Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Went Down To Georgia

The Real Christmas Story-John MacArthur

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Talain Rayne on NBC (Philly)

View more news videos at:

Excited for Talain Rayne who's debut CD, Attic Lights, is getting much air time. Check out his recent interview on NBC.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Simply Gecko on the Simply Youth Ministry Conference
by Phil Bell

If you haven't signed up for the 2011 Simply Youth Ministry Conference yet, head on over to and register today. The most authentic youth conference you'll ever attend!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Youth Pastor... Be who You Were Created To Be

As much as I desire to be like the "Giants" in ministry, God created me to be me! How about you? Be all you can be... Like Him, like He created you to be!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back-to-School Daze

Following is a discussion starter that I created for a Senior Adult luncheon to help them remember their back-to-school experiences, to see how much times have changed, and to remind them that much prayer is needed for students as they return to their campuses.

Where did you attend grade school?

What is your fondest grade school memory?

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

What was your favorite subject?

What did you want to do/be when you grew up?

What advice do you have for children attending grade school?

Where did you attend Middle/High School?

What year did you graduate?

What is your fondest Middle/High School memory?

What was your biggest struggle?

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

What was your favorite subject?

What was your school mascot?

Who was your best friend? Did you stay connected after graduation?

Did you date a special someone?

What advice do you have for graduates?

What are the biggest changes you see between your high school and the schools of today?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Amazement of Joseph
Gen 45:4-8
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. 7But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.

I am amazed each time I read this passage of scripture where Joseph reassures his brothers (still in semi-shock) that he has no hard feelings, but feels God has overruled their evil plot so as to guarantee Israel that they will indeed be a great nation. Joseph's ability to forgive is but one part, but to have developed the spiritual maturity to understand that all the horrific circumstances in which he faced was only in the bigger plan of God to save the nation of Israel through the suffering of this one man.

However, God's love and plan spread much deeper and wider than even Joseph would have imagined in that through one man, God's Son Jesus, the whole world could be spared due justice by such suffering.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (Jn 3:16-18)

The sacrifice has been made and the forgiveness issued. Do you believe? Have you been saved from eternal torment by the forgiveness of your sins by God's sacrifice, Jesus Christ? Do you understand the depth of His sacrifice, pain, and love? Trust today in the One who came to seek and save that which was lost... you and I!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Virtual Public Schools Soon a Reality

Wow... With all the cutbacks and energy saving plans issued by federal, state, and local governments, I saw this coming. Checkout Jim Liebelt's Youth Culture Watch on Virtual Public Schools.

"The schools would have no desks or lockers, not even a cafeteria to trade gossip over a plate of chicken nuggets. Instead, students could take classes from the comfort of their homes or a neighborhood coffeehouse, as teachers convey lessons via the Internet. This is a snapshot of virtual public schools in Massachusetts, which could open as soon as this fall, enabling hundreds of students to take all their classes online. The schools are being developed under a little-known provision of the state’s sweeping education law enacted in January. The law, which urges districts to pursue innovations, gave local school committees authority to create public schools that operate almost entirely in cyberspace. Across the nation, virtual public schools have been growing in popularity in such states as Texas, Colorado, and Arizona, online education specialists say." Source: Boston Globe

Items for this culture brief are compiled from Jim Liebelt's Youth Culture Watch blog.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Are You In A Cave?

Recently, Robin Dugall posted the following devotion on the Homeword site. I was reminded that "God molds and shapes us in The Cave like nowhere else" and that "He is able to bring new life out of the most desperate of circumstances." What is God teaching you and how are you being encouraged by Jesus in moments when you are in the Cave?

By Robin Dugall
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. (1 Samuel 22:1)

Discouragement is a common emotion to us and is one of the great enemies of the Christ-following experience. It is an enemy of personal drive and vision. It is a cancer that will pull enthusiasm and joy right out of you. But it is also a test, because how you respond to discouragement when things are not going well is one of the most important challenges that you will ever face as a person who loves and follows Jesus.

During the reign of King Saul, a prophet of God, Samuel, anointed young David as the future king of Israel. Even before he became king, the people of the kingdom fell in love with David. Everything he touched turned to gold. He was victorious over one of Israel’s most feared enemies, Goliath. When King Saul struggled with emotional issues, David was there to comfort him. If there was ever a guy who was on a roll, it was David. It appeared that nothing could go wrong for him. Then, one by one, the tables turned. Look over this litany of loss in David’s life:

• He lost his job. He went from shepherd boy to acclaimed warrior to fugitive.
• He lost his popularity, status and income.
• He lost his wife when King Saul gave her to another man.
• He lost his mentor when Samuel died.
• He lost his best friend Jonathan.
• He lost his home. The Bible tells us that he eventually ran to Gath, the land of Israel’s enemies.

After all that David went through, he ended up in the cave of Adullam. He expected a palace but got a cave! Devastating!

Does a cave sound like a place you’ve visited before? The Cave is where you go when all the props, crutches, and all that hold you up gives way; when suddenly, things don’t work out as you’ve envisioned. Maybe you’ve lost a job, financial security, spouse, dream of family life, mentor, friend or health. We’ve all been there. The truth is, sooner or later, everybody logs some serious time in The Cave.

The Cave is where God does some of His best work. God molds and shapes us in The Cave like nowhere else. When you end up in The Cave, I encourage you to embrace it. Why? Because when all you’ve got is God, you quickly come to the realization, that He is enough. Mother Teresa once said, “You’ll never know Jesus is all you need, until Jesus is all you’ve got.” He is able to transform discouragement into encouragement. He transforms fear into confidence. He is able to bring new life out of the most desperate of circumstances. Are you in The Cave? Look for Jesus.

Devo Posted by Homeword

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Finding Jesus in Barnes & Noble

Recently, I was moved by a student at a Barnes & Noble in Indianapolis, IN. My family and I were browsing the store, sitting in comfortable chairs to view our “books of choice,” and drinking a Venti coffee from the Starbucks located in the store, when a loud voice echoed throughout the bookcases and display tables… I just have to find him! I need to touch him! I have to see his face. Jesus, where are you? Jesus, I need to see your face? Jesus! Jesus!

A teen boy with special needs escaped three other teens, and his parents and was moving quickly throughout the shelving while yelling, “I need to find him! By the time they caught him and was able to calm him down, he had already located two employees and drug them to the “Religious and Spirituality” section of the bookstore in hopes that they could help him find Jesus in a picture book. He desired to see the image of Christ and to touch His face.

My 9 year old son looked to me and said, “As funny as that seemed, that was pretty cool. More people should want to see Jesus.” After swallowing deeply and trying to hold back my emotions, “I told Schyler that he was wise beyond his years” and that “many are looking for Jesus, we just fail to show them where to find Him and what He looks like. ”

As I meet people throughout our community, I find that many people are searching for something to fill the void in their hearts and lives, yet they don’t know where to find that unexplainable missing piece of the puzzle. As believers, we know where to find the missing piece; however, we often fail to share the answer with them due to fear and narcissism.

We fail to see that people are hopeless and have no purpose without Christ. We fail to recognize that non-believers need to experience the merciful grace of God and understand the affection and tenderness of the Father. We fail to express to those that are lost that God looks upon the fallen, and seeks to rescue them from the deep and eternal wounds of sin.

We have forgotten that “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” We have forgotten that it is “by grace you have been saved.” (Eph. 2:4-5) We have forgotten that were once obedient to Satan, children of wrath by nature and choice, godless and unclean, separated from God, strangers to the promise, and destined for Hell. We have forgotten that we too were searching for the hope that only Jesus can provide.

What will it take for us to see THE CAUSE for what it really is? What needs to happen for us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who are lost and seeking? Are we prepared to take the time to “Go Wide” by showing someone how they might experience life as it was crated to be? Do we even know how and have the courage to effectively share the GOSPEL message? Are we prepared to take the time to “Go Deep” and walk through the journey with someone and help disciple them? Do we even desire to see Him…to touch Him…to Go into the world and preach the Gospel, so that others might do the same in eternity?

I don’t know if the teen boy found the picture he wanted, but the one that was shared with him by the clerk calmed him down and gave him a sense of peace. If the image of Christ in a book can subside anxiety, give hope, and create a peace in one’s life in a Barnes & Noble Bookstore, how much more can the God of life, hope, and purpose give to someone who’s destitute? Let’s do as God desires and commands… Share THE CAUSE!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

My Most Difficult Responsibility
Nelson Searcy just posted "FDR on Sermon Preparation…" on his blog where he quoted an article on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was once asked how long it would take to prepare an address on a particular theme. “That depends on how long you want me to speak,’ the President answered.

“If you want an hour on the issue, I can be ready in two days. If you want thirty minutes, it will take me a week. If you want five minutes, it may take a month to prepare.”

FDR knew that arriving at the essence of a message is one of the most demanding exercises of all and takes more time to refine shorter addresses. I find this the most challenging aspect of my ministry. With my present responsibilities, I choose, prepare, and write curriculum that spans from Nursery-College. There are weeks where I prepare up to 6 talks per week. A new volunteer base has alleviated some of that responsibility; however, I prep a minimum of four talks a week.

FDR states that, “…Arriving at the essence is one of the most demanding exercises of all.” Agreed! I find it very difficult to be the creative speaker that I know that I can be and that God desires, because of the limited hours to focus on a particular message and to develop it in the way that I know it could connect and engage my listeners. I desire the hours in a week to refine my talks to the point where each child, student, and adult would be "caused" to learn and "persuaded" to act upon the God given message.

I teach and preach for transformation; however, I leave many speaking engagements thinking... "it could have been so much better, so much more refined, so much more creative and engaging if only I had the time deemed necessary for that message." Sometimes the creative juices aren't as creative as I would hope. I would love to spend 20 hours on a message like Andy Stanley and many other great communicators I know and listen to; however, that is just not possible at this period and juncture.

I wrestle with this week after week understanding that God uses me despite my feelings of inadequacy after speaking sometimes to hundreds. Part of this feeling sprouts from possessing an "A-type" personality; however, I really do not have adequate time to prepare. But, I also realize that my most difficult responsibility allows me to see God move in some way that I know that it is not me, but Him. I understand that if He can use a donkey to carry His message, He can use me despite my feelings of unpreparedness. At least, no one has fallen out of a window sill like the incident with the Apostle Paul!

If you feel you do not get the time you need to prepare a message, know you are not alone and continue to strive for ample time and quality in what you have been allotted. Know that I am praying for you as I request you to pray for me. And, even though we feel limited, God will continue to use us if we are willing to withstand the pressure and time restraints. Preaching On!

Nelson has a training session called “Planning a One Year Preaching Calendar” that is also very helpful if you struggle with the organization of your message schedule. It can help you plan your themes for the year with purpose.

FDR on Sermon Preparation… by Nelson Searcy

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Glee Comes to Student Ministry
from Mariner's Church

Glee | Mariners Church Easter from Old Number 9 on Vimeo.

Hilarious video by Mariners Church who features my friend Allison Hibbard! Go Allison! Found on Josh’s blog and DC Curry's Blog!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Finally... Something in my Size!!!

SEATTLE, April 1, 2010 –Starbucks announced today the introduction of two new beverage sizes in stores in the U. S. and Canada this Fall. The announcement follows a year of research and direct customer feedback through requesting even more choice in beverage size.
“Whether customers are looking for a large or small size, the Plenta and the Micra satisfy all U.S. and Canada customers’ needs for more and less coffee,” said Hugh Mungis, Starbucks VP of Volume. “Our size selection is now plentiful.”

Plenta™ (128 fl oz) and Micra™ (2 fl oz) cups arrive in Starbucks stores this Fall. Derived from Italian word for plentiful or small, the Plenta™ delivers coffee lovers record amounts of the world’s finest coffee beverages while the Micra™ delivers a quick and satisfying morsel of goodness.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jesus Is Lord

Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)

In the Gospels there is a graphic story of Jesus standing before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. At one point in the story Pilate offers to release a prisoner to the Jews. He offers either Jesus or Barabbas (who was a troublemaker and murderer). The crowd asks for Barabbas to be freed. Pilate doesn't know what to do. He asks the crowd, "What shall I do with the man Jesus?" They cry, "Crucify him!"

The question Pilate asked, "What will you do with Jesus?" is still the important question of the day. When people today are confronted with Christ, they basically have four options. Which option have you chosen?

1. Reject Him. Turn your back on Jesus and live your life without Him.

2. Ignore Him. Choose to be an Easter and Christmas Christian. Acknowledge His deity but keep Him out of the practical daily activities of your life.

3. Appease Him. There are the people who go through the motions of Christianity but still keep the lordship of Christ at a distance.

4. Obey Him. If you obey Him you are choosing to make Him Lord of your life. You are no longer in control, He is. You choose to obey His will and His Word.

What will you do with the claims of Christ in your life? If you fall into one of the categories besides obedience, then perhaps it's time to make Him the Lord of your life. If you believe He is Christ the Savior, then your only true option is to make Him Christ the Lord also!

What does Acts 2:36 tell us about what God made Jesus to be?

Assuming that Jesus is Lord (and He is), what will you do with Jesus Christ? Of the four possible options above which option have you chosen?
If you believe that Jesus is your savior then the next step is to make Him your Lord and give him control of your life.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

1 By Youth--Indianapolis
May 1st, 2010

How you’ll serve

You will become co-creators of a miraculous transformation of a whole neighborhood! The impact of your service will be a part of an effort that includes a full square mile community transformation through God's love.

Landscape E. 10th Street United Methodist Church, School and Gardens

Outdoor Cleanup of St. Philip Neri Catholic Parish and School

Alley cleanup throughout entire neighborhood

Planting flowers throughout the public spaces of a whole neighborhood

Remove the invasive honeysuckle from a city park

Clearing trees/shurbs over grown plant life in the public right of way

Cleaning up graffiti

Light construction to help repair homes

Paint houses

Create a neighborhood wide art project through murals

Plant Peace Gardens to feed the hungry throughout the neighborhood

Provide service to residents of a nursing home and retirement community

Schedule //

7:00 a.m. Participants check in (Indiana State Fairgrounds)

8:00 a.m. Kickoff Rally!

8:30 a.m. Depart for projects (St. Clair Place)

12:00 p.m. Lunch and Devotions at project sites

4:30 p.m. Block Party Celebration

6:00 p.m. Depart for home

Youth Serving //

Register by April 4th...

The $29 per person registration fee includes a kickoff rally to start the day, supplies and project materials, lunch, devotional materials for mid-day break, service project selection and organization, and a neighborhood Block Party Celebration to finish the day!

All that's needed is to come and serve!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

IMPACT Series: Can I Get a Witness?
Beginning March 28th

Telling the story of Jesus begins by being available and having a willingness to share, which means being available and obedient to follow where God leads us to share. Telling the story of Jesus isn’t just for a select few, Christians are commanded to share the Gospel message to anyone and everyone. We are to tell the story of Jesus as we go about our normal day.

Telling the story of Jesus simply requires that we accept people for who they are and where they are in life and being willing to share with them about Jesus. Why? People without Christ are without purpose and hope.

We must understand the urgency of sharing Christ. People who do not know Christ are lost in their sin and are dead without Jesus. Also, those without Christ need to know about God’s grace, and as a follower of Christ, you have firsthand knowledge about that grace.

During this series, it is my prayer that you may gain confidence by praying for others and learning to share the basics of the gospel?

Romans 3:23--We are all sinners.
Romans 6:23--There is a penalty to be paid and that penalty is death.
Romans 5:8--That penalty has been paid by Jesus Christ... where He took our place on the cross to pay for our sin.
Romans 10:9-10; 13--To be saved, we must call upon Jesus, confess Him as Savior, and believe in Him alone as Lord. This action requires us to repent from our sin, trust in Him for salvation, and submit to Him.

Are you ready? Join us on Sunday, March 28th.

Friday, March 05, 2010

God... Are You There?
It seems to me that I am having more and more conversations with Christians today who are feeling abandoned by God. The Bible is very clear that He will never leave us, nor forsake or abandon us. In the midst of controversy and trials, we often feel like we are alone. Jim Liebelt recently blogged about this very subject.

Jim stated, "You’re not alone. In fact, most Christians experience this feeling somewhere along the line. But the reality is that God is always present and His love for you never changes. He loves you just the way you are. You are unique. According to Scripture, you are God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). God's love for you is unconditional, unchanging and unending. If you are willing, God will actually use these dark moments to help refine and build your faith."

Read more at... Jim Liebelt at Homeword

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Derwin Gray, The Evangelism Linebacker
Johnnie and Chachie's
Killer Youth Ministry Tips

Killer Youth Ministry Tips from Igniter Media on Vimeo.


Rappin' Jake, A.K.A. Spanky D, pulls off another monster video hit at SYMC 2010. Jake ROCKS!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

SYMC 2010 Has Arrived!!!
SYMC 2010 has finally arrived and it is going to be an amazing time to connect and reflect with some of the most creative and passionate people in Youth Ministry. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or SYMC Connect throughout the conference to catch the latest updates and happenings! If you are attending the conference, look me up, buy me some Starbucks, and let's talk about how we can effectively share the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ with students in our communities.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Agape Instructional Indoor Soccer League (K-5th)
Thursday's Feb. 11 thru March 18
Registration starts at 6:00pm
6:15-7:30 Instruction and game
$25 child includes a T-Shirt $20 for 2 or more in a family

Friday, February 05, 2010

Claim Your Campus

Claim Your Campus "Frozen" from Claim Your Campus on Vimeo.

…where prayer unites students, churches, and communities

What would happen if students across the country were praying every day on every campus? The goal of Claim Your Campus (CYC) is to have students praying on every campus every day of the week. This happens through uniting students and ministries in your community to pray.

Think of the profound difference on the local school and community, as well as our nation. Check out Claim Your Campus to register your school and see how you can get involved!
Star Wars Sneakers

from by

Adidas has paired with Lucasfilm to produce the brand-new Star Wars Collection. Each shoe in the line is inspired by a character or vehicle from the legendary film.

According to Fox News, you can get the character shoes now, but you'll have to wait if you're after the X Wing ... the vehicle pack comes out in March.

Want more? You can also find shirts, hoodies and other apparel within the line. Visit or

Whether you're a 'Star Wars' fan, a pop culture aficionado or a sneaker freak, click through to check out these hot shoes.
'Star Wars' Sneakers!

from by

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Friday, January 29, 2010

2010 On-Line Mission Trip

Are you packed and ready to go? Beginning this Sunday, for two solid weeks, you have an opportunity to relentlessly share the Gospel of Jesus Christ on your Social Network of choice. I know... you can do this anytime! However, you are joining 3000+ other students and student ministers in the effort to unashamedly share the hope that one can have in a relationship with the one true God through His son Jesus Christ. So, "hop on the bus" and join me and many others in this amazing opportunity to be On-Mission, On-Line.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

JR Winterfest 2010 Retreat

This last weekend, some volunteers (Matt and Heather Rollins and Jennifer Smith) and I, took 3rd-6th graders to Camp Illiana for the Jr Winterfest 2010 Retreat, where the kids experienced worship, teaching, recreational activities, and a great camp experience. A good time was had by all! Thanks to all who participated and volunteered and to those who created the experience by planning, hosting, serving, and pointing Children to Jesus Christ.

Monday, January 18, 2010

CIY Believe (Jr. High)
2010 Messiah Tour @ Anderson U

April 16-17
Cost: $50+Food and Souvenirs
($25 and Registration due Feb. 21st/remaining $25 due by April 4th)
World Vision Disaster Relief Efforts
Text Haiti followed by the amount you want to donate to 56512 and then reply YES to confirm to support World Vision Disaster Relief Efforts.
Doug Fields on SYMC 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

To Save A Life

To Save A Life is showing at Honey Creek West 8 Theater beginning January 22nd.

Student IMPACT will be viewing this relevant and thought provoking movie on Sunday, January 24th at 3:50pm. Plan to meet at Agape by 3:20pm. Because of the content, it is rated PG-13; therefore, 6-7th Grade Students need parental permission.

I have 20 FREE tickets for IMPACT Students/Volunteers. First come first serve! Please invite friends. I need to know a count by Wednesday, Jan. 13th. Any other attenders/parents will have to the pay regular price of $7.75 at the door.
To Save A Life is a must see!