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Friday, February 29, 2008

Wizard of Oz at East Juniata

Took this picture at EJ on Wednesday. There are a bunch of kids and adults involved in the production. You can't see very well but the dates are March 14 and 15. Next month is Midd-West's musical. They are doing "Once Upon A Mattress" - I think.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fish Sticks or Fish Fish?

I was visiting kids at lunch today and was intrigued by the "fish sticks" they serve these days. The kids seemed to like them, so I won't complain.

Four tenths is still four dollars

I don't know why this didn't post when I emailed from my phone ? ? ? Maybe it will sometime? Anyway, four tenths of a pound is better than nothing and I was happy that I even lost that much as bad as I did during my trip. If you think about it, .4 of a pound is still $4.00 toward our trip. Every little bit helps! I will do much better next week.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Four tenths is four dollars!

I only lost .4 of a pound since last time but that's not as bad as it
could have been. Travel wasn't good on my diet. I am back in the swing
of things and I hope to loose more next week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekend Blog Stats.

Here are my blog stats from Google Analyitcs for Friday - Monday (the days I attended the National Youth Ministry Conference).

272 Visits

202 Absolute Unique Visitors

460 Pageviews

On Friday I had 97 visits alone!

I would like to thank Josh Griffin for sending me 71 of those 272 total visits. He is the ultimate blogger and sent a bunch of us some links while at the NYMC in Cincinatti.

For the past 30 days I have had just shy of 1200 visits to my blog. While all of this is small in comparison to Josh's blog and others, I have been happy. I just hope you will continue to come back to see what kind of stuff there is to read. Enjoy!

Free Download Winner

Congratulations to Justin Dela Cruz from NJ for winning the free download of "Adventure Managment" from me and Simply Youth Ministry. I have also thrown in a few books I picked up at the National Youth Ministry Conference and will be getting them to him soon. Thanks for commenting, Justin. Come back often!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Learned about Hoops of Hope from Founder Austin Gutwein

Tonight at NYWC we heard from 13 year old Austin Gutwein, founder of "Hoops of Hope" - the largest free throw shoot-a-thon in the world. It's a student created, student led movement to care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. They have raised over $350,000 in the past four years! Get more information at

Sunday Recap at NYMC

Another good day in Cinci. This evening we heard from 321 Improv, The Skit Guys, Tim Timmons and Greg Stier, founder of Dare to Share. Greg animatedly (is that a word?) encouraged us to have challenging conversations with teens and people around us. Before Kutless performed we heard from a 13 year old kid from Arizona, Austin Gutwein, who has helped to raise over $350,000 for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS through his Hoops of Hope organization. It was so cool to see what teenagers can do. Thanks Austin for giving of yourself.

You Could Work for Mike?


I thought this was comical . . .

There is a pin-up board here at the NYMC. One of the categories is "Jobs".

However, I am not sure this applies.

Saturday Night at NYMC and MORE FREE Resourses

I am having a blast here at the National Youth Ministry Conference. Today was good, but tonight was better. First I had supper with youth ministry friend Jonathon and his intern Danny. Supper was expensive but delicious. The conversation, as usual with Jonanthon, was very enjoyable. After supper we headed to the evening's main session. After some fun give-a-ways by Josh, a new rap video by Jake, the "Skit Guys" and worship, Doug Fields came out and imparted part of his life. I was blown away, again, by how transparent and humble Doug (can I call him Doug?) can be. I posted about it earlier but tonight just cemented in my mind that I was right. I know he isn't a super hero or anything, but this is Doug Fields, Youth Ministry Guru. And he is 1. Afraid, 2. Too Occupied, 3. Uncomfortable. He called these "Faith Blockers" and shared how these affect his spiritual life. Yes, I guess he could be blowing smoke, but everyone that I have talked to that knows him says he is the real deal. What a great testimony. Thanks again, Doug, for sharing - it encouraged me.

Later I went to the Purpose Drive Youth Ministry Community late night event. While I was there I picked up a couple extra resources I am going to pass along to whomever wins my free give-a-way. The extra books are: "Secret Things of God" by Dr. Henry Cloud; "Coach's Challenge" by Mike Gottfried; "The Monday Morning Church" by Jerry Cook and Live: Book of John" by Group Publishing. These are over an above the original resource. Don't for get to nominate yourself or someone else.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Day at NYWC

Today was a really good day! The general session was different but I really liked it. It was a lot more interactive than any other conference I have ever been. (In 21 years, I have been to a bunch). The theme was "Play". Like I said, different but I also felt like God was talking to me about a few things. I'll keep that private. The worship was done by the 9th grade band from Saddleback Church. They were better a lot of bands that have much more experience. Nice to see kids using what God has given them to glorify Him.

I then went to the "Making Messages Stick" workshop with Thom and Joni Shultz. Again very interactive - which was part of the point. We learned to be R.E.A.L. when we speak.
I am posting them so they "Stick" better in my mind because we learned that 40% of everything we hear is lost after 2 minutes; 60% is lost after twelve hours and 90% is lost after one week.
I ate lunch with Dave and Braedon (Sorry, I hope I spelled that correctly) and then rested a bit before the second workshop.
I will share about tonight in a seperate post.

Submit a Name to Recieve a FREE Youth Ministry Resource

I need to get this out. I want to give my give-a-way to someone who wasn't fortunate enough to get to this year's National Youth Ministry Conference. See what someone will win here.

Now, here's the deal. If you, OR someone you know, couldn't be here in Cinci, please comment on this post and let me know why you couldn't come. You have to give me your name. I will select someone by putting all the names in a hat and allowing someone here to select your name or the person's name you nominated. If you are at the conference and know someone who had to miss for some reason, submit their name. Maybe it would be someone who didn't have the money. Maybe it is a volunteer who couldn't get off work. Maybe someone got sick. The reason isn't that important. Maybe you are at home and wished you could have been here. Submit your own name. I just want to share with someone who isn't here. I have been blessed by this conference and would like to share a resource with others.

Hurry, you only have until 11 AM on Monday to submit names.

Tony Dungy, Podcast and Jim from Friday Night

I really enjoyed last night. Josh has some of the videos that we saw on his blog - funny stuff. Check them out.

Tony Dungy seems like an incredible man and I really appreciated his talk. He seemed sooo humble and his love for God showed. He related how his football mentor, Chuck Knoll, encouraged him in his coaching and he challenged those in attendance use the same principles:

*Learn your craft.
*Make it personal by being yourself. Take a personal interest in your kids' lives but you can't have the same game plan for each kid.
*Take time to recharge. Rely on Christ and walk as close to the Lord as possible.
*Trust in the Lord when you experience setbacks.

Then last night I went to the "live" Simply Youth Ministry Podcast. It was fun to see all of those people live. It went well over an hour and then end had some really fun stuff. I really appreciated the end the most because I got to see that Doug and friends made/make the same silly mistakes that I have/do. Thanks guys for being transparent last night.

I also got to meet Jim from "Jim's Blog Space". I is nice to finally see him in person. Much taller than I thought.

Observation at nymc

This morning I tried to pay attention to the people walking by. In the
past 20 years two things have changed about youth workers: the age
and what they wear.

There are so many more people with grey hair here. I think that is
great! Yesterday I met a guy who is 77 years old. So cool.

The is also a lot less t-shirts than there were 15 - 20 years ago.
More people are wearing button down shirts and sweaters.

Just an observation.

Sent from my iPhone

Short Note from NYMC

I have been having computer problems all last night and this morning. Enough said. I don't have much time this mornig to post but will hopefully get time a little later today. For now, know this. Last night was really good. Videos, music, Dungy, Podcast - really, really good.

General Session then training and affinity groups today. Look for more later.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Free Adventure Management Download

Normally you would have an idea for a contest and then find the prize. Well, I have the prize . . . a free download of Adventure Manaement from Simpy Youth Ministry. This download has a retail price of $19.00 and YOU COULD WIN IT! If I only knew how to give it away. I will get to that in the morning. For now, let me tell you about the prize.

Adventure Management

Life is an adventure full of surprises and challenges. And there are a couple of areas in life that if they aren’t manage wisely, can steal the joy and abundance from the treasured life that Jesus promised to those who follow Him. Doug stares these issues dead in the eye with this sermon series and gives you the tools to teach it to others. Originally given to adults, this three-week series deals with topics that are just as relevant to students and young adults (actually, Doug taught them to teenagers first…he practiced there and we got this ‘better’ recording). Topics include:

Week 1—Conflict
Week 2—Busyness
Week 3—Relationships

With this resource you get MP3's of each of the messges, Transcripts and outlines, Powerpoints of each messge, promotional material and dramas. Check out more information here. And, come back to see how you can win this FREE download.

She Needs Frequent Driver Miles

I was impressed today. In my 40+ affinity group, that most of the
people voted for, I met Dawn who drives 150 miles one way to work with
and minister to her youth group - EVERY WEEK! Lord, may I never
complain about ministry taking too much of my time.

Sent from my iPhone

Small plane

They threw me on this plane for my trip to Cinci. A total of 18
seats in the entire plane!

Red Eye for the Tired Guy

I took the "red eye" from LA to Cleveland only to find out my flight to Dayton was cancelled! I got re-routed to Cinci for a 7:4o flight which is delayed. I pray that my luggage makes the trip! This might work out for the better as I might be able to get a Shuttle from the hotel instead of having to make someone come pick me up in Dayton.

By the way, I have recieved my "give-a-way" - a digital download version of Adventure Management from Simply Youth Ministry. I will give you more information later about the download and how I will be giving it away (hopfully, I will come up with something good). I am really looking forward to this weekend.

Only Good Kids Allowed

I am getting ready to leave for the National Youth Workers Conference - sitting at LAX for four hours. I am told it is cold and miserable there. I just can't wait until we are on the ground in Dayton. Anyway, I just had to show you this pic I took last night at a small cafe while walking back from supper. They obviously had some problems with bratty kids.

It's a Small World After All

I was walking across the street this afternoon and noticed that a bunch of the small cafe's had umbrellas outside. Not a big deal except that these particular umbrellas were probably manufactured in Mt. Pleasant Mills, PA - basically where I live - by American Holtzkraft. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I have seen their umbrellas in New York City, Atlanta, Kansas City, St. Louis and now Lake Forest, CA. Believe it or not, this first pic is under the BLACK umbrella at the cafe? I don't know why it looks blue.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hip Hop Small Groups

One of the workshops today was outside with a "Hip Hop" small group. It's really cool what they are doing in that culture. Hip Hop seems very accepting - more than I would have thought. I learned a bunch about the Hip Hop culture. Their ministry web site is One of the things they do is graffiti art. Here are a few pics.

This guy has done over 300 commissioned paintings throughout southern California and has done stuff all over the US. It was very interesting. Check out his clothing line:

SSGC Update

Just heard from Bishop Sherwood C. Carthen at the Saddleback Small Groups Conference. Really good stuff. Workshops are next. Hopefully I'll be able to get some answers to some of my questions I have about small groups at RMC. Got to go get something to eat!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Taking "The 5", Water Sprinklers and U-Turns

Here are a couple of things that are different while driving in the "OC" than driving in Central PA - and I am not talking about the amount of traffic. These are just things you don't see or hear in PA.

1. Traffic lights on the on ramps. They allow two cars at a time to enter the freeway.
2. The freeways always are labled with "The" and then the number of the highway. i.e. To get to Saddleback I have to take "The 5". Along the way I pass "The 55", "The 405" and "The 121".
3. They have an extra lane that can only be used if you have at least two or more people in your vehicle (carpoolers).
4. They have water sprinklers to water the plants in the middle of the "onramp circles" (I don't know what to call them.)
5. U-turns are not only allowed, but encouraged.

Lunchtime Thoughts on Saddleback Small Group Conference.

It is lunch time here at the 2008 Saddleback Small Groups Conference. Rick Warren just finished speaking. It was a LOT of stuff. Kind of long but very good for me to hear some things. They had to cancel or postpone some workshops because he spoke so long. That's not a problem for me. He also changed his talk and now they are giving out a DVD of the talk he was going to give. Two for one - cool!

Right now I have more questions in my mind than I do ideas about small groups. I will be patient and wait for some answers. Everything has been foundational so far. I would really like to talk to someone who has small groups and Sunday School. They don't have Sunday School here. Small groups are basically their Sunday School. I think they are going to talk about this later . . . I hope.

The worship leader is good. He shared a little of his life experience. He has an interesting story - at least the part that I heard.

It's also good for me to see that Saddleback has the same tecnical and programming problems that we face at Richfield.

Rick Warren Speaking at Small Groups Conference

He is really there. The conference has been good so far.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This is What They Gave Me

I was suposed to get a small mini van (it was cheaper) but this is
what they gave me.

Hungry for Hungary Update

I won't be able to weigh in this week but I can tell you this. What a
difference 35 lbs makes on a plane. I had pull extra on my seatbelt
and the tray didnt touch my belly. Look for the weigh in next
Wednesday night.

Sent from my iPhone

Flight Attendant Oversleeps!

Well, they just let us know that the flight attendant overslept and, although she is on her way, we won't be boarding on time. They reasured us that we will be getting into Chicago 5 minutes early. I wonder what they would do if I HAD overslept and I called in? ? ?

My Trek Begins

It's 5:55 AM and I am sitting waiting for my plane to board at Harrisburg International Airport and hoping I got everything done I needed to. The worst part of flying is the waiting. Thank goodness for wifi. I am also updating/downloading my phone with two last podcasts so I can listen on the plane. I don't have to be anywhere until this evening so I am looking forward to getting a little rest.

I noticed that a number of people have voted on my affinity group selection (10 people with 2 days left). There is kind of a tight race for which group I should attend. So, I hope a few more people vote.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blog Your Blessings Sunday

Tonight our small group from church meets. I am thankful and blessed to have been able to get to know and formed lasting relationships with this group. Tonight we are talking about "Love That Shows Up". I truly believe that these people would be there for any of the others for the good things and the bad.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NYWC Affinity Groups Poll for Joel

One of the optional things to participate in while at the National Youth Worker's Conference is "Affinity Groups". These are small groups for participants to connect, share info learned in various tracks and workshops, and discuss how it applies to their unique context of ministry. Each group has a ministry mentor who’ll help lead discussion and organize the next group meeting.

I am not sure if I will participate or not but if I do, I am not sure which one I should attend. Therefore, I have posted a poll on the right side of my blog to get some help from you. Please check out the four different groups here and then select which group you think would be best for me. If there is an overwhelming response to one, I will go to that one and blog about it throughout the weekend.

So, take a few minutes and help me decide. The poll will end at 11:59 PM on Thursday night.

California (Cinci, too) Here I Come!

Why is it that whenever you are going away, there are so many things that have to get done, NOW! I am leaving on Tuesday for a small group conference at Saddleback and then flying to Cincinnati, OH for Group's National Youth Worker's Conference. I am looking forward to both of these; however, I think I will enjoy the latter a little more for a number of reasons.

1. A bunch of youth worker friends from Central PA will be there to hang out with.

2. Tony Dungy, the coach of my favorite professional football team, is going to be speaking.

3. I will get insights and ideas from others in Youth Ministry.

4. I will get to relax with like-minded people.

I will also be blogging about the event as much as possible. I am told I will be able to give away some sort of merchandise at some point on my blog. So, check back often to see what they come up with.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What Happened to Freedom of Speech?

I would like to encourage you to consider taking some friends to go see this movie which might be the best freedom of speech movie in a long, long time. Here is the press release.

In a Major Motion Picture Release
Ben Stein exposes the frightening agenda of the “Darwinian Machine” in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Coming April, 2008

(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) August 22, 2007 – It’s a movie that Ferris Bueller would take the day off to go see. What freedom-loving student wouldn’t be outraged to
discover that his high school science teacher is teaching a theory as
indisputable fact, and that university professors unmercifully crush any fellow
scientists who dare question the prevailing system of belief? This isn’t the
latest Hollywood comedy; it’s a disturbing new documentary that will shock
anyone who thinks all scientists are free to follow the evidence wherever it may

Produced by Premise Media, Expelled, which will be in
theaters April, 2008, is being marketed by Motive Entertainment, the company
that has spearheaded significant Hollywood blockbusters, including The Passion
of the Christ, Polar Express and The Chronicles of Narnia. Rocky Mountain
Pictures, an established distribution company, which has enjoyed numerous
box-office successes, will distribute the film.

Ben Stein, the lovable, monotone teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Wonder Years is on a journey to answer one of the biggest questions ever asked: Were we designed or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning? Stein, who is also a lawyer, an economist, a former presidential
speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he finds on his
journey. He discovers an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its
skepticism for dogma. But even worse, along the way, Stein uncovers a long line
of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their
reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment
that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random
mutation and natural selection.

“Big Science in this area of biology has lost its way,” says Stein. “Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it’s anti-science. Its anti-the whole concept of learning.”

Expelled uncovers that educators and scientists are being ridiculed, denied tenure and even fired in some cases for the fact that they believe there is evidence of “design” in nature, challenging the idea that life is a result of random chance. For example, Stein meets Richard Sternberg, a double PhD biologist who allowed a peer-reviewed research paper describing the evidence for intelligence in the universe to be published in the scientific journal Proceedings. Not long after publication, officials from the National Center for Science Education and the Smithsonian Institution where Sternberg was a research fellow began a coordinated smear and intimidation campaign to get the promising young scientist expelled from his position. This attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a congressional investigation.

On his journey, Stein meets other scientists such as astrobiologist Guillermo
Gonzalez, who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in spite of his
extraordinary record of achievement. Gonzalez made the mistake of documenting
the design he has observed in the universe. There are others, such as Caroline
Crocker, a brilliant biology teacher at George Mason University who was forced
out of the university for briefly discussing problems with Darwinian Theory and
for telling the students that some scientists believe there is evidence of
design in the universe. The list goes on and on.

Unlike some other documentary films, Expelled doesn’t just talk to people representing one side of the story. The film confronts scientists such as Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, influential biologist and atheist blogger PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education. The creators of Expelled crossed the globe over a two-year period, interviewing scores of
scientists, doctors, philosophers and public leaders. The result is a startling
revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled
from publicly-funded high schools, universities and research institutions.

“The incredible thing about Expelled is that we don’t resort to
manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the ‘shock effect,’
something that has become common in documentary film these days,” said Walt
Ruloff, co-founder of Premise Media and co-Executive Producer. “People will be
stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a
large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale. Premise
Media took on this difficult mission because we believe the greatest asset of
humanity is our freedom to explore and discover truth.”

The extensive grass roots campaign for Expelled, spearheaded by Motive Entertainment president, Paul Lauer, will include nationwide screenings and endorsements with key leaders, promotional materials, a promotional resource DVD, publicity, radio promotions and Internet. In addition, a pre-launch campaign will include unprecedented partnerships and a widespread campaign together with educators, youth, scientists, families and the media nationwide.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed is scheduled for release in April 2008.
For more information on Ben Stein’s journey visit

Hungry for Hungary Update/weigh In

No youth group (officially) due to no school during the day. We still
offered to play volleyball, etc. In the FLC. About 10 kids showed up.
So, I was able to weigh in. FOUR more pound this week! That's 35 for
the six weeks with six to go. And $350, unofficially, for my Hungry
for Hungary account So far so good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Stash is Organic

I was a groomsman in a friends wedding this past summer. One of the favors on the tables was a four box set of Stash organic tea. I don't drink a lot of tea, usually. However, this weekend, tea has become something that I indulged in a bunch - due to my sore throat. I remembered by box set on Monday morning. Last night I had the "Cascade Mint". I was blown away by how good it was. It was so good that today I ordered 80 packs. This is NOT a paid endorsement. I would recommend it. Like I said, I don't drink tea much. But, I might be in the future.


I have Strep Throat :( and an ear infection. But, I feel better today than I did over the weekend. It HAS been good for my diet - not that I suggest losing weight by not eating anything. In any event, I will try to relax today. I would like to post again today, but I am not sure if I can or not. We'll see.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

New Blog - "Elet Szava"

I have set up a new blog so people can follow the progress of our upcoming mission trip to "Elet Szava" in Toalmas, Hungary. I have linked to it as well on the side bar. Being new, there isn't much there yet. But I hope each of the participants will post regularly, making it very interesting. Check it out.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Three More Pounds

After a sub-par week of my diet, I was still able to salvage three pounds lost! The weekend really killed me. I was really hoping to to be sub 290. I guess I will take this.

Sent from my iPhone

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

I have been planning the worship services at our church over the past few months and, even though it is tough for me to be organized, I have tried to coordinate everything so that the service seems to flow together. Well, Aaron found this youtuber and told me that he wanted the services to look as choreographed as this video. It probablly won't happen soon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


"What did we ever do before cell phones?" I have said it on many occasions. Now it seems that in some places of the world, without a cell phone, you can't use the rest rooms. Check out this short story about what you have to do to unlock some rest rooms in Finland.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl Ads

I was really disapointed. In a game that was kind of boring until the end, I wish there would have been some really good ads this year. No such thing. I thought the ads rated maybe a C+ at best. I did enjoy ads from T-Mobile, Coke, and unfortunately Bud Light. Why are all the best commercials beer commercials? But, nothing that was really good. Anyway, check out all the commercials at myspace.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Uncle Phil's Diner

Here are a few pics from last night's "Uncle Phil's Diner" Dinner Theater.

Above, Coach Farber and PJ remember times gone by with Oscar. Below, the cooks save the day!