  First Service - Like a Lion, Came To My Rescue, Arms Open Wide.
                           Second Service - Break Free, Take It All, From The Inside Out.

Video Elements:  Tried out a new 10 second countdown timer and intro music.  Used a bumper video for the Ultimate Showdown game.  

I Won't Soon Forget:  Too often, new faces end up sitting by themselves.  That didn't happen this Sunday!

Up Next:  The Book - Reading the Bible (Week 6 of 8) 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekend in Review 5/6

Awaken Teaching Series:  The Book: The Old Testament (week 4 of 8)

Sermon Summary:  This week we took a look at the Old Testament.  Even though some people would consider it outdated and maybe even worthy of being thrown out, it's just as valuable today as it's ever been.  We compared it to an old chest, full of so much value.  The stories, the history, the guidance, the picture of God, and so many more things that you find in the Old Testament are invaluable and so worthy of our reading and studying them.

Fun Stuff:  We played a game about apples in honor of Apple Blossom weekend.  

Worship Setlists:  1st Service - Song of Hope, Mighty To Save, Surrender
                           2nd Service - Your Grace Is Enough, Mighty To Save, From The Inside Out

Video Elements:  Started the service off with a video of Awaken Worship's "You Are God." (

I Won't Soon Forget:  We regularly have new faces in second service, but not nearly as often in first and yet first service had several new faces this week.  When students are willing to get up early enough on Sunday to be at church by 8:45am, I'm always impressed!

Up Next:  The Book - The New Testament (Week 5 of 8)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekend in Review 4/29

Awaken Teaching Series:  The Book: What's It About? (week 3 of 8)

Sermon Summary:  "God made everything perfectly, we messed it up, and Jesus fixed it."  Not a bad sentence to sum up the story of the Bible.  And the best part is, that sentence should make us want to know more.  And the only way to know more, is to open the Bible and read.  We talked about the way the Bible teaches us, corrects us, and prepares us.  The closing thought for the week was, "The's only useful if it gets used."

Fun Stuff:  A game about famous villains and archenemies from movies, tv, and books gave us quite a few laughs.

Worship Setlists:  1st Service - Everything Glorious, Glory To God, Came To My Rescue
                           2nd Service - One Thing Remains, Like a Lion, Jesus Paid It All

Video Elements:  Showed "The Book" bumper video one last time because we had so many visitors who hadn't seen it.  Also showed a humorous parody video of an ad for the wii fit.

I Won't Soon Forget:  We had to pull out extra chairs and there simply wasn't much extra space second service.  I believe the 38 people in that service are the most we've ever had in that building at once.  It was a little tight.  What a great problem to have!

Up Next:  The Book - The Old Testament (Week 4 of 8)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weekend In Review....

Awaken Teaching Series:  The Book : Where Did It Come From and Can It Be Trusted? (week 2 of 8)

Sermon Summary: The Bible is the best-selling book of far.  But that's not the legacy of the Bible.  The legacy of the Bible, it's impact over time, is in it's message.  The question of the morning was "Can it be trusted?"  The answer is yes.  This is supported by the unity of the Bible, the history of the Bible, the prophecy of the Bible, and the legacy of the Bible.  The closing thought for the week was "The Bible isn't just A's THE BOOK."

Fun Stuff:  We played a word game where three words led you to a one-word answer.  1 perfect score in 2nd service was a pretty impressive accomplishment.  

Worship Setlists: 1st Service - Evermore, Our God Is Love, Arms Open Wide
                         2nd Service - Rise and Sing, Happy Day, How He Loves

Video Elements: Kicked off the service with David Crowder Band's music video for "Let Me Feel You Shine".  Showed "The Book" bumper video again.  And the "Who Wrote The Bible" video I talk about below.

I Won't Soon Forget:  I've never had to try to explain canonization to teenagers and still haven't thanks to a sweet little video that did it in an informative and creative way.  Check it out here:

Up Next:  The Book - What's It About? (week 3 of 8)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Weekend In Review..

I'm borrowing my format for weekend in review posts from Josh Griffin, high school pastor at Saddleback, and his blog,, which you should definitely read. 

Awaken Teaching Series:  The Book (series intro, week 1 of 8)

Sermon Summary:  We talked about the difference between knowing, believing, and living out the things that we find in the Bible.  It was particularly interesting to discuss the amount of entire songs some of us know word-for-word vs. the amount of Bible verses we can recite.  Mostly this sermon was to prepare us for the 6 main messages in "The Book" series which is part of the "40 Days in the Word" spiritual growth emphasis our whole congregation is participating in.  We opened the service with Building 429's music video for "Where I Belong."  We intro'd the sermon with the "The Book" bumper video made my HSM at Saddleback Church.  

Service length:  We've been doing a lot better job of not running out of time.  We still went over a little in first service. 

Fun stuff:  We played a  powerpoint game about kidnapping(I know, sounds fun), but it was one of those games where multiple people got every answer right.  It may be time to change up the game portion of Awaken.

Worship Setlists:  1st Service:  Happy Day, Everything Glorious, The Stand.
                          2nd Service: Break Free, Our God, Came To My Rescue.

I Won't Soon Forget:  I was occupied between services talking to some parents and our fantastic volunteers took care of all the between-service details(which they almost always do anyway).  This makes my job easier and I couldn't be more thankful for them and the work they do! 

Up Next:  The Book - Where Did It Come From and Can It Be Trusted? (Week 2 of 8)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Weekend in Review and Some Ramblings about Social Media...

It was a great weekend!  Awaken services were packed, especially second service where there was little room for movement(not much of an exaggeration at all....need more space).  We continued our "Girls and Boys" series by talking about who a guy is.  I think there were some eyes opened and some teens realized that they thought they knew a lot more about the opposite sex than they actually did. 

Then Sunday night we rocked a Super Bowl party.  The turnout for this event doesn't quite reach the normal Life Group attendance numbers, but we had a blast!  I spent a good portion of the evening making 25 lbs. of wings(a ridiculous portion of which were actually eaten during the game).  I love our Awaken Services and I love life groups, but sometimes it's nice to just chill and watch a football game together!

Now for some deep ramblings about social media.  Social media has become a huge tool for teen ministry.  I can tweet or facebook post activities, events, and reminders.  I can repost or direct teens to videos we've used for different services or events.  I can directly contact a teen in a way that might actually be faster and/or more effective than calling or even texting.  It's an effective tool when used the right way.

But here's the problem:  Once a student(or anyone for that matter) identifies themself with Jesus Christ and makes any public(social media or not) statement that they are a Christian, every bit of their social media existence becomes 100% subject to evaluation against that Christian backdrop.  And some might say this is not fair, but I say it's part of being a Christian.  Part of being a Christian is holding yourself to a higher standard and knowing that others will too, not to mention the even higher standard that God holds us to.  When we take the name "Christian" we represent not only ourselves, but Jesus Christ in everything we do and say.  This very much includes social media.  Back-to-back tweets that reference partying in one and church in the other reflect poorly on the Christian and on Christ.  Tweeting(or Re-tweeting for that matter) a questionable quote for the sake of  laughter reflects poorly on the Christian and on Christ.  Condemning others for their actions through social media shows others that Christians(and in turn, Christ) are judgmental, not loving. 

This makes it necessary to ask this question:  Is this the picture of Christianity and the picture of Jesus Christ we want the world to see?  Absolutely not.  And honestly, it comes down to something very simple:  Take the extra 15 seconds to reread what you're tweeting or posting on facebook.  I promise that every once in awhile you'll find yourself rewording or removing a lot of what you were about to post.
Remember who you are and remember who's you are.  Remember who you represent.  Remember we may only get one chance to show someone Jesus Christ.  And remember that one wrong tweet really can mess that up.  And most of all, remember, God works through us not because we are perfect, but in spite of our weakness.   

Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Friday....and I'm pretty sure I am annoyed by every song about Friday..which is sad because it's a good day...

Nothing like a long title to get a post started. 

that ridiculous rebecca black song.  that's what i was thinking of....but then i googled songs about friday and realized most of the songs about friday i found I don't actually maybe they aren't so bad.  but that rebecca black song....not cool.

Well it is Friday, frustrating Friday to be exact.  I'm pretty solid when it comes to video editing but today's project is just getting to me.  It may have to simply be a failure.  It's just not coming together.  But those things happen.

Stacy, Kate, and Jackson brought me a picnic lunch today and Kate rode her tricycle in the church parking lot.  Never thought I'd be posting that in January, but I'll take it.  My parents are coming in for the weekend(weather permitting) but we haven't told Kate yet.  First, we don't want to get her hopes up in case the weather turns bad there or here.  And secondly, it'll be a fun surprise for her.  It will also mean we should have some time to paint the living room this weekend.  Painting is hard work, but the house is really starting to feel more like home. 

This Sunday is Youth Sunday.  Get pumped.  This is always a great Sunday at New Life and our teens do such a fantastic job.  We also tend to have a lot of visitors on Youth Sunday, so that's always a plus too! 

Currently Listening to: Jesus Culture
Currently Reading: The New Breed by Jonathan McKee and Thomas McKee
Currently Working on:  Finalizing details for Sunday morning.

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weekend In Review....a day late...

It was a great weekend at New Life.  Stacy taught in the Awaken services and did a fantastic job.  We knew we couldn't go through this series on relationships and sex without hearing a female perspective.  Worship rocked the house both services, we had a rare 10 out of 10 winner for our opening game, and if the three second service attendees who came to first service this weekend would've come to second service, we would've been out of chairs.  What a great problem to have! 

As for Life Groups, it was a great turnout despite the impending supposedly bad weather.  Enjoyed our group time and then enjoyed watching some football and snacking on soft pretzels.  It's crazy to have that many teens in our house every week, but it is so much fun and such a blessing to us. 

Today I'm releasing the first teen ministry newsletter, The Update.  And I know it seems like an old skool thing to do, but I think it's going to be a good communication tool because I'm going to make it available in several different ways.  There will be hard copies available at the church, but it will also be available through our website, teen facebook page, church facebook page, and I'll probably even link to it from this blog.  Improved communication is never a bad thing.

This Sunday is Youth Sunday and I couldn't be more proud to say that we are rockin' two bands for the two services.  The first service Awaken Band is ready and will be leading the worship first service while the second service Awaken Band leads in second service.  I hope our adults are ready to rock for Jesus.  I've also had a sneak preview of Tyler's message for us and am very excited to hear what he was to share.

Currently Reading: The New Breed by Jonathan McKee and Thomas McKee
Currently Listening To:  needtobreathe - The Reckoning
Currently Working On:  Finalizing "The Update"

Have a great week everyone! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday...As Quiet As It Gets Around Here....

Well it's Friday.  And around here that usually means that I'm the only one in the office for the whole day.  Our secretary is here in the morning, but for the most part, it's just quiet.  Well today was slightly different.  The guys(and when I say "the guys" i usually mean Larry and Josh) came in to get haircuts and there were several people cleaning so things were actually quite busy around here this morning.  But now it's quiet again.  And I'm not teaching this Sunday or next Sunday(my wife is teaching Sunday because the sex and relationships series needed a female perspective and the week after is Youth Sunday) so here I sit being able to do what i need to do beyond this week which doesn't always happen on Fridays.  I have some thoughts, but before I do:

Currently Listening To: I listened to Rich Mullins this morning.  Can't beat that.
Currently Watching: The Simply Youth Ministry Show live online
Currently Reading:  Almost done with Generation iY by Tim Elmore(hopefully finishing today)
Currently Working On:  Transitioning from my ministry being birth-12th grade to being 6th-12th grade and the potential for college ministry.

Which brings me to this:  I am excited to share that we have hired a part-time Children's Director.  She is the perfect choice for the job and has jumped in with both feet.  Since I arrived here at New Life it has been difficult for me to try to advance both the children's ministry and teen ministry.  As Larry recently put it, it's like trying to serve to masters or trying to be married to two women.  I can be real on this blog:  The success of the teen ministry(extreme growth) would not have happened if I had tried to split my time, effort, and energy between the two ministry areas equally.  I jumped into the teen ministry full-on and basically attempted to make small changes and maintain the Children's Ministry.  There simply weren't enough hours in the day.  And the biggest issue:  Sunday mornings.  We have our two teen services running at the same time as our adult services.  That means I am never physically in the building for any children's classes because I am teaching the teens.  So rather than cutting me in half, we hired someone and it's fantastic to be a part of a church that take's steps of faith instead of retreating.  A weight has been lifted from me and I feel like it's given me renewed focus.  For these reasons I am so thankful for God's leading in this situation. 

But what's the future of the teen ministry?  What's the next step?  Well the truth is, it's time to start looking at facility options.  Because the teen ministry has grown to the point where we need a larger facility with some specific features that would meet our needs and help us grow(i.e. larger worship space, gymnasium, etc.)  It's part of my job to dream these sort of dreams and pray for God's guidance as we move forward.  This is something I do everyday and look forward to the future both tomorrow, and years from now.  God is working through the teens and through everyone at New Life, I believe that's undeniable.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekend in Review and Other Stuff...

Back to normal should have happened last week after being on vacation for a week, but it didn't really happen.  Maybe this week? 

Here's the weekend in review:
Sunday morning we kicked off our new series "Girls and Boys."  It's a series on relationships adapted from Doug Fields' "Power of Sex" series.  The first message was all about why this matters and some basics on what the world says vs. what God's plan is.  I think it went well and despite what I expected, the awkwardness level was pretty low.  Worship went well in both services.  I couldn't be more excited that we have a band in each service and both are constantly moving toward excellence.  Probably the most memorable element Sunday was Matt's lip sync video of "Never Gonna Give You Up."  We've always had positive response to these videos, so I try to bring them back once a year or so. 

Sunday night at Teen Life Groups we made what I think is our first attempt at having all four groups not only discuss the same topic as each other, but discuss the topic being taught on Sunday morning.  We're using a format where I give each leader 5 questions that directly relate to that morning's message.  It definitely worked for my high school boy's group and we'll see how it goes for the rest of the series. 

This Sunday my wife will be teaching in the Awaken services.  I just didn't think I could be very convincing teaching a message called "What a Girl Wants." 

Currently Listening to: a random 90's Christian music playlist on me some Spotify..
Currently Reading: got a Morf magazine this morning, will probably check that out today sometime.
Currently Working on:  videos for this weekend's Awaken services.

Check out Matt's Lip-Sync from Sunday.