Saturday, February 21, 2004

Off To Ecuador
Actions speak:
Our church's team is off to Ecuador for two weeks. It is a little odd for Kendra and I because the team is all high school and college students youth parents and youth leaders (except for the two team leaders who are already in Ecuador) but we are not going. It was not a trip sponsored by the youth ministry but so many people involved in our youth ministry felt called to go. We got up and saw them all off this morning and my Youth Pastor "daddy" heart was overflowing with pride.

Two years ago, on our first trip to Raleigh for our mission trip, I was having a late night discussion with several students. During that time one of the girls who left this morning said she had no desire to do any mission work outside of the U.S. I could tell this was much more a fear of the unknown issue than a God is not calling me to go issue. So I almost flippantly said, "I will get you on a trip out of the country before you graduate high school". She of course told me I was crazy and there was no way. She graduates in June and I saw her off to Ecuador today. God is so cool. She completely remembers that conversation and we have had fun remembering it together.

I must admit I had no feelings of wanting to go on this trip even as I saw them off. I was totally comfortable with not being called to go. God in no way spoke to me that I should be a part of this team. Kendra and I were joking about how nice it was to have a "youth" mission trip we did not have to plan, organize and be responsible for. I am praying that these two weeks will change and challenge our kids. I am sure God has so much more in store for them than I can even imagine. Once again I am in awe that God would allow me to be a part of this. He is so good to someone so sinful and useless. He lets me influence kids for the kingdom and get paid for it! What a God!

Friday, February 20, 2004

A Staggering Statistic

The Survey Speaks:

According to Florida's Department of Health - Office of Vital Statistics, in the year 2002, there were more pregnancies among unwed mothers (150, 597) than married mothers (141, 828) in the state of Florida. That statistic is alarming enough; however, it has also been recorded that there were more BIRTHS among married mothers (124, 235) than unmarried mothers (80, 226). The primary cause for the lack of BIRTHS among unmarried mothers in comparison to married mothers was abortion. The total abortions given to umarried mothers in Florida, in 2002, were 70, 371. The total abortions given to married women were 17, 593.

Jasper Speaks:
I think in some ways this statistic speaks for itself. What a side microcosm of our country this is. Abortion has become a form of birth control rather than birth prevention. The devastation that an abortion leaves behind is incredible. When I see these startling numbers I hurt not only for the unborn life but for the countless women who will be living with this decision everyday.

Pro-abortion groups would have us believe that the psychological effects of abortion are a smoke screen that the far right has dreamed up to scare women. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Women struggle in this area for years after their decision. The hurt and guilt has been well documented. I will not be an extremist and say that all women encounter this but I will say that I believe that many, many do.

Our society has made this option so readily available and so "ordinary" that women are brought into the lie that there are no ramifications. There are so many. I don't know what the answer is to this. I think that in many ways our society today is paying for the liberalism of the generation before us. They let Roe V. Wade happen and here we are left to pick up the pieces. I am unashamedly pro-life but I wonder if we could ever go back to abortion on demand being illegal. I think that it is extremely difficult to take away a right that you have given to someone. The impact on overturning Roe V. Wade would be the 21st century version of prohibition I fear.

I pray that God would begin to touch the hearts of women in such a way that their decisions would be different. As I get older and still have no children of my own, it is harder for me to understand why someone who could conceive would ever want to kill the innocent child. So many people would be willing to take infants into their home. But these arguments are old and I know they have little effect on changing the hearts of our society. Sex is a right. Still it is a right that does not come without responsibility. Abortion is just a way to shuck the effects of our desire for momentary pleasure. Sadly, I feel that this pursuit will continue with little change.
Friday Night Is Upon Me

Jasper Speaks:

So it is just an ordinary night at home for me. Kendra has been working early hours so it is 9:00PM and she is fast asleep. We had a nice time with our friends Brian and Ruth Cawley tonight. We had dinner with them. You gotta love the new car side service from Applebee's. Kendra picked it up on her way home and it was a good, quick meal.

We were there primarily for me to train Ruth in using FrontPage. She is taking over the Hollis Center Baptist Church Webpage for me. I built the site up from the ugly plain text site it was when I got here to a decent little info page. I don't have a lot of time to do anything more than maintain it. So Ruth has been looking for a ministry and I know she will do a great job. We had a good time laughing at how easy the program is to use and how hard I can make it seem to other people.

Brian and Ruth are a couple we are completely comfortable with here in Maine. They have been like a mom and dad to us and we love them very much. We are on the same page with them as far as ministry philosophy goes. That is a rarity for us here. It is nice to "dream" with them. We completely trust them and know anything we say will stay in confidence. It is nice to have that in ministry.

Last Friday Kendra and I went to The Clay Place and painted some ceramics together. It was creative and romantic and we had a wonderful time. Tonight we picked up our "art". It is cool. Mine looks like Kendra's seven year old one armed not so bright nephew did it but I had a good time anyway. It is great to have something to remember the night by as well.

Tomorrow our mission team to Ecuador leaves. There is supposed to be a big snow storm. They haven't raised all their support. There is a political uprising in Ecuador. They are still pressing on. I pray all will go well. You have to ask, "is this God saying they shouldn't go?". I am sure he will clear all the way for them if it is all in his will.

I am enjoying the fellowship on my YP and YS listserves at the moment. Some of the arguing that can come up from time to time has died down and we have had a couple of days of just good old fellowship. I got a "quote of the moment" today from a post someone put up it is: Cancel My Subscription -- I Don't Need Your Issues . It cracks me up!
So I am looking forward to a good night's sleep and seeing the Ecuador team off tomorrow morning as they are actually meeting at my house to caravan to the airport together. So that is my Friday night. Don't you wish you were me???
Friday's Seven

G-Man Questions
Jasper Speaks:


Here are this week's questions.

1. What is one struggle you have?
Consistency.I wish I could be more consistent at about everything.

2. Are celebrations such as Christmas and Easter, Biblical?
Sure. SOme would say not but the Old Testament is filled with celebration commemorating special religious days.

3. What is one form you use a lot?
Uh, dunno. I guess a permission slip.

4. How do flexible are you in planning events? Do you have a Plan B?
Flexible to a degree. I usually only have a Plan B after Plan A has died.

5. What was the last fun thing you did?
Went to a pottery painting place with my wife for Valentine's Day(we actually went on Friday). I do so love her!

6. What devotional book are you currently using?
Purpose Driven Life (my senior High guys Bible Study is going through it together)

7. What was the last picture you shot?
PJ - A new kid to our group at Youth group last night.

Bonus:

A. What would you recommend as some etiquette points for those online with listservs and forums?
Speak in love.

B. Any clothing companies you'd recommend for doing T-shirts and so forth?
I just had a mixed experience with uthstuph. They did a great design but told me they had a certain size that they ended up not haveing and instead of sending me the two shirts in the size I needed they sent me FIVE shirts a size too small. They didn't call or email me to tell me this was going to happen the shipment just came that way. I still think that is odd. I felt like I got the run around so I guess it is back to our local guy at Back Bay Sports in Portland Maine.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Sin Sucks
DeeperDevotion.com Speaks:
Growing Down: The War on Habitual Sin


By Glenn Ansley

Jason is a fourteen-year-old student I met while working with a youth group in college. He struggles to live his life purely before the Lord. He was raised in a non-Christian home by parents that failed to spend time with him. Plagued by his past involvement in drugs, pornography, and violence, his heart is broken over the inner battle that takes place within his mind every day.

"I know it's wrong to sin," he says, "but I always return to it. How can God believe anything I promise Him? I've asked for forgiveness a million times, but the old habits inevitably return."

"I feel so dirty."

The Universal Problem
My heart broke for Jason that day, but it wasn't because of the magnitude of his struggles. I was touched because of this student's honesty in the midst of such a universal battle.

Everybody struggles with reoccurring sin but few have the courage to seek out the help they need to overcome it.

That afternoon I was able to lead Jason through Romans seven and eight. Together, he and I rediscovered the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jason and I still struggle to remain strong in certain areas of our life, but there is now a peace that comes through knowing the truth of Scripture. I pray that you would likewise be blessed by the power of Jesus Christ, which "sets us free from this body of death."

The Cycle of Sin
Habitual sin is that which you know to be wrong before you do it, but then choose to forge ahead anyway. It unfolds within a powerfully defeating three-stage cycle of temptation, decision, and guilt. Satan is a master of deception and often rules each of these stages with surprising influence and stealth.

The greatest battle, as you well know, takes place during the stage of decision. You are faced with the temptation. Sin sits at your door, you are aware that letting it in is wrong and even weigh the consequences of shame and guilt but inevitably you yield to its call and open the door.

You were defeated before you began.

Step 1: Identify the Participants
Enter stage left: You are a child of God, pure and spotless before the Father. Even now, your spirit is seated with Christ in heaven (Eph. 2:6). Your spirit is at union with the Spirit of God and its desire is to glorify the Lord in all you do.

Enter stage right: Referred to as your flesh by the Apostle Paul (Rom. 7:14), it represents your past. Everything you have been conditioned to up to the point of salvation. It's your desire to live separately from the will of the Father.

Step 2: Identify the Battlefield
Romans 8:5 says, "For those who are according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit."

Your mind is the battlefield. Everything goes down right here. Satan may tempt, but he doesn't cause you to sin. He places the sin in front of you (stage one), your flesh swallows it hook, line and sinker, but your spirit resists. Agreeing with the Law of God and confessing that it is good (Rom. 7:16), a battle ensues within your mind and results in a decision (stage two). The consequences (stage three) are noted by Paul in Romans 8:6. "For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace."

Step 3: Becoming Prepared for the Battle
It is no wonder that Paul writes in Romans 12:2, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Again, in 2 Corinthians 10:5. "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

Philippians 4:8, "Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."

The key to winning the battle and defeating the dominance of a habitual sin is the status of your mind. Accountability partners, pledges and promises to God, and even total isolation from that which tempts you will not prevent your flesh from longing after that which is sinful.

Step 4: So Let's Win Some Battles!
Temptation and your flesh will be with you until the day of Christ's return. Victory will only be available to those who embrace the battle plan of Jesus. You must make daily time with Him a priority in your life. This won't happen on your own, though. You must wake up and ask for the desire to spend time with Him. Be honest. Ask for the Holy Spirit's conviction to come upon you when you don't begin the day with Him.

Stay away from that which perverts your mind. Remember that a clean battlefield will be much easier to maneuver on than one laden with landmines and enemy soldiers.

Finally, remember that you have not yet arrived. Your spirit is at continual war with your flesh (Rom. 7:23). Even the slightest wandering away from the will of God opens the door for the enemy's onslaught to begin. Your relationship with God prior to the temptation is key to the decision that will be made in the midst of the battle.

You can do it. You are a soldier in the Lord's army. He has already secured victory for the war; your task is to remain strong throughout the battles. Rest on His strength and don't be afraid to ask Him for help.

Read Romans 7:13-8:17 several times over. Identify the different players in the war, the ways they interact, and the consequences / benefits of which side you fight for.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin (Rom. 7:24-25).

Jasper Speaks:
I stumbled across this article today just after hanging up from talking to a dear friend who is struggling in the area of lust. It seem like the church is a step behind in helping people (especially men) in this area. It is hard to approach the topic of sexual sin. It makes us feel uncomfortable and is an awkward topic. Still I see this as perhaps the single largest struggle in the life of men. In just the past year I have encountered at least five men who are struggling in this area. In particular all of their struggles lead to on spot. The internet.

The internet has provided a place for people to anonymously view pornography. It gives a place where in our own homes, we can hide and look at things that used to be only available by going to a trashy bookstore or order pay per view. The internet is such a great tool. Being in the Northeast and in Maine in particular I rely on the internet for networking, ideas and shopping for resources. But like everything, Satan has made evil dwell on the internet as well. All your lust can be fed with only a few keystrokes.

Sin is not usually hard to fall into, but the internet has made it even easier. Sometimes I will be surfing and will be innocently looking for things for ministry and be accidently linked to a site of questionable value. Before you know it sometimes you are being bombarded with images. Unlike the bookstore or the television, internet porn can just jump up on your screen without your invitation and without warning. Satan must sit back and laugh with glee as he sees men (and women) fall into his devious trap.

I believe the modern church needs to address this issue head on. We should start prayer ministries that are specifiacally designed to pray against this sin gaining a foothold in our congregations. We need to be addressing this sin from the pulpit. We need to be offering help for those who are struggling in this area in the manner of support and counseling We need to offer these services readily and upfront. The sin is anonymous and I fear that if we do not freely and openly offer our help, those caught in the struggle will be more likely to hide in their "closets" and not come out to share. In a sense we have to do what we can to remove the stigma that accompanies this sin and while not belittling it, openly share that it is a common struggle and there is peace and forgiveness to be found. There is a way out of the trap.

I pray that we, as leaders of Christian communities will be able to stand up against this attack. I pray that we will be able to provide hope and help for those who struggle.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Family Ties
The Stats Speak:
Teens Choose Family First


50% of American high school students say that they would want to spend more time with their family.
44% say that they would prefer to spend more time with their friends.
--State of Our Nation's Youth Survey, 2003

Jasper Speaks:
What an interesting statistic. In an era when family is "uncool" it is interesting to see the number of students who yearn for this time. I think this speaks to so many problems in our society. Parents work long hours so that their families can have what they "need". Siblings are shuffled off into many different directions every day. It seems that many families are lacking common relational skills with one another.

If we could convince parents that this statistic is true, I think we could see some major changes in our society. However, the media and entertainment industries seem to undermine this happening. When was the last time you saw a happy, well adjusted family whose parents are respected dispite usual problems on television? (Seventh Heaven SO doesn't count. What preacher's family is at all like the Camdens?) I understand that these families may not be as entertaining as the dysfuntional sort. Still, I think that positive family images would promote the idea that families need to make time for each other.

If families are together I think we would see less crime. I know there would be more healthy children. I know there would be more fullfilled parents. Maybe we should take this survey to heart and spend some extra time with our families. Which is why I better stop blogging for the day and start having some quality family time!

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Girls Will Be Girls

The Press Speaks:
Lohan Tired of Drama With Duff
Associate Press


NEW YORK - Lindsay Lohan says she's tired of the drama between her and Hillary Duff. The star of the upcoming movie "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen" and Duff both dated pop singer Aaron Carter and had a falling out that reportedly resulted in Duff asking Lohan to leave the premiere of "Cheaper by the Dozen," in which Duff co-starred.

Lohan now says their spat is "silly" and "unnecessary."

"I mean, she's doing great. I'm a fan of hers. My sister loves her," the 17-year-old Lohan said on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. "I just wanted to let her know I have no problems and neither should she. We were friends."

When Diane Sawyer asked whether her fight with the 16-year-old Duff was "a high school thing," Lohan answered, "Yeah."

"It is the reason why I wanted to finish high school early because it is what you have to deal with in high school," the actress said. "When you are working and stuff, the last thing you want to read is someone doesn't like you. Let it go, you know what I mean? I just wanted to clear it up."

Jasper Speaks:
As a Youth Pastor this "news" story cracks me up. I am suddenly in a completely realting to this article place. This sounds so much like every day in a Youth Pastor's life. How many of our students are in the same spot as these two teens.

I am reminded of last spring when I was "counselling" one sixteen year old because her "arch enemy" in the youth group had literally looked at the same boy that the first girl was interested in. My wife often says that she believes we sometimes live to facilitate romance. I must admit I feel that is correct quite often.

There is always bickering and squabbling because, these are teenagers afterall. I am a little encouraged to see that Lindsey Lohan and Hillary Duff are still able to be typical teenagers even in their stardom. I wish more teen stars would stop trying to be 35 and live the life of a young person like they should.

Even in the midst of the drama I am content as a Youth Pastor. I cannot even imagine doing anything else. I love my job. There are days it gives me a splitting headache. There are days I want to yell, 'Won't you just PLEASE grow up!" Then I am reminded that they are growing up. The drama, the pettyness, the falling in and out of love is all part of the journey. I am glad that they are not jumping over these things into a Brittney or Christina or Justin world. They are young and God gives me the priviledge of having a part in their transition to adulthood. Who would have thought a mindless teenage squabble would give Jasper such a philosophical moment?

Monday, February 16, 2004

Mel Gibson On Primetime

Jasper Speaks:

Many things in the interview tonight were impressive. I thought that Mel's ideas on sin and forgiveness granted on the cross seem to be right on. I was impressed by what he said about his own testimony. He spoke of his love for Christ and his belief that Christ died for us. I was impressed that Mel Gibson answered the question, "who killed Jesus Christ?" by saying that we all did. He took the first point of blame. I respect that answer and I have respect for the man who gave it.

Scenes from the movie seem to be gut wrenching and touching. I have heard many people who have seen pre-releases of the film say it has changed the way they picture the crucifixion. I can already see, through just the portions I have witnessed, that it has the potential to do the same to me.

I think this is a very important film. I think that God can use this film. I think the reason lies for the most part in that Mel Gibson has used the words of God as they appear in the Gospels. I believe that God's Word is so much more powerful than the medium of film. I believe in the end that what changes the world will not be the film itself or it's savage imagery. I believe it will be what has changes hearts and minds throughout the ages, God's Word as it appears in the Bible.

There was a part of the interview that saddened me. It was just a short moment when Mel Gibson said he felt like anyone can get to Heaven. He just feels like a Roman Catholic that he has a guarantee. This is Jasper's paraphrase. The way he said this is disturbing on two levels for me.

First, Mel's implication was that you do not have to be a Christian to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. That is not the message of the Gospels he claims to hail so dear. His remarks sadden me because I am afraid that they send a message equal to "all dogs go to Heaven". God's Word is implicit in the fact that the ONLY way to Heaven is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. That was not the view as it came across in this interview.

Second, it did also impress Mel's idea that Roman Catholicism gives the guarantee to heaven. Denominations do not have a guarantee on Heaven. The only guarantee is again, through a personal relationship with Christ.

In the end, the interview was about what I had expected. No great revelations. I do respect ABC for their line of questioning. I also respect Mel Gibson for taking an unapologetically stand in this area. Most of all however, I respect Christ for giving us a reason for living, not just a reason to make a movie.
LOL! I Love Rich Baseball Owners!

The Press Speaks:
Kick in the gut
By Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff, 2/16/2004

Now John Daly, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Shaquille O'Neal know how the Patriots felt.

Impress the world all you want. Alex Rodriguez will be there to steal your thunder.

While the Patriots were breaking all sorts of NFL winning streak records, all anyone in New England would talk about was the Red Sox failed attempt to acquire the reigning Most Valuable Player. Yesterday, on a banner day for sports in the supposed black hole of the year, A-Rod and the Yankees did it again by pulling off the deal that Boston could not.

Remember that great satirical piece from The Onion last year, in which they published an article that said the Yankees ensured the 2003 pennant by signing every player in baseball? Well, we thought they were kidding too.

Murray Chass of the New York Times says, summer or winter, the Yankees show the Red Sox how to win. It's Yankees 1, Red Sox 0 this offseason, he claims. Perhaps he forgets about George Steinbrenner's pining for one Curt Schilling before the Red Sox wrestled him away.

Jasper Speaks:
My first thought here is one to throw my head backwards and HOWL with laughter! It is one of my proudest sport days since I moved to New England. It is second only to that home run thing in the playoffs last year that I like to throw on the table when Boston fans get a little cocky. Red Sox fans or excuse me Red Sux fgenerallygeneraly rude and obnoxious so this pre season blow is making me smile. I think it is poetry that A-Rod not only didn't get to Boston but got to New York instead.

I am not a huge Yankee fan/ Being from St. Louis makes me a Cardinal fan through and through but the Yankee fulfill my number 2 favorite team requirement --- The team who is playing the Red Sox. Now I am not the biggest sports guy in the world. The truth is, I only mildly followed the Cards and the Rams before our move to New England. Yet here people are obsessed. I think, in Maine at least, this is a direct result of the lack of things to do. In an effort to keep Maine the most secluded, trapped in 1965 state in the union, sports have a greater following.

So as those around me mourn with baseball cap in hand, I smile. You see I am such a non-sox fan that sadly, my life has come down to findinghapiness in the fallings of the sports teams of New England. A sad life maybe but as things seem to be going I am glad that football easeon is in my past and that an A-Rod free baseball season is nearly here.
Who Made The Mayor Of San Francisco King?

The Press Speaks:
San Francisco's Gay Weddings Continue


Dozens of same-sex couples lined up outside City Hall in heavy rain early Monday, waiting for city offices to open so they could join more than 1,700 other gay and lesbian couples who have exchanged vows in the last few days.

Jasper Speaks:
Okay so I think any intelligent minded person has got to have a problem with this. Now, wherever you stand on the issue of gay marriage you have got to know that what is happening in San Francisco is just not right. The voters of the state of California have spoken and said that marriage should remain a commitment between one man and one woman but San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has decided that he has the right to soley throw out that decision and allow same-sex unions in his city.

Even if you feel that same-sex marriage is something that should exist in our country, you can not condone this brass move by the San Francisco Mayor. Our government is set up in such a way that one person can not change laws at their will. What if I become Mayor of Hollis Center, Maine (okay so we are a podunky little town with no mayor but play along with me here) and decide that all natural born Mainers must be deported to Massachusetts. If you are familiar with New England life you would know that for all Mainers being forced to live in Massachusetts is worse than death. But let's say that I did this horrible thing. Would just because I was a mayor give me the right to go beyond the scope of the government and create an illegal plan? This is exactly what is going on in San Fran right now.

What is next? Robbery is okay in some cities even though it is outlawed in the state as a whole? Murder is okay in certain circumstances because, hey I am a mayor so I can make it so. People just don't get it!
I Just Don't Get It

The Press Speaks:

Scarlett Johansson Wins Top British Award


By MATT WOLF, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - Fantasy epic "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" was named best film at the British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, while "Lost in Translation" co-stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson took the top acting honors.
(Clipped from Yahoo Mon Feb 16, 8:17 AM ET)

Jasper Speaks:
Way to go LOTR! But I can not even begin to fathom why ANYONE would even BEGIN to award Lost In Snoozland --- I mean Lost In Translation. I rented this movie over the weekend. It was completely stupid. It was so boring. I sat with my remote in hand constantly on the fast forward button looking for the actual plot to begin. It never did.

So my question is, why is this movie being touted as one of the best of 2004? I think every year there has to be a movie that Hollywood embraces to make the rest of America feel stupid. It exists to make those of us who are not part of the Hollywood elite stop and think, "am I not smart enough or deep enough to understand what this movie is saying?" You see my theory is there is this one guy in Hollywood, we'll call him Lou. Lou is probably a washed up old Hollywood power player. Perhaps he was (or still is) a talent agent or head of a prominent studio. Several years ago, Lou was somehow wronged by the Hollywood community. He was able to dust himself off and make it seem as though he survived the cruelty. However, something in Lou's mind snapped. He is bent on revenge. Every year Lou finds the worst movie made and embraces it. He says I LOVE this film. Then Lou sits back and laughs his fool head off as the lemmings of Hollywood follow suit. Every year Lou gets his revenge by watching how DUMB the Hollywood wackos really can be.

Now this may seem like an elaborate story but trust me Lou must exist. How else can we describe a movie like Lost In Translation being nominated for Best Picture? How else can Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray receive awards and accolades for the most sleep inducing film in recent years? Just a thought. But the next time you are in a dark movie theater or you own living room and realize that you have no idea why ANYONE would think the snoozer of the film that you are suffering through seems to be such a hit with other people, remember poor old Lou and smile as you picture him with a cigar hanging out of the left corner of his mouth, a wicked smile plastered across his face saying, "Gotcha!" Then just chalk it up to revenge getting the better of us all.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Fifty First Dates

Jasper Speaks:

Today Kendra and I went to go see Fifty First Dates with our friends Nathan and Angela Milkins. We went to Chunky's. Now if you are not familiar with the Chunky's experience, in my opinion it is a great way to see a movie. It is a sinner theater set up. You sit in luxury car chairs on casters. You can recline and be very comfortable. So it is usually a pleasant experience if only from an aesthetic point.

Settled in to watch the movie, I was anticipatory. I am an Adam Sandler fan and have been a little disappointed by the last couple of offerings from the Happy Madison Production Company. So as the trailers played I didn't know quite what to expect. Was this going to be classic Sandler in the vein of The Wedding Singer or a snooze fest like Anger Managment?

As the movie began, I thought it may be more the latter and was not so pleased. Some of the humor was just dumb. Yes I know I was in an Adam Sandler movie so I allowed myself to take it all in. I began to think that I would not be completely disappointed and just sat in for the ride.

then as the movie got past it's rising action and got into the real meat of the love story, it took a great turn. It became a funny, sweet romantic comedy. Watching classic Sandler moments like the scenes where he tries to impress Drew Barrymore along a deserted Hawaiian rode were great. There also was quite a bit of heart to the love story that is reminiscent of The Wedding Singer.

I was impressed that the writers didn't take the easy way out and give us a completely predictable ending. Overall I had a great time. I am glad that we decided to go. I would recommend the movie to you if you are a fan of Adam Sandler like me or even if you are a sucker for a good romantic comedy. Also, the bonus for me was the supporting role of one of my FAVORITE actors Sean Astin!!! Go Rudy!!! Go Samwise!!! That was a pleasant surprise as I had not heard he was in the movie!
Friday 7.35

1. What night of the week is your Discipleship time?
Thursday nights are my Sunday. We have nearly 100%
saved kids on these nights so we disciple then. Also
we have small groups on Tuesday.

2. What good discipleship Curriculum have you come
across that would be helpful?
The Guy/Girls curriculum from YS is still the best I
have ever used. My guys especially got a lot out of
it. Jesus No Equal was great too. Right now we are
using Living Life On Purpose by Doug Fields and it is
pretty good too.

3. How do you get students from being just coming to
the fun events to the committed?
I think you raise the bar and ask for more and more of
them. We live in a society that is so complacent that
they love a challenge. Also, have student leaders
guide the others and bring them along. If one kid
thinks it's cool, others will generally follow.

4. What is your student ministry's name, and its
purpose statement?

The ATTIC - Ablaze Teens Testifying In Christ

(I inherited the name the ATTIC not my fave!)
Purpose:
The youth ministry of Hollis Center Baptist Church
exists to BRING Junior and Senior High students into a
relationship with Jesus Christ, to build a BOND of
lifelong Christian friendships, helping students to
GROW in their relationship with Christ, and
encouraging them to FIND God's purpose for their life
as they LIVE daily for Him.

5. What is one thing God has laid upon your heart this
past week?
students grow slow but strong. Love them.

6. How does one achieve holiness?
Constant pursual.

7. How do you recruit your volunteers?
P-I-A - Pray Identify Approach

Bonus:

A. When was the last time you communicated to the
parents of students in your ministry?
Five minutes ago.

B. If there was one object to describe you; what would
it be?
Pudding.