Sunday, December 30, 2007

Need Some Resolution Ideas?

Today in church our Pastor talked about Ben Franklins need to write his core values. He espoused how much he got done (electricity, inventions, etc) and all he was apart of (helping write the constitution of the U.S). We certainly can learn from this list and do a better job in 2008.

Ben Franklin's thirteen moral virtues

The thirteen moral virtues listed by Benjamin Franklin in his Autobiography:

1. Temperance. Eat not to Dulness. Drink not to Elevation.

2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling Conversation.

3. Order. Let all your Things have their Places. Let each Part of your Business have its Time.

4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality. Make no Expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. Waste nothing.

6. Industry. Lose no Time. Be always employ'd in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary Actions.

7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful Deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice. Wrong none, by doing Injuries or omitting the Benefits that are your Duty.

9. Moderation. Avoid Extreams. Forbear resenting Injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no Uncleanness in Body, Cloaths or Habitation.

11. Tranquillity. Be not disturbed at Trifles, or at Accidents common or unavoidable.

12. Chastity. Rarely use Venery but for Health or Offspring; Never to Dulness, Weakness, or the Injury of your own or another's Peace or Reputation.

13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.


The Morning Question, What Good shall I do this Day?

The Evening Question, What Good have I done to day?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Where did I put my optimism?

One of my favorite authors, Seth Godin reposted a blog from four years ago. It resonates with me on a youth ministry level. I have not been very optimistic about traditional youth ministry but I am about students. Risks, chances and faith are the order for 2008. The principles I've been living and teach for the past several years are about to make a jump. I believe more than ever that there must be change in how we do youth ministry inside and outside of the church. I hope this little piece from Seth inspires you and feel free to put the word church or youth ministry in any of the appropriate places.

"The thing is, we still live in a world that's filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity -- we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing.

Are these crazy times? You bet they are. But so were the days when we were doing duck-and-cover air-raid drills in school, or going through the scares of Three Mile Island and Love Canal. There will always be crazy times.

So stop thinking about how crazy the times are, and start thinking about what the crazy times demand. There has never been a worse time for business as usual. Business as usual is sure to fail, sure to disappoint, sure to numb our dreams. That's why there has never been a better time for the new. Your competitors are too afraid to spend money on new productivity tools. Your bankers have no idea where they can safely invest. Your potential employees are desperately looking for something exciting, something they feel passionate about, something they can genuinely engage in and engage with.

You get to make a choice. You can remake that choice every day, in fact. It's never too late to choose optimism, to choose action, to choose excellence. The best thing is that it only takes a moment -- just one second -- to decide.

Before you finish this paragraph, you have the power to change everything that's to come. And you can do that by asking yourself (and your colleagues) the one question that every organization and every individual needs to ask today: Why not be great??


Friday, December 21, 2007

Atheist Sunday School?

Sunday School for Atheists

Ok, I admit it, I stole a Time magazine from the Dentist office. I was fascinated by an article called Atheist Sunday School. Curious about what they do?

Well, according to the article they attend the Humanist Community Center in Palo Alto Cal. to :

1. Sing songs like Unique and Unrepeatable?

Ok, the fact that they sing a song like this blows my mind. I agree ever kid should feel this way. Self esteem is important. But what do you say when they ask "Why are we like that mommy?" do they answer "Well honey, it's not really true. We all evolved from the same sludge and we are complete accidents. Oh, and after we die there is absolutely nothing. Have a great life." Ok, I agree that is a simplistic answer and I'm sure they have some secular way of dealing with that but still. The song just caught me off guard and it was begging for a rant.

2. Read stories like Stone Soup.

This is a good story. I remember it from my elementary days. It's about community and everyone joining in to make soup, everyone doing their part. To believers, this a picture of the church. Parents have a hard enough time answering the question of where do zebras get their stripes. How parents share stories of relativism and split hairs to make their point of view make sense I don't know. I am glad for Scripture we can stand on. I'll take the parable of the Good Samaritan over Stone Soup any day.

3. Share stories of Free Thinkers.

This is how Time magazine describes it: {an umbrella term for atheists, agnostics,and other rationalists) like black abolitionist Frederick Douglas. Well, as for free thinking I think they are not letting their kids think freely are they? In fact one parent who is an atheist started to come to this class because their son was told some stories from the Bible. She said her son began to believe these remarkable stories and wondered why his mother had not told them to him before. Well, shouldn't the mother have said, "What do you think son?" So much for free thinking. I'm glad I don't have to convince anyone of anything. I am willing to love the atheist but it seems they are intolerable of us and must train their children to guard against believing in God.

The final quote from the article is from an 11 year old girl who is in the class. She says, " I'm a person that doesn't believe in myths. I'd rather stick to the evidence."

Well sweetie, the only evidence here is that your parents have decided for you that disbelief is the only belief.

Let the speaks fly.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Sub-Merged:Adventures In Substitute Teaching Episode 2

Hey all,

Been a while since I have blogged. I don't know if it is because I have nothing to say or I am just too tired to say whatever may be lingering in my mind. Anyway, I continue to substitute teach and for the most part have found it enjoyable. I can tell that my relational style takes most student my surprise. They expect me to be harsh and irrelevant. They don't know my 20 year secret of hanging out with them. I recently did two days at a middle school. Two days in a row at a middle school wore me out. I met one of those girls who just rolls her eyes, slumps and basically communicates in her mind that she'd like your head to explode. That was pleasant.

I tried my best to communicate with her that I did not want to write her up. She found my little talk quaint and quite bothersome. I had to just wrap it up with a, "shut your mouth and you won't get in trouble" That went over like telling Lindsey Lohan she shouldn't have another drink. My heart went out to her. I felt sorry for her. I flashed forward in my mind and saw her future a screwed up mess. I saw a girl who hated life, bitter and unteachable. I saw her railing about how unfair life was to her and blaming the government, society, her parents and even me for her downfall. Everyone but herself. So, next time she hassle me, I'm writing her up. Maybe even have a part in a brighter future.

Sparks anyone?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Sub-Merged:Adventures In Substitute Teaching Episode 1


Welcome to my new series on my adventures in Substitute teaching. I have been subbing for the past 2 months and actually get a lot of joy out of it. In a way it's like being a grandparent. You can hang and talk with the kids and then you get to send them home and you don't have to see them for weeks! I also look at it as my own youth group. This irreligious (although spiritual) bunch of rabble rousers are mine for the day. They test me and my patience but somehow I endure it and love it. It's a new environment for me. God Bless all my youth groups. I would come in and I am greeted by hugs and high fives. For the first time I subbed I was barely acknowledged.

Junior Highers treat me like the shiny thing the water. What is that? Let's investigate.

Sr. Highers see me as a predator of the deep seeking to eat their fun. They grunt and sit down.

Anyway, here is a brief story of my first day.

My first day was Middle School Girls P.E. Can you imagine? Wow, I thought, if I can survive this I can survive anything. I was teamed with a great teacher who played for Pat Summit at the U of T. She was in charge and I rode her coat tails.

One young lady came up to me (remember I am such a man) and I thought she asked me for a pen.
I said "sure."
She said "no, I need a pad."
I said, "A pad? Sure I got one in my brief case."
she said , "No, a girl pad."

Ah, the lights went on. I said "Dear, you can have as many as you want."

That was my first day. I'll have other stories to share in the near future.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The More Things Change ....

You know the rest. The more they remain the same. For the first time in 20 years I attended Catholic Mass. Now, you have to understand, I have never opposed the Catholic church in my 20 years as a Protestant youth pastor. I always sought to help others understand. So, what did I learn from my field trip today?

What I enjoyed...

-I enjoyed the stripped down version of church. The focus of mass was Christ. Not the priest, preacher, worship team, etc. it was Jesus.
-I did not go to confession, which I plan on doing, so I did not receive communion. It kind of felt anti-climatic. So, next time I go I'll have my stuff up to date.
- I did enjoy watching others take communion and watching the rhythm of community.
-I enjoyed the creeds once more. I was rusty but I hung in there.
-I enjoyed getting out of church in one hour.
-I enjoyed the straight forward homily.

What I missed....

-talking with people I knew.
-oddly, not filling out a visitor card.
-also oddly not being approached by some kind of welcome team.
-Someone asking me to open my Bible
-Three -5 points message.
- A passionate appeal for prayer and salvation

Well, I think that it is it for now. I shall inform you of further adventures as they unfold.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Why Don't Football Players Go Wee Wee After the Game?

This was the question asked and sparked the research of Dr. Robert Cade at the University of Florida. Robert Cade began to experiment with the sports drink to help the foot ball team replace valuable electrolytes and nutrients during the game. Gatorade was invented as a result of asking questions. You may be trying to figure out a problem by looking to answers. It sounds like the best ideas are found by thinking of the questions.

why don't students want to come to church?
Why don't they want to stay in church?
why don't students want to have a devotional life?
why do they smell like that?

You get the point. Start with questions and then brainstorm the answers. Who knows maybe you'll invent or reinvent a much needed resource for the youth ministry world.


Friday, November 23, 2007

There's A Storm Coming

Ok, here's the clip i was looking for. I get chills when I watch it. Classic.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Apocalyptic Thanksgiving

Do you know who this woman is? I'll explain in a minute why she is important and why she just flashed in my head.

Ok, this is like a nightmare I had while I was awake. I was driving along it is a cool, fall, Alabama day. I was thinking about my life and my conspiracy as well as biblical theories about where all this is going. The leaves were blowing and suddenly I was transported to the finale scene of Terminator 1.

The picture you see is of Sarah Conner. She defeated the terminator who had come back from the future to kill her so she would not give birth to a son who would grow up to end the robot revolution. Ok, think I'm weird yet. Not over yet.

So I found the scene in You Tube but the embed was taken off otherwise I would have shown you the clip in full. Sarah Conner talks into a microphone to one day share with her son all that had taken place. She stops for gas and you see a small latino boy and he says, " hay el venir de la tormenta." in english, "there is a storm coming" to which Sarah Conner says, "I know".
I know, what you are thinking, "Only from Paul Turner's head". Hang with me.

Now, there are a few analogies I'd like to make:

First, Jesus, Savior of the world, was almost murdered before he grew up and was also almost tossed off a cliff. He was plotted against because the religious figures saw him as a threat. He was tearing the system apart.

Second I like the word tormeta as the word for storm. It seems appropriate. A storm is uncontrollable and people often say, "we'll just have to ride this out."

Maybe it's just my personal life but I often feel a "tormenta"coming on. A spiritual twister of emotions out of control threatening to tear my life apart. They are brief but they are terrible. Prayer helps but until Jesus says, "be still" I just have to ride it out. Storms will always come to us personally but also to our nation and only Jesus can stop it.

Some wild thoughts when we ought to be eating or for some drinking, wild turkey.I just thought this was bizarre enough to post so all may comment.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cool Animation

Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART

Ever feel like the one who created you is out to get you? We've all felt like that but God seeks our best and has wonderful things in store for those who diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:1-6

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stories From St. Louis

Here is mary Huebner and I working the booth in St. Louis. We had a great time talking to youth workers about sharing all the creative, original ideas they've used over the years with the rest of the youth worker community. Unkommon Media is an online publishing house for the common man/woman.

I had the best conversations that week. I met a Catholic Evangelist (lay person who basically witnessed to me about the church) who wanted me to return to the church. She told me I could always come back. I grew up Catholic and never met a catholic who told me I could come back. Who was genuinely interested in my participation with the Catholic body. Kudos to her. I was so excited to meet a passionate Catholic I was ready to convert. Alas, the theological jump was too far.

The second conversation I had was with a young man (18-25) wearing a Notre Dame sweat shirt. Instead of laying my Unkommon Media jargon on him I wanted to talk about football. After 15 minutes he stared at me and said thanks. I asked him why. He said, "All i have been talking about for two days was youth ministry, thanks for talking with me about football. I need that." What a great encounter. I was glad to be able to minister to him.

My last meeting happened with an author who was sitting art our booth Sarah Cunningham. I had read her book Dear Church and it really got me converted from defending the establishment to questioning it in a loving way. She was kind but I could tell she was weary of discussing her thoughts from 3 years ago.

I am looking forward to more encounters and more stories to tell when I am at the Atlanta YS. If you are there come by the Unkommon Media booth.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Taking A Potty Break

Ok, so I didn't mean to be this graphic......ok i did. For those who may not know I have been working at Lipscomb Elementary School for the past 3 months as a part time janitor. My jobs was, but not limited to, cleaning toilets, sinks, and sweeping and just recently carving pumpkins. Lipscomb is a great school with great, committed teachers, who I will miss. I will be going back for visits.

This is my last day and to be honest I will not miss the task but I will miss the learning experience. Just like their is a war to fight and you cannot stay in boot camp even though it was your hight point of learning. I am off to fight a few wars and probably will wind up back in a spiritual boot camp to prepare me for even a greater war. There were days that I simply stared at these toilets wiling them to explode with no results, they had to be cleaned. Perseverance is a wonderful quality until it is beginning to be worked into your own life.

I am off to St. Louis to stump for my new digital publishers We'll be working a booth there so please say a prayer that all that God intends will be prepared for and received by us knuckle heads. When I will return I will start sub teaching and possibly pursue a degree, we'll see.

Thanks all,


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Here it is!! After a few years of trial and error I have published my first e-book.

Are you prepared to dig deep for the answers? Crime Scenes from the Old Testament gives you interactive lessons and puts your students at the scene of the crime. These are great to spice up your sunday school, small group, retreat or midweek meeting.
Each part has four lessons on such Bible characters as Gideon, Sampson, Joseph and more. Each part comes with four lessons and downloadable crime scene photos (over 100 in all)

Your students will discover the clues, the cause and their character in Crime Scenes from the Bible.

Visit my friends at to get yours today.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Joining Forces

I have joined forces with the oldest youth ministry model on the planet, Christian Endeavor. Christian Endeavor has been around since the 1800's and is all about student led ministry. No really, student led. No more taking away what God has given them. I have taken the role of Program Director (part time at the moment). Our goal is to re-establish the movement and give students and youth leaders what they've longed for: More!. More of God, more of leadership, more direction, more resources and more coaching. To check out the origins, purpose etc. Please visit

Please continue to pray for me and Disciple Project Ministries. The D-Project will hopefully be a part of the CE Movement for a long time. I will continue to speak and train as needed and will hopefully develop my own CE group led by students of course.

Anyway, got more to say about some of our culture in the news but I'll save that for another time.



Friday, October 12, 2007

Back To The Journey

This is the youth group at Graysville Church of God. They don't have a youth pastor right now but you would never know that by their smiles and passion for God. I have had the privilege of filling in and speaking every week for the past 6 weeks. These students are outstanding. They have a tremendous worship team and their friendliness is second to none.They love God and want to serve him and I wanted to give them props for keeping there hopes high and praying while waiting for what God will do next. I hope to keep speaking there as long as they will have me and who knows I'd like to see them do The D-Project and watch their gifts and talents shine even brighter bringing glory to God. Way to go Graysville, hang in there.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Does Fighting Over God Push Others Away?

Here is an exerpt from an AP report on the school shootings in Cleveland, Oh.

"Coon's troubles seemed to come to a breaking point this week. Students said Monday's fight was over God — Coon told his classmates he didn't believe in God and instead worshipped rocker Marilyn Manson.
Coon had mental health problems, spent time in two juvenile facilities and threatened to commit suicide while in a mental health facility, according to juvenile court records obtained by The Plain Dealer newspaper."

Ok, now which of the following really contributed to this shooting?

a) mental health issues
b) Marilyn Manson
c) fight with student over God
d) messed up family life
d) all of the above

Many Christians would unfortunately choose B) soley. Marilyn is a symptom not the disease. He's the equivelance of a runny nose. We can blow our noses until Jesus comes but there will always be a Marilyn Manson; a scapegoat for Christians who'd rather point fingers, circle the wagons and find more reasons to homeschool their kids. This is coming from a believer in Jesus. I am not defending Asa or his actions, I am asking a larger question. Does arguing about God contribute to the isolation of others and rejection of the gospel. This is not that young man's fault who argued with Asa, we cannot expect 14 year olds to be C.S Lewis. I am asking as a believer whether we are more about arguing God or living out Christ's teachings.

I would agree that D) is the best answer but C) is just eating at my gut. What led to this fight? What was the argument really about? Was the other boy a Christian or just a a moral zealot who did not like Marilyn Manson? Was he truely sincere in his witness and Asa just went off on him? I'm betting my money on several factors such as teasing and name calling, a screwed up family and a hurt and broken heart with no hope that has contributed to this unfortunate incident. Christians (or anyone else) are not responsible for the final decisions people make. I am asking as to whether we are doing all we can to rescue students like Asa and protect the innocent from those who refuse our help and intervention. Have we given the Asa's in our community every chance to turn it around? This incident only leads to more questions that we must continually ask ourselves as believers engaging an unbelieving, broken and hurt generation. What can we do about it? Your comments are welcome.

Let the sparks fly,


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Do We Need Youth Ministry? Not If.......Part Two

Do We Need Youth Ministry?

Not if the youth leader and the group is in constant comparison to the one down the street.

Not if it's sole purpose is to be a marketing tool and not a viable ministy.

Not if it is sipmy to placate to the parents of the teenagers in our church.

Keeping Up With The (insert your rival church here)

We suffer from the disease of comparison. We hear about a new idea, a new program that is gaining results for such and such and quickly adopt said program with the hopes that it will pay the same dividends. We usurp the creativity of our youth leaders, our students and trade our prayer time for social and spiritual cloning. God has specific plans for our youth ministries in our communities and one size does not fit all. There is no guarantee that the program you adopt will work. We fail to take into consideration things like the personality of the leaders who run them, their demographics, their church make up, and in some cases their doctrine that drives it. The time we spend in prayer and The Word will lead to God given ideas to us that will work where we are. God will gladly implant in us the strategies and programs that will work where we are. Our youth group may be small but compared to the church, which has no youth group we’re huge. It’s not about how we compare to the church down the street but are we are fulfilling out God given purpose and destiny in our town.

Paul Turner

Friday, September 28, 2007

Do We Need Youth Ministry? Not If.......Part One

This is certainly a loaded question. The answer is Not If.

Not If youth ministry is tacked on act as independent franchises like Subways in Wal-Mart.

Not If youth ministry simply swings around us like a cross on Madonna's neck that draws the attention of the "big money" to our

Not if ministry to youth is not holistic to the Body of Christ.

We need minstry to youth but not in the traditional way. In my new ebook The Disciple Project (soon to be on Unkommon I offer some reasons why a church should not have a youth group as such. So, here is the first in a series of three. Your comments are welcome. Play nice.

Let the sparks fly,

Paul Turner

Chapter 1: The Discipling Dilemma

Why is it so hard to make disciples in the context of the church today? This is the question on everyone’s mind. With students heading out of the church, across denominational lines we are left scratching our heads. I believe there is another question at work. Why do we want to have a youth ministry or you group anyway? Here are a few of the wrong reasons:

Not if the reason is because, everyone has one ..

I am not opposed to youth ministry, only ineffective youth ministry. It’s standard for most churches that desire to grow numerically to have a youth ministry. Youth ministry in general has become somewhat homogenous. These youth ministries are bland and they litter most towns like run down check cashing and car loan businesses. I think every church should do youth ministry but not necessarily have a youth group unless it’s has purpose and is intricately connected to the Body of Christ.

Youth ministry has become Starbucks or McDonalds in the sense of churches hiring youth pastors like a manger/owners franchise a business. They are like putting Subway restaraunt into a Walmart. It's simply there if you just happen to be hungry. A church fails in two ways when they hire a youth pastor. We give them too much freedom or we micro manage them into the ground. We must not only have a philosophy for youth ministry but a theology for youth ministry as well and how this powerful, passionate group of people fit in and flow with the entire Body of Christ.

Part II Keeping Up With (insert your favorite rival church here)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Whirlwind Tour

Hey Gang,

Well, Sincew Enfuego I ahve been to Eufala Alabama, shout out to the S.P.A.M youth group at First Assembly, I spoke at the lock in for UMC of Hueytown, Al., Carol You Rock!, and joined my friends at Interlinc at Vertical Fest in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Go Razorbacks! (with apologies to my Alabama friends)

Interlinc is the best multi-media minstry out there. If you are not using media to reach your students put down the guitar and step away from the Kumbaya. They offer year long subscriptions to get the best Christian music (15-16 CD'S) every quarter, plus Bible studies to go along with the music (goes well with your small group, midweek, Sunday School, retreats and more), and 4 times a year you get a dvd exploding with the hottest Christian music videos and themed vidoes. The dvd comes with bible studies for each of the music videos and articles on all kinds of youth ministry related subjects. Wheew, ok, enough of the plug! It's just good stuff, visit them at

More news coming soon.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Enfuego Rocked!

Hey All,

Here in Alabama we have a huge festival every year called Enfuego! Lot's of bands. This year, the feature bands were Building 429, Sanctus Real and Skillet. No offense to the other bands but I never tire of seeing or listening to Skillet. Jon Cooper is one of the most down to earth people you'll meet. Jon speaks so plainly and with little religious gobbledy gook that other bands feel they have to say to placate the Christian masses.

We had a great time in the swelltering heat and the pooring rain. In true festival fashion there was community and fun. Lot's of football, thank God no one got hurt.

The other bands that were part of the event belonged to Indie Community. I could say they were a booking agency but they are far more organic and work really well with local talent. If you have a chance check them out at

I'll be in Eufala, Al. this Wednesday with my friends Seth and Courtney Martin. Great youth pastors and even greater people. I'm looking forward to preaching and maybe some youth worker training.

Anyway, that's all for now. I hope to report some big news in the future as God works things out. Please be praying for God's will and favor for Disciple Project Ministries.


Paul Turner

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stupid Things Christians Say


Ya know, when we meet a stupid Christian we usually follow up by saying, "Well, they're well meaning". Well, that does not make them any less stupid. Is stupid too strong a word? Ok, I'll settle for ignorant but I still like stupid. So, you be the judge, are these recent statements made by a professing believer stupid or not.?

I was knew at my job and the person asked me , "What church do you attend?"

I replied, "I attend such and such church"

She said "Oh you are a Jesus loving Christian."

Now, I have no idea what they really meant by that. Coluld they have meant 1. They assume because it was a certain kind of church it met with her approval. 2) It was better than other churches she knew about? or 3) I was a better Christian than others who went to another church? It also aggravated me because she does not know me at all. She immediately made the assumption that because I went to church I was a Christian at all. I think we can all say something stupid like this if we have the "you go to church, you're a Christian" mentality. Ok, stupid or not?

Next on the stupid things Christians say list came out of the same persons mouth not a few days hence. The context for the conversation dealt with their son traveling. He is not a believer. He was doing some adventure travelling (moutain climbing or something) and was staying with Christians in the village. Here is stupid statement #2,

"I am so glad he was staying with this pastor woman, not a Catholic, she really loved Jesus."

Hmmm. Ok, I am saying it right. She was inferring that Catholic people don't love Jesus. Now, Catholics might not love Jesus the way we express love but to say they don't love Jesus? Holy Moly, how many ignorant things can one person say? In fact each person loves Jesus or does not love him differently. Many of us love Jesus conveniently like the guys who date the ugly girls in High School, secretly. These girls put out but in no way do guys want others to say they were "dating them".

We say stupid things all the time

"Our church is best"

"Jesus approves of this kind of music but not that."

"You can't go to heaven unless you are holy enough"

"Jesus is a republican"

"Put your stupid statement here."

Folks, if we want to see others come to Christ we've got to check the cliches at the door. Let us not speak with forked tongues. Our very words (not to mention our actions) may be painting the wrong picture of Christ to unbelievers. Our arrogance and huberis must stop and grace and humility must prevail. Next time you think about saying something stupid, religious or cliche', ask youself, "Does this make any sense at all or is this just something I say?"

Out of our mouth comes life and death. Let's speak life, especially in front of those who do not know Christ yet. Foolish may be standard for believers according to the world but being stupid is optional.

Let the speaks fly,


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Training To Be Me?

This picture says it all. This young lady was a camper at LFYC. She showed up to breakfast one morning sporting this handmade t-shirt that said "Paul in Training" on the front and "Training To Be Paul Turner" on the back. This was pretty humbling. It made me reallize how important our example is to others.

Whether you are a parent, youth worker, student or just Joe Average you are influencing somebody. Some of it is intentional but most of it is not. Our stories, are being played out before everyone and it matters.

"You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." 2 Corinthians 3:2,3

Our story are always being written and some stories are being re-written. Unqualified people too often have pens in their hands attempting to write more action, sex, drama, pain and many other themes into our lives. The Apostle Paul took his influence seriously. He saw people as blank pieces of paper. People of a clean start in Christ. He saw his influence not as a the written code to be enforced but of relationships written on and in the human heart.

I was honored that she wanted to be like me. I quoted the Apotle Paul, 'Follow me as I follow Christ." To quote scripture (too often as code and law) rings hollow when not intertwined with a loving friendship. Paul said it best in I Corinthians 1, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.". The law without love is lifeless.

Who are you training? Intentionally or unintentionally? I'll have some more thoughts on intentional training in my next post.

Blessings and Peace

Paul Turner

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

LFYC is the Best!!

Hey LFYC Campers,

What a great time I had in Florida with all of you. You stepped up big and I can’t wait to hear all the stories God is writing in your life. You are all Champions for God in my book!

A few of the funnier moments

Microwaves under Attack (scroll down to watch the video)
That loud noise in service (you know who you are!)
Archer lesson 101 (She hit the mark!)
Moment of Chaos- Ok, mobs of girls with feminine products- Need I say more?
The Simpsons- Don’t sell your soul!
Who Da King? Jesus Christ rule this thing!
Moment of Chaos- The Twist.

Some of our most precious moments

Hitting the Mark!
Letting Jesus sit on the seat of our soul.
Arm in Arm, loving each other.
Becoming Spiritual Firemen
Worshipping the King
Praying as cabins

To all of you who came up shook my hand, said thanks, wrote me a kind note, showed me your prayer or took my picture I love you all!

If you did not get chance to tell me your story, send me a note. I’d love to hear it.

The My King Video and the Lecrae "Who da King" rapper is lsted below.

Keep the faith and I hope to see you all next year.

Paul Turner

That's My King!!

Lecrae: Who Da King?


For those who enjoyed the Who Da King video, that was Lecrae and you can check out his sight at

Paul Turner

Saturday, July 28, 2007

To Eradicate Or Not Eradicate?

I can't escape it. I am fascinated by the amount of Atheist books, blogs , and videos that are out there. On Myspace they had the book God Is Not Great by Hutchins featured for review and comment. I had a total blast just reading the comments on both sides of the fence. I gave the book a thumbs up 1) Because I'm not a hater 2) I am not afraid of the boogie man that most evangelicals are. Oh, is there a third point? Ok for the sake of pattern 3) I just wanted to be a good example. Different from the ignorant "Ye're goin' to hell" bunch that was in full force. Where's the love people?I even got a message from a kid with a mohawk rebuking me for "empowering the enemy". Siggghhh. What's a believer to do?

I wil say this, many atheists talk about eradicating religion from the planet.

e·rad·i·cate [i-rad-i-keyt] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–verb (used with object), -cat·ed, -cat·ing.
1. to remove or destroy utterly; extirpate: to eradicate smallpox throughout the world.
2. to erase by rubbing or by means of a chemical solvent: to eradicate a spot.
3. to pull up by the roots: to eradicate weeds.

Pretty strong words. Why are they so strong in eradicating a made up religion. Where are the atheist humanitarians? Christians give more, sacrifice more, get off their butt more than any atheist I have ever encountered. Most atheists seem to spend most of their time trying to eradicate us, me. Not a very good recruiting tool. Their slogan? Join Us and We Will Eradicate Them!! Hmmm, not so good. Or how about "God is dead! Let's make it a family affair!!". These need work.

I'm here at Life For Youth Ranch again in Vero Beach Florida getting ready to preach/speak another week. I love speaking here because the group is so diverse. It's not a typical church camp. This is an open camp where kids of any denomination come or no denomination come or no faith at all. I at least get to make a case. For me it used to be about convincing. Now it's about allowing God to speak by his Spirit. I'm not the soul police. Truth is truth and speaks for itself. Sorry, it's the Calvinist in me dying to come out. :)

If you are reading this please pray that God will do a cool work in the hearts of students. Thanks.

Let the sparks fly!


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Can We Fire Our Youth Group?

I don't know how many timess I've asked this question but most often have agreed with it and in some cases have done it. What sparks this rant? An article from one of my marketing mentors Seth Godin. Here is his blog and then I shall attempt to close the gap.


Treating different customers differently

I've gotten a lot of email about: Sprint may cancel your service if you call customer service too often.

Apparently, about 1,000 people got this note. They weren't delinquent in their bills, but they were calling in and complaining approximately 25 times a month.

If you're going to be obsessed with delighting customers, it's a lot more efficient to focus on customers that are able to be delighted. That sounds like a tautology, but it's actually a guiding principle for successful businesses. Hire nice people and attract satisfiable, gabby customers. Why not?

These 1000 people were actually happy to be unhappy. They were unpleasable, and they weren't helping either word of mouth or the ability of the call center folks to do good work.

I think the mistake Sprint made was in only giving people one day's notice. I probably would have given them a month or so... Turns out Sprint even gave them one month's notice.

What would happen if you fired (nicely) the very few customers that take your best effort but rarely appreciate it or spread the word?


Ok, now for me to start cutting wood and building a bridge. Sprint basically sent a Dear John letter to these 1000 customers apologizing that they could not meet there needs. These 1000 customers were fired.

So, how about our students or church members? Can we fire them? I say yes and in many cases should. I know I stand on shaky ground because many of us have received pay checks from these cranky people who call the church office 10 times a month to complain about everything from the bushes to the baptismal services, from the parking to the preaching and then some. I echo with many car lots who say, "Let'em, go." The damage that disgruntled parishoners, founded or unfounded, inflict upon a church is incalculable. Like termites in an all cedar house they will eat away at everything and suddenly and with out warning the house (and the church) collapses. How did this happen? We did not let them go soon enough.

It would be better to call these folks into the office and allow the conversation to go something like this

Pastor" " Mr. and Mrs. so and so thank you for the time you have spent here at First Church. I'm sorry to see you go but I wish you well on your search for a new church."

Mr and Mrs So and So: "But we're not looking for a new church"

Pastor: "Oh yes you are."

Since churches are in the people business we should always try to work it out. But when communication fails it's better to wish them well rather than let them destroy the church from the inside out.

If it's youth ministry member, the same standard applies. I've had parents try to strong arm me into apologies because the youth ministry couldn't do in one hour a week that their dysfunctional family should have done the whole time. I wished them well, caught hell at the office and then went on my merry way.

When we're no long addicted to the paycheck and we're serious about making disciples we'll do what is necessary for the health and well being of our congregations.

Let the Sparks fly!!

Paul Turner

Monday, July 16, 2007

I Was A Youth Worker Faust

Well, I and my former intern now youth pastor interim (still very weird to think about) took our own church students to our camp this past week. I had to do double duty this year between being boys dean and co camp corordinator. I hate it because I don't get to spend as much time with students.

It was a hard week starting out. Seemed that we had two camps within our own group going. One group wanted to participate in the competition element the others were comfotable with the canoes and swimming. It was hard this year as compared to others. It was my first summer not as full time youth pastor, we had older students which made it easy, several 18 year olds and a 19 year old. It was also a sort of disconnect where I had these peer like students, even though I am still 20 years older than them. I lacked influence and authority in some ways.

It took until about Wednesday until I felt like we gelled but it all worked out.

I am currently working on a series of devotions and small group materials based on my D-Project core disciple values. It will be five books each with 5 days as devotions per topic. The five core values of a disciple are Sacrifice, Surrender, Separation (holiness), Study, and The Spirit (fruits and gifts). You can check out more on I have some friends of mine helping me out with structure and content so pray we get the heart of God on this.

I applied for a part time job today. As I said before this whole "start your own ministry" thing is hjarder than it looks. Even when you have a well laid plan, a safety net, and a support system there are still no guarantees. The hounds of heaven are committed to stay on my trail no matter how hard I run or how well insulated I make myself from mistakes. They dog me like a prisoner who just broke out of of a maximum security prison. I can see why some speakers/evangelists rely on manipulation. When their back is against the wall and the speaking gigs are not coning through they resort to fear mongering or some other tactic to increase finances.

Ok, sorry for the bunny trail. Anyway, I applied for a job today. It was at a local Christian bookstore. I could not help but feel I was signing a deal with the devil. I thought I could do this without having to get a part time job. It was a moment of surrender. A reality that said in an eerie Lee Corso voice, "Not so fast my friend". God is both working something out of me and something into me at the same time. It is easy to get discouraged but this is what I asked for, a life of faith. To trust God for the best. God has his own plan. He failed to clue me in.

Oh, a Faust? Sorry, the word comes from "the chief character of a medieval legend, represented as selling his soul to the devil in exchange for knowledge and power". Hope the new boss acts nothing like the contract holder in these plays writtn by Goethe.

later all,

Paul Turner

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Not As Easy As It Looks


When I went into the "do your own ministry" thing I was convinced this is what God wanted. I did not know it also would involve 3 nights of setting off fireworks for country clubs in 100 degree heat or weeding and mowing my friends lawn for extra cash. Listen, I don''t begrudge those things it simply wasn't on the agenda; as is most things that God doesn't want you to know about. I find that hard work and God are best friends and what He cannot achieve through in us through our comfort He works out in in our pain and discomfort. No offense to work mind you. So, with that said my mental cannon is reloaded for another round. Like in the movie Transformers "No Sacrifice, No Victory"

Ok, let us jump onto an entirely differnt track. I don't get to watch alot of tv but I found a new show I like called Burn Notice. It's about a spy who is get's burned and has to live in Miami. With a few spy friends cases start to pop up that require that spy touch. Anyway, love the show and it better stay on for at least a few seasons. Hate when I start to like a show and it just goes away.

I mentioned Transformers earlier. I downloaded the theme song from the movie done by the great band Mute Math. I don't remember the song in the movie though. Hmmm, gotta find out why. I also did not stay until the end credits and it may have played there.

I am done with my new brochure and July's Newsletter. Both will be available on for anyone interested.

Next movie to see: Live Free or Die Hard.

See ya at the concesson stand.

Oh, and Big Happy 39th Birthday to my wife Kim!!

Paul Turner

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Camp Skit I Created

Monday, June 25, 2007

Did I Learn Anything?

Hey All,

The speaking ministry avenue of D-Project Ministries is oging well. I just got back from two weeks of speaking at Life For Youth Camp. I'll have some video up soon thanks to my friend Kevin Kelly of Video Impressions at He does a great job at a reasonable price.

So, did I learn anything at camp yep. Here is a brief list:

I learned that two weeks in a row is a long time away from the family. Missed them bad.

I learned that talking too much is bad. Making a funny can cost ya.

I learned that a good week of paintball is the best stress reliever.

I learned not to trust a newbie with a paintball gun after he shot me in the hand (owwwww!!!!)

I learned that I should be more protected (if you know what I mean)

I learned that their were a ton of hurting students at camp.

I learned thart young men are not all created equal. Many came up and shook my hand, looked me in the eye, and said thanks.

I learned that microwave ovens are a fun to smash with a sledgehammer (video coming soon).

I learned that camp counselors rock, shout outs to Nikki, Heather (HV Queen), Aaron (the mac man) and Chris!!

I learned that I'm never as ready as I think.

I learned that God is always ready.

I learned why I still use a mac, thank to the camp PC that kept freezing up. (cha ching!!)

and finally..

I learned that two weeks is too long to be away from your family.

I'll be back soon campers with more camp reports!!


Paul Turner

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Hey All,

Thought I'd make a few observations about my last night "in an official capacity" as One Student Ministries full time youth pastor.

Well, the students were slow getting there but that is normal :) I was in the prayer room where we try to pray for at least 30 minutes before the message. There was no strange glow but there was a great anticipation in my heart. I know I had heard from the Lord concerning what I was to speak.

Some old friends and students showed up to cheer me on. One of those faces was a student who I had a tense/tight relationship. She was one of my student leaders and a great person. I was a bit nervous at first but she came in and greeted me. It warmed my heart. It was like God's kiss on my soul. How beautiful it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity. I felt like our group was living up to it's name:ONE. We had always strived for ONEness.

As the evening wrapped up I took a moment and looked around at laughing faces, deep discussions, and people stuffing themselves with cake. We never know or understand our impact as youth pastors let alone as people. I must say I felt a great peace. A great assurance that the Lord was in it. Not that the road was not going to be rough for the both of us but that even that was ok.

I gave up a title not a calling. To be honest sometimes I felt dirty even being paid to be a youth pastor. A full time worker paid to build relationships and build a program feels dirty some how. I know in my head that it is just, fair, and biblical to be paid. I wanted to love students without pitching another program. I wanted to give to them with out expecting their attendance, participation or allegiance. I didn't want it to be a trade off. I did not want to have hidden motives. I know this may sound silly and idealistic but I guess I am a purist in some ways.

Sin has certainly taken it's toll on the "perfect" Teacher/Disciple relationships. Jesus did it though. He knew full well the the lack of commitment he'd encounter and the shallowness of humanities spirituality. He called, He led, he died, he lived again. Then, these shallow, misbegotten, often childish followers stepped up. A passion gripped their hearts and power came upon them to do the impossible. I don't know how many of the students I have led to Christ and discipled over the years went on to disciple others but I prayer there were at least a few. We can't be sure of much but we can be sure that heaven shall reveal and test the work we have done. As the title Lenny Kravitz song pleads "God Save Us All".

Let The Sparks Fly

Paul Turner

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Resentment is a Killer

God has been reminding me lately of the the same thing He told Cain in Genesis : "Sin crouches at the door of your heart but you must master it." What is this sin? Resentment. I seem to be overwhelmed by it as a boy is overwhelmed by breakers at the beach. It just rises up. I have had some time to think about it and I still have no answer save a few sources of why we all may feel that way at some point.

* Like the football player who sits on the sideline watching his team get crushed, he thinks "if they had only put me in, I'da caught that ball." Resentment can set in when we don't feel like we're being used to the best of our ability and must suffer the consequences at the choices or actions of others.

* I think of Judas and possibly the other discipes who wished Jesus had done something about the Roman occupation or those bothersome Pharisees. They knew Jesus had the power and did not use it. One theory about Judas' betrayal was that he was forcing the hand of God. His thinking, "Jesus must act if I put him in this position". We can become resentful when we don't trust our leadership.

* Unachieved goals seem to dovetail into the above point. We resent the fact that we as "visionaries" can see great things but others cannot. When we as an orgainzaton do not reach our full potential because of the laziness, ignorance, or incompetance we begin to sour. Resentment finds a place in the heart of unfulfilled dreams and lost potential.

These are just a few thoughts that help me work out my own junk. Your comments are always welcome. Wait, someone's knocking on my door. Hope it's the cable guy.

Let the sparks fly.

Paul Turner

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Regrets?

Ya know, we like to say we have no regrets about things. If things turn out ok we don't regret as much or we just say God's will was done and move on. Do I have any regrets? Yes and no. I don't regret moving on to a new adventure but will I change my mind if it does not go according to plan? I remember when I left my first church. I left out of pride and arrogance. I wanted to see if I was good enough as a youth worker to duplicate the success in that church. If I had not been so rash and immature I would still be there today. But would that have been a good thing? You can hurt your brain going through scenerio's like that and regret can creep in and take up residence in your heart. I guess we could consider Joseph. Did he regret sharing his dream? Did he regret helping the butler in prison? Does the phrase "all's well that ends well" become the mantra for those concerned that the time/space continuum has been altered? All good questions and probably will never be answered but at the end of the day Joseph saved a nation. Not bad work for a kid with a dream.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

The End Is Near

Hey Everyone,

Well, after much fence sitting I have decided to take the D-Project where ever God and others will have it. After five years at my church my restless heart can take it no longer. I must do what I feel God has placed there. My resignation is an amicable one. I will still be attending our church and helping where I can. My passion is to speak and preach and train and so I finally give in. It's a scary place to be with a wife and three kids but God is faithful. I am trusting Him entirely. For more information on the D-Project please visist

There are always those who will hate you. For whatever reason. Every church has them. I got word tonight of a group of students and some young adults who have their opinion of me which is fine. There will always be those in the church who take up space and will by their own ignorance tear a church apart. They are the preverbial drunk driver who crashes and kills a family of 5 only to get out of their car unscathed while a fireball explodes in the distance punctuating their devastation. Every church has them. Meaningful, misguided, disobedient and pharisiacal parasites who seek to use the church rather than be the church because they cannot cultivate a spiritual life of their own. Paul was right when he wrote that the love of many would grow cold. It is this icy heart that keeps away the lost and allows only those of similar frigid existence to join them like ice cubes in a tray.

I write this to vent but also to detach from the negativity that seeks to bind me. I also cannot become too bitter for fear I would become like them and less like Christ. No, I shall do for them what they have refused to do for me , pray. This is not self-righteous it is self-preservation. To not pray allows the poison from the darts they shoot to travel quickly through my spiritual blood stream to my heart, my passion and my relationship with God. I will pray that God will teach us all and that our disagreements will not ever be desparaging and keep onlookers and seekers from experiencing this God of love and forgiveness we profess. To much our God resembles the monument made to the Unkown God in the book of acts.

And before you should ask me to get off my cross because we need the wood consider your own heart, your own hurts inflicted by those who would claim the name of Christ. I end this by saying Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!! I have the victory through Christ. Thankyou for listening my next post shall be a clearer, leass tainted, more informed and a more spiritually enlightened post but for now thank you for allowing me to share my burden.

Let the speaks fly.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Vaccum Gospel

God offered me a unique opportunity about a week ago. It ties in with my last blog about being religious or spiritual. I had gotten home from work and was scavenging aound the hosue for dinner when I heard the doorbell. I looked at my wife who sheepishly offered that she had invited the Kirby Vaccum cleaners (they had been working the neighborhood) people in to do a demonstration. Well, I was not thrilled. I wanted to sit down, eat some ham, and then watch some ham on American Idol, Go Blake!!

Anyway, here came two huge boxes in the door carried by a young man named Walter. Walter was a nice young man just trying to do his job. I said ok, "Give me your best sales pitch". I am alway intrested in hearing how others sell their products. At one point I even kidded him by saying I was in sales also. Well, he showed me the Kirby Vaccum cleaners many attachements and utilties. The coolest attachment was a paint sprayer. I kid you not. Reverse the flow of air and it would paint your walls. I also liked the extremely bright halogen light in the front. Toys!!

After talking with him some more I offerd my own sales pitch and began to talk about the Lord. I had asked where he went to church and how his relationship with the Lord was. You have to understand a few things. In Alabama everyone knows Jesus. there is not a sinner to be found. Every wino can sing half the hymnal and most businessmen are "affilitated" with religious causes. Tough area. What made Walter different was the fact that he was an African American and Catholic. It's rare to find a Catholic in Alabama, even rareer to find a African American Catholic. The Lord does have a sense of humor. If you don't know I was raised Catholic all the way through my Confirmation process and then started going to a protestant youth group. Walter and I had a few things in common. Walter offered the fact that he was good with the Lord but had not been to church in a while. Here's where I could have choses the religious route. I could have spent the rest of the night giving reasons why Walter should go to my church or disuade him to leave his church as some might, but I felt that would have been misspent time. Instead I wanted to serve Walter and allow him to have an encounter with Jesus.

Walter eagerly pointed out through demonstraton that my floors needed cleaning. With his special demo model he showed me the filter pads that picked up the dirt and dust. He began laying the round pads out on the floor in straight, narrow rows. It was about 8:30 now and I wanted to help this guy. I wasn't going to buy a vaccum cleaner but I wanted him to get paid. I asked, "Walter, how many of these pads do you have to show your boss to get paid?" He said, "100". My jaw hit the floor. 100!!? This will take forever for him to dirty up 100 of these pads not matter how dirty my house is. I quickly volunteered myself. I took about 25-30 pads from Walter qand went all over my house rubbing them on my floor, under my kitchen table, my bathroom, even the fireplace. Eventually we aquired 100 pads. We had a few moments until Walter's boss came in so I invited my new friend Walter to eat and drink with us.

Walter's boss eventually came by to "seal the deal". To his dismay I turned his slick, finely tuned pitch down. We also got to talk about the Lord while Walter sat quietly by eating ham and drinking Milo's sweet tea. Finally the slick boss man thanked us for our time and excused himself and Walter and I are together again. The sweetest moment came when I offered to pray for Walter.I prayed for his business and for his family and that he would get back to church, his church. He told me he was going to get back and talk with his priest that week. What a blessing.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Good Question

This past weekend our students participated in a 35 mile walk for missions. It's been a 10-12 year tradition and has become a rite of passage. I came up lame in the 7th mile. Somehow, my foot either received a stress fracture or some other quirky malady. I'm not sure yet. One of the things I missed in walking ( I was relegated to driving the van) was the conversation. Since our walk normally takes place during Easter many of our students carried crosses. Since I was driving I saw this from a different persepctive. At one point I saw a student carrying not only his cross but the cross of another. You could say he was double crossed. During the walk I heard things like "he pushed his cross off on me" or "he/she didn't want to carry his cross anymore". You can draw the parallels of the Christian life for yourself, no sermonizing necessary.

I had some boys spend the night at my house that night and in the car my son asked an interesting question, he said, "Can you be too spiritual dad?" I was taken back at the suddeness of the question. That this 12 year old who burps and farts with the best of them was thinking of such a question blessed me. It was a good question. My answer? I said no. I said, "you could be too religious but not too spiritual". I clarified that by saying spiritually connect with God, the God of scripture. Spirituallity has become a catch all for any postmodern expereince that that makes of feel whole or comeplete in and of oursleves and can leave God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit completely out of the picture.

The students in my car shared recent episodes where an adult got onto them about certain behaviors which were displeasing. In some cases it was just generational protocol a.k.a Grandma etc. in other cases it was just religious tallying. Did they are did they not fit the mold of a man made system of religion. Student long for Christ centered spirituality and contue to shun the score card Christianity.

Have you boxed in your relationship with God to the point where spiritual claustrophobia and checkpoint theology is choking off spiritual life and vitality? Good question.

Blessing and Peace,


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Listening To The Alarms

I just read about that great tragedy in Russia where 62 elderly nursing home patients were killed in a fire. That is tragic, what is more tragic is that it may have been possible to avoid many tragic deaths. One of the people helping the elderly from the burning building said, "If only the firefighters had been here"

From the news article, "At the nursing home, a fire alarm system that had not been fully installed signaled three times, but a watchman, att he facility, but outside the building, ignored the first two alarms and reported the fire only after he saw the flames."

I would also mention the firestation was 30 miles away and took them an hour to arrive. This article is full of spiitual analogies.

1. People were looking for answers.

We have peolple dying slow spiritual deaths do not have ot perish. We certainly don't want their last words or their families to be "if only".

2. We have a watchmen ignoring the alarm.

Ther are many who wouild use this point to build their ministries and add people to their pews. They re alarmists. Alarmist run around with no plan and little substance. Why do fire fighters respond the way they do? Why don't they freak out when their alarm goers off? How many fires would get put out if they did nto have their response down to a science? We do not need to be alarmists about the conditon of America or about the souls of men but we cannot ignore the alarm. Rather, we should be aware, as spirtitual firefighters, that the alrm will ring, we will be called apon as pastors and laymen to repsond to a fire. We should have a plan to assist those in spiritual crises and to assist those who are lot without Christ. Ignoring thelarm is not an option.

3. We call the fireman only when we see the flames.

it was too late. oftne the chruch arrives to late. Teens are on drugs, girls are hainvg abortions, men and women are having affairs, wheere is the chruch when livesa re burning? Yes, we can respond but we may not be able to save the buiding or everyone inside. Instead of waiting for people to combust into flames we should be smelling for smoke and lovingly appoach the source of potential disasater and offer assistance.

4. The fire dept. was too far from the fire.

Why is the chruch afraid to get it's hands dirty? Why are we so far removed from the pain of peole? Why are we too far from the flames? Soul are at stake. When I speak of the church I speak of every person who names the name of Christ. We, the church, the people, not the orgaization out to be running into the buring lives of families and communities and and lovingly and graciously tell them that unles they leave, the fire will consume them. There is a way. We and the church are not the way. Only Jesus is the way and it is He we represent. Weare his hands and his feet.

One final word church. We should not build another "fire station" unlesswe intend to fight fires.

I'd say let the sparks fly but I fear they would cause a fire no one would put out.

Paul Turner

Friday, February 23, 2007

Apologies Are A Part of the Journey

I felt sorry for the CEO of the airline jet Blue. David Neeleman had been making the rounds from news channels to late night talk shows falling all over himslef because of the way they handled the Valentines Day storms and did not get it together until after Presidents Day. It reached an excrutiating point when David Letterman greeted him with a soft drink in a plastic cup and a bowl of peanuts and just pounded him with questions about why people were left on the plane on the tarmac for 10 hours. Neeleman squirmed, sweated and stammered his way though yet another apology. As hard as it was to watch it had ot be done. Blunders of that proportion require answers, apologies and plans that it will not happen again. Why doesn't the church get that?

I quickly drew some analogies from this incident and the church. We don't owe our congregations an apology as much as we owe the world and sinners an apology. Jet Blue published an apology in the New York Times recenlty and from that wrote my own apology:

Dear Sinners, Seekers, and Skeptics,

I, we, the church owe you an apology. We owe you an apology for many things like The Crusades, the Inquisition, and Televangelists.

What we are most sorry for is how the church interacts with you. You have often come to us looking for answers and we gave you rhetoric.

We’re sorry for giving you good rules instead of good news.
We’re sorry for giving you programs instead of relationships.

We’re sorry for giving you our four point shpeal instead of a listening ear.
We’re sorry for give you judgment when you were looking for mercy.

We’re sorry that we invited you to a building and to a service instead of inviting you into our lives to examine our faith in light our doubts, struggles, and fears.

We’re sorry that when you came looking for Jesus we gave you religion.
We’re sorry we made Jesus our candidate instead of our Savior and Lord.

We’re sorry we did not serve in more soup kitchens, aids wards, and relief efforts to the worlds poorest and desperate.

We’re sorry we thought the gospel was too pristine to get our hands dirty and too fragile that we could not dialogue over it.

The world cannot expect the church or any one organization to solve all the world problems. God has planted his church here to not only relieve suffering but as a light house for lost souls.

We’re sorry we have not lived up to the Great Commandments. To love God with all our might and show you what it means to have relationship with the heavenly Father.

We’re sorry that we did not love you as we loved ourselves and thereby deny you a physical offering of the spiritual truth we so adamantly believe in.

We’re sorry for not living up to the Great Commissions. We’re sorry we build more country clubs for the spiritually bloated and less hospitals for the spiritually starving.

We’re sorry that we beat around the bush about we truly believe.
We’re sorry we denied you access to the truth and your option to examine it.

We’re sorry our light burned too dimly for you to find your way out of that dark tunnel called sin.

You deserve better. You deserve a educated, passionate, and civil presentation of the best news in the whole world: God loves you and desires to have relationship with you through His Son Jesus Christ.

To paraphrase a recently apology given by the airline carrier Jet Blue: “Nothing is more important than gaining your trust, and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to once again welcome you onboard and provide you with the positive example of what it means to be a Christian and to show you what God has expected from us all along.”

Friday, February 16, 2007

When You Need To be Discipled

Hey Everyone,

Got alot on my mind today but wanted to stick with the topic above. What happens when the all knowing, never wrong, discipler needs discipling? I find myself in a quandry. After 20 years of ministering to young people I feel a strong need to get out of the picture so I can regain my own faith or as Scripture says, "examine yourself to see if you are still in the faith." I hate to make it life and death but it's bigger than that. It's spiritual life and death. For me I have to risk everything to regain something that used to be so precious to me. I used to cry for the lost, pray until I was hoarse, and serve/give until it hurt. Now I just hurt.

The "church" has taken it's toll on me. the religiosity has crept in like a cancer. It has eaten away at my once idealistic motives and turned them dark. I am reaching a point where all the years of adulation and compliments are coming to a pinnacle. I am not proud or arrogant. I am only going to admit that the destiny that Christ has held in his hand since before I was born is about to be realized. By faith I wil open my hand and heart to what is in THAT hand. It will only be released when I have taken that step. No more doubts or fears as to whether I am good enough. I believe that question has been answered. The next question is "what will you do with it?" This does not mean I will be the next big thing. Far from it. in fact my success may have alot to do with my anonymity. My abilty to fly below the radar. To slip into a room and watch God work through me and then slip out with students not remembering what was said or who I was as much as what God did among them.

Scary as all this may seem, it must be done. My need to feel alive (spiritually) again and be the father and husband I need to be are all interlinked. My love/hate with the church is but one story in a library filled with such stories. Mine is not special but it is my own. To embrace once again a strong work ethic and to work for change and not for money (all though need it.) is what I seek and somewhere along the way is some one who will disciple me the way Christ discipled his own.

Father God, protect me and my family from wrong and prideful choices. Make me an example of what it means to fly head long ino the storm to find peace at he center of it. I'm couning on your unfailing love and faithfulness. Lead me Lord.

Your Son,