my inner monologue...
site by Andrew Seely
Friday, September 30, 2005
It's late and I am dead tired. Having only gotten about 5 hours of sleep last night and a full day of setting up and planning and doing and worshipping and having encounters with Christ.
Today was an emotional rollercoaster. From the opening session with Mark Yaconelli, where I totally felt the presence of Christ to worship with Chris Tomlin, where the tears flowed again. And even during the times of affirming other Youth Workers on stage, my heart identifies so greatly and is so in step with the pain, joy, love and everything else that these people endure. Over and over in my life now I am feeling more connected, emotionally and spiritually to other people. That deep connection that only comes from loving people exactly as Christ loves them, grieving with them, sharing in the deepest rooted pain, where their life becomes my life.
It is so good just to spend time with people from friends like John and Kelsey and Brian (not pictured). To other friends like KC and Lilly and Alex and Chris and Erica.(those with links, linked in previous posts) To even seeing old friends from Whitworth College and past summer camps. How amazing it is to hear where God has brought people years down the road. How he continually interweaves our stories together to support each other and to remind us that we are not alone and we NEED each other. I can't stress more how much this time for me is about people and conversations. Being with people and being there for people, and being able to talk through ideas with like minded people. People who get the ups and downs of youth ministry.
What a blessing this is. Total blessing...all from Christ who is Lord above.
During Doug Field's (his ministry site)talk tonight he definitely gave me more to blog about, which I'll do later. But most importantly I'm stealing the phrase "Saying No to Good Things". More later.
I'll make sure to take some more pics tomorrow and include them in the posts too. And just a heads up, there may be a few surprise "Guest Bloggers" over on the Ghetto Blog, so check back soon.
Went to Marko's seminar this morning entitled: A rant from a runt about where the church is falling short.
I don't think I want to take the time to reiterate most of what he said. (you can probably email him for the powerpoint if you want)
I do enjoy hearing him speak. And reading his blog. He brings honesty and a genuineness that is not often found in most leaders who hold high positions in large/influential organizations. He is willing to say things that he feels true and is not as concerned with critics as he is speaking what he believes is truth. I applaud him for that.
The talk did give me plenty to think about and will potentially provide plenty of blog fodder for the weeks to come. One issue that stuck out to me was the issue of "essentials" vs "non-essentials" when it comes to portions of theology that churches adopt and stand by. I'll further explore this topic later when I have more time to fully flush out my thoughts.
It was really nice to hear him start the talk with the phrase "I love the church." Which I don't think I communicate as clearly as I should. In asking questions and challenging what is normalcy, it is easy to forget or not to notice that we (people who do this) really do love what we are talking about. We love the church. And it is this love which motivates us to make the claims/statements/critiques (for lack of better word) about church and the issues surrounding.
Let me reiterate:
I love the CHURCH
It would be interesting to honestly poll people who were at the seminar this morning and ask them their honest opinions. Whether they affirm what Marko was saying or if they now discredit him. I'm sure he'll get a few emails in the next few days and weeks as he reflects on this time.
In other news...
Got to the convention early this morning to finish helping Lilly set up the prayer stations in the general session (which look A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, kudos to you Lilly and others who helped). And when things finally got rolling for the general session, I was more than once moved to tears by the Spirit working through worship and people speaking. God is here in this place and it is almost impossible to ignore what he is doing.
I'm now skipping the afternoon seminars to take some time to rest and do this post, and got to finally re-meet Dan Kimball (since Emergent in Nashville) face to face and will try and find some time to hang with him later this weekend.
I'm glad that John, Kelsey and Brian made it up here safely last night, the got in at 5am!!! from LA are staying at my mom's house with us. It's good to have great friends here with me.
I'll continue to keep you updated as more convention happens around me and also keep praying for my sickness, it keeps coming and going. I just want to be healed at this point.
Don't forget Bloggers Lunch on Sunday at 12:15pm meet at the message board.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Nothing too eventful. KC and I went down to help Lilly set up some prayer stations that are going to be part of the general sessions. We got there a bit earlier than Lilly so we spent some time registering and hanging out and grabbing a bite to eat and just doing some talking and venting. Really GOOD.
Set a message on the message board to announce a bloggers lunch on Sunday at 12:15. Meet at the message board and we'll find a place to grab some lunch. (Marko said he might join us for a while too) So if you blog, or want to know more about blogging in general please join us. Feel free to spread the word. Use your blog...imagine that.
Met up with Alex Roller eventually and started to try to get things set up, but due to some scheduling conflicts the space we were supposed to set up in was occupied, so we really didn't get too much done, but we'll have some time tomorrow.
Though I did get to help set up some stuff up in the prayer room, so stop by there if you have a chance, and don't forget to check out the Labyrinth too, it's right next door and is going to be really amazing.
Ate dinner at a pretty cool Hawaiian place a good walk from the center (on 16th street in the 1500th block) which was just a nice evening.
Finally got home (my mom's house a little north of downtown) and got to actually get on a wi-fi network and saw that there were a few other people who are blogging from the convention. So head over to beingrealguy's blog and check out his (growing) list of people blogging from the convention.
Here's a list of places with free wi-fi in the downtown Sacramento area, since there isn't any free wi-fi in the convention center (though you can get 15 free min on the convention center's wi-fi if you buy something from the Starbucks or Wolfgang Pucks in the center).
The best and closest bet is the Sheraton Hotel which is across the street (on the west) from the convention center at the Sheraton hotel. (Which I heard you can pick up at the Starbucks, but I have not personally confirmed this.)
The other close place is Jump Start Cafe which is a few blocks from the center at 1122 11th St (I have yet to be here, but I will try and find it tomorrow)
At this point I'm super tired already. But like I've said earlier, this conference isn't about me going to everything and doing everything, it's about me spending time with people, which is already off to an amazing start. I do have some time scheduled with a Spiritual Director for later so we'll see how that goes and then it's just connecting with old friends, making new ones and growing deep in the love of Christ.
Thanks for reading and if you have questions or comments feel free to use the comment section.
Expect lots more from this blog and the other bloggers who are here. We'll all have unique experience and God will all touch us in many different ways. Thanks for being on the journey.
NEW Ghetto Blog
and the 1st day of National Youth Workers Convention - there will be pictures and updates. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Last month # of days slept at home 16 - see here
This month # of days slept at home 17.
Maybe Marko has me beat.
I got to talk with Marko today and per his comment, we decided that he should only really count nights spent without some member of his family not my ascribed "in my own bed". But he would blow me out of the water in the own bed category.
In a few hours I will be left to my own devices for the better part of 5 hours.
As I leave for the National Youth Workers Convention, I'm looking forward to my drive.
I love driving. Especially long drives. By myself.
While having company does make the time go faster and keep you from nearly driving off the side of the road at 3:30 in the morning. There's something for me about driving alone.
The driving takes on a spiritual quality.
I find it restful, thought provoking. I always come up with 1000 things to blog, and most none of them make it up, with the exception of a few audio-blogs.
On the many road trips in my life, it always provides the perfect environment for thinking and processing. And that's what I need right now in my life. Sooooo much to process.
That's half of my trip right there. Process.
These next few days, I hope, will be life changing. Not in the sense that I think I'm going to come back with the perfect way of doing ministry or youth ministry. But my expectation is that God is going to floor me. Wreck me, break me, shape me.
I could end up quite disappointed.
Then I could end up completely different. And I'm open to that.
I'll be on the road from around 5-10pm today, so if you are inclined feel free to call me. 818eight.zero.zero1890 or any other time during the rest of the week.
I'll be blogging some of my experiences so keep on the lookout for that.
And if you would pray for me. (see free prayer on the left)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I am a wreck right now.
Over the last hour I've been crying, sobbing, and had a warmth in my heart.
I have been with Jesus. Which is hard when you aren't expecting or ready for him to show up.
I was reading Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli, and Jesus showed up. Not because of his book or his words, but because that's exactly what I needed today.
Now I'm stuck 30 min away from Middle School group, wanting just to remain in the wonder that is Christ. There are students here already, so I'm pretty sure I'm not going to cancel but, part of me just wants to spend the evening feeling sick (which I still am, kinda) and spending time crying and calling out for God, the other part knows that I have responsibilities and such.
This weekend at National Youth Workers is going to be exactly what I need, I can tell already. I'm ready to hear God's voice, and let him wreck me some more.
Monday, September 26, 2005
I was recently asked in an interview for a class about youth ministry a number of questions.
Here's one of my answers:
How do you measure your success?
Just so you all know...
I bought andrewseely.com today.
Feel free to update your bookmarks. It just directs to here, so there really isn't anything different except for a shorter address. Now it's easier to remember. Feel free to give it out and tell others.
(it works now)
thank you godaddy.com
Thursday, September 22, 2005
NEW Ghetto Blog
More and more these days I am loving the pastoral call to give hope and encouragement to others in ministry. Not to say that I have anything more figured out than them, but to be able to encourage one another when things are hard and things seem down and it doesn't seem like anyone else is encouraging them.
The idea of being a "Pastor to Pastors".
I'm not giving up on youth ministry. I'm not embracing a formal pastor role. But I think I am hitting on what the church has lost ability to do. Nurture those who nurture others.
From my understanding that's how it was always set up to be. That we would go out during the week and minister to people and then get together once a week (usually on Sundays) and sit and talk about what happened, pray with and for each other and then be encouraged so that we could go out and do it again. But I guess there came a point when all these people who were going out, finally settled in one place far away from the nucleus of people and they began doing their own thing. WITHOUT the nurture of themselves.
Was this wrong to want to go and spread out? No, I don't think it was, but I do think something very important was lost. Or at least missing.
This idea of community and need to be encouraged and refreshed and challenged, by your peers who were involved in the exact same thing you were.
I know there are groups of pastors who meet on a semi-regular basis. And there are even annual events for pastors. Though I do not think this is enough.
There is no denying that ministry is hard and extremely draining. And we too, as pastors need to be filled and refreshed. While personal study is good, it is not enough. We need weekly (or better) respite from the work we do. Especially in today's hustle and bustle world of ministry.
I'm sure the first reaction to this is just, "I just, plain, don't have enough time for one more thing. I have enough to do already." Which is fair and accurate. When thought about, though, it is only an excuse. One, probably because we know we need it. Two, we don't want to feel that we are "giving something else up" in order to do it. And three, we feel a little shameful that "we can't do it on our own".
Who ever said we had to do all of this ourselves????????
That's the point. We're not meant to.
For myself and the benefit of me and others, we need to make this part of our jobs. The acceptance of others and the seeking of others in ministry who need just to be with people like themselves.
This is the shift. I am not sure if this needs to be my main ministry focus, but it is something that needs to be addressed. So for now it will be part of my job. Especially working at a small church. Sometimes there is no where to turn, so I must turn to those around me. We must have eyes to see where hurting is occurring, we must also be receptive when help comes knocking.
The important part is putting in the EXTRA time and effort to get to know those who are in the surrounding area who are in ministry. Get outside your bubble, the bubble of your own church, the bubble of your own denomination, the bubble of your own ministry sphere (youth, children's, adults, etc.) and share in the joys and trials that you and every other minister experience on a day to day basis.
This is one huge reason, I'm still where I am. I should be gone, I should be finished, I should not be in ministry any longer, but I am. Partly because I took the time to surround myself with people, people who were in the same situation as myself. I know that I am NOT ALONE.
It becomes quite easy to convince ourselves that we are alone, whether we are at a church with a staff of 1 or a staff of 20. When we meet with others and share with others and pray with others, there is no way the Devil can convince us we are alone and failing. Even if we do fail we have a network of people who have been there or will be there and will hold us up as the righteous and holy people we are, that have been called into the ministry of our Lord Jesus.
I am just so tired of seeing so many people in ministry drown, because there is a lack of other people in ministry who are willing and vulnerable enough to share. Share EVERYTHING. Isn't that who we are called to be? Maybe you don't feel comfortable enough to share a lot with your congregation, but shouldn't we be able to share EVERYTHING with our peers in ministry. We are separate, we are different. That shouldn't be a hindrance or a bad thing.
God loves us. Let us love each other as much as we love the people we minister to.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
I'm sick. And I've been this way for about a week.
I need prayers for healing.
My throat has been chewed up and I have a really bad chestal/throatal cough that is unrelenting. I've done everything, from Nyquil to cough drops to chicken soup and tea and I even tried a little crack cocaine to see if it would help.
This illness is really hampering my ability to do ministry right now as I'm spending so much time just trying to get better.
I don't need any suggestions on what to try next, I just need prayers for healing.
I don't have health care so a Dr.'s visit is out of the question.
Thanks in advance.
If you want to come hang out I'll be more than happy to have you. I pretty sure I'm not contagious.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
There are those times when I wish life would exist in the 2 minutes and 30 seconds of a movie song that so poignantly captures a moment or a feeling. The extension of emotions and sensations that would never cease to put the soul at ease or peace.
Do you know what I mean? When all of life's essence is packed into a single space and time, where joy, sadness, longing, hope, despair, regret, past, future, memories and love all exist as one emotion.
Maybe it's films incredible ability to wrap human emotion into a concise frame.
Maybe it's the connection of our own memories mixed with the fiction of the screen.
Maybe it's hope that we could experience the same thing.
Maybe it's us not wanting to let go of something that never was.
Two clear examples of this for me are from Closer and In Good Company. In Closer it was Damien Rice's song
I think I may just be having one of those sentimental moments as I reflect on life at 3am and emotional music doesn't help. (I've also been listening to John Mayer's song Comfortable a lot too lately)
Monday, September 19, 2005
Ok so I really don't watch that much TV. When I do it is usually shows like the Simpsons, or maybe King of the Hill or Food Network or G4 (for a very specific few shows) (when I have acess to cable).
But tonight I'm spending time in front of the tube and already I'm sucked in. An hours worth.
The new season (3rd) of Arrested Development, such a funny show. Though a specific humor is required.
Also I am watching the Fox show Kitchen Confidential, not really anything to rave about, just mindless entertainment that revolves around food, I guess that's why I'm still watching.
And I'm seriously considering watching Prison Break, which I saw the first episode, and really thought it was innovative and great acting and could turn into a good show. But I guess time will only tell.
Otherwise I need to brush up on my 24, I've still only seen the first 2 seasons. But thank you DVD. Season 4 is coming soon (Dec 6th), go here to pre-order.
The more people who know, the more people will respond.
Click on this link and inform yourself. Human lives at stake = real intervention.
Friday, September 16, 2005
I found this link for an interview with a "Christian Porn Star". Take a look. Leave some comments.
In other Christian Sex news, I fully endorse what they guys over at xxxchurch.com are doing.
UPDATE (9/19/05 10:04 am)
Ok there has been a lot of 'chatter' about this post, therefore requiring some clarification.
1 I am not endorsing the "Christian Porn Star" idea. I merely put it out there for people to see and think about. I have no conclusions about it myself. You are free to examine it yourself and write/make your own determination about the subject.
2 The above picture comes from the guys at xxxchurch.com, they use it as humor to start talking with people. I only posted it as a humorous thing. I am not taking a stance either way about masturbation (that is to say that I do have thoughts on the subject which may or may not come out in a later post) right now.
3 I think the more pertinent issue comes from the post below and actual gathered data regarding teens and sex. I think this is where more comments should be made.
4 If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to email me (they are on the left).
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Just in case you forgot teenagers were teenagers, here's a story from All Things Considered.
If you work in youth ministry it's a definite listen.
Click here for audio. (length 3:45)
I was listening to KCRW the other day and was listening to All Things Considered and heard this story (length:3:33). (You don't have to listen to it to get the point of the following)
The story really just got me thinking.
For those of you who didn't listen to it, it was about the research being done on fruit flies and how that research is leading to advances in identifying genetic disorders.
The main point I want to discuss here is the movement of technology and especially that of our eventual ability to prevent genetic diseases before people are born.
I truly expect this to happen if not in my lifetime than for sure in my children's lifetime.
This raises some major questions for me.
I wonder if we will ever get to the point where we as a country develop laws that prevent people from having "natural" births. That it would be deemed cruel and inhumane for parents to not treat a defect in utero. I could see this as a possibility.
While I see the benefit of being able to prevent such life threatening things as cancer, AIDS, and possibly a whole list of other things. I have to question things like Down Syndrome, and other mental handicaps that are more than common in these days.
I am constantly reminded of how God uses these unique people to help us love more. That when we love these people truly we are loving God himself. If we remove these people completely we are removing an avenue for experiencing God's love.
Henri Nouwen's time at Daybreak constantly reminds me of our call to love those who are not loved by all. To love those who in most cases have a limited understanding of what it even means to live at all.
While I affirm a good quality of life and for people not to suffer, it is also our connection to suffering that allows us to realize our own depravity and need for God's presence.
At this point in my life, I would not change the natural course of God's work in my child's life, for the reason that God teaches those who need to be taught through the service to those who need more attention.
Obviously I don't have a good of a grasp about service to the downtrodden as I have not surrounded myself with them as much as I should, but I think you begin to see my point about our need and call to serve those who are truly unique and give us insight into the side of God that is so easily dismissed because it is not ascetically pleasing to the general public.
Would appreciate your thoughts either in the comments or leave a link to your post.
I've never seen Bob Barker from the Price as Right in all the years I've watched, annoyed at people playing.
That all changed today.
I was watching, and there was this woman who TOOK FOREVER to do anything and you could actually tell that it was really pissing Bob off. He was still his jovial self, but if you've ever been to an actual taping of the show like I have, then you would know that the actual taping of the show only really takes 40 min max. He does his thing and then is off, it moves sooo fast. The production of the show is a well oiled machine. So in a way I can see why he would be really pissed off if things were taking a while. I can only wonder how many more years he has in his career on the show, I'm sure it just won't be the same after he's gone.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
I am now one hour and two minutes away from our first Middle School group here at CPPC.
More prayer, please!!!!
And continue to pray for the High School group.
I've done it.
I signed up to volunteer with the Red Cross and APU to go and serve in the gulf coast sometime later this year.
I posted about this earlier here.
I've prayed hard about it and talked it over with the staff at church.
More than anything I am at the point of really wanting to serve Christ and those who cannot serve themselves. I wish to be a beacon of light and a representative of Christ, even if that means sitting beside someone grieving with them. I want to bring back information and hope to the people here in CA about what is going on in the south.
Please pray with me as I venture into this journey.
If you, yourself wish to sign up, the training is THIS WEEKEND at APU, but you must register here.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Monday November 7th is now booked for me.
Thanks via Mark DeVries for the tipoff.
Rob Bell and his Nooma videos are going to premire the 12th and 13th in the series (what happened to 11???) that night.
Here's the info
Monday, November 7
Doors open at 7:00pm. Show starts at 7:30pm. Event ends at 8:30pm.
Laemmle's Music Hall 3
9036 Wilshire Blvd.
I'll be there. Anyone else interested in going?
Here are the other dates and venues for So Cal
Tuesday, November 8
Doors open at 7:00pm. Show starts at 7:30pm. Event ends at 8:30pm.
345 Fischer Avenue
Wednesday, November 9
Doors open at 7:00. Show starts at 7:30pm. Event ends at 8:30pm.
3965 5th Avenue
PS I hear they are free events.
maybe I don't read the right blogs
but I'm wondering why I haven't been hearing more chatter about using the "I"* word in relation to Mr. "B"
*by "I" word I mean, i-m-p-e-a-c-h
In case you never saw it, go look at The Official "W"oeful Days Countdown
Sunday, September 11, 2005
In case you had a hankering:
ONE MORE GHETTO BLOG for your enjoyment.
I'm here in the office, 35 min away from our first HS group at CPPC since I've been here.
Friday, September 09, 2005
I know this won't apply to most of my readers but I've been missing (for quite some time now) my copy of Henri Nouwen's book In the Name of Jesus.
I'm pretty sure I lent it out to someone in ministry or starting ministry.
I'd buy a new one except that mine has a ton of my notes inside that are very near and dear to me since this has been one of the most influential books in my life.
Please contact me if you have any futher information.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
click Trogdor to play
brought to you by audioblogger.com
Last night I was over at a friend's house who is adding a bathroom on to the existing structure of his house. He needed help putting up some plywood around the opening in the master bedroom where the new bathroom was going to be added. It was menial grunt work (kinda like Mexico housebuilding, but this time there would be building inspectors who cared), but it turned into something very great.
As I was putting nails into the plywood, I quickly found myself saying the "Jesus Prayer"
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of Godover and over as I worked and breathed in and out.
It was really a cool exercise, since I wasn't really doing anything that required a whole lot of thought and it allowed me to just simply focus my thoughts on Christ's impact on my life.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Per KC's blog I found this link. (click on it so you know what I am talking about)
I've only been thinking about it for about 10 min and I think I may really go.
It breaks down the barriers that I have in response to wanting to go. I will be trained, I do not have to magically come up with tons of money, and my current job situation (hopefully) is one that should allow me just to up and go.
I wonder what the response is going to be if I ask for a leave of absence to go and do this. And it does make me a little conflicted because I am trying to start to build the youth dept at church and I'd probably commit for 14 days and that's a few meetings that we wouldn't have. Though I do feel this should be a response of the church. I already know my friend Derek is trying to work out a way to get away from his church to go and do similar things.
Help me pray about this. I'll probably be sending stuff over to church later today to find out it this might even be possible.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
If you remember in "beginnings" I talked about wanting to start being in coffee shops and my "free prayer" sign.
I went to Starbucks today, near my church. No flow. The manager guy said I was free to meet with people (by which I think he meant having a group come in) but I was not allowed to have a sign. I tried to explain that I wouldn't be harassing people or whatever and that I just wanted a way to engage people without having to bug them, but he told me that no signs were allowed. So there goes that idea.
I might try some other Starbucks, possibly nearer to my house, but I'm pretty sure I'll run into the same situation. I'm trying to think of other "coffeehouse" type places but there aren't too many of them here in the Valley.
I'm a bit dismayed, but just really feeling drained today. Not just physically, but spiritually. It's probably from just getting back from College Briefing this weekend and truly need some good godly rest and meditation. I think I'm going to try and take the next few days easy as I try and ramp myself up for the start of our gatherings for High School and Middle School which start next week. (please continue to pray for the start of this portion of our youth ministry)
On a smaller side note, I'm really feeling hesitant to call them "Youth Group(s)". I can't exactly put my finger on why I'm having such a hard time with the terminology. But I think it has to do with not wanting my youth ministry to feel so much like "church" or a program and more about encountering God, naked and unadorned.
Monday, September 05, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
I'm going away AGAIN. If I count, in the month of Aug I slept in my own bed only 16 days. And for Sept it will be about the same. Starting with this weekend.
I'll be at Forest Home for this weekend. Do us a favor and pray for lives to be changed and motivated for the cause of Christ.
In my absence I'll not be blogging anything new toady, so I'll leave you with a few posts that I wrote during Aug, that I'd hoped would have warranted some comments. Please take the time to read or re-read them and post your thoughts.
or go and check the ghetto blog
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Using the counter stats from Bravenet, I saw that the Ghetto Blog had been visited from a site called afromusing.blogspot.com.
I have never been to this site nor do I know who runs it. But I made his post of a list of 5 blogs that he thinks everyone should know about.
I'm completely honored.