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pray always

most of us want to have a relationship with God. in our really good moments, we want to have a really deep, strong relationship with God. for some of us, we claim to be christians. we claim to love God and to have accepted Jesus' forgiveness.

but do we live like it?

here's the truth: it is impossible to live as a christian if we are unattached to God.

our spiritual and even our physical lives fall apart without a constant connection with God. that "connection" is what we call prayer. what do you think of when you hear that word: prayer?

"God is great, God is good..."

"now i lay me down to sleep..."

"our father who art in heaven..."

is it just words we repeat before we eat or go to sleep or when we're sitting in church on a sunday morning? is it something we do when grandma is sick or we've got a big math test or we're in trouble?

it is those things. but it's so much more.

in 1 thessalonians 5:17 paul writes that we should "pray continually." we can't bow our heads and close our eyes forever, can we? no.

we MUST have times when we separate from all the activities around us to pray and connect with God one-on-one. then we must also remain connected and mindful of God in the middle of our daily activities.

take this time now to pray, to tell God what's on your mind and to listen for Him to speak to you...

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Concert & Catalyst

I've been looking forward to next week for a couple months now for a couple of reasons, both firsts for me...

I shared before that I get to check out the U2 concert in ATL with a couple of friends. I've been a fan of U2 for years and have never been to one of their concerts. I'm pumped!

I'll also be sticking around for the Catalyst Conference. The lineup of speakers is just insane! I've been to Youth Specialties' NYWC for several years, and it's a great conference; I always come away from there with fresh ideas and feeling encouraged. This year, though, I felt like Catalyst would be a healthy change. I'm expecting the experience to spark some creativity, give some leadership insights, and be that break-away that helps to refocus and recharge my leadership. Look for my conference notes coming to this blog as I work back through the ideas.

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A Quote for Friday

In honor of College Football season, September will feature some great quotes by some of college football's greatest people.

"If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education."

Murray Warmath / Minnesota

"The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb."

Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"Oh, we played about like three tons of buzzard puke this afternoon."

Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

"It isn't necessary to see a good tackle. You can hear it."

Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"We live one day at a time and scratch where it itches."

Darrell Royal / Texas

"We didn't tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking."

John McKay / USC

"Three things can happen when you throw the ball, and two of them are bad ."

Darrell Royal / University of Texas

"I've found that prayers work best when you have big players."

Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"Gentlemen, it is better to have died a small boy than to fumble this football"

John Heisman

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A Quote for Friday

In honor of College Football season, September will feature some great quotes by some of college football's greatest people.

"My advice to defensive players: Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in a bad humor."

Bowden Wyatt / Tennessee

"I could have been a Rhodes Scholar, except for my grades."

Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

"Always remember ..... Goliath was a 40 point favorite over David."

Shug Jordan / Auburn

"They cut us up like boarding house pie. And that's real small pieces."

Darrell Royal / Texas

"Show me a good and gracious loser, and I'll show you a failure."

Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

"They whipped us like a tied up goat."

Spike Dykes / Texas Tech

"I asked Darrell Royal, the coach of the Texas Longhorns, why he didn't recruit me and he said: "Well,Walt, we took a look at you and you weren't any good."

Walt Garrison / Oklahoma State

"Football is not a contact sport - it is a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport."

Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

After USC lost 51-0 to Notre Dame, his postgame message to his team: "All those who need showers, take them."

John McKay / USC

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A Quote for Friday

In honor of College Football season, September will feature some great quotes by some of college football's greatest people.

"I don't expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation."

Bob Devaney / Nebraska

"In Alabama, an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in Bear Bryant."

Wally Butts / Georgia

"You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life."

Paul Dietzel / LSU

"It's kind of hard to rally around a math class."

Bear Bryant / Alabama

When asked if Fayetteville was the end of the world:
"No, but you can see it from here."

Lou Holtz / Arkansas

"I make my practices real hard because if a player is a quitter, I want him to quit in practice, not in a game."

Bear Bryant / Alabama

"There's one sure way to stop us from scoring-give us the ball near the goal line."

Matty Bell / SMU

"Lads,you're not to miss practice unless your parents died or you died."

Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

"I never graduated from Iowa, but I was only there for two terms - Truman's and Eisenhower's."

Alex Karras / Iowa

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A Quote for Friday

In honor of College Football season, September will feature some great quotes by some of college football's greatest people.

"At Georgia Southern, we don't cheat. That costs money and we don't have any."

Erk Russell / Georgia Southern

"Football is only a game.
Spiritual things are eternal.
Nevertheless, beat Texas."

Seen on a church sign in Arkansas prior to the 1969 game.

"After you retire, there's only one big event left....and I ain't ready for that."

Bobby Bowden / Florida State

"The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it."

Lou Holtz / Arkansas

"When you win, nothing hurts."

Joe Namath / Alabama

"Motivation is simple. You eliminate those who are not motivated."

Lou Holtz / Arkansas

"If you want to walk the heavenly streets of gold, you gotta know the password: Roll, tide, roll!"

Bear Bryant / Alabama

"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall."

Frank Leahy / Notre Dame

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

Woody Hayes / Ohio State

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Making Movie Stars

This post is part of a series on Using Technology to Further Relationships in Youth Ministry.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video may be worth a short novel.

It may seem like a stretch to suggest using video to further relationships in ministry, but I want to suggest a few specific ways it very much addresses relationships for ministry.

Current Youth
People pretty much like to see themselves. If your students see themselves in a group video, they know that have a place they fit in, some group that's theirs, somewhere they're accepted. It lets them know they belong. Plus, it creates a neat way to keep some memories. Teens may even show off online videos by posting them to Facebook or MySpace. Today's youth are in touch with technology and video can be useful to build relationships by communicating "this ministry is a place for you." (And by "place" I'm referring to a group of friends and relationships.)

Potential Youth
Consider having a group video on the church's website. It may just help make a positive first impression about the 'community' found in the church's youth ministry. It may open the doors for someone looking for a place to connect.

The Greater Body of the Church
After a Mission trip or Ski trip or retreat weekend, a short little video can be a helpful way to tell others about what the group experienced. We've shown short videos to the Sunday morning crowd after big events and used them as openers for our youth worship times. What a great way to strengthen the relationships with loving, caring adults who support the youth ministry! What an exciting way to show how God is moving in the youth ministry! What an inviting way to present youth ministry to potential volunteers!

A Little about Technical Stuff
Video cameras have become smaller, cheaper, and better in quality. And there are so many options. Even most cell phones now have video capabilities that could then be uploaded to a computer (but these will be lower in quality than an actual video camera). A few bits of advice on this that I've picked up on (and I'm definitely no expert in this area):

  • Something with digital connections makes it easy to upload to a computer (USB/Firewire cable).
  • Really more an issue with digital still cameras, but optical zoom is more important (better) than digital zoom due to decaying quality.
  • This is just my opinion, but I think recording to some type of tape (Digital8, DV, MiniDV) is better than recording straight to a DVD or disc. (Recording to a hard-drive is good as long as you're careful not to run out of memory space.)
There is also a wide variety of editing software choices for making your videos look nice and spiffy.

Online Video
There are several options for online video:
  • YouTube: Currently king of online video, this is where the people are.
  • Vimeo: A bit newer than YouTube, it becoming pretty popular for it's a sleek look and feel. Vimeo also allows longer video uploads.
  • Flickr: Really a photo sharing site, but will host videos up to 90 seconds in length.
  • Animoto: I've written before about Animoto, which allows you to very simply create a nicely animated short video online.

So, it may take some time to play around and learn something new. Or it may be an opportunity for ministry for some volunteer who has both the heart for it and the know-how to make it happen. But either way, it can be a useful tool for supporting some of the other things you're doing to build relationships for ministry.

Lights! Camera! Action!

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