Everyday we worry about a number of things. How do you stop worrying so much. If God's word speaks so much about it, then why is it so hard not to. God does tell us 365 times in His Word not to worry, so why do we do it? Well, it's partly because we often times forget what worry is. There is a difference between being concerned about something and worrying about the same thing. Being concerned means you will take action to solve the problem. Worry means you do nothing but spin your mental wheels. If you sit around and worry about.....whatever, you will waste a lot of time. However, if you listen, prepare, and act, things tend to take care of themselves.
Often when we worry, our problems seem bigger than they really are. Focus on Jesus instead of your problem. Do your best and let God take care of the rest. Instead of worrying, realize and know that God has a better plan. It's really simple, pray. Paul wrote to the church of Philippi and told them "Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."(Philippians 4:6) Paul was in prison when he wrote this. He had plenty to worry about. But instead he chose to take them all to God in prayer. He didn't allow himself to focus on the bad, clouding everything....he chose to focus on the good. It wasn't a self pep-talk. Paul just realized at the end of his rope that the only way to overcome worry was to rely on the power that was shared with him through Jesus.
When you worry, it's just satan working in and through you. When you worry, nothing gets accomplished. When you worry, its shows you doubt God can take care of it. In Matthew 6:27 Jesus says "Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?" Later he reminds us to take care of today by living one day at a time. A lot of people worry about the future and don't take care of today's problems, this of course only makes things worse.
Not worrying doesn't mean your a slacker or unconcerned. It's the opposite in fact! It's faith IN action. It's realizing that the God who created the universe can handle your measly little problems. Try this: Make a list of things that conern you. Now, change that list to a prayer list. Keep it until God has worked in all those areas and see how He takes care of your problems.
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If you don't go to church and this is why, I understand; but please, please try out some other church!
Tonight is the first night of Elevate with a new batch of 5th graders. So today, in my preparation, I am praying a lot and throwing down on some serious caffiene. Some will be excited, some scared, but most will be just plain hyper. I've got to match the intensity. I've got to bring my A game. But I'll need one more thing.....your prayers. Pray for SHBC *** ministry tonight, that God would be glorified, kids would be loved on, and that me and my team could point them to Jesus.
I recently noticed an abundance of "<><" popping up in my inbox. At first I thought nothing of them. They seemed small and harmless, cute little Christian emoticons thrown onto the end of emails. It's only a couple of symbols that are supposed to look like an Ichthus, or what people call a "Jesus fish." No big deal, right? I started to find more and more of them in emails. And then I realized, that "xoxoxo," long used to symbolize "hugs and kisses" was starting to disappear, replaced by "<><" instead. "<><" was eating "xoxoxo."
What was next? I envisioned entire emails without words, Christian emoticons just filling subject lines and text messages and twitters and facebook pages. I dreamt of a day where instead of saying, "I am a Christian," I would have to say, "I am a back arrow, forward arrow, back arrow" or worse yet, I would be forced to make those symbols with my fingers like some religious gang symbol, yelling "Fish Side" instead of Dr. Dre's "West Side" as I drove by rival churches. My world started to crumble.
I faced a crossroads my friends, embrace "<><" or form a resistance group. I decided to create a set of emoticons.
Here they are:
This means, "I stayed in bed this morning and accidentally missed church. Please don't judge me if we see each other at a restaurant on Sunday afternoon and I am clearly wearing clothes that indicate I did not go." (Also known as "bedside Baptist.")
This means, "Our church had to install speed bumps in the parking lot because despite what the sermon said, I will run you over if you get in my way when I am trying to leave church.
This means, "I am a Christian with a halo and a unibrow. I wear both proudly."
This means, "I drink coffee during church! Lots of coffee!"
This means, "Our small church is becoming a megachurch."
Y Y Y
This means, "You will see lots of people sing with their hands raised at our church."
This means, "I am a bald worship leader."
\_ \_ \_
This means, "Our new church building has movie-theater style seats."
This means, "We handle snakes at our church during service."
o o o o o o o
This means, "I am not afraid to throw skittles in order to wake up a crowd of people."
This means, "I tip with tracts instead of money at restaurants." (Shame on you.)
[ --> <-- }
This means, "I can't clap on rythym during worship songs. When I try to bring my hands together, it's like one hand is thinking one thing and the other is thinking something completely different."
Those are my top 12. I couldn't think of a good one for side hugs or metrosexual worship leaders. I trust you'll have better luck and hope that today, on an otherwise ordinary Monday, we can all create an extraordinary emoticon conversation in the comments.
So what would your Christian emoticon say?
From: Stuff Christians Like
It would be awesome if youth group was a safe haven free of cliques and gossip and all the other things that seem to first blossom in junior high and high school. I wish we all did fire drills together at gas stations and had walkie talkies to chit chat between the vans on the way to retreats and that the cool kids were evenly dispersed and we all got ponies and pants made of cotton candy. La, la, la.
But we don't. There is a distinct caste system when it comes to which van you ride in. I can't change that with this post. What I can do however is reveal to you the secret techniques I used to get on the cool van when I was in youth group.
1. Bring snacks
Cool kids are often easily tricked with snacks. Become the "gum guy" or the "candy chick" or the "lollipop lad." (OK, that last one is probably going to require you wearing brightly festooned, stripped pants. Scratch that.) But eventually, once you have established that you travel with delicious treats, cool kids will start actually recruiting you for their van. That's a great feeling. Whatever you do though, make sure you don't give away your bag of food before everyone picks vehicles. If you do, you might find yourself on the uncool van while your bag of deliciousness lives it up on the cool van. On the highway you'd just see your big bag of tootsie rolls pressed up against the window of the cool van mocking you as it learned all the "you had to be there jokes" that are going to dominate every conversation during the retreat.
2. Be the first on the van.
Typically, before a retreat, we all stand around in the parking lot waiting for everyone to show up. People just casually hang out and load their bags. This is your moment to strike. While everyone is distracted, go ahead and get on the van. I don't care if you have to sit in there by yourself for 45 minutes. Get in, buckle up and claim your spot. Which van do you get on? Do your homework. Get on the one that the cool kids sat on the last few retreats you went to. Chances are it's the van that doesn't regularly break down or have engine fires. Every church has at least one of these vans. You know which one I am talking about.
3. Smell nice.
I only buy deodorants that have a combination of some sort of the following words in the name, "Xtreme," "Zone," "Power," and "Thunder." Why, you ask? Because the smelly kid rarely gets to ride on the cool van. And sweating is apparently one of my spiritual gifts. But be careful on this one, don't overdo it. Smelling nice also means you have not drowned every inch of your skin in Axe "Dark Temptation" body spray. (I wish I was making that scent up, but here's how Dark Temptation is described on Wikipedia, "A chocolate smelling fragrance that implies that because women like chocolate, they will find men who smell of chocolate irresistible.") Trust me on this one, don't try to get on the cool van by smelling like a candy bar made of chocolate and nougat. Keep it simple. Just shower regularly and wear a normal deodorant. "Xtreme Thunder Power" works pretty well for me. (If you don't have access to fancy deodorants, simply hang around the nicest smelling person in youth group. It's like drafting, or running behind someone so that they have to do all the work of fighting wind resistance. You will smell nice just by association.)
I could share more of the secrets that helped me have an 87% percent cool van success rate over the years but I'm a youth pastor myself, I might have to use them again. For although youth leaders might pretend that they are immune to the cool van phenomenon, they are not. They just call it the "chill van phenomenon" which refers to the van that has all the kids in it that are just going to chill on the ride up instead of lighting fireworks, throwing a variety of things out the window, and bouncing off the walls from 19 energy drinks. Or basically, acting like us pastor's kids.
From: Stuff Christians Like
I am not good at closing my eyes during prayer. I know that is something that should be amazingly easy to be good at, but I've still found some way to suck. I only have two moves. One of my moves is to do that thing we all did as little kids, where you press your hands against your eyes so hard you see little fireworks and dazzling colors inside your eyelids. The other is that I close them just enough to look holy but still keep them open. Why do I do this? I don't want to miss anything that's happening up on the stage.
Watching the people in charge of transforming the stage for the next portion of a service is one of my favorite parts of church. Like a hidden culture or long lost tribe, they materialize from the shadows, carrying guitars, moving drums, switching out sets. And then, like the Keebler Elves they return back to their lair, never to be seen again. They are elusive my friend, they are a secret and private people. But after years of studying them, I am finally ready to reveal what I have learned about what happens on the stage while your eyes are closed in prayer:
1. Musicians magically appear.
There are primarily three people groups that inhabit the shadows of a church stage. The stage hands, the pastors and the musicians. Of the three groups, I find the musicians to be the most entertaining to watch. It's fun to try to guess the songs they'll sing simply by observing who is coming out and what instruments are present. "Is that the angry girl singer? The one that I love but kind of sings like she might fight me in the parking lot?" "Ohhh, multiple guitars, that increases our chance of hearing 'Blessed Be The Name' by 37%." "Interesting, only one piano and one musician. Cue dramatic spotlight, it's serious, sad song time."
2. The pastor materializes from the crowd.
I don't care how many times I see it, every time a pastor walks on stage from the crowd I am surprised. I guess I sometimes think pastors are kept in secret rooms in the back somewhere or hyperbaric chambers during the worship. And then when the singing is over, they get a call on a red phone like old school Batman. I know that's dumb but when I see them walk out of the crowd, I always have an US Magazine moment, "Hey, the pastor is just like me. He sits in a seat, in an aisle, just like me. Yay!"
3. That table and chair appear. It's the little set of "sermon furniture" that the guy who once sold hymnals has been forced to sell to churches across the country now that praise songs are so big. If I could invest in those tables and chairs I would already be a Christian thousandaire, but nobody really knows where they came from. I always assume that the stage hands have like a Navy Seals training course they have to go through if they want to be one of the elite members of the team that is allowed to actually touch these pieces of furniture. Anyone can carry a microphone stand. You gotta work your way up to "that table and chair." That's the big leagues son.
4. Stage hands have animated conversations.
Sometimes a piece of equipment is missing. And you'll see an excited, completely silent conversation happen on stage. It's kind of like that old kid's show where two people say pieces of a word until they build a complete word. You'd see the silhouette of one person start a word and then the silhouette of another person finish it. "Ch", "air," "Chair." I like to write those conversations in my head and pretend that they are saying things like this:
Stage Hand 1: "Where are the drums?"
Stage Hand 2: "What drums?"
Stage Hand 1: "The drums we've had every Sunday for the last 14 months."
Stage Hand 2: "Oh those drums. We sold them."
Stage Hand 1: "What? Why?"
Stage Hand 2: "We needed to buy a new plexiglass fishbowl to keep the drummer in."
Stage Hand 1: "You sold the drums to buy a plastic wall for the drummer. That's ridiculous. What's he going to play now?"
Stage Hand 2: "The triangle. We're moving to an all triangle worship format. It will be very relevant. This culture is desperate for more triangle."
Stage Hand 1: "Please don't make a cowbell joke."
Stage Hand 2: "Too late. Cowbell!"
I know what you're thinking, all of those things sound pretty delightful but your church has a fixed stage. The pastor sits in a big chair, the organ is nailed down to the floor. Fear not, I love traditional churches too. I suggest you start moving stuff around on stage by yourself. Just bring an extra candle or a small framed photo of a waterfall or sunset (we love singing songs with those backgrounds). Then when everybody has their eyes closed praying, sneak quietly up on stage, do a few quick rearrangements and sit back down. I don't know your church personally but I don't think they'll mind
Bob Schneider is a great musician. He is a songwriter of catastrophic talent and his lyrics are beautiful and challenging. He once wrote a song about God. It explored some really interesting concepts about who God is in some ways that could easily be taken as offensive. So, Bob was forced to change the lyrics and in a brilliant stroke of sarcasm explained the whole situation this way:
"We had to change one word in the song. Basically because I was just afraid we were going to offend a lot of people. Basically I'm all about the money when it comes to making records. It's cash first. It's give me the money and you know ^&*# art, as it were, %8#@ the original artistic integrity of the song. Just make sure that I can appeal to as many people as humanly possible so that I can make the most amount of money so that I can have the biggest, fanciest steaks and most comfortable socks to wear on my feet. So, anyways, we changed one of the words."
I think one of the reasons Bob had pushback was that some people understandably felt the song made light of the Lord. It did not respect the seriousness of God. And I was reminded of the Bob/God incident recently by a comment someone left on a blog I frequent that stuck out to me:
"Children's programs that substitute for regular services do your kids the disservice of not inculcating the seriousness of God."
I confess, I had to look up "inculcating" because I'm not so smart and it means "to teach." That sentence is only one line of a much longer comment and the next line starts out with "God is joyful," so it's not that the author sees God as a monster of seriousness. But I was paused on this line because it forced me to wrestle with a question:
"Do people have a harder time seeing God as a serious entity or seeing God as a joyful, loving entity?"
I know the answer in my own life. I have never, ever struggled to see God as a serious individual. I have never doubted that when you enter His court, there are serious issues on the table and serious discussions and serious missions. I would say that for more than 28 years on this planet, I have been awash in the seriousness of God.
But love has been so much harder. Seeing God as someone that laughs with me and kids with me and rolls down hills of grass with me on lazy Tuesdays in June has been such a bigger challenge. Seeing Him as someone that cares about the little things that no one else notices or as someone that collects my tears in a jar as Psalms says has been difficult. Believing that it gives Him joy to see me teaching preteens or playing Basketball or a million other things has been hard.
Things are changing though. In the last few years, He has been showing me that He is more flowers than thistles more laughter than wrath, more open hand than closed fist. Is He serious? Without a doubt. Do I still feel like it's a big deal to come into His court? Certainly, only now I think it's OK to arrive there by water slide.
Bob Schneider closes his song about God, which I am not saying you should go listen to, by writing something I think is true of my own life.
and I can believe
what can't be known for sure
the things that might be, the things that never were
and still not know a thing in the end
and still believe that God is my friend
I thought it might be cool to share something today. I'd love to just open up the idea of expressing who God is. To confess or laugh or shout or share or whatever you feel like doing on a Friday.
I'll go first with three of my own "God is" statements:
1.) God is serious, serious about loving me in any way possible.
2.) God is ridiculous to me.
3.) God is big enough for my anger, small enough for my whispers and strong enough for my worries.
So what do you think?
Finish this statement as many times as you want:
God is ________
Wanna know what drives me crazy sometimes....simply the addition of the word "and" to songs we sing at church, something reminded me about that recently.
Changing up the lyrics is nothing new. Lots of folks do that, either by mistake or design, when they perform a song. It drives the sound guy/gal crazy, baffles the audience and in general creates mass confusion. But for my money, when a worship leader adds the word "and" to a song, it only creates mass awesomeness.
What usually happens is that a worship leader wants to smooth over what he/she thinks is an awkward transition between verse and chorus. So they reach into their bag of tricks, which is where they keep their hair product by the way, and pull out the word "and."
Then, in the middle of "God of Wonders, instead of singing, "Early in the morning, I will celebrate the light," they sing "And early in the morning, I will celebrate the light." Instead of singing, "Every blessing you pour out, " you sing, "And every blessing you pour out." Before you know it, the word "and" is running wild in the sanctuary like a family of rabbits.
You can't stop this phenomenon, you can only contain it. But, even that can be fun. Here are three things to do with all those extra "ands."
1. Play a drinking game.
With coffee or mountain dew you heathen, what were you thinking? Every time your worship leader uses an extra "and," take a sip of coffee. Take two bonus sips if they talk sing or ask you to clap along.
2. Use them in regular conversation.
Just start dropping an abundance of "ands" in all your conversations. When your wife asks if you like the new Coldplay album, respond, "And I really enjoy it." When your boss tells you to do something say, "And the reports will be on your desk in the morning." Add the word "and" all day long.
3. Switch words.
In your head, imagine a different word other than "and" every time you hear it during a song. Pretend that instead of "and" the worship leader is saying "platypus." I promise, you haven't really worshipped until you've experienced the song "Platypus, I can only imagine." It sounds like you're singing a love song to the platypus, which is one crazy monotreme of an animal. Whoa, did I just drop "monotreme" as if I regularly use that word in my every day vocabulary?
It seems every day that I go back and forth with wanting to get a tattoo, and just can't seem to make up my mind so I thought it might be good to talk about this one.
Here is the verse that people use when it comes to being against tattoos, Leviticus 19:28: "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."
That's an interesting statement but I think it might be good to see what else chapter 19 of Leviticus says:
32 'Rise in the presence of the aged,
19 'Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.
27 'Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
So if we are to take the tattoo rule seriously, and we do not feel we are equipped to pick and choose which laws we will or will not follow like items from a menu o' God, it is safe to assume that we will all have really long side hair, huge beards, constantly get up and down when we see old folks at McDonald's and be super sweaty from wearing clothing woven of solid wool.
That's an absurd take and to tell you the truth, despite my personal opinion that tattoos are fine, I don't have the answer. But all of this does beg the larger question - which rules do we follow? When Christ came and overcame the old law, what did that mean? And perhaps most importantly, do my pants really need to be 100% wool?
p.s. some people also note that Revelation 19:16 describes Jesus as having a tattoo "On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."
Then again, what are my motives for wanting to get a tattoo? Is it to glorify God....or myself?
I thought I was going to be able to go to Middle School Camp, but now, something has come up and I won't be able to. I was looking forward to the time away, time with my kids, and just getting alone with Jesus, but alas, it isn't happening this summer. Another reason I was looking forward to going is that their going to have a Lake Blob......ohhhh......how that excites me. I get gitty just thinking about it. This is my love letter to the blob, oh, how I will miss you.
I love you. I thought about trying to ease my way into this letter. Trying to play it cool and slowly unravel my emotions but I can't do that when it comes to you, can I?
What is it about your big, rainbow colored rubber bladder that makes you so perfect? Is it the stripes that are strewn festively across your air-filled belly? Is it that you sit patiently waiting for me in the middle of a lake? Is it that you live for my enjoyment and my enjoyment alone?
It's difficult to say, but I wanted you to know something, you are the original moon bounce. I know that right now you're going through some tough times. Churches and camps have taken your technology on dry land. We're cheating on you, bouncing on castles and slides and other blow up toys that we can rent from some bouncesheba down the street. Years ago, if someone wanted to jump out of control and land awkwardly on their back or collide heads with someone else and make that coconut "thunk," there was only one option, you. But now, we've cheapened your boisterous bounciness with knock offs.
Can you forgive me blob? I've changed. Oh, how I've changed. I never go on those moon walk bounce things anymore. All I want is to be back with you. All I want is for someone heavier, this may be hard, to jump off something high and send me cascading through the air like a dove of mercy into a lake. Is that so much to ask? Can we not rebuild what we once had?
Like the band "Our Lady Peace" once sang, "I know you're out there, somewhere out there." Please forgive me. Float back into my life. I promise that when I open my camp, "iCampJesusxTremeadventuramatacular" you will be the star attraction. I'll cut down my ropes course for you. I'll punch the archery range in the face. Just come home.
I see your true colors,
When I was a teenager, 89% of my energy at summer camp and church retreats was spent trying to kiss girls. Tender Ronis if you will. The important word to note in that first sentence is "trying." I know this may shock many of you, but I was the never preasure you to do anything guy. I didn't even want to be one but there's a secret guild of pastor's kids that makes you misbehave. They approached me when I turned 13 and informed me that as the eldest son in our family, it was my job to live up to the song "Son of a Preacher Man." So I did what I had to do for the safety of my family, the PKG (Pastor's Kid Guild) is a dangerous bunch. I've said too much.
One day I may have a little girl that will one day go to summer camp or a church retreat. And when they do, some punk kid with a name like "Thayyne" is going to try to make purple with them. (Boys are signified as representing the color blue and girls the color pink. When they kiss, they make purple, so it's common to hear youth ministers yelling "no making purple" at camp.)
And knowing that I'll only be able to arm my kids with so much sarcasm and Godly wisdom, I decided to create something youth ministers and leaders can use to dramatically reduce the amount of making out at camp. Taking lessons from Eric Stitts, my youth minister, Sun Tzu's Art of War, and Greene's 48 Laws of Power, I have created the "Reduction Of Making Purple" Manifesto, or the "ROMP Manifesto."1. Eliminate wartime propaganda
When Mao was fighting against the Nationalists in China, they used all sorts of propaganda to encourage their enemy to give up and join their side. Think that same thing doesn't happen at camp? You're crazy. The first thing you want to do is make a rule that no pants with writing on the butt can be worn. I promise, even if you put a Bible verse on the butt, or as K-Mart recently did "True Love Waits
," you're only asking for trouble. Start camp with the rule "the butt is not a billboard."2. Encourage bad breath
In the eighth grade I used to date a girl named Sue. After every school dance, during which boys sat sweatily on one side and girls on the other while listening to Ace of Bass, we would walk to a local pizza joint. It used to kill me when Sue would eat Cool Ranch Doritos. Those may taste great, but it makes your breath smell like warm garbage. And Smartfood white cheddar popcorn has the same effect. It tastes good but makes your fingers and your mouth smell like throw up. So instead of having a well-stocked snack table or snack booth at camp, only offer bad breath items after 5PM. Call it the "garlic pickle rule." Don't sell gum or mints or other things that are going to make kids' mouths like Alpine ski resorts of freshness. Focus on things like Swiss cheese, beef jerky and other unpleasantly-flavored delights.3. Know your enemy.
Weeks before camp or a retreat begins, go over the roster of people that will be attending with your staff. Put a check by the name of everyone you think is likely to at one point kiss someone. Go ahead and put a check by any of the pastor's kids. Don't be fooled by the dorks either. You might think the kids playing world of warcraft 82 hours a day aren't going to make out, but they will. As Sun Tzu says, "if you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt."4. Don't create Gremlins.
In the movie, "Gremlins," the little creatures that were the star of the film got out of control if you fed them after a certain time. I look at kids and energy drinks the same way. Red Bull is not a beverage, it's a gateway liquid to camp kiss-a-thons. Don't let the kids load up on caffeine, but don't just throw the energy drinks away. The Art of War says that "a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy." Save those drinks for yourself, you're going to need them my friend.5. Get an informant.
You need an inside man. Someone that can feed you information, like when someone is sneaking out or where the sneak out spot is. You'll be tempted to play this role yourself, but don't. Teens can spot a youth minister trying to act cool a mile away. Instead, find someone that will do the job for you if you give them an important sounding title like "assistant to the regional manager of no kissing."6. Master the terrain.
Chances are, there are only a few places that kids could use for making purple. On the first day you get to camp, send out advance scouts. Have them analyze the area and take control of the high ground. Cabins your group isn't using, secluded spots by the lake, tool sheds, your enemy is like water flowing to a weak spot in a dam. Go there first and create a "kiss map" so instead of trying to cover an entire camp ground at midnight when two kids go missing, you can check the five or six possible spots.7. Make a sacrifice.
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand was one of Napoleon's chief advisors. When Napoleon was first sent to exile, Talleyrand knew that he would try to retake France. He felt that Napoleon would destroy the country, so he actually helped speed up Napoleon's plans. He realized that the faster he could make Napoleon fail at his plans, the less harm it would cause France. You need to do the same thing at camp. Instead of fighting the making purple issue, make it really easy for one couple to kiss and then get caught. One of the best ways to beat the enemy is to crush what scientists call their "kissing spirit." OK, I made that phrase up, but the principle stands. Set a trap for two kids, give them a few seconds to kiss and then spring from the woods with your troops. As punishment, make them wear cow bells for the rest of camp. In addition to knowing where they are all times, you'll show the entire camp that the teenage kyrptonite, embarrassment, awaits anyone caught.8. Never underestimate the enemy.
It's tempting to believe in the kindness of humanity. Resist that temptation. I know people that made purple on mission trips. My friend's parents thought he gained 40 pounds in high school from being a big eater and not drinking beer. My friend's new car got smashed at church in the parking lot yesterday and the church member hit and run without leaving a note. As the policeman that filed the report said, "even churches have squirrelly people." Don't think your kids that love sleeping in won't set their alarms to sneak out at four in the morning. Don't think that we won't use a prayer walk as a chance to go make out. Don't underestimate what we are capable of.9. Never show your hand.
When you are sharing the rules at camp, don't reveal too many of your plans. Don't say things like "we'll be watching the lake shore and checking all the cabins at midnight to make sure everyone is in bed." If you told me that as a teen, what I would have heard is, "Avoid the lake and feel free to leave your cabin three minutes after midnight." As Sun Tzu advises, "By altering his arrangements and changing plans, the general keeps the enemy without definitive knowledge. By shifting his camp and taking circuitous routes, he prevents the enemy from anticipating his purpose."10. Use chemical warfare.
Kids at camp should smell bad. That's part of camp. That's just what you do at a retreat. You should have a unique musk or potpourri of sweat, sun tan lotion and bootleg cookies. So on day one, use chemical warfare and go around to each dorm and confiscate body sprays, colognes and perfumes. Especially take the ridiculous ones like Axe and those new products that promise girls will rip your clothes off if you splash on a few drops of what smells like discount Drakkar or Cool Water cologne.11. Embrace audio assaults.
You might not need to confiscate Prince's "Purple Rain" as I imagine today's teens have not discovered this fantastic record. But google a few songs before camp starts and make sure you never hear them played in the cabins. Soulja Boy's "Superman" although not a kiss inducing song, has some gross lyrics and should be removed. Lil' Wayne's new song "lollipop" should be eliminated at the gate. And the current number one song, "I kissed a girl," has obviously got to go. It's got the "k word" right there in the title. If you want to go old school fundamental, you can light them all on fire in a awesome bonfire of judgment. A bonus benefit is that everyone will smell smoky, which fits idea #10. (By the way, Kanye West's recent comparison of Soulja Boy to NAS is ridiculous.)
There are certainly other methods that work well when it comes to reducing camp make outs. But it's Monday and I didn't want to drown folks in words at the start of the week.
Did I miss one? Some technique that will work well? Let me know.
I like Jon and Kate. Honestly, I think they do some really inspiring things with a very challenging situation. But I thought, like Bill Simmons from ESPN, it might be interesting to do a running diary of what goes through my head when I watch an episode of that show. You might be able to say, "Jon, you are crazy" or maybe even "I feel the exact same way when I see that." Only time will tell.
What's Inside My Head During Jon & Kate Plus 8
"I hope this isn't a crying episode, where they just clip together 30 minutes of footage of kids crying. That is like getting a root canal before you try to fall asleep."
"What does Jon do for a living again? Seriously, I know they are making some bank from this show, but what is his job exactly? I can't tell. I think he's a government IT analyst."
"Is she mean to him? I know people say that, but I'm not sure I see it. Jenny and I have a rule not to have a serious conversation when the kids are on terror level red in the car since we become such jerks when they are stressing us out. If I had 8 kids they would probably change my name to 'biggest grouch on the planet.' I think Kate is fine to Jon."
"He's getting hair plugs donated from some company that watches the show and she got a tummy tuck. If I ever get famous, I hope someone will donate some 'tall' to me. I'm tired of being 6"0" and would like to dunk."
"I love that one of the little kids carries around a hard plastic alligator as her version of the special 'blanket.' I guess when you have 7 other kids competing for your stuff you have to pick something no one else would want. I would probably snuggle with a stapler."
"Ha, one of the kids just hit the other one, turned around and saw the camera and then walked back over and hugged the kid she hit. I wonder what I would do differently if I had cameras following me all day?"
"If you're a cameraman on this show, does being around so many kids make you want to have some of your own? Or is it like when I teach my younger brothers to wait on parenthood by calling them on the phone when my kids are screaming in the background?"
"I would pay one million dollars to see Mike Rowe from the show 'Dirty Jobs' run diaper duty for a few days with Jon and Kate. Is there anyone on television nicer than Mike Roe?"
"How come people get mad that they don't show their faith enough? The show is edited. The producers don't want this to turn into a happy happy Jesus show. I think there faith is displayed in beautiful, subtle ways."
"If I ever got to meet Jon and Kate my wife would be really impressed. And if I was able to get to meet Beth Moore, my wife's head would probably explode with happiness."
That's what's going on when I watch an episode of that show. Maybe you have similar thoughts. Maybe not.
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I like to call it the "Christian disclaimer." Have you ever heard one of these? Have you ever said one of these? I have.
It's not just restricted to television though. I use it most often when it comes to music. I have confessed several, several times that I like rap. And sometimes I listen to songs on the radio that I just don't think good Christians should listen to. For instance, there's a song out right now that Kanye West does a cameo on and it's pretty vulgar. So if I was going to tell my Bible Fellowship guys about it, I might say something like:
"The other day I was quickly flipping through the radio when I heard a snippet of a song by Kanye West. It was pretty wild."
See what I did right there? I did four little sneaky Christian disclaimers:
I used this word to indicate that I was moving along pretty fast. Hopefully when you hear this word you will mistakenly think I did not stop and listen to the song.
2. Flipping through
Instead of saying, "I hit number 6 on my preset stations so that I could listen to HOT 104.5," I made it seem as if I was just skipping through a field of radio stations like a school girl in a field of flowers, la la la. When suddenly, completely by chance, I landed on this song. What a weird thing to accidentally happen.
Ohh, so tricky. I used to call anything that wasn't the complete song or show a "snippet." Did you only watch 27 minutes of the show, "The Real World" on MTV? Then you saw "part" of it, just a snippet or a few clips. God is probably cool with that.
4. It was pretty wild
Lean in close and I'll tell you a little secret. Sometimes, I used to throw out ideas just to see how you'd react. I would say something like, "Yeah, this guy I know went to that new raunchy comedy movie and said it was crazy." Then, I would pause and get your reaction. If you responded by saying, "I hate raunchy comedy movies and so does God," I would agree and say something like, "Amen, God wants to smite them. Probably use sulfur, if I had to guess." But if you said something like, "Let's go check it out," I would say, "Yeah, that sounds fun." It's kind of like how coal mines used to have a canary down in the shaft with them. If the bird died, something was wrong with the air quality. Well what I do is introduce a verbal canary. Then, if you kill it, I can still look holy and say something like, "yeah that bird sucked anyway."
You're a better person than me. I sometimes struggle with exaggerating or manipulating my words like Houdini. I promise, you probably don't struggle with this nonsense like I do, but how I tell you about watching or listening to something that does not feed my soul is not really the point. The point is that I'm watching or listening to that stuff in the first place. That's what's not cool.