Ankle Sprain

Tonight at youth group I decided to just take one more shot before putting the basketballs away, and sure enough, I rolled my ankle really good. Check out the swelling on the outside of the right ankle as compared to the left. No fun! Praying for a quick recovery and no serious damage. It’s the same ankle I’ve broken in the past, and the same one I tore a ligament in two years ago. Thanks for your prayers!

Superior Parenting? What do you think?

I recently read an article entitled “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” by Amy Chua. Give it a read and I would love to hear some thoughts.

“A lot of people wonder how Chinese parents raise such stereotypically successful kids. They wonder what these parents do to produce so many math whizzes and music prodigies, what it’s like inside the family, and whether they could do it too. Well, I can tell them, because I’ve done it. Here are some things my daughters, Sophia and Louisa, were never allowed to do:

Amy Chua with her daughters, Louisa and Sophia, at their home in New Haven, Conn.

• attend a sleepover
• have a playdate
• be in a school play
• complain about not being in a school play
• watch TV or play computer games
• choose their own extracurricular activities
• get any grade less than an A
• not be the No. 1 student in every subject except gym and drama
• play any instrument other than the piano or violin
• not play the piano or violin.
I’m using the term “Chinese mother” loosely. I know some Korean, Indian, Jamaican, Irish and Ghanaian parents who qualify too. Conversely, I know some mothers of Chinese heritage, almost always born in the West, who are not Chinese mothers, by choice or otherwise. I’m also using the term “Western parents” loosely. Western parents come in all varieties.
All the same, even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough.
Despite our squeamishness about cultural stereotypes … READ the FULL article

Doug Fields on PAID vs. VOLUNTEER Youth Ministry

I worked in paid youth ministry position within the church for 29 years. The last year I’ve been a volunteer youth worker and have absolutely loved it! My volunteer role is to lead a “small group” of 9th grade boys (who meet at my home on Wednesday nights) and I occasionally teach the entire high school ministry when Josh Griffin (the HS pastor needs/wants a break). It’s a really good season of youth ministry for me!

It seems that every time I’m with a veteran youth worker they ask me, “What’s it like on the ‘other’ side? How is it being a volunteer?”

Obviously, there’s pros/cons to every major decision, but I thought I’d occasionally post on the topic of paid vs. volunteer. Here’s one pro to being a volunteer: … Click here to read the full article.

"The Stranger"

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger…he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home… Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
His name?…. .. .

We just call him ‘TV.’

He has a wife now…We call her ‘Computer.’

– Author Unknown

Let’s Ride 2011 NYC Day 5 (Wednesday)

This morning we ate breakfast at 8:30am. It was Jon Mee’s Birthday!!! so we sang “Happy Birthday” to him. We then packed up and cleaned the church building we were staying at. We then got a group pic in front of the church and met with Pastor Ron and shared our thanks to him for their gracious hospitality. He shared some thoughts with our team, and we prayed for their work. At noon Don Anastasio arrived with the church van and we loaded all of our luggage into it to be driven back to the church. We then had our final small groups time. On Monday we walked Wall Street so we wouldn’t have to trek all the way back there for today’s learning experience. Our theme today was “Greed.” After small groups we ate lunch, did our final cleaning and headed to the subway which we took to Jamaica where we caught the train back to Smithtown. We walked over to Buona Sera where we had a team pizza dinner. At 6:30pm we drove everyone back to the church where we unloaded the van. Before breaking up into our Wednesday night small groups we shared testimonies from the trip and watched a recap slideshow. We thank God for a safe trip. May fruit remain!

Let’s Ride 2011 NYC Day 4 (Tuesday)

Today our theme was Building Bridges and we talked about how God has built a bridge to us in the person of Jesus, and how we need to be building bridges (relationships) with lost people to connect them to Jesus. As our discipleship adventure we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn, had lunch outside on benches in the freezing cold, them walked back. It was a tough (simply because of the cold), but good experience which lent itself well to some great conversation about what is involved in reaching the lost. Read more below…

Then this evening we had the privilege of going to the New York City Rescue Mission where we worked with Rev. Ron Panarello. Before the service began we witnessed the “Bed Lottery” at the Mission wherein they select guys to have a bed and shower for the night. Unfortunately, the men who are not selected usually end up sleeping outside in a doorway, under a box, in a dumpster, or in the subway tunnels. It was very humbling to experience. When the service began we did some group singing, Mike and Claudia led a few songs, Ron called on a number of our students to get up and share their testimonies – beginning with my 9-year-old daughter Natalia, I shared, then Ron preached, and our team prayed over the men. The best compliment we received was from Ron who said our students did a wonderful job and we had an open invitation to come and work with him anytime. I was proud of the team!

Let’s Ride 2011 NYC Day 3 (Monday)

Last night our team had a powerful time of worship and prayer ministry for about an hour-and-a-half. It was one of those special God-moments and a very special time for us as a team. 
Each day on the trip we have a discipleship theme that is discussed at length in small groups and is reinforced by visiting a site in New York. This morning we our theme was the Bible’s call for us to be hospitable and welcoming to strangers. So at 11am we boarded a ferry and headed to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We spent about 4 hours visiting the two Islands. After that we walked up to Wall Street (which will tie in with our discussion on Wednesday) then took the train up to Chinatown and Little Italy where the team was able to do some shopping. When we returned to the church we had dinner then did a bunch of cleaning around the church, and some of the girls sorted out items that our team donated, making gift baskets for children who attend the church’s after school program. We were also blessed to have Tommy LaBarbera’s dad stop by for a visit! After breaking up into our small groups to converse about our experience and unpacked them in light of our biblical study, we enjoyed playing games and some ice cream.