Stripped Down


Good morning bloggers!

I'm extremely excited for a bunch of worship opportunities this weekend! As we speak, my good friend Adam Strawcutter is working his was to the South Hills from Indiana Pa. Tomorrow morning he'll be leading worship with the Bridge band, and while he's in town for that he agreed to help me lead worship at my friend Jay Higham's new church plant here in Peters Township.

The fun part about worship tonight will be the complete lack of anything going on. No sound system. No flashy lights. No loud band. Just two guys with acoustic guitars and a choir of believers. It's as close as I think I'll get to what Jon Foreman has done after Switchfoot shows for a couple of years now, just a stripped down worship set. I'm super excited for it.

Don't get me wrong, I love to rock and roll with the best of them. Tree Anthem will always be my preferred style of worship music, loud and ruckus. But every now and again, I think it's really important to step out of what we're comfortable with and meet God in a profound new way. And for me at least, it's important from time to time to just trim the fat, to get all the distractions away, to take away everything that could get between me and the beautiful Savior.

And so perhaps this has more truth to it than just music. Perhaps today should be a day for all of us to strip down our relationship with God. Get away from the things that might hold us back, the things that might look like they're helping but are in actuality hurting. I'll give you an example that I've been convicted of lately. I am a sucker for a good devotional plan, a book that puts the words of God into my mouth for me. And while reading through these books every day looks like devotion, I started to wonder a few weeks back if I was actually communicating with God. The tool became the distraction.

So let's strip down from the garbage today. Let's strip down to basic worship, to un-hindered praise. Let's sing in a parking lot if that's what's required of us! Let's meet the face of God!



This Week's Links!


Bicycle chain

Good morning friends!

This week as I've been tolling the internet for some good blog reading, I fell upon a bunch of really good articles that I feel like everyone should be aware of. Perhaps we'll keep this alive for every Friday, but like all the other habits I've had before, I wouldn't hold your breath.

Materialism in Youth Ministry

Marko, who always has a lot of really good things to say, dives deep into a pervasive problem in youth ministry today with his three part series on materialism. Stop what you're doing and check it out!
Part OnePart TwoPart Three


Are you a lazy youth worker?

Johnathan McKee's article at Youth Specialties had me concerned and perhaps a little confused. Youth ministers have always had a kind of reputation for goofing off and having fun. But is lazy the right word? Or even, is it simply the youth pastors in his area? (You can bet if the high school in my community offered me such a gift I'd hop right on it.

Another question that comes out of this article, even as kind of a throw-away thought, is what it looks like to be a youth pastor and be in seminary at the same time. Is it ok to spend a few moments at your desk doing homework? What if your work for the day is already done? How do you balance all of that with a family life? This article raises some good questions, and as always I'd love some comments here on J-Blog.
Today's Lazy Youth Pastor


Shameless Self-Promotion of the Week:

As some of you know, I've been riding my bike like a fiend lately. The reason for this is much more than just personal fitness, which is awesome, but I'm also working to raise money for the Bike MS event coming up this June. My goal is to raise $700, which is a lot of dough! If you could take a moment and donate as little as $10 it would be greatly appreciated, both by me and the folks affected by MS.
Bike MS


Back at it!


419047 10150717977451280 709846279 11580502 147211193 nHello friends and readers!

I have been on a bit of a break from Seminary for a few weeks now, and as such I thought I'd use it as a time to step away from the blog as well. I've been doing a lot of writing lately, and I thought it would be for the best to take a bit of a breather.

However, now that I am back, I find myself deep in the throws of writing again. One week in to the new term, and already I have a paper to start writing. I've been slowly collecting books to work on. I bet you can't guess what my topic is for this one:


375060 10150732082481280 709846279 11632487 2072959447 n

I actually think it's going to be a really neat paper. It's about Lincoln as a theologian, rather than just as a president. But like I said, there's a lot of reading that's going to have to go into this one, so I've got my work cut out for me.

My last paper was A material, which also left me with an A in the class. I'm extremely pumped about that, but this time I want to do even better. Not that there are better grades out there, but my writing is something I've always taken pride in, and I'd like this paper to be my best yet. I'm working on little things, and collecting tips from all over the place (like Don Miller's blog).

And plus, how could you not write a good paper about this guy?

Abe lincoln 3

Coming up later this week, we've got posts about both youth ministry and worship brewing around in my head. You don't want to miss it!