Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wednesday - Leaders Corner

TAKE CARE OF YOUR SHEEP

1 Samuel 21:7 indicates that while David was on the run from King Saul, he stopped at a place called Nob. He deceived the priests into helping him, believing that he was on a mission from the King. The King's head shepherd Doeg was there as well.

then...

1 Samuel 22:9 reveals that Saul was asking his men if they had any news on the whereabouts of David. Most of the men had fought with David, admired him, and did not want to betray him. But Doeg, who had seen him in Nob, told King Saul what had happened with the priests there.

then...

1 Samuel 22:18,19 show that King Saul asked his men to strike down the priests, but they wouldn't do it, because they knew it was wrong. Then King Saul asked Doeg to kill them, and he willingly obliged. Not only did he slaughter the entire priestly family, he also destroyed the city of Nob, 'it's men and women, it's children and infants, and its cattle, donkey, and sheep'

I find Doeg's actions a lesson in leadership. He had been detained by the priests at Nob, so it is clear that he had negative feelings toward them and happily obeyed King Saul's demand to annihilate them. But why kill the rest of the town, the babies and children, the animals, and more significantly, the SHEEP? Wasn't Doeg a shepherd, someone who would love sheep, and be willing to lay down his life for their safety. Now, because of a grudge against the priests and a desire to be successful in the eyes of his king, he destroyed the very creatures he was created to protect.

As leaders, there will be times when others will hurt us. We will be tempted to hurt them back when we get the chance. There will also be times when we could do selfish acts to make ourselves advance to higher positions in life. If we give in to either one of these desires, the selfish pride will take control and cause us to hurt the very people we are called to protect. Selfishness and pride make us enemies to God's will.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello everyone. Congrulations to Pastor Mike for being the winner of our $2 trivia prize money. That money can be used towards any Nebraska Youth Ministries item of merchandise or event. He barely edged out Jen this week, though he didn't feel right about commenting the right answer after she already did. This is becoming quite a contest. Our fall convention is rapidly approaching, and that is a wonderful opportunity to use this prize money.

The Bible is divided into two sections, the Old and New Testament. Each testament is divided into books, and those books are divided into chapters. Some books have only a few chapters, while other books have many, especially in the Old Testament. Here's the question (and don't look this up, take a guess!): how many chapters are in the Old Testament? Hint - the number will be between 800 and 1000.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

This weekend, I took a few Grand Island interns with me to Gering. We had a Kids Fun Arts Festival on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon I helped distribute awards for our Teen Bible Quiz meet for Western Nebraska, and Saturday night I spoke at the contemporary service. Sunday morning, I did a brief spotlight about Nebraska Youth Ministries in church, then we went to a birthday party and the monument. Last night I spoke at the youth ministry, and then we drove home so the interns could be at work today. We arrived home at 3:30am, so that's why I'm a little later than normal today. Thanks for your patience.

While in Gering, I had a young man that performed in our kids Fun arts. He painted a picture with water colors. As a young man of 5 years of life, he had much to say about his painting and how he enjoyed doing it for God. At the end of our conversation, I asked 'How long did it take you to finish this painting,' and without skipping a beat, he said, 'Oh, about a minute'.

We laughed. It was so honest and genuine. We cheered for him. His quick work didn't diminish how much we enjoyed the final product.

On the other hand, I was working with the interns to do a funny sketch for the contemporary service featuring a debate between Barack and McCain. We had the masks, the suits, and the scripts. We had a boy playing Obama, and a girl playing McCain. There was a funny moment where Barack was going to say that the Straight Talk express will take you straight to the bathroom, and McCain was supposed to say something about leaving his prostate out of this, a reference to his old age. It was an akward line for her to say, and gave us the most difficulty in practice, so we spent most of our time with it.

When we got to the service, we started the sketch, which quickly gets to the point where she makes the line about the prostate. The practices paid off and she did a great job, but nobody even heard it because her microphone wasn't on. All of that time and hard work, and it didn't matter that much in the end.

We should always do all that we can to be our best for God; He's worth it! But when we present our gifts to Him, it's up to Him how he wants to use them. We can't be responsible for the results, but for the process. Do you best, and leave the rest to Him.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday - WHERE IS THAT IN NE?


Congratulations to Jen on being picked as the winner of our $2 prize for our Tuesday - Bible Triva. Mike had a shot, but Jen was chosen at random and she has now earned a total of $4, which I'm sure she'll try to use at convention in a couple of weeks.
Today, a few interns from GI and I will be traveling to Gering, to partake of a weekend of ministry. We have a fun arts festival (fine arts for kids), I'll be speaking at a contemporary service (mostly for young adults) and then also ministering at a youth group. It should be a wonderful time.

The picture above is of a National Monument which is located near Gering. In fact, the church we will be at is literally at the base of the monument. Can you name the monument AND the Assembly of God Church?
See ya on Monday, after a long drive home the night before!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

I have a friend named Cassie. We connect on facebook. She was a Master's Commission student when I was overseeing the program about 12 years ago. She wrote me this paragraph, and I thought it would be good to post as a testimony today. Enjoy!

"hey when i was in masters you told me that god showed you that i would be a mom with kids around me. that you seen me at home doing crafts with them and that was my ministry. let's say i was mad at you because i felt like god had a bigger calling for me than staying home with a bunch of kids.....and well here i am! i have my 2 kiddo's and a foster kid we are hoping to adopt. and when our habitat haome is done we want to finish the basement and bring in teens. i feel like this is really what god has called me to. to bring in kids whith distroyed lives and with gods help make them whole again. i have changed and matured since masters and learned that even though i went through hell as a kid god can use it to minister. these kids who come from abuse, neglect, and poverty, just like i did..... so in a weird way...thanks"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

The past two days, I was at our campgrounds in Lexington for a meeting with key leaders from across NE. We discussed many topics from church planting, to coaching, to finances, etc.. We also interviewed certain candidates for credentials. It was a blast to see these youth/children's workers in that process: Jenny Schneckloth, Janelle Norton, Brian and Julie Korell, and Arjay Johnson.

I was sitting at a table, for most of the sessions, with my former senior pastor Gary Hoyt, of Bellevue Christian Center. I was on staff wtih him for about ten years, and we worked closely together the last year and a half as I was the worship pastor. He taught me many things I know and use in my ministry and spiritual life today.

At that table, we were discussing our upcoming district tour in Feb, 2009. Our plan is to combine all department tours with this tour, so that it will literally be the TOTAL district tour. We'll have senior pastors, youth and children's workers, men's and women's leaders, etc. all together. Last year, our district tour was entitled "The Listening Tour." It was with the intent to bring people together and get some discussion around the topic of being a missional person. The problem was that many pastors felt with the title, it would be a time for the district to sit back and listen to issues that were important to our pastors. Our hope is that we can facilitate more of that on the upcoming district tour next year.

As I was mentioning that, I looked over to Gary Hoyt, and remembered a lesson he taught me "Be very careful when you NAME things'" A story he had told me long ago was about a missions trip he took to England. The group, without his involvement early on, had named the team the TWINKIES, which was an acronym that stood for a good slogan, though I can't remember what it was. They made shirts with that title on it and wore them around England. The missionary was uncomfortable with it, and when Gary asked him why, he said 'It sounded a bit twee'. In other words, "flamboyantly feminine", at least, in that culture.

As I was sitting at that table, near Gary, remembering that story, I mentioned that a leader once taught me to be very careful when naming things. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him smile, as he caught the hint.

I can't tell you how many times I've remember lessons taught to me by Gary Hoyt. It's been great when we've been in meetings together, and he's heard me say things that he told me long ago, 'Be very careful when naming things', 'Sometimes, it's better to be polite than to be right, ', etc. God puts our senior pastors over us for a reason; I encourage you, in whatever position you are in, to take full advantage of your opportunity to learn from that man or woman of God. Who knows - there may be a time in the distant future when you're sitting at a table with them and remembering those lessons for a great cause as well!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesday - BIBLE TRIVIA

I am at our campgrounds, in Lexington, NE, for state presbyter's meetings. We had interviews yesterday for credentials and it was exciting because 5 out of the 6 were either youth or children leaders that work with me on a regular basis. One was my sister, Jenny, and I was supposed to be in the interview group, but then they switched me out, because of the family connection. Not to mention, she's also my secretary...

Today, it's only 40 degrees and later, we have a chance of possible snow or sleet. Winter, here we come. I enjoy the cold, just not when I have to be on the road. Here's the question - is there any Bible stories that involve snow or ice, and if so, can you mention one?

Our Friday WHERE IS THAT IN NE winner is Jen Busch. Great job, and enjoy your $2 prize money.

See ya tomorrow.
Toby

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

WOOPS!

This weekend I had a great time with my boys. Ryan and Eric were with me at home while Kim and Abby were at the camp for the ladies retreat. We watched Speed Racer, had lots of food, and did lots of BOY stuff together.

Saturday morning, Jay and Emily Warriner came over with their kids, Kaden and Isabella. We were watching the Husker game together, in which the Big Red finally got another win and stopped our 3 game losing streak.

I had set out a bunch of food and let people come and grab it as they wanted. I didn't even stop to think about the kids doing this. Suddenly, one of my sons came upstairs and told Jay a secret. Emily quickly ran downstairs and I could tell something was a little off. I asked Jay, and he finally confessed to me that Bella had accidentally gone to the bathroom on the floor. She had been eating so much food she had to go to the bathroom very badly, but she didn't know where it was, and she was afraid to interrupt us while we were watching the game.

It's fun to have friends over and enjoy some good time together, but even in those moments, make sure to take care of business and continue doing what you are supposed to do. You never get a vacation from being a parent.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday - WHERE IS THAT IN NE?

Hello everyone! Congratulations to JOYFUL MOTHERHOOD! Her correct comment was chosen at random for the winner of our Tuesday Bible Trivia. Thanks Jen for participating as well, Joyful Motherhood won another $2 of prize money towards any NYM event or item of merchandise. I believe that she is up to $6, which could come in handy at our upcoming Fall Youth Convention (see http://www.youth.neag.org/ for details)

The picture below is a famous attraction in Western NE. What city is it closest to, and who is the pastor of our A/G church in that city? See ya on Monday

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Hello! I had great time speaking last night at Impact Youth Ministries in Kearney.
I heard from one of my youth pastors yesterday. They have a bus ministry that goes out each Wednesday and picks up numerous students from a nearby town and brings them to youth ministry. The bus needed some repair so they took up a church offering. Though they did get plenty, it wasn't quite what they needed. Later in the week, a man called the youth pastor and asked how the offering went. The youth pastor explained that they were still several thousands short. The man generously told him that he would make up the difference. Wow.

Also, I heard this story. Recently, my family enjoyed the Harvest of Harmonies parade in Grand Island, with almost 100 bands. Many small town bands came by, and you could tell that they didn't have much money, with the instruments quite banged up. I heard about a young man who played the Soosaphone, the big wraparound tubas. Anyway, the instructor asked for them to drop their instruments, so he did, literally, and it cracked the big head. The school didn't have any money to fix it, so he had to use some duck tape. It stuck out as they marched through the parade like a soar thumb.

But sometimes, that can be a good thing. He was a good tuba player, and eventually made it to the All State Shrine Band, which played at the halftime of the Shrine Bowl. He was one of 30+ tubas, and in a band with hundreds of instruments. His parents looked on the field for their son, who normally would have been hard to spot, but once they found the duck tape, they knew exactly where he was!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

1. Support your leader - Ephesians 1:3

Paul thanked God for sending Jesus. He loved Jesus and lived for Him. But he also realized that Jesus was sent on a mission, so he thanked the person behind Jesus, God. In this sense, Paul supported the 'parent organization' (Father God). It is one thing for us to properly follow our leaders and support them. But we must remember that by supporting them, we also support who sent them and empowered them to minister to us. Sometimes, students don't see themselves as part of the church; they think they just come on Wednesday nights, and aren't involved as much on Sundays. But if they support the youth pastor, they are also supporting the pastor, who empowers the youth pastor to be there in the first place. The youth pastor is AN EXTENSION of the senior pastor. That's why it is so important for both pastors, though on different levels of leadership, to be on the same page. It's also important for students to respect their senior pastor and support them as well!

2. Bridge Builders - Ephesians 1:10

Jesus was called to bring all things together in heaven and on earth. He was placed in charge of two kingdoms, very different and far apart. By coming to earth, he focused all of heaven's attentions on earthly things. Also, by being God among us, he connected us with heaven. He was reaching and dealing with both groups of individuals in both kingdoms at the same time, bringing them together. As leaders, we need to learn how to build bridges between the ministries we oversee which tend to compete against each other. We've got to make clear paths from one ministry to another, and help people understand and value of both programs in their lives. We need to follow in Jesus' steps and be bridge builders in our churches today

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello again everyone from wet, rainy, Grand Island. My kids soccer games were cancelled the last two days, so we've been enjoying ourselves indoors.

Too bad that once again no one commented an answer for our trivia from Friday. I guess no one likes Aaron. NO WAY, but just in case you were wondering, he is the youth pastor at River Hills Church in South Sioux City, in the northeast corner of our state.

In 1 Samuel 20, David and Jonathan are discussing whether or not King Saul wanted to kill David. David felt that he was, but Jonathan couldn't believe it. David hid in the field and sent Jonathan to go and see for himself with King Saul. When Jonathan returned he was going to give David a signal by shooting something towards him in the field. Here's the trivia: What was the item that Jonathan shot and if it went beyond David, what did that mean?

Have fun, see ya tomorrow

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Last week I had the chance to go to Springfield, MO, representing NE on a national steering committee for fine arts. I'm excited for what next year will hold for us in this exciting department. I also spoke at New Creation Community Church in Omaha and Sunday, and had a good time connecting with the people there once again.

I love churches that have coffee for their members. Not every church does it, but for those that do, I always grab a cup or two. So many of my meetings involve coffee that it has become a very normal part of my life. I took my cup and wandered around the room chatting with different people. At one point I set my coffee down and kept talking, walking, talking and walking. Eventually, during a conversation, I reached down to a cup of coffee, picked it up and took a swig.

WOOPS! I didn't put any creamer in my coffee, and was that lipstick that I tasted on the lid? At that moment, a friend I had met earlier came up to me with a cup of coffee in her hand. I found out that she had done the exact same thing I had done, so we had shared coffee. Embarassed, we exchanged cups and went about our way, secretly hoping and praying that the other person didn't have a cold that morning.

It's good in church to move around and meet new people, greeting newcomers and veterans alike. One piece of advice though, remember where you put your coffee!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday - Where is that in NE?

Congratulations to Pastor Tim for the correct comment chosen for our Tuesday Bible Trivia winner. Others could have had a chance by commenting, but he was the only one! He has now earned up $10 in prize money towards NYM merchandise or events. Congratulations Pastor Tim!

This morning I had the privilege of meeting with Aaron Bade, one of our outstanding youth pastors here in NE. His father pastored in Nebraska and he has a rich history of involvement in Nebraska Youth Ministries. He has personally attended at least 4 different NE fellowships, that I know of. Here's the trivia: in what church does he currently pastor and what city is that in?

Happy Hunting. Have a great weekend

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

I'm in Springfield, MO on a National Steering Committee for Fine Arts. Just two months ago, we were in Charlotte at the National Event. We had one of our best year's for NE students. Many of our students did quite well. Next year, we'll be in Orlando and I've got plenty of great things to plan for our NE event at Lincoln in March.

Rod Whitlock is our national FINE ARTS leader and he does a great job. I enjoy working with him as an old friend and mentor of mine. He used to be my pastor at BCC when I was a Master's Commission student. I remember working with him on many of our large dramas that the church would host during special times and holidays. We'd spend many hours talking while I was on the genie lift adjusting lights, he being down below on the stage with the AIM directions.

What an incredible thing, when I was looking across the table at Rod, seeing him move from one position to another in the last ten years. I wonder how many of our pastors who are working with dramas now, will be directing national dramas later? How many who are discipling students now, will be discipling their leaders later? How many are writing messages now, will be writing national bestsellers later? Dream.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wed - Leader's Corner

1 Samuel 19:18. David had to flee King Saul, who was trying to kill him. When he was running for his life, he ran to Samuel, the man that had anointed him to be the future king. When Saul sent men to come and kill David while he was with Samuel, God protected him and led those assassins to begin prophecying. Saul came himself, and the same thing occured with him.

David ran to a spiritual father in times of need. As leaders, we must have mentors in our lives and run to them often, not just in times of need, but in times of success as well. And when we do, God will honor that time and allow us to grow immensely. God protected David and his time with Samuel - He wasn't going to let anything disrupt it.

1. Who is your mentor?
2. When was the last time you got some good time together?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

It's too bad - nobody commented in a guess on the Trivia from Friday. The dam will remain a mystery. You could have guessed and at least had a chance, but it's gone now.

Yet, here's another chance! It's Bible Trivia today, and it's a simple question really. We all know the shortest verse in the Bible - 'Jesus wept'. Do you know where that is found.

EXTRA CREDIT - What's the next shortest verse in the Bible? (Hint it's between Genesis and Revelations)

Have fun!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

You have one day until we announce a winner from Friday's WHERE IS THAT IN NE? Trivia. Make sure to comment in today with your guess!

This past weekend, my mother and father in law came to visit from Bellevue. We went to the Harvest of Harmony parade in Grand Island, with about 500 bands, and then we went to the Hastings Museum. On Sunday, I helped a church across town by filling in on guitar while there guitar players were away. I was going to play in worship and then head back to my church with my family.

I got to practice at 8:00am and things went well. After some coffee and Sunday School, I came back to the stage for worship during service. During the first song, only 30 seconds in, the third string on my guitar snapped. It wasn't a clean break, so it was hanging in the way of my strumming. I pulled it out, but when I did it completely DE-tuned the rest of my strings. I haven't even thought about the possibility of a broken string, it's happens so infrequently with me, that I had put my tuner back in my case in the back of the stage. I tried to adjust on the fly, but I could tell it was creating a distraction, so all I could do was put my hands over the strings, stop playing and start singing.

In retrospect, it's funny how the only reason I was there was to play and I couldn't do it. I remember driving away, praying, 'Well, God, I'm not sure what that was about, but it was all for you'. Sometimes, things won't go right. The key is for us to do what God says, do our best, and leave the results up to Him.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday - WHERE IS THAT IN NE?

Last night, I had fun with some guys that came over to watch the Cubs playoff game. Incidentally, the Cubs were defeated 10-3 by the Dodgers. Not looking good for the Cubbies, but we still had a good time anyway. My mother and father in law will be in town this weekend for the parade in Grand Island.

Congratulations to Pastor Mike for his correct comment to the Bible Trivia on Tuesday. To this date, he has earned $4 towards any NYM merchandise item or event. Go to http://www.youth.neag.org/ for more details.

I've often said that the founding fathers of NE put the interstate in the wrong place. It is very convenient for a nice flat straight path, but NE has much pretty scenery off the beaten path. If you travel along the northeastern part of the state, you'll see some gorgeous hills and greenery surrounding the Missouri River. This picture is one of our states large dams, providing power for thousands of customers. Can you the name the dam?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday - Testimones

Last night, I had the chance to visit Lift Youth Church, the youth ministry of Glad Tidings in Omaha. Jesse Norman is the youth pastor and he spoke a message about being reasonable. The only reasonable thing to do in light of Jesus' sacrifice is to lay our lives down completely for God. The worship was dynamic and the students were all very hungry for God. It was great to connect with some of our national qualifying fine arts members, and I'm proud of their youth for doing so well in STL this year. I was also very excited to hear about their 5 campus clubs starting up this month at Papillion South, Papillion, Benson, Central, and Millard West.


Lift Youth Church

Worship Team

I gave a welcome and threw out some shirts

Jesse Norman - "Be Reasonable"

Altar Time

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leader's Corner

Many of you have figured out that I've been doing some intense study of 1 Samuel. So, once again, today is another nugget from that great book.

In 1 Samuel 18, we see that David was still playing the harp for King Saul. Even though he'd slain Goliath, and was now sent out on military missions, he continued this 'lowly' act of service for his king. Saul, enraged by an evil spirit, picked up a spear and threw it at David while David was playing for him. David was able to avoid the spears, twice.

That's interesting. It means that Saul threw a spear at David, David avoided it (no small thing to do while playing a harp), and DAVID STILL WENT BACK TO PLAYING THE HARP AGAIN. I like to think of myself as a pretty good leader, but it would probably only take one time of my youth committee throwing spears at me for me to leave and never return. But not David; he continued on in that role for his king, even when it almost cost him his life, even when the king didn't fully appreciate it.

David's service cost him something. He had 'risky worship'. He laid his life on the line to be obedient to His God.

God should be so important to us that we are willing to risk our lives in order to serve Him, worship Him, and be obedient to Him. Think about it: it should be easy to risk our lives when they aren't ours in the first place.