Before all your Super Bowl parties, a warning...

From today's New York Times, this story: "Dip Once or Dip Twice"

“The way I would put it is, before you have some dip at a party, look around and ask yourself, would I be willing to kiss everyone here? Because you don’t know who might be double dipping, and those who do are sharing their saliva with you.”

Check out the story for the actual results, and then post a guard by your dips at the church party!


Two notes

First, a serious one-- we're off to the Middle School retreat this morning with three dozen of our finest, so prayers for the trip (we're looking at the Apostles' Creed and what it means to say "I believe in..." every Sunday morning) would be appreciated.

Then, on a humorous note, something a very postmodern kid said yesterday in Starbucks:

Girl to Boy: "I wouldn't believe you if I was you!"


Big Broccoli Ocarina:Angels We Have Heard On High

I know it's after Christmas, but I just found this guy today, who makes musical instruments out of vegetables. I've been vowing for years that my children, once I have them, will be encouraged-- if not required-- to play with their food, and this video shows the kind of thing I'm talking about.


Kids say...

Walking into the building today, I heard this from one of the kids on the playground, talking to a friend:

"Kids hate organized games-- it's true!"

Guess what I'm planning this weekend? Yup, the games list for the middle school retreat. That kid's not invited anymore...


This story made me say, "Oh, great..."

I saw this story, oddly enough, while I was running last night:

"Study shows girls' take on popularity affects weight gain"

"Those who believed they were unpopular gained more weight over a two-year period than girls who viewed themselves as more popular. Researchers said the study showed how a girl's view of her social status has broader health consequences.The girls in the study were still growing -- their average age was 15 -- and all of them gained some weight. However, those who rated themselves low in popularity were 69 percent more likely than other girls to increase their body mass index by two units, the equivalent of gaining about 11 excess pounds. (The body mass index, or BMI, is a calculation based on height and weight.)"


Dallas Willard on going to God's well to prepare for preaching

CSMSG's high school retreat was this weekend and I was preaching from John; three messages-- the first on "He must increase, but I must decrease" from chapter 3; the second on "This happened so that God's power might be seen in his life" from chapter 9; and the third on "I pray that they all may be one" from chapter 17.

I felt off; disorganized; unsure of the power of what I was saying. So this article, from Preaching Today, gave me a lot of hope and a direction for my prep for the middle school trip in two weeks.

"A Cup Running Over"

"There is no substitute for simple satisfaction in the Word of God, in the presence of God. That affects all your actions.
Preachers who are not finding satisfaction in Christ are likely to demonstrate that with overexertion and overpreparation for speaking, and with no peace about what they do after they do it. If we have not come to the place of resting in God, we will go back and think, '
Oh, if I'd done this,' or 'Oh, I didn't do that.'"


Quote of the day from the HS retreat

(On the ropes course) P: "I like my way better. It hurts more and makes me feel more manly!"


2008 is the Year of Rhythm

In the beginning, God gave us a rhythm of work-rest-worship so that we would be able to maintain our relationship with Him while leading effective and productive lives. He gave us natural seasons so that we wouldn't have to do everything all the time, but focus on what was right for the season. And one of the most beautiful insights in "The Message" is the passage about taking on Jesus' yoke and burden: "Walk with me and work with me-- watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace."

This is the year of Rhythm. When people ask me "How are you?" I tend to answer "Rushed and disorganized." The person who asked laughs, and I laugh, and we understand each other. But what does it do for my witness that I serve the Savior who constantly told people that he did things only at their right time, and yet when people see me work, they see me acting frantic and overburdened?

One of the ways I'm seeking rhythm this year is by limiting the amount of work I plan to do each day. Beyond my regular routine, I want to work on three tasks. Each one gets more attention that way, hopefully gets done faster, and leaves me more time for rest and contact with kids. This will mean more carefully planning out the work I'm doing and when it's going to get done; it means when I do my long-term planning I need to build in not only the dates of events but the dates when I can sit down and create the program for each one.

One of the things that's on my weekly plan is "read 1 hour each day." This is supposed to let me research, keep up with the latest that my fellow youth ministers are writing, and give me time for some pondering. And I'm going to use this as my first benchmark of how well I'm doing with keeping up a rhythm; when I'm reading without worrying, I'll have made a first step.