Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday - Where is that in NE?


We didn't have any comments on the Bible Trivia from Tuesday, so we will go without a winner. Incidentally, Jesse had 8 sons altogether. Imagine the wrestling matches in that house.


Also, last Friday's winner MIKE didn't allow us access to his profile, and we couldn't let him know that he won. So, the winner is now TIM LILLARD, youth pastor at Norfolk. What a stud! You have $2 of credit to use towards any NYM merchandise or event. You can use it now or save it up for convention,camp,etc..


Today's question - this is Rachel. She is a youth pastor in NE, and the newest member of our statewide youth committee. What city is she a youth pastor in?

A: Mullen
B: Holdrege
C: Butte
D: Friend
"By faith, we are strong when circumstances seem wrong"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

At a meeting of Metro youth pastors this morning, a good friend told me that he had a testimony. About 5 years ago, he had a massive ankle break. It was while he in the National Guards, and almost on his way to Iraq. They pulled him out of his detour, and he eventually had to leave the guards because of his injury.

One thing led to another, and now he's a youth pastor. It probably wouldn't have happened so fast without that ankle break. He told me that just yesterday, he went running, and it's the first time he's been able to run 2 1/2 miles on his foot without any pain.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Tomorrow, I'll be meeting in the Omaha area with most of our youth pastors/leaders in those sections.

I'm really looking forward to it. When I was a youth pastor at Bellevue, I used to get together once a week with about 5 other youth leaders in the city. We'd go to a centralized coffee shop, enjoy some treats and coffee, and share how things were going in our ministries. Sometimes, we just laughed a bunch, other times, we had serious conversations. The best thing that happened is that we became good friends and started doing some things together - concerts, citywide youth events, golfing, worship bands, etc. I honestly miss those times. I have moved to Grand Island, another one moved to North Dakota, and another moved to Auburn, but we still stay in touch.

The truth is, I didn't realize how good I had it. Here in Grand Island, there are a couple other youth leaders in the city, but to get us all together, it's about 30 minutes to an hour drive. For three of my youth leaders on the Western side of NE, they'd have to drive about 2 hours just to get together. Those guys are longing for relationship with other youth leaders who just aren't there.

I encourage everyone to find a small group of likeminded people who are serving in the same way that you are, and get together frequently. The relationships, fellowship, accountability and networking that will result will be things you will look back on as highlights of your current leadership position

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia


Hello again. Hope you're having a great day. I took my dog to the vet this morning for a dental appointment, then later today my daughter Abby sees the dentist as well. We pulled one of her teeth out last night as well. Lots of teeth stuff this morning.

You can always tell when I'm not traveling much; I get my blogs done on time.

Today is Trivia Day - a chance to earn some money for NYM stuff. Last Friday, we posted a picture of a church and gave you a chance to guess where it was from. We had two correct comments, and the random winner of those two was Mike. Unfortunately, Mike hasn't allowed us access to his profile, so I have no way of contacting Mike. Unless Mike contacts me by Friday (toby@neag.org, or comment back again) I'll have to award Tim the $2 prize from last week. By the way, the correct answer was A: Pender (and they are currently looking for a pastor, if anyone's interested)

I was reading in the Bible the story of David. What an inspiration. He went from a lowly shepherd to the King of Israel. He was the youngest son in his family, and each son above him had a chance to be anointed, but Samuel didn't select any of them. Here's the question - how many total sons did Jesse (David's father) have?

Remember, the winner will be declared on Friday. Have a great day.
"It's not necessarily doing the things right, but rather, doing the right things." (Steve Warriner)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

What a great weekend, at home! I got some good work done around the house, watched some Olympics, and went to my home church for the first time in 3 months.

We've got some good comments on the picture from Friday's blog. We'll post the random winner tomorrow. Make sure to jump in with your choice. Whoever is selected out of those with the correct answer wins $2 toward any NYM selection of merchandise or an event.

I went camping with my sons last Friday night. They'd been begging to go for awhile, but I've had a busy summer. And the few Friday's we could have gone, it always seemed to rain. It was in the forecast for this past Friday once again, but it appeared that it had cleared up and would pass us by. So I decided to take my boys to Mormon Island State Rec Area, just south of Grand Island off the interstate.

We went swimming in the lake, cooked smores by the fire, watched cartoons in the tent. It was a blast, they loved it, and the weather was wonderful. I had all the flaps open on the tent when we were going to sleep, but my son Eric was insistent that we close the flap on the ceiling of the tent, in case it rained. I told him over and over that it wasn't going to rain, but he wouldn't let it go (a trait he gets from his mom). So I dragged myself out of the tent and closed it up, mumbling the whole time.

Well, wouldn't you know it, 3 am rolls around, and it poured cats and dogs. Fortunately, I listened to my son and closed the flap. Earlier, I would have said that he was too worried. Now, I was saying that he was prepared and cautious. It's amazing how quickly our opinion of someone can change based on the circumstances. Maybe being cautious and prepared is always the better way to go, cuz you never know when it just might start to rain...

"Faith never calls you to mediocrity" (Steve Warriner)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday - Where is that in NE?



Hello!

Last Friday's trivia answer was B. Near Paxton. I took that picture on my way to a STL tour stop in Chappell back in March.


Can you guess what city in NorthEast NE this A/G Church is in?

A: Pender

B: Walthill

C: Wayne

D: Columbus

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

I went to Chappell, NE yesterday and met with our youth leaders there. Pastor Rich just hired Mick Olsen to be their associate pastor in charge of youth. He's another youth pastor graduate from Master's Commission, in Bellevue. He and Stephen Striker are only a few miles away from each other and should light that side of our state on fire for God.

In talking about their current state of youth, I mentioned that we have almost 140,000 teenagers in NE, but only 2,400 in our A/G churches. That's roughly around 2%, which should be a realistic goal for every youth group to have in their groups, in relation to the size of their missions field. Chappell can have anwhere from 15 to 20 students involved with their meetings, which is 10%, and incredible.

On the way home, a friend told me about a mutual friend that we have who has been walking away from the Lord. She has a sister who is on fire for God, and this sister has different people from her church praying for the wandering friend. Last night, she was in an accident, and in another incredible coincidence (common in God's Kingdom) it was with the lady from the church who had been praying for her. It seems that God wanted them to come together, one way or another

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Well, yesterday was my birthday, so I took the day off from the blog. Sorry, but I'm sure you understand.

I was reading in 1 Samuel 15 about Saul and Samuel. Saul had been ordered by God to completely destroy the Amalekites. Instead, he slaughtered them, but kept the king alive, and kept the best of their plunder for his army to enjoy. He even came home and set up a memorial for himself so that everyone could worship him for his great achievement.

Samuel showed up and condemned him for not completely obeying the Lord. When confronted with his sin, Saul complained about trying to please the people and being swayed by their opinions. He obviously cared more about what the people thought about him as compared to what God thought. On the outside, he looked great, but on the inside, he was selfish, prideful, and disobedient. God was looking for someone that would be faithful to him from the inside out, someone like David.

I hope that as I continue to be a leader for God, I will be true to Him in all things. I wonder if I've ever set anything up in my life as a 'memorial' so everyone can look at me and be impressed? I wonder if I've ever deviated from God's will just to make people happy? I wonder if I truly lead for God from the inside out? I wonder ....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Yesterday, I went to Norfolk and spoke at a youth pastor installation service for Victory Road. They got a new youth pastor at the beginning of the summer, Tim Lillard. We had a great time with him, his family, and his church.

In the afternoon, we went to Columbus Word of Life church, with Todd Mohrmann and Don Owen. They had a big STL fundraiser picnic with a dunk tank. People could pay 1 dollar for 3 throws. They also got to pick which leader sat in tank. I got my turn and was dunked about 20 times. I actually woke up sore this morning from climbing back on the seat after being dunked.

The cool part was that there were about 4 churches together for this event. They all came together to help raise funds for STL. Speed the Light is an A/G youth program, but all of these churches were giving to help, even though it wasn't their 'official' denomination. I thought it was wonderful to see so many people from different churches coming together to raise funds for missions work all over the world. What an example of what God had desired the church to be all along.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Friday - Where is that in NE?



OK, it's actually Saturday, but better late than never. Where do you think this is:







A: Near Norfolk in Northeast NE
B: Near Paxton in Western NE
C: Near Brownville in Southeast NE
D: Near Crawford in Northwest NE

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Our National Fine Arts was an incredible experience this year. Our female vocals champion placed 4th, and our Christian Band champions finished 5th. Their name was Casualties of War and they are from Columbus. They really weren't involved in church two years ago, but now they are one of the premier up and coming bands in the Christian youth movement.

We had 7 different performances that received a superior with honors rating and 2 other callbacks as well. This was the strongest showing that NE has had in at least 20 years. Next year, national fine arts will be in Orlando, alongside the General Council, so it's a great chance to get plenty of people to the event and see if NE can continue to surge.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Hello again. Sorry that I didn't get blogs out the last couple of days. We returned from our month long trip Monday night about 10am and I took the entire day yesterday to catch up on work at my home.

Unfortunately, we had no responses to our Friday - Where is that in NE? challenge. Our district office is actually located in Grand Island, 2 and 1/2 hours west of Omaha on I-80, and 1 hour and 15 minutes east of our camp in Lexington.

I was reading this morning in Acts, chapter 2, where the church was growing after Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. I found it ironic how the church at that time was growing daily, through such simple means. Today, we have all kinds of gadgets and strategies to help us grow, and it feels like pulling teeth just to reach one outsider. Maybe we focus too much on the outside stuff and not enough on the simple things.

I see that the early church had 5 key elements that every church could have today. 1). Strong leaders - the people loved to listen to their teaching, they had been with Jesus, they helped over 3,000 people split up into small groups to eat in each other's homes. 2) Demonstration of God's Power - people spoke in tongues, miraculous healings, a divine sense of God's presence. 3) Family Network - they each came together every day, ate in each other's homes, sold their own possessions to help provide for others. 4) Welcoming to outsiders - People were drawn into their groups (most likely in the homes for meals) daily, 5) Positive Attitudes - in the midst of ridicule and persecution, they walked around praise on their lips.

These are 5 things that every church can have - we might not have projectors, great worship teams, dynamic buildings, etc. but with these 5 things, we can have a successful ministry anywhere.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday - Where is that in NE?

Today is the final day of National Fine Arts. Our students have performed so well; I'm very proud of them. Yesterday Brianna Ritter and Susan Ross both received a Superior with Honors in their categories (Songwriting and Sign Language Storytelling). Tonight, we have at least 4 different groups with chances of placing at the National Competition.

That being said, I can't wait to get home. It's been a long time. I live in the same city where our district offices are located. Many people assume I live at the camp, because they see me there so much during the summer. So, what city is that?

By the way, congratulations to candiceamarykay who answered the Bible Triva question right from Tuesday of this week. She has won $2 towards any merchandise we offer through Nebraska Youth Ministries. Congratulations to Candice, an old JV leader with me!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Yesterday was once again an amazing day at National Fine Arts. We saw 3 more entries earn superior with honors - a Sign Language Small Group from Omaha Glad Tidings, the Christian Band Casualties of War from Columbus, and Jared Daily singing a solo from Omaha GT. Overall, we have 3 entries with call backs and a chance to place at Nationals - Casualties of War, Brianna Hertzberg, and Jared Daily

Casualties of War has an amazing story. Just a year ago, most of the guys in the band weren't even Christians. Over the past year, they allowed David Ritter, one of our students from Word of Life in Columbus, to be a part of their hardcore band. He brought them to church and God got ahold of their hearts. After they came to Christ, revival hit the youth group and it grew 5 times it's original size. When I came to visit, I felt like I had just gone to a service at camp, it was so powerful.

Now a year later, these guys have a mission to reach the hard kids of America. When they performed yesterday at Fine Arts, the entire room stood up and went crazy for them. The next band even acknowledged them before they performed, which is unheard of at this venue. It's amazing what God can do with a life that is completely surrendered to Him.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Yesterday was an amazing day at National Fine Arts. Brianna Hertberg (female vocal solo), Mariah Stackhouse (female vocal solo) and Jenna Hassler (Sign Language Solo) all received Superior with Honors and a chance for a call back. We're still waiting for more results and performances today.

Last night was wonderful as well. Rod Whitlock spoke in the service at the Bobcat Arena. He had an illustration with a huge bowl and different people from specific states came up and poured water into it from huge pitchers. It was representing the bowl in heaven that is filled with the prayers of the saints. When we are pray together, we fill the bowl overflowing. It was interesting because we all got excited when it overflowed, but then the workers backstage immediately came up and cleaned it up so it didn't mess up the equipment and other things on stage.

It struck me as what we do often with the Presence of God. We long for more and more, but then when God brings more, we start to clean it up before it even has a chance to mess anything up. Sometimes, we're more worried about keeping things nice and clean instead of allowing God to move in the way He wants to. Not that we should always be unkept and spontaneous - God does move through careful planning and strategies as well. But there will be times when God moves suddenly, and must allow Him to do so and possibly 'mess' some things up in our lives.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Yesterday was the first day of National Fine Arts in Charlotte, North Carolina. We registered throughout the day, and though we had one pastor from Omaha whose flight was cancelled, most every NE participant faired well.

Our evening service was in the Charlotte Bobcat Arena, where the Bobcats play basketball. It was awesome. PlanetShakers were once again our worship band and they rocked the house. (see picture) Steve Pulis, our newest member of the NYM team overseeing Youth Alive, spoke about being led by fire. Some of our NE people might remember him from JR. HIGH camp last year, when he spoke on the Tootsie Roll Tree.

The Bible Trivia question today is this - what passage of Scripture in the Old Testament might Steve Pulis have been speaking of when he talked about a group of people literally being Led By Fire?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Well, I'm sorry for my absence the last couple of weeks. Maybe I need to think about getting a laptop just to help during these month long family/ministry trips.

We spent a week in New Hampshire speaking at a Jr. High camp for the Southern New England District (Massachusettes, Connecticut, Rhode Island), then a week with family in Philadelphia and Wildwood, New Jersey, and now I'm in Charlotte at National Fine Arts.

In Wildwood, we enjoyed a couple of days at that shore and the boardwalk. If you've never been there, it's a ton of fun. We enjoyed the ocean, the water park, the amusement park, the food, the shops, everything! The only down side is the worldliness all around you. Every other shop on the boards seems to have shirts on display that cuss or show things I'd rather not have my little kids see and read.

I was walking with Ryan late one night, my 9 year old son, and I asked him if he'd noticed the shirts. He said that he had and it was really starting to make him mad. I was happy to hear that response. Later, I asked Kim if she had talked with Ryan at all about it, and he had told her that he had seen a shirt that made fun of Spongebob, his favorite cartoon character, and it made him furious. I wasn't too worried about that kind of shirt, but even if it helped him get the point, that's fine with me.

I'll try to get back to you this week, but I can't promise that I'll get one every day. Pray for our NE students at Fine Arts - who knows, maybe we'll have a top finish this year!