Wall Notes

Writing, thoughts, ramblings, and what makes me laugh

How NOT to Evangelize

Some friends and I have gotten together and formed a small video group called, Agathos Entertainment.

Agathos is a greek word for “good” and thats the kind of stuff we want to make.

Josh got a new camera a few weeks ago and we are messing around with some better sound mics.

Let me know what you think:

And if you want to subscribe to the channel. We thank you for the support.

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October 11, 2009 Posted by | funny, Ministry, Video | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

VBS Part 2

Since I informed everyone on the concept of VBS a couple of days ago, I won’t bore you with the descriptions again. One of the things that the kids love to do was play on a playground. Of course! How simple. The playground sounds like a great idea. What could possible happen on a playground, right?

Our church as the typical playground setup. Large fenced in area. Swings. Slides. Jungle Gym. See-Saw. A few things I have no idea what they are, and something that I refer to as the Roller Coaster of Doom (more on that in a moment). Everything is spread out with lots of room to play and it is all smothered with tons and tons of wood chips.

Call me old fashioned, but when did substituting razor sharp lumber for nice green grass become the norm? Almost every playground in the South does it. Did someone believe the slim chance a kid broke his leg jumping out of a swing would be down played by the 8 foot piece of kindling that now has pierced his abdomen? Do we need to deter kids crawling on the ground that much? I suppose hanging upside down on a Jungle Gym lacks some luster unless we up the ante with the possibility of a child getting impaled by Paul Bunyan’s splinter.

Just an observation.

Ok, now I’ve led the children to the promised land and they are having fun and going crazy. I work with teenagers. I don’t go to the playground or rarely even pass by it. I’m quite impressed with our set up. I have flashbacks of fun times I enjoyed when I was a child as I pull out a limb that is now submerged into my ankle. I scan all of the “equipment” and pause on something I have never seen before. I’m not sure what it’s called or why it would have been invented.

See for yourself:Playground

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                Roller Coaster of Doom.

Surely this was invented by someone who despised children. Perhaps it’s part of an Evil Mad Scientist plan to control the world. Possible evidence of an Alien invasion? Or maybe someone wanted to plant a memorial to their pet snake. Who knows. While I stared as this harbinger of the Emergency Room I thought about all the places that proved to be the most dangerous.

Playground Problems

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              It doesn’t end with structural problems. What if they cut corners during the construction of this monstrosity? What if it was made out of copper and a storm passed through?

 

Playground Fire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                And considering the red and yellow colors used, what if it attracted the lava people who live below our earth’s crust? What if the mixture of colors is insulting to them?

 

Playground Fire People

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        I guess I’m just a worrier.

August 5, 2009 Posted by | Children, funny, Ministry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

VBS Update Episode 1 (FINALLY)

Seems like I’m always apologizing for not keeping my posts up-t0-date. Well this time it’s different. This time I’m going to grovel…..forgive my tardiness.

Whew! Glad that’s over.

Ok, I promised a VBS story and here…..we…go!

For those of you who didn’t grow up in a protestant church in North America or who simple do not know, VBS stands for Vacation Bible School. It’s not a title that embraces a lot of fun, excitement, or joy. VBS is usually a one week event that puts the attention and focus on children up to the 5th Grade. The goal is to use Bible study, song, craft, recreation, and love to teach kids about the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

Despite the boring title, VBS is a very exciting week, especially at our church. Our Children’s Minister is amazing. She crafts ministry that will reach children where they are not where adults think they should be. VBS is a week that requires the help of 60 to 70 adult volunteers to fill dozens of different roles. I wanted a break from teaching this year so Suzy (Children’s Minister) asked me to lead the recreation for Kindergarten to Second Grade aged children. After the thought of children running around like fire ants attacking a sugar cube while strung out on RedBull left my mind I accepted the job.

I’m a Student Pastor so I have a pretty good repertoire of games. Granted most of them are messy, loud, disgusting, and have an almost “Fear Factor’ meets “Stand By Me” pie eating contest vibe to them. So obviously I couldn’t use a single one. So I canvased the Internet as well as other Game Aficionadosthat I am friends with and concieved a few appropriate games and off we went.

Hopefully the back-story has been carefully drawn for you. Here is a summarized amalgam of our game time:

(I’m standing outside surrounded by 25 Second Graders.)

Me: Does everyone understand the rules??

Everyone: *Blank stares*

Me: *Sigh* Ok, who has a question?

Everyone: *Blank stares*

Me: Remember the boundaries, ok? You can’t go past those trees or into the parking lot. What happens if you go past the boundaries?

Little Boy: You blow up!

Me: No, you don’t blow up. What happens?

Few Kids: You have to sit down!

Me: That’s right. You have to sit down.

Little Pyro-Boy: And you blow up.

Me: No, you don’t blow up. You have to sit down and can’t play.

Persistent Little Pyro-Boy: Because you blow up!

Everyone Else: Yeah! You blow up!

(I must pause as I consider the demented joy the children of the corn take as they cheer and celebrate the concept of blowing up.)

Me: No. You all don’t blow up.

Chanting Cult Children: Blow up! Blow up! Blow up!

Me: Ok, ok. Everybody calm down. Who wants to play the game?

Little Girl: I don’t want to play if you blow up.

Me:……….You won’t blow up. You just have to sit down and wait for the next game to start.

Persistent Little Pyro-Instigator-Boy: How can you play another game if you blow up?

Me:*sigh*………….Does anyone still want to play???

Everyone: Me! Me! Me!

Little girl: But what happens if you go out-a-bounds??

August 3, 2009 Posted by | Children, funny, Ministry | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Once a year

Three Words:

Vacation.

Bible.

School.

Oh, the stories will be coming next week.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Ministry | , | 2 Comments

Food City Car – Part Two

Ok, back to the story.

Lone Ranger and Tonto have finally figured out how to turn on their lightning fast steeds. So now their first objective…find Husband, because we now have baskets and can carry more stuff. Their search is met with Husband walking around the corner as his eyes pop out of his head. He is met with the image of two fourteen-year old boys weaving back and forth up the aisle with Ritalin shouting AND pointing, “We have baskets!” He did what any adult would do…he ran. He is now sprinting throughout Food City trying to get all the food. 

Realizing that Husband was trying to avoid them they did what any teenager would do…they tried to find him. In-between their search they decided to play chicken with each other. 

Chicken. Down Food City Aisles. On Rascals. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Do you know how long that would take? These are not speedy vehicles. They had to charge them back up halfway down the aisle. 

Husband is not only running like a wild man, he is trying to avoid any Food City Management. He occasionally met Energetic or Ritalin on an aisle. They were either spending twenty minutes trying to back up a distance of four feet because they “saw something and wanted to pick it up and they couldn’t leave their Rascal.” Or they were playing bumper cars trying to make the other person drop what they were holding.

Husband finished, avoided any law enforcement from the Food City PD, and was out the door. Ritalin parked his Rascal and headed for the car. Energetic “needed to take it out to the parking lot” because “his ankle was hurting.” Wife and Reserved have been watching this from the car the whole time. They see Husband running like he just threw a grenade, Ritalin laughing, and Energetic taking a final lap in Indy 500. Everyone gets in the car and Energetic pulls the Rascal up to the door.

“Ok, hop on in Energetic.” said Wife while trying to stop laughing.

“I can’t get in the car.” 

“Yes you can. Just get off your Rascal and jump in.” replied Wife.

“No, I need to slide from my seat into the car. I don’t need to put weight on my ankle.” exclaimed the Teenage Emergency Room Surgeon. “I got it! I’ll turn around and back up to the door.”

Everyone else is now in the car as Energetic is backing up to the door beeping the entire time. Not to mention he drove forty yards away and then started backing up. People are now starting to watch.

As Husband is sitting there, face in hand laughing. He says, “I’m so glad no one is here to see this.” He looks over and notices people rolling laughing in their car in the spot next to them. He looks closer and realizes it’s their best friends. 

Energetic finally target locks the door and slides in and says, “I need one of those.”

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Ministry, Students | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food City Car – part one

Tomorrow never seemed so far away! It’s been those type of weeks when life kicks in (and keeps on kicking). I will be putting up some pictures soon. I’ve had many people want to know what happens next and I apologize for waiting so long. This one’s dedicated to you Laura!

I must preface this story, that I did not witness it. It was related to me through two adults (who could not stop laughing an hour after it happened) and three students.

Saturday night of the DiscipleNow all the groups meet at the church for a huge Worship Service. Dave and J.C. did a great job. After it ends  students and adults head out to the cars to go back home. My group came in two cars and we all were heading to the store to get a few things for Ice Cream Sundaes. (Let me back track for a moment). Kati and some of our friends came that Saturday Night to the Worship Service. Ok, I’m back. After the service I was talking with Kati and so one car stayed and waited on me, while the other vehicle left to head to Food City.

The Food City Car (which I will refer to as the FCC from now on) had the husband and wife of the home we stayed in and three teenage boys. The husband and wife are fantastic. Great couple who loves the Lord and teenagers. The teenage boys? They rank: “Reserved”, “Energetic”, and “His father probably invented Ritalin.” Energetic was the one with the hurt ankle (this is important.) Ok the FCC gets to Food City and Husband is going to “run in very fast and gets stuff for Sundaes.”

The moment Husband gets out of the FCC, Ritalin shouts “We can help!”

So he slides open the door and hurries to catch up with Husband with Energetic limping behind because his ankle looks like an raccoon was stuff inside an ankle warmer. 

Reserved stays in the FCC with Wife and says, “Oh no.”

Husband has one thought on his mind, “Hurry and get in and out before they get into Food City.”

Ritalin is waiting at the sliding door for Energetic to hurry up. Energetic finally gets there and they both hurry inside as Husband is jogging down the aisle grabbing food off the shelves faster than Brittney Spears can make an annulment (dated I know, but it’s funny). Energetic stops before stepping in the store. Now this is a time in life when wise choices really takes a back seat. What it takes a back seat to, I honestly have no idea. This is a time when commercial after commercial slowly ingrains the thought “I need one of those.” Energetic spots a group of Food City Rascals. 

He stares at them like a five-year old staring at his presents on Christmas morning. “Hey Ritalin! We need these.”

Ritalin walks back over and says, “Yes we do.”

So Butch and Sundance saddle up on their four-wheeled, basket equipped, never will break the Clap-Barrier Food City Rascal. 

I never understood the idea of a Rascal in a grocery store. I know they are to help people who can’t or are unable to walk. Just out of observation these things are pretty low to the ground. I mean, all it needs is some ground affects, flames on the side, all sixteen switches, and “Dixie” to play every time it backs up. Being low to the ground the rider has a maximum height of four feet. Most all shelves are over six feet tall. Unless your grandmother was half octopus, you’re going to find some difficulty snagging your Captain Crunch. Oh, and let’s not forget you practically have to tip the thing over to reach for anything on the bottom shelf. Heaven forbid you pass by your favorite Pop Tart and make a “Youie” into a eight-year old trying to grab Chicken Noodle Soup (because Hannah Montana told her to). A normal trip to Food City for a slow walker is a good hour and a half. A trip mounted on your plastic low rider is nine and a half hours.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Ministry, Students | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Medical Training…

Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve been on here. The world of sickness, leading a DiscipleNow at our church, and then speaking at a DiscipleNow at my Youth Pastor’s church in Knoxville.

I always enjoy going to Central for DiscipleNow. Tommy impacted my life in such a promienant way as my Youth Pastor and he has impacted it more as a friend and mentor. I enjoy the people of Central and have been blessed to be apart of their extended church family. I’ve seen students go from 8th grade to college. I’ve been blessed to be included in on some of the milestones of their lives.

With that said: I had a house full of eighth graders for the weekend. Boys and girls. Guys and gals. Loud and Louder. Crazy and silly. I think you got the idea. Inbetween our sessions this past weekend we had free time. We played interactive games, chatted with one another, and just laughed. Well, after our first Saturday morning session our host reminded them there was a basketball goal outside. Apparently all of the students were struggling with a basketball addiction because they shot down the stairs like a 13-year-old girl after Zach Efron.

I get outside to play a few traditional games of Knock-Out, when I look over and see one of the eighth grade boys sitting down with his shoe off.

“What happened to you?”

“I hurt my ankle.” he replied.

I now reverted back to an ignorant new born with my next question.

“How did you hurt it?” (I know I know)

My blindness to the obvious was too much for him to handle. He was unsure how to answer.

“Ummm…playing basketball?”

“Oh.” I replied somewhat surprised for reasons I can not figure out. “It cant’ be that bad. You’ve only been out here a few minutes.”

“But it’s huge. It’s swollen.” he replied back staring down at his foot.

“You lie.” I said as I walked over. “It’s never as bad as you…GOOD GRACIOUS THAT’S HUGE!!! IT’S LIKE BIGFOOT LET YOU BORROW HIS SLIPPERS!!”

“I told you.”

“Boy that shoe is never going back on your foot!” I said with an apparent disregard for any opportunity to encourage.

“I’ll be fine. But do you think it’s that bad?”

“That’s no moon. It’s a space station, Luke.”

At this point, he, like you the reader, stared blankly unaware of my vast knowledge of the sci-fi world and my ability to include it into my daily life at the most opportune moment.

Well, we all walked back inside the house ready for the next session. One of the Host’s and myself were explaining to him how he needed to elevate his ankle and it needed to be iced. We set him up some pillows to keep it raised and she got him a bag of ice to keep on his ankle. All is right in the world.

Halfway through the session the students are talking, discussing, and are really digging deeper into what kinds of decisions they make. As we are talking I turn over and look at this student and his leg is on the floor next to the pillows.

“What are you doing?” I asked

“It’s uncomfortable on the pillows.” he replied.

“The pillows?? Are you serious? Pillows are the definition of comfortable. When you are laying down and you can’t get comfortable, what do you say…I sure wish I had a pillow? Pillows are always the answer. What do say when you can’t sleep well…I couldn’t get my pillow comfortable. It’s always the pillow. What is the reply when you tell someone you can’t sleep…Do you need a new pillow? When you are leaving for a long trip in the car and you have everything loaded and you are sitting in the car about to start it. Why do you rush out of the car and back into the house…I forgot my pillow!!! Pillows were created out of discomfort. If we had more pillows in this world there would be less war! Your ankle is uncomfortable because it’s the size of a watermelon on steroids. Don’t blame the pillows.”

“Well it’s cold too.”

“That’s the point. The cold we keep the swelling down. Now put it back on the ice.”

“I can’t stand it. My ankle is turning blue.”

“Oh it is not.” I again said as I leaned over for a better view. “It’s just your imagina…HOLY COW LOOK AT THAT ANKLE!!! IT’S LIKE PAPA SMURF IS STRAPPED TO YOUR ANKLE WITH BLUE DUCT TAPE!!!”

I moved back over to my spot and said, “Just keep it off for ten minutes and put it back on.”

In case you are wondering the swelling did go down, but he walked with a small limp in his step.

Later that night he was taken to Food City…you’ll find out what happens tomorrow.

April 7, 2009 Posted by | Ministry, Students | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Yes, a thousand times, yes.

We just finished our DiscipleNow weekend. Our theme was “Selflessness.”

Our focal passage was Philippians 2.3-4.

As I spent time with our Guest Ministers for the weekend, I shared some of my heart on these verses and those that followed.

Philippians 2.6-7 says, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing…”

Humility never looked so good. The idea of putting “you” before “me” never seemed so possible. The concept of others first, for the first time, has a chance of happening. Christ was the definition and standard of perfection. He was Deity in the flesh. He had the ear of legions of angels, ready to serve him (Psalm 91.11-12, Matthew 4.11, Matthew 13.41). He walked on water without doubt (John 6.19-20). He stood up to those with misguided influence  and saw through their intimidation (Matthew 5.20, Matthew 16.1-4). He loved without compromise or apology (John 8.1-11).

Christ stood with his perfection not as a bragging right nor as a badge that he used for special treatment. His life was led by God’s will. Jesus’ determination to live a life of obedience to God was his legacy. Jesus made a choice everyday once his feet hit the floor to live like a servant. The King lived with the peasants. He made the conscious effort that he would live a life that was nothing, so that God was seen as everything. He could provide whatever he needed, but instead he depended on God.

This carpenter cared more about God’s voice than his own. This Jew cared more about reaching out to others than reaching in for himself. This simple man made himself nothing every single day. No matter the weather. No matter his mood. No matter what others said. No matter where it took him.

How can I ever deny that? How can I ever look past this? Did Jesus Christ care about me ? YES. Did God sacrifice what he loved most for me? YES. Do I care about those around me enough to set aside myself? Do I crave God more each moment, because I realize how utterly lost and useless I am without him?

He was and is our constant example. Praise God that I don’t have to do life alone. Praise God for grace that will not let go and love that will not run dry. It’s no longer a matter of: Do I need him? That question can’t even be asked anymore. It’s a question of: Do I want him?

March 31, 2009 Posted by | Ministry | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s a word that rhymes with banana?

I enjoy reading. I really do. Ever since I was a small child. I remember some of my favorite books: Charlie The Christmas Mouse, The Runaway Bunny, I Wish I Had Duck Feet, and anything written by Dr. Seuss. I loved Dr. Seuss. I couldn’t get enough of it. If I had to pick a favorite it probably had to be Horton Hatches An Egg. I could sit and listen to that book for hours. I knew what was going to happen. I knew that rude bird was an unfit mother and would treat Horton like an underpaid babysitter. I knew that Horton was a man (or elephant) of his word. I knew that Miss-selfish-bird would try to take all of the credit in the end. I also was aware that the baby that hatched from the egg would choose Horton over her Uno-Mom (I’m sorry I should have said spoiler warning).

Even though I was aware of this I still empathized with Horton. I still rooted for the under-dog. I was sad when he was mistreated and cheered for him when he got the credit he deserved. It is a book that should be embraced by every child. Better yet, it should be consider literature. That’s right, from now on Horton Hatches An Egg is literature. This celebrated hardback was (and still is) a huge part of my childhood. It was read to me so much that I could recite it to you word for word. I took you down this waltz through storybook lane to make this point: IT WAS READ TO ME!

HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO READ DR. SEUSS? Good gracious it’s difficult. It’s like trying to gargle with a mouthful of gravel and sand. You might be able to do it. But get ready for a dry mouth, a sore tongue, and the possibility of blinding your reader with a projectile. As a child I saw Dr. Seuss as a creative man who constructed fantastic worlds with opportunity for anything to happen. Now I see Dr. Seuss as a cruel man who was either bullied by a dentist or was mute.

I share this revelation with you because my worldview was shattered a few days ago when I was invited to reading day at one of our local elementary schools. It was actually called Dr. Seuss Reading Day. I was one of a few guests invited to read to some of the classes. The moment I arrived at the school I was taken to the library for my name tag and book choice. After talking to a few familiar faces and meeting some new ones I was left to my dellima. What to read? I stood in front of a table overflowing with books (only a small percentage of which were Dr. Seuss). There were books about Turtles learning the alphabet, little girls visiting grandma, birds trying to fit in with other birds, and books written by the man with a poison tipped pen (formally known as Dr. Seuss).

I did pick up a book that was about ten pages in length that gave facts about poisonous snakes and how to deal with getting bit by one. I turned it toward the Librarian and asked, “This a big problem around here?” 

“No, I don’t think so?”

“Oh, well is the How To Sew On A Toe After A Rat Bites It Off  here or another book out of the When animals attack series?

She stared at me for a moment and replied, “I don’t remember seeing that book.”

Back to the books: I had made up my mind before I got to the school that I was reading Dr. Seuss. It was read to me so I was reading it to the other children. It’s classic (or evil). I was told I was reading to two First Grade classrooms, so Dr. Suess seemed like a great idea. After a another careful search through the stacks I decided upon I Had Trouble Getting To Solla Sollew……how did I not see the problems coming. 

Once I arrived to the classroom I met the kids and the teacher. They all were very welcoming and excited about a little reading time. I introduced myself, played a few name games with the kids, and off to the reading area we went. I sat in the reading chair and they circled around me on the carpet. After a little instruction from them on how I was supposed to hold the book…off we went. I started to read I Had Trouble Reading This Dr. Seuss Book That Should Never Have Been Written. After the first two pages it was like a lobster was inside my mouth holding my tongue ransom while his girlfriend worked my Larynx over like punching bag. It was insane. There should be a rule that if you can’t rhyme a word, you are not allowed to make up one to plug in the story. 

The kids were laughing. The teacher raised her hand and shouted “Amen” on ever struggle I had and I felt a little embarrassed that this book was kicking my tail. Not to mention that for some reason every time I ran across the word “Sword” I pronounced it “Swword” like Sean Connery on Jeopardy. That one will plague me for the rest of my days. Then the most frightful thing happened when I got halfway through the book. I realized….I WAS ONLY HALFWAY THROUGH THE BOOK! It was a cruel time warp that Dr. Seuss had created. Every word of gibberish stretched out to forty-two pages of dialogue. It was a black-hole of non-sense and I was being sucked in. The children sat there, laughed, and shouted, “More, More!” 

I finally finished reading and vowed never to watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas again. I told the kids “bye” and I felt some relief. Dr. Seuss wasn’t that bad. He was like a nice roast beef. I enjoyed it as a kid and he never made me sad. Now how could I ever be so grumpy and mad. So I walked and thought and and I thought some more. I actually thought of something I hadn’t before. What if Dr. Seuss wasn’t such a chore. What if reading his books means a little be mor…Oh goodness now I’m doing it. 

I thanked the teacher and I was about to leave until someone shouted, “Don’t forget your other class in room 103!”  …….this could be habit forming!

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The second classroom didn’t have a reading area…or a reading chair.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Ministry | , , , , | 6 Comments