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August 31, 2008

Sunday Reflections

Filed under: Sunday School,Sundays — Neil @ 10:01 pm
  • Great attendance in youth Sunday School.  I was expecting a smaller crowd due to it being a holiday weekend.
  • Why do so few youth who attend Sunday School not go to one of the worship services?  That’s a question I’d like to find the answer to & a trend that we have to change.
  • The talk of the day was Gustav (thankfully that meant less talk about last night’s State game).
  • I’m excited about being at SON Valley next Saturday.  It looks like we are going to have a great mix of teens & adults of all ages.
  • Amanda & I worked in the nursery during the 11:00 a.m. worship service.  We had the 4 year olds.  They were a lot of fun (I love asking kids questions because they are so honest).  Its amazing how complex their thinking is at this age.  I was very tired after an hour w/ them.

August 30, 2008

Remebering Katrina

Filed under: Personal — Neil @ 9:07 am

This weekend marks 3 years since Katrina. We were living in New Orleans at the time while I was going to school at NOBTS. We were really fortunate because we didn’t lose any of our stuff due to Katrina. Our apartment was 3 blocks away from the 17th street canal that flooded the city. However, we were on the side of the canal that held.

Although, we didn’t lose any of our stuff it was still very difficult for us. Amanda was a 5th grade teacher at C.F. Rowley in Chalmette & I worked here. Both of our jobs were gone in an instant. NOBTS was underwater. However, the most difficult part was being separated from our friends. We had developed a very close relationships w/ other couples that were either in seminary w/ us or had gone to M.C. w/ us & were living in New Orleans. Due to the storm we never had a chance to say goodbye. We were just all instantly spread across the southeast.

Following the storm we moved in w/ my parents for 4 months. Clinton Park had a position open & Amanda was able to get that job. I ended up managing a 24 hour hotline providing crisis counseling for Katrina victims through a grant of the MS Dept. of Mental Health called Project Recovery. I’m still amazed at how God provided for us.

Through Katrina we learned:

  • Relationships are much more valuable than possessions.
  • God provides.
  • God can use an absolutely awful situation for His glory.

Here are a few pictures from our return trip to New Orleans a week after Katrina on Labor Day of 2005.

Know Your News

Filed under: Personal — Neil @ 7:56 am

The above image is Tim’s rating of the news networks during the recent political coverage. I know many of you swear by Fox News & that’s typically my preference as well. However, during the DNC I primarily watched CNN. Primarily because their HD channel was amazing (even the network stations HD stations couldn’t touch it during the hour that they carried the convention each night).

I was surprised to find CNN’s coverage more balanced than I remembered it being. Having this guy on their team always helps (not because I agree w/ him very often, but he just makes me laugh). I genuinely like Anderson (again not always agree, but I just find him very likable).

August 29, 2008

CHS Pep Rally

Filed under: Youth Ministry — Neil @ 10:26 am

This morning I attended the CHS Pep Rally for tonight’s game against Oak Grove. It was loud (so loud that it caused this camera phone picture to look like I’m just a really horrible photographer). The 1st pep rally of the year its always funny to watch the sophomores. They are totally overwhelmed & unprepared.

The seniors showed out as usual. They were dressed in all black & had newspapers w/ ’09 painted in black that they held while the sophomores & juniors were doing there cheers. The funniest thing was a few teachers chose to join the seniors w/ their graduation date on their newspapers. So, among the many ’09s you had a few like ’95, ’77, ’54 and one teacher just had “dirt” written on his.

I’m sure the 1st period classes were very productive this morning after the students were just amped up for 30 minutes.

August 28, 2008

Wednesday Reflections

Jr. High

  • Crowd – good crowd, but we still can’t seem to break through the mid 40s
  • Game – I was afraid it would flop, but it actually seemed to work; We divided into guys vs. girls (always a good way to get the competitive juices flowing). Each team was given 1 minute to come up w/ as many uses for a tomato as they could (the game was in honor of this). The guys won 22-18, but the girls won the prize for spelling “saute'” sawtey.
  • Music – Josh was out playing for his dad’s church; Chase filled in for us. Anytime we have an “outsider” lead in music its always a little off no matter how good of a job is done. Chase’s van w/ its blackboard exterior & an engine that runs on vegetable oil was a big hit.
  • Teaching: I attempted to anwer the question of How Do I Know God’s Will. The group was very attentive, but I’m not sure they really understood what I was saying.

Sr. High

  • Crowd: late arriving crowd but once again was in the mid 20s which is a good crowd for our sr. high
  • Music: see above; the high school crowd adapts better to new worship leaders than the jr. highers
  • Teaching: The topic worked better w/ the high schoolers; I used a few different illustrations & went much deeper w/ them. Romans 12:1-2 is a tough passage & really difficult to apply. I told them that discovering God’s will is simple, but most will choose not to.

Next week we begin Old School.

August 27, 2008

Jr. High Game

Filed under: Jr. High Worship Service — Neil @ 3:05 pm

There’s got to be a way to make this into a jr. high game.  Any ideas?

I’m headed to Wal-Mart & Kroger, the places I go when I’m desperate for a jr. high game idea.  Its amazing how good of a resource the food isles can be for jr. high games.

Wednesday Preview

Tonight is the final night of Quest. The topic is “How Do I Know God’s Will?”. Its an often asked question among people of all ages. Its a question that I still ask & seek God’s guidance daily. Click here to view my outline.

Romans 12:1-2 will be our text.

I’ll be using parts of this video, this video, & this song (the song only in the sr. high service to illustrate confirming to this world) to illustrate the passage.

Pop Goes The Church

Filed under: Personal — Neil @ 9:46 am

I recently completed reading Pop Goes The Church by Tim Steevens, author & executive pastor at Granger Community Church.

In the book’s forward Ed Young Jr. says “After reading Tim’s book, every Christian, especially every Christian leader should respond with both frustration & excitement.”  That statement by Ed nailed my experience w/ Pop Goes the Church.  Its a book that would anger many.  Tim promotes/supports/commands (using Scripture) using the pop culture to impact our world w/ the Gospel.  He says that movies, music, art, etc. are already asking spiritual questions & we should use that medium to open up the conversation about Jesus.

Pop Goes the Church is a good read that I recommend.  Especially to those who are opposed to using pop culture to spread the Gospel.

I never read without a pen to underline the good stuff.  I used my pen a ton while reading Tim’s book.  Here’s a few of my favorite quotes:

  • Christ was not boring or irrelevant.  Shame on us if we make his church that way.
  • Would your community be any different if your church disappeared tomorrow?
  • It (church) is a place you attend, but when it comes to impact and making a difference you expect nothing.
  • How is it possible that at the same time church attendance in America is trending downward, the spiritual interest of most Americans seems to be higher than ever?…I fear it is because we are too busy answering questions no one is asking.
  • We use words, illustrations, and analogies that are very commonplace to us, but for the outsider, it is like talking about interest rates to someone who has never heard of a bank.
  • We have isolated & insulated ourselves from the very people Jesus called us to reach.
  • We don’t want to build an inspiration station where people come week after week, sit, soak & leave being no different from when they walked in.

August 25, 2008

Athens 2009

Filed under: Greece Mission Trip — Neil @ 10:15 am

As I posted here I really am amazed at the response to this trip.

History of this trip:

  • Our youth committee began praying about this trip last Spring. During the summer of ’07 we agreed that we would commit to sending a team of teens & at least 4 adults overseas on a mission trip. We then began praying & researching where to go & which organization to use. This summer we reached the conclusion of International World Changers & to go to Athens, Greece.
  • The committee agreed that sending 6 teens & 4 adults would be our goal.
  • This trip was 1st presented to parents in the August of 2007. In our parents meeting a few weeks ago we announced the trip’s location & date.
  • Yesterday, I met w/ parents & teens who are interested in this trip.

Why I’m amazed at the response:

  • We have 13 teens who really want to go on this trip. A couple of them have issues that they have to work out in order to go. So, w/ the 4 adult leaders we should have 17 or more go to Athens.
  • 3 summers ago we took a total of 16 teens to summer camp.
  • Our group has really grown numerically in the past few years. Sunday School, Wednesday Nights, Big Event attendance has all really increased. I can remember being excited when we had 30 teens attend on a Wednesday night. Last week we had 65 attend during a thunderstorm.
  • Its great to have 80 teens attend an event like Disciple Now, but to have 13 teens & their parents commit to spending $2,000 & 9 days of their summer to serve God in Greece is much more impressive.

When a church does a trip like this people always ask why. Why spend that much $? Couldn’t you the same stuff in Clinton? Why…

  • My response:
    • Yes, its expensive – we don’t seem to ask that question in regards to just about anything else we purchase (clothes, cars, homes, soccer/baseball travel teams, etc.).
    • Our church/youth ministry does local missions as well. Our youth ministry spends each Christmas serving our church, the elderly, & other community groups. We do the same at Spring Break. During the year we do small projects (We are going to SON Valley in a couple of weeks). We also do regional missions (New Orleans & St. Louis in the past couple of years). Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that we should be spreading the Gospel locally, regionally & internationally.

I really believe that this trip can be a life changing experience for our teens. Parents, if you are interested in more information please email or check out this week’s Parent’s Update (it’ll be online later today).

How you can be invloved in this trip:

  • Pray. Pray for who will be going w/ us. Pray for the finances of this trip. Pray for the people that we ill share the Gospel with in Athens. Pray for safety.
  • Financially contribute. The trip is expensive & we are seeking scholarships for the participants. If you are interested in financially contributing to this trip please email me.

August 24, 2008

Sunday Reflections

Filed under: Greece Mission Trip,Parkway,Sunday School,Sundays — Neil @ 9:21 pm
  • Fay made her presence felt today.
    • The lights flickering during Sunday School gave a nice strobe light effect.
    • Very limited power in the 11:00 a.m. worship service – no sound, no screens (does using screens make a service contemporary?), limited lights
    • low attendance for a time of the year that is typically high attendance
    • hot – due to the a/c being out
    • no internet access in the office
  • I did, I enjoyed the uniqueness of the 11:00 service. Sort of in the same way I enjoy the electricity being out for an hour or so at home. It can be fun to sit around & tell stories w/ candlelight, but I wouldn’t want to do for more than a couple of hours.
  • Great testimonies tonight from the mission team that recently went to Montana
  • I was really amazed at the response to the youth mission trip to Athens, Greece next summer. I had set a goal of 6 teens to go & felt like 8 would be a huge success. Tonight, I had 11 give me a definite yes & a few others still debating. I’m really amazed & will post more tomorrow about this.
  • The Olympics are over. What did I do before the Olympics? Thankfully, college football begins Thursday night!
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