Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pot Pourri

-We went and saw the movie "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel" yesterday with our daughters. I will admit that it wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but the chipmunks' voices got old about 5 minutes in.

- I had the opportunity to speak in our main service today. I had a blast, but I didn't realize how much it takes to produce a service for a church of 3000 people before. Our worship department rocks!

-I haven't had the itch to play golf as bad as I have the past month or so. If it doesn't warm up and get rid of the snow, I might just have to buy some orange golf balls and play in my snow boots.

-I've been thinking a lot about the direction for our student ministries department for the new year. I have a feeling God has big things in store for us, because I have been hit with a lot of discouraging things by Satan lately.

- I was talking with a friend of mine the other day and literally forgot how old I am. I guess with my birthday coming a few days, I better figure it out.

- I just started playing "Words with friends" on my iPhone. If you wanna play, my username is pastordust.

- KU Jayhawks still ranked #1 in the nation. How long will this ride go? Hopefully all the way!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Cookie Monster

I showed this video in our youth group yesterday, and thought I would share with you. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

You Saw That On Facebook?

WTF?... FML!... LMAO!... Know what these stand for? Your students do and unfortunately I am finding it more and more common to see these abbreviations being used on facebook, twitter, and in texts by those same students.
For some reason with the raise in popularity of social networks like facebook and twitter, so has the use of language that I know a lot of students would never use face to face. I am surprised almost on a daily basis, logging onto facebook and reading through status updates and seeing a student write something like "I can't believe that test was so hard! FML!". And what's even more eye opening for me is that it's not always the students I expect to hear that language from, but more often than not, it is from the student that I would never expect it from!
So this leaves us with the question: why? Is there this false sense of anonymity they feel when it comes to writing their feelings in a status update or through a tweet? Umm.. your name is right next to your status update! Or maybe when they are posting it they are by themselves, unlike speaking face to face, thus making them feel like no one will correct them? Or maybe because status updates are a glimpse into a person's thoughts throughout a day, it shows that these students are commonly thinking these words but have never verbalized them until now? Or maybe these abbreviations have almost become a separate language in and of itself and these students don't remember that the letters in the abbreviations stand for actual words?
Whatever the cause, I think it is something that needs to addressed. So whether you're a parent, youth pastor, small group leader, youth volunteer, or teacher, take the opportunity you have as an influence in a student's life by confronting them with their language online. Remind them their witness stretches online as well as in person.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
Ephesians 4:29

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Rambling About Marko and Youth Specialties

Ok, it's been a week and a half since Zondervan fired Mark Oestreicher from being the president of Youth Specialties and while I wasn't going to blog about it, I have changed my mind. So here ya go:

I have to admit that when I first heard that Marko was fired I thought to myself "Oh no, what did he do to get fired? Say something that completely goes against mainstream Christian culture (which he's good at and probably why I like him so much), did he do something off the wall at the last YS convention, or did he try and sell the Obama book again that YS got so much flack for a year or so ago. Then I realized it was was none of these. He just didn't fit into their equation anymore. Unfortunately, I don't know if I like that equation.

Youth Specialties has always been the big youth ministry dog. In my 16 or so years of working with teens, YS has always been the king of resources, conferences, and anything youth ministry. Youth pastors dreamed of having books published by them. Tired youth workers looked forward to attending their conferences each year as a time to refresh and re-energize. It was almost like YS was our fraternity more than it was just a resource producer. A lot of this had to do with Mike Yaconelli founding it on the crazy idea that the company was all about the mission of youth ministry not just the bottom dollar. Yac had almost this rebel attitude toward life, Christianity, and youth ministry that I think related to youth workers on a core level. With Yac's passing I think a lot of us were happy to see Marko step right into that "rebel" type leader role that made us all feel we were part of something bigger than us.

Even though Zondervan bought out YS around 4 years ago, it's only been the past few years I have seen a lot of changes that I think have been going in a different direction then what Yac set out for the company. First, I was saddened by Tic Long being let go, then the changes to the conference (that I still feel have to do more with saving the company money than making the conference better), now the firing of Marko. I want to say that I don't hate Zondervan or view them as some evil company like some are saying, but it does sadden me that it feels a lot of these changes are being made just because a profit bottom line needs to be reached within a large corporation. Instead of being the "fraternity" it once was, I guess I will just have to get used to YS being just another resource producer. Sad, yes, but nothing that will stop me from doing God's work.

So, I guess my final take is that even though it stinks and I am a little mad over our "fraternity" president Marko being fired (and how he was fired) and I'm going to miss that "rebel" company that I feel Yac started a long time ago that always made me feel like a member of a large tribe of youth workers, life goes on. Zondervan finds ways to make a bigger profit, Marko will find an outlet for his vast knowledge of youth ministry and "rebel" style, and God's work will be done.

To read a great blog post by Doug Fields in regards to this issue, click here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A few pet peeves

I love weekend retreats with students. They are such a great opportunity for students to get away from their normal routines and distractions and focus on growing with God. Every year, I wish every student could attend. So in order to take as many students as possible, we promote these trips like crazy. But with recruiting, comes a few pet peeves:

Pet Peeve #1 - While I know sports teams are important to students, I have always found it to be a huge pet peeve of mine when a student or parent decides it better to not miss a game or match than to attend a retreat. Honestly, this could be a weekend that has an eternal effect on your student's life with Christ. I would think that would be a high priority. This is why I was so happy today when I had a parent sign their daughter up for our trip who has a soccer game on Sunday of the retreat. While this student is so good to even be in an Olympic development program, her dad is willing to drive an hour and a half Sunday morning to pick her up, just to drive her two more hours to her game Sunday afternoon so that she doesn't miss what God has for her at the retreat. Awesome!
I've always said, chances are your student will never remember that one game they will be playing in, but will never forget the experience they had with God at the retreat.

Pet Peeve #2 -Another recruiting hurdle I have faced and wasn't expecting is how many students can't afford the trip cost. Not that their families don't have the money, necessarily, but now that they are in high school their parents require them to pay for their own trips. I really hate seeing students not have the chance to let God impact their life on the retreat due to financial reasons. Unfortunately this is the case for some of our students this fall. So, if you want to help a student experience a weekend that will grow them closer to God by sponsoring their way to our fall retreat, pray about it and contact me at ddecker@cfellowshipc.org

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grocery Store Musical

There's so much about this video I love. The spontaneity of it, the smiles of the people around them, the reactions and comments by the dude at the end, and how the actors just turn around when they're done like nothing happened. Needless to say, after watching this video, I got inspired to try this at my local grocery store... it wasn't as well received.
Enjoy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quick Youth Ministry Thought

The other day I was talking with a friend about youth ministry when it occurred to me that it has been 17 years since I gave my first message in a youth group. I still remember that night very well, and even the lesson I taught. I remember in those early days of being involved in youth ministry thinking that my messages would change students lives. While I still feel blessed that God gives me 20-30 minutes a week to share His word with students, I learned a long time ago that what I say in a message to students is really a drop in the bucket when compared to what I do with students. I firmly believe that there is nothing more impactful in youth ministry than a caring leader making a personal connection with a student. That is why I am so excited about the leaders we have in our high school Fusion (small) groups this year. Each one shows a strong desire to connect and care for the students they have. I'm excited to see what happens and I feel great things coming!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

16 Signs Of A Poor Leader

Here's a good list for any of you leaders to self check on a regular basis. (ht PNoble)

16 Signs A Leader Has Lost His Mind

#1 – He refuses to admit his mistakes.

#2 – He begins to blame the problems on people or circumstances rather than actually seeking out what the problem might be.

#3 – He refuses to listen to the team assembled around him.

#4 – He fights every idea that isn’t his own, thinking his originality is what must keep the church afloat.

#5 – He refuses to face reality.

#6 – He is unwilling to make the necessary changes because it would be highly unpopular.

#7 – He tries to listen to what everyone has to say about every situation.

#8 – He begins to believe that God’s favor on his life is because of how good he is rather than because of how good God is!

#9 – He believes that he can’t learn anything from churches that are smaller than his. (This would be arrogance!)

#10 – He abuses his staff to accomplish his agenda rather than leading them to accomplish God’s.

#11 – He fears asking for commitment because of how people may perceive him.

#12 – He becomes obsessed with the way things are rather than how they should be.

#13 – He views himself as an expert.

#14 – He tries to motivate with fear rather than vision.

#15 – He doesn’t seek fresh revelation from God and often goes back to what has been done instead of seeking direction for what has never been done.

#16 – He stops taking risks and becomes obsessed with playing it safe.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dear Mr. Treadmill

Dear Mr. Treadmill-
I know it's been a long time since we've talked or seen each other, but lately I have felt like I've needed to contact you. I have such fond memories of us spending many hours together a long time ago, and to tell you the truth, I always felt better after we met. And I know it's a lame excuse, but I've been so busy with everything going on in my life, I haven't made much time for you. Trust me, it's me not you. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that if you would be open to it, I would love to start spending some quality time together again. I just feel in my gut it's the right thing to do. So, if you will have me back, let's stop this whole love/hate relationship and meet in the morning to start all over again.
You're long lost pal-
Dusty

Saturday, August 22, 2009

God Hates Teeter Totters

This summer I took a step of faith. I assumed the position of being a director of an "average" student ministries in an above average church. While the volunteer leaders are unbelievable and there is great support for the ministry from the church, there has been huge turn over in my position and a void of direction. What this meant for me as I entered an empty office and unpacked my boxes, was that I had a choice to make. Either keep things going the way they've been and settle for "average", or do something drastic... change things.

Change. Even the word brings mixed emotions to people. To most companies, businesses, and even some churches, change represents a teeter totter. A teeter totter that can go in either the direction of huge success or in the direction of huge failure. The more change you bring, the more the teeter totter can lean one way or the other. Which means small change will bring small success or small failure. So to these groups, change is a big risk. Here's where I want to present a "Dusty" theological idea. I believe God hates teeter totters. I mean when God gives direction for change, whether it is ministry related or not, I don't believe there should be much question as to what will happen. If we truly give ourselves over to God to direct our path, and that path involves change, can our actions then be deemed "risky". It's really hard for me to picture Moses gathering the slaves and leading them through a parted red sea and half way through the sea stop and say "Guy's I'm really not sure about this, I hope it works. Even though God told me to lead you here, it doesn't mean He's right". God is not a crap shoot.

So, with this new school year, I have committed to giving the direction of the student ministries over to God. With this, God is leading me to change a few things to promote growth and raise our ministries to above average. While it might feel natural to have some doubts or fears that things might go in the wrong direction, I can only have faith and be excited to see what God does. May we remember that with God as our guide, we can't be scared. God has huge plans for us and none of them involve a teeter totter!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Balancing With Francis

This challenging video of Francis Chan talking about taking risk as a Christian is awesome. What a great visual using the beam in his message! Enjoy!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Pot Pourri

- Is it just me or does it seem like fall is creeping upon us like a speeding train? With a lot of new ideas and programs planned for the start of the fall, it means there's a lot to do in the next month.

-As much as I feel I should jump on the Redskins fan wagon, I will never replace the Chiefs as my favorite team. But the skins could end up being a good second.

-Parents... The other day someone asked me what the hardest thing about youth ministry is today. Before I could answer, another person said "probably parents". I pray that God lets our ministry change that stereotype. I pray parents know that our student ministries is here to partner with them in guiding their teens.

-The iPhone has got to be the best invention in the past 20 years. Period. (other than the Chipotle burrito)

-As of this post, the Red Sox are a half game back in the AL East behind the Stinkees... err I mean the Yankees. I hope they pull ahead soon and don't look back!

-We've been doing a sreies in the student ministries called "Get to the point- A look at the parables of Jesus". This week I'm teaching on the parable of the two builders. Man, I love this parable. I can't wait!

-There are two new albums coming out in the next month or so that I think I'm going to have to preorder. David Crowder's Church Music & Switchfoot's Hello Hurricane .

- My verse/prayer for August: "My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever. - Psalm 145:21"

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ruined By The Call

You gotta love a quote from "The Yac":
ht:TC

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why not?

Friday I got the offer to join one of our CFCSM leaders, Jimmy, for a round of golf at a course near our church. From the first tee shot I took (straight into the woods), I knew it was going to be a long day of playing bad golf, but a great day of laughter and bonding. It was great getting to know Jimmy better and getting a feel for where he's going to fit into some of our fall ministry plans. Anyway, everything had been going perfect when all of the sudden on the 15th hole, while standing in one of the many bunkers I had found that day, I started to feel a few rain drops. I barely had time to get out of the bunker before it was like someone had turned open a giant faucet above us and it began to pour. We quickly grabbed our clubs, got in our carts and drove to the next tee. We sat there shivering and soaked waiting for it to pass, when something beautiful happened. We all looked at each other with small grins and must have asked the same question in our heads at the exact same time. "Why not?" So with giant smiles and me giggling like a kid again, we hopped out of our carts grabbed a club and teed it up. For the next three holes, we played completely drenched in this down pour as if nothing was wrong at all. We laughed, hit out of puddles, and felt like kids again. Other players would drive by us on their way to the club house and shake their heads like we were crazy. We just waved and smiled.
Crazy? Maybe. Worth it? Completely! Lately I have been trying to ask myself the question that I all to often forget to ask. "Why not?" I mean sometimes I think I forget to give God credit as a God that is capable of doing anything. Sometimes I am too busy at looking at my limitations and not God's lack of limitations. So, whether it be planning our upcoming year in the student ministries department or just playing golf in the rain, I pray I don't forget to stop and ask "why not?".

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Texting Teen Tendonitis. Seriously?

Ok, working with teens I know they text.... alot. But this is wild!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Ready To Stand?

On Wednesdays, I don't go into the office until 1:00 because we have youth group until 9:00 at night. So today, Chrissy and I decided to take the girls to a local theater that shows free "kid friendly" movies on Wednesday mornings. Today was "Horton Hears a Who". Even though my daughters had seen it a few hundred times, they were as excited as hyper as ever. So, we loaded the van and eventually got to the theater and settled in for the film. It was a delightful story (this was my first time seeing it), with some really funny parts. Just as it got to a very crucial part in the movie, something strange happened. A large black band appeared on the screen that blocked out almost the whole picture. We could still see just a small sliver of Horton on the top and bottom of the screen, but tha was it. Here's where I was surprised. We sat there for a good 3-5 minutes in this sold out theater and not a person did anything. Finally I heard one lady sitting down front with her kids yell out "It's not working!". Like that was actually going to get the attention of some magical theater employee that would hear her over the movie and come to the rescue. So I looked at Chrissy and said "I'll be back." I got up with everyone watching me, made my way to the isle, down the stairs, and left the movie to go get someone to help us. After informing a near-by employee, the movie was quickly fixed.
Later, thinking of the whole experience, I couldn't help but think about how it relates so much to Christian culture. How many times do we as Christians know there is a need in our community, country, or world, and yet feel like "oh it'll get worked out eventually" or "Someone else will do it" or "I don't actually have to get up and do something, but if I make enough noise it will help"? When does it click in our mind that we need to stand up and take charge and say "I'll be the one to tell my coworkers about Christ" or "I will get out of my comfort zone and go to a poverty stricken country to help work in an orphanage for a week or two" or "I'll be the one to invite that student that no one talks to at school from school to youth group".
God's calling us. I'm ready to stand are you?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

If Grace Is An Ocean, We'll All Sinking...

Man, what a great song with a great story. Here's a taste of the lyrics, but I highly encourage you to watch the video.

"We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And the heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…
He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us. "
- John Mark McMillan


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thoughts on Parking

The other day I was at Tyson's Corner Mall outside Washington D.C. headed to my beloved Apple store. I went during my lunch hour so I was in a little hurry. Anyway, I pulled in the parking lot and couldn't find any spots. Thats when out of the corner of my eye I see a primo spot right in front of the main doors. As I pulled up, I checked the ground for a painted handicap marking and my heart skipped a beat when I didn't see one. Yes, it must be my lucky day! That's when I saw it. A sign that stated it was a "hybrid only" spot. Doh!
Now, here is my question: What good does it do to have hybrid only spots? I mean I am all for shrinking our "carbon footprints", but what sense is it to have the hybrids park easy and make the gas sucking SUVs and other vehicles spend an extra 10 minutes driving around spewing out exhaust looking for another spot? Wouldn't we want to have "gas guzzler only" spots instead? Hmmmm.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Runnin To Daddy

In the last 4 weeks since my last post, a lot has happened. I have said goodbye to some great friends, moved across the country, started a new job, and probably the hardest thing- been away from my wife and three daughters for 3 weeks. Fortunately, the torture of being away from my girls ended yesterday. Around 3:30 in the afternoon I got the call I had been waiting for. My wife called me at the office to let me know they were almost to our house and to leave to meet them. I rushed home to pull up to our front door seconds before them. As they pulled up and I stood on the sidewalk looking at their van in front of me, I could hear my daughters yelling "Daddy!" and then I saw something that touched me. They were all climbing over everything in the van and each other to be get out as fast as they could to run to me and give me hugs and kisses. It was awesome! I love my girls! Later last night, as I thought of that scene again in my mind, I wandered to myself if I have that desire to be with my heavenly father as much as my girls wanted to be with me. Do I run to God stepping over whatever obstacles are in my way just to be with Him? I pray I have such a love for God that I don't let anything stand in my way and run to him with a big smile on my face knowing He is waiting for me. Waiting to give me great big hugs and all the love I can handle.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pot Pourri

- I am almost done cleaning out my office for our move to Virginia. It's taking longer than I expected, because with each item I find, I find myself sitting and being reminded of a youth group memory associated with it.

- The Nuggets lost the first game, but I have a good feeling about tonight's game in LA. If Nene and The Birdman can play some tight defense and the nuggs cut down their turnovers, I think we are unstoppable.

- So I finally got a Blackberry. I wasn't sure how I would like it, but I am totally loving it.

- Yesterday, I played a final round of golf with a few of my good buddies here in Denver. The whole round we had fun and trash talked each other. I realized that having close guy friendships is a vital need in my life. And having a guy friendship were we can be competitive while having fun is something I deeply desire on the golf course and off. I pray God brings me some close male friends in Virginia.

- Is it possible to love your wife and kids too much? If so, I think I am bordering on it.

- The Red Sox are playing the Nationals in DC in late June. Tickets can be found on Ebay, just in case anybody wants to get me a great father's day gift!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Nooma: Burrito

Ok, since I posted a rob bell video, I feel compelled to post this nooma spoof. I love nooma videos, and that's probably why I thought this video was hilarious! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A quick reminder

Some days it's good to be reminded of reality...

(ht: Katie W.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pot Pourri

- I started teaching a new series on Sundays in the youth group this week. I'm looking forward to it, but I realized as I was studying that this will be the last series I will do with the group here. Kind of sad.

- I've been coaching my daughter's 2nd and 3rd grade volleyball team for around a month or so. I have to admit, it has been a lot more fun than I imagined.

- There's advantages and disadvantages of a skylight in your bedroom. It's nice for lighting. But yesterday, after it snowed through the night, I woke to my wife saying loudly "You've got to be kidding me!" when she noticed the snow on the skylight. Not a great way to wake up.

- I watched some of the NFL draft over the weekend. I think it is ridiculous that the top draft picks get such huge contracts without even playing a game yet. I mean Mathew Stafford (the #1 pick) will be making twice as much as Tom Brady and will be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL, without having to prove his worth on the field. That's definitely not fair to the veterans.

- I am in full golf fever mode right now. Any warm day, and I'm trying to sneak out to the course.

- Recently God has been teaching me the difference between trust and faith. Trust entails knowing someone is on your side, faith entails depending on someone to be on your side. Through all the things that God has worked out for our upcoming move, it has taken more than trust. It has taken faith that He would provide.

- I haven't yet jumped on the Adam Lambert band wagon. I'm still rooting for Danny!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another sign I'm getting old

So I got yet another reality check that my daughters are getting older which means I am too. Yesterday I was driving to a volleyball game with my daughter and her friend Cora in the backseat. They had been playing around copying things I said. So, I waited a few minutes and thought I would be the awesomely funny dad I usually am and begin copying them. I waited until I heard Emma say something and I began my great idea of a comedy routine by copying her every word and expression. Pure comedy genius! But I didn't quite get the response I expected. Instead of spontaneous laughing and things like "Dad, you're the best dad ever!"... I got "Dad, that's annoying! Can you stop? We have some BFF talking to do." I didn't say a word the rest of the ride...

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Stuff

In about a month and a half, Chrissy and I are going to be venturing into the next chapter for our family and heading back to the east coast. In theory, moving seems like such an easy step. Pack-drive-unpack-enjoy. Unfortunately we are finding out once again how much of a process it is. Not only have I been working every day on projects around our current house that I have procrastinated for the past 7 years, but we are also realizing just how much stuff we have accumulated over the years. With the move, it is giving us a prime opportunity to get rid of a bunch of the things we once deemed worthy of keeping. It's is amazing how much stuff we have that we don't need. And it doesn't stop at our house. Today I started cleaning my office as well. I filled two large trash cans with stuff that I had horded, thinking someday it would be useful. It really got me thinking of how God wants me to do a "house cleaning" in myself as well. I mean, how many times do I just add to myself things to do, unneeded emotions, expectations, and other "stuff" that I feel important at the moment. But when I look at it through God's eyes it needs to be thrown out. A life with Christ is a life of simplicity. God doesn't desire for our lives to be cluttered to a point where we need to squeeze Him in somewhere. He desires us to find freedom in Him. In fact I think I remember a story of a guy that "dropped everything and followed Him". When we open ourselves up to God's salvation and this wild life that He offers, we should no longer depend on all the other stuff we felt we needed to live a full life. We are not weighed down by the clutter and expectations, we can now dance in freedom as ourselves! So during this time of change, I will continue to throw out the unneeded. And I pray that with the change God brought me 25 years ago, I will be reminded to throw out the other "stuff" as well.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tiger The Great

Ok, can I just say Tiger Woods can not be human?
I am a huge fan of everything golf. I like to play it, watch it, discuss it, and even shop for it. In fact, whenever I smell fresh cut grass, the first thing I think of is spending an early morning standing on the first tee of a great golf course. Today I watched an unbelievable performance by possibly the greatest golfer to ever play the game. In this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational Tournament in Orlando, Tiger Woods came back from a 5 stroke deficit to sink a 16 foot putt on the final hole to win. It was crazy! Now if you don't follow golf, the thing that is extraordinary about this is that this is only the second tournament he has played since coming back from serious knee surgery that had him sidelined for almost a year. Considering some guys on tour would die to just win one tournament in their career, Tiger has won 89. All this and only 33 years of age.
Now, while I am a big fan of Tiger and have even been able to see him play in person, I do take issue with one thing that is coming with his return. That one thing is the sports radio hosts and tv commentators saying that the only good thing about the PGA is Tiger. They say that when Tiger wasn't playing do to injury, that no one really wanted to watch golf or even cared who won. I think those commentators are not true golf fans. Sure maybe they like to go out on weekends with their buddies and pop open a six pack and play a round at their local country club, but they aren't true students/fans of the game. The game transends any one player, and I am proud to say I would watch golf with or without Tiger. So, as much as I love seeing Tiger play, my love for the game does not live and die with Mr. Woods.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Music On My iPod

I really like finding new music and over the last few weeks I have come to find some new (or new to me) artists that have been in regular play on my iPod.

1. Molly Jenson -
A great singer songwriter that is not 100% acoustic. I can't remember where I found out about her, but her CD has gotten alot of play on my iPod lately.

2. Sam and Ruby -
A wonderful duo that I first saw perform at last years Youth Specialties Conference in Nashville. They have such a unique sound from Ruby's soulful vocals and Sam's acoustic driven voice. I love their EP and can't wait for a full CD. Their song "Heaven's my home" is great and was even in the movie "The secret life of bees".

3. Alisa Turner -
Alisa is a singer songwriter that has a great testimony that includes growing up as a Pastor's Kid and even later in life dealing with mercury poisoning. She is a great songwriter and sings along with playing piano. You can really feel the emotion as she sings her songs that feel more like musical stories. She is in concert here in Denver tomorrow night, but I can't make it. Bummer.

4. The Airborne Toxic Event -
This is a great English type rock band that shows a lot of emotion in their music. I love their song "Sometime around midnight" and even found a video of them on the Dave Letterman show. I hope I can make it to their concert in Denver next month. Enjoy the video:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Puppet Team Dream

I can't say that my first choice of ministry would be to work with the children's ministries puppet team, but if their puppet shows were like this... Sign me up!

(ht: Ray)

Monday, March 09, 2009

A new chapter...

Yesterday I had to do something that every youth pastor hates. In my "messages" file on my computer, where I keep past messages, I have a lesson document I secretely entitled "the bomb". I've only taught it one other time. In fact, I haven't even opened it since August of 2002. Just clicking on it made me want to cry. "The bomb" is a message I constructed on following God's direction and being obedient. You see, the only time I teach it is when I need to let my youth group know that I am leaving and moving to a new ministry.
After a ton of prayer and searching for God's direction for our family, God has confirmed to us that he has a new chapter for the Deckers. Mid-way through May, I will be stepping down as Student Ministries Director at New Life EFC and June 1st I will be assuming the position of Student Ministries Director at Christian Fellowship Church in Ashburn, Virginia. While I am very excited for the opportunity to serve at CFC and looking forward to being back in Virginia where Chrissy and I lived for many years, I am also very saddened to leave our church family here in Colorado.
So, while turning the page is going to be a step of faith and excitement, the memories God has blessed us with at New Life will stay with us for eternity. Now I just pray I will not need to pull out "the bomb" for a very, very long time.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Pot Pourii

- I am signed up to coach my 3rd grader's volleyball team this spring. Practices start this Monday night, so I guess I better read up on how to coach volleyball...

- I have had a lingering cold for almost a month now. It started as sinus pressure and congestion and now has mutated into a horrible cough that keeps me up at night. Any ideas about how to get rid of it?

- The Chiefs have been making some really impressive moves this off season with some of their new hires. Let's hope this means they can get back to the top of the AFC West!

- Thursdays are my day off, and the past couple of weeks I have found myself going to movies alone on Thursdays. Does going to a movie alone make me a loser? Anyway, today I saw "Taken". Great action flick!

- I have known that I am pretty ADD my whole life (which is probably why I love youth ministry so much), but I have recently realized that I am ADD when it comes to reading as well. My normal procedure is to start a book, get to about the third chapter, set it down, and a few days later start another book, then come back to the first book periodically. Crazy huh? Right now I'm in the middle of around 4 books.

- I have a new show that I am getting hooked on: Chuck.

- This last week an American radio icon passed away. Paul Harvey. While many younger people probably don't know who he is, for me his voice as familiar growing up as any of my family. I remember riding in my dad's truck down dusty dirt roads in the Kansas countryside listening to Paul Harvey's distinctive voice tell odd news stories in the way only he could. From what I hear he was a great person and a strong Christian. I will truly miss his voice and only have one thing to say to him.... Gooood day!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

God Bless America!

*Small Rant Warning*

Ok, this last week I sat in a meeting with a man that I really have a lot of respect for that did a presentation on abortion and a local pregnancy center that our church supports. While I totally support the ministry they provide and the pro-life position, there was something that was said in the presentation that got me thinking. While talking about our nation's problem with abortion, it was mentioned that God is withholding blessing from our nation because of the sin of abortion. I think it was even mentioned that Abe Lincoln had stated that God had brought the cival war and withheld blessings from our nation because of slavery. This got me thinking of other times lately (especially with the economy decline) where I have heard people say that God is either withholding blessing or is punishing our nation for "moral decay". This also got me thinking of the People that pray the prayer "God Bless America" on a regular basis and even go so far as to put it on their car, etc. I am 110% for patriotism and supporting our troops and love it when our country comes together as a great nation. But I still have one question that reoccurs. Can we really say God is not blessing our country? I mean, come on, we are the most blessed country in the world. You only have to travel to our neighbor, Mexico, to see that we are blessed beyond most people of the world's wildest dreams. Today I used indoor bathrooms, ate 2 full meals (only because I was to lazy to eat breakfast and make it 3 meals), I drove in my own car, I watched TV in my own house, I got to decide what clothes I was going to wear out of a closet full of clothes, I worshiped freely without having to hide my faith in a beautiful church building full of lights, sound equipment and even free coffee, And in a little while I am going to go to bed in a wonderfull bed with clean blankets protected from any cold weather outside. Now, do I still feel the need for God to bless me more? Sure, I love God's blessings and feel that we should seek them daily, but to say that God has been withholding things from America because of our "moral decay" doesn't seem totally accurate. I mean, if God is holding blessings back from our country, heaven forbid what the people in Africa must be doing morally wrong to be in a state of poverty and hunger. So, does that mean I think we should have moral freedom to do what ever we want because we are covered under grace and God has blessed us through some of our marol failures as a nation? um, no. What I am saying is that maybe instead of looking at what is being withheld from us because of our shortfalls, we should look at what God has given us, and let it be a reminder of why we need to praise Him. And if we are going to ask for blessings, let us add the rest of God's creation that has far less than us to that list of those needing blessings. They could use some blessin'.
Thanks for reading as I now step down from my soapbox...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Watch out Beckham!

I wish this kid played for the Colorado Rapids!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Things that bother me

OK, I follow a few fellow youth ministry blogs pretty regularly (marko & Kurt Johnston) and have seen this as a common post lately. So, as I am prone to give in to peer pressure, I have decided to follow their lead and voice a few frustrations. Enjoy!

The iPhone only available with AT&T

As a Verizon customer, I just want the opportunity to be the cool kid in class. I'm not saying I could afford it, but at least give me the chance. (although I have heard from an insider (a friend that works at an apple store) that the iPhone is coming to Verizon this summer...)
This whole time travel thing on "Lost"
It was cool the first time it happened but now that it seems the island "moves" in time 50 times an episode, it's getting confusing and old.
Hard-core right wingers and hard-core left wingers
As someone that tries to have an open mind and look at things from a Christian world view, it is hard for me to see how a person can be so hard-core right or left that they leave no room for discussion on anything. Rush Limbaugh isn't God and neither is Al Franken. So let's stop treating their every word like it's Gospel.
Getting old
We have a break dancing club that meets in our youth room at church every day. Yesterday as I went in to say hi to them, I thought to myself "I can do that". Well I can't and am feeling the consequences today...
People who honk their horn behind you as soon as the light turns green
Seriously, you can't wait the half a second that it takes for me to notice that it turned green and for my brain to then relay that to my foot to push the gas pedal?!?
Drive-thru orders that get messed up
Why do I have to pay for the fact that you're intercom stinks and you couldn't hear me say "no onions". Now I have to park and come inside to get it fixed, thus eliminating the convenience of using a drive-thru.
The Yankees
Go Red Sox! Enough said.
Pam and Jim are not married yet
You have a house (Jim's parent's old house) and you're engaged. Get married already! (If you don't watch the office, you won't understand)

Monday, February 02, 2009

whoops

I never did like hamsters...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pot Pourri

- I was a big Steelers fan growing up, but I am really pulling for the Arizona Cardinals to win the Super Bowl this weekend. I guess it goes back to always rooting for the under dog.

- Facebook! is it just me or does it seem everyone in the world has discovered facebook in the last month and sent out friend requests. I have been getting around 2-3 requests a day. And I can never remember just by their name what stage of life I know them from until I either look at their picture or see who our common friends are.

- I am currently going back through some of the chapters in the book Simple Church. Man, what a great book! I think it should be a must read for any church leader.

- Does the downward economy loom in the back of your mind like a dark cloud like it has been in mine? I wonder how much further down it will go.

- My daughter Emma is watching me write this blog post... I still can't believe how much she has grown in the past few years. (She just reminded me that in 3 years she'll be in the middle school youth group!)

- Today, after watching a sermon online, I was reminded how much of a blessing it is to be in God's service. May I never lose sight of what an honor it is.

- I am really craving a double-double cheeseburger from In-N-Out right now!!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Are you a dreamer?

I saw this on a friend's blog. May I always be a dangerous man that acts on my dreams...

(ht: Mike)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A couple good documentaries

Ok, my wife says I'm a geek, but I have a confession to make. I am addicted to documentaries. Yep, some of those same films that may have put you to sleep in your high school history or science classes are what I say is a recipe for a good time. Over the holidays, I was able to watch a few great ones that I'm sure would drive most to a deep sleep, but I loved.

The first doc that I saw was probably one of my favorites of the year. It's titled Helvetica and was great! Being someone who loves doing graphic art, this film really intrigued me. the film covers the dominance of the typeface (or "font" if you will), helvetica, since it's invention in switzerland. It is amazing to see the rise and widespread use of helvitica through the modernist period and the revolt to it in the 60's-70's by non-conforming designers. It will amaze you at how much the typeface is used throughout design and how timeless it really is. Warning: this movie is for true documentary fans...sleep factor for nonfans could be high.

The second doc is one tht has been around for a long time. Hoop Dreams. This film was made in 1994 and followed two inner city Chicago boys through out high school in their journey to the dream of getting out of the ghetto through a career in basketball. While this film is older, it is a great look into different socio-economic communities and the desperation in some areas. It is a film that really evoked some strong emotions and makes you truly want to reach out to the inner city youth. While it is a long film (almost 3 hours) it is very riveting. The sleep factor for non doc fans is not really high excet for the length of the film. BTW- this film can be seen free on Hulu!