Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday - WHERE IS THAT IN NE?

Congratulations to A VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW on a correct comment from Tuesday's Bible Trivia. Truly, there were turkeys on the ark. We can also assume there were turkeys in the Garden of Eden and possibly in Peter's dream of animals falling from the sky in a sheet. Anyway, congratulations, you are now once again up to $6 in prize money. That money can be used towards any item of merchandise or event promoted at our website: http://www.youth.neag.org/

Yesterday, I posted a picture of the tree lighting in Papillion, NE. Someone commented that they liked the name, and yes it is a butterfly. In fact, one of the Papillion school's mascots is a monarch. Here's the question, which of our A/G churches is closest in proximity to the new Shadow Lake mall?:

A) Omaha Pacific Springs
B) Bellevue Christian Center
C) Omaha Glad Tidings
D) Southridge Church
E) Omaha Southside A/G

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies



Happy Thanksgiving. Above is the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Shadow Lake Mall in Papillion.

A few of my NE friends had a birthday today as well. I commented on their profile pages a jumbled message - Thanks happy giving birth day.

A few blogs ago I wrote about my trip to Hebron. The pastor is named Tim. Tim is also the FCA leader and they have the Christian Athlete meetings at their church. They have about 15 students that come every week and work with them on their faith. Their influence has extended far beyond just the youth who come with families on Sunday mornings or Sunday night youth ministries. What a great job, and remember, he works a fulltime job outside the church as well.

We should all look for ways to get involved in our communities and extend our influence to the people God has called us to.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

(The entryway at our house!)

Ephesians 5:16 "make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

A couple of weeks ago, I had a youth pastor coffee time in Omaha. About 6 or 7 of us came together and connected at Panera near Saddlecreek and Dodge. After we were finished, Brad Harder, Cory Demmel and I were walking out to our cars, ready to leave. A lady and a camera crew approached us. They told us they were from a Christian TV station in Virginia and were interviewing people on their thoughts about the current Safe Haven Laws. Cory and I were both interviewed. I said briefly that my wife and I couldn't fathom dropping off our kids, but something needed to be done to fix it.

I quickly forgot about it on the 2 and 1/2 hour drive home. A week later though, I got a funny text from my mother. She had been watching the 700 club, a popular Christian TV show with Pat Robertson, based out of Virginia Beach, Virginia. They brought up a piece on the Safe Haven Laws, and suddenly she saw my face come up and heard my interview. She helped us find the link online as well. What a surprise to see her son on the national broadcast!

The next week I heard from many people who heard the interview and agreed with my stance. The Safe Haven Laws had concerned me, but little did I know that God would use me in a small way to help change things. Remember, make the most of EVERY opportunity; you never know what God might do.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia


This past weekend, my family decorated our house for Christmas. It was great, though it isn't even Thanksgiving yet. This is a wreath on our front door.

Congratulations to our winner from Friday's WHERE IN NE TRIVIA, Pastor Mike. You now have over $6 in prizes money. Great job

With Thanksgiving upon us, I thought I'd do a trivia today around the holiday event. Can you mention an instance where a turkey is mentioned in the Bible? Happy Searching!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

Last night I spoke at the Real Youth Ministries of Northridge Assembly in Grand Island. It was a wonderful time hanging out with some old friends and students from my hometown. Brian Whoeppel is doing a great job providing leadership for this youth group in transition and I'm excited to see where they go from here.


I was prepared to speak a message I've spoken often to youth groups around NE this fall. The focus is on reaching out to your friends, with a smaller emphasis on being right with God yourself. We had one of the recent youth sponsors (Chris, a policeman from GI) give a testimony in the middle of my message. During his testimony, God changed the direction of our service. Chris finished his story, I sang a song, and gave an altar call for getting things right with God. It seemed like over half the group came forward to pray. We plan and prepare, but God does what He wants and has full permission to come change our plans when He sees fit.


Barack and John getting into it by the diner


John and I, with John

Anna and Casie

Worshipping Faces





Real youth, truly

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday - WHERE IS THAT IN NE?

Thank you to everyone who commented on our Tuesday's Bible Trivia. Special thanks to mc4jc247 for their first comment in. The correct answer was letter C. 595. The winner is THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW. Thanks for hurting your brain for the cause. I believe you are now up to $4 in prize money, once again.



Today, where is this picture from in NE?

A). Broken Bow
B). Mitchell
C). Hyannis
D). Crofton
E). Red Cloud

Have fun!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Last week I heard about two great stories from youth groups in NE:

1). Susan Payne is a student from Omaha Glad Tidings LIFT youth ministries. She attends Benson High School, in North Central Omaha. LIFT has been doing some outreaches and she has been bringing her friends. She was personally responsible for bringing 42 students from Benson to Glad Tidings. WOW.

2). Our youth group from Friend, NE is pastored by Ryan and Rachel Conner. On the way home from convention, they couldn't stop talking about what God had done at the event. The next day, Rachel was supposed to speak in church, but before she got up to speak, she allowed students to testify about convention. These 9 students, normally shy and not willing to speak, ALL got up and told about what God had done. That was the message for the day!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

1 Kings 3:11 - So God said to Solomon, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth FOR YOURSELF, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked."

God had given Solomon a wonderful opportunity - ask for whatever you want me to give you. The ultimate 'genie in a bottle' moment. If you could have anything in the world, what would you ask for?

Solomon didn't become selfish, like most of us might in that moment. He thought of his people, the ones he was called to lead. He asked for a quality that would make him a good leader for their sake. God was pleased to give him his request when he saw his unselfish heart.

Many aspire to be a leader, but what they don't realize is that in becoming a leader you are losing more rights to yourself. You begin to make decisions that aren't necessarily your preference, but best for the ministry. What is best for the ministry becomes your desire.

Leadership is the ultimate test of humility. Can you truly put others before yourself?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Last Friday, we posted a trivia challenge to WHERE IS THAT IN NE? Only one person commented, and unfortunately, they had the wrong guess. Because no one else commented, and no one correctly answered the challenge, the $2 prize money CARRIES over to today. By the way, the answer was B) Lexington. And, remember, even if somoene comments and you believe it is the correct answer, you still can comment in because a random selection of all correct comments will win the prize.

For today, Psalm 117 is the middle chapter of the Bible. If you wanted to open up to the middle, you'd need to open up to the book of Psalms. What number chapter is that:

A) 395
B) 495
C) 595
D) 695
E) 795

Have fun! I'm at a camp board meeting today

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

This past weekend, I had the honor of ministering in York and Hebron, two cities somewhat near the interstate in between Lincoln and Grand Island. Saturday, I was in York with my sister Jenny and I facilitated a Teacher's Training Session, covering material from our National Office. We've done this same training before in O'neill, Norfolk, Cozad, and Dalton. 4 churches came out to be with us: Red Cloud, Hebron, York, and Fairbury. Sunday, I drove down to Hebron and spoke to the youth group, while meeting with the leaders before service, to strategize for the future.


The pastors of Hebron New Life Assembly are Tim and Karen Boatright. Tim works a full time job outside of the church, to help with finances. They've been there for 8 years. When they first arrived, there was only about 6 people, all near 80 yrs. of age. Now, after faithfully serving in a bi-vocational role, they have a healthy church, full of young couples and lots of kids. There were about 20 students and leaders there last night, and many were from outside the church.

During our leaders meeting, I brought up some stats about our churches, and my goal that each church would be impacting at least 5% of their mission field. When I showed them their mission field (4 schools nearby, close to 600 students) they realized that they were already very close to their goal. Being from a smaller church, in a smaller city, with a pastor who works outside the church, they didn't think of themselves as doing that well; when in fact, they are one of the better effective youth ministries in their section of the state!

It's not always the most gifted, celebrated, honored, admired, and available leaders that thrive. One trait you will always see in those that are used by God - FAITHFULNESS.

I don't know who might be reading this and where you come from, but here's a word for you today: Don't give up, stick it out, be faithful, and God will see you through!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday - WHERE IS THAT IN NE?

Hello. Yesterday I had the chance to connect with a bunch of our youth pastors from the Omaha area. Cory, Kevin, Jesse, Jeff, Jay, Brad, and I connected on some good issues for some possible plans in our future. I'm excited!


The winner of our Tuesday Bible Trivia is THE VIEW FROM MY WINDOW, who now has a total of $4 in prize money. Way to go!


This is a sign that was posted on a door at a church that I spoke at. It was the last youth group I spoke at before convention. Can you guess what city this church is from?????
A. Gering
B. Lexington
C. Hastings
D. Friend
E. Lincoln

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

Last night, I had the chance to visit Omaha Christian Center with Brad and Kristina Harder and they're youth group - Frontline. We had a wonderful night, and plenty of the students were at convention, so that was awesome. I can't wait to see what they come up with for Fine Arts next March.

I got an email online from a student who came to convention. They had been to a lot of events and figured that this would be just 'another weekend'. She said God completely outdid Himself and she heard His voice in many ways. A youth pastor also told me that God was doing incredible things with His students, even on the way home, speaking to them and showing them things for their lives.

We also had a youth ministry that had a STL banquet on Sunday night. They were able to raise over $2,000 to help reach their goal this year.

Let me know if you have any testimonies, especially from convention. I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Most always, during this day's blog, I pull out some nuggest of truth from Bible passages. Today, I want to look at our example of convention. One of the main reasons convention was such a wonderful event was because of LEADERSHIP.

Now, I'm not trying to say I deserve all the credit. Sure, I'm the DYD and responsible for the overall convention, but I have a team of leaders helping me organize everything we do. Our state committee gave many ideas for convention, and analysis from the previous years, to help shape this one accordingly. I also used every member of the committee in some way during the weekend, further stretching their influence in our district.

Friday, all day, a team of workers came to New Life and helped setup the entire convention. Lights, cameras, merchandise booths, projectors, video screens, smoke machines, prizes, lounges, etc. etc., etc. Over 40 people were running all over the building making things happen. These same volunteers stayed at the church after convention was done and helped tear it all back down, and then setup the church again for their Sunday morning services. All the fun and atmosphere of convention would not have been possible without their help as well.

And then we have the staff from New Life. They manned the video booth, the screen consule, the sound board, the phones during the day, the shop for construction throughout the event. They were wonderful to work with and had the best attitudes as we came and invaded their space. Again, convention wouldn't have been the same without them as well.

And then of course all of our colleges and Master's Commission groups that came and set up their promotional booths in our exhibits area. We had more booths this year than any other year since I've been the DYD. They gave out all kinds of prizes and scholarships, and interacted with many people before and after services. Some of them also came early or left late, in order to help with the behind the scenes details as well. They were a great assett to our convention, and a priority to me because I want to provide our NE students with the best opportunities available for them upon graduation.

Then, we have all the pastors and leaders that brought students from churches. They drove vans and buses, shared beds and slept on floors, and prayed for students all throughout the event. They took time off work, spent time away from their families, all to oversee a group of students becoming who God called them to be. They provided much needed oversight for a gathering of this magnitude. Convention would definitely not occur without them.

And lastly, we have my office staff. Many months ago, we started planning for this event, calling churches, colleges, hotels, etc. Putting together the theme and using the national office resources. Sending out promotional materials months in advance. Numerous phone calls, hours of data entry, and then some. And as soon as we were done, we were already working on the next event coming up. Convention isn't the same without them.

SO OVERALL, you can see it wasn't just one leader that made it happen. It was host of leaders, all working together for the common purpose of seeing students in NE grow in God. What a challenge, and yet, what a success. When we work together, much can be accomplished for God's kingdom, much more than if we try to do things completely on our own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Hello again. It's good to see that more and more people are logging in to check out the blogs and stay in touch. There are TONS of convention pics and comments on facebook, if you have an account with them.

Last Friday, we had a trivia challenge where the last two conventions had been held in NE. It might have been a trick question, because I was not including the convention from this past weekend, since my blog was entered before the event. That would have made the last two conventions in Kearney, and then Hastings, at the community college. The random winner from correct comments is THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW! Thanks for entering. You are now back up to $2 in prizes. Way to go

At convention, we honored students of NE who had done amazing feats for God this past year. The first night, we honored our Bible Quiz team from Grand Island who qualified for the National Bible Quiz festival. Here's the question - what book of the Bible are the Bible Quiz teams of NE memorizing for this year?

Have fun looking! (HINT - Linda Parker is our BQ director, from Gering. She could help, if you know where to find her...)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

What an incredible weekend! Our NE youth convention was amazing. We had a total of about 750 people involved and Kearney New Life was packed. Ben Shafer and Rod Whitlock were a great ministry team, and all of our colleges and master's commisssion's did an excellent job helping us out. Many people have asked about pictures, and they will be posted at our website (http://www.youth.neag.org/) later today. Also, many have commented that they loved our videos - most of the videos can be found on the national STL website (http://youth.ag.org/media/video.cfm) to use in your churches and youth groups. The countdown videos and EXTRAORDINARY loops were made by 5am productions (the kids kamps evangelists from this past summer!) and I have copies of those that you are more than welcome to use in your church as well.

One of the things that I try to do with convention is make sure that money issues don't keep anyone away. That's hard to do, because it takes a lot of money to bring in the lights, cameras, videos, speakers, worship team, effects, prizes, t-shirts, etc.,etc.,etc. It's also challenging because you have to plan these details out far in advance, before you know if most of your churches will be at convention or not. But it's better for NYM to have students there for less money than to not have them at all. I work with youth pastors and leaders to help them provide scholarships to students in need.

Well, one of my youth leaders did all that he could to help his students get to convention. We worked together, and we saw 4 of them there, all of them non-Christian (or rather, pre-Christian). The first night, all 4 of them came forward and gave their lives to Christ! That's what it's all about, drawing people closer to God. Money should never keep people away from the most important relationship in their lives, a relationship with Jesus Christ!

Many of you might be first time bloggers from convention. Make sure to sign up for an account, and then you can post comments and be available for prizes as well. Tomorrow is a trivia day, so do it soon. A random drawing of all correct comments will decide the winner, so even if you see someone that already answered correctly, comment on! You still have a chance, (with God, nothing is impossible)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday - WHERE IS THAT IN NE?

Hello everyone!

Tuesday's winner is Pastor Mike.

Today is our Fall Youth Convention in Kearney, NE. Can you name what cities we had convention in the last two years?

See ya at convention!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thursday - Testimonies

We have almost 600 pre-registered for our statewide convention this weekend! That's a great number and we should have a great crowd tomorrow night! To register, go to www.youth.neag.org

I heard a great story from my sister-in-law, Tina Moen, the DYD's wife in Southern New England. She was at the mall with her daughter, who accidentally opened her car door very hard. It hit the car next to them, and left a scratch and slight paint transfer. Tina decided to leave a night with her contact information to help the owner with the repair.

It took a few months, but eventually, she heard back from the owner. They told her that they were so amazed that someone would actually take the time to leave the note and be responsible. They weren't asking for any money to fix the damage, and we're keeping the note to show people that nice people do actually exist in this world. Doing the right thing is always right, even if the results don't look like it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday - Leader's Corner

Yesterday, we elected our next president, Barack Obama. I read one of his books, 'Dreams from my Father'. It discussing his childhood and early career. I'm excited to see what kind of leadership he will bring to our country.
1. 1 Samuel 23:19,20 "The Ziphites went up to Saul...'Is not David hiding among us'...'we will be responsible for handing him over to the king.'"

Saul was searching for David, to kill him. The Ziphites knew that he was looking for David, and they wanted to help their king. We may look at this as if the Ziphites were evil for trying to hurt David. We know that King Saul's motives were wrong, but we don't know if the Ziphites had that information. For all we know, they were faithfully trying to help their king. We shouldn't judge the actions of others without knowing their motives, and we should alway follow the Lord in obeying the leaders He's allowed over us. It's hard to say, but hopefully, if I was one of the Ziphites and unaware of my king's true motives, I would have been eager to help him as well.

2. 1 Samuel 24:5,6 "David was consience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his (Saul) robe...'the Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord's anointed.'"

David had a chance to kill King Saul in a cave. His men encouraged him to do so. He knew it was wrong, so instead, he cut off a small piece of Saul's robe. Later, he was even convicted about that. Again, God has allowed the leaders in position to rule over us and we are to obey them in the Lord. Not even a small amount of mutiny will be acceptable in God's eyes!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesday - Bible Trivia


I'm getting ready to go vote. Today we have some winners. The winner of last Tuesday's Bible Trivia is Pastor Mike! He was the closest answer of 900 chapters (there are 929 chapters in the Old Testament). He wins $2, and is now up to $6 (Pastor Mike, correct me if I'm wrong?) The winner of Friday's WHERE IS THAT IN NE? challenge was The View From My Picture Window. She guessed Broken Bow and Thedford, which is true. She's won so many, I've lost track. Let me know where you're at!

Today's question - with such a big vote in our country today, can you remember at least 2 different instances where a vote took place in the Bible. Remember, try to not to cheat and look!

Be sure to pray for our convention this weekend. See ya tomorrow! (BONUS TRIVIA QUESTION - who is the man under the mask in the photo above???)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday - Life Lessons

I'm so excited for our NE Fall Convention this weekend (http://www.youth.neag.org/).

Tomorrow, we will announce the winners from both the trivia challenges last week on Friday and Tuesday. You can still comment in on EITHER one of those to receive the $2 prize.

This past weekend, I was at North Central. On the way home, I was trying to hustle so that I could see my kids before they went to bed. This would be my first year SINCE THEY WERE BORN that I missed being with them at the church party on Halloween night. I had two flights, one into Denver, and the other into Omaha. Then I had to pick up an art piece in Bellevue before coming home. As I was ready to board the flight from Minneapolis to Denver, they announced that the mechanical team found a flat tire and it would be an hour delay.

That didn't bother me much, I had a lot of work to catch up on. But my connecting flight would be in jeopardy. As I was waited in line to rebook, they announced that they could shorten the flight and it appeared that everyone would make their connecting flights, so no need to wait in line.

We got on the plane and headed out. I wasn't worried at all. Now, I wouldn't have to jump out as soon as the plane landed and budge in front of other people to get off fast. I never like when people are impatient like that.

Well, we landed, and as soon as we reached the gate, an announcement, 'please let the individual headed to Omaha off first, his flight is ready to leave without him'. YIKES, I jumped out of my seat, grabbed my stuff, and made my way forward, through people that were looking at me, disgusted.

I realized I had become the 'impatient' person that couldn't wait for others. The very thing I had looked down on was now my label. But it wasn't my fault. Surely everyone on the plane could understand that, couldn't they, especially after being singled out like that? I learned a lesson - don't judge people, especially if you don't know where they are coming from.

When I got to the Omaha plane, I was just in time. I boarded, and could see the people's joy over my arrival. They were glad this lazy, slow guy finally made it there. If only they knew...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thursday and Friday on Saturday?

Hello everyone. I'm sorry that I didn't get my blog in the last two days. As some of you know, I haven't had a laptop to work with the last two years, and unfortunately, my palm phone was acting up and not allowing me access to the internet as well this weekend. I was on the road at North Central University in Minneapolis.

For a testimony - we heard from Dr. Gordon Anderson about the financial problems at the school. Unfortunately, the economic circumstances have not been absent from our great north central university. Had this occured ten years ago, we would have been in jeopardy of losing the school But today, because of great financial saving the last few years, we were able to withstand the storm. PRAISE THE LORD!


Also, my flight was a challenge. Normally, I would have a direct flight on Northwest into Minneapolis. But because of Northwest's recent buy-in with Delta, that flight was too expensive and long. So, instead I flew with United through Denver. After it was all done, I realized I could have driven to Denver and made it to Minneapolis in the same amount of time. Here's my trivia question:


Can you name at least 2 NE cities (of 5,000 people or less) that have a functional airport?