Sunday, December 23, 2007

Currently Watching
Law and Order SVU Bundle: Seasons 1, 2, and 5 DVD Set
see related
Jasper Speaks:

Admittedly, this is not a new post. About every year or so I like to come back to this one to remind myself why I do what I do.

What Is Youth Ministry Really About?

I have asked myself that question so many times. Even several times in the last few days. There are some obvious answers. I know for me so much of why I am here today is that I have a call of God on my life to be here. I cannot achieve purpose without being in ministry. As I think about those days when I want to turn in my silly putty, smelly van and reasons to stay up all night, I simply cannot just walk away. So with that in mind I feel I need to figure out the answer to the question "what is Youth Ministry really about"?

1. It Is About Leading Teens To Christ

This seems like a no brainer but I think sometimes we get caught up in the activities of ministry and neglect this one. I offer a lot of stuff for my kids but I question how much of it really leads them to Christ. Of course I am speaking of evangelism but do my thoughts, actions and ministry lead even teens who are saved back to the feet of Christ on a regular basis? Does my example show them that Christianity is about a relationship? Am I displaying Christ in such a way that a non-Christian student will be drawn to know what makes me different?

2. It Is About Creating A Safe Place For Students

One of the joys of ministry for me is being with students. I love to hang out with them and mentor them. I also love to offer a place where students can be together in a positive, safe environment. I think a crucial reason Youth Ministry exists is to bring students together and help them walk side by side in the battle. Nothing warms my heart more than to see two students holding each other accountable and helping one another through hard times. That is one of the joys and one of the most important reasons youth ministry exists.

3. It Is About Helping Students Mature In Their Faith

I love teens. I am not such a fan of pre-teens. Why? I think it is because teenagers are just that small bit more mature than pre-teens. They are just a little more "grown-up". I am not under the illusion that they never regress back to their more immature ways but they are closer to be a "real person" than a younger kid. That being said I think that helping students mature in their faith is one of the seedbeds of youth ministry. Just as their physical and emotional life is growing, so must their spiritual life. It is the role of the youth leader to facilitate growing moments. I love the fact that God has put me in a situation where I can offer ways to make students "stretch". I love to see the light bulb go on over a kids head about spiritual issues. For me this happens so much on mission experiences. Students seem to grow and understand their faith as they serve. Of course in the area of spiritual growth we have to be leading by example as well. The spiritual stagnant will have a hard time leading growth.

4. It Is About Helping Students Find Their Place In The World

So often I find myself trying to de-stress my seniors. I try and tell them that unlike many adults they know, I don't expect them to know what they are going to do with their lives at 18. I expect them to be seeking out what God has for them and to take advantage of their youth and the opportunities that brings.I do however, feel that it is the responsibility of the youth ministry to help kids as they try and find what their spiritual place is in the world. I believe in the six years a student spends in our youth ministry, they should constantly be confronted with why they are on planet Earth. What would God have them accomplish in their lifetime? I think as youth leaders we need to be constantly trying to offer opportunities that will help them answer this question. We need to encourage them to take steps of faith and look toward what God has in store for them. I think we need to encourage them to shut out the theory that they are the future of the church and embrace their role in the church of today.

5. It Is About Helping Students Live Out Their Commitment To Christ

Sometimes youth ministry is just about being a cheerleader. I think one of the most important aspects of student ministry is being a listening ear. How many times have I had students who are hurting or rejoicing sitting on my couch and anxiously sharing their life with me? As youth leaders we need to be committed to taking advantage of every opportunity to point students to God's Word for the answers in their lives. We need to start our responses consistently with the phrase, "what would God have you do in this situation'.We have to instill in them the idea that the relationship they have with Christ is a daily thing. Something they need to come back and visit on a regular basis. They need to be desiring more than daily --- need I suggest moment by moment --- communication with Jesus. We need to encourage that and model it as well.

So as I ask myself what is youth ministry really about I see faces and lives that have been touched and changed over my 18 years of service. It is these reasons that keep me from dropping it all and working at Wal-Mart. It is the faces of lives changed and the shadows of the lives still to come, that encourage me to continue on in light of difficult times. You see, youth ministry is also really about me. It is about God working in my life. It is about God Changing me and using me to advance the Kingdom. He uses me in spite of my inadequacies. He uses me in spite of my sin. He uses me even though I am not worthy at all. He uses me because youth ministry is really about being obedient to His call. In the end, for me, youth ministry is really about the deepening love between the creator of the world and an average guy named Jasper.
Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

christmas quiz

Apparently, I like to be the life of the party! Going to see mom in about an hour (as soon as second service is over). One of Kendra's last minute gifts came in today. I am excited. It was just what I hoped it would be. Can't believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Chris, Stephanie and Nate and Michelle are coming over to cut the Christmas goose with us tonight. Should be fun.

I wish mom wasn't in the hospital though. Makes the season a bit of a downer. I was overwhelmed in church this morning when pastor had George pray for all of us. I love my church. It is so much our home. Merry Christmas Eve eve everyone!

And here is your early Christmas Huckabee link:
Dallas Morning News Endorses Huckabee

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Currently Watching
All I Want for Christmas
By Harley Jane Kozak, Jamey Sheridan, Ethan Embry, Kevin Nealon, Thora Birch
see related
Jasper Speaks:

My mom had her procedure on Friday. They drilled a hole into her heart and placed two stints in it. She did well. The long term prognosis is unclear. A part of her heart is dead. One of the blockages was 100%. The other was 70%. She may need another procedure a bit later. They hope to treat the other issue with medicine.

I can't believe we are so close to Christmas day! Kendra and I watched our favorite Christmas movie together tonight. It is called "All I Want For Christmas". It is a pretty cheesy 90's movie but we quote it all year round. "You have to say it louder, he has tiny, tiny ears"! I am glad that the first semester is over. I get very excited at Christmas Break! Aaron will be here in like 8 days! Woot!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

My mom is a little better. They have moved her to a step down sort of room outof the CICU. She seemed to be in better spirits today. She will not have the catherization anytime soon. Please do be praying as she will have a medicine induced stress test tomorrow. That is a little scary but we know who is in control. Her room has a LOVELY view of Forest Park. It sits just a little off of Steinberg Rink. Here is a picture from what she can see out her window. This picture was taken from the park and the building in the pic is the hospital. I didn't take it. I just found the picture online and it really is taken from what she can see from her window. It is like you were a person standing in the park and trying to take a picture of her room. I couldn't get the larger sized ones to download. :(

I have two finals left to give and then Christmas break is upon us. That is a good thing!

Here are a couple of good Huckabee sites for today:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Currently Reading
The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
see related
Jasper Speaks:

So, my mom is still not strong enough to have the Cardiac cath. She hasn't been able to get her kidney function to all it needs to be and she is now anemic. They were giving her blood today. She was a sleep most of the time I was there. Now the cath is scheduled for Thursday. We'll see. I did read an interesting article on Mike Huckabee in Newsweek while I was in the waiting room. He was the cover story. Of course towards the end they bashed him a bit but I must say the more I read the more I like him!

My last zero of the semester was today. So now I don't have to be at school at 7:00 AM instead of 6:15. Sleeping in! How sad is that? But I have fallen asleep in my chair during my plan period for the past two days.

Thanks for your many well wishes and prayers. We appreciate it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

Some of you know that my mom is in the hospital. She has been in and out of them for years. She had a heart attack this time. She just isn't herself. That is hard. I wish school was out so I wouldn't have to worry about finals and such. I would appreciate your prayers as we see what God has in store. Here is some fun:
Don't send a lame Holiday eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Don't send a lame Holiday eCard. Try JibJab Sendables!

Here is the cool Mike Huckabee ad for the day:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Currently Watching
To Kill a Mockingbird (Universal Legacy Series)
By Gregory Peck, John Megna, Frank Overton, Rosemary Murphy, Ruth White (II)
see related

Jasper Speaks:

Yesterday was very productive. I wrote a sermon, two final study guides and two final exams. Jackson had a horrible day yestersay. He had a severe asthma attack at school and Kendra had to go and get him and rush him to the doctor. They ended up giving him two breathing treatments at the office and another at home plus an oral steroid. Poor little guy. They upped his meds a lot. it is pretty sad. I am praying it all helps and he is better. He did seem to sleep better last night.

I thought I might post the last section of my message from last night with you today. The title of the message was Indescribable and it was based on 2 Corinthians 9:15 which says, "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" The end was about the effects of that gift on us:

Because of His Effect on us.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

When we accept the gift we change.

What Are The Effects?
1. We are Forgiven of our sins.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 10:11-12

This is basic but the fundamental truth of our lives. God has taken away our sins.

2. We are Members of His family.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans8:16-17

We are adopted in to his family. When we were in court adopting Jackson one of the questions we were asked was if we understood that with this adoption Jackson becomes an heir to our estate (which is HUGE of course) just like he was born to us. That is the same picture God paints for us when we accept Him. We are heirs to all that is His and He owns EVERYTHING!

3. We are the House of His Spirit.
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1 Corinthians 13:16-17

It dawned on me that we are basically walking places of worship. We are walking churches. I found that to be cool!

4. We are Recipients of His peace.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Just like God's gift of Jesus is indescribable, so is the peace we experience. Not peace like the world longs for but a peace we don't understand.

5. We are Residents of His Home.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:1-3

We get to live with Him forever! How cool!

That's all have a great day!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Currently Watching
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
By Jim Dale, Patrick Day, Frederic Forrest, Lillian Gish, David Barry Gray
see related

Jasper Speaks:

The semester is winding down and that can be a good thing but I have SO MUCh still to do. My message is done for tonight but I still have to write two finals and two reviews for those finals and pretty much one has to be done by the end of the day. UG! So why am I blogging? A.D.D --- that's me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Currently Watching
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
By Thompson, Gish, Kiley, Dale, Hughe
see related
Jasper Speaks:
I finally gave in:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Currently Reading
The Pit and the Pendulum
By Edgar Allan Poe
see related

Jasper Speaks:

So, taking a cue from my friend Angela M., I overslept by an hour today. jackson has been sick and coughing and the only way he (and we) can sleep is if we sit up in the recliner and sleep together. Kendra took the Saturday night shift so I took last night. He was up and down a lot throughout the evening. I love holding him as he sleeps. In some ways it is a wonderful example of God holding us. When we are troubled, God holds us and keeps us close to His heart so that we can be sure that things will be okay. It is amazing how simply being held by us, makes Jackson so much better. We get that way when we realize God is holding us as well.

Anyway, I was awaken probably thirty times with a sometimes squirming, sometimes coughing, sometimes crying toddler in my arms and we both dozed off for good around 3:00AM. I wake up and pull out the cell phone at 5:45 A FULL HOUR LATE! Yikes! I race upstairs and start to get ready. The bad thing is, St. Louis had this minor ice storm last night. When I turned on the TV I found that most of the school districts near mine had canceled but ours had not. I had mixed emotions as it is VERY close to Christmas and why waste a day off on that but I was REALLY late. The news kept saying "use caution and leave early". Yeah, just rub a little more salt in the wound why don't you?

I take off and arrive at school about twenty-five minutes late but at least I was all in one piece. I had forgotten my breakfast and lunch and missed my morning coffee stop. I rushed through a fifty minute lesson in twenty and brewed a pot of coffee which I promptly finished. Now I am blogging while students are reading To Kill A Mockingbird and dreamy of only having one more class left and then going to SONIC before I starve. Okay I know it will take awhile to starve but I am hungry!



Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Currently Reading
To Kill a Mockingbird
By Harper Lee
see related

Jasper Speaks:

Purpose. It is a small word with a punch. Companies release purpose statements. The Purpose Driven Life is the best selling book ever outside of the Bible. Often we ask, "why am I here"? I think this is on my mind because the Christian Science "church" I pass on my way to work every morning has a question on their sign. It says, "Where did we come from and why are we here"? Is this the cry of the human soul? Are we born with this question burning in our deep within us?

I think that purpose is something that we can find. That purpose is simple. Love God and love people. None of this is revolutionary. Rick Warren lays it out plainly in the aforementioned book. He basis his thesis on the Great Commandment:

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.'"

and the Great Commission:

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Great concepts but how do we live these out in the everyday?

Loving God is all about devotion. Devotion is defined this way:

Profound dedication; consecration.

How do we achieve profound dedication? Well we can't be dedicated to someone with whom we are not spending time. We have to communicate to be devoted. We need to spend time every day in conversation with God. The Bible says we are supposed to pray constantly. Although hard to do, it is amazing to think about being completely consumed by communication with God.

I once heard Rob Bell speak and he brought up an interesting point. He said that we are born to praise God. Not a revolutionary concept I know but he brought up something from the Hebrew language that has stuck with me for a long time. He told us that the sacred word, YHWH (the name of God in Hebrew), actually when pronounced correctly sounds like taking a breath. So, in essence, when we come out of our mother's womb and take our first breath, we speak the name of God. When we rattle out our last breath as we die, we are in a way, calling out His name as well. We begin and end life, in communication with and calling out the name of the Creator.

One of the best things that ever happened to me was when van's radio stopped working. Because of a theft device error, my radio won't turn on at all. It just sits there like a decorative ornament on my dashboard. At first I really missed it. I wanted to karaoke to bad country music on my way to work. I wanted to yell at political pundants that I disagreed with on the way home. I did not want to be lonely.


Then I realized that not having a radio was really a blessing. God was providing a way for me a way to spend more time with him (I almost said forcing but I think that is not very theologically sound). Last year my morning commute was about forty minutes. This year it is right at thirty. With no radio, I now can take that time and spend it focused on God. I find that some mornings I sing praise songs in the car. I open myself up to a morning worship in song session. I can sing praises and prepare my heart for the day that way.

Even on those mornings, however, I spend time just praying. I ask God to bless my day. I ask Him to make me a better man of God. I ask Him to bless those I love. I ask Him to speak to me as well. We communicate. All because of a weird factory defect in my van. I have found that most mornings I even skip the singing and go right to talking things out with God.

I have found that my heart is more sensitive to His leading when we are in the van alone together. I am willing to listen. I am open to change. The morning makes me ready to accept challenges. I am ready for my day because I have spent quality time with God.

These times have helped me live life on purpose. I have been able to better understand the Great Commandment. At those wee hours of the morning, I am able to really pursue complete devotion. I am not always profoundly dedicated during these times but God uses them to teach me to love Him with my heart, soul, mind and strength. These times help to remind me that the first purpose of my life is to chase after Christ not only in the morning hours but throughout the entire day. I am called to love Him with profound dedication and complete devotion. I have learned that this begins with spending time with Him.

That's about it for today. Perhaps tomorrow I will pontificate on the other half of this idea of purpose. I hope you have an incredible day walking in the victory of our Lord!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Currently Listening
The Altar and the Door
By Casting Crowns
3. Slow Fade
see related

Jasper Speaks:

So, I was listening to The Altar and the Door the other day and this song stood out to me:

"Slow Fade"

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

I really got me thinking about how all the little compromises in our lives add up. I was thinking about how so often we think that if we aren't "big sinning" then it is okay. I think we don't give enough credence to keeping purity a priority in every part of our lives. We think, "if I look at that or if I say this" it will be okay. I mean Jesus might not do it but it is okay if I do".

Now I know we don't necessarily have that internal monologue going all the time but we do compromise all the time. We don't consider the consequences of those little things. I think of a white shirt and a little dirt.


The shirt might be very clean but if you drop a couple of grains of dirt onto the shirt everyday eventually WE become filthy.


When we go places we shouldn't, see things we ought not to, and listen to things that do not edify us, we are throwing a little dirt on our clean (in Christ) heart. After awhile, as we continue to allow these things into our lives, our hearts will become as dirty as that shirt.

The hard part is, unfortunately our hearts are not always as easy to examine as our clothing. We don't always realize when compromise is soiling our hearts. Like the song says, it is a slow fade. The darkness seldom takes over all at once. It most often takes over one small speck of dust at a time. As we continue to allow the dirt to contaminate us, the small specks add up and our hearts are covered in dirt before we realize it.

One of the verses that often come to mind for me is 2 Timothy 2:22. The reference is easy to remember and it's Truth is worth living by:

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart".

I used to have that verse on an index card taped to inside cover of my Bible. Purity is so hard to guard. Our world today devalues purity of heart. As Christians we are called to live a life above the bar. The question is are we letting the little thing add up until our hearts are no long pure but dark? Are we fleeing the evil desires of youth or are we slowly embracing them? Are we letting them cover our hearts slowly so that we barely detect a change?

Is it time to flee?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Currently Watching
Dead Poets Society
By Robin Williams, Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, Gale Hansen
see related
Jasper Speaks:

It has been such a good week! Really it has been the one of the best I have had in a long time. I think that the time off over Thanksgiving really helped to recharge me. The latest cool thing God did was that our van (old clunker that it is) had failed it's emissions inspection which we needed to retag it. They told us it would be at least $500 to fix. UG! $500 we don't have. So we were going to charge it and suck it up. Then yesterday when I called to see what had been done, they said after driving the van around some, the test results showed that there was NOTHING wrong! WOOT! God is WAY TOO good to me.

I have also been really convicted and challenged by listening to Casting Crowns CD The Altar and the Door. I have had it for a long time but just recently REALLY listened to some of the lyrics that had passed me by quickly. WOW! God is using it in my life to convict me of where I fall short. There is such a gap between where we are and where He is. It's a healthy realization to make and I am praying that God will help me fill the void more and more.

I can't believe tomorrow is December. We only have 14 days of school left this semester. There is a lot to do but in the end I am very glad we are winding down. It has been a really good week of school this week but it is nice to know that a two week break is on the horizon!

My students Xanga for extra credit and I check these every couple of days. Here is what one kid wrote on Wednesday after I taught my favorite lesson of the year:

"American Lit was the best class i had today. the was lesson was the best one i ever had. it wasnt boring or dumb. i really enjoy when teachers try to relate things that they are teaching to music that their students listen too. todays homework was differcult for me because i have so many songs in my mind that i think are great. the first song that came to mind to me was Common Sense now known as common now I used to love H.E.R. then i was thinking about songs from 2pac, jay-z, notorious b.i.g. and nas. all these artists are my favorites and i really like how the choose their words carefully. well i guess am going to do my homework now."

That is cool!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

Oh yeah. I had a pretty amazing day yesterday. School went very well and so did church.I thought someone else was going to bring the message last night and that fell through so I was up with little preparation. I got together the message I had planned for NEXT week and was set to go. Then God spoke. He laid it heavy on my heart that the students there needed to hear something else. I was freaked because I like to stick to my schedule and God literally said, "Toss what you have. I have other business to take care of tonight". So I did. During the worship time God just gave me a series of verses that themed together said "You Need To Embrace Who You Are In Christ". I took the platform and let God do the speaking. It was a surreal experience for me. It may not have been as polished as I would have liked, but God DID have something else to say. Here is a brief outline:

I. God Chose You
"God demonstrated His own love for us in this, while were were still sinners Christ died for us". -Romans 5:8

God chose to send Christ here. He chose to die for you even before you knew you needed Him. He saw something amazing about you, just the way you are that made Him chose to come to earth and die for you.

II. Jesus (God's gift to us) Purchased You
"You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men." 1 Corinthians 7:23

This passage comes in a discussion of marriage. This is a great picture of Christ and the church. Christ chose you like a groom chooses the perfect bride. Then He paid the ultimate price for you. Again, He saw something special about you that was worth giving up everything for you.

III. Jesus Sees Something In You That The World Can't See
"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

That God who chose you and purchased you with an ultimate price, sees in you something the world can't see. He looks at the heart of who you are and he looked there and said, "this person is worthy of my love --- worthy not because of anything more than they are one whom I have created in my own image".

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake." 1 Peter 1:18-20

Seeing something in you that the world can't see, Christ knew that you could only be bought with something the world couldn't afford. More than gold or silver, God offered His life to redeem you. Dying for someone is hard for me to imagine but God thought you were so special he would give Himself up for you. The world cannot purchase what it cannot see.

IV. God Is With You For The Long Haul
"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus". Philippians 1:6

The moment you asked Christ into your life God began a work in you that is unique and special to who you are. The same God that chose to come and die for you, to purchase you with the greatest price because He sees in you something the world can't, has started something amazing in your life and he is going to stick it out with you. You see he loves you the way you are but he loves you too much to leave you that way. He has a special plan for you and he will make it happen all the way to completion. Why?

"The mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Colossians 1:26-27

The reason he is in this for the long haul is that he does see in you an amazing thing --- Christ in you, the hope of glory. That is the most amazing thing in the world. He wants us to take that Christ in us and show the hope of glory to the world. We need to work until God is done. In you is the hope of the world and he wants you to show that hope to a world where there is seems to be none. You are totally incredible in his eyes.

Chosen. Purchased. Different. Not Alone. Glorified.

Pretty cool.

It is amazing that God literally put that together in like 12 minutes. He is amazing!

I feel good!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

So this is about my facebook wall posts but it is pretty funny:

Go to your wall and list the last 20 people who have commented. If someone has commented twice, skip to the next person...

1. Veronica Kroeker
2. Teresa Carter
3. Scotty B
4. Sarah Waterson
5. Angela Milkins
6. Melissa Ebbinghaus
7. Becky Strubberg
8. Kristin Dickerson
9. Ana Tadic
10. Casey Phillip
11. Elizabeth Rains
12. Clora Hanna
13. Bill Woodruff
14. Kevin Cude
15. Bekah Libby
16. Dave Dyer
17. Stephanie Branson
18. Jeremy Bozarth
19. Brianna Stack
20. Heather Wilson

-Have you ever kissed number 7?
Um no.

-What’s the best memory you have of 9?
No Frisbee for you!

-When’s the next time your going to see 4?
Maybe In May when I go to Maine if I get to go. If she loved me she would come see me in January!

-Is number 1 pretty?

-What was your first impression of 10?
Wow! She is really nice!

-How did you meet 3?
I traveled to a foreign land called ... North Carolina and worked with him.

-Is 16 your best friend?
He has been.

-Have you seen 5 in the last month?
Sadly, no.

-Do you think 2 has a crush on you?
I hope not! We are both married!

-When was the last time you saw 12?
A LONG time ago. Like the weekend we got Jackson!

-Have you ever been to 19’s house?

-When is the next time you will see 11?
Not soon enough! When are you coming to see me!

-Are you really close to 13?
Define close. I like him a lot!

-Have you ever been to the movies with 14?
Absolutely. The last movie I saw was with him!

-Have you ever gotten into trouble with 19?
Not really.

-What do you and 15 talk about the most?
Life and what to do with it. I miss her!

-Would you give 17 a hug?
Absolutely she was MY friend FIRST!

-Would you ever go on a date with 4?
Ewwwwwwwww!!!! She's like my daughter!

-Are you in love with 16?
I have been but not now!

-When have you lied to 13?
Never knowingly

-Do you know a secret about 8?

-Describe the relationship between 9 and 18.
They are secretly in love but no one knows. Other than that they are in my youth group!

-What’s the best thing about your relationship with 3?
He is my Christian brother and ministry partner.

-What’s the worst thing about 1?
I don't see her enough! I love Konika!

-Have you ever danced with 14?
Yes. I am sure we have.

-How long have you known 12?
All 19 years of her life!

-Have you ever been in a fight with 8?
No! I love her!

-Does 9 have a bf/gf?
Jeremy Bozarth and Dustin Mathenia!

-Have you ever been a co-worker with 6?

-Have you ever wanted to punch 2 in the face?
I don't think so!

-Has 20 ever met your mother?
I don't think so.

-How did you meet 16?
I moved to this far off land of snow and pathetic sports fans so I could serve Jesus!

-Did you ever hurt 11?
Not on purpose!

-Do you live close to 19?
Not really close but closer than many on this list.

-What is 15’s favorite food?
Whoopee pies?

-Out of this 20, who is the funniest?
Maybe 9

-Who is the most flirtatious?
Number 16 fo sho!
-If you could change one thing about 11 what would it be?
She would live closer to ME!

-Describe the relationship between 1 and 17.
They both know me and think I am the greatest!

-Say something nice about 17.
She is GREAT friend!

-Which one lives farthest away from you?
So many are in Maine but technically 15 is probably the farthest away!

-Which one do you hang out with the most?
14. Definitely 14.

-Who is the loudest?
9 ( Think of it as a compliment Ms. Ana!

-What kind of car does 16 have?
Oh crud! I rode in it this past summer on our way to your Country Store. A Focus?
He used to have a truck.

-Have you ever traveled with 3?
No but I have traveled TO number three Many times and would love to go to NYC and see shows with him!

-If you gave 7 $100 what would they spend it on?
Movies and frivolous college kid food items I am sure! Maybe “cute” shoes.

-How did you meet 20?
I moved to Maine to spiritually disciple her!

-What would you do if you never met 6?
Be sad. 

-What would you do if 19 and 20 started dating?
Tell 20’s husband and 19’s parents but I think you are talking a MAJOR Jerry Springer moment if it ever happened!

-Have you ever seen 18 cry?
Absolutely I had that pleasure in Chicacgo when I witnessed Christ totally rocking His world!

-Would 1 and 4 make a good couple?
They would definitely crack each other up but EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

-Describe 7 in one word.

-Do you like 17?
Not only like … LOVE!!!!

-Do you think 3 is attractive?
He is a sexy WV born beast!

-Tell me something about 12.
She has the best looking uncle in the world!

-What’s 5’s favorite color?

-What would you do if 16 confessed that he/she liked you?
Uh … he tells me he loves me everytime we talk so I guess I would not be shocked.

-When was the last time you talked to 1?
In person like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away because she keep cutting out of YG!

-What language does 9 speak?

-Who is 3 going out with?
Uh … I am pretty sure the answer to this question is Kristy Brewer unless something is going on that I have NOT been told about!

-What is 8’s favorite music?
She is a Christian music kind of girl!

-Would you ever date 11?
Ewww! She is my niece! What kind of freaky family do you think I come from? Don’t answer that.

-Would you ever date 14?
Although, I think he would be a lot of fun, I prefer the ladies.

-Where does 18 live?
Behind the car dealership at Olive and 270.

-What is the best thing about 6?
She is a joyful person who always seems to be happy to see me!

-What would you like to tell 13 right now?
Billiam, we need to get together sometime!
-What is the best thing about 1?
She makes me laugh!

Currently ListeningLose YourselfBy Eminem

Jasper Speaks:

Victor is in town and I am happy to see him. I really miss having him around. I am in a good place and very content right now. Today I taught my favorite lesson of the year. It is SO COOL to hear students say, "this was great --- we ought to do this everyday!" We will see if my 3rd hour responds as well as Zero Hour did. Today teaching ain't too bad!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

I am a little tired today. Kendra snored. Jackson cried. It was all a family conspiracy to keep me from sleeping. I am tired of teaching today. It has been a pretty easy day so far. We have a faculty meeting afterwards and so I have to stay for that. It means me being here two hours later than usual and I hate that.

I haven't even thought about Christmas gifts yet. What would you buy my wife?
I miss my peeps in Maine at the moment. Sometimes it seems like we don't have friends here. At least not couple friends. We miss that. We don't really have friends at church like that at all. Sad.

Mopstly though I am better and more joyful! Woot!
Jasper Speaks:

Trying to get this blog back up and running! I like Xanga because of the opportunities to network but I like Blogger's layout so much more. AHHHHH!!!! So, I will try and keep them both up! Yikes!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

we had a nice time in KC for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was cut short because the boy started screaming at 4:30 AM on Friday and didn't stop until we got in the car and came home. He promptly fell asleep five minutes into the trip and slept the 3 1/2 hours to our house. He was up for about an hour, took a three hour nap, and then was up for about another hour and then was out for the night. Not sure what was wrong but I think I was okay with coming home a little early. We had my favorite chinese restaurant for dinner and just spent some quality family time. It was so nice just to be together. It really recharged my batteries.

There are only three weeks of school left for this semester. YIKES!

Please continue to pray for my parents. There are just so many issues right now!

I am off to keep reading To Kill A Mockingbird. It is my first time reading it in like twenty years. I love the book but it is hard to teach it when you don't remember it all. So, I am glad I have to teach it!

The Huckabee news today is sweet:

The Weekly Standard: The Huckabee Surge

November 22, 2007

For Bob Vander Plaats, January 3--the day of the Iowa caucus--can't get here quickly enough. Vander Plaats, chairman of the Mike Huckabee campaign in Iowa, can read the polls, and in the latest surveys of likely Republican caucus-goers Mike Huckabee came in second, trailing Mitt Romney by only two points in the American Research Group poll and by four points in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll of the same voters. "Our goal is like that of a good basketball team," he says. "It wants to peak at tournament time. And we want to peak at caucus time."

When the former Arkansas governor announced his candidacy last winter, few political observers thought the campaign would take off. Inside the Huckabee camp, the explanation for his rise is simple. Where the "top-tier" candidates have emphasized the war on terror, says one of his staffers, Huckabee has focused on domestic issues. And he has presented himself and his views directly to voters in "retail" campaigning: "town by town, community by community, house by house," favoring the small ball of a "dinner-time conversation" over the (ostensibly) big-ball "hard-core speech" or television ad.

Click here
to read the rest of the story.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

Thank goodness this is a two day school week. I am so over being here! I am really quite down today. It was a hard weekend and I am just overwhelmed. Turkey is good.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

Who knew we were all so talented?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

So, one of the scary things about Xanga is that anyone can look at it. I know there is the whole friends block thing and that you can force people to sign on to Xanga but I have avoided that in the past because I have some friends who are not member sthat I want to let keep up with me. Still, I may have to change this because for the past week or so, my footprints tell me that someone from Arkansas has been viewing the pics I recently posted of my kid OVER AND OVER again. I am not sure if this is just a web spider or what but it kind of creeps me out that they keep coming back to look at his pictures. Does anyone know if there is a Xanga lock for pictures only?

Anyway, TGIF!!!!

Next week is a two day school week. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

Grading journals stinks! I hate reading all of this stuff!

Mother-in-law is in town.

I lost a pound yesterday!

Testing a lot today so I hope to get some grading done during that!

Congrats Ben and Amber! Can't wait to see and meet her! Wow she is pretty adorable!


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

Grading journals stinks! I hate reading all of this stuff!

Mother-in-law is in town.

I lost a pound yesterday!

Testing a lot today so I hope to get some grading done during that!

Congrats Ben and Amber! Can't wait to see and meet her! Wow she is pretty adorable!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Currently Listening
By Shane & Shane
see related

Jasper Speaks:

What a long weekend! Twelve hours with the teens from church Leaf raking and Hay Riding on Saturday. Then all day with the drama and praise team before the service they led last night. They all did a great job. I just wish, for once, students would prepare in advance and not drive me ABSOLUTELY crazy with the disorganization and lack of focus before an event like this. Okay I am better now.

Please be in prayer for us. There are a lot of issues right now. There is one really big deal with my parents. It is hard to be in the position of knowing what is best for them and them doing other things instead. When do you play the "you are too old to make that decision" card? Then, how do you make them do the right thing?

This schedule is kicking me in the butt. I am pretty tired. I have church stuff this afternoon and then church council tonight. I am beat! The movie I have been showing in class ends today and so do most of the research paper readings. That mean I have o get lesson plans together and get to work on that and actually TEACH this week. It is the first full week I will have worked in like a month. Then next week we only have school Monday and Tuesday. We will see how Thanksgiving goes.

Here is a clip from the Mike Huckabee website. You really should check him out:

  • The First Amendment requires that expressions of faith be neither prohibited nor preferred.
  • My faith is my life - it defines me. I don't separate my faith from my personal and professional lives.
  • Real faith makes us more humble and mindful, not of the faults of others, but of our own. It makes us less judgmental, as we see others with the same frailties we have.
  • Faith gives us strength in the face of injustice and motivates us to do our best for "the least of us."
  • Our nation was birthed in a spirit of faith - not a prescriptive faith telling us how or whether to believe, but acknowledging a providence that pervades our world.

The First Amendment requires that expressions of faith be neither prohibited nor preferred. We should not banish religion from the public square, but should guarantee access to all voices and views. We should share and debate our faith, but never seek to impose it. When discussing faith and politics, we should honor the "candid" in candidate - I have much more respect for an honest atheist than a disingenuous believer.

My faith is my life - it defines me. My faith doesn't influence my decisions, it drives them. For example, when it comes to the environment, I believe in being a good steward of the earth. I don't separate my faith from my personal and professional lives.

Real faith makes us humble and mindful, not of the faults of others, but of our own. It makes us less judgmental, as we see others with the same frailties we have. Faith gives us strength in the face of injustice and motivates us to do our best for "the least of us."

Our nation was birthed in a spirit of faith - not a prescriptive one telling us whether to believe, but one acknowledging that a providence pervades our world.

---Back to Jasper---

And while I am at it, what is the deal with Pat Robertson getting behind Rudy G? Huckabee is BY FAR the better candidate. That confuses and saddens me. I just hope most people aren't listening to him. - I Like Mike!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Currently Listening
By David Crowder Band
see related

Jasper Speaks:

So glad I am an Engish teacher. Well, sort of glad. Oh no, that was a fragment! I stink!

You Scored an A
You got 10/10 questions correct. It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors. If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs. As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human. And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Currently Listening
By The Lost & Found
see related

Jasper Speaks:

The YS Convention was pretty great! Sunday night was definitely the highlight. It is so great to be among "my people". It is incredible to be in a room of 3,500 youth workers. Wow! Sunday night the worship was led by Starfield, the concert was Leeland and the speaker was Greg Steir. It was so good! Then we stayed for the Late Night option with Lost and Found in concert. Definitely the highlight of the whole conference. The Skit Guys were pretty funny too.

It was amazing to be with Ben and Amber! I love them so much. One of the speakers reminded us that our legacy is found on "clay monuments", the people we affect for God. It was awesome to be sitting next to my clay monuments as he was speaking. Ben and Amber have grown into incredible Christians and incredible people. Also, I loved meeting my Youth Group Grandbaby, Logan for the first time. He is way ADORABLE!

I learned some and was just reassured that this is SO my calling in life.

Here are some long awaited boy picture updates!


Don't you think he knows he is cute?


With Grandma Judy


Okay isn't he the cutest?




In our new kitchen


Hats don't stay on long but he is so cute with them on!


He loves the highchair because that means he get to eat!


The day the state declared us a family! God did it six months before!

We really need to get the word out abou this AMAZING candidate for President. Here is one reason why I am supporting Mike Huckabee:

November 05, 2007

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Former AR Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee issued the following statement today regarding an interview by former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson (TN) on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"Senator Thompson's comments on 'Meet the Press' were disappointing and disheartening for those who were expecting him to be a solid voice for conservatives. The marriage and life amendments are critical issues for those of us who have been on the front lines of these cultural battles. Sen. Thompson's philosophy seems to be more 'cut and run' when it comes to these issues, rather than stand and lead.

"I've always supported the passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. As President, I will fight for passage of a human life amendment. My position on the sanctity of life has always been clear and consistent. No candidate has a stronger record on the sanctity of life than I do. As Governor of Arkansas, I successfully led efforts to promote a human life amendment and marriage amendment in my state. For me, it isn't just talk; it's a conservative record of leadership and conviction." - I Like Mike!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

TGIF!!!!!!!! I love Bread Co Fridays. I especially love Bread Co Fridays that come with me leaving school at 10AM! Woot! The YS convention starts today and the ONLY reason I am here at all is because my Am Lit research papers are due. I can't wait to be gone. Ben and Amber's flight has taken off. I should get to the hotel close to the time they do then we are off to the convention. I am not coming in on Monday because of the convention either! Double WOOT!

Several kids didn't turn in their research paper today. That is both frustrating and sad. Frustrating because we literally have done NOTHING else for the past three weeks in class and sad because the youth of today care so little about actually doing anything. At 300 test points you beasically flunk the quarter if you don't do the paper. I am not a hard grader AT ALL so just turn the frickin' thing in please! basically this pictture represents their grade at the moment:


Rant over. Have a good day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

God has been trying to teach me so much over the last three years. I can't believe that we have been gone from Maine for so long. God has brought a lot of "almost" to my life. Most of the time I get very upset about that. I have called it "dangling a carrot". You probably have experienced it. Those are the times that what you are praying would happen is right within your reach and then ---BOOM! The shoe drops and it doesn't happen. Those times can really hurt. I have grown a little gun shy in the process. I am trying to learn to just be quiet and trust God through it all. That can be rather difficult.

I think that God is trying to change me. I don't like to be changed. I like to be the same ole Jasper no matter what. Fortunately, God has much to say about change in my life. The last three years have been a study in that --- a long, hard study. As many in ministry can tell you, there are times that you do "Christianity going through the motions". That is when you are a "professional Christian". It doesn't mean that you are not a "real" Christ follower but it can mean that you fall into this rut of loving God in a "professional" way. It means that you fall into a routine with him and not always in a good way.

I think "professional" Christianity is characterized by things like your quiet time being preparing for your next message; your prayer life consisting of almost all supplication for the people you serve and your service being limited to those things found in a job description. When we live in that "professional" christianity, change can be hard in coming.

For me, God threw me out of that "pc" place and back into the "real" Christian world. In the last three years I have had triumps and failures galore as I try to figure out being a "real" Christian. Sometimes I have felt as though God will not let me return to my heart (full-time ministry) until I start living some lessons. One of those lessons is trusting that He has a plan.

My favorite verse in the Bible is Jeremiah 29:11 and anyone who knows me even a little well knows that it is my life verse. I love the idea that God has a plan for me. I need to know that the things going on in my life are happening for a purpose. Knowing and living like I know those Truths are two separate things. Perhaps the "desires of my heart" are being held back until I can start living the Truth more completely.

Today, I am a little bummed out about things in my life. It has been a rough couple of days. I know there is a plan. I want to live like I know there is a plan. Sometimes it is just so difficult to change.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

Sometimes things just stink.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

So, I have been doing this whole, "ANYONE BUT HILLARY in 2008" chant for quite awhile now. I am not pleased that she is leading in the polls. She is polarizing and not the type of person that could even begin to bring the country back together. Besides, she was already president once.

Anyway, I am not the most political person out there but I am going to take a step out and say that I am behind a candidate. If the election was today and I could vote for anyone who has announced that they are running, my vote would go to ...


I really love what he stands for. The only thing I may take issue with is his tax reform but I am willing to listen. Otherwise, I am very impressed with him. You should go to the link above and see what he is all about. He is slowly rising in the polls among republican candidates and I want to help get the word out about him.

In a race fullof Hillaries, Obamas, and lukewarm conservatives, this man is making me take notice.

End of my political rant for the day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

The Dead Sox won. That makes me sad. Congrats to my New England friends. I was happy about the World Series last year.

We had our lock-in on Friday. Becky did a really good job! In my nearly 18 years in youth ministry, this was the first lock-in ever where I fell asleep. It was only for a little while but it did happen! YIKES! I think the early mornings I have to get up have really screwed up my system. I NEVER have done that before. Part of it came as result of being the "life stick keeper" during Commando and spending like TWO HOURS ALONE in the youth hall. I made it through the game but crashed and burned right after. Oh well. I still love being a YP.

This week is the week of the Youth Specialties Convention! I am excited! I am working a half day on Friday and next Monday and then next Thursday and Friday are teacher work days and I work two hours on Thursday and three hours on Friday! I can't believe that Thanksgiving is so close!

Ben and Amber --- can't wait to see you. Do you know how you are getting to the hotel? When does your flight arrive? Any baby needs? I will try and call you one night this week if I don't hear from you! WICKED excited that you are coming!


Many of you Dead Sox fans are people I love ... A LOT. But this is precisely why I grew to not love your team.(But I do love you!)

Cardinals fans don't act in a way in which the police have to be called.


Currently Listening
A Child's Gift of Lullabyes
By Emile Pandolfi
see related

Jasper Speaks:

I have really overslept for the past couple of days. I am spending a lot of time reflecting on some things. I wonder if I don't always stand my ground enough. I am thinking back a couple of months ago when I was certain I was right about something but I backed down. The problem is, I didn't handle it the best to begin with, but I am certain I was right.I caved quickly. I have not felt completely "right" since then. I believe part of it is because of my missteps and part is because of the way it was received. Oh well.

Today I am having a pretty slow day at school. My juniors are typing their research papers and my sophomores are watching a movie. Surprisingly I am pretty much all caught up on my grading so it is a pretty easy work day. I will be out a half day Friday and Monday so I need to work on sub stuff but overall I am stylin'!

I am excited about the drama and worship teams from the youth group leading the service on November 11th in the evening. I just hope we have the time we need to practice.

Well, I do have some things to do. Hope you all have a great day.

BTW --- Amber, The Adam's Mark doesn't have a shuttle but Kendra's hotel does. I think we are going to call you tonight about saving some money on a cab.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

It is one of those days that I PRAY teaching will not last forever. UG!

Taking tomorrow off for the lock-in. UG!

Have to stay after school for some dumb meeting. UG!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jasper Speaks:

We found out today that the Youth Specialties Conference will count as professional development hours for us to keep our Foster Care license! Woot! We were really worried about this as there are mucho hours needed and we didn't know when they would fit in!

Ben and Amber are coming to the conference! Double WOOT!

My grades are in! Triple Woot!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Currently Listening
Rent (2005 Movie Soundtrack)
By Rosario Dawson, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Taye Diggs, Idina Menzel, Adam Pascal, Jesse L. Martin, Anthony Rapp, Tracie Thoms
see related

Everything Is Rent

Jasper Speaks:

So, Kendra and I went to Rent this weekend. It was a great show. It is so much fun to be in the audience for this because it is not your usual stuffy crowd. It is almost like being at a rock concert. There was a great "Idol" influence as Anwar Robinson of American Idol Season 4 played Collins and Heinz Winckler, the first South African Idol, played Roger. Although they made a splash on TV, the two were by far the weakest performers in the show. Probably not a big shock as they probably would have never been in the show if not for their fifteen minutes of fame.

Overall the cast was strong. I was a little worried about Mimi at first but she brought the house down with Out Tonight and won me over. I felt bad for her as she had to play off of the HORRIBLE Winckler during Another Day. Although he did get better in Act Two, I think he had been told to play Roger detached and took that to mean, play him as if he were a tree and just stand there and sing.

The actress playing Joanne had a lisp. Seriously (or is it theriouthly?). I am not sure if this was a character choice or what. She sang very well. But really, she had a lisp. Not one of those "is that a lisp I hear?" lisps but it was like freakin' Cindy Brady was playing the part. Anyway, she was a strong actress and a good singer so I can put up with the idea that she sounded like she should have been tugging around a Kitty Karryall doll.

The strongest of the male cast was the actor who played Mark. He was funny and poignant right where needed and he sang great! The actor who portrayed Benny was also top notch!

The guy who played Angel, was only a rung above the idols. He was also ... uh .. Homely? Is that politically correct? One of the hardest parts about throwing myself into the show is that you didn't buy the love stories. Joanne and Maureen had chemistry (or chemithtry) but Angel and Collins really didn't even seem to like one another much. As before mentioned, it would be hard to create real love chemistry with a concrete slab, so Mimi and Roger didn't work well either. As Kendra pointed out, Anwar Robinson really sold I'll Cover You (Reprise). Of course it took Angel dying and walking offstage to believe that Collins loved him.

The actress playing Maureen was adequate. She was not the standout that you would hope for in the role. I had never realized what a small role Maureen really is until I saw this performance. I think that speaks to the acting. Idina Menzel plays her so well in the movie that she is one of the most memorable characters. It takes a big personality to pull of that part.

The soloists on Seasons of Love were, of course, INCREDIBLE and although the song has next to nothing to do with the story line and is overused in a HUGE way, it still gave me goosebumps.

I really love this show and am excited that i got to see it live. It certainly is not for everyone but it is a stirring story that reminds us that how we love matters.

(I am not endorsing this play or movie. In fact, I would tell many of you who read this blog that neither is for you. If you do not know about the play and are certain it will not offend you I suggest that you DO NOT rent the movie.)