I took today off and spent the entire day in the Bronx with my family. My intern and one of my students also came with. We went to the Bronx Zoo until closing and then hopped a few miles down to Yankees Stadium for a game against the Texas Rangers. It was a close game, but the Rangers won 2-1. The thing that I was most excited about was that we got to meet up with two of my childhood friends whom I hadn’t seen in 17 years. They flew out from Nebraska to take in a series at Yankees’ Stadium since this is the final season that the Yanks will be playing there before moving into their new stadium in 2009. The last time I saw them they were 7 and 2 years old! Crazy! Their dad and my dad were best friends when we lived in Texas. Their mom was my first grade teacher. They also have a brother in between them – Bryan Frew – who was unable to join us because he was drafted a couple of weeks ago by the Phillies, so he is actually playing baseball in the minor leagues. The most awesome moment during the game was when my daughters made it onto the jumbo tron! That was fantastic! (See Picture!) It was a 14-hour, fun-filled family day. Even the traffic was almost eerily smooth.
Perhaps I should do this at youth group when students talk during worship or while I’m preaching.
It was one of those all-too-familiar bitter sweet nights at youth group tonight. I had a couple of kids blow off my assistant and check out early from a mandatory missions meeting. I had to call their parents. Sucked. Attendance was a low – normal for this time of year – so that is always a bit of a bummer. The message went fairly well, but I still had a few kids with the mindset that during the message is the best time to catch up on the week. Then, during worship, I was pulled out three times to deal with kids who were causing trouble. Two kids were teasing another kid in the bathroom, and the kid got upset. I had to address them. No sweat. It went well. I figured it was over. Nope. A few other boys decided that they needed to use the bathrooms on the opposite side of the building because they can’t poop in the bathroom that they’re supposed to (that was literally their excuse). Repeat offenders whom the janitors constantly bring to us. A few minutes later I was called out again because two boys had been caught climbing on the roof and on the steel of our construction site. Repeat offenders. Had to call their parents too.
Today I was on vacation at home. It was a fun day painting the tree house with my daughters – a long anticipated project they had been asking me about for months. We completed the inside with girlie camouflage, and we’re going to do regular camouflage on the outside later. I also went and picked up a picnic table for our new patio, and we had dinner outside. I have lost 6 pounds on my new diet so far, so pray I’ll continue to stick to it. I’m shooting to lose another 30 pounds. Wow! What a long road back to the college days! Never again! lol
Wow! What a crazy busy week! It seems like I didn’t have five minutes to sit down and blog. Let’s see … here are some highlights.
Monday night my 10-year old daughter had a concert. She was in the tamborine piece as well as in the chorus. She has great rythm and a great singing voice and uses her talents to worship Jesus! She did so great!
Wednesday I had our last student leader meeting of the year. Very good discussion about teamwork. After the meeting we had youth group. I preached the final message in my year-long series on the one another’s of the New Testament.
Thursday my wife and I went out for coffee with my Jr. High coordinator. She has just finished college and is now applying for teaching positions, so we spent some time talking about her future. In the afternoon spent more time with Josh the intern. In the evening we went shopping, came home, I grilled some chicken and made a salad for dinner. A couple of students came over, so we hung out with them.
Friday was my day off. It was the girls’ last day of school, so I went to my 10-year old’s award ceremony. I was so blessed! She got a character award and it stated on her certificate that she was always caring and seeking ways to include others. That’s a huge value for me, so I was super proud that she has embraced inclusiveness at such an early age! Had physical therapy, got my windshield replaced (a couple of pebbles from a passing truck), came home, worked out, cleaned up. The girls then came home from school, so we went to the mall so Eun Ji could get a gift for her friend. In the evening we took Eun Ji to the airport to return to Korea. Very sad for us!
Saturday went to our missions teams’ dance practice. Prepared for our worship team party. Spent the afternoon grilling, swimming, and sharing a special time with the worship team. Rushed home and cleaned up, then Ady & I went to see a former student in a dance performance. There were 60 dance routines over 3-hours. We stayed for 2 1/2 hours and saw him in 4 routines. He’s an incredible dancer in their senior troupe. Afterward we went out for Applebee’s where Ady shared that she wants to go back to school in the fall. It’s so perfect for her, so I told her to go for it! More to come on that!
Sunday went to all 3 services at church, ate lunch, grabbed a quick nap, then it was off to our small group finale party. That was the highlight of my week! We had 45 kids for a pool party and BBQ! For our first year in small groups, that was a huge win to have 45 kids at the finale party. We jumped out quickly, but I knew we would dip and then settle in. We had up to 80 students during the first few weeks, then it dipped down to about 60, and we settled in to an average attendance of about 55-60 between the 6 small groups. I was thrilled with how they went. We have learned a lot, and will take the summer to evaluate and improve them for next year. Super excited! http://planetimpact.blogspot.com/2008/06/celebrating-small-groups.html
OK, I have the next two days off, so I am really looking forward to some fun times with the family! Tomorrow (now today) sleeping in, going out for breakfast, probably going to watch Kung Fu Panda, and painting the tree house. Tuesday we’re going to the Bronx Zoo weather permitting. Yeah!
I invited my office staff as well as some adult leaders and students to come to my house all day for what I called our youth ministry “Dream Day.” My entire downstairs is currently wallpapered with posters that are plastered with ideas. Today was not about committing to anything, but getting the dreams and visions out there so we could see them. Our next step is to pray and ask God what He is saying. We are looking for any common threads that run throughout the posters to see if there is anything God would be saying through that. It was a very creative and invigorating day as everyone began to dream bigger & hopefully God-dreams for the youth ministry. Very exciting!
We hosted our winter retreat reunion today (technically yesterday). It was a hot and muggy day, but it sure was fun to hang out with our friends from some of the churches who were with us six months ago. Our theme this year has been “Connecct” so we called our reunion “Re-Connect.” We had a cookout, a talent show, field games as well as open gym, and a time of praise and worship with song writer and worship leader Mike Kim. He and the band were terrific! We look forward to linking up again in the near future. Highly recommended for any of you out there looking for a great worship leader for your next event. For more pictures as well as a hilarious video of two of our boys doing Miley Cyrus’ song Nobody’s Perfect, go to our youth group blog here: http://planetimpact.blogspot.com/2008/06/winter-retreat-reunion-2008-re-connect.html
My buddy Todd had this on his blog, so I’ll give him props for it! Enjoy!
This evening we had fun hanging around the pool with our friends Don & Lily at their home. While the kids were swimming we as couples decided to go on a diet together. Don & Lily are both fitness trainers and in good shape, so it’s probably more for us. (Thanks for descending to our level to help us out guys!) Lily is going to come to the house and go through the cupboards with Ady, probably getting rid of most of what is found. Then we’re going to go to Trader Joe’s together and do some grocery shopping. Even though it means sacrifice (e.g. giving up my steady diet of government cheese (RIP Chris Farley!)), I am excited about embracing a deeper lifestyle change! Having their expert advice is going to be so helpful. I made a major move 3 years ago and lost 40 pounds, but I plateaued, and I need someone to push me to get to my ultimate goal of weighing 170 lbs. If I reach it, I will have lost 60 lbs. and will be back to my college weight. This is probably my last hurrah opportunity. I’m getting old! lol
I just finished reading The Book of God by Walter Wangrin Jr. It is over 600 pages, so I chipped away at it over the last year. It is a wonderful and creative presentation of the Bible as a novel. It really awakens the imagination while staying true to the essential truth of Scripture. It was a lot of fun to inhabit the biblical story. If you’re looking for a fresh way to explore God’s story, give this book a read. I am looking forward to reading another novel by Wangrin called Paul which is a novel about the life of the Apostle.