11/10/2011

Twitter Faves...

Most people are on twitter now...

Actually, right now, most people are probably in their cars driving home from work. But some of them are probably on twitter. And even the people that aren't on twitter right now are at least aware of its existence. And if you're not aware of twitter's existence then you probably live in a blissful land of ignorance that has shielded you from ever knowing anything about any Kardashian or anyone getting marriedivorced in Hollywood, Penn State, or Ashton Kutcher. And for that, I envy you.

But, for all of its annoyances, there is plenty good to be found on twitter. And twitter has come up with a wonderful feature that let's you save and access the good things that you find anytime you want! It's called "favoriting" a tweet. And I kind of love it.

Right now, I "follow" 217 people on twitter. And, whenever one of them tweets something that I want to remember, I hit a little star icon to mark it one of my favorites, so that I can go back to it later.

By the way, if you want to follow me on twitter, you can find me at @joshtreece.

So I thought I'd share a few of the tweets that I loved enough to "favorite" with you here. I'll include some links in case you want to follow these users. Enjoy...


  • @NathanFillion: Hey, guys- remember Firefly? That was awesome.

  • @Sween: Balloons think they're so cool. I tried to tell one he was leaking and he just said, "Pfft."

  • @mental_floss: Teddy Roosevelt's kids had guinea pigs named Admiral Dewey, Dr. Johnson, Bishop Doane, Fighting Bob Evans + Father O’Grady.

  • @bobgoff: Not every fight is between good and evil; most are between good enough and best. Aim high with your life.

  • @cslewisdaily: You will certainly carry out God’s purpose, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John.

  • @drjimburns: How u spend time is more important than how u spend money. Money mistakes can be corrected, but time is gone forever. ^JB

  • @meganganz: I wonder if I could really spend the rest of my life with one person. They'd have to be as good as Mexican food. Or any Apple product.

  • @kellyoxford: If you grew up with a megaphone in your house and didn't fart into it, I can't love you.

  • @rickwarren: If God gave you all you want, you wouldn’t depend on him the way he wants.

  • @prayinfaith: I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. -Mother Teresa
  • 10/31/2011

    Web-o-Lantern:2011...

    Announcing this year's winning "Web-o-Lantern"! (For previous winners, click the links: 2006, 2007, 2010.)

    This year's winner... (drumroll please)...

    iPumpkin. Genius...

    10/17/2011

    Birthday Wishes...

    Here's the deal: I totally realize that I've been out of the blogging game for a while. In fact, I'm not even sure you can call my posts sporadic. I'm pretty sure, at this point, it would be totally appropriate to call them seasonal.

    But I want to do my best to make a comeback. After all, I once considered myself pretty good at this writing thing. And, regardless of subject matter, I like blogging.

    All of that said, It seems pretty weird to make a return (or an announcement of an intention of one) with a list of stuff I want people to buy me. But the birthday (never mind the number) is quickly approaching and this is the easiest way to answer the ever-present familial question of "what do you want for your birthday?". So... here it is:

  • Giftcards- Amazon, Regal, AMC, and iTunes...

  • DVDs- Thor and Captain America...

  • Moleskine 2012 18 Month Weekly Notebook Black Soft Cover (X Large)...

  • Gerber Kiowa Tanto Serrated Knife...

  • Sanuk Vagabond Chill (Mens, size 10) Brown (also available at GB Shoe Warehouse)...
  • 9/11/2011

    Ten Years Later...

    Today marks the ten year anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

    I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in our country who isn't spending time today reflecting and remembering, celebrating and grieving, looking backward and looking forward.

    Reflecting on the past has never been that hard for me. I've often found that, by searching my past and processing my experiences and motives in light of my present relationship with God, I can learn from my mistakes, grow, and move forward. But a day like today requires special attention.

    Earlier this year, I collected some thoughts upon hearing the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden. But those were mostly a reaction to the death of an individual. This day is for remembering the almost 3,000 people who lost their lives as victims and heroes on that early fall day a decade ago.

    Gosh. It hardly seems possible that ten years have passed...


    I'll never forget where I was that morning. I was in my senior year of college, and I needed to finish an assignment for my photography class. So, knowing that there would be lots of interesting people and activities around, I walked down to the campus student center. I spent time chatting with classmates and taking pictures at the pool tables, never imagining that that day would be unlike any other. I can't remember if the TV was already on, or if someone came down and turned it on. But I remember my attention being drawn to the group of people slowly beginning to gather around it.

    The channel was one of the sort that plays news 24 hours a day. As a result, I was drawn more to the group of people watching it than the actual news program. But it didn't take long for my attention to shift. It was being reported that something had happened (a bomb? an attack? possibly an airplane collision?) to one of the two World Trade Center towers in New York City. Footage began streaming across the screen of black smoke billowing out of the building as reporters began speculating what (or who) could be the cause of something so unusual. This was all sometime around 8:30am.

    Slowly, confirmation is received that it was an airplane that crashed into the tower. I stand, camera in hand, with about ten other people and watch as camera shots are traded off from different viewpoints of the towers. These shots are mixed with ones of people standing in the street, looking up at NYC's monumental buildings.

    Hardly anyone spoke as we stood and watched. How could we? It would be like people from the dark ages offering up valid commentary upon seeing an iPhone. We had never witnessed such a thing before. But, even in our amazed and awestruck state, none of us were prepared for what happened next.

    At this point, the motive behind the crash was still unexplained. Obviously, it was tragic. But tragic accidents happen everyday. Pilot error. Instrument malfunction. It could be anything. Then, just after 9am, all of us watched as the camera, focused on the south tower, recorded the second plane crash.

    The air was sucked out of the room.

    That was the moment. That was the exact moment when we knew that this was no accident. We knew this was purposed. We knew this was evil at work.

    People began to cry. Some exclaimed their disbelief with curses. Others stood, silent, mouths agape, unable to process what they had just seen. I, once again became aware of the weight and texture of my camera strap around my neck. Felt my hand twisting around the lens. Almost on instinct, I began to remove the lens cap. I should capture this, I thought. I should get people's reactions down on film. We'll never see anything like this again. This is once in a lifetime. But, as reflexive as it was for my hand to move to remove the lens cap, it moved again to replace it. No. This isn't for me to do. This is too personal.

    People continued to be choked by the horror as cameras filmed people jumping from the towers to escape the flames. They would have rather die from the fall than from the flame. It was one of the most horrible things I've ever seen.

    No part of me regrets replacing that lens cap.

    Approximately 30 minutes later, a plane strikes the west side of the Pentagon. That's when we see the order in the attack. The planning. The calculation. Not only was this an act of evil, it was a carefully planned one.

    This has all happened in an hour. 8:30am. 9am. 9:30am. There is order to the madness.

    But that's where the order stopped.

    The news cameras are still trained on the two towers. Some, at street level, film New Yorkers standing and watching. Occasionally, a reporter on the ground will comment on what they're seeing or ask a nearby local what their impressions of the scene are. Then, about an hour and a half from when its twin was first hit, the south tower collapsed.

    No one spoke. No one made a sound. The only thing heard was the voices of the news casters repeatedly saying "dear God".

    Thirty minutes later, the north tower followed.

    Two buildings that had stood as a symbol for New York, as well as our country, were gone. As well as many, many lives.

    The news broad cast were then flooded with images of smoke and rubble racing through the streets, chasing after people. Only the shot wasn't from above. It was from eye level. Reporters and cameramen were caught, along with thousands of New Yorkers in the cloud of building that had resulted from the destruction.


    No one at the school was moving. Everyone was glued to a television of a telephone. I called my mom to see if she had heard the news. Others called their families in New York to see if they were alright. My friend, Al, called her father, who lived in an apartment in Queens. He was standing on the roof of their building. He had seen the whole thing from across the East River.

    Our student body was gathered in Shortess Chapel. Our school administration addressed what had happened, led us in prayer for the nation, for our people, and for those lost, and then told us classes would resume, as scheduled.

    We were all therephysically that day, but none of us were there emotionally. Nor intellectually. Nor spiritually.


    As for me, I was haunted. Haunted by what I saw. Haunted by the loss of nearly 3,000 people at once. A loss that I had witness through the medium of television. And haunted by the incredible injustice I felt had been forced upon our nation. Our city. Our neighbors.


    That day changed us. It changed us on a very deep level. Sure, air travel is now brought with necessary inconveniences. Sure, it's pricey. Sure, everyone's always on high alert. But that's not the change. That's just the symptom.

    The real change occurred in our collective psyche. Up until 9am on September 11, 2001, we were invincible. We were proud. We were brash. After 9, especially after 10:30am, we were stripped of that pride. We were stripped of that entitled sense of safety. We felt vulnerable. We felt hurt.

    In the days, weeks, and years that followed, Americans united. Once again, we responded by coming together in love, compassion, and community, to assist and care for each other. People from all over the country traveled to New York at their own expense to help in the clean up of Ground Zero and the surrounding areas, or to care for the injured, depressed, and grief stricken.

    In the midst of so much terror, it was beautiful.


    And, here we are: 10 years later.


    I can't watch footage of the events of that day anymore. I've avoided most television specials commemorating the memorial for that reason. Seeing it once was enough. If I ever want to see it again, all I have to do is close my eyes.

    Today, as I've spent time reflecting on this tragedy, I've been reminded of this simple truth: Tragedy will always happen. We can't control that. What we can control is how we respond to it. And, the longer I walk with God, the more I see that the only response, in pain or in joy, in tragedy or in comedy, in hurt or in comfort, is to run into the arms of Jesus.

    In world changing tragedies, like 9-11, or in personal ones, like when a relationship that's precious to you ends, run to Jesus. Because it's only in the comfort of His arms, that anything can be understood or survived. It's where you were created to be...

    9/09/2011

    Poetic License III...


    PS

    Everyday, after I wake up,
    I watch and I wait for you.
    My love compels me.

    I stand, searching the horizon.
    Hoping to see your silhouette.
    Hoping to, one day, hold you again.

    My thoughts are of you.
    My prayers are for you.
    My heart, holding its breath.

    I wait.
    I pray.
    I trust...


    For other entries in this series, click here

    5/14/2011

    Art for Missions...

    Last month, I posted about how I had modeled for our church's Easter worship service painting.

    I wanted to make sure that I posted the finished product...

    Here's a pic of David working on the angel using the pic of me as a model. Don't believe me? Click on the pic to embiggen...

    Here's the finished product. (Sorry for it being a little blurry.)

    But here's the cool part. We've got a congregation member who owns his own printing company. He's agreed to produce prints of the painting at low cost to us! So, we're selling prints of David's work to benefit our church's missions work in Guatemala! For every print that is sold 100% of the profits will go to help the people of Guatemala.

    Are you interested in buying one? If you want more information on purchasing a print, email Micah Merchant, our missions pastor.

    I love that God is using art to help people who need it...

    5/06/2011

    Taking Students to Movies...

    Hi. I'm Josh.

    Just in case we've never met before, or just in case you're a first time visitor to my blog, here's something you should know about me: I like movies. A lot.

    Watching, experiencing, reading about, thinking about, writing about, and talking about movies are amongst some of my favorite things. Thus, because my life is about ministering to teenagers, I'm always looking for ways to combine the two. Sometimes that means finding a movie clip that illustrates a lesson or teaching point. Sometimes that means connecting with a student by just hanging out and going to the movies.

    For the majority of my career in student ministry, I've ministered primarily to middle school students (6th- 8th grade). This made choosing movies to see with students super easy. Obviously, no R rated movies. But, since their age was either younger than 13 or right at 13, it was always difficult to decide if a PG-13 movie was appropriate or not. So, I didn't take students to see PG-13 movies either. It was G or PG all the way. However, in my current role, I ministering to both middle and high school students. In fact, in this context, since there aren't that many middle school students attending, my primary ministry is actually to high schoolers.

    So how do I choose movies to see with students now? Well, for me, it's still no to R rated films. Just a blanket rule. No matter what it is. In fact, I don't even use R rateds in my teaching if I need a clip. It's not that I'm taking a stance against them, it's just that it's not a battle I want to fight. After all, there's thousands of movies out there. If there's an R that illustrates something well, there's also a lower rated film that does the same. As far as PG-13s go, I'm going to give it a shot today.

    Tonight, I'm taking two high school aged guys to see Thor. Both of the guys are big comic book fans (who isn't?), and I've been looking for a way to connect with them for a while. Hopefully, it'll be a fun time that leads to some relational progress.

    What about you? What are your guidelines for using movies in teaching? What about in choosing what you can see with students? I'd love your input. Fire away in the comments...

    5/04/2011

    My Mantras...

    I've said it here before, but I'm a pretty visual person. I've even posted on how this personality trait works itself out in my event planning. Here's another way that it presents itself in my daily life.

    After starting in my new job, which is not a permanent position, I began to realize that there were some interesting tasks that my unique role should fulfill. After thinking through some of these things, I realized that i wanted to make them a priority in my ministry. So, in an effort to keep them in the front of my mind, I typed the first one out, printed it, and (sticky) tacked it up on my wall above my desk.

    A brief explanation of each one:

  • The clock is ticking!!!
    This mantra was meant to remind me that my role of managing the transition between youth pastors has a time limit on it. I may not know what that time limit is, but it exists. Because of that, I want to make as big of an impact as I can during my time here. So, no time to waste...

  • It's not about me!!!
    Since Uncle Rick wrote a book using this as its first line, this has become quite a famous quote. For me, in this role, it serves to remind me that I'm here to serve. I'm here to serve students, volunteers, and parents. I'm not here to build my own ministry kingdom. I'm not here to garner a sterling reputation. I'm not here to impress. I'm just here to serve. Why? Because it's not about me. it's about Him...

  • What are you wading for? Dive in!
    Play on words? Guilty. Here's the deal. I'm not great at starting relationships with everything I've got. I'm much more the type to hang back at first, slowly get to know someone, and then jump in. But in this role, I don't have time for that. (I may have mentioned something about this in the first mantra.) So, instead of slowly wading into the relationship pool, I need to dive in and get to know everyone...

  • I'm a model! You know what I mean?
    Yeah. It's a Right Said Fred Song. But it's also something good to keep in mind as you minister. Especially in a leadership role. One of the realities of ministry is that a ministry takes on the personality of its leader. Not only that, but volunteers see what a leader does and, in a lot of cases, base how they serve on that. So it's super important that I live my life, and serve others, in such a way to model how I want my volunteers and students to live theirs. It's also super important that I look to Christ to be my model and follow him...


    These are things I'm keeping in mind I as serve students at my church. I'm sure I'll be adding to the list as I continue. Maybe one of them speaks to you and can help you! Feel free to use them yourself...
  • 5/03/2011

    Things I Love: Series 3...

    For some time now on my twitter, I've been posting a series of tweets about things I love. I figured I'd collect them all in one place (along with making some of them into links). You can check out the other entries in this series by clicking here. I mean, this way, if you ever want to buy me a gift...

  • Vol 15: Sticky Fingers Carolina Classic BBQ Sauce, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, My Kindle, Diet Coke w/ Orange, Scrabble Slam!

  • Vol 16: My Jamey Johnson Pandora Station, Jamestown Coffee Company's Pumpkin Spice roast, Moleskines, The Karate Kid (both versions)

  • Vol 17: Natalie Portman's Eyebrows, Diet A&W Rootbeer, My Klean Kanteen, Christmas Vacation (the movie), Orbit Sweet Mint Gum

  • Vol 18: Ricky Gervais

  • Vol 19: Words With Friends, My New Job, White Boards, Trailer for Captain America, New Books on My Kindle, Nerds Jelly Beans

    Man, I have good taste...
  • 5/02/2011

    Land of Confusion...

    I started this blog in September of 2005. So, it's birth being four years after 9-11, I don't have a recorded reaction of what I felt on that day. Not that I'll ever forget.

    I'll never forget where I was and what I was doing when the news came across the TV. The first plane had already struck the towers when the live feed cut in. I witnessed the second collision. I was gathered with a few dozen or so people around a TV. Our jaws, collectively, on the floor.

    Last night, President Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. The chief mastermind behind the NYC attacks, as well as other terrorist actions, had been "brought to justice". Today, the television is filled with images of Americans gathered in Times Square and in front of the White House cheering.

    Immediately, my mind flashed back to a similar picture. After thousands of our citizens were tragically killed in the 9-11 attacks, there was a similar reaction in the middle east. People gathered outside to celebrate, to cheer, a victory. They were joyous over so many innocent lives lost.

    So, as I watched the TV coverage of the celebration over Bin Laden's death, I found myself unable to be joyous. But I didn't know why. It wasn't until later today that I realized it. We (Americans) were celebrating a man's death. Please don't read me saying that he was an innocent or that he wasn't as evil as they come. But he was a man. He was a man that Christ died for and now, if what he believed is the same as what he said, is going to spend eternity separated from God. I cannot celebrate that. I can't have any reaction other than deep sadness.

    I read this post from Dr. Warren Larson today. Dr. Larson is one of the profs at my alma mater and a former missionary in the middle east. I'd strongly encourage you to read his post, as it's an incredibly wise and God-honoring way to look at this current event.

    Whoa. I'm not even done typing this post, and a new one from Marko just came up in my google reader expressing a similar feeling.

    Perhaps I'm not alone in this feeling of confusion...

    4/29/2011

    Oh Bother...

    This past Sunday was an exciting time at our church. We had nearly completed our "Cayce Census" project (knocking on the door of every home in Cayce to ask 3 survey questions), our resident artist, David Phillips, was completing his painting during the service, and we were celebrating the resurrection of our Lord. So, needless to say, there was joy in the air.

    Except in the air around me...

    You see, this past Sunday, I was a perfect example of what is wrong with so many churches today. This past Sunday, our guests at church bothered me.

    Of course, being Easter, this past Sunday we had quite a few guests at church. I finished my responsibilities during our early Sunday School hour and made my way over to the Worship Center to take my seat. After some schmoozing, I sat down next to Resa as service began. What happened next deeply shames me now.

    Even though service starts at 9:30am, we had quite a few people coming in late. A lot of them would make their way to the sides of the Worship Center to sit. A family made their way to the row behind me. They were a large family whose grandmother is a regular attendee of our church and were visiting with her. They were talking to each other quite loudly as they came in, filing one by one into the row. I immediately picked up the strong scent of one of their perfumes (something with berry and vanilla in it). This forced some of the people who usually sit near me at church to switch rows and sit next to me. One of these people has Tourette's Syndrome, so he has lots of physical and audible ticks.

    As the service went on, all of these things began to overload my senses. And, I began to get angry. Not outwardly, mind you. But internally, I was upset. How could they come into the service being so loud? How could they not respect those around them? Why would you wear so much perfume to such a crowded place? I wish they wouldn't have sat here. I wish that this guy wouldn't have come up to sit next to me. I wish they'd just be quiet so I could engage in worship! On the outside, I was fine. But inside, I was italicizing all of these thoughts.

    I left the service and went home. I changed clothes and sat down to relax a little before our family meal. And that's when God spoke to me. He showed me the evilness in my attitude. The blackness of my heart. The lack of compassion, hospitality, and generosity that, when left to grow, turns so many people off to the Gospel.

    I was bothered by all of these people. And, because of being bothered, I didn't bother to help them feel welcome in our church family. And that is shameful.

    I've spent time this week repenting over this. I needed to first confess it to God, then ask His forgiveness. I feel like this is one of many reasons why people turn away from church. Even if they're willing to come and check it out, and even if they're not directly turned away, they're indirectly turned away by being froze out.

    Just because someone doesn't fit into my "church culture" or doesn't allow me the amount of personal space I'm accustomed to, doesn't mean they don't deserve to be loved by me. Just because they sit in the wrong seat or wear (what I think is) too much perfume, doesn't mean that God isn't calling me to minister to them. After all, there was a time when I didn't know. There was a time when I was loud. There was a time when I didn't know how to "behave correctly" or where to sit. There was a time when I was late. And, you know what? I probably bothered some people.

    But I'm so thankful that someone bothered to reach out to me. I'm so thankful that someone opened their arms and their heart to welcome me. It's because of that, that I'm serving in my church now.

    My prayer moving forward is that God will help me to always keep this in mind: I have to bother to reach out to everyone and help them feel welcome and loved. Even if they bother me! And I do this because I am loved by a great God who bothered to love me...

    4/25/2011

    FACT: Volume 4...

    For previous FACTS, go here...

  • FACT: Adding hot sauce to a thing makes that thing better. APPLICATION: My resume is now covered in Texas Pete...

  • FACT: Auto repair waiting rooms only have 3 types of magazines. Golf, Car, & Women's Lifestyle (Southern Living, Better Homes, etc.)...

  • FACT: Burt's Bees chapstick tastes exactly like Doublemint gum...

  • FACT: There's never been a better use of music than Brad Paisley's "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" in the Season One Finale of "Justified"...

  • FACT: It's impossible for me to sing @coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" without switching to @alyankovic's "Amish Paradise"...
  • 4/21/2011

    Well, It's About Time...

    Well, this was a first...

    Cue Flashback.

    For the past three weeks, our pastor has been preaching a series of messages leading up to Easter. And, this whole time as a part of our worship experience, we've had one of our members painting a composition (is that the right term, Leese?). During that time, I've been snapping pics after each service and posting them to my twitter feed. But just in case, you haven't started following me (yet), here's a glimpse at the progress he's made thus far:

    Week 1

    Week 2

    Week 3

    Flash Forward

    Today, I took some students to play Disc Golf. After we were done, I was back in the office when one of our secretaries called. As I walked out to see what was up, she pointed to a gentleman sitting on the couch, saying that he needed my help. As I looked over, I noticed that it was our resident artist, David. He said he was over in the worship center working on the painting and needed a model.

    I'm sorry. What?

    After explaining what he needed, I found myself in his car on my way to the Columbia Museum of Art. You see, David is a part of a community of artists called About Face that rents out the basement (what they call "the dungeon") of the museum for studio space. When we arrived, we went in the back entrance, through security, and into an elevator. (I actually can't remember if we went up or down.)

    When we got to the studio, I saw lots of furniture being stored from the Woodrow Wilson House. David said if I touched it, I would die. We made our way over to the studio space, which included two areas: one for portraits, and one for figures. Over on the figure side, David arranged the lights and grabbed an arch that I was to sit on.

    Once he was done, he asked me to come to a table and began to explain to me how he wanted me to pose. After a split second, he gave up and grabbed a pen and sketched the pose. Yeah... impressive.

    So I posed, he took pictures of me, and we left.

    Turns out, he needed a model for the angel who moved the stone from in front of Jesus' tomb.

    As we drove home, I asked David about how he got started in painting, what his favorite subjects are, how his art is his offering of worship to God, and how he came to our church. Just before I got out, he said that i had really saved him a lot of trouble and that the painting would be better because I had given my time to help. He said that, even though the angel wouldn't look like me, I'd know it would be me.

    So I said, "So you're telling me that you're not going to make the angel have red hair and sideburns?" And he said, "Hey! Who knows?! You're a good looking kid! Maybe he will look like you!"

    Either way, I'll be proud to have helped such a great artist. And I'll be sure to post his finished product...

    4/18/2011

    FINALLY...

    Waaaaaay back in the day (2007), I wrote the first post about how I wanted an iphone. Since the gen 1 release, I've sat quietly by and watched as new models came out. But every time a new model was released, it was always outside of my grasp. This was because, like so many Americans, I was suffering from networkus verizonus. Or, in english, I was on verizon.

    Now, it should be noted that, I've never once regretted going with verizon as my network of choice when it comes to important factors like network performance or customer service. But they were lacking when it came to the one thing I was looking for in upgrading to a smartphone: the iPhone!

    Well, that went out the window in February. And after spending March researching on whether or not I should wait for the iPhone 5 release, I finally bit the bullet and got the verizon iPhone!

    I've had it for about two weeks and I... am... loving it!

    I've got a handle on a lot of the "fun" apps. But, youth workers, are there any apps that can help with the daily workload? Which ones should I add to the arsenal...

    4/06/2011

    Visually Planning an Event...

    I've been on the job in my new role for about a month now. Staff meetings, mid-week gatherings, Sunday School, discipleship classes, meetings, studying, phone calls, lunch... everything that was a part of my job at my last church when I left was right here waiting on me when I returned to full time ministry.

    And of course, like any youth pastor (interim, or not), I've got to plan events.

    In fact, the first thing that was handed to me when I accepted the position was a DiscipleNow weekend that was on the schedule for a month from my start date! And the only thing that had been planned was the date! So... I got to work!

    The first thing I did was fill my office whiteboard with things I knew I needed to think through. Everything from theme, to who would teach, to worship music, to t shirts, to housing and food. Every step that had to be taken went on the board. And it was all in black.

    Next, as I added to or changed or tweaked ideas, I wrote beside them in red. For instance, in black, I wrote "housing". Then next to that, in red, I wrote the names of several families that had volunteered to host students. Get it?

    After about two weeks, I began working on the schedule. But, I ran into a problem. I didn't have anymore room on my whiteboard! So, in an act of improvisation, I went into our children's ministry department supply room and secured myself a six and a half foot piece of heavy grade butcher paper and sticky tacked it up on my wall. (I also tested it to make sure nothing would bleed through!) This became the place where everything, schedule-wise, landed. Same principle as the whiteboard. Black first, then red.

    But after a while, I found a flaw in my system: Everything was a mess! So many ideas and thoughts written without any flow or organization and in more than one place! This would not do.

    You see, I'm a very visual person. In fact, in the congressional voting system of my brain, the eyes have it. (See what I did there?) Because of that, I like to have things that I'm working on in front of me. So I changed the system again.

    Here's what I came up with:

    (Click to embiggen.)

    Every little detail is now in one place. Organized, color coded, and updated with progress every day. Josh, don't you think this is going a little overboard? No I don't, italics. And, I'll tell you why.

    This piece of butcher paper is important for a few different reasons:

    1) The paper is in my office, with the door always open, for all to see. It allows others to see that things are being processed and thought through. It is also a physical display of what I've spent a month working on. Hopefully, this can aid in building some trust with some.

    2) It helps me collect all of my thoughts and needs in one place. For me, as I've mentioned, this is a good thing.

    3) Since I'm the Transitional Youth Ministry Team leader, the church is actively searching for a candidate for the full time, permanent position. This paper will serve him, as well as me! If he comes on staff, and has never put on a DiscipleNow before, he'll know exactly how I did it. Planning for the future is a good thing!


    So, there you go! Hopefully, this can help you as you plan a little too. If you'd like to know more about how I organized things on the paper, just shoot me an email or leave a comment...

    3/12/2011

    My New Role... For Now...

    It's been a while since I've had anything to report on the job front other than "still searching". I mean, I've been working retail to pay the bills since October of 2009, but I've remained on the hunt for a job pastoring students.

    Well, here's a different report other than "still searching"...

    As of March 2, I am serving as the transitional youth ministry team leader at my home church! Transitional wha? Who? OK, I'll back up a bit and tell you the story...

    I moved back to South Carolina in mid-December of 2008. At the time, I was coming back for a Christmas visit, but after staying for 2 weeks, I landed a few interviews and decided that it just made more sense to continue the job hunt from the home office. For almost the whole first year I was home, I tried making an income exclusively off of writing. But I found out that, at that time, that wasn't a viable option. So I got a job at a large national retail store. While working this job, I still sent out the resume to potential churches. I still went on interviews. I still knew that God wanted me to be serving as a pastor in a local church. And call it luck or call it finding God's will, I was having trouble finding it in regards to a place to serve.

    Which is why it was so interesting to get a call from my home church...

    They were beginning the search for a new student ministries pastor and recognized that there would be a period of time between the departure of the former pastor and the arrival of a new one. So, they asked if I would be willing to step in and provide leadership during that transitional period. After spending some time thinking and praying about it, I gladly accepted!

    So what does this mean?

    It means that, while my home church continues their search for a full time student ministries pastor, I'll be working with their great team of volunteer leaders to provide leadership, training, coaching, and direction to the church's ministry to middle and high school students. During this time, I'll still be continuing my search for a full time position. But, I could not be any more excited about being given the opportunity to serve at the place where I was invested in as a teenager!

    And I've already hit the ground running! We've got a DiscipleNow Weekend coming up the second week of April that we're working on planning right now!

    So, if you're reading this and actually know me (as opposed to just finding my site from google, although that's OK too), please continue to pray for me!

    Pray for my leadership over the middle and high school students during this transitional period of time. Pray that God would guide and direct me in building relationships with students and adult volunteer leaders. Pray that I would be able to help them grow in their relationships with Christ and with each other. Also, continue to pray for my search for the place that God has me to serve at long term.

    This is a tremendous opportunity that God has given me and I'm extremely humbled and honored to be able to give back to a place that has given so much to me!

    Thanks for your prayers...