Tonight was Halloween. Noah and Ana were so cute. I'll post pictures and video soon. JM

Acts 6:8-15

I hate when you are discussing/debating something with somebody and they leave logical arguments behind and jump over to emotional ones. It's like once they realize that they are wrong, or that they need to change, or whatever, they feel they need to bring you down, or bring up something completely irrelevent. It's all part of our stubborn nature. We refuse to admit that we're wrong. I understand that it's no fun to be wrong all the time, but what's so bad about saying "I was wrong" or "I screwed up". I'd rather say that and change my behaviors and thoughts than say something emotional and stupid while continuing to be wrong. JM


Colts Vs. Patriots

I hate the Patriots. I love the Colts. The two really go together. They play each other on Sunday and it's the biggest regular season game in the history of the NFL. Both teams are undefeated. The Patriots have been destroying their opponents. The Colts have played well, but have had closer games.
I'm so pumped about the game. I think the Colts will win. Maybe that should read "hope". Anyway, the Patriots are evil. They cheat, they run up the score, and they are insanely good. I hate them. JM

Acts 6:1-7

I love my job. One of the cool things about it is that it's a fairly creative job. I'm basically paid to think, create, and relate. That's it. I don't have to like lift stuff, or fix stuff, or anything like that on a regular basis, although I do on occasion. What's tough though is trying to figure out which things to delegate out. Obviously, there are a lot of things that you should keep doing like vision, direction, and stuff like that. But there is all kinds of other stuff that I can pass off to someone else which will give them ownership over something and help me develop my abilities as a leader. I delegated out some of the tasks that I typically do this year for Mission Impossible. Mainly, I used my secretary. I never use her. For anything. Ever. So this year she basically did all of my recruiting. It was scary to release something like that, but it worked out fairly well. There are a couple of things that I'll fix for next year, but it was good for me to delegate stuff out and see it still happen efficiently. JM


CVS Savings

I'm not sure how I ran across this, but this is a site that explains a method to shop for free at CVS, Walgreens, etc. It's kind of confusing at first, but I think I understand it. Basically there are certain products you can buy that will pay you back a certain amount of in-store credit. Sometimes that credit is enough to match the amount you spent. So while you still spent money out of pocket, if you were to do it again, instead of using your money you could use your store credit. Then you could get some stuff that you need and use the money you had budgeted for that stuff for other stuff. Man, that's really confusing, but I think it might actually work. We may try it sometime soon since there is a CVS like right next to our house. JM

Acts 5:40-42

I get really frustrated when I am the victim of persecution. And I've never been persecuted. I've had people make judgments about me because they know I'm a Christian, or because I'm a pastor, but that's really about it.
Then you read about how these guys were imprisoned, beaten, threatened and ordered not to talk about Jesus anymore. Then, when they are released, they're so excited because they were disgraced because of Jesus and they keep on doing it.
I guess what's so exciting about it is knowing that you're really living a life that pleases God. I mean, people get frustrated because you're doing what God wants and people are reacting to the Jesus they see in you. That's kind of a cool thought. JM


Paper Art

This is so cool. This guy creates sculptures out of a standard sheet of A4 (basically 8.5 X 11) paper. JM

Mission Impossible

I'll post more about it tomorrow night, but Mission Impossible went great. I need to make some minor adjustments for next year, but the kids came out like crazy again this year. I think we had 100 students exactly with the majority being guests. Awesome. JM

Acts 5:29-39

I love it when problems solve themselves. When other people fight your battles for you. One of the great things about surrounding yourself with a good team and living life in community is that people have your back. You have people who will stand up and defend you when you're not around or aren't in the position to defend yourself.
It's even better when the person fighting for you isn't somebody that you know all that well, but is simply someone who respects who you are or what you're about. The more we can lead lives that deserve attention and respect, the more we won't have to fight our own battles because we'll have others fighting for and with us. JM


Mission Impossible

Tomorrow night we have our biggest event we do all year. It's an outdoor capture-the-flag type game called Mission Impossible. We did it at my old church, and I've adapted it for down here. It's a lot of fun and we have kids come out like crazy for it. Last year we had 129 middle school students. So tomorrow I'll be busy making sure everything is ready for it. I'd appreciate some prayer if you've got a spare minute. Pray that we would provide a high-quality event, that students would bring their unchurched friends, and that I would be able to present the gospel in a clear and relevant fashion. Thanks. JM

Acts 5:22-28

I hate it when I screw up. When I make a mistake. I'm not a perfectionist or anything, but I like things to be a certain way and it bugs me when they're not and I'm the cause of it. I've screwed up enough to know how to handle it, though. A lot of people like to act as if they did nothing wrong. Either that nothing bad happened, or that they are not the cause of it. This just makes them look stupid.
I'd rather just admit fault, accept responsibility, work to rectify the situation, and move on in a manner that will hopefully avoid the mistake in the future. I guess that's hard for some people. I don't really know why, it seems the easiest way to handle it, although I guess it can be a bit humbling.
Because I like things a certain way, it's tough for me to delegate. We have a huge middle school event tomorrow night. I'm running through all of the details in my mind right now. I think everything is ready, but I delegated some of the tasks and I'm scared that they won't get done, or at least not to the standard of quality that I would hope for. I guess that's part of leadership, though, learning to let go. JM


I'm A Rich Girl

This site is so interesting to me. It lists the #1 song on a given day for the last 110+ years along with links to song samples on iTunes. While the song from my actual birthdate is lame (Rich Girl), most of the songs are awesome. Also cool to see and hear the songs from way back when. (ht:Marko) JM

Acts 5:19-21

When God tells you to do something, you better do it. Sometimes it may not be the easiest thing to do. It may be something that you hate to do. It may be something that nobody else wants you to do. Or it may be something that nobody else is willing to do. But if you want to live a happy life, you have to do it.
I was talking to somebody a long time ago about why we should do what God wants. I told him that I can be used by God, or I cannot be used by God and to me being used by God is way more fun. Yes, it's what God wants and it makes Him happy, but, selfishly, it's just fun and exciting. JM


Jealousy As Inspiration

The more I think about it, the more that I think that jealousy isn't necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it's just an emotion we all feel. The key is what you do with it. I think God wants to use jealousy within us to push us to excel. If we're jealous of someone else's success, then we need to work harder to achieve it. If we're jealous of someone else's marriage, then we need to work harder on our own. Jealousy can be extremely powerful, use it wisely. JM


Following God Through Frustration

Great post by Carlos Whittaker today about how sometimes it's not so fun to follow God. Go read it. He just moved to Atlanta from Riverside, CA and is working through that transition. Seriously go read it. Here's my favorite part from the end where he is discussing with his wife the frustrations they feel about their move:
Me - It sucks to follow God tonight huh?
She - Yea. It does.
Me - But you know we are right where He wants us right?
She - I was hoping you knew that. Because I do. And with that we shut the laptop and continued on the journey of Authenticity in the ATL. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are supposed to be here.

He had another interesting post a week ago about how God still moves people even when housing markets are not ideal. JM

Acts 5:12-17

It's tough when there's a new kid in town. When I was in 3rd grade I was the smartest kid in class. Everybody knew it. I was the smart one. I would finish my work first. I did the best in our math games. I knew all the answers. Then April showed up (I can't remember her name, but April will do). April was smart, too. April became the smart girl. I could still take her in smartness, but I had to share my glory. My smartness wasn't quite as amazing because well, April was smart, too. Luckily at then end of the semester she moved to Oklahoma City. I was glad.
The problem with this is that the focus the whole time was on me. Granted, I was 8, but I wanted all of the attention. We never grow out of that. We like to be recognized. To have people appreciate us. That's all well and good, but we get addicted to it. We like that everyone laughs at our jokes. We like that people think we're an engaging speaker. We like that people tell us they like to hear us sing or play guitar. Then rather than doing something to glorify God, it turns into doing something that brings us glory. And God sighs at how pathetic we are. We're just like the kid who thinks he's so smart because he can multiply faster than 20 other kids. JM



Community Christian Church did a message today talking about materialism. That's cool. But here's what is awesome. They asked everybody to sell something of value on ebay and donate the money. Awesome. Applicable. Challenging. JM

Acts 5:1-11

My son respects me. At times I would say that he fears me. I think that's healthy. Not like a frightened to death kind of thing, but more like a "I better listen or I'll get a spanking" fear.
The problem is sometimes he forgets that I'm daddy. It's easy for him to remember the fun parts about daddy, that we wrestle, watch movies, go on walks, fix stuff, etc. And it's easy for him to forget the not so fun parts about daddy, mainly the discipline. So when he whines about not wanting to do something, I'll tell him that he needs to do it right now or he'll get a spanking. Then normally he'll start to do it slowly, or refuse to do it, until I get up. Then he becomes immediately compliant. He's remorseful. He's fully in line with what I want because he doesn't want a spanking.
But he forgets about that sometimes and needs to occasionally be reminded that although we can be a lot of fun, he still needs to fear me.
The same applies to our relationship with God. When things are fun and easy, we forget that God is God. Things are going great, so maybe we slip up on our favorite sin. Or maybe we don't honor God with our money. That's when it's good for God to remind us that He is God, and that we should fear Him.

Pumpkin Patch

The pumpkin patch video has finally been edited and uploaded to youtube. Enjoy. JM


Video Editing

If you have the right tool, a job is so much easier. Anytime I have to do something on my car, I know that I'm going to get mad and frustrated because I have a $20 set of tools, literally.
I've really been getting frustrated with my video editing software lately. I mean, it's cute and easy and all, but it absolutely STINKS! It freezes up on weird things. It won't burn when I change the menu audio or image. It won't let me quickly move frame-by-frame. It makes me want to shoot something, and I'm a fairly paficistic guy.
So now I really want Adobe Premiere. It's only $800. Will you buy it for me? Thanks. Email me for my shipping address. JM


My daughter ate pasta tonight. She refuses to be fed, but has to do it herself. She's only 19 months old. All of these preconditions equal one messy girl. (You can see the image giant-sized by clicking on it.) JM

Acts 14:32-37

We act as if God gives us things for us to enjoy. And He does. But God gives us things so that we can use them for His glory. While part of that is us enjoying them, another part is us sharing them with people who are in need. Most of the time, we think this means giving stuff to help poor people, and it does. But, shouldn't it also mean sharing meals with other people. Sharing life with them. Sharing children's clothes.
My family doesn't eat a lot. We're all fairly small people. But most of the recipes that my wife makes are made to feed like 5,000 people. So rather than us just throw out the leftovers, or eat meat loaf for 2 weeks straight, we invite people over. Tonight my wife made mostaccoli. It makes enough to literally feed 8 people. So we invited our neighbors from down the street. We didn't have to do that. They didn't need the meal. But I think God wants us to share everything we have.
The beauty of it is when you really do this, and enjoy the community that it creates, it really doesn't feel like sacrifice. JM


It's Tough To Be A Parent

Being a parent is such a huge responsibility. You think you're giving your child some benadryl to dry up their runny nose and really you're killing them. So now they say we can't give kids cold medicines if they are under 6 and that they don't really work anyway. Instead they suggest

Moisturizing the air with a vaporizer or hydrator
Using saltwater nose drops to dry up a runny nose
Using a rubber nose bulb to clear up congestion
Feeding the child chicken soup
Consulting a pediatrician

I'm not sure if we'll stop giving our kids cold medicine, but that rubber nose bulb is no fun. JM

Radiohead's New Album

I was curious as to how well Radiohead's album would do since it had no promotion and was only available for download from their website for however much you wanted to pay. Glad to see they did well. They had 1.2 million downloads and people paid an average of $8 for the album. Read the full article here. JM


Tally Wilgis has a great post on race and culture stereotypes focusing on his frustrations as a white guy growing up in a largely black community. Really interesting. Loved what he says about the Jena 6 kids and their appearance at the BET awards
I certainly believe that these racial tentions in this town are wrong and the white students were horribly wrong to do what they did. I am equally appauled that the black students jumped a white student and now are litterally being given a stage at the BET awards.


Acts 4:23-31

Talk about fervent prayer. I guess we don't pray with passion anymore because we don't live lives that need it. Or at least we don't think we need it. We don't really see our lives as a battle. Now granted, I'm totally against battle/war imagery in student ministry. But I do think it is sad that we don't feel like we are doing anything for God, at least not anything that requires passionate prayer.
What if we prayed that we would be brave and that God would provide us with signs to show that God was real. I think our lives and our evangelism would be massively different.
We have neighbors down the street that we have become close friends with. They don't go to church anywhere and have no real relationship with God. But I don't pray for them with any sense of passion. And I definitely have never prayed that God would give me the ability to heal as a sign that he is real. Maybe that's not literally the answer (praying for the gift of healing), but prayer has to be more than just selfish requests and passionless intercession. JM


Middle School Offers Birth Control

Ran across this article on CNN. A Portland middle school is offering birth control to students out of their health center. This is in response to Portland's three middle schools reporting 17 pregnancies in the past four years. While this is not going to fix the situation, what I found interesting about the article is that it's a reminder to me that students just like the ones I work with are doing this. It's sometimes tough for me to imagine. Really, it just kind of saddens me. I wish they didn't feel this pressure to be so mature, and felt comfortable just being kids. JM

Acts 4:15-22

A little over a month ago I took a group of middle school students to the Braves game. While I was getting a drink from the concession stand, the guy behind me starts talking to me. "We went to see the 'Walking With The Dinosaurs' thing at Phillips arena yesterday and it was amazing." Then he goes on for about five minutes about it, telling me how amazing it was, how much his kids loved it, etc.
I had heard of it and thought about taking Noah, but didn't feel like it was worth me spending the money. But this guy was so pumped about it. He felt the need to talk to me about it. He probably felt the need to talk to everybody about it. He probably couldn't stop talking about it.
That's the kind of excitement that I see that people have about God in the Bible. They can't not talk about it. But we don't act that way. We are so far removed from the spiritual and from the power that the Holy Spirit gives.
We are so the opposite of how the New Testament church was. Talking about God is not natural for us. It's not exciting for us. And it all probably comes back to the lie that we are self-sufficient. That we have earned all that we have. We refuse to see the miraculous and are mired in the mundane, so we live lives of passionless mediocrity. JM


Teens Church Preferences

Ran across these stats on what teens expect, prefer, and learn from church. Several things are interesting. Like 72% of teens pray, but only 48% attend a worship service, which points to the idea that students are searching for the spiritual. The number one thing students expect from church is to worship or make a connection with God. And the number one preference of teens is a church that teaches how their faith should influence their everyday decisions and lifestyle.
So teens want to commune with the spiritual, but be taught the practical.
The problem is that most youth ministries seem to teach the moral/theological and ignore the spiritual and practical. We tend to ignore how a Christian teenager should live their life.
I would rather talk about what a Christian teenager looks like. How they respond to real life situations - boyfriend dumped you, parents yell at you, best friend betrays you, etc. I think that's what students desire too. JM

Acts 4:5-14

If God really gets hold of your life, and you fall passionately in love with Him, it is apparent to everyone. You don't even have to say anything. So many times people can only guess that you're a Christian by what you don't do - get drunk, cuss, sleep around, etc. But I think it's much more powerful when people can tell you're a Christian by what you do - display love, show unselfishness, etc. Then when you talk about your faith, it means more because they see the impact it has on your life, not just on your social interaction. JM


Pumpkin Patch

If you want to see more photos of the pumpkin patch, then go here. Video will be uploaded soon, but don't hold your breath. It takes a while. JM

Pumpkin Patch

More pictures from the pumpkin patch. More petting zoo and making bracelets. The boy you don't know again is Landon and the girl you don't know is Makaylee. JM

Pumpkin Patch - Petting Zoo

So here are some pictures from the pumpkin patch petting zoo. The kid you don't know is our neighbor Landon. JM

Acts 4:1-4

Peter and John got in trouble because they were teaching the people. They took the message that God had given them and took it directly to the people. Typically teachers would just teach in the temple to the other religious leaders. But Peter and John went straight to the people.
The thing is we've gone back to how the pharisees wanted it. We don't take the message straight to the people anymore. We hide our message up in our own little Christian circles. We shy away from any kind of spiritual conversation outside the walls of the church. Church is where we talk about God, but we don't bring it home, or to our neighbor's house. JM


Fat Kids

Some lady in Russia had a 17 pound baby. I can't imagine. JM

Hillsong Conference

I wish Hillsong was in the U.S. Check out the opening of their conference from this year. Awesome. Maybe Eryn and I can go to their conference next year, just to get a free trip to Australia. Although I would have trouble listening to Joyce Meyer without throwing up. JM

Let's Not Have A Plan

It's easier to not have a plan. To go at things and just see what happens. But it's horrible leadership. It might make other people feel better emotionally, but it's probably not in their best interest. New Orleans has scaled back their rebuilding plan because of a lack of money. Instead of having a massive rebuilding plan, they are going with a "let's see what happens approach".
The plan -- the general outlines of which were approved by the City Council earlier this year -- is not the radical remaking of the city urged by some urban planners who wanted to see a New Orleans with a much smaller footprint, and with people moved out of flood-prone areas.

Instead, it largely embraces Mayor Ray Nagin's settle-where-you-will philosophy, while also endorsing the removal of blight and the creation of parks, affordable apartments and vibrant communities.

If you had any questions as to whether Ray Nagin was an incompetent leader, I think this settles it. Why not say we're not going to resettle areas that are 10 feet below sea level? Or come up with a plan that costs less, but still moves people out of flood-prone areas? Horrible. JM

Acts 3:18-26

It's easy to forget what it was like being a non-Christian. It's been a long time (almost 12 years). I think what I like best is the peace that you have. I like how verse 19 says "then the Lord will send the time of rest". It's a comforting feeling knowing that you're salvation is secure. Knowing that you have a personal relationship with the creator of the world. It's indescribable. JM


Air Show

Went to the air show today. Got rear-ended on the way there. Everybody's okay. Car's fine, too. Other car is jacked up. I'll put off pumpkin patch photos and video until tomorrow. It's easier that way. JM


Pumpkin Patch

Went to the pumpkin patch today. Tired. Headache. Photos and video tomorrow. JM

Injustice = Good Person

Just because someone is the victim of injustice, they aren't necessarily a good person. It was unfortunate what happened to the people of New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina, but that doesn't make them heroes. It's unfortunate that the Jena 6 boys were/are being treated unjustly, but that doesn't make them heroes. One of the Jena 6 boys was ordered back into a juvenile facility because this incident is a violation of his probation for four previous juvenile offenses. Of course, not everybody sees it my way and some are saying that this is just revenge. Enter Al Sharpton:
Civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who has championed Bell's case, denounced Thursday's decision as "revenge" by the judge and called on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to intervene.

If you view the world through negative eyes, that is all you will ever see. Being positive is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Resolve is a choice. What are you going to choose. JM

Atheists In Church

Here's an interesting article out of Seattle. They sent 31 atheists to local churches to see what it was like. While most of them were closed off way before they walked in the door, it's interesting to see how intimidated they were by the simple act of going to church and how much they desired to go unnoticed.
I slept badly the night before church: I was scared because I had never been before, and everything I know about Sunday services comes from David Lodge novels and Garth Ennis's Preacher series. "Are they gonna make me confess my sins?" I asked my boyfriend. He promised me they would not. "Can I eat beforehand? Can I get up to pee?" I was sure I would stick out.

We do it everyday, but if you haven't done it in a long time, or have never done it, you don't know what to expect or how to act or even what to wear. If the church is ever going to truly reach out, we have to discover new ways to make them feel comfortable, or at least as uncomfortable as possible.
It's also interesting to note what the visitor thought of the "health and wealth" church

If you're thinking of attending a church, I beg you not to attend the CFC—find one that understands humility and grace and charity. I'm an atheist, but the CFC brings Bible imagery to my mind. Standing in all the gaudy sound and tacky fury, all I can think of is the perverted temple that Jesus Christ ripped to pieces with his bare (expletive) hands.


Acts 3:12-17

Why do we hold everyone to the standards of Christianity when only God can do that? We look at our neighbors and friends and judge them by rules that have no meaning for them. Our illegitimately pregnant neighbor, our partying co-worker, our cousin addicted to pornography. But without Christ, why would they have any reason to abstain from these things. Sure they are unproductive and unfulfilling, but in the momentary, they're fun. All sin is.
We should certainly hold other Christians to these standards, but we step into some messy territory when we take those standards elsewhere. We need to let God do that and relegate ourselves to helping them simply find God. JM



My kids are bad about bedtime. Well, really just my daughter. Noah's not so bad. I'll ask my daughter if she's ready to go to bed and she'll say "No!" and then run to her mommy. Tonight Noah and Ana fell asleep in our bed. Noah fell asleep about 20 seconds after he finished his sippy cup and Ana fell asleep laying across my wife's leg. Just before she fell asleep she was trying to do "cheers" with Noah and then she was out. They're fun. JM

Ride Your Bike

Ride your bike and save the planet.

Acts 3:1-11

A lot of people like to bash felt-need ministry by saying that it takes away from the focus of the gospel. We can spend so long meeting people's felt needs that we never get around to meeting their real need of Jesus. But most of the time in the Bible I see the focus being on meeting felt-needs. Here Peter and John heal a guy without admonishing him to trust Jesus, or repent, or do anything else. They just said "by the power of Jesus Christ of Nazareth" and then heal the guy.
Even people that like felt-need ministry still like to make people jump through hoops in order to have their needs met. You have to show up at certain times and do certain things and meet certain requirements to get what you need. Or making it more personal "I am willing to meet your felt-need of being your friend so long as I've had a good day." If it's going to drain us, then we don't want to do it.
I think the point of living in community is that we sacrifice ourselves and any rights we have so that we get to struggle through things together. That's the beauty of it, and the difficulty of it. It's easier to go it alone, but it's not nearly as rewarding and definitely not as much fun. JM


Innovate Conference

I wanted to go to Innovate this year, but couldn't make it up to Granger. Lucky for me all of the main sessions are now online. If you're involved in ministry, and are looking for new ideas on how to operate, check them out. JM (ht:Church Relevance)

National Youth Worker's Convention

I registered my wife and I for Youth Specialties' National Youth Workers' Convention last night. I'm really excited. It's great training and most of the seminars are really thought-provoking. It's also cool because Eryn and I get to hang out all weekend. I know it's not a vacation, but we get to spend time together without the kids, and that's typically tough to do. My in-laws are going to keep the kids so that we can spend the weekend at the conference. Then we'll head up for Thanksgiving. Should be a great time. JM

Acts 2:42-47

This is community. The people were eating together, sharing what they had, rejoicing together, and God added to their numbers daily. I notice two things about this:
1. Community is attractive to outsiders. People want to belong. They want to connect with something larger than themselves. I think that's part of the draw of attending sporting events, concerts, helping causes, etc. When people see people living in community, they desire to be a part of it, at least on some level (certainly there are some things that people would just think are freaks).
2. The church didn't cloister itself. We've created our own little Christian subculture. You can go to a Christian gym, Christian bookstore, Christian school, Christian employer, etc. All this as well as worship in a church that is not welcoming to outsiders. But that's not how the early church did it, evidently. They went to the temple everyday (which was a Jewish temple) and lived among everybody else.
What would it look like if we really lived in community among everybody else? I think a whole lot more people would be attracted to Jesus. JM



I've had this blog for a little over a year now (10.04.06). I've really only been using it since January 1, but this is my 546th post. While you may not really get anything out of it, I really enjoy it. Not only is the discipline of journaling good, I like that I can look back at goals I've had, things I've experienced, and pictures of my family. So I guess it's accomplishing its purpose. We'll give it another year and see how it goes. Here's the text of my first post:
So what is the Ghost Of Mediocrity? Well, it's the spirit that haunts us, tempting us to do just enough to get by or all that is required. I'd like to make sure that he doesn't get me, so I wanted to create a spot where I could write down thoughts and to-do lists in a searchable format.
So why should anybody read this? While there's certainly no gun to your head, (or at least I hope not) this is mainly just for my own personal utility. If you can derive any form of meaning from it and apply it to your context, then more power to you. I hope it will help you avoid the GOM as well. JM

Think Differently

It's tough to find community in suburbia. Real community. We hole ourselves up in our houses and hang out in our fenced backyards. What if we tried something different. I ran across an interesting post on ten ways to radically live for God in suburbia. While several of them seemed way too hippie for me, I think some of them are extremely doable (work less, drive less, grow food, get to know your neighbors, be outside), and some are really attractive (throw out the television) if you can convince your family.
While not all of these will work in every context, I think it is an interesting read and will make you think about how you can intentionally create community within suburbia and how you can show the love of God in your everyday life.

I can't beat 35!

Bored? See how many times you can press the spacebar in 5 seconds. JM

Acts 2:37-41

When the Holy Spirit is truly guiding your life, other people find it irresistible. 3,000 people got saved in one day because they saw the work of the Holy Spirit. It's like visual evidence that God is alive. When we see products like this in the Bible, I wonder why we so often diminish what we believe the Holy Spirit can accomplish now. I'm not talking about charismatic things, to me there's not anything really compelling about someone speaking in a language that nobody on the face of this planet can understand. But what if we believed the Holy Spirit was a real part of our lives and that he really did give us power like the Bible says, not so that our lives could be better, but for the advancement of the Kingdom? I know my life would be immensely different. JM


Blogging Grief

I read a lot of different blogs, 54 to be exact. Two that I find the most fascinating are bloggers who are going through a grieving process. This one is from a family that lost their infant daughter two weeks ago. This one lost their infant son 16 months ago. Both are fascinating to me because I cannot fathom the emotion that I would feel. The death of a child is the most traumatic thing that can happen to you as an adult. I love my kids so much and cannot imagine losing them. Reading these makes me appreciate them so much more. JM

Christianity's Image Problem

Time has a short article on Christianity's Image Problem. The article is based around the book UnChristian. It's worth the click-through to the article, and the book is one that I'll be getting within the next month or so, but here's a interesting piece of the article:
Still, Kinnaman claims that however defined, the number of non-Christians is growing with each succeeding generation: His study found that 23% of Americans over 61 were non-Christians; 27% among people ages 42-60; and 40% among 16-29 year olds. Younger Christians, he concludes, are therefore likely to live in an environment where two out of every five of their peers is not a Christian.


Acts 2:14-36

There is always an opportunity to transition every conversation into a spiritual one. Even if people think you're drunk. The problem we have is recognizing that opportunity and comfortably making that transition. It's tough to do it comfortably. But in the context of relationships, it's much easier because a relationship will listen. If we really care about people, and don't just see them as some spiritual conquest, that transition can be the most natural thing in the world because you're talking about something you love with someone you love. JM


Passion is powerful. It can make you do amazing things. Things you wouldn't be capable of without it. Monday Night Football is on right now and the Bills are beating the Cowboys 17 - 10. The Bills are passionate, the Cowboys aren't. The Cowboys should be destroying the Bills. We can do so much more with passion than we can when we just go through the motions.

It's easy to be passionate for a little while. But that usually fades. It's tough to maintain it. We get tired, or distracted, or whatever. But just imagine how different your life would be if you lived it with passion. JM


Owning stuff is so much better than just being able to use it. I don't own my computer, my church does. So on Sunday when somebody needed to use a laptop for a program at the church, my laptop was volunteered. That means that somebody I didn't know was using it for some purpose that I didn't know. What's even more annoying is that I couldn't get my computer back until 10:00 this morning. I was without it for 24 hours.
In reality that's not long at all, but it's amazing how much you can miss something. Makes me wish I owned my computer, or any computer at all. Maybe when I'm rich I'll go buy one. JM



I went to Catalyst two years ago. It was okay, but a lot of the speakers didn't really resonate with me. It seemed like it was a lot of "Go get 'em tiger" stuff. I think it's changed. The lineup this year was awesome. It's gotten bigger, but they do it in the round now, so it probably doesn't feel as big. I'll have to go next year. Too bad I missed it this year, but the National Youth Workers' Convention is in Atlanta this year, so I felt like I needed to spend my conference money on that instead. JM

Acts 2:5-13

It's amazing how God sees opportunities. Here's a bunch of Jews from all over the world gathered in Jerusalem, and God sends the Holy Spirit so that the disciples start talking in all of those languages. But they're not just talking, they're sharing the gospel.
I wish I could see and seize opportunities like God does. It's scary, though. A lot of times it's easy to see opportunities, but it can be tough to step out and seize that opportunity. And a lot of times we can't see the opportunity because it's more than we could ever dream of doing. I wonder how different our lives would be if God opened our eyes to the opportunities we have and we stepped out in faith on them. JM


Acts 2:1-4

Sometimes what you are supposed to do next is obvious. It's clear when you need to take that next step. The disciples had kind of been holed up, just trying to make it through. Then the Holy Spirit came down and things got all crazy. It became obvious that they were supposed to go out. That it was time for them to move.
It's also interesting how powerful the Holy Spirit was compared to how much we limit the Spirit's power now. We like to box it in and say that if we get a tingly feeling that's the Holy Spirit, as if that's all that it can do. How pathetic. Perhaps we should adjust our view of what the Holy Spirit can accomplish and pray those things to fruition. JM

Information Vs. Inspiration

A lot of people in youth ministry are talking about what needs to be done to stop graduation high schoolers from leaving the church. Usually the focus is on information: We're not teaching enough apologetics so when students leave for college they feel that Christianity won't stand up to scrutiny.
I don't think that's the problem. The problem isn't information. The problem is inspiration. Kids don't care. They don't see Christ as being relevant in their lives. They're not inspired or awed by Jesus. That's the problem.
We shouldn't be wondering how we can give kids more information, we should be wondering how we can inspire more students to fall in love with Jesus. JM



I've been meaning to post this, but kept forgetting. This is a screenshot from when I was updating my fantasy football team last week. Take a good look at it:

Notice anything odd? The ad is for "Chic Nursing Covers". My guess is that the average fantasy football player is not breastfeeding in public. Maybe I'm wrong. I'm sure it's a great product, but why not advertise it in a better spot where mothers of newborns might be online? If you're going to go through the trouble to build a website and promote it, you might as well do a little bit of research to find out where to promote it.
Taking that further, I bet this ad didn't get a lot of click-throughs because it wasn't relevant to the audience. Sure it might be a nice product, but why should I care about that, I'm not breastfeeding? This is so how the church acts. Let's do our presentation and get it out there. It's such an amazing message that people will accept it. Well, not really. You have to tie it back to their life. Show them how it's relevant. Make it meaningful to them. Make them want to hear it. If the church is going to be survive, it must be relevant to its audience. JM

Acts 1:23 - 26

This has always been one of my favorite passages. People love to talk about how they always know God's will in every aspect of their lives and they make it seem like there is no doubt for them. I don't typically feel that way. Usually it seems like there are a couple good options. Like I could choose any of several options and any of them would be in God's will.
That's what I get out of this. They cast lots to figure out who would replace Judas. Pretty important decision. And they couldn't make it.
I do think that they made a mistake here, though. I mean, where's the leadership? Why not say "Both of these guys are great, but we have to choose one, so it's going to be this one and here's why..." Now that's leadership. Not, "Uh, we can't make up our mind, so let's do it by chance and then nobody can get upset because it's just the luck of the draw..." JM



Man, watching this show makes me really want to get a tattoo on my forearm. It also makes me realize that a lot of people get some really lame tattoos for some really lame reasons. JM


Competition can be such a great motivator. I've been trying to start running again. I really want to. I love to run. This morning I woke up, though, and just laid in bed. I didn't go run. I just had no motivation to do it. I walk into work today, and my boss tells me about a race that he's going to do and that we want to challenge some of our students to do because it will benefit a great women's ministry in our area.
So competition reared its ugly head and I decided that I need to race against him and crush him into the ground. So hopefully tomorrow I will wake up and run. We'll see.

LA Ink

I've never seen LA Ink before. I really have no interest in the show, but I'm about to watch it. The author of one of the blogs I read is about to be on there. I've never met the guy, but I feel like I know him through his blog. It's like I'll be seeing my friend on TV. I think that's kind of what's cool about blogging. It creates a community of interaction between people to where you really do take a genuine interest in the other. Maybe that's kind of an idealist look at it, but that's how I like to think of it. JM

Acts 1:15-22

So there were a bunch of people that walked around with Jesus and were with him for the entire duration of his ministry. They were more than just the 12, but these people didn't get the recognition that the others did. They didn't get the authority, the close contact with Jesus, or the respect that the disciples did. But that's not why they went with Jesus.
A lot of times we get sidetracked in what we are doing. We start out serving God because we love Him. Sometimes we get sidetracked by beginning to love how we're serving. Sometimes we get sidetracked by the attention we receive. Whatever the distraction, it takes us away from our true purpose, to love Jesus and serve Him. JM


Infant Swimming

This is one of the most incredible things that I've ever seen. This guy has come up with a system that teaches infants how to float and swim starting at 6 months. It sounds ridiculous, but it's amazing to watch. Check out the video to see just how incredible it is. It could literally save lives. Remarkable. JM

Radiohead's New Album

Radiohead have a new album out called In Rainbows. It's available on their website and will come out on October 10th. You can download it on that date at least and they plan to ship a discbox that has a CD and two 12 inch vinyl albums. If you buy the discbox, then you get the download for free on 10.10.07.
They are trying to prevent their CD from getting leaked like it has the past few times. What's cool about the download is that you pay whatever you want for it. It just has a blank where you can tell them how many pounds and pence you want to pay. It says "it's up to you" and "no really, it's up to you". Awesome idea. I mean, they don't need the money, and they are going to sell crazy amounts. It's just awesome to see independent musicians fighting the system.
I'm going to get the download, I just don't know how much to pay for it. JM

Noah Meets A Bully

I know my son is not an angel. But today he was. Noah has had a relapse in his potty training. He's had several pee accidents over the last couple of weeks. I looked it up last night and it said one of the causes could be stress like starting school or dealing with a bully. I asked Noah if he liked school and he said yes. And he didn't seem to hint that anybody was being mean to him. So today I did a little recon on him. I saw him after his class had gone on potty break and didn't notice anything peculiar.
Then I got to see him a little later on while his class and another 3-year old class were on the playground. I was inside and upstairs looking out a big window, so nobody could see me spying. Noah played with some kids, then went over to the swings for a little bit, and then he went and started playing with this tonka truck in some sand.
As he was playing another boy came over and tried to take the toy from Noah. Noah tried to put his body between the other boy and the truck. But the other boy wouldn't let go. I'm upstairs starting to get upset and wondering how Noah is going to respond.
So then Noah picks up the truck to try to get it out of this other boy's hands, but the other boy pulled it away from Noah and started playing with it. I resisted the urge to go down there and take the truck back for my son and instead just watched from my spying perch.
Noah walks over and tells the teacher and she evidently told him to go tell the boy to please give it back. Noah walks over to the boy and says something, but he ignores Noah. Noah walks back over to the teacher and tells her that he still won't give it back. So the teacher walks over and evidently told the boy that when he was done playing with it that he needed to give it to Noah. Noah walked off and started playing on something else.
It was so sad to watch. Noah did what was right, and he didn't get what was rightfully his. Now that's injustice. So Eryn and I talked and decided to get Noah a special treat since we caught him doing what's right. We bought a cake mix and Noah, Ana, and I made a cake tonight, iced it, and then ate a little bit to celebrate a job well done.
I'm so proud of him. I think it's important to make a big deal about when you your kids do what's right. We like to do the opposite and freak out when they screw up. It was so cool to watch him, though. Here's some pictures. JM

Noah The Photographer

Noah wanted to take some pictures tonight. Here they are. Not necessarily the best framing, but I think his work shows some potential. He really likes to do it, so why not let him have some fun, you know? So here are some random shots of our kitchen in a different perspective than I would ever think of. JM

Acts 1:12-14

Jealousy can be tough. A lot of people can never overcome it. Jesus family did, though. Earlier in Jesus ministry they tried to come to get him and take him home because they thought he was crazy, or lying, or something. But now they must have realized that He was who He said He was. It's just tough to take sometimes because we knew them growing up. We know all about them. They seem more human to us than anybody else because we know them. So when they start doing great stuff, we have more trouble accepting it.
Taking that even further, the closer we are to somebody the easier it is to not fully appreciate them. If someone I work with everyday accomplishes amazing things, I get used to it and forget just how amazing it is. What if we continually thanked and appreciated people for the things they do everyday from the mundane to the remarkable? I bet people could accomplish more with all of that encouragement. Just a thought. JM