January 31, 2009

It’s a girl!

Filed under: Family — Neil @ 7:23 am

Last night Kelli, my older sister, delivered Presley Caroline Marie Tinkle. She was 6 lbs 13 oz & 20″.

Mom & baby are doing great.

The picture is of Presley & her big brother.

January 30, 2009

Youth Leadership Team Retreat

Filed under: Videos,Youth Ministry — Neil @ 9:31 am


This weekend is our annual youth leadership team retreat.  It consists of 6 high school students & 4 jr. high.  We’ll be attending Student Life’s Conference Tour.  This year’s theme is LiveLove.

Student Life always puts on the highest of quality events.  Our teens will worship & learn a ton.  We’ll spend Saturday night discussing everything about our youth ministry & planning out the next year.

You can follow us all weekend on .

January 28, 2009

Wednesday Reflections

Overall, I thought it was a really good night.  Our crowd was 72 teens which is right on our average for this school year.  It was a cold, nasty day in Clinton, so to hit the average is nice.  But I’m ready for us to take the next step.

It was the 2nd week in a row to do something different w/ the chairs.  Last week was no chairs.  This week was a total new arrangement.  It’s crazy how much moving chairs around can change things up.

Jr. High

  • Crowd: 46; good crowd but not great; tired of us not breaking through the 50 barrier.  They were in a GOOD mood w/ lots of energy, but were still pretty well behaved
  • Game: “clothespin on peoples faces game” – 4 teams of 3, 2 of the team members pinned as many clothespins as the could in 1 minute on the other ones face.  The winning team had 28.  Why I didn’t take a picture I’ll never know.  It was fun.
  • Music: Tom Edwards Band led worship (Josh is in North Carolina leading worship for 180); Tom led for our DNow a few weeks ago & picked up right where he left off w/ our group.
  • Talk:  I answered the question “Why Am I Here?” by looking at the life of Esther & Jeremiah 1:5.  I concluded by saying something like “I don’t know why you are where you are, but I know that God has you there for His purpose.”

Sr. High

  • Crowd: 26; again good crowd but not great
  • Music: The group seemed to really enjoy having Tom back w/ us.  I love Tom’s lyrics because most our straight out of Scripture
  • Talk: I began by reading 2 Corinthians 5:17 & each teen prayed (or pretended like they were praying) for a friend who doesn’t know Jesus, we then prayed for courage to tell them about Jesus or to invite them to church; the rest of the talk was almost identical to the Jr. High Service

Video Break

Filed under: Videos — Neil @ 10:45 am

The Economy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 10:26 am

We all hear the bad news.  Everyday.

In the mornings I hear of people loosing jobs.  During the day I read about it.  Seemingly every night there is another company laying off thousands of employees.  Earlier this week I read where my school had to cut back on salaries, benefits, & increase workloads.

However, when I read this it home a bit more for me.

Mark, pastor of Granger, was extremely transparent as he wrote on his blog about the difficulty of having to lay off ministers on his staff.  Here’s an excerpt:

I know my responsibility. I hate it, but I know it. Yesterday I did one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I eliminated the jobs of several friends. I cried. I hated every minute of it. None of the people losing their jobs was failing. Some have been on staff with me for years. None lost the privilege of serving on staff because of poor performance. They were all doing good work. They are family.

Even so, I signed off on the most thoroughly processed decision my leadership team has ever made. My lead pastors are positive this was the right decision. We’ve done everything possible to avoid it. We know it was necessary. It was difficult but it was right.

I’ve heard it suggested (from others and from the voice of temptation in my head) that we should reduce outreach efforts, stop launching new ministries, reign in multi-site evangelism work and stifle innovation. Some of those tempters have proposed we stop helping other churches and focus on ourselves.  These voices call for an inversion of orthodoxy; they recommend we turn our concerns top-side-down, making it our highest priority to keep every paid person on staff, even if it means we have to abandon our mission. Not a single person of GCC’s staff would ever want that!

We’ve already reduced everything possible, so I authorized the elimination of staff positions – cutting more than half-a-million dollars of staff wages and benefits out of our budget.

Click here to read his entire post.

January 27, 2009

The Bible

Filed under: Personal,Youth Ministry — Neil @ 2:27 pm

I’ve been reading through the New Testament each night.  I almost always lean towards teaching out of the New Testament.  I read it much more often than the Old Testament.  I’m just drawn to it more (maybe if Moses had spoken in blue like Jesus did in red that I’d be drawn to it more?).

I have to make myself read the Old Testament rather than the New.

Saturation (group of teens who meet to read the Bible each week) has forced me into the Old Testament.  Last week we read Ruth.  This week it’s Esther.  What amazing stories.

I know the stories, but as I read each I was caught up in the story.

As I was reading through Esther earlier today I got mad at the folks who added the section titles to the text.  It ruins the story.  You read the summary of what’s going to happen before it occurs (think of how mad you are when someone tells you the end of a movie before you see it).  Some books don’t need those titles.  Ruth & Esther are 2 that certainly don’t.  They are GREAT stories.

Take a few minutes and read them for yourself (just don’t read the section titles).



Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double‑edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

January 26, 2009


Filed under: Family,Pictures — Neil @ 2:17 pm


This past Saturday night Sunday morning @ 1:49 a.m. Amanda’s brother & his wife had their 1st child, Dakin.  His mom had trouble throughout the pregnancy.  She spent over 10 weeks on total bed rest & a few more weeks where she couldn’t leave their home.

Dakin & mom are both healthy & doing great.

What miracle have you witnessed lately?

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

2 Great Pictures

Filed under: Pictures — Neil @ 9:11 am

This may be the coolest picture I’ve ever seen.  You really need to view it, but make sure you have some time to kill before doing so.

This one helps me to grasp just how big the crowd was at the presidential innaguration.

January 23, 2009

Simple & True

Filed under: Pictures — Neil @ 9:36 am

Seth made this great post today:

January 22, 2009

Changing Behavior

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil @ 3:36 pm

Last night I changed up our youth worship services (read about it here).  Part of the change included the removal of chairs.

The lack of chairs allowed space for the 2 games we played, but it was also used just to make everything seem different.

No chairs = mass confussion for the jr high.

  • Where do we go when the countdown ends?
  • Where do we stand? (next to the wall was the preferred spot – think awkward jr high dances)
  • which direction do we face?
  • Talking & texting was at an all time high (it was ok because the night was designed to be different)
  • less singing & more watching – strangely applause after each song greatly increased from a normal week

I don’t think teens are that much different from adults when it comes to routine influencing behavior.  What routine changes would have you disoriented?

  • No coffee in the morning?
  • Your spouse wakes before/after you?
  • No radio on the way to work?
  • Your office being rearranged?

What is the 1 thing that would throw your entire day off if it changed?

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