Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year in Review Part 3

Bigger Picture: Bernie Madoff's life just kept getting worse. As evidence of his huge ponzi scheme became clearer everyone was dumbfounded by the size of it (ponzi just sounds like corruption). Thankfully as a recent college grad and a student minister I had no millions to have squandered by him.

In My World: Alicia took her NCLEX test. The test is just a big shiny way of the US deciding whether or not you get to be a nurse. Anyways the precautions to make sure people don't cheat just make the test more stressful. Everyone that Alicia and I talked to said they had a breakdown after they took it and they were sure that they failed. I bet you could make a ton of money offering counseling sessions outside of the testing facility on test day. Well, sure enough Alicia passed with flying colors and started working at Anderson Mercy Hospital like the next week.

In Student Ministry: ISAIAH 117!!! This was one of my favorite things from the past year. We had such a great time serving our community and just growing with Students. Everybody worked so hard. It was just such a God thing. The neat thing is that cool Kingdom of God coming to Earth kind of stuff is still happening because of Isaiah 117. If you are wondering what the ISAIAH117 CHALLENGE was/is go read Isaiah 1:17 and that will sum it up pretty well. Basically we spent a week trying to Glorify God by learning to do right in our community.

Oh and CIY Move was awesome too. Joe, Kyle, Lindsey, and Jess... Can you say SARDINES?

Bigger Picture: The Bengals made Cincinnati proud by capturing America's attention in this year's addition of Hard Knocks. During the show Chad Ochocinco blessed us with new catch phrases like Kiss Da Baby and Child Please. Which were really cool until someone besides Chad Ochocinco said them and then not so much. Still the best Bengals memory form August was Chad kicking not only an extra point, but also the ensuing kick off in a preseason game. SMH.

In My World: George Frank and his wife Cassi went to Ireland. It made Alicia and I very jealous. Don't worry we got over it.

In Student Ministry: The school year was just around the bend so we had a Student Ministry Movement seminar for our parents and ministry leaders. The Chicfila was definitely a highlight. My favorite parts of it though were having students there serving our parents and leaders, having time to talk and pray with the parents of our students, and getting a chance to share my passion for growing students to be Engaging Christ Followers. A lot of good things came out of that Saturday afternoon.

Bigger Picture: Parkside's river campus opened up. The whole process of the River Campus coming about was a God thing. It was real privilege to be a part of the process. It is great what God is bringing about in our lives, at Parkside, and in the Kingdom of God. I still love it when someone asks me, "How many Parksiders were at the River Campus this Sunday." (The correct answer is ALL of them at the River Campus are Parksiders).

Oh and how could I not mention Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMA's. I would offer up my thoughts abut when I first saw it, but I don't want to get dogged by Kanye on his next album. Come on though Beyonce's video was the best video of all time right? File that whole incident under "Things I Don't Care About"

In My World: I Rick Rolled the staff at Parkside. I thought it was all fun and games until I came out to my car and Bart had slit my tires. He didn't really, but he totally could have.

In Student Ministry: Rel Community and Friday Nights at the Crossing got kicked off for the school year. Our volunteers and group leaders have done an awesome job all year. It has been so incredible to see students come to the Crossing on Friday night and a few weeks later end up coming to Rel Community and joining a group . Its awesome to get to see people who are passionate about their relationship with Jesus share their story with students who are trying to figure out what life is all about. Its definitely one of my favorite parts of my job.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Year in Review: Part 2

Bigger Picture: Chinese officials discovered an extra 500 miles of the Great Wall in China (this isn't a joke.) They had originally thought it was 5,000 miles long, but after studying it and finding new parts of it they found out it was 5,500 long. Crazy huh? I can't remember the last time I misplaced 500 miles of wall.

Also, how can we not include the Swine Flu. When pigs stop oinking and start sneezing, we should all be very concerned. As it turns out we weren't even calling it by the right name. H1N1 is apparently how it wishes to be referred to. This would eventually lead to Chad Ochocinco referring to himself as H8N5. The NFL didn't need to fine him though because they had already sent him his monthly fine in the mail.

In My World: My dad and I got to go see the Reds Opening Day game for the first day. The weather was cold an rainy, and the Reds ending up losing, but it was an AWESOME Experience. We went to the Findlay Market for the Parade and got to meet Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez and Frank Robinson. There's nothing like an Opening Day in Cincinnati!

In Student Ministry: In April we took our middle school students up to Anderson, Indiana for an event called Believe which is entirely geared towards middle school students. We also met up with Ben Orcutt who goes to college there and goes to Parkside. We didn't get any sleep, but I don't think anybody wanted to either. Paul B. got to go onstage for a magic trick. Coy F. told everyone that he sweats blue sweat, we didn't believe him and then he started sweating blue (some things even science can't explain). To top all of it off we got to have some really great worship times, and we learned about the book of Jeremiah.

Bigger Picture: Everyone in the world stopped to watch and find out who would win American Idol. We all learned that night that Paula Abdul should not go back to being a performer. Adam Lambert lost and Kris Allen won. However the real winner for the night was Idol and Fox who made a TON of money on the social juggernaut that is American Idol. Is it scary that more people in America recognize the name Sonjaya than recognize the name Rahm Emanuel?

Oh and this is good stuff. Manny Ramirez fails a drug test and gets suspended for 50 games. The story behind the story you ask? The drug/hormone that Manny had in his system that caused him to fail the test is the same hormone that a woman has in her body when she is pregnant. It is literally the same hormone that most pregnancy tests look for to tell if a woman is pregnant or not. So you have to ask yourself, was Manny looking for a competitive edge or was he really wanting to have a baby? You just can't make this stuff up!

In My World: May was Graduation Month for my family. Alicia graduated from NKU, and my younger brother Josh graduated from High School. At Alicia's graduation a local author gave the commencement speech. It was hilarious (except he was serious.) Pretty much to some up the hour of time he rambled, he said that the world was falling apart and not only would none of them have jobs, but college doesn't really prepare you for life. It was great! Anyways, he was wrong and now Alicia is working at Anderson Mercy.

Alicia and I also got to go up to Detroit for a day to see the Rangers play the Tigers. We had a really good time and had great seats.

... and of course how could I not include Alicia and I getting a dog! We got a miniature Dotson named Hans. He is a great dog who like all dogs has an unhealthy obsession with squirrels.

In Student Ministry: We had a graduation breakfast just for our HS grads and their families. It ended up being a special time for everyone to celebrate the accomplishment. I loved the opportunity to congratulate them and to challenge them to grow their faith even stronger as they went off to school. Randy Shivers spoke at the breakfast and was very insightful. He was able to share so much because he had known most of the graduates since they were born. How awesome is that?

Bigger Picture: I remember getting back into the states at the end of June and seeing all of the news talking about the Riots and Protests in Iran. It was interesting seeing how Social Media like twitter and facebook had changed how we cover global situations like the one in Iran.

Michael Jackson unexpectedly passed away as his upcoming tour was almost here. I actually found out about this on Twitter before I saw it anywhere else. Didn't we all think it was a joke at first? I kept waiting for everyone to say it was fake. So Jackson jokes and Neverland punchlines went on a hiatus, and everyone who wasn't a Jackson fan turned off their TV's for the entire month because really and truly their was nothing else being talked about on TV.

In My World: June was a whirlwind. Alicia and I were part of a group that went down to the Dominican Republic for a 11 day mission trip. It was an awesome experience and I was so glad Alicia was able to come along.

I actually can't remember anything else that happened in June. The trip was a really big time consuming thing for me. It was the first trip I had led that was outside the US. It was a great trip. We took 36 people and it really was incredible. I am almost positive that nothing else in my world happened because it was so busy with the trip.

In Student Ministry: As you can see above the Student Ministry went to the Dominican Republic. Here are a couple of things that I thought were highlights:
  • Hearing Justin White share his testimony.
  • Having one of the HS Girls find a HUGE tarantula in her bunk on the last day we were there.
  • Paul Bledsoe's Waffle Iron Joke (Ask him and he'll tell you it).
  • Building the house for the camp there.
  • Getting to see our students work extremely hard, and be Jesus' hands and feet even when they were tired.
  • Getting to play softball against the Dominican's (Brogan went yard to deep center, and then his dad Greg popped up to the pitcher)
  • Everyone getting home safe and sound.
Playing Softball.
Paul Bledsoe reacting to our bus breaking down.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Year in Review: Part 1

Bigger Picture: Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States. We all stopped to watch. Then everyone stopped chanting, "Yes We Can!" and started wondering, "Can He?"

In My World: The Buckeyes lost a heart-breaker to Texas (I could cry right now just thinking about it). I also read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Solid Book.

In Student Ministry: We found out that Brian Roberts wasn't the worlds best skier. I am sure something spiritual happened, but Brian almost dying his first time down the mountain kind of qualifies right?

Bigger Picture: Everyone was very very unhappy when the Pittsburgh Steelers did this...

I still don't believe in Steelers fans. They are either non-human or just confused about football. Anyways they barely won and Ben Rothlisberger went to Disney world.

On a whole it wasn't a good month for sports either. Everyone found out that A-Rod did Steroids and Michael Phelps got suspended for another kind of drug use.

In My World: I had a question for the Forest Hills School District. When I called to ask, they put me right through to the Superintendent John Patzwald. I was so shocked and surprised by their amazing service that I immediately voted for every School Levy in Anderson Township for the next 20 years.

Alicia and I went to Montgomery Inn and it was good. We also got to talk a lot about the future, having kids (No, not right now, but we can still be excited right?), and how blessed we were to have each other.

In Student Ministry:Dixie Hazelbaker and the rest of the Rel Community Group Leaders put on an awesome Super Bowl Party. My favorite moments were Kyle Bianco and Company's Halftime Dance and this commercial

Bigger Picture: People all around the globe celebrated Earth Hour by turning off all unnecessary lights and electronics for an hour on March 28th. An hour later they all turned their computers on and blogged about it while they caught up on their TV shows.

Terrell Owens signed with the Buffalo Bills and everyone all of a sudden realized that he wasn't relevant anymore.

In My World: The Buckeyes got upset early from the NCAA Tournament by Siena. That hurt. I also read Mission Black List Number 1 which was a Interrogators account of how we caught Saddam Hussein. Incredibly interesting book.

In Student Ministry: We had an awesome High School Retreat that focused on what makes us, well us. Not only was it a blast, but we also had some great time to reflect and think about how we want people to remember us. We learned from Epehesians 4:10-16 that God has a plan for each one of us.And who can forget the Hug Chug Contest?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Caption Contest

Alright, post a caption to this photo as a comment on the blog. After a few days I'll pick my favorite. Winner gets a free Rel Community or Isaiah117Challenge T-Shirt. Bonus Points to whoever can name the person in the picture too. Have a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Philippians 3:12-14

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I think one of the reasons I like this passage so much is because of its comparison to an athlete competing. You can ask my mom, my dad, Alicia, or any of my coaches. I am a competitive person. I HATE it when I lose. Especially when I think that I could have won.

Focus was something I always had to work on and practice. It was and is easy for me to get distracted. I never had that singular focus on the playing field. Athletes who are able to just zone everything out amaze me. They want to achieve something so badly that everything else just doesn't matter.

That kind of focus is what Paul is talking about in chapter three. Earlier in the chapter he says that everything else besides knowing Jesus is nothing more than a pile of trash. The word he uses in Greek for 'pile of trash' is probably more accurately translated as 'pile of animal excrement, (and thats putting it gently). Paul is talking about his absolute desire and focus on knowing Jesus.

He pushes on towards the goal. He doesn't live in the past. He lives in the present in order to obtain the future. He is bound and determined to know Jesus and be with Him.

Recently I have been asking students what they want their legacy to be, or how they want to be remembered. One of the coming things that has come up is how hard it is to actually be remembered for what you want to be. It isn't often that everyone says the same thing about a person when you ask them. Especially when you want to be remembered for doing something with excellence.

No achievement comes easily or overnight. It takes everything you have to accomplish something that lasts or is remembered. Not even Mercury Morris, Don Shula, or the rest of the 1972 Undefeated Doplhins would say that their accomplishment was easy. They would probably say it was the hardest thing they had ever done in their whole lives, but it was also probably the most memorable.

Paul talks about striving to be like Jesus and to know Jesus. We need to be focused on that goal and not distracted by anything else. It won't be easy in fact it will probably be the toughest thing we try in life, but the prize is worth it. Everything else pales in comparison to the hope of knowing Jesus.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brian Kelly, Money, and Priorities

This Christmas season families have gathered together and have begun warm conversations about this year's advent conspiracy. No, I am not talking about the Advent Conspiracy or Kids Against Hunger that we are doing here at Parkside. I am talking about the Advent of Brian Kelly going to Notre Dame. Is it a done deal yet? Who Knows.

This isn't a knock on Brian Kelly blog, or a knock on all of us for being so captivated by the whole coaching situation. I have been checking my twitter constantly to see if C. Trent Rosecrans has any new info or if Brian Kelly himself has announced anything on his twitter page. I don't want Kelly to go, because I like Kelly and I don't like Notre Dame. Still, that is all beside the point.

Yesterday Lance McCallister was talking on WLW about why we can't blame Coach Kelly if he does end up taking the ND job. One of his arguments was who wouldn't switch jobs for twice the amount of money. Especially if its a job you have dreamed about since you were a kid. Lance is totally right and it made me think about something we all do.

I am sure most of you have heard some translation of the quote, "The end justifies the means." or "The end does not justify the means." It speaks to how we achieve our goals or how we make decisions about our career path/life direction. All too often I think people have the wrong philosophy when it comes to decision making. They erroneously think that they have to choose one thing or another. They wish they think they could spend more time with family, but their job is just to busy. They want to give back to their community, but the just don't have any free time. They hate their job, but it pays more than anything else. We are what matters most to us. Our priorities make our decisions, and our decisions make us.

I am no where near close enough to the Brian Kelly situation to be able to suggest I know what the best choice is for him, but I do have a challenge for all of us. Matthew 6:21 says, "Where your treasure is there will your heart be also." What we value most is our treasure and that treasure will be/is our priority." Are we making decisions that reflect our priorities are in line or out of line? If you want to spend more time with family, then do it even if it means you have to make sacrifices. If you want to follow your passion even if you get paid less for it then wipe the dollar signs out of your eyes and follow that passion. If you say you care about helping others then ante up even if that means giving up free time or whatever else.

If you say something is important to you, then make sure it is reflected in your decisions and your life. Because if you say something is a priority to you, but you never sacrifice for it then I have news for you. It's not a priority.

Oh and if you want to be the next UC Head Coach go ahead and turn in your resume because I think Brian Kelly is long gone...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Going to the Dentist

I am about to go into the Dentist Office to have a few cavities. If you know me you know that I hate needles and having to do things like getting cavities filled. So to try and make the situation a little more relaxed I put together a playlist that kind of pokes fun at the situation. Hopefully listening to it during the whole process will make me more relaxed to. Here it is:
Crooked Teeth by Deathcab for Cutie
Armchairs by Andrew Bird
Fitz and Dizzyspells by Andrew Bird
After the Last Tear Falls by Andrew Peterson
Keep the Car Running by Arcade Fire
My Body is a Cage by Arcade Fire
Crying Won't Help You Know by Ben Harper
Ain't No Reason by Brett Dennen
The First Cut is the Deepest by Cat Stevens
Real Men Cry by the Elms
I feel it All by Fiest
Smile Like You Mean It by the Killers
What I've Done by Linkin Park
Getting Better by Mates of State
Run My Mouth by Ra Ra Riot
Trouble by Ray LaMontagne
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel
Keep the Customer Satisfied by Simon and Garfunkel

Thats the playlist for this visit. Any thoughts? Any songs you think that I should add for any future visits?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Great Article on Teens' and Childrens' Dependence on Electronic Media

Here is a wonderful and insightful article that talks through some info on Teens and Children using electronic media. I thought the writer really had some great stuff to say.

Oh and another Youth Minister friend of mine posted the audio from me singing O Holy Night for Karaoke a while back. Take a listen and let me know what you think...