Thursday, March 20, 2008

Simply Youth Ministry Bringing A Gift To The Party!

Simply Youth Ministry is on the guest list for my 100th Blogday Party Happening Next Thursday, March 27th!

Simply Youth Ministry will be giving away a $300 All Access Pass to Simply resources and materials. All you have to do is show up next Thursday, leave a comment on what we might be doing in youth ministry in 100 years and you are registered to win. Winners wil be notified at the end of the day.

Simply Youth Ministry is an outstanding resource center for youth ministries . Check them out at


Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's In Your Top 5?

God is always calling. He calls in the morning, noon and night. He calls us when we're driving, in the bathroom and other inopportune times. He calls us to do great things but most of the time He asks us to to the ordinary in a extraordinary way. I've committed to sharing the virtues of these five words with youth workers everywhere. Without them we are fooling students into a feel good faith. These words apply to any organization or group. Without them we short change those we lead and with them we echo Jesus' expectations for those who would follow Him.

So, try a little experiment. Text these five words to various students or leaders.

Sacrifice, Surrender, Separation, Study and Spirit

Afterwards, send a text asking "What if this message was from God. What immediately came to your mind? What do you think this word was asking from you or was confirming something God had already put on your heart.

Ask those who received a text to follow up by sending an email with their thoughts.

These are five things God is asking us to embody and we cannot practice them enough.

If you try this little experiment let me know the results.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Moral and Spiritual Significance of Lenny Kravitz

I recently read that 60's rocker Neil Young said, "Music can't change the word." He's right and wrong and he hasn't heard Lenny Kravitz new album. It may not change the world but it may change some minds about God and faith.

Music Matters. I believe after personal relationships ( parents and friends), music is next as the big influencer among teens. It changes their mood and their mission. Much is made about the kid who listens to Marilyn Manson and shoots up a school. This is all the more reason why getting students to practice good listening habits.

I will tackle an album a month or two as to why the music matters and why we should recommend it to our students. Better still I will offer ways to use this music to create conversations about what matters.

I have chosen Lenny Kravitz as my first album to review. Lenny has an optimism and outlook that is good for people in general and for students in particular. His new album Love Revolution speaks to a greater good and we should all listen.

I've chosen two songs and included a few questions to prompt a response form your students.

Love Revolution

How do most of your friends define love? Do you agree with it? Why or why not?

Do we need a revolution (a totally new way of looking and responding) of love? What are some things you could do to start a love revolution?

Bring It On

What do you feel like you are not prepared to deal with everyday?

What are some things you have been avoiding dealing with? Why?

Do you ever feel "unarmed", like you are lacking something when it comes to a battle of choices? What is one thing you wish you had as a weapon to deal with your problems?

The rest of the album is filled with little treats like Good Morning and If You Want To, and the groovy Dancing Til' Dawn. The songs Going Home, A Long, Sad Goodbye, and This Moment Is All There Is reflects the heartbreak Lenny's father passing away within the past year. Lenny's guitar cries and you cry with it.

This is a great album to listen to all the way through but I suspect your ipod will barely leave tracks 1 and 2 before you need a crunchy jam fix.

Bring it on

Thursday, March 06, 2008

No Sacrifice No Victory

“I play to enjoy myself, some people take this the wrong way, but winning a championship is not what I base everything on. I was given an opportunity to play basketball, travel around and have fun doing it and that’s what I want to do. I wouldn’t take being unhappy and not being myself and winning. I would rather enjoy myself with 18,000-20,000 people watching the game and the people sending fan mail and those things and be happy…I didn’t come here to play the point guard, that’s just it. I came here to run the wing, just like he was running the other wing. I was asked to sacrifice for the team to win and for everybody, I guess, get paid. That is what was told to me and I wasn’t happy with that.”

-Larry Hughes about his playing days with the Cavs

I don't know Larry Hughes. I don't know his situation so I am taking his words at face value. I'd like to summarize what I hear him saying:

1. I don't care if I win a championship

2. I want to play basketball and travel.

3. I don't like being unhappy.

4. If I am unhappy I will not give my best.

5. If I am asked to sacrifice I will not because it will make me unhappy.

6. I like being happy and anything that interferes with that I will leave or not try my best.

This may sound too simplistic but I don't think so. Larry simply echoes human nature. If things are going well I am in. If they are not, I am out of here. I am sure Larry at some point will say that all this was taken out of context. This is also too often the attitude of many Christians. Let me resummarize the list with the attitude of many Christians in mind:

1. I don't care if the Kingdom of God is advanced.

2. I want to enjoy church services, church fellowship and occasionally a Bible Study that does not talk about sacrifice.

3. I don''t like being unhappy.

4. If sacrifice is part of the deal I'm not in.

5. Sacrifice sounds like it will make me unhappy so I will not do it.

6. If my church asks me to sacrifice I am leaving because I want to be somewhere that makes me happy.

We would have to largerly ignore most of the New Testament if we believe that our highest goal and God's ultimate purpose for us is to be happy. We'd have to ignore statements such as:

Take up your cross and follow me.

A seed must go into the ground and die.

Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

We cannot escape the example of Jesus and we cannot ignore His call to sacrifice. To do so would disqualify us from experiencing the very nature of Christ.

Let the Sparks Fly!

Paul Turner