Monday, February 08, 2010

Coming To An End

I've been posting at for about four years now. I find myself no longer taking the time to update and keep up thanks in large part to family priorities. This will be my last post on this blog. I will not delete the blog because it holds many thoughts, events, and other random happenings of the past four years that I hope to look back on in the future.

Thanks to all who have joined me. Who knows, maybe I'll find a new love for blogging later on in life. At that point I'll determine if I want to resume this one or start anew.

Blessings to you all.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Motorola Droid

For some time now I have been thinking about purchasing a new phone. At first, I was sold on the Iphone, the only problem is that At&t doesn't do well with coverage around here. I figured I'd wait some more and hope that At&t bought out another provider in our area. As I waited, my attention was caught by a new phone by Motorola called the Droid. I continued to save my money and do research on this phone and as of this past Tuesday, I am the happy owner of the Motorola Droid.

My brother in law wanted a 10 page review of the phone, but I don't have that kind of time. So instead, I'll give you a post that lists a few things I really like about this phone...
  1. Keypad - I don't mind the touch pad, but I really like having the option of a real keypad or a touch pad.
  2. Camera - 5 MPix
  3. Screen - great clarity and good size
  4. Size - just a smidge thicker than the Iphone.
  5. GPS - ability to set on a car dock that serves as a GPS navigator
  6. Cool apps including Shazam (hears a song and identifies it for you), Barcode Scanner (scan a barcode and it finds the same item and compares prices in a certain mile radius), Pandora (online custom radio), and Facebook (real time status updates).
  7. Music Player - I've been able to transfer a bunch of my itunes songs onto the Droid
  8. Browser - speed is ok. I've been able to maneuver fairly easily
  9. Calender - synced with my Google calendar
  10. Customizable - lots to customize
O yea, it also makes calls too. It pretty much does everything I need it to do and I've got a lot to learn yet.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Year That Was 2009

I just went to my buddy's blog HERE and thought decided I would copy him and reflect a little on my own story in 2009. There's no way I'm answering 40 questions, so I decided to pick the most interesting and go with that. Here goes...

1) What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

  • Celebrated 3 years of marriage
  • Turned 30
  • Went to an equipping conference
  • Drank lemonade made from 6th-12th grader spit
  • Made homemade cinnamon rolls
  • Officiated a wedding
  • Started drinking Chai (thanks Mike)

2) Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

  • I don't do resolutions

3) Did anyone close to you give birth?

  • My brother and his wife had a little girl

4) Did anyone close to you die?

  • Grandpa Bowers

5) What countries did you visit?

  • Other than USA? None.
6) What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
  • A mind and heart like Jesus
  • Clear direction
  • Smart phone
  • A newborn baby

7) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

  • Married 3 years

8) Did you suffer illness or injury?

  • No, it was a pretty healthy year

9) What was the best thing you bought?

  • The new Shane & Shane CD

10) Whose behavior merited celebration?

  • My dad - he's maintained composure through a few rocky days. Way to go Dad!

11) Where did most of your money go?

  • Bills
  • Church
  • School Loans

12) What did you get really, really, really excited about

  • Knowing Mom and Dad were moving closer
  • Going to Wichita for my anniversary
  • Going to Colorado twice
  • Seeing my bud Ben and his family

13) What do you wish you’d done more of?

  • Kept up with friends and family

14) What do you wish you’d done less of?

  • Work

15) How did you spend Christmas?

  • Christmas Eve - Bennington with the Schmidts/Stenfors
  • Christmas Day - Bennington at the inlaws
  • Day after - Mulvane with family
  • 2 Days after - Back to Bennington with the Pitts
  • Week after - Topeka with Bowers
  • Week and few days after - Marion with the Justs

16) Did you fall in love in 2009?

  • I fall more in love with my wife every day :-) ...anyone puking yet?
17) What were your favorite TV programs?
  • The Office
  • Sing Off

18) What was the best book you read?

  • Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal

19) What was your greatest musical discovery?

  • Owl City was recommended to me by two youth pastor buddies of mine. I've enjoyed what I've heard through Pandora so far.
20) What was your favorite film of this year?
  • I don't watch many movies, but I guess if I had to pick one I'd say Up.

21) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

  • It was my 30th this year and I don't think I did much. I honestly thought something would occur since this was a big one, but it didn't. O well.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

2009 Movies and Books

At the beginning of 2009 I said I was hoping to watch the following movies and read the following books. The one's in yellow are the one's I saw or read.

Movies -
  • 300
  • Ironman
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Night
  • Troy
Books -
  • Eat This Book, by Eugene Peterson
  • Jesus Wants to Save Christians, by Rob Bell
  • Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis
  • Surprised by Hope, by NT Wright
  • Unfinished Business, by Greg Ogden
I think I could still get all the movies watched, but pretty sure I couldn't read all the books. Perhaps I could read Rob Bell's. I'll give the ol' college try.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Challenging Church: Youth and Children Ministry

Current Church Reality -
The youth and children ministries of many of our churches have taken it upon themselves to teach Biblical truths to kids age 0-18. We have a great number of activities focused on helping kids learn about God's love, the way of salvation, the life of Jesus, and many other theological and spiritual topics. We spend lots of time, energy, and money doing what we can to lead kids in the right direction.

Church Challenge Question -
All of this is well and good, but what if instead of putting all of our time, energy, and money into leading kids in the right direction we devoted more time, energy, and money to helping parents lead their own kids in the right direction?
I've been in youth ministry now for almost 6 years and there is one thing I am sure about - youth pastors don't have near as much influence on the spiritual formation of teenagers as their parents do. I would take that a step further and say that parents have a greater influence on the spiritual formation of their kids than the efforts of the children and youth ministers combined. There is nothing that compares to the teachings (intentional and example) the parents provide during the first 18 years of their life.
If what I just wrote is true, then why is it we as youth and children ministers take it upon ourselves to be the primary spiritual leaders for kids? Which begs the follow up question, why do parents depend on youth and children ministers to be the primary spiritual leaders for their own kids? Here's what I think...
1) Children and youth ministers have been trained to see themselves solely responsible for the spiritual health of kids. When a kid we've served falls away, we feel as if we failed. It was our fault that kid chose a different direction. If this is how we're trained, which leads to how we feel, of course we respond as the primary spiritual guides. It's all about us getting the job done.
2) I love the way Regie McNeal talks about ministry in his book Missional Renaissance. He shows how the service industry has affected churches. In the 20th century, people began contracting out services they didn't want or know how to do. If you didn't want or know how to mow your lawn, you hired a lawn boy. If you didn't want or know how to clean your house, you hired a maid. If you didn't want or know how to pay your taxes, you hired an accountant. And if you didn't want or know how to lead your kids spiritually, you dropped them off at church. Through that whole experience, parents forgot the Biblical mandate to spiritually raise up their kids.
I've been thinking a lot about this challenge over the past year or so. I'm still fleshing it all out, but I'm trying to figure out how the church can support and equip parents to be better spiritual guides for their families. I've got to believe that if we spend more time, energy, and money equipping our parents then we'll have a better chance of reaching this generation before its too late.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Little Booger

Thought I'd post a quick pic of the little guy. He's starting to grow out of the baby phase and is beginning to look more like a little boy. Crazy.

This is a little something I taught him. Mom thinks its pretty funny.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Challenging Church: Where the Money Goes

Current Church Reality - According to a survey done by Your Church in 2009...
1,168 respondents-
• Median church operating budget is $295,300.
• One-fourth of the respondents’ church operating budget (excluding capital fundraising) is less than $200,000.
• 14% of respondents’ church operating budget is $1 million or more.

Church Challenge Question: According to this survey, inward spending (salaries, building, utilities, maintenance/cleaning, property/liability insurance, office/administration and equipment/supplies, denominational contributions/fee) currently makes up 82% of our church expenses. Outward giving (international and domestic mission support) makes up 10% of church expenses.
Question - Does this seem off kilter? I realize that paying staff can pay dividends outside the church and there are necessary costs of keeping a building up and going, but something still seems wrong here.
I'm not sure that I have an answer to this overloaded spending scale, but I sure would like to see churches start showing our priorities through our spending...well, maybe we already are.