Friendly, but not friends

My son doesn't like somebody. It's kind of sad. He's not even three. To be fair, the person he doesn't like is a pretty annoying kid. I tried to explain that he doesn't have to be friends with everybody, but he has to be friendly. For his age that meant, you have to be nice to them.
All the time I'll talk to kids who are really nice, but they feel bad because they don't want to necessarily be friends with some of the kids in our youth group. They feel bad because they can only invite so many friends to their party, and they don't want to waste an invitation.
I just tell them that just because they are both Christians, doesn't mean that they are going to be friends. There are lots of other things that make friendships work. So I encourage them to be friendly, but not necessarily friends. JM

Psalm 61

"When I am afraid Carry me away to a high mountain".
I love mountains. Whenever I'm standing on top of one I feel like I can think better, that time slows down, and that I'm somehow closer to God. Part of it is just being out in nature surrounded by the beauty that God created for me, but I think part of it is something magical that happens when you're up there.
This is now one of my favorite verses. I love the thought that when I am afraid that God would take me away to a high mountain. That means something to me. I love that the word of God is living and active. It can speak like no other book.


Car Problems

We got our car back from the shop tonight. Total bill was $916.84. Yeah, you read that right. So much stinking money. But at least now I have a shiny new distributor, cap, rotor, spark plug wires, and spark plugs. I can't wait to show them off. The cool thing about it was that I was able to write a check using money from our emergency fund, and we didn't have to go into debt at all over this. JM

Psalm 60

Ever notice that the stuff that hurts the worst is when people you trust betray you. It cuts so much deeper. It's the worst feeling in the world when someone that you care about acts as if they don't care about you. JM

Run 8

I ran 2.52 miles in 30:00 minutes this afternoon. My heart rate stayed really low too. The highest I ever saw it was 156. So at least there's some improvement.
Week - 2.52 miles - 30:00
Month - 15.83 miles - 3:10:00
Year - 17.76 miles - 3:30:00

The South Will Rise Again

Sportscenter is on. My son (3 on April 19) loves to watch sports. He's in the living room right now and just told me "Daddy, Nascar is on!" I guess I'm still trying to adjust to life in the South. It was a sad moment for me. I guess next he'll get a beer belly, a rebel flag tattoo, and start referring to Jeff Gordon as a pretty boy. JM


Concert Of Prayer

Tonight we had a concert of prayer at my church for our building campaign that we are starting. Basically it's a group prayer meeting with some music. We broke up the prayer into ACTS - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Our pastors each had a different letter. My letter was C - Confession.
Kind of a tough assignment for me since I like to use so much humor. At the last minute I actually decided to start with kind of a joke because the person that did Adoration was a lot more lighthearted than I was going to be. My joke died a horrible death. I knew I shouldn't have done it.
I only got to talk for 2 minutes, but it was so much fun. I love doing that. I prayed that God would use what I said to impact people, and I really think that he did. I can't remember the exact number, but at least 8 people said something to me about how well I did.
I don't mention that to be like "Wow, I'm awesome" or anything, but I do think that God is using these opportunities that I have to prepare me to move to being a teaching/senior pastor.
At the end, one lady asked me if I was sure that God hadn't called me into preaching. I didn't really respond, but I'm beginning to really believe that he has. I just pray that God can use the gifts that he's given me to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine. JM


Watching the oscars makes me want to watch more movies. I really don't like a lot of movies, but I love some of them. I love it when a film can move me emotionally. I really felt that in "Little Miss Sunshine". I want to see "Adaptation", "Letters From Iwo Jima", "Flags Of Our Fathers", "Blood Diamond", and "The Pursuit Of Happyness".
It's just tough to watch movies with little kids in the house. In the last year I saw "Little Miss Sunshine", "We Are Marshall", "Cars", and "Happy Feet". That really may be it. Pretty sad.
(By the way, Happy Feet was pathetic compared to Cars. It only won the oscar because the academy liked it's don't judge people message better than the life is a journey message in cars.)

Matthew 12:43-50

Sometimes Jesus seems so mean. I know that's kind of a weird thing to say, but not being willing to talk to his mom and his brothers, and then saying that his true family was his disciples. I guess when you look at why he didn't want to talk to them (they wanted to take him away because they thought he was crazy) it makes a little more sense.
I guess that's one of the really cool things about Jesus. He doesn't mess around. It's kind of like having a pine cone war. If you're going to go to the trouble of throwing pine cones at each other, you might as well count headshots, they just might sting a little.
Sorry if that didn't make much sense, but from my end, it's beautiful. JM


Matthew 12:38-42

Evil people ask for signs from God. It means that we're not relying on our faith in Him. We want proof. We want to know for sure.
But the thing is, we will never know for sure. Even if God gave us a million signs, we would still have to step out in faith. So we might as well do it with no signs, just the raw belief that God is fighting for our best interest and that to serve Him is the best decision we can ever make. JM

Fat Girls Love Cookies

This is my daughter after eating about 10 Chips Ahoy Thin Crisps. Enough Said. JM

Home Page Simplicity

I'm constantly trying to encourage my church to simplify our web page, we're making progress, but it's going to take a complete redesign in order to get there. I love Mars Hill's page. It would be tough to get more simple. Awesome work. JM

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own Part II

The worst part of my job is that there are times when I have to be away from my family for days at a time. It's what makes me know that I'm not cut out for youth ministry. I just can't handle that. Maybe it's part of God preparing me to move onto something else. JM

The Joys Of Car Ownership

My wife and I are finally starting to feel pretty comfortable financially. We are rapidly paying off debt, we have a nice little emergency fund set up, and we have a balanced and working budget.
Wednesday night while I was out of town, my wife's car died and wouldn't start for her again, leaving her stranded. God worked it out because she was meeting a friend for dinner and the car coasted into the restaurant parking lot. It could have been much worse. She didn't have the kids with her, and she was meeting a friend who was able to give her a ride. She doesn't have a cell phone, so she could have been completely stranded with no way to call for help and with two small kids.
The car is in the shop right now. I just hope it's something simple and cheap. Well, really just cheap. I need to do a better job of maintaining our cars, so thankfully I found this chart that tells you what to do (or have done) and when. JM

Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own

I went on Tuesday to retake the pretrip part of my CDL test. I passed. I only had to get 42, and I got a 47. So I go in to get my license. The lady asks me if I have my highway watch. I say "I'm Sorry?" Again "Do you have you're highway watch?" I stare at her as if she has four heads.
Turns out because I don't have my highway watch (a homeland security mandate that all CDL drivers must pass a test being alert for terrorism) I can't get my license.
This is great because I was supposed to drive a group of 45 to go skiing in 12 hours. So I had to call my backup guy.
The whole experience was frustrating for me because I had no idea that I needed it. I hate surprises. Made me really glad that I had my backup plan ready to go. JM

They Don't Know What They're Missing

One of my favorite things about taking middle schoolers skiing is that for most of them it is their first time going. I'm kind of a natural teacher, so I love the opportunity to help kids have fun and stretch themselves. I convinced two little guys to get off of the bunny slope and go up the lift with me.
We go up and they're all nervous. We were just going to do a green, but if it's your first time, then it can be quite nerve-wracking. We ski down, and they both do great. One didn't fall at all, and the other one only fell once. They had a great time pushing themselves and seeing what they could do.
As soon as we got to the bottom, they wanted to do it again. On our way back up the lift, one of the kids looks down at the bunny slope and remarks about our kids that were still just doing that saying "They don't know what they're missing!"
It was awesome to hear his excitement. He was so jazzed about skiing down the big mountain.
The same is true for being passionate about God. So many people are happy to just ski the bunny slope by going to church, but not getting involved in ministry or letting God really impact their lives. They seem scared to go up on the lift and really pursue God with a passion. But once they try it, they realize that everybody else doesn't know what they are missing.

Ski Trip Recap

Our ski trip was short and sweet, just like it's supposed to be. We ran into traffic twice on the way up there (once in Atlanta and once just south of Asheville) so I had to kind of modify our schedule. Basically I ripped out my speaking time that afternoon so that we could still get to skiing on time. I did that because the purpose of this trip is basically to build relationships and have fun. If it had been discipleship or something else, then I wouldn't have cared about missing some of our ski time.
Skied that night for 4 hours. Pretty good weather. Cool, calm, empty, not bad snow. The next day was super windy. Probably about 30 - 35 mph gusts. At one point I was on the top of the mountain pointing my skis straight down a steep grade, but I wasn't moving because the wind was holding my body up like a sail.
Kids all slept well. The hotel was nice. The worst part about it was the night manager who was a little bit stressed out. He talked to me about 3 rooms of our kids that were evidently being loud or something. I went and checked out the rooms. The first room was being quiet and all of them were in there. The other two rooms were from another group. I pointed this out to Mr. Beligerent Night Manager who proceeded to be embarassed and apologize profusely.
Made it home at 8:30 PM (scheduled to return at 9:00 PM). Parents love it when you're early. Anything but late. I try to respect their time, and I hope they respect mine.
Kids were great. Had several visitors that all had a good time. We'll follow up with them and see if we can create some legitimate prospects out of it.
Good time. No injuries. Highly recommend Wolf Ridge. JM


Guess Who's Back...

I got back from ski trip last night. Not much time to post right now, but wanted to get down thoughtlines for posts I need to make over the next day or so:
1. Ski Trip Recap
2. They Don't Know What They're Missing
3. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
4. The Joys Of Car Ownership
5. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own Part II



I'm so stinking busy right now. I have to finish preparations for our ski trip on Wednesday, prepare lessons for the Crucible, prepare for our Sunday night concert of prayer, prepare for our Wednesday night student prayer night, and plan out our spring ministry dates for an informational flyer. I'll post when I get a chance to catch up on things, but don't expect a lot the next couple of days. Until then. JM


Ecclesiastes 1

Anytime you are sad read Ecclesiastes. It always helps me. I love Ecclesiastes 1:18 "With much wisdom comes much disappointment; the person who gains more knowledge also gains more sorrow." JM


August 8, 2003 is one of the most significant days in my life. That's the day that I surrendered my life to full-time vocational ministry. The week preceding that was one of the most interesting weeks I've ever had. My wife and I had returned from a trip to Gatlinburg that we took with a student ministry team from our church. I didn't lead the trip, or really do anything on it, so it is kind of incidental to the story.
When we returned on Sunday I kind of slipped into a funk. It was weird. I never really felt fully awake. The more I thought about it, it seemed as if my peace had left me. Kind of what C.S. Lewis referred to as "the dark night of the soul." I began to think and pray about what it could mean for me. After talking to somebody about it, and then discussing it with my wife, we felt that I needed to go into full-time ministry.
It was an immediate, emotional moment for me. Instantly I felt renewed. I felt a sense of purpose and envigoration.
The problem is, right now I'm there again. I talked with a student tonight about some stuff that he is dealing with. It was great. I loved it. But, immediately afterward, I felt empty. I felt the same way that I did back in August of 2003.
What's awesome about this is that I feel like God will give me direction out of this. And I know that I'll end up happier than I ever could imagine. But being here is lonely. It's sad. I feel like I'm floating in space, unable to control my direction, my speed and helpless to communicate to anyone about my situation.
Reminds me of Brave Saint Saturn's song "Daylight". JM


Run 6

I'm starting to have a little bit of ITB pain, but I think I can resolve that with stretching. Still no patellar tendonitis pain. I ran 2.52 miles in 30:00.
Week - 7.53 miles - 90:00
Month - 10.80 miles - 130:00
Year - 12.80 miles - 150:00

Run 5

This was actually last night, but I forgot to record it. I did 2.51 miles in 30:00. My heart rate is still higher than I would like (158), but I don't want to slow down anymore. I'm just not going to add any speed until I get it to stay down around 150. I'll just add time.
Week - 5.01 miles - 60:00
Month - 8.28 miles - 100:00
Year - 10.28 miles - 120:00

Matthew 12:33-37

How scary is it that we are going to be held accountable for "every careless thing" we have said. Right now one of the major things I am struggling with is my anger. If you know me, then that is probably really surprising to you. I hide it extremely well, but I have a tendency to instantly express my frustrations through anger. I'm starting to improve on it, though. My strategy is instead of yelling, or saying something that I would regret, I pray. Out loud. It's really helped me so far. JM

Guys And Dolls

A lot of ministries are run just like the mission in Guys and Dolls. We don't do anything to interest non-Christians. We have to rely on gimmicks to get them in. Then once we do, our goal is to make sure that they know what sinners they are. Then we ask them to break into song. Well, maybe not that last part, but we can certainly do better. JM

Letting Go

I'm going to be a mess when my kids go away to college. My son who turns 3 in April just left for a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese. He was really excited to go, but Eryn and I couldn't go. So he went by himself. Our neighbor whose daughter was having the party picked him up. I got sad just watching him walk away.

It's funny the stuff you think about. Of course you hope that nothing bad happens, but then you worry about how he'll behave and hope that he'll be good. I kept telling him to be good and listen to Versaille's (the birthday girl) mommy and daddy. He's such a big boy. JM


Ordeal or No Big Deal

Bobby Gruenewald posted about how he got stuck on the interstate in a snowstorm in Pennsylvania with some other guys from lifechurch. It sounds like their circumstances worked out well, and they were able to not be in too much discomfort as they sat in their car without moving for 18 hours. This is one of those potentially terrible moments, though. The difference would have been if their families had been with them. Me and some buddies = no big deal. Me and the wife and kids = a horrific ordeal.
I always wonder what it's like out there for stranded motorists, and Bobby's post is a great insight into it. Great to see the collective spirit take over in survivalist situations. Screw altruism. JM

Matthew 12:22-32

It's so awesome to think about the fact that "the kingdom of God has come to" us. Isn't that incredible. God became flesh and redeemed mankind. Amazing thought.
I wonder if I would have been like the pharisees and not recognized it. We have a tendency to think that anything new is obviously bad and not of God. I wonder. JM

Camp Rules & Creativity

Mark Oestricher points out this great video. If you have to communicate something, why not do it creatively. Awesome, awesome idea. JM

Finding Nemo

I love the part at the end of Finding Nemo where he jumps in the net to save the fish. His dad cares about the fish, but isn't willing to get in the net with the fish.
I think this really translates to how churches typically do ministry. We're like Marlin (the dad). We want to save the fish and we hope that they are able to survive, but we are unwilling to help them. Any help we give to them comes in the form of advice and sympathy.
Jesus wants us to be like Nemo and come alongside them in their struggle. The difference is huge.


Matthew 12:15-21

I love it when people tell other people about what I did for them. It really makes me feel good. Yeah, I feign like I don't really need it or like it, but man, I love that kind of stuff.
Jesus lived a life that was completely different than any example before. No matter what you think of him, you have to admit that he was an extremely interesting guy. I wonder how much wisdom I could glean just from spending a day with him. JM

Bus License Failure

I failed my bus driving test today. This has been an ubelievably frustrating experience for me. What's really frustrating for me is that I passed the basic skills test (straight-line backing, blind-side parallel parking, sight-side parallel parking, and alley docking), I passed the road test, but I failed the pre-trip inspection.
Even more frustrating was that my instructor said that I nailed the interior part, but I didn't do the inspection that I needed to do on the leaf springs, U-bolts, steering column, shock absorbers, and brake lines. I doubt I could find that stuff on a bus. So now I have to try to go back on Tuesday afternoon to take the pre-trip over. Really frustrating. It wouldn't be as frustrating if I didn't have a trip the next day that I planned on driving for. UGGH! JM


Wikipedia Of Church Technology

Awesome, awesome idea: wikipedia for church technology. I've already learned stuff and it's still brand new with limited info. JM

Run 4

Forgot to post my run from last night. I'm way behind on my mileage, but I'm running when I can and trying to not get injured. Still feel great and have no patellar tendonitis pain.
Week - 2.50 miles - 30:00 minutes
Month - 5.77 miles - 70:00 minutes
Year - 7.77 miles - 90:00 minutes

Matthew 12:9-14

I love the Pharisees. They're so much like me. When they are not getting the glory they get all jealous and mad and stuff. I wouldn't go so far as wanting to kill somebody, but I can really feel where they are coming from.
The problem is that it's sin. I love seeing others succeed when I'm succeeding. It's when I'm frustrated that I really don't want to hear about other's successes. Maybe one day I'll grow up and repent. JM

Valentine's Day

My wife is awesome. She threw a Valentine's Day party for all of the kids she watches. She spent $70 of her own money on this. It was awesome to see. I wish I could have been here for it. I love her.

The other day someone asked me what my favorite attribute was of my wife: the way she loves our children. JM


I spend way too much time in ministry trying to fix the problems. I look at a kid who is struggling with purity and I want to show him steps to living a pure life. I look at a kid who is struggling with gossip and I want to show him how to give it up.
The problem is that I'm not really sure if they want to give it up. The problem is not their sin, it's that they don't have a passion for God. If they did, then it would be much easier for them to attack their weakness.
I want to focus more on showing students how to live God-honoring lives by falling passionately in love with him. The problem is, I'm not sure if I know how to do that.
Nevertheless, we have a ski trip next week where we will have two short sessions. I now have my topic. I'm going to talk about symptoms, diseases, and having a passion for God.


Lectio Devina & Centering Prayer

So I'm reading a book called Contemplative Youth Ministry. The section that I just finished talks about lectio devina and centering prayer. I've never tried either, but it seems like basically spending quiet time doing nothing but focusing on God and simply spending time with him. I'm hoping to try it during my sabbath time this month. The guy says to try to do it everyday, but I know I wouldn't be able to just wake up, focus and do it. So I'll wait. JM

Matthew 12:1-9

I work every Sunday. I don't keep a sabbath. One of those is not a bad thing, and one really is. Since I work at a church, I have to work on Sundays. It doesn't really matter, though. Jesus is pointing out the meaning behind the law. But the problem is that I don't keep a sabbath. Not that there needs to be a day where I religiously don't do any work, but that I take time away to spend it with God. I'd like to start taking 3 hours every month to spend alone where I'm not doing anything but spending time with God through reading the bible, devotional books, praying, and stuff like that. I think that would really help me. I'll try to schedule some time later in the month to do that. JM


Granger Regional Workshops

Everybody always seems so gung-ho to go to big conferences. I love them, too. But I think it's way more cost effective when great conferences come to you. This year Atlanta will get several, but two that I am majorly interested in are the National Youth Workers Convention and Granger's Communications Regional Workshop. I'm going to sign up for the communications workshop tomorrow. It's April 24, and if you're nearby, you should check it out. They also have one on first impressions and one on strategic growth.
A lot of people on our staff are going to Newspring's unleash conference. While I think it will be beneficial, I definitely don't think it is worthy of our whole staff going out there. There context is so different from ours. I know we could learn a lot, but it seems as if it would be more cost effective to send one or two people to it to glean the information and bring it back to us. JM

Noah Outside

Here's some Noah pics, too. JM

Outside Playtime

Ana loves outside. Mainly she just likes picking up leaves to eat them, but we made her swing and slide today, too. It was like 60 degrees today, so definitely nice enough to take the kids out for some exercise. JM

Matthew 11:25-30

I can't imagine not being a Christian. Not having hope. Not having a controlling force. I mean, how do you decide what to do? Whether something is the right decision or not. On what moral ground can you base any decision without God?
That's why I'm glad that God gave us the Holy Spirit and the Bible. Man, it's so true that his yoke is easy and his burden is light.
My life has been so much easier with God. Not like care-free or anything. But just smoother. Not filled with worry. It's awesome. JM


Matthew 11:20-24

Pastors always like to talk about how their region is the toughest to do ministry. The northeast is "over" God. The midwest just isn't really into God. The northwest has moved past God. The west is too cool for God. The Southeast already thinks they know God.
I think everywhere is basically equally tough. Most people think that the South is easy to do ministry in. I think it's amazingly hard for several reasons.
First, everybody already thinks they are a Christian. When you present the gospel, you're telling people something they've heard since the day they were born.
Second, Church is just a part of life. To expect there to be spirituality and passion for God behind church attendance is ludicrous.
Third, the south does not like to brace new ideas, just look at all of the rebel flags still flying.
Added on to that, my ministry area is extremely affluent and transient. Most people in my city are not from this area, so they are always looking to go home on vacation or permanently. We also have tons of pilots in our church, so they can travel anywhere they want for free. A 3-day weekend is a chance to go to Italy.
I can imagine a piece of Jesus frustration when people didn't get what he was saying. It's kind of refreshing to know that even Jesus grew frustrated. JM

Newlywed Game

I had an awesome time tonight with my small group. We got together for a Valentine's Day party and played The Newlywed Game. It was the most that I've laughed in a long time. Eryn and I came in second place. We would have performed worse, but we talked about some stuff that may come up beforehand. Really came in handy.
Another awesome thing was that our neighbors, Martin and Vikki, came to the party. They don't go to church anywhere and we would love to see them join us at our church. Not only did they come, I think that they enjoyed themselves tremendously. It was just great to see everybody in our group being friendly. Not that I should be surprised, we have some of the nicest people in the world in our group.
So tomorrow, Martin and Vikki are supposed to come to church. That would be awesome. They are great people. JM

Matthew 11:16-19

I love how much people like to hate on things. It's like a natural thing within all of us to criticize. Especially when we are confronted with something that really makes us think and analyze where we are as people. If someone shows me something that makes me think I'm a bad husband, then I think "where does he get off saying that, he's uneducated." If someone shows me something that makes me think I don't have control of my finances, then I think "where does he get off saying that, he's not a Christian."
People love to question ministry. It shows you two things:
1. You can't make everybody love you
2. You need to live a life that is above reproach.


Any Questions?

Seth Godin has a great post about what he calls "sheepwalking", which he defines "as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line."
It's a great post about how as a society we train people to not question things or think for themselves. We do this a lot in student ministry. We tell students about God, tell them to love Jesus, and never let them find out things on their own.
I don't think that we need to let kids screw their lives up by making tons of mistakes, but I think their is an incredible amount of power in helping students make their faith their own. We don't like to do it, though because we are so scared that students may choose something else. I'd rather take that chance and have 10 students who really know what they believe and care about it than have 1,000 who just say they do because that's what they were told. JM

Birthday Party Behaviors

I love watching my son interact with other kids. We went to one of his little friend's birthday parties today. Noah played well with all of the other kids and was nice and listened to all of the adults. But I loved that he told Nate thank you and your welcome. It's just awesome to see him start to do the right thing on his own without us constantly breathing down his neck. JM

Open Source With The Mrs.

I showed Eryn a rough draft of the DVD that I'm making to shop for senior/teaching pastor jobs. Always a good idea to let the wife see things. Get her support on things first, then move forward with the project. She didn't like one of the pictures on the menu page, so that will have to be updated.
Most of the project is coming along fairly well. Hopefully I'll be able to start burning sometime next week. JM

Fast Cars

Driving fast is fun. Sometimes I forget that. But it sure is fun.
Lots of other stuff is fun, too. Sometimes we forget it. Doesn't make it not fun, though.
Seeing God work through me is fun. Sometimes I forget that. But it sure is fun. JM


Kids and Shades

This is great. We tried getting a picture of Ana in some pink sunglasses. It went well until the camera came out. Then it became a game/batlle.
I have the most beautiful daughter in the world. JM


Now we're not getting a minivan, but my wife is still going to watch the kids. Here's how awesome God is. My neighbor has a daughter that Eryn watches. She was talking to Eryn today and offered to watch Noah and her daughter while Eryn goes to pick up the two other kids that she'll be watching from school. Meaning that Eryn can fit everybody in one vehicle and that we don't have to go into debt.
That is so awesome. I was looking forward to getting the van, but I would rather wait to get it until we absolutely had to have it. This way we can hopefully save up some money and maybe pay cash for a van or at least put down a massive down payment on one.
It's awesome how much God blesses you when you honor him with your tithe. I've been really bad about it all my life, but I just switched this year to having it automatically taken out of my bank account every payday. That way there's no debating what we should do with the money because it's already gone.
God is definitely the great provider. JM

Matthew 11:7-15

I love hearing passionate speakers. Jesus obviously got frustrated with people. Why wouldn't he. We're stupid.
But I love how Jesus points to John who everybody respects and admires and then says that the least person in the kingdom of heaven is greater than that. I think once we get to the new heaven and the new earth that we will all have jobs and do things. But I think that are importance there will be inversely related to our importance here.
That's at least a refreshing thought for me as I'm pretty much the scum of the earth right now. At least I'll end up well. JM

Blogging Church Update

After I finished reading the blogging church I wanted to use their idea of creating a blog for a special event to aid in promotion and publicity. We are about to start a financial giving campaign to build a new community life center at my church. So I talked to one of my bosses about possibly setting up a blog that could be used to communicate during the campaign and during the building and renovation phases. We could post pictures, give updates, communicate vision, and keep people excited about what is happening.
Well this morning my boss told me that they liked the idea and that we're going to do it. Of course, it was thrown to me to set it up, but that's easy. I think it could be really cool. It will have 3 authors, but I'm going to talk to each of them and make sure that each one of them is posting at least once per week and putting a heavy emphasis on photos. I'll post a link once it's up and running. JM


My wife, Eryn, is probably going to start watching two kids 3 days a week (we'll know for sure tomorrow night). This is in addition to the little girl she will be watching 5 days a week. We talked about it before she accepted the offer to watch the two kids because that meant that she would have to haul around 5 kids if she wanted to go anywhere. Our vehicle will only haul 3 kids.

So there is the problem. The solution? Well, she would be making a lot of money. More than enough to offset the cost of a minivan. So I started researching how much it would be for us to get one. I want to pick up a silver 2004 Honda Odyssey with under 60,000 miles and I want to pay under $19,000 for it.

I guess we'll know soon enough whether or not we need to get the van. But buying it used and asking for at least a 3-month commitment from the kids parents means that we could ditch the car if things didn't work out, and we probably wouldn't be out any serious money.



Run 3

Went for a run in the neighborhood this morning. Nice weather. Good time.
Week - 3.27 - 40:00
Month - 3.27 - 40:00
Year - 5.27 - 60:00

Matthew 11:1-6

I love that Jesus doesn't just say that he is the Messiah here, but rather he gives evidences of why he is. He talks about the miracles he performs and that he is spreading the good news. The last sentence is kind of cryptic: "Those who do not stumble in their faith because of me are blessed."
I know people could stumble in their faith because of Jesus. He was talking about something totally different. Kind of switching up the whole game. But he was keeping the focus on God.
A lot of people have the same problems with the evolution of the church today. They hate talking about "felt needs" or "seeker-sensitive" or "emergent churches". But aren't these just retooling the gospel message for today's generations.
That's kind of what Jesus was all about. I love that he kind of points to the fact that people are going to stumble because of him. But he doesn't apologize for it. JM


Matthew 10:34-42

I don't have enough compassion. It's exceptionally easy for me to watch people suffering and simply think that I'm glad it's not me. That's sad.

I love a song by Brave Saint Saturn called Under Bridges. It talks about seeing Jesus in the homeless, AIDS patients, drunkards, rapists, gays, etc. It's really powerful. If you've never heard it, you should give it a listen.

Right now the students at my church are participating in a 1000 wells project. They are only drinking water for two weeks and saving up the money that they would have spent on buying drinks to give to dig a well for a village in Africa. I haven't been doing it, but I think I'm going to start. One of the best ways to acquire a trait or skill is to practice. So here we go. JM

Run 2

Monday morning I ran for the second time this year. I was able to keep it a lot slower and keep my heart rate down where I wanted it in the mid 150's. I ran at 5.0 mph, which is 12:00/mile pace. Ended up running for 20 minutes and ran 1.67 miles. So:
Week - 1.67 - 20:00
Month - 1.67 - 20:00
Year - 3.67 - 40:00

Worship Teams And Emasculation

So today in our staff meeting one of our staff members suggested that we have a volunteer testimony in our worship gathering this coming Sunday because we are talking about volunteering the next two weeks. This is a great idea. A wonderful idea. But it was offered way too late. After we had decided to add it in, I mentioned that this was a great idea, but that it was being offered probably two weeks too late.
Then it was said by a staff member that they don't even know what we are talking about and they aren't able to offer their input at any time. We settled on communicating the message series with them so that we can work about 6 weeks out.
But this was a dangerous moment. It almost turned into the staff would give their input on what the service should be and then the worship team would develp off of that. This is a horrible idea for at least two very basic reasons.
First, it would emasculate the team. Nobody likes to be micromanaged, especially creative people. If they are going to have to be creative inside of narrow guidelines, they will quickly grow frustrated and quit.
Second, the more people that give input to things, the more people that will get their feelings hurt when their idea isn't used. This is huge. If there are 15 people offering ideas and only one idea can be used each week, then that means 14 people will have their idea rejected. This can quickly develop into a "nobody likes my input, so I'm not giving it and screw them" mentality. Empower people, give them basic guidelines and a purpose, and let them do the work. If you can't do that, then don't empower the people. JM

Matthew 10:26-33

I can't imagine disowning God in front of other people. I mean, when i am called to speak about my faith or my God, I always represent, and represent him well. The problems come when I'm not asked about it.
I mean I don't like do things or behave in a manner that is unbecoming of someone who calls themself a Christian. I just don't bring up my faith. If the door is open, I'll take it. But it has to be open like wicked wide. I have trouble seeing the spiritual conversation that lies beneath every conversation.
That's where I need the most work. Not that I need to bring it into every conversation, I would just like to be more aware of when i can turn conversations spiritual. JM


Super Bowl Party

Tonight was our middle school Super Bowl Party. I found out that it was illegal last night, and didn't feel that I had time to cancel it or change it, so we pressed on and will beg for forgiveness. It was a great time. We had 88 middle school students there. We ordered 25 large pizzas, which were gone in under 30 minutes. 25 2-liters were gone just about as quickly. These kids can eat. We had a lot more kids interested in the game this year. I'm not really sure why. But great turnout with about 14 legitimate unchurched prospects that I get to follow up on.
Church Marketing Sucks has a great post on how churches should handle super bowl parties next year. I'm going to see what I can do to get the NFL to let me continue to have a super bowl party, but do it legally. There's always a way to do things within the rules. I'll let you know what they say. JM


Let's Go Colts

I was born in Indianapolis and lived there until I was 8. So because of that I love the Indianapolis Colts. They were bad for years, but now they are great. Great as in they just won the Super Bowl. Pretty awesome. I didn't get to watch much of the game, but it makes me smile to know that they won.
It also make me happy for Tony Dungy whose son died a little over a year ago and is a professing Christian. I also love Peyton Manning. He just seems like such a good guy. It's a great year to be a sports team that I like since my St. Louis Cardinals won the world series about 3 months ago. JM

Matthew 10:21-25

I love the idea that Jesus set the example of how we should live. Did you catch that? Jesus is the example of how we should live. So we have the potential to live just as holy of a life as he lived. Wouldn't that be incredible? To have that kind of holiness?
I hope one day I can get there. "A student should be satisfied to become like his teacher." Yeah, that will definitely be satisfying. I just don't want to have to wait until heaven to be holy. JM


Next Book

I'm debating what book I should start reading now. I have two that I want to read "small is the new big" and "Contemplative Youth Ministry". I started contemplative youth ministry about 3 months ago, but haven't read anything on it since, so I would probably start that one over. But I think I'm going to read small is the new big first. I'll let you know what I think when I'm done. JM

Attribute of God

So my small group leader called me the other day. We're talking about who God is this week and he gave everyone in the class the assignment to come up with their favorite attribute of God, a verse that displays that attribute, and what that means to you.
As soon as he explained the project to me, I knew what I wanted to talk about.
I'm amazed by God's creativity. The more creative elements that I am put in control of, the more I realize how finite my creativity is. Most of what I do is just rehashing what others have done. But look at how creative God was, and what he was able to accomplish creatively in just six days. That's why "there's nothing new under the sun." God's already done it all.
That's why I admire God's creativity. It also means that I can look to him for inspiration. I always have my most creative times when I take the time to surround myself in nature. Time kind of slows down and lets you think. Plus, it places you in the most creative element you can be in. JM

Matthew 10:16-20

I love the line "be as smart as snakes and as innocent as doves". I love that Jesus doesn't say that we should be pushovers who are always having fast ones pulled on us. He wants us to be aware and to be crafty. However, he wants us to be innocent. Which one do you struggle with more?
For me it's the innocence. I like to push the envelope a lot and get away with more than I should. Like tomorrow night for our middle school super bowl party, I just found out that we are doing several things illegally. Granted, it's too late to change anything, but our screen is too big, it's a public meeting, and we're charging an admission price to kids from our church. That's not being innocent. And I don't feel bad. Next year will be different, though. JM


The Blogging Church

Finished the blogging church today. There's quite a bit of good stuff in there. I found the "build a better blog" chapter to be the most useful to me personally with tons of tips and tricks for improving your blog and making it easier for people to enjoy your content. I also found some useful tips for ways to use a blog in your church. There was a great idea too on how to use a blog for special events. It makes an easy read, and a pretty good one too. JM

Matthew 10:1-15

Isn't it incredible the power that God gives the apostles when he sends them out? He gives them the power to heal the sick, raise people from the dead, heal leprosy, and drive out demons. That's incredible. It must have been very frightening to have that kind of power. Power creates responsibility.
In a sense, we kind of have similar responsibility. We've been given the power to show people freedom from sin. What an amazing responsibility we have. It's scary that we'll be held accountable for it. JM

Matthew 9:32-38

Have you ever wondered why people came to see Jesus. I mean, yeah, he was a great speaker, and yeah, he was different than anybody else, but I think the big draw, kind of the root of all this is that he was meeting felt needs. For some people that meant he gave them authentic teaching and interpretation of the scriptures. For some people that meant interacting with people in a personal and non-condemning way. For some people that meant healing them of their diseases and deformities. But he always met felt needs.
That's a great example for how our ministries should run. It doesn't matter how fun our program is, how entertaining of a speaker we are, or how interactive our online presence is if we aren't meeting felt needs. JM


One Degree

It's raining here today. They said it was going to snow or ice or something. It didn't. When I was at the gym this morning at 6:00 am, the temperature was 32 degrees. It must have been at least 32.1 degrees, because everything was liquid. One tenth of a degree less and school is cancelled, roads are icy, it's dangerous to walk outside, and I would see snow for the first time since moving to Georgia 3 years ago. One tenth of a degree makes all the difference.

You can do everything nearly right, but if it's not perfect, things fall apart. Take the time to do things with quality or you might miss success by one tenth of a degree. JM

Know Your Market

I hate Fox News. I'm conservative and all of that, but I would rather get a view of the world from the opposite perspective. I already know what I think, why do I need someone to agree with me. Plus I don't really watch the news.
What I love about Fox News is that they know their market. All of their commercials, all of their programming, even their slogan "Fair and balanced" says they will not put a left-wing viewpoint on anything. CNN doesn't say that. MSNBC doesn't say that. Whoever else has a newschannel doesn't say that. Fox News knows their market, they market to it, and they forget about the rest. We could learn a lot from Fox News. JM