Building Ministry Teams That L.A.S.T.

We had to read this book for a staff meeting. I went into thinking that I wouldn't like it, so it had a tough job to do. I ended up really liking it, though. He mainly talks about how to handle conflict in staff relationships and making sure that you are heard, not just listened to. One of his big points was saying the final 10%. Most people say 90% of what they are thinking for fear of offending someone, but the author pushes people to say the final 10% as that is usually what most needs to be said. The book was exceptionally helpful. Mr. Van Waarde is actually coming to our church next week to do some staff team building, so it should be really interesting. JM

Matthew 27:15-18

It's amazing the decisions people will make when they're mad. Probably my biggest regrets in dealing with my children are the things I do when I'm mad. I don't like beat my kids or say things I shouldn't, but sometimes I yell when I don't need to, or I say things that I don't really mean. I wish that I could stop getting mad, but I doubt that will ever happen. I think the more important thing is how we handle that anger. First if we can minimize how easily we get angry and then if we can control that anger so that we don't react in a stupid manner, then I think God is honored with that. JM


Waking Up Early

I keep trying to wake up early so I can go run, but it hasn't been working out. Hopefully that will change starting tomorrow. I'm going to try some of the stuff I read on this post about 24 tips to becoming an early riser. We'll see how it goes. I'd like to wake up every day at like 6:30. It's just so tough. JM

Matthew 27:11-14

I can't imagine being wrongly accused of something and not saying anything. Being able to just sit there and take whatever anybody says is so contrary to what we see everywhere else in our society. I'm sure it wasn't any different back then. It's like it takes way too much humility. JM



We broke ground (ceremonially) on our new community life center today. It's still about a year away from being done, but it's going to be awesome when it is. It's a gym, some classroom space, some activity rooms, and some dedicated youth space. I'm so pumped about what we're going to be able to do with a facility like that at our disposal.
We've also been renovating our church. It was badly needed and the transformation has been remarkable. It's actually fairly impressive when you walk in. It just has a nice feel to it.
So excited about the community life center, though. One year. JM

Matthew 27:6-10

One of the most amazing things to me about the Bible is all of the fulfilled prophecies, especially the ones that weren't self-fulfilling. Here are Jesus enemies actually fulfilling prophecy. They have every reason not too, and they do it, probably because they were unaware. Sure Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and even had evidence to prove that he was, but they refused to believe. It's almost like they didn't want to believe.
We like to think that we can create the perfect program that will minister to everybody. But it can't be done. It's still up to the individual to determine how they will respond. Even people that are heavily committed to your program can still walk away unchanged. The point is to mitigate the percentage that do that by creating a relevant, inspiring ministry.


Banner Ads

Man, I don't know how they determine what banner ad to run on the pages I look at, but I am sick of looking at half-naked chicks and "lesbians" making out with each other. I just want to yell at them to get off of my computer screen. I know it's simply there to tempt me so I'll screw up and make some bad decisions. Screw you lesbians and half-naked chicks! JM

Matthew 27:2-5

Continuing on in the drama they tie up Jesus. Surely they don't think Jesus is a flight risk or a physical threat to them, but I'm sure that they wanted to make a more dramatic presentation to Pilate.
Judas realizes that they are going to kill Jesus and feels remorse, gives back the money, and goes off to hang himself. I wonder what he thought that they were going to do with Jesus. But here Judas has a chance to redeem himself. To go and stand by Jesus but he is too ashamed and goes off to kill himself.
Jesus always wants to restore our relationship with God, that's kind of his whole mission here on earth, but so many times we feel that we are too far gone. That God can do nothing with us because of what we've done. Yet all Jesus wants from us is our commitment irregardless of our history. JM


Free Chicken And Coke

If you live near a Chick-Fil-A (and I live near like 20) then here is a site where you can register to get a coupon for a free chicken sandwich and a coke. I registered my wife and I. JM

Addictive Game

I ran across the most addictive online game ever: Desktop Tower Defense. It's useless to describe it, but go play one game and see if you like it. Tons of fun and definitely challenging. JM

Matthew 27:1

What was that night like for Jesus? Did he sleep at all? The thing I keep wondering is what kept him going. I know that he was tempted to give up and get out of there, but I wonder if he thought of me. Maybe not me specifically, but if it was love for me that drove him there or love for his father. I guess the two are so closely intertwined it's probably hard to differentiate.
I love the farce that is Jesus religious tribunal as these guys decide that Jesus should die. As far as I know, when someone broke the law, the religious leaders didn't decide if someone should be punished, they simply carried out the punishment. So it shouldn't have been a decision of whether or not Jesus should die, but whether or not Jesus must die. I'm surprised Jesus didn't just laugh at how sophomoric the whole trial was. JM



See You At The Pole is coming up again. I've never been a huge fan of this event. Really, I just don't quite understand it. Why are they gathering around the flagpole to pray? Most people say that it's so that people will know they are Christians. But if you have to go pray around your flagpole so that somebody knows your a Christian, what does that say about your actions.
I came across this post by Dino via a post on Mark Riddle's blog. It's an interesting rant on SYATP. While some of it is written with a negative, instigating tone, what he says rings true. I just wonder if there is a way to redeem SYATP and turn it into a truly remarkable event. JM

Young Adults And Family Time

Check out this poll by the AP and MTV about adolescents and happiness. The number one answer given to the question "What makes you happy?" was spending time with family. Really interesting article. Students who use drugs and alcohol are less happy and students who say religion is a vital part of their life are more happy. Of course, all you have to do is talk to a few students and you quickly realize that all they want is their parents to spend time with them. Makes me wonder why so many don't. JM

Matthew 26:69-75

I like to think Peter is such a bad person for vocally denying Jesus. I would never do that, or at least that's what I tell myself. At least I would never vocally deny Jesus. But I do it all the time with my actions. If I were in that same situation nobody would have ever come up to me and accused me of being a disciple. My actions so often don't look like those of a disciple.
I mean, I don't smoke, or cuss, or drink, or kill people, but I seldom do things that are befitting a disciple. I don't go out of my way to know people or to show that I care for them. I guess my biggest battle is the one that rages inside of me tempting me to just keep to myself. I argue that it's just the way I am. Irregardless of that, we are called to minister and I can't do that if I won't engage people with love. JM


Paint Colors

We're trying to pick out paint colors because we want to repaint basically every room in our house. Luckily my wife and I have pretty much the same taste liking fairly muted tones. It's pretty trendy right now. The problem is finding time to paint with two little kids running around. It would be impossible to do it with them here. So we'll have to ship them out somewhere before we're able to do it. Once it's done, though, it's going to be like a brand new house again. Of course, the house is only 4 years old. JM

Matthew 26:57-68

Mobs can be really scary because they lack the ability to think. It's all driven by energy. I think it's interesting to see not only Jesus reaction to his accusers, but how his accusers reacted. Caiaphas tries to freak out and act like none of this is a setup. I wonder how good of a job he did. At least he committed to the role by tearing his clothes.
Once people get all emotional and get a group all excited, it can be incredibly difficult to stop. If people start being negative, and then become vocal in their negativity, it can do the same thing to your ministry. I've seen it. I actually just went through a year of that with my middle school ministry. Now I've got lots of excitement on the bottom end and it already shows. JM



So I finally set up a facebook account after reading so much about it. I haven't really gotten why it's so cool yet, but I like adding new friends and seeing how many I can get. That' really all I know to do so far. Maybe something cool will show itself out of it. JM


I'd love to get a forearm tattoo, but I have no idea what to get. I know I'd want it on my left arm (I have no idea why), but as for what to get I'm clueless. I just know that I want it to be significant in some way. I guess I'll know it when I see it. JM

Spring Awakening

My wife watched the Tony's this year (I know it was a long time ago), so I saw part of it. I had heard of this musical called Spring Awakening. The music was written by Duncan Shiek (I am barely breathing...) and it was supposed to be incredible. It won several awards and I heard this guy on the Tony's talking about it as a groundbreaking musical because it was filled with rock music and was going to reach a new audience that musicals don't normally reach.
But is it? I haven't heard one song from it. I've never heard anybody really talk about it. I've never heard anything on the radio or internet from it. I'm sure it's out there, but I think it's just staying within the normal musical audience.
Church ministry is the same way. We come up with some new idea that really is just adapting something we've stolen from popular culture and we're trying to use it to update our ministry. We say it's going to make our ministry reach people that never before could have been reached. But does it? I think for the most part all it does is create buzz within Christians. We get excited about it, but it never really reaches out into the mainstream. Probably because so much of what we do is just a copy of what is already out there.
Nobody out in mainstream America is listening to the radio right now saying I love Kelly Clarkson's music, but I wish it talked about Jesus. If all we ever do is copy, then we'll never do anything significant for the kingdom of God. JM

Matthew 26:51-56

Man, I never thought about Jesus disciples having swords. You don't see that in the pictures in Sunday school. But somebody had to have one if they cut off some dude's ear.
I think verse 56 must have been one of the saddest moments for Jesus. I don't think that was prophesied, so I bet he was just like I can't believe they left me. I'm sure they were just worried about themselves, but to think that after all of those times of them saying that they would go with Jesus to their deaths, it was all just talk. Makes me hope that I would be something more. Able to really stand up for something, even when it really threatened me. JM


Wife Swap

I love this show. It's just like being at church. They like take two moms from diametrically opposed situations and switch them. So like the shallow, consumerist mom trades with like the communal, minimalist mom. They live like the other mom for one week and then they can impose their rules on their new family for another week.
What's great about the second week is that the moms go extremely overboard. They throw out any vestige of the normal life and transform it completely to what they are used to with no middle ground.
It's the classic, my way is the only way thing. It's just like at church where people believe the only way to worship is through hymns. Or when people believe the only way to run children's ministry is with VBS. Or that you have to run Sunday school. Or that you have to raise your hands in worship.
It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. I think we should be able to appreciate both sides, and find the happy middle ground. Maybe I'm naive, though. JM


Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I should be back up and running this Friday. I've been busy getting ready to start the new church year, trying to get into a routine at home, and earnestly praying about some stuff in my life.
More to come. JM


Matthew 26:49-50

Man, Jesus is mean. I never noticed what he said to Judas after Judas had kissed him: "Friend, do what you came to do." Why not just say do what you came to do. But he called him friend. I bet that haunted him for his last few days. I bet he heard it echoing in his mind. He had spent so much time with Jesus. He really was Jesus' friend. Or he should have been, but he missed it. He didn't get it. Everybody else did, but somehow Jesus didn't get it and he betrayed his friend.
People always talk about wanting to sit down with Jesus, or Peter, or Paul or something, but I think Judas is one of the most fascinating people in the Bible. I'd love to talk to him. JM

Noah Playing Guitar

Here's the video from a couple of Sundays ago of Noah playing guitar with us during the worship set. Right after he gets onstage he tries to walk over between me and Caleb because that's where he had practiced. And right at the end he looks up at me and tells me "Daddy, I gotta go potty." It was really cute.



Matthew 26:47-48

I always used to wonder why the pharisees needed Judas to kiss Jesus. I'm sure it's symbolic and everything, but didn't they know which one Jesus was. They had seen him tons of times. He was probably in their nightmares. But the pharisees didn't come for Jesus. Instead they sent "many people carrying swords and clubs who had been sent from the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders of the people."
It was all a setup. They sent these people to get Jesus and bring him before their council as if they had nothing to do with it. It's a smart little plan. It worked. They ended up getting Jesus crucified.
It's just interesting to really see what happened. JM


Matthew 26:41-46

God didn't answer Jesus prayer. A lot of times I like to think that God should always grant my prayer requests. I'm a good person, I only ask for good things, and I generally do the things God wants me to do. So why would he not answer my prayers.
It's just awesome to see that God doesn't answer Jesus prayer request. Jesus is begging God to not make Him go through with the crucifixion, but God tells Him that he must. And Jesus is way holier than I will ever be. JM


Matthew 26:37-40

I think Jesus was frustrated because the Disciples didn't understand what He was saying. They couldn't see that Jesus was incredibly anxious and facing tremendous temptation. They failed to really listen to him, so they dozed off, not taking the time to really feel his pain. I wonder why they didn't get it? Jesus doesn't seem to be an overly dramatic person, so why didn't they see that something was wrong?
I think we spend too much time concerned about our own needs and too little really listening to people and trying to understand what they are going through. JM


Meeting Today

So there is a meeting today concerning the opportunity that I might have concerning budget and if there is really any opportunity at all for me. I've been praying earnestly about it. I'm anxious. JM

STL To ATL Travel

We had a great week of vacation in St. Louis. It's great to be back home. I love my house, if nothing more than the familiarity of it. Getting home was an adventure, as always seems to happen. We went to the airport for our 10:55 am flight only to find out that it had been cancelled. They put Eryn and Noah on a 12:35 pm flight and Ana and me on a 1:30 pm flight. Then they started offering vouchers if people would change their travel plans. Eryn went and talked to them about our situation and that we would really all like to fly together.
So they switched us all to the 7:20 pm flight and gave us $750 in vouchers for future travel.
Then when we got there for the 7:20 pm flight, it was delayed due to mechanical problems. We ended up leaving around 8:15 pm and after getting our ride to my car, the time change, and the drive home, we didn't get home until 12:30 am on Wednesday. Long day, but at least we got some free air travel out of it. JM

Tom Wehrle

My friend Tom Wehrle has a new CD coming out in a couple of weeks. What's cool is you can listen to the whole thing right now on his website for free (I'm listening right now). What's even better than that is he included some backstory on each of the tracks telling how they were recorded and why he wrote them. It's pretty cool to listen to. JM

Matthew 26:36

Not everybody needs to know about everything that is troubling you. If you're having problems and need people to pray with you, it might not be the best solution to involve everybody. Look at Jesus. he's facing the most stressful night of his life. He's being tempted to not go through with the mission, and he tells 8 of his disciples to sit here while he goes somewhere else with 3 of them to pray. Pretty interesting. I can't imagine the stress he was under.
The other thing that is amazing to me is that Jesus took the time to pray. I tend to react and plan when I'm in high stress situations. I rarely, if ever, stop to pray about it. JM