Fight the Youth Minister Stereotype

Jake Rutenbar premiered his new rap video last night at the conference. You've got to take a listen to the words of wisdom.

I was surprised to see this duo show up at the conference. I've never seen them perform live but these two friends of mine blew the audience away with their live performance on Friday evening and this video last night.

Follow me on [twitter] for the latest updates from SYMC as it happens here in Chicago and check out the LIVE stream [here]

RSS Subscribers: there is video [here]

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Snapshots from SYMC

I'm in Chicago for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. Here's a few snapshots from the kick-off to this conference, courtesy of my good friend, DC Curry.

If you can't join us in Chicago, make sure you check out the live stream [here]. You can also follow my musings on twitter [here].

For more photos, go [here].

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Last September I had the privilege of joining 11 other bloggers in hosting The Nines conference right here at It was a free, online conference with over 60 world-class speakers brought to you by the Leadership Network and Catalyst.

On March 3rd (just 5 days away!), Leadership Network will bring you another free, online conference featuring 40 voices you've probably never heard before. It's called aHa! and will feature ministry leaders who will be sharing their biggest Aha! moments in ministry. The conference is FREE, but you do have to register [here] by March 3rd to attend.

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I'm On An Aeroplane

I'm getting on an "aeroplane" (pronounced like Vanessa Wolfe, from the great land of Vonore, did on American Idol) and heading for Chicago today. I'll be attending the Simply Youth Ministry Conference with 2,500 other youth workers.

I'm sure I'll blog while in the windy city but I'll definitely be pushing tweets your way. You can follow those tweets [here]. The conference is SOLD OUT ... and many of you weren't able to get in but I'm told the conference will stream live and you can experience it [here], beginning on Friday morning.

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Manic Monday Minute

Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...
  • This is the Manic Monday Minute...
  • Really liked the temp this weekend. Sunny with a chill in the air... Can't beat that.
  • Great services this weekend at Crossroads.
  • Loving this new series I'm doing with students, "Entourage!"
  • Got to join a pastor's network for lunch today. Great hanging with them.
  • Took a tour of Union Mission while in Norfolk, VA today. They are doing some incredible work in the city, states and even overseas.
  • USA beat Canada in Hockey? What a victory. #TEAMUSA
  • Break-taking Olympic snapshots [here]
  • #FacebookFact: I only poke one person on facebook. You'll soon find out who that is if you keep reading this blog. I've been poking them for over 2 years now too - on a daily basis.
  • Booked myself at a Holiday Inn for an upcoming trip and then later canceled because the Marriott offered a free breakfast for guests. Often the breakfast is the tippin point folks...
  • Nothing gets more attention for me, it seems, than my hair.
  • Someone made [this comment] about my hair on Saturday. I tweeted it... posted it to Facebook... and my computer blew up.
  • This scripture has been on my mind & heart for a few weeks. It is my favorite of this season of my life, for sure.
  • Selected a youth worker to mentor for the next 10 weeks as part of the LISM's mentorship program. Looking forward to spending some time with him.
  • Got a phone call from a friend earlier today, who told me that they have been diagnosed with cancer. My heart sank. #Ihatecancer.
  • Heading to Chicago later this week for this conference. It's SOLD OUT. I can't wait...
  • Go get yo FREE stuff... [click here]
  • My alma mater contacted me to let me know I was nominated numerous times to represent the University's Alumni on this year's leadership council. I was deeply honored to receive that news because I love my alma mater. Of course, you already know that.
  • A good friend, and entrepreneur, emailed me to inform me that he has the perfect book idea for me to write. I'm dying to hear it.
  • Love the roll-out for Ben Arment's new book due out in April.
  • You're truly blessed when you have friends who seem to care about your needs more than you care about them. #praisethelamb
  • Lent is here.
  • HELP! provide much needed tents for Haitians. Click [here] to find out how to help.
  • Stay classy. Holla!


Ringing the Bell for Barry

I don't know Barry, but today I ring the bell for him. Barry wanted to celebrate his last chemo treatment today... and I rang a bell for him. The word "chemo" came home to me last November, when my mother (Rita) was diagnosed with Breast cancer. It's been a long journey already but I've seen God work in amazing ways in her life. She is such a trooper through it all. She's got 3 (treatments) down, 3 to go. Then a short stint of radiation. By summer I'm hoping to see her enjoying a vacation at the beach, her favorite place, with a full head of hair blowing in the wind. So Barry, even though I don't know you... I feel like I already do. And today, sir, I ring the bell for you.

((visit my friends @ Theme Thursday))

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Manic Monday Minute

Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute...
  • Heard on the radio today that it was "Singles Awareness Day."
  • Are you kidding me? Like being single on Valentine's Day isn't hard enough... you've got to deem the day after "Singles Awareness Day?!" I think I speak on behalf of all singles when I say... we are very aware. [Rant over]
  • Had a great time in South Carolina last week.
  • Really enjoyed my time away. Sometimes I hate taking time off because playing catch up is no fun...
  • Got to visit my old stomping grounds, visit WMHK-FM (where I use to work), and probably the best part - hanging with my mentors, friends and family.
  • Got to speak in our weekend services at Crossroads. I continued our series "ONE" by speaking on the subject of Faith.
  • Really felt like I grew a TON through preparing for that message.
  • I'm a firm believer that your message has to speak to you first, before you can speak it to others.
  • So glad it didn't snow. Well, actually, it snowed a little but virtually no accumulation.
  • South Carolina, on the other hand, got 3 inches over the weekend.
  • Grabbed some ChickFila for lunch today. Saw a good friend who insisted on treating me. Gotta love friends!
  • Check out the new ChickFila Leadercast.
  • I managed to miss the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.
  • Loved this Church sign.
  • Would you join me in prayer for a car? I need one badly.
  • I'd love to see Betty White on SNL. They should have her and Justin Timberlake host one together.
  • We showed Kirk Franklin & Friend's video on Sunday during our weekend services.
  • I've watched [this vid] about 100 times now.
  • Why do I let one negative comment about me overshadow 9 glowing other ones? Ugh.
  • Want some FREE stuff? If so, [click here]
  • This guy is blowing up twitter and facebook with his passion to help Haiti and it's darn inspiring. I love his tenacity for this.
  • Some of my dear friends are on the ground in Haiti. Been praying for their team this week. Check 'em out [here]
  • I'm not a super pastor. I need to be reminded... and so do others.
  • I'm eating a fruit roll-up as I type this. I had forgotten how good these things were.
  • ...and now I'm having another.
  • Thanks for stopping by San Diego.


We Are The World - A Version You Haven't Heard

Ran across this KILLER version of "We Are the World" just after hearing the remake by the celebrities you know and love. You simply MUST hear THIS version... which I actually like better. Both groups of artists (the amateurs and the celebrities) are donating all proceeds to Haiti, so its a win win.

I have a number of friends on the ground in Haiti now, as of Thursday. Click [here] to follow their journey and join me in prayer for them this week as they help with the relief work.

RSS Subscribers: there is video [here]
(ht to Ben Arment)

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Group Mug Shot

A few days ago I blogged about my alma mater hosting our all-expenses paid retreat for youth workers. Here's a lovely pic we took of our group during the festivities. We all looked so good that we turned back the hands of time - notice the date, 01/02/2005. Someone forgot to reset the date and time - and failed to turn the date stamp off. =) #PhotographyFAIL.

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The Man in the Mirror

I just returned from a personal retreat where I did some much needed self-reflection. In Bill George's book "True North," he lists 5 top issues that can pull you away from your "true north" as a leader. One of those [issues] is the lack of self-awareness or self-reflection. I love this quote by Bill George on the subject:

“Because the desire to influence others is always fraught with the danger of illusion and the power to control, self-reflection is required to unmask our own pretensions, to purify our motivations, and to spur us forward in true humility.” - Bill George

I have the habit of doing self-reflection periodically, and this retreat offered me that opportunity, but I'm finding that it needs to be more frequent than that. To be the very best leader that I can be I need to consistently check myself in the mirror - and I'm not referring to vanity here. Checking your motives, use of power and platform, etc. are things that are of the upmost importance as you lead. Sometimes we need others to be that mirror for us - because we personally don't have the full capacity to see ourselves as others see us.

Here are a few things I jotted down in my moleskin of how I can best make self-reflection happen in my life:
  • Post a quote (perhaps Bill George's quote above) somewhere visible (bathroom mirror?) that will remind me of the importance of self-reflection.
  • Asking those closest to me for candid, constructive feedback at least once a week.
  • Take time weekly (even 15 or 20 minutes) to reflect on areas that need improvement and develop action items for improvement.
  • Regulary journal in my moleskin thoughts, feelings or takeaways from my conversations with others and my self-reflection.
  • Spend time in confession and prayer (commit to prayer areas of weakness and goals for personal growth.)

What others would you add to this list? How are you doing with self-reflection?

[(visit my friends at Theme Thursday)]

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Manic Monday Minute

Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute...
  • Another weekend... another winter blizzard.
  • Not quite the 10 inches of snow this time around though...
  • Last weekend I came down with cabin fever. This weekend I came down with the flu.
  • By Saturday I was back on my feet... and decided to get out of town early.
  • I'm in South Carolina gathering with youth workers. Find out more about that [here]
  • Looking forward to eating at a restaurant I use to frequent when I lived in the great state of SC.
  • Got to see my family this weekend and watched the SuperBowl with them.
  • We had a grand ole' time.
  • Our "big game" food was steak and baked potatoes - one of my faves. =)
  • I like the Colts but I was rooting for the Saints to claim their first ever SuperBowl win. Glad they picked up the victory.
  • 106 million people watched the SuperBowl this year. Wowza!
  • Thought the Letterman-Oprah-Leno ad was clever. Here's a little scoopie on how it all came together.
  • Preparing to speak in the weekend services at Crossroads.
  • I depend too much on Facebook to remind me who is celebrating a birthday these days.
  • Loved this charity single released to help Haiti.
  • It's Hollywood Week! on American Idol. Can't wait ...
  • I still believe.
  • Saw the Book of Eli last week. One of the best flicks I've seen in a while.
  • Want FREE curriculum for your youth ministry? If so, [click here]
  • A friend of a friend is selling T-shirts with all proceeds benefiting the relief work in Haiti. Check out the online store [here]. More on this charity later.
  • Some of my dear friends are going to Haiti. Check out the full team and their mug shots [here]
  • I may skip the continental breakfast in this nice hotel and head to Denny's tomorrow morn for [this]
  • I have a headache, which means this post will now end.
  • Peace and hair grease.


Why My Alma Mater Still Rocks

Last year I blogged about how my alma mater rocks. I still believe it does.
They believe so much in their alumni and invest so much in their spiritual formation that each year they put together an all-expenses paid retreat for youth workers (which is this week!), complete with some quality time with each of the youth ministry professors. I've been looking forward to this retreat for months.

The friendships, mentoring and spiritual investment that I've experienced at Columbia have been worth every penny! So this week I'm gathering with fellow youth workers in South Carolina to laugh, share and learn.
For more info on Columbia International University, go here or call 1-800-777-2227 and tell them I sent ya. =)

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Helping Haiti Single

Simon Cowell has organized a charity single to help Haiti. The single is REM's "Everybody Hurts" but with new voices. You can listen to it here, but you should buy it when it goes on sale tomorrow.

Here are the celebs in the song and what they sing:

Leona Lewis
When the day is long and the night, the night is yours alone,

Rod Stewart
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on

Mariah Carey
Don’t let yourself go, ’cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes

Cheryl Cole
Sometimes everything is wrong.

Now it’s time to sing along

Michael Buble
When your day is night alone,

Joe McElderry
(hold on, hold on)

Miley Cyrus
If you feel like letting go

James Blunt
If you think you’ve had too much of this, well hang on..

Gary Barlow
Cause everybody hurts..

Mark Owen
Take Comfort in your friends

Jon Bon Jovi
Don’t throw your hand

James Morrison
Don’t throw your hand

Alexandra Burke and James Morrison
If you feel like you’re alone, no, no, no, you are not alone

Susan Boyle
If you’re on your own in this life, the days and nights are long,

Aston Merrygold
When you think you’ve had too much of this life to

Marvin Humes
hang on

Shane Filan (westlife)
Well, everybody hurts sometimes,

Mark Feehily (westlife)
Everybody cries

Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams
And everybody hurts sometimes.

RSS Subscribers: there is video [here]

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The Book of Eli

A few days ago I saw The Book of Eli in theaters. This is one of the best films I've seen in years! Here's a quick synopsis: Eli (Denzel Washington) has been on a journey for 30 years walking westward after a cataclysmic war and "the big Flash" turned the world into a wasteland. Eli has in his possession the only remaining copy of "the Book" and must protect it and ultimately deliver it to its final destination. This story is about Eli's journey -- and the Book that he believes that is humanity's only hope for its future.

This movie had everything in it - original storyline, likeable characters, action... and delivered one of the best spiritual messages I've seen in a secular film since the Passion of the Christ. The story holds the Bible in high regard - with constant mentions of its power and ability to change people. With that, I highly recommend you see this movie! (The movie is (R) - for violence - and would not be suitable for young viewers.)


Red Skelton on The Pledge of Allegiance

I watched this video recently of Red Skelton reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. This great communicator speaks to the meaning behind the words in the pledge. Even though this piece was filmed in the 60's, its timely for our nation today. How often have you heard the pledge or even recited it and blown right past the very meaning behind the words?

Thanks Red! May we remember this every time we hear or recite those words or see the Red, White and Blue.
RSS Subscribers: there is video [here]

(It's Theme Thursday. Visit my friends [here])

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Help Me Understand This...

Yesterday I saw people tweeting this:

4 8 15 16 23 42

I thought... "Hmm, I don't know. If I played the lottery I don't think I'd use number 15. Not that there's anything wrong with number 15... I just wouldn't play that number."

I didn't know until today what these numbers stood for. Do you?

I could have found out last night, but I couldn't seem to get anyone on the phone.

... and dare I touch this craze?

When I sign-on to Facebook I see people swapping cows, chickens & sheep. It's funny to me. Perhaps one day I'll buy the farm. I have to get a car first though.

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Manic Monday Minute

Manic Monday Minute is a serious mind-dump that will probably take you one minute to read. Here are some thoughts going through my head right now...

  • This is the Manic Monday Minute...
  • The weekend was a bit crazy. I got nearly 10 inches of snow dumped in my yard.
  • Came down with cabin fever yesterday.
  • Snow came in early Saturday morning and this afternoon was the first time I had stepped outside at all.
  • I went to Walmart. It's right around the corner from my house, so I didn't have to travel too far.
  • My newest fear is that I'll find my picture plastered on the People of Walmart site. Ha.
  • Felt weird canceling services this weekend.
  • I watched three different services online and on television. Praise the Lamb for web-streaming.
  • WinterJam was supposed to come through our city on Sunday. It got postponed until March.
  • Thought the Grammy's was much better than what I remember in recent years.
  • Viewership was up 65% too I hear.
  • Praying for miracles.
  • My constant treat this past weekend. I may need an intervention.
  • If you haven't clicked to become a fan on Facebook yet, you can do so [here]
  • I don't quite get the Farmville craze.
  • Heading down to South Carolina this weekend for a youth pastor retreat. I can't wait! It's been a while since I've retreated. I'll get to see my mentors while I'm away - which is time I really need.
  • Want FREE curriculum for your youth ministry? If so, [click here]
  • I registered for the Whiteboard Sessions today. It's coming to Va Beach in May...
  • If you register by February 28th you can win an iPad.
  • A friend of a friend is selling T-shirts with all proceeds benefiting the relief work in Haiti. Check out the online store [here]. More on this charity later.
  • Was listening to two announcers on the radio talk about the "big game" this weekend. They are prohibited now in using the term "SuperBowl" or even mentioning the NFL teams. That is so stupid!
  • Did you also know that your church is encouraged to use the same terminology ("Big Game") if you show it to your congregants this weekend?
  • When you don't follow my twitter you miss freebies like [this]
  • If I get hit with one more pillow in the face on facebook...
  • Looking forward to the SYMC in Chicago later this month. Hope to see you there.
  • Crawford out.

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