Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

                            Friday Night Worship Service, Fine Arts

Congratulations to THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW for again winning our trivia from Friday. 'The View' (great nickname) is doing quite well recently, while others seem to be a little busy lately. I need to know how much 'The View' has in their account, because they redeemed many of their winnings this past weekend with some merchandise from our NYM booth. That's the way it works!

This morning, I was reading in 2 Samuel, chapter 3, where Joab kills Abner in deception. David was frustrated with Joab and his actions. We'll talk more about that tomorrow, but it made me think about all of the moments in the Bible where someone surprisingly killed someone else. There are quite a few. Can you name 2 other instances in the Bible where that happened?

Have fun searching, if you can. (not exactly a pick-me-up today. Must be the spring snow outside)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - One Bed

Friday and Saturday, we had an excellent Fine Arts Festival in Lincoln. I'll post pics this week, and have them in my slideshow on the side soon. 

Friday night we had a worship service and we spread out some worship stations around the back of the sanctuary. Throughout the night, students were worshipping God with singing, drawing, painting, praying, and writing. We've got some great creations which we will showcase at camp, as well as continue the worship station idea at times. What a great thought, at fine arts, to allow our students to worship with more of the arts...

I had two other men with me in my hotel room on Friday night - my lights coordinator and my camera man. We had called ahead earlier in the week and asked for a cot, so we could each have our own bed. We got to our room, and there was one king bed and they were out of cots. It was late and we were tired and I felt like fighting, but we decided to adapt and deal with it. 

We wound up having fun with it and now it's a funny story. I could have done something in anger that would have been out of character and I'd have regretted it later, but by being flexible, we made a bad situation a good memory. Learn to be flexible and you'll have better memories to carry you in life.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I'm so excited that today is Fine Arts! I'm quickly trying to get out of the office and head to Lincoln. Here's the trivia:

Which A/G church in NE would have to drive the farthest to get to our fine arts festival in Lincoln this weekend? 

Happy Searching!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies

In the photo above is a group of men meeting at the mens retreat, discussing one of our A/G churches in the Northwest Corner of our state, Mitchell. For years, this church has struggled with different pastors and only about 15 people regularly attending. Two of the men at the table felt like they really wanted to work hard for this church, so we assigned them as co pastors. 

One of the men is a newspaper editor and he has a great marketing campaign for the church. The other is a great musician and he has revolutionized the worship, adding in a projector and screen (pretty standard for most churches). They had a Valentine's Banquet recently and had over 40 people in attendance. They recently had a church board meeting and they decided to rename the church to New Hope, for a new identity. 

A church that hadn't seen growth in years is growing again. Praise God!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday - Leader's Corner - give them something to eat

                         Erik, giving them something to eat at camp
                       Erik is our Fine Arts Coordinator this weekend

Matthew 14:15,16
(Disciples) - Send the crowds away, so they can go buy themselves some food.
(Jesus) - They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.

The disciples didn't want to help the people, but Jesus encouraged them to do it anyway. Rather than being LED by his disciples to send the people away, Jesus LED the disciples to do their part.

I can't wait for Fine Arts this weekend. We've got about 200 students performing different ministry gifts and talents for God. I've got some great new scholarships to give away for our A/G universities, with a combined total of $32,000. 

I've heard from some youth leaders who aren't bringing any students to participate in Fine Arts. They said that they promoted it to their students, but no one wanted to do anything. That's fairly common. These leaders are not at fault per say, but this is a great teaching moment, just like Jesus had in our story above. You decide which is better for the leader:

1. Promote Fine Arts. The students don't respond, so we don't plan to take a group. Maybe we bring some to come and watch, hoping they catch the desire while there, for next year.

2. Promote Fine Arts. Explain that your goal is for every student in the group to try and do one thing for Fine Arts. Show a list on the screen and give them a handout of the categories. Have them circle the one or two they could do. Work with them to prepare and be ready. Not all will do it, but many will, because you urged them along.  Bring those who aren't participating as well, so they can catch the desire for next year.

Incidentally, I know of one church like #2 above. For years, they promoted Fine Arts, with no response. They never brought anyone to participate, even when it was at their own church. This year, they didn't just promote it, but they took steps to urge their students along. They are bringing 10 students for the first time in many years.

Sometimes, we allow the desires of the students to dictate what we do. As leaders, we help shape those desires to accomplish the vision God has given us. When your students say no, don't be afraid to respond like Jesus, 'you don't have to say no, you give them something to eat.'

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

                                       Fine Arts Champion from last year

Congratulations to Pastor Mike for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from Friday's Trivia. Pastor Brian had a good effort, but Omaha was not correct. Had I chosen a random incorrect comment, he would have been the big winner!

I can't wait for this weekend - FINE ARTS at Christ's Place in Lincoln. Make sure to plan to come out on Friday night and/or Saturday to be with us. Don't let the rain/snow keep you away. We're Nebraskans; we're tougher than that!

I love Fine Arts, watching students step up and use their gifts and talents for the Lord. I'm actually listening to a song on SONGZA, a great web jukebox, by Francesca Battistelli, a former Fine Arts participant. She's now a major Christian music artist, isn't that cool. I can't wait to see our NE students in the same way.

Here's your question - can you name 3 characters in the Bible that had a gift/talent that they could use at our fine arts festival this weekend. Name the person and their gift, and a Bible reference wouldn't hurt either.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Good Teacher

                                               Lifehouse Church - Hastings

On Saturday, I hosted a small group leaders training with Brent Braunberger in Eastern NE. Then, on Sunday morning, I led worship at Northshore Assembly of God in Hastings. In between services, I attended an incredible Sunday School class. 

The teacher was an older gentleman, probably in his late 60's. Most of the class were his peers, though a few were with me in the 30's and 40's. He had a great delivery of the material; good wisdom mixed in with a hilarious tongue in cheek delivery. His main point was that we are always growing as Christians, and sometimes we make mistakes. 

He was talking about his own life and he said that sometimes, his wife can testify, he 'falls off the wagon'. That is an expression commonly used to tell of a person who is trying to stay sober, but lapses back into drinking. He explained that he didn't use that term referring to a drinking problem of any kind. He told us that he used to drink before he was a Christian, but he had given it up and hadn't had but one drink since 1974.

One of his friends in the back raised his hand, and when called on, surprised us all with this: 'Maybe you should have one sometime!' WHAT? He quoted a verse from the books of Timothy which says that a little wine is good for the stomach.

We all got a good laugh out of that, but the friendships that existed in that Sunday School class were obvious. Being a teacher is much more than preparing an expert dissertation - being a teacher is about living as an example amongst your students, everyday. Discipleship happens through relationship.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Congratulations to PASTOR BRIAN for being the correct comment chosen at random as our winner from Tuesday's trivia. Special acknowledgements go out to Pastor Mike for his strong research in the book of Numbers. 

Tomorrow I will be with the pastor above, Brent Braunberger. He is the chairman of our camp board and the church planter of a wonderful church in eastern Nebraska. We will be in his city tomorrow for a teacher's training for Sunday School and small groups. What city is his church in?

See ya next week. (by the way, I lost 3 games in my march madness brackets yesterday. Hoping for a better turnout today)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies - Church Planting

1. This is Greg Wallace, former youth pastor at Bellevue and current church planter in downtown Omaha. He is a friend of mine and a former member of our state leadership team for Nebraska Youth Ministries. He is planting in church in the famous Old Market and we are sponsoring him with funds through Speed The Light. Go to his blog: blog.themarketchurch.net . You can also subscribe to this on I-tunes and get RSS feeds. 

2. At our presbyter's meeting, I got a chance to meet Duke. He's a church planter in southeastern Colorado and he had a great idea. He printed up business cards which he handed to his church members. The cards read 'This one's on us!' and then said the name of their church. He encouraged them to bless people while they were out and about and then give them that card to invite them to church. Well, it spread much quicker than he imagined, and eventually he got a card from someone in Ohio that thanked his church for the new truck. He had no idea who did it, but they left one of his cards on the truck when they gave it to the needy couple. Pay it Forward style.

Are you involved in helping church planters where you are at?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday - Leaders Corner - Key Leaders

                          Byron and Erik - some key leaders for us in NE

In my devotion this morning, I read about Abner in 2 Samuel 3:17,18. He was the commander of Saul's army and he was previously fighting against David and his men. Abner had made Saul's son Ish-Bosheth king of Israel, while David was pronounced King of Judah. But Ish-Bosheth accused Abner of messing around with one of Saul's concubines, so in frustration, Abner switched sides. 

In these verse he went to the elders and encouraged them to make David king, standing on the promise God gave David to make him king. He also admitted that he knew the elders had wanted to make David king for a long time. 

The elders wanted to make David king, but were unable to do anything until Abner agreed. I don't agree with Abner's attitude entirely, but I do think that this story teaches us a lesson - in our leadership there will be people who are very important when accomplishing our vision. They need to be onboard, or else things are going to be much more difficult. Our vision should include the relationships and network we have with key leaders, in order to get the job done.

Who are the key leaders in your sphere of influence that need to be onboard?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

                                             Grilling steaks at the mens retreat

Hello everyone,

Congratulations to Pastor Mike for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from last Friday's trivia. Thank you to all those who participated. Soon, Mike is going to be able to send someone free to convention, or maybe even camp, if he holds on a little longer.

This morning I will be giving a presentation to our presbyter's on the state of discipleship within our churches. I am using material from a powerpoint presentation giving to me by Ed Stetzer at our National Christian Education conference last month. The research was gathered through a survey sent out to our churches last November. Here's the question: can you name a place in the Bible where a survey, or census, was taken among the people?

Happy searching!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons

A couple of weeks ago, we had our district wide men's retreat for churches in Nebraska. There were about 300 men at the campgrounds in Lexington. Every year, I am trying to update our camp with new beds and mattresses. This year, we were hoping to build 40 new bunk beds for the Roll Inn and Dickinson dorms. 

Pastor Dwight came up with an idea to have a bunk bed building competition at men's retreat. I wasn't sure that men would like to pay to be at the retreat and spend the one afternoon off building beds. But we forged ahead anyway. I bought trophies, we set up rules, found judges, the whole works!

Coming to the retreat, we thought we might have 4 teams ready to build. We were hoping to get about 20 up, though it looked like the plans were tough, so we might only get 10. Well, the guys all got together and threw the competition out the window! They decided they wanted to get all 40 done, and working together, they finished 39 in one afternoon. It was amazing. I thought I was on 'Little House on the Prairie' and we came together to rebuild someone's barn.

When we come together, we can do so much more than when we try to compete and do things alone!

Friday, March 13, 2009


Congratulations to PASTOR TIM for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from Tuesday's trivia. He is now up to $10 in prize money. Remember, it's $2 a trivia, and it can be used towards any NYM piece of merchandise or event.

The poster above is for our District Fine Arts Festival which is coming up on Friday and Saturday, March 27,28 in Lincoln at Christ's Place church. We are really looking forward to it and you can come and participate! Go to www.youth.neag.org for more details. 

Here's the trivia - which NE city did we have our Fine Arts Festival in LAST year?

A) Kearney
B) Hastings
C) Grand Island
D) Lincoln
E) Omaha

See ya on Monday

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies - Big Springs

                                            Dodgeball in Big Springs

1. Last week, Bruce Riddle had a big outreach at Rock Solid youth group in Lincoln at Christ's Place church. They normally have about 150 students at youth group on a Wednesday night. They had just over 600 in attendance and about 125 people made committments for Christ.

2. Two weeks ago, Aaron bade had an area wide youth service in the Sioux City area. The focus of the service was living a Spirit filled life. They had many churches involved and almost 200 students in attendance. Students were there from Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

3. A man told a testimony at the men's retreat. Two years ago, on a Thursday night, the speaker cancelled, so our men's director asked Jeff Baker to speak. He spoke a message with an illustration of rocks, and he had men come up and take a rock. This gentleman took two, and felt that God was promising him two children. This past week, he stood in front of us with two kids, and the rocks still in his hands. Amazing! One child was even adopted from another country, and God miraculously paid for it all. Remember, 'if it's God's will, it's God's bill'

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday - Leaders Corner - who's in charge

            My boys and I on a roller coaster at Mall of America

Can you imagine if our last presidential election had been a perfect tie? Can you imagine if both candidates decided to try and serve together, side by side? 2 Presidents - simultaneously? Something tells me things would not have been so great if that had happened...

2 Samuel 2:10,11 - Ish-Bosheth (what a name!) son of Saul was forty years old when he became king over Israel, and he reigned two years. The house of Judah, however, followed David. The length of time David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months.

Israel tried to have two kings at the same time, and it didn't work. War was imminent, division was immediate. The rest of chapter 2 tells of how their greatest warriors began to fight and destroy each other, hurting the nation. Whenever two leaders at an executive level begin to work individually, rather than teaming together as one, problems are coming our way. A pastoral staff can have disagreements, but when they leave staff meeting, it should be as ONE. Two co leaders can have different desires and personalities, but the direction for their team should be focused and clear.

Two 'chiefs' could spend the whole time trying to overcome each other instead of the challenges they face from outside the group. They need to stand as one.

Is there someone on your same level of leadership with whom you spend much time trying to 'compete with' or 'overcome'?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

Speaking on relationships in Big Springs

Congratulations to VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW on being the correct chosen comment from the last two trivias! She (he) is now up to $25 in prize money. Way to go! The correct answer from Friday's trivia is YORK. 

Here's today's question - I've been spending a lot of time at a shopping mall lately. Can you think of any stories in the Bible that mention shopping malls (or shopping areas)?

Happy Searching!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons

Sean, the new youth leader for Kimball

I had a wonderful weekend at the men's retreat. I'm sure I'll post some pictures later and some stories as well. Yesterday, my family and I drove up to Minneapolis through a big snowstorm. It was a blast (of cold air mostly). Once we checked into our hotel, we had to go and find a place for dinner. There was an Outback restaurant nearby, but the kids weren't too excited about that. So we drove around looking for a different place to eat. We drove around for about 30 minutes, getting lost once, looking at a few pizza places with carryout only, and then wound up back at Outback anyway. 

Sometimes, you got to go with your instincts and take the first choice, to get the ball rolling!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


We had a wonderful weekend at the men's retreat. Sorry that I wasn't able to upload this post yesterday, hopefully you'll get this today. 

We had 3 amazing winners for awards of our building bunk beds competition. One was Jim from Omaha, who spent hours on the router all day. Another was our youngest participant, from Bayard. And the last winner was the contractor for pizza huts in the midwest. He's from a town in central NE that is a popular stop on I-80. Which would you think it is?

A) Grand Island
B) Kearney
C) York
D) Lexington

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday - Testimonies - Big Springs

This is a picture of a rally we had last night for the Southern Panhandle section, in Big Springs. I've been there about 3 different times and we always have a great turnout, but last night was the largest one yet. They just kept coming and coming through the door. We had to setup 3 extra tables, and we've never had to do that before. We ate a meal together, had some fun games with prizes, I spoke on God's goal for a Godly relationship, and then we finished off with some dodge ball. It was a great time and we had over 100 in attendance. Great job to the youth leaders for cities in this year: Pastor Chris in Big Springs, Brenda in Oshkosh, Heather in Ogallala, Mick in Chappell, Steven in Dalton, and Sean in Kimball. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday - Leaders Corner - communication

Preaching at Lifehouse in Hastings

1 Kings 2:32 - 'The Lord will repay him for the blood he shed, because without the knowledge of my father David he attacked two men and killed them witht he sword. Both of them, Abner son of Ner, commander of Israel's army, and Amasa son of Jether, commander of Judah's army - were better men and more upright than he.'

Joab was a valiant warrior for David, but in this situation, he killed two men without David's permission. In fact, David didn't even know about it. But when David found out, he had to deal with it. Joab was probably doing what he felt was right, but he forgot to communicate with his leader to approve the actions. We need to stay in consistent communication with our leaders, informing them about all the important things we are doing, so they won't be surprised and have to fix our issues later on.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Brien Boyce, somewhat possessed youth leader at Flatland 144, Omaha

Congratulations to Pastor Brian (not the same guy as the disturbed one above) for being the random correct comment chosen as our winner from last Friday's Trivia. Great job, even though you asked Mike for help. Pastor Mike and the VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW both got 50 cents of extra credit for knowing Mark's place of ministry before being the DYD as well. Brian is up to $6, Pastor Mike is up to $14.50, and THE VIEW FROM MY PICTURE WINDOW is up to a whopping $21.00. This blog is good during tough economic times!

Here's the Bible Trivia today: Flatland is a great church with satelittle sites in our Omaha area. Check out there website here: http://www.flatlandchurch.com/
Can you find a place in the Bible where it speaks of flat land? (this is a little tougher, so I'll make it worth $2.50!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday - Life Lessons - Split pants

This is Joe Marino. He's the youth pastor for a church in Hastings called Lifehouse. It meets at the mall and they've got a pretty cool setup with a coffee shop right next to the food court. They do a lot of cool concerts and have a great atmosphere for their services. Check out more photos on my facebook page to see what I'm talking about.

You'll notice in this picture above that Joe had a nice sweater around his waist. He didn't plan to wear it like that, but a small hole became a much larger hole as his pants split earlier in the night. That would crush a lot of people, and they'd have to call their wives and have them bring in a new pair of pants. Not Joe, he just WENT WITH THE FLOW! He wrapped the sweater around his waist and carried on. He was even jumping and slamming during worship with everyone else. 

When life give us split pants, we've got to find a sweater, wrap it around the waist, and go with the flow. Don't let the little things ruin your whole day. Incidentally, if anyone would like to contribute to Joe's jean fund, let me know (those jeans were $50 bucks!)

Sunday, March 1, 2009