Saturday, April 30, 2005

Boring Saturday Fun Time!

I have nothing on the docket for today. I have some yardwork that needs tending, but that will only take a couple of hours, and Kelsey has a softball game, but other than that...NOTHING.

So, stealing a page from my friend Keila's playbook, I'll give you a 'story prompt' and you guys start working it out in the comments...and remember, the good folks at Haloscan have limited characters, so keep them kinda short.

Here's the prompt:

"He gave her that look. The one that she didn't believe because she doesn't see what he sees. And it only annoyed her more because she remembered what he said to her last night. She had to tell him. She had to say it. Enough was enough."


Friday, April 29, 2005

Sometimes Cool Things Happen To Cool People

Okay, so my friend Steve-O falls head-over-heels in love with Michelle. They love Jesus. They love each other. It works.

Turns out they're both uber talented. Steve does the worship thing and really "gets it." Michelle does all sorts of artistic things, some webbish, some graphic design, a bit of writing here and there.

Well, some of that writing here and there turned into a published article at Relevant Magazine's website! Congratulations, Mellowmish...I'm very proud of you and can't tell you how cool it is to see this side of you!
It's Really Very Simple...No...Not So Much

It used to be a tree.
Through some process it became a piece of paper.

My God saved me.
My God gifted me with certain gifts and talents.

My God loves me beyond what I comprehend.
My God is worthy of my worship.

Why is it when my gifts...
...and my object of worship...
...and that blank piece of paper...

All come together...

I become literally terrified.
I become virtually paralyzed with fear.

Why can't I write the book?

Yeah, if you could answer that, or figure out some way for me to cause the fear to subside...yeah, that'd be helpful.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

So, Today I'm Thinking...

...I'm abnormally excited about the Juarez trip with my students this year, and I'm usually pretty excited.
...that the time I had with the sophomore girls Bible study last night was enlightening as to how spiritually sharp that group really is.'s cool that Nathan visited a middle school yesterday.
...Tom Cruise has no business dating Katie Holmes.
...God is up to something significant in my life because I'm getting the tell-tale signs of restlessness (which usually results in creative-thinking/vision bursts).
...that if you missed "End of the Century" the other night you missed a great documentary on why they were so influential yet unrecognized and underrated.
...that I've gotten an unusual amount of positive feedback on my sermon Sunday and I don't even know if it's online or not yet.
...the Rangers have weathered a difficult part of the schedule and are holding their own thus far (*fingers crossed for a long, interesting summer of baseball here in Texas*)
...that the NHL playoffs would be in full-force right now, which would mean late nights and emotion swings, and if I don't really notice them not being around, that league might be in serious trouble.
...the prophet Jeremiah is by far and away the most misunderstood and maligned person in Scripture (by those involved in evangelical circles) and I'm not surprised I "get" him.
...that I'm really proud of my friend Katherine for training for & finishing her half-marathon.
...that I have interesting friends all around me because I work with teenagers, and, the older I get, the more alienated I feel from grown-ups.
...I've been reading The Onion for years, and it still makes me laugh every Wednesday when the new edition comes out.
...some of the seniors who were miffed that I didn't mention them in my sermon as examples might want to ask themselves why that might be (instead of being mad at me), but I'd imagine that would involve more introspection and discomfort than they'd really want to do.
...since I mowed the lawn yesterday, I have a weekend with pretty much nothing to do. wife and youngest daughter have been gone to Camp Classen with the 5th graders on their annual trip, and I'm ready for them both to come home.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

We're Gonna Do What They Say Can't Be Done

"Too many risks," they said.
"They're not mature enough," they said.
"Sounds like a cop-out for not recruiting enough adults," they said.
"Not worth the hassle," they said.
"They don't 'get-it' themselves. They can't help others 'get' what they don't have," they said.

We did it out of necessity, to be sure, but we still believed high schoolers doing direct ministry to teenagers by leading small groups could be done...and done well.

We believed that high school teenagers are part of the body of Christ right now and not part of the church of the future. We know they have spiritual gifts designed to help the body of Christ mature. We know that they can use those gifts and talents to combine with their own personalities to be effective ministers for the Gospel.

So, we let high schoolers disciple our middle schoolers.

Here's an e-mail I got this morning (names changed, spelling/grammar/punctuation left the same):


PRAISE GOD!!! one of my girls informed me tonight that she got saved last tuesday. in small groups we asked them to share their testimony and what their walk was like of my girls, "jill smith", asked to go first. she said that she got saved last tuesday!!! i asked her if she had talked to anyone about it....she said only "jane smith", another girl in my group. then, in further discussion of their spiritual lives, jane says, "God brought jill and I together as friends so I could bring her here to bible study. She got saved here, and now she has helped to bring me back into a closer relationship with Him. I guess it was all a part of His plan for us." how awesome is THAT?!?!?! i almost got up and danced. i just thought i would let you know, since i know you sometimes hear things secondhand 2 months after the fact. praise the Lord!!!! i'm so excited. no but seriously.

in Him,
jane doe

So, an open note to all of those who made up "they":

The rewards outweigh the risks.
They are mature enough.
Most adults are worth "copping out" over when it comes to youth ministry.
It's most worth the hassle.
They do 'get it' and are fully capable of 'giving' it to others.

The Kingdom of God is deeper and more rewarded because of the high schoolers leading our small group ministry.

And, in this instance, I do enjoy saying, "I told you so."

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Lights! Camera! Annnnndd....ACTION!

Former 2-year college roommate and frequent blog commenter Hollywood thought it'd be a good idea for someone to do a movie of my life...some sort of youth-pastor reflection piece of my life from when I was, say, 59 or so.

So, who should play me at 22? 35? 50?

Who should play Tracy?

And, for those of you students and former students (or church friends for that matter), what "scenes" should unquestionably be in it?
"You Gotta Hear This One Song. It'll Change Your Life, I Promise You."

What's gotten into PBS?

Tonight on our local public broadcasting affiliate, they are featuring a documentary on the show "Introspective Lens." That documentary, you ask?

End of the Century: The Ramones. 10PM here in Dallas.

Looking back on it, there are only three bands who I would ever own a box set of because their music really did change my life.

I own a Ramones box-set.

Watching the documentary likely won't change your life. If you didn't live it, it won't mean anything to you I don't think. But it might give you some insight into why it changed mine.

So, whose music would you stay up to watch the "official" documentary of because they changed YOUR life?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Looks Like Somebody's Got A Case Of The Mondays...

Well, the sermon's over. I have no idea how our senior pastor preaches four times every Sunday if his mental Mondays are anything like mine.

Right now, The Best of Jimmy Fallon is in the DVD, with my two SpongeBob DVD's on deck. I have some alternate choices to make, too: A toss up between Zoolander, This Is Spinal Tap, and Caddyshack.

I may even go for some higher-order fare, such as Cribs, Meet The Barkers, and Pimp My Ride. Where's Jessica & Nick when you need them most?

I have no ability to think today...and I should mow the lawn but there's just enough threat of rain to keep me from doing that.

A nap is afoot.


Sunday, April 24, 2005


Preaching today.

Four times.

Can someone help me get this Mexican Jumping Anvil out of my stomach?
It really is as plain as the nose on your face...

Did you, along with the rest of the world, see that Auburn University's 2004 football Tigers had...

not one...

not two...

not three...


of their players taken in the FIRST ROUND of the N.F.L. Draft yesterday?

And, they were undefeated champions in the conference that had 10 players taken in the first round (and, oh, by the way, the "Big" 12 had 4, and the Pac 10 had 3--two from USC, so the rest of the conference only had 1, and he was the 24th pick)...

Somebody tell me again how Auburn wasn't good enough to play for the national championship.

This isn't a fan talking. I'd say the same thing, even if it was the hated University of Alabama that had the same resume:

Auburn got screwed. No one will ever convince me otherwise.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Group Keeps Getting Larger Every Year

Before prom, my teenagers come over to show us how good they look. It's a tradition that I've really come to appreciate. Moreso now than ever.

Here they all are! Posted by Hello

Here are their dates! Posted by Hello

here are the girls who came over for prom! Posted by Hello
Never Go Through An Old Box Of Photos

A couple of days ago, I discovered a box of photographs from my 16 years of youth ministry...

Included in the find were photographs of this year's graduating class at their very first youth-group thing when they were in 6th grade. Never a good find when you're preparing a sermon in which they are the illustrations.

I also saw a succession of prom photographs in which the teens would all come over before their senior prom to show us what they looked like all dressed up (which, when you think about it, is a fantastic tribute to a youth minister)...and the photographs progressively contain numerically more people in them each year, too. Some of those kids in the pictures work for me now.

Today, the first set of prom kids gets here at 5PM. Flower Mound, the next group of prom kids, will be coming in two weeks...

But never go through an old box of photos when those "traditional" things are coming up. Go through them when more emotional distance is in between.

I really love my teenagers.

Friday, April 22, 2005

She's Really A Total-Package Kind of Girl

So, my wife's photography hobby graduated to a little side job to a small business start-up to a thriving little business. She's constantly doing photo shoots and taking orders and setting up more shoots.

But it's beyond the reality that she has a successful business thing going.

She's really talented, and VERY good at what she does.

I could NOT be more proud of her.

She's smart, pretty, talented, funny, an excellent wife, a great mom, et al.

Sometimes I feel like the most blessed man on the planet. Today is one of those days.
Before I Begin Today's Sermon Entitled "What Ned Did"...

Sermon prep has gone surprisingly low-key this week. I don't want to speak too soon as life in ministry can get hectic with one phone call, but three more hours of work and it should be as ready as it's going to get.

I may actually get to enjoy a weekend even though I've got to deliver it on Sunday!

*crosses fingers, closes eyes, looks heavenward and prays for no emergency phone calls*
Stains On My T-Shirt, Part Deux

Yesterday I listed a whole bunch of stupid things that I actually paid money to see or do, and I forgot a couple of things: of the football teams I paid money to see was the Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football before it became NFL Europe.

...I purchased Frampton Comes Alive, like the rest of America that year, and in the words of Beavis and Butt-Head, it sucked more than anything has ever sucked before. Two overrated songs that actually had both mouthbox and synthesizer solos.

...I've played golf. I'm convinced that there's no bigger waste of time, money and (Caddyshack reference upcoming) prime real-estate than golfing.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I've Got Stains On My T-Shirt, And I'm The Biggest Flirt...

Ashlee Simpson was in concert in Dallas last night and drew a crowd of over 3,000 people. My first reaction was, "Who would pay money to see her?" And then it hit me some of the stupid stuff I've actually paid money to see:

...a "Tough-Man" competition. It's a boxing tournament for anyone off the street, and me and some friends loaded up for one near an Army base in Columbus, Georgia.

...not one, not two, but three professional wrestling events. I saw Hulk Hogan beat Bad News Brown for the WWF Heavyweight Championship. I saw Ric Flair beat Nikita Koloff for the WCW Heavyweight Championship. I saw the Road Warriors beat The Midnight Express (managed by Jim Cornett) in a scaffold match.

...I attended something called a "Rattlesnake Rodeo" in a town actually named Opp, Alabama. The cheerleaders for the local Opp Bobcats actually have a cheer that goes, "O-P-P...home of OPPortunity!"

...The Talledega 500.

...Birmingham, Alabama's many professional football teams: The Americans (World League), The Vulcans (The World League's failed 2nd year), The Stallions (The United States Football League) and The Barracudas (Canadian Football League--in Alabama, no less).

...The Alamo, which might be the biggest let-down on a list of American historical visits. The "tour" is a lady who stands over a glass-encased model who says things like, "Santa Anna's army laid seige in an encampment where the HemisFair Arena currently stands." or "The soldiers were able to hide for a time near the rear wall, which was located on the current Marriott hotel property." It'd be easier to take those signs that talk about the "cradle of Texas liberty" and "gentlemen remove hats" if you couldn't take a rock and hit a Wendy's restaurant from the front door. I don't remember paying, but I remember thinking that I should've worked out in the hotel instead of going.

...a concert involving John "Butcher" Axis, Krokus and Def Leppard (who only had their first two albums out at the time) on the same bill.

I can't believe I put good money out there for stuff like that...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Air Guitar

Yesterday afternoon my daughter strolled in from a day of standardized testing at school and I guess she needed to move around a bit from her day of rows and lines and #2 pencils and bubbling in answers.

After some polite greetings she hits her room and, in a rarity, closed the door.

Her stereo thumps out the F, Bb, Ab, C# chord progression of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" followed by the pounding drums and base run and we're full-blown 1993 back there. Then we hear the oldest daughter's attempt to imitate Kurt Cobain:

"Load up on guns, bring your friends
bzzzz hmmmmm hmmmm hmmm to PRETEND
She's overboard and self-assured
bzzzz hmmmmm hmmmm hmmm a dirty WORD..."
(grunge lyrics can be a tough deal for air guitarists, but no one really knows if you're struggling with them)

Then she full-throated the chorus emphasizing words like "entertain us" and messing up the arrangement of "libido" "mosquito" "albino" and "mulatto."

I couldn't help but imagine a she was dangling her hair in her eyes and slumped over like Kurt singing into a microphone/hairbrush checking out how close she imitated him in her mirror.

How do I know that's likely what was going on? That's the same stuff I used to do when I was a teen...and it raised a couple of questions:

First, is it sick that I thought it was pretty cool my daughter is full-throating Nirvana?

And secondly, what songs did (do?) you full-throat when you're driving or no one else is in your pad.

For me: "Rock and Roll All Nite" by Kiss, "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead and "Back in Black" by AC/DC were heavy in the middle school air guitar. Now it's usually just singing along in the car, but heavy on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Moby.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

So You're Saying There's A Chance?

Last night I'm flipping channels and see the swearing of oaths by the college of cardinals. From what I could gather, they were formally stating that they were truly seeking God's will in their vote for the next pope.

Since I'm not Catholic and have little knowledge of what was going on I decided to watch the proceedings and learn a little something. The announcers were introducing each man as he stepped to the open Bible and made his vow, including his age and where he was from and the years of service.

65. Rome. A priest for 33 years.
62. Turkey. A preist for 21 years.
68. Milan. A priest for 40 years.
And on and on with stuff like that.

And then they fired off the name of a 56-year-old guy from Baltimore, Maryland who had been an archbishop of something-or-other for a long time. And then the thought struck me that anyone in that room could be the next pope (again, please correct me if I'm wrong).

I know it's a long-shot, but I'm pulling for the 56-year-old guy from Baltimore, Maryland who had been an archbishop of something-or-other for a long time. I think an American in the papacy would be about as big a shake-up as they could get...and I'm a big fan of the underdog. Like I said, I'm not Catholic and I wouldn't know what was best for their church or their leader.

But I wonder what the headlines around the world would be like and what changes an American would make. I'd love to see that guy get elected simply for those two reasons alone.

Monday, April 18, 2005

It's THAT Time Again

This week will be characterized by a relatively monastic existence, and what little social interaction there is will feature curt responses...capped off with on underlying tone of stress surrounding my week.

I'm preparing my sermon this week, for Sunday delivery, starting today.

Not that I would presume such, but, dear readers, don't expect too terribly much from me in the blogging realm regarding insight or creativity.

I'm preparing my sermon this week, for Sunday delivery, starting today.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

On The Job 24/7. That's 24 Hours A Week, Seven Months A Year.

On a phone call yesterday, my higher-order life-liver sister Jilly informed me that she'd been told that she'd only have to work three days a week at her job...but they'd called her in for a fourth day her first week. Her re-entry to the workforce after four years of retirement has already taken a dramatic turn.

Jilly, please pace yourself...workaholism kills.

"What's Your Name?" "Ima." "Ima who?" "Ima Gonna Kick Your..."

Today is Jennifer Garner's 33rd birthday today! Let's all celebrate by taking the starring role in average action movies based on comic book characters, being in a brilliant television series as a identity-changing government agent, and trying to reinvent ourselves by taking the lead role in a romantic comedy for the "Nickelodeon-friendly" demographic.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Birthday Party

Last night, my youngest daughter celebrated her 11th birthday with a party for friends. Sure, when she turned 11 in January we had a family party/dinner/night out but for a myriad of reasons, this is the first weekend when she and her cronies could all get together.

We went to Interskate for a couple of hours and they roller skated around...each one entered the "limbo" contest. There was popcorn and Pepsi for the kids.

We came home and played "bingo" as we have this toy bingo set and gave away prizes.

We made root beer floats, and they fell asleep watching the movie "The Incredibles."

This morning there was a breakfast of donut holes, pigs-in-a-blanket and chocolate donuts with sprinkles on them. They're watching Jimmy Neutron and going over the rules (although you'd think they'd be self-explanatory) for a game they invented called "musical sleeping bags." Superchick will be the music of choice.

And, by the sound of it, they had, and are having, a very good time.

So, I started thinking about my most memorable "kid" birthday party. It was when me and my friends Rush, Hal, Jimmy and Frankie went to the local Birmingham Bulls minor-league hockey game (my mom drove and picked up), we went next door to the Hyatt House hotel and rode the glass elevator until my Mom got there, and we spent the night at my house. It turns out the 1980 U.S. hockey team played their first game that night and we watched it on tape-delay and they scored a goal against Sweden in the last minute that sent them on their march towards the gold medal.

It seems to me that the best birthday parties are the ones that the emphasis is on fun with friends rather than the "event." So, what was the best "kid" birthday party you remember, and does it prove my "theory?"

Friday, April 15, 2005

One Of The Greatest Feelings In The World Is To Be Gotten

I had to answer some interview questions for a church publication in which there'll be a "get to know" section each month for a ministry leader. Well, it was my turn this month, and the last question read as follows:

"Add a closing comment or two about yourself that you want the CBC congregation to know about you."

Here was my answer:

"Well, if you don’t “get” The Ramones, Auburn University football, movies with few redeeming qualities, mildly dispensational theology, Sesame Street, New York City, disc golf and major league baseball, well, you probably won’t “get” me, either."

For those of you that know me, what else should I have put on this list (keep in mind I'd already talked about my love for teenagers and why I do what I do)?
Tax Day Haiku

Ten-forty complete
The federal government
owes me some money

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Reading For The Average Joe

Somebody asked me what books would I recommend "for the average Joe" that would stretch their thinking from the beaten-path, run-of-the-mill Christian Junkstore reading.

Even though I consider myself an average Joe, I gave it a lot of thought based on what I thought he meant by that term.

With that in mind, here's my 2005 Official Summer "spiritual" off-the-beaten-path, run-of-the-mill Christian Junkstore summer reading list for the average Joe(in no particular order):

Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli
The Challenge of Jesus by Tom Wright
The Vision and The Vow by Pete Greig
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Subversive Spirituality by Eugene Peterson
RealLivePreacher.Com by Gordon Atkinson

If you read all those from now until August, you'll be wonderfully uncomfortable and your walk will be more authentic. I promise.

From one average Joe to another, what did I miss?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

You Never Really Know

I don't want to be this vague. It has to be, though...but I have to get this out of me.

Our church has loads of visitors every week.

Sometimes, you have no idea of what the person sitting next to you is going through, and if you did, whatever you think your problems are would pale in comparison.

Sometimes, just knowing others care is enough.

Sometimes, love is infinitely more important than the right theology.

Sometimes, God is at work and you know it you simply don't know exactly what He is up to.

Sometimes, visitors and your congregation's love and God all wind up in the same soup...and no one involved (except God, of course) knows how much little things matter and are appreciated.

And, sometimes, you wonder why you're even needed as a pastor.

And then you realize you're not really needed as a pastor...that God can do just fine on His own.

And, then you smile and thank Him for the chance to be a cog in His Machine.

And, you humbly go to work again...failing to see why He chose you to be a part of it, but happy to be doing it just the same.
Amazing Things Are Afoot At The Local Starbucks

First thing yesterday morning I had coffee with a teenager that I really identify with. What I see, that she genuinely (and sadly) doesn't see, is that she is overbearingly gifted and talented and sees through everything that's plastic and phony about her world.

Stephen King, in his book "On Writing" says this:

"Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don't have to make speeches. Just believing is enough."

I won't make a speech.

After our coffee today, Bailey, I believe. Just remember that as I look over your shoulder for the next few years, okay?

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Question Asked, Question Answered

News blurb:

"The gang on 'Sesame Street' adding health issues to the curriculum...

'Who better to guide preschoolers toward a healthier life than Elmo, Oscar, Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Street gang?' asks Rosemarie Truglio, a vice-president at Sesame Workshop."

Well, Rosemarie, with all due respect to your pieces of carpet with hands stuck up their bottoms (and the reality that you have to say things like that because it's your job), might I sugges that the answer to that question might actually be...

...their PARENTS?
MARTA, BART, The "L", The "F" From Brooklyn To Queens, Noordholland Spoorwagons, ANYTHING

Granted, I own a mini-van, so part of this is my own fault.

But I filled up the tank yesterday to the tune of $50.53 and $2.18 per gallon. And I haven't paid for repairs or upkeep or insurance or anything else car related.

If I'm not mistaken, one tank of gasoline for one vehicle is roughly the cost of a month-long subway pass in New York City.

Why are we so in love with our cars despite their enslaving tendencies and why does our community overwhelmingly vote against public transportation proposals?

Monday, April 11, 2005

My Mom Says Some Days Are Like That...Even In Austrailia

Ever have that feeling that no matter what you do, in every facet of your life, it just isn't enough?

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Blogring/Community Stuff

One of the reasons I like blogs with commenting is the ability to create community...which is why I take some time to read the blogs of friends and students. Anyway, one of my students had this posted on her blog:

"If you read this,
you must make a comment of a memory you have of me.
it can be anything you want,
it can be good or bad,
just so long as it happened.
then post this to your journal.
see what people remember about you."

Well, I read hers.

Since it said that I "must" make a comment of a memory, I did.

Then it says I'm supposed to post it on my journal.

So I did. the game already.
Excitement of The Great Game, 2X

After a morning of lawn care, the afternoon was spent at Kelsey's softball game. The game was pretty close, with Kelsey's team, Blast, leading 5-4. She comes up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the last inning. I can tell you that there's an odd mix of fear/excitement/hope that comes over a parent when such a situation occurs.

Anyway, after fouling off the first pitch, she gets a solid base hit up the middle to make it 7-4. The next girl gets a base hit and the Blast were up 9-4 going to the last inning. The other team made it close at the end to make it a 9-7 final, with some harrowing moments as they had the bases loaded with two outs, but the Blast held on to go 3-0 on the season.

Then, we came home to catch the last half of the major league Rangers. Our bullpen has been having a series of losses in one-run games, and it looked like they had blown it again today, giving up four runs in the bottom of the 8th to Seattle to fall behind 6-3.

A couple of outs and a couple of 2 run home runs by Hank Blalock and Richard Hildalgo saved the day offensively, and even though the bottom of the 9th was scary (Seattle managed to get runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs), we got the last out to win it.

There's something very natural and enjoyable about a sunny spring Saturday afternoon, complete with baseball and exciting finishes.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's Really Not All That Complicated

I was "people intensive" at work yesterday...five different appointments (and a sixth overslept his coffee with me) with five different people. Thankfully, they were all enjoyable. No crisis to hear and all that...just hearing what God is doing in people's lives.

Days like that are tough for me to come home an serve my family. Usually, I want to be left I had to sit in my driveway before I came in and get my "serve-the-family-by-giving-them-yourself-for-three-hours" game face on.

I picked up Chili's for dinner as Tracy had a rough week with all her work and a sick child.

We watched Joan of Arcadia as a family. If more shows were like this, the television world would be highly respected as a creative teaching/learning medium.

Kelsey and I went to the batting cages. I asked her if she'd rather go before her game (which is today) and she responded, "Dad, I really just need to hit." I KNOW exactly what that means so I took her to the cages to hit a few rounds.

I then piled up in the hammock with my "camping" television--which really just stays in the kitchen for when I'm washing dishes--in the back yard and Kelsey and I watched the Rangers lose (our bullpen has SERIOUS issues at present), but had fun trying to steal the blankets and watching the game together with Shelby and Tracy coming out to see what we're up to periodically.

For the life of me I can't figure out why it is I have to sit in the driveway getting my "serve-the-family-by-giving-them-yourself-for-three-hours" game-face on. It's the best times of my day.
Blinking Red Light

This video (inviting youth pastors to the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention this year) hits youth ministry on the head. The clip is about four minutes of phone messages, with accompanying video enactments, of what the life of a youth minister is like.

I've literally experienced all five of those messages.

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Leonard Cohen Afterworld

At 8:40AM, April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain's body was discovered.

You know, with the lights out, it really is less dangerous.

And, to me, that's sad.
So, Today I'm Thinking...

...that is must be a negative harbinger about your day when you wake up before the alarm and the obscure Collective Soul song "(You've Got A) Long Way To Run" is the soundtrack in your brain.
...I'm pressuring myself to finish the church history book I'm halfway into before I buy the new Anne Lamott follow up to her book "Traveling Mercies" (which should be required reading by every Christian). Suffice to say that it's a struggle kicking through the Dark Ages.
...that it's a sad state of affairs when the Cookie Monster is making the news because, due to the obesity of American children, he's now calling cookies "a sometimes food." What's next? I'm guessing a more hygenic Oscar the Grouch.
...that the Texas Rangers opening the season on the west coast (they're in, oddly enough, the American League's Western division with California and Washington being in other time zones) and playing one-run games beginning at 9PM my time is making for some long nights lately.
...that Shelby has been sick for an entire week with her fever spiking every day, and this is being loaded up on antibiotics, too. There may be another trip to the doctor coming up today, and it stinks when your children aren't up to snuff.
...that my willow tree and crepe myrtles are hitting spring's stride, which increases my yard work time and decreases my hammock time. Ugh.
...I'd like to go see the movie "Fever Pitch" and the new Ashton Kutcher/Amanda Peet movie, too...and usually I don't like to pick movies based on ads from television.
...I need to be spending more time with my guitar than I have been lately.
...That the fine folks at Blogger who added the new "recover post" feature should be rewarded with a raise (fellow Bloggers know exactly what I'm talking about).
...That I actually have two coffees with teens this morning and I need to get on with the day.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

It Ain't No Ozzie and Harriet...

Being a youth pastor, I'm often asked questions regarding what it is that I do all day. Upon reflection, yesterday was about as prime an example of exactly what I do all day could be. So, here's a typical day for me:

4:55AM Wake up. Shower. Shave.

5:20AM Take Lloyd out to get the newspaper. Coffee machine, prepared the night before and having a timer built right in, has coffee ready at...

5:30AM Flip through the Dallas Morning News and enjoy a cup of joe. For some reason, that routine gets my creativity going. Yesterday, it got me all stirred up due to silly, albeit normal, local government activity.

6:00AM Devotional time in the Word. Yesterday I kicked around in Psalms in The Message. It's peculiar reading and thinking about the 23rd Psalm written that way when you've got it memorized in another version.

6:20AM Blog writing and blog checking. Many times, the blogs are actually written the night before and merely posted at this time. I've found that reading my students blogs actually helps me prepare to minister to them and it's become valuable time for me.

6:45AM My children are stirring. Shelby has been very sick with a sinus infection and feeling miserable. In fact, she has to miss the state-mandated standardized testing for math this week, and I KNOW she's sick because she's voluntarily missing dance. Kelsey gets up and grabs the sports page and agonizes over the local Rangers losing their opening day game. We chat about it.

7:00AM Tracy's up now and the day is cranking up. We have a mini-business meeting about what photography shoots she has and when and where I'll be needed for child transport and other business of the day. Spend time just snuggling with Shelby and watching Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. She's not laughing. Normally, this time is spent hanging out with the girls in some form or fashion.

8:00AM After dropping off Kelsey at school, I'm at the office. I chat with the office staff and say "good morning" to everyone. For some reason, my morning office routine involves firing up the computer, grabbing cup of coffee #2 (or maybe #3 depending on how much I had at home) and "checking in" with everybody. I pretty much like everybody I work with.

8:30AM Begin studying for Sunday School lesson. I usually work a "week out" on all my lessons I teach, so I'm a bit behind in getting this one ready (San Francisco weekend, but well worth it). I re-read the lesson for my high school guys that I'll teach that night, and dive into the study.

9:20AM Get a phone call from a mom regarding a situation involving "cutting"--that habit of literally cutting yourself, generally to relieve stress, that nobody talks about but it's out there--and how she should handle the situation. As usual, the mom has great instincts and was handling the situation well. Just needed some encouragement.

9:40AM Continue working on the study. I caught a break because there were no other interruptions. Usually I get two or three phone calls like the previous one.

10:30AM Since I'm exiting the "creativity" phase of the day (my most creative times are 6--10AM and 9--10PM...that's time for lesson prep and all that) I go into "paperwork" mode for about an hour and a half. Write check requests. Get bulletins and youth announcement sheets done. Return some e-mails. Stuff like that.

Noon Lunch with my direct supervisor, called a Lead Pastor. This is the time when he checks up on me spiritually and personally as well as professionally. He's under the pile this week since he has to preach four sermons this weekend so we kept things tight and didn't tarry...sometimes, this time can go longer depending on the nature of what's going on spiritually or personally or professionally.

1:00PM Situation involving an overzealous volunteer arises and needs immediate attention. Talk with another pastor how to lovingly keep this joyful servant on-track with our staffers. Come to a conclusion about the best way to keep everybody using their gifts and talents while understanding lines of authority. This is one of the difficulties in dealing with a primarily volunteer staff.

1:30PM Prepare Power Point presentation for Sunday. Gets halfway done, anyway. A couple of phone calls here and there get distracting, plus I'd forgotten to pick up some stuff for the after-Bible-study hang out we have, so I ran to Target, which is about half a mile from our church.

2:15PM Prepare for the pre-marital counseling session I have this morning. Also prepare for another pre-marital counseling session on Friday, which is at a different station in life. I try to make these meetings very personal for each couple so there isn't a one-size-fits-all way to do this. I also read the training material for an intern session on Friday.

4:00PM Got 20 minutes to kill. Check in with Tracy regarding any changes in her photo schedule. The springtime weather here is goofy right now, and with a sick child at home, I needed to see if there was anything she needed.

4:20PM A family in our church scheduled an appointment, and it was good because the issues were all minor and really very simple solutions. I enjoyed my time with them as the kid is terribly easy to like and they were all on the same page. I wish all my sessions were like that one.

5:15PM One last check with Tracy, and I head for home.

5:30PM After my harrowing 15 minute commute home (HA! It's a pleasant drive through the 'burbs with no traffic at all to speak of) Shelby's fever has spiked up, causing a change in plans. Kelsey has a softball game and needs a ride and now we try to get a sitter for Shelby. The easiest solution is for Kelsey, who just finished her homework to eat and get dressed for the game while I give her a ride on my way to Bible study. Tracy will show up at game time after taking care of Shelby.

7:00PM Off to Bible study with my junior/senior guys. At this point in the year they're all pretty tight-knit as a group and when I arrive they're watching all the Will Farrell "Jeopardy" skits from Saturday Night Live that one of the guys downloaded. There were about six of them, and this really set a fun tone for the study. We went through our study of Romans 12...which touched off an enjoyable and lively discussion on "how" we keep from being conformed to this world.

8:45PM Give a couple of guys a ride to the church. We used to have all the teens hang out at our house after Bible study, but after a while 50 teens at your place kinda gets crowded so we started doing it at the church. It's very enjoyable time for me as I get to see the younger teens (like Bailey and Keila and Bethany) as well as seeing the teens in the "natural habitats"--they are more "themselves" than they are at church or Bible study. Mostly, it's hanging out...which I don't think they have enough of.

10:00PM Steve-O and I shut down the Dungeon (youth room) and he takes a couple of guys home who don't drive yet and I get home around 10:15.

Watch the news with the Tracy while getting caught up on Shelby (still feeling very bad, and it's been 3 days) & Kelsey's game (she got the game-winning RBI and, as the catcher, threw out a girl stealing 2nd base, which almost never happens at that age!) and Tracy's job happenings.

Get hung up in the Rangers baseball game with a home run in the 8th...fell asleep before it was over around 11:30PM. Turns out they won, but I'd never have known it.

So, that's it...that's a pretty average day in my life. Like most jobs, sometimes it gets more difficult or sometimes it can have some different twists and turns, but by and large, it was pretty average.

And now it begins again...

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The Perfect Cheer and Big Brother

Remember that Texas state legislator who went to a basketball game and subsequently wrote a bill making "suggestive" cheerleader dancing illegal? Well, his stupid piece of legislation actually passed the first reading and is on it's way to the full house for a vote.

And, in further stupid suburban news, our quaint little town of Flower Mound is hoping to institute a program called N.I.C.E. (Neighbors Involved in Code Enforcement, get it?) in which they hope to involve volunteers to send "friendly post cards" to help keep up with "minor code violations" in which you'll have 7 days from the receipt of the card to repair the violation. So, let me get this straight: We'll have secret volunteer neighbors out reporting real or imagined violations to which I have to respond to at risk of a citation?

Here's an idea:

Have administrators, parents or (gasp!) the teens themselves make decisions on how they will or won't gyrate to that evil rock and/or roll.

If your neighbor has a fence that needs a few planks replaced, bring over libations and help them fix it instead of calling code enforcement folks...and please, whatever you do, DO NOT, under any circumstances, spy on your neighbors for the government (covenant neighborhoods already gave up that ability, but the rest of us still want it).

Are either of those too difficult?

And people actually wonder why GenX is so cynical?

Allow me to suggest that it's stuff like this that gives me full-blown reason to be.
Which One On Of These Things Is Not Like The Other? Which One Of These Just Doesn't Belong?

Here's me and the higher-order life-liver sister Jilly at a pre-season game at SBC Ballpark. In my left hand are the peanuts they sold me unbeknownst to me and my Barry Bonds souvenir mug. Based on fashion sense and any other factors readily available in this photo, can you guess which one of us was dubbed "the gifted child?" It's not a trick question... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Slow News Week, But GREAT News!

If the nightly news is any indication, outside of the Pope's death, there's nothing left to report. Top stories last night on the local news:

* Teenagers don't consider oral sex to be "sex" and higher numbers of teenager than ever are participating. ("After the break, what teenagers think about sex that every parent needs to know...and the results may scare you.")

* A local law school dropped 4 places in the top 100 law schools according to Newsweek magazine and they interviewed the admission counselor as to precisely why this disaster might be occurring.

* A recent diet study showed that a low-carb diet may be more beneficial than a low-fat diet, but that a more effective way to lose weight would be to manage portions and exercise more.

I'm convinced that most television shows that take place at 10PM (in CDT time zones) will make you lose I.Q. points.

The highlight of the newscast, and the GREAT news: Professional baseball teams started playing their regular season, and highlights were aplenty. *like Napoleon Dynamite, complete with eyes closed, drawing closed fist back towards ribs* "Yesssssss."

For those of you that think baseball is slow, boring or dumb: Baseball is dull to dull minds.
Thought On The Papacy

Several friends and relatives have asked me various questions regarding my views on the recent death of the Pope. Suffice to say that I'm not Catholic (hence, I'm detached from this in any real's a "news" item to me) so I cannot empathize with what some of my friends are experiencing, but I sympathize with them.

I guess when you're in the "religion" business, people want you to say something about it. So, my "something" is that I'm not the guy to comment on it in any form or fashion other than to tell my friends I'm sorry for their loss.
Sign That The Apocolypse Is Upon Us...

My higher-order life-liver sister Jilly has found gainful employment after sticking it to The Man several years ago.

Be afraid...

Be very afraid.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Back In Big D

Woke up rather late yesterday and it took FOREVER to get the blog posted. Barnstorming pilot fiance Shane works on the Mac G4 and let's just say that I always hit "CTRL + C" to copy before hitting "publish" on the Blogger site (yeah, ummm, folks at Blogger, sometimes you can type in the necessary field and hit publish and then something on your end goofs up and all the work is lost) as I've been burned too many times. Turns out that "CTRL + C" on the Mac G4 erases everything you just highlighted and puts some sort of symbol where everything was. So, then I rewrote the 45 minutes worth of work and saved it with the "APPLE + C" function and then Blogger didn't publish it and it was lost again. It took almost an hour and a half to get it up on the site when it usually takes 15 minutes.

Anyway, had a nice breakfast and visit with my higher-order life-liver sister that was extended as my flight was delayed a bit. I got to the airport with even more time to spare as they delayed it another half-hour as I approached the departure gate. So, grabbed a magazine from the stand and was tempted to buy two books (Sarah Vowell's new collection and Anne Lamott had a follow-up to Traveling Mercies) that both sounded better than the church history book I still have 300 pages to finish...but I held off and grabbed Time magazine and some gum. On the TV, the beloved Texas Rangers were playing an exhibition game against the Giants, so I watched that until the plane took off.

On the plane, there was a mom in front of me with a DVD player for her kid, and I caught some glimpses of the much talked-about "Baby Einstien" videos. The 2 year-old was cute and really into it, and from the couple of minutes I watched from across the aisle, those videos are MUCH better than the Barney video my kids liked. Still, for my money, you can never go wrong with Sesame Street collections for your children's DVD watching. Other than that the flight was uneventful but, I did read about half the book on church history...which I may finish up today in the hammock.

And then maybe I'll go purchase those other two books.

Started today back in the groove with coffee with Kelsey (Shelby's got a fever so she'll be around here today with me) who filled me in on her softball team's opening day win as her defending league champion "Blast" team kicked off their season while I was away...

So, I'm off to the hammock right now with Lloyd...

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bay Area Chronicles, Day 2

Day 2 of my stay began with breakfast with higher-order life-liver sister Jilly, more or less getting caught up on life and what not. The best story: Jilly traveled to China a few years back and, while there, flew to a remote section of the country to purchase a five-foot terra cotta warrior. The process involed negotiating with a non-English speaking merchant, filling out mountains of paperwork, and having it shipped by ship to the U.S. But sometimes, for a great piece of decor you'll do that kind of thing. Once the warrior arrived at customs, Jilly and a friend had to rent a U-haul, go to customs and tip everybody, uncrate the meticulously packed thing in the street and haul it up to her apartment. They even tipped the U-haul guys to dispose of all the remnants of the packing stuff for them. On the way home from the U-haul place, they passed by a store that does one thing: Orders terra-cotta warriors direct from the non-English speaking merchant in remote China, uncrates the warriors and delivers them right to you apartment. She still hasn't been in the store. The warrior currently stands watch over potential diners in Jilly's dining room...and the way he hold his hands, if you aren't careful when you're leaving the table if other diners are seated...well...let's just say that if he were a combination doctor/warrior, he could check males for a hernia. Jilly said it's happened before.

The first order of the day was heading off to the wedding site at the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay...about 45 minutes away. Just hearing the words "Ritz Carlton" and "bay" together created all sorts of expectations of the view and it didn't disappoint. They've chosen a beautiful spot to exchange vows and enjoy the day with friends. We talked about practical outworkings of the ceremony and such, and Jilly told me some wedding horror stories that the hotel's wedding coordinator shared with her while we had libations staring out at the magnificent spot they chose to exchange vows and enjoy the day with friends. As we were about to leave Jilly asked me if I had any small bills after looking in her purse. I gave her a few, expecting her to place them as a tip into the faux-leather check holder. Instead she put them in her purse (she had already tipped our waitress and was planning to tip the valet in the parking lot, unbeknownst to me) and I told her she invented the best scheme ever...just ask somebody if they have small bills and then take them and put them in your wallet! Later, I tried to invent a game where we both put all the money we had in our wallets on the table and then split the pile evenly. She didn't want to play that game for some reason.

After that we were off to eat lunch with the barnstorming pilot fiance Shane at work at the airport diner. We had an enjoyable lunch (where old WWII veteran pilots have their own table to tell lies and give flight advice, which they've actually rigged with a web cam so they can check to see if their friends are there) and then Jilly and Shane told me that it was windy and such flights could cause which I informed them that as a youth pastor I had eaten 13 pieces of CiCi's Pizza and played tackle football with my senior guys, not to mention I once had an 8-year "no throw up" streak so their concerns were null and void.

Something else that doesn't suck: A tour of the SF Bay from 2,000 feet in the air. The Golden Gate. Alcatraz. Sailboats int the bay. Coit Tower. Sausalito. All the tourist landmarks. We were in the air about an hour and I can see why Jilly and Shane are in love with flying. Not only the entire veiws and all, but also the process. The safety checks. The chatter between the towers and the pilots. The whole deal. Loser moment of the flight for me: I saw a beautiful church in SF with a huge crowd in the park across from it. "Are they there holding vigil for the Pope?" Shane replied, "I don't think so...that's the Guinness Beer and Oyster Festival."

A side note about the pilot subculture: Shane regailed me of stories of "" millionaires who ditched their wives for flight instructors at a cost of about $22 million or an Argentinian super-model-looking flight instructor who logs flight hours on all the best planes but no one can name one of her students. Apparently, that subculture would make for a great, seedy television show.

Strangest sight from the flight: Through some bureaucratic snafu, the only building that is allowed on the beach at Mavericks surf area (a major draw to surfers all over the world), is a Taco Bell. You have cliffs surrounding it, with a view of some of the world's most daring surfers in some of the most challening waves the Pacific can offer, and there's a bunch of surfers going to the walk-up window at a Taco Bell. I kind of want to eat there.

After watching some basketball, we were off to SF to eat at a restaurant they had been wanting to try. There's just something really enjoyable about a well-prepared and presented meal, with some wine that went with the food, and great conversation about thing serous as well as silly. I lost a bet about what "brick chicken" was and Shane proved his theory that after a glass of wine, jokes about "poo" are funny to everyone. The first attempted proof of his theory came when he had a small bout of Voice Immodulation Syndrome involving a variation of the word "poo" and sure enough, we laughed out loud.

On the way home I got a reminder we were actually in San Francisco when I saw a sign outside a club that read: "Live Nude Male Revue! Venezulean Boy Leonardo Performs!" I asked Shane what the particular allure to that seedy subculture would be of a Venezuelan boy, to which he replied, "Poop Corn Nuts." Again attempting to prove his theory. We'll see if he thinks its so funny when those exact words are the entire toast I make at his wedding. That'll be the true test of his theory, I imagine.

Here's the bottom line: Yes. Aboslutely. Nice meals at nice restaurants with nice views and flying over the bay in an airplane and going to ball games in new ballparks are enjoyable experiences for me...ones that are certainly not normal occurrances in my world. But what's made this trip enjoyable has been an undeniable reality that my higher-order life-liver baby sister has chosen well in someone to grow old with, and that she's truly happy. Despite her sore back you can see it. I know Shane has chosen well, too. Sometimes the seedy pilot subulture gets romantic, I suppose.

Poop Corn Nuts.


It's funny every time.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Bay Area Chronicles, Day 1

I flew out to the Bay Area yesterday to spend a weekend with my higher-order life-liver Jilly and her barnstorming pilot fiance Shane.

A few observations regarding the travel portion of the program:

It never fails that if I arrive at the airport an hour and a half early that the e-ticket check-in and security check run so stinkin' seamlessly that I'm sitting in a chair with a magazine ten minutes after I begin the process. If I get there an hour before the flight, the security check-in line is 50 minutes long and I have to ask people to let me go in front of them. This time I practically had to wake up the DFW staff to show them my ID and stuff. I overheard them telling each other jokes they could play on travellers because it was April Fool's Day. I decided I was glad they didn't with me.

I saw two soldiers walking through the airport in desert camo. The thought that popped into my brain was, "Hey, thanks for all you do, fellas." I'm glad that's my first thought when I see two soldiers walking through the airport. I'm beginning to wonder if I should've walked over to say my thoughts out loud.

Bonnie The Bible Smuggler (who has serious airport-type connections) got me bumped up to first-class. I think it's fun to sound like a big shot and say "bumped to first-class" because I really only fly about three times a year and I'm hardly the person that saying "I got bumped to first-class" would be part of my regular conversations. It was cool, too. However, if I were paying for it with actual dollars, whatever the price difference is would seem too much for hot towels, a meal and more leg room. But, I used them all and enjoyed them all.

The old guy next to me was very gassy. I tried to diffuse it by turning on the air nozzle above my head at full blast, but the attempt was, for the most part, futile.

Regarding the visiting portion of the program:

Jilly picked me up and we came by her house before lunch. Her car has one of those GPS deals where you type in addresses and it tells you where to turn and all that jazz. It reminded me of when I had my learner's permit and my mom would be riding shotgun saying things like, "Take a left turn here, then go 100 feet and take the next left." Those thing should have a "mom" feature where you hit a button and it says things like, "You should've stopped at that sign longer and you really only glanced instead of looked both ways" or "slow down slow down slow down, BRENT!" I think that'd be pretty funny.

Property values out here are as extreme as whatever you hear on the news. Really. It's nuts.

My sister actually lives in Oakland in what locals call the "East Bay." It's a cool house and the yard can get mowed in 12 passes with a standard lawnmower. I can count the wheel-marks in her yard from the office where I'm typing this. Locals tell her how big her yard is. Really. She keeps telling me that she has every intention of getting back into San Francisco proper if she can figure out a way to get a good deal on property. It sounded more like a wish than a possibility, though, after hearing how the system works.

We ate lunch at this amazing place in Oakland that has an unbelievable view of the San Francisco skyline. Here's the deal: I'm sitting on an outdoor deck with a cool view of SF in 60-degree sunny weather chatting with my sister, having an excellent burger and fries and a few libations. It didn't suck at all. I told my sister I wanted to do that every day. She didn't acknowledge that statement.

Shane and Jilly surprised me with tickets to the pre-season baseball game between the local A's and the Giants. I have a mental checklist of seeing a game in every major league park...and now I can check off SBC Park in San Francisco. I was trying to play it cool, but all I can tell you is that a ballpark downtown in a major league city, for me, borders on spiritual. The seats were grand (Shane got them from a buddy who has season tickets for his company but would rather drink with his co-workers at MoMo's restaurant across the street than attend baseball games) and I had a hot dog and cokes on a beautiful night for baseball. It didn't suck at all, either. I called my baseball-fan daughter Kelsey from the seats to tell her how much it didn't suck.

Jilly's back has been hurting her...result of a skiing accident some years ago. So she's been walking kinda hunched over like Ozzy Osbourne. That's the only part of the trip thus far that has sucked because she's pretty uncomfortable. I'll keep you informed as to what doesn't suck today. I suspect that flying in her plane is going to be involved, but I don't want to get my hopes up on that...the weather can be goofy here.

Off for a cup of joe...more later.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay

This morning, I'm off to the Bay Area to visit my higher-order life-liver sister Jilly and her barnstorming-pilot fiance Shane. I'll be chronicling our adventures (and if things go as expected I might have to create a hidden blog for selected eyes only). I also contacted my bible-smuggling women's-intimate-issues-class-teaching friend Bonnie to pull some strings to bump me to first-class on my flight. We'll see. You can put the boy in first-class, but you can't put first-class in the boy.
Five On The First

I began/stole a blog idea of having readers list five things on the first of the month so we can get to know each other better. This month's list involves music...specifically the music that influenced you. While I'm using the term CD, for those of you over 20 you can use the word "album" interchangeably.

1. The first CD you ever purchased.
2. The latest CD you ever purchased.
3. The CD you listen to when you're in a bad mood.
4. The CD that EVERY collection should have.
5. The CD you're embarrassed to tell everyone you like.

Here are my answers:

1. "Toys in the Attic" by Aerosmith. I had gotten some Beatles albums as gifts, but I heard "Walk This Way" and headed down to the local store on my bike and paid my own money for this one. I'm kinda proud that was my first purchase.
2. "Hotel" by Moby. I have a clock on my screen saver I got from his site that counted down the hours and days until it's North American release. It didn't disappoint.
3. "Seven Year Itch" by Collective Soul. Maybe "Throwing Copper" by Live. Both can pull a bad mood out of the ditch.
4. "Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols" by The Sex Pistols. Very few albums changed the way music was done, but in an age where Disco dominated radio, it was the greatest thing my 13-year-old ears had ever heard. I can still listen to it every day. I could also throw some Ramones and Clash in this mix, but the Pistols did it for me.
5. "VH-1's 80's Anthem Rock." I don't know if there was ever a more awful music decade, but the background track to my high school life involved Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Eddie Money, Van Halen, et al, and it brings back some pretty fond memories.

Comment away!
Record Keeping, Sorry To Bother You

I'm keeping a list of all the books I read in 2005 just to find out some things about myself, and each month I list the books I finished. For March, it was a shorter list than usual but here it is:

"The Barbarian Way" by Erwin Raphael McManus.
"The Final Battle" by C.S. Lewis
"RealLivePreacher.Com" by Gordon Atkinson

Sorry to bother you.