May 27, 2011

My Guest Post on Combating Cliques-Part 2

In the first part of Combating Cliques we discussed how pranking by youth leaders reinforces diminished respect for those outside of a student’s clique. In this second part, I want to dicuss the feeling of safety in the status quo that their cliques offer, and what can be done about it. . . Continue Reading

May 25, 2011

My Guest Post on Combating Cliques-Part 1

        I was recently asked to guest post on a great youth ministry blog called Strengthening the Chain. The following is the beginning of part 1 of Combatting Cliques. The rest is continued on Strengthening the Chain.

I grew up in a youth group that had cliques. I started a youth group that had cliques and until recently had never seen a clique-less variety of anything involving teens.
Like many youth pastors operating out of frustration I would do the occasional sermon on cliques and how wrong they were, hoping to make a small dent in the “You’re in, he’s out” system. It was always to no avail. I began to suppose that this was the way of it . . . Continue Reading

Part 2 is Here!

May 24, 2011

Pirates 4--a (Christian?) Movie Review

        I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides at midnight on Thursday. I was not expecting much since I had not enjoyed a Pirates move since the first one. I was pleasantly surprised.
        It still contained the same amount of innuendo and drunkenness as the first three, but something was different. Blackbeard's ship contained a Christian missionary who actually lived his faith. I could tell that even though Blackbeard and Jack Sparrow disagreed with the missionary's world-view there was an amount of respect for him. Blackbeard would only tie him up rather than kill him. He was selfless and believed that anyone could be redeemed. This side story alone is worth the price of admission.

May 17, 2011

My Life as a Television Remote Control

        When I was a kid, I was the remote control. If real remotes existed at the time we were unaware of it. Our television was a giant piece of wooden furniture with a heavy glass screen, and knobs to change channels. I can tell you that being a TV remote isn't fun, but with only three channels I was never up for very long.
        As I became older I would come home from school with different excuses as to why I would get in trouble. It usually involved others making me angry. My dad would simply asked me if they controlled me.
        It still makes me think today. Do I allow others to push my buttons and create responses in me? Am I really that weak? Me? I mean, I am a follower of Christ who the Holy Spirit has taken up residence within to produce fruit that lasts. Christ should be in control. How dare I give the remote to someone else!
        What about you? Are you letting people push your buttons? Is your attitude based on what someone else does? It is time to embrace the freedom that giving God control truly brings. It is time to give Jesus the remote.

May 13, 2011

Is Your Door Locked?-A Five Year Old's Observation

      If I was ever worried about what would happen to Randumblog in the event of my untimely demise (and I wasn't), I no longer have to. My wife Debbie shared something with me that could put my mind at ease permanently.  She was driving with my five year old son Luke when he made a profound statement.

        Now, before I share the statement with you, let me say that anyone who spends any amount of time on Randumblog should realize one thing.  The ideas may seem random, but the one constant is they usually contain an analogy that bridges the gap between the physical and spiritual world.

        Debbie saw Luke staring out the window after she hit the door-lock. She asked him what he was thinking about and he said, "Unlocking the door is like letting sin into your life, but Jesus hold the keys that can lock the door and keep out sin." Wow! Now that is the son of the Randumblogger.

        So, in my tradition of asking analogy bridging questions--Is your door locked?

May 10, 2011

It's Never too Late

        When John D. Rockefeller died his accountant was asked how much Mr. Rockefeller had left behind. The accountant responded by saying, "He left it all". My basketball coach in high school used to tell us to leave it all on the court. After all what good would a little extra energy do for us after the game was in the record books. We should live life this way. After all, you will leave it all, so why not make it count? 

        My great Aunt Ethel passed away on Saturday at 81 years old. She not only left it all behind, but she left it all on the court. Ethel volunteered in a youth ministry and gave of her own time to visit teens in a children's home every week until she was well into her 70s. Years after her peers were speaking in "used to" phraseology she was still going strong. Why? Because our time here is short and she loved teenagers. In the end only the ravishes of cancer could pull her from her calling. Instead of quitting though she began to focus her attention toward mentoring my mother, which she continued until the end.

        Many people fear, that what they have to say will not be relevant. Teens do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. You will also find that your knowledge and relevancy increase in any area that you love. My aunt was reading the newest, most cutting edge ministry books before I was even aware they were out.

        Aunt Ethel leaves behind a lasting legacy. Because of her faith and others in my family, most of those she leaves behind are firm believers. In fact myself and two brothers have also gone into youth ministry as well. 

        One day you will die. You WILL leave it all. Will you leave it ALL on the court or waste the God-given potential inside of you? You can decide to stand out and make a lasting difference. It's never too late to start. 

May 6, 2011

Thor: My Official Movie Review

        I went to see Thor last night in a newly converted digital theater. I will say two things about the technical side of the experience. First the 3D was TOTALLY unnecessary. I continue to maintain that what we are seeing is merely some 2D images at one distance while a few 2D images are viewed as closer.  This is not truly three demential. Do not waste your money on the 3D version unless it is your only option (as mine was last night). Second the sound was phenomenal. Even if you have to drive an hour to find an all digital theater it will be worth it. This was the best surround sound immersion I have ever heard in a movie.
        Now to the movie itself. It is very appropriate as a family film. When I say that I am not talking about violence (where actors are merely acting), I am talking about sexual content or profanity (where actors are actually nude or cursing). There is a difference in my book. There is some mild profanity in the film, but there was far less profanity in the movie than from the row behind me. Apparently the sound of crashes and explosions was so loud and clear that it inspired all kinds of adjectives from people in the theater.
        The story was as good as could be for an origin story. It turns out that he is not a god, but was merely viewed as a god by people from our world in ancient times (which is a good improvement from the legend). I am still not sure why Thor and Natalie Portman's character Jane Foster are so attached to each other by the end. I mean sure she was super impressed with him, but they never really had them fall in love in a believable way.
        The spiritual overtones are pretty heavy. Thor wants to give his life to save the Earth (like Jesus). Thor was originally filled with pride then becomes mortal until he denies himself to become new. This is the central plot of the human race in the Bible. We sin become mortal and if we deny ourself take up our cross and follow Jesus we put on immortality (Luke 9:23).
        I highly recommend this film as it ties in nicely to the Iron Man and Incredible Hulk movies. The stage is almost set for the Avengers in 2012. Thor is well worth the money. Are you going to see it? Will you shell out the money for 3D? If you see it let me know your thoughts on the spiritual themes and overall quality.

May 5, 2011

The National Day of Prayer is Like a High School Reunion.

        This is the National Day of prayer. I am sure you have already heard. One day to officially recognize our dependance on our Creator. One day to live as if the motto "In God We Trust" is something we actually live by. One day when more prayers will be offered up then any other time of the year except in natural disasters and national disasters.
        Don't get me wrong I am glad we have this day, but it can be much like a high school reunion. We rehash and reminisce with people that we have not talked to in years. Wouldn't it be great if we saw God for who He truly is. A lifelong friend to walk with us through anything. 
        I hope you enjoy the National Day of Prayer, but I pray that you will make everyday your "Personal Day of Prayer".

May 3, 2011

What Announcement will George Lucas Make Tomorrow?

        Tomorrow is May 4th. What is so special about the 4th of May. To Star Wars fans it is virtually a holiday. Star Wars actually came out on May 25, 1979, but a German TV station mistranslated a line from George Lucas to "we are with you on may fourth." It is unofficially Star Wars Day. Now fans everywhere will be heard saying, "May the fourth be with you" all around the globe tomorrow.
        Tomorrow at 9AM eastern time "All will be revealed" according to the Star Wars website. There is even a countdown. What could the big announcement be? This Star Wars fan is hoping for episode 7. Farfetched you say? Not really.
        It could be done with the technology used on Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy. They digitized his face, took the wrinkles out, and superimposed it onto a 35 year old actor. This not only means that we should not have to endure another geriatric Indiana Jones movie, but we could see a Star Wars film that takes place shortly after Return of the Jedi.
        Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are still alive to do the voices and all we need is their digitized face. This could be why all of the films are coming out in 3D starting next year. We could be a short 6 years from episode 7.
        The announcement will probably be Blu-ray related although I certainly hope not. I have thought about the possibilities episodes 7, 8, and 9 since I was a kid. As the years dragged on the prospect became less and less real. With modern technology however, we could see the age shed off of all of the actors.
        As I grow older my mortality is ever before me. No amount of digitization could truly add time to my life. This verse brings me comfort--Romans 6:23 The payment for sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. I will never truly die because of the price Jesus paid. Sure my body will wear out here like an aging Star Wars character, but there is a pre-planned heavenly sequel waiting for me on the other side.
If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
The Phantom Menace Passes Star Wars!
7 Problems with the Prequel Trilogy
Truths From a Galaxy Far Far Away
Star Wars 3D: its Official 
Star Wars in Concert--Original or Rip-off 
A Former Prequel Basher Speaks Out
Will the Earth Really Have Two Suns . . .?

May 2, 2011

"Obama Killed Osama" in the Style of Dr. Seuss

        This is not a normal post for me but I couldn't resist. I was thinking of how funny it was that Osama was killed by a President named Obama. This poem in the style of Dr. Seuss is the result of the randomness of my mind. Please not that I always call our President by his title first regardless of who is in the White House. In the poem both President Obama and President Bush are called simply by their last names for better flow.

  Obama killed Osama, after ten long years of looking,
  Bush began the search and push, but Obama did the cooking,
  Obama killed Osama. Was it easy? I don't know,
  But if I knew the drama to kill Osama by Obama, I think this is how it would go,

  Obama wore pajamas in the White House making plans,
  Osama cried for his mama hiding out in Pakistan,
  Thought Obama of Osama, We still need to catch this man,

  It was late and he was tired, but something stirred and kept him fired,
  Other than Trump who says you're fired, who claimed he's not American but a liar,
  Yes, he could have snuggles in an Afghany that was knitted by his granny,
  But they had not caught the mad meany manny who was an Afghani from Afghanistany,

  He got a call that settled him with news our troops were closing in,
  They had found within a big mansion contained the lion's den,
  So they asked Obama of Osama just what should be done with him,
  Obama said Osama's reign of terror's at an end.

  So Obama killed Osama with an order just and right,
  Bringing closure to 911 families and better sleep tonight.

If you enjoyed this post you might like:
Osama Bin Laden is Dead

May 1, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is DEAD!

        Osama Bin Laden is finally dead. I am not usually one to rejoice over the death of someone, but this is justice in its purest form. This man was responsible for thousands of American lives as well as people all over the world. He was shot in a mansion on a mission from our military. As I write this the President has just walked up to the microphone to share the news with America.
        Bin Laden stood for the death of innocent lives and evil in its purest form. Romans 13:4-5 says, "For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience."
        I want to thank our President, Justice Department, and our military for "not bearing the sword for no reason." Our president reminded us that we did not kill a Muslim leader. We killed a mass murderer who was also a murderer of Muslims. 
       I really thought at times that this day would never come. I am thankful that our leaders have not tired of hunting for this madman. Rest easy America. The world is a little safer tonight.

If you enjoyed this post you might also like:
"Obama Killed Osama"-In the Style of Dr.Seuss