Is Saying Yes Really Worth It?

IMG_7018The Yes Movement came to a painful end last night.

Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan finally ended months of speculation and announced his official retirement from professional wrestling last night live on Monday Night Raw.

The man who garnered global fame and success from his spontaneous chants of “Yes! Yes! Yes!” had to finally say “No” to his desires to go against doctors’ wishes and return to the ring after suffering a debilitating concussion last April. Continue reading

How To Fix A First Season Failure

Muppets-TV-Show-2What’s wrong with The Muppets?

This question has been the topic of discussion on all sorts of major entertainment blogs and sites after the first few episodes of the new ABC mockumentary show starring pop culture’s favorite felt creatures.

The ratings have been strong for the series that reveals the behind the scenes mishaps of The Muppets putting on a new late night talk show starring Miss Piggy. But the response online has been mixed, mainly due to the show’s slightly more racy sense of humor and storylines focusing on romantic and sexual relationships.

If you’ve already chosen to give up on “The Muppets” I respect your decision. Life is too short to watch TV shows we don’t enjoy.

As for me: I’ve seen the first few episodes. I’ve heard the criticism. And as for now I’m not giving up on The Muppets. Continue reading

How SNL Made Me A Better Youth Minister

As SNL celebrates its 40th Anniversary this weekend, I just wanted to take a few minutes to say thanks.

You see, I’m not a funny person.

I’ve said funny things before, and I’ve gotten a few laughs in my lifetime. But the truth is most of those funny things were stolen. And most of them were stolen from Saturday Night Live.

635583156024811072-ConeheadsI think it’s perfect that as part of the new SNL app there’s a whole keyboard of SNL-inspired emojis. After all, for my friends and I SNL is its own sort of language of catchphrases and inside jokes.

I’ve never been good at quoting classic movies, but I can recite for you Matt Foley’s entire speech about living in a van down by the river and tell you why there needs to be more cowbell and shout out all of the Spartan Cheerleaders’ routines. Continue reading

A House Is A Home

FullSizeRender-35 years ago next month I bought my first home. And starting on Friday I’ll have my first renter in that home.

Becoming a homeowner has been a strange journey, one I never could have (or would have) scripted the way it played out.

In the fall of 2009 I had just gone on full time as the Director Of Student Ministries at The Hill Baptist Church. I was back living at home after moving out for a bit in college.

With a freshly printed degree, a full-time salary and a wide-eyed optimism I was eager to move away from home. Originally I wanted to rent a small house in town.

At the time, though, the government was giving an $8,000 tax credit to first time homeowners. My parents and I decided this was a deal I couldn’t pass up.

So I found a 2 bedroom townhome a few minutes away from work and decided to pull the trigger on the American dream of becoming a homeowner.

It wasn’t long after that the dream started feeling like a nightmare.  Continue reading

POP GOD POPcast: Episode 24 – David Keel

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Welcome to the POP GOD POPcast – an exploration into the lives of people seeking God in the present tense.

This week’s guest is David Keel. David is a teacher, speaker, scientist, youth pastor, legendary coffee drinker, and most importantly my former Sunday School teacher. David shares openly about his journey to meeting Jesus at rock bottom, his on-and-off youth ministry career, and how he comes up with his offbeat analogies. We also get real about the struggles of joblessness and how to keep the faith when the paychecks stop coming. Plus David offers a look behind the scenes of Fort Discovery where he worked for over a decade! Enjoy this deeper look inside the life of a teacher who made a true impact on my life.

Listen to the podcast here:

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Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, rate it, leave a comment, listen to all the other episodes, share it on Twitter and Facebook and anywhere else. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks.

I love sharing stories of people seeking God in the present tense. Let me hear your feedback. Leave me a comment and let me know how to improve things, what you’d like to hear discussed, and give me your ideas as to who you’d like to see on the next episode of the POPcast.

 

Do Small Things Matter To A Big God?

***NOTE: For me, 2013 will always be the year I stepped away from my position as Director of Student Ministries at The Hill Baptist Church. Working at The Hill was a incredibly challenging and incredibly rewarding experience, one that taught me countless lessons I’m still being transformed by. As 2013 comes to a close, I thought it would be fitting to share the article I wrote for The Augusta Chronicle on the eve of my final day on staff at The Hill. As you reflect on the year that was and make plans for the year to come, I can only pray you’ll believe the small things really do matter to God. 

IMG_1524“Does it matter?”

Every morning I make the drive down Central Avenue, turning onto Kings Way and into the parking lot of The Hill Baptist Church, thinking to myself, “Does it matter?”

For five years I have served as the director of student ministries at The Hill. When I began I was a 22-year-old student in my final semester at Augusta State University. I was a fresh-faced intern with adventurous faith who dreamed of changing the world through youth ministry.

Though I thought I knew it all (as most 22-year-olds do), I never could have predicted what the next five years would hold. Today, as I prepare to step down from my position at the church, I am questioning if anything I did mattered.

Did picking up and dropping off students for an hour before and after church matter? Did the conversations over late-night fast food matter? Did silly Facebook wall posts matter? Does small ministry with a small group of students in a small church with a small budget matter to an incredibly big God?

The Hill Baptist Church is a small church. The Hill Youth is a small group, about 20 active students. When I see some of Augusta’s most vibrant churches bringing in hundreds of students to camps and lock-ins, I sometimes wonder if I’ve been doing something wrong this whole time. Continue reading

Are You Ignoring The Gifts Right In Front Of You?

I’ve never been the most observant person. I will swear up and down I’ve lost my keys or wallet or favorite hat forever before realizing they’re on the floor right next to me.

Never have I been more oblivious than I was Christmas morning in the 4th Grade.

After all the unwrapping was complete, my parents tasked me with taking the trash outside to the garbage can.

Now, I wasn’t completely oblivious to the giant covered object in the center of the garage as I walked toward the garbage can. I did notice a some strange blob where one had never been before. But I wasn’t assuming this mysterious object was for me. Perhaps it was just a lawnmower under repair?

My parents were waiting for me back in the living room. I calmly came back inside and sat down to examine my gifts. The eager smiles on my parents’ faces turned to confusion.

“Did you notice anything unusual in the garage?” they questioned me. I mentioned the mystery mound I passed by on the way to the trash. My parents laughed and suggested I look under the sheet.

What I found was perhaps the best Christmas present ever. It looked something like this: Continue reading

POP GOD POPcast: Episode 8 – Adam Allen

slide.001Welcome to Episode 8 of the POP GOD POPcast – an exploration into the lives of people seeking God in the present tense.

This week’s guest is Adam Allen. Adam is the youth pastor at True North Church in North Augusta. Adam’s walk of faith across the past 13 years has led him to taking charge of an incredible youth ministry. We talk about his path to today, why he never went to seminary, his love for YoungLife, and the importance of a strong supporting cast. Plus Adam takes the Pop Quiz, we get to the bottom of his unique Twitter handle, and spend a few minutes geeking out on Friends and Train. Enjoy this look inside the life of a youth pastor seeking God in the present tense.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, rate it, leave a comment, listen to all the other episodes, share it on Twitter and Facebook and anywhere else. And check out PopGodBlog.com for more content seeking God in the present tense.

I’m so excited to open up POP GOD and share more stories of people seeking God in the present tense. I’d love to hear your feedback. Leave me a comment and let me know how to improve things, what you’d like to hear discussed, and give me your ideas as to who you’d like to see on the POPcast.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, share it on Twitter and Facebook and anywhere else. I’d really appreciate it. Thanks. Enjoy.

Listen Here:

[audio http://adoriot.podbean.com/mf/web/ia2rh8/Popcast8.mp3]

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