Graduation (part 2: reflection on today)

Today was really a great day. It was awesome. I am reassured in how much family and friends love me and support me.
Today was fun and exhausting, but it was a great day and one that I do not want to forget.
The day started actually slow. I watch TV, tried to read for one of my classes, that did not happen.
Went to my graduation ceremony, parts of the commencement speech was good, but the service was long.
Then got home and there was a BIG party with lots of food, friends, family, and fun. I ate way too much, enjoyed the fellowship of others, and am exhausted! It was great and a blessing. People gave gifts that I was not expecting, God is good.
Anyway, church in the AM. Good night.

Graduating today

So I am graduating from Ohio University today, technically I am already graduated, but it is commencement and I am just walking around in a cap and gown. I am not exactly sure how it all works, I wouldn't even do it except mom and Nana really wanted me to...

How do I feel?

I already felt and have gotten over all of those sentimental feelings about how I am going to miss OU and all my friends and all that. i had an entire quarter to think about that since I finished school early. It was a great 4 years. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun.
Now I am ready to "move on" and all that. So this service today is exciting and it is nice having people send me cards and money. And I appreciate all the family that has come to see this moment in my life.

SO mostly just excited and glad that it has finally come.


One Real Thing - Skillet

Love this song! I've been obsessively listening to it a lot recently. Here is why I love it:

1. the Music
A. sweet guitar tab
b. awesome drum beat

2. the Lyrics
A. catchy
B. meaningful and true

3. The music video
A. Fits well for the lyrics and song (although it is not really the music video)

Another great HomeWord Devotional that got me thinking

How Are You Spending Your Time?
This devotional was written by Jim Burns

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.— 1 Corinthians 10:31

If you live to be seventy years old, the average person will spend:

20 years sleeping
6 years working
7 years playing
6 years eating
5 years dressing (4 1/2 years for bald-headed men like me!)
3 years waiting for somebody
1/2 year in church
1 year on the telephone
5 months tying shoes

How are you spending your time? Are you productively making a positive difference with your life? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You can choose to make it a wonderful day with God. Go for it!

Ohio should consider helmet laws for bikers

According to the Columbus Dispatch, there were 177 motorcycle deaths in Ohio last year, an increase from 133 in 2004.

And in 73 percent of those 2005 fatalities, not wearing a helmet was a factor.

One thing working against the state, trauma experts say, is the lack of a helmet law in Ohio for adults.

In Ohio, only those younger than 18 and first-year riders are legally required to wear helmets. Twenty states require all riders to wear them.

According to 2006 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,810 motorcycle occupants were killed on our nation's roads last year, a 127% increase from 1997. Motorcycle helmets have been shown to save the lives of motorcyclists and prevent serious brain injuries (Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety)

In 2006, 65% of fatally injured motorcycle riders were not wearing a helmet in states without all-rider helmet laws, compared with only 13% in states with all-rider helmet laws. (NHTSA, 2007)

Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are about 21 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash and four times as likely to be injured. (NHTSA, 2001)

Helmets reduce the risk of death by 29% and are 67% effective in preventing brain injuries to motorcycle riders. (NHTSA, 2001)

Tom Lindsay, a spokesman for the 280,000-member American Motorcyclist Association. "Our supporters continue to ask that we advocate for the freedom to let adult motorcyclists decide whether or not to wear a helmet."Lindsay said it is an "under-informed oversimplification" to blame the declining use of helmets for the rising number of motorcycle-related deaths. But he said his group is "very concerned" that federal statistics released this week show motorcycle deaths in 2005 rose to 4,553, a 13 percent increase over 2004. Motorcyclists now account for more than 10 percent of all highway deaths, the highest percentage on record. (Ohio University)

.Another Ohio University Study says that "People on both sides of the issue say men trying to recapture the joys of their youth are spurring the anti-helmet movement." ( Is it me, or is that just stupid!?)
Deaths in U.S. motorcycle crashes have nearly doubled in a decade, mounting to 4,000 annually, as more states have repealed mandatory helmet safety laws, according to a Scripps Howard News Service study.

One federal analysis concludes that nearly 700 lives could have been saved in one year alone if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

Yet motorcyclists have become so passionately opposed to mandatory helmet laws that they've formed powerful state and national lobbies, persuaded Congress to muzzle federal highway safety experts and convinced lawmakers in 30 states to roll back their statutes.

Nine of the 10 states with the worst motorcycle death rates don't require adults to wear helmets, according to the Scripps Howard study of records provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Six states, including Florida and Texas, have relaxed their laws since 1997. Motorcycle fatalities quickly went up in all of them. Lawmakers in eight other states are considering rolling back their laws this year.

Helmets spoil the ride for many motorcycle enthusiasts. They say they love the feeling of freedom as the wind whips in their hair. Those killed in wrecks are overwhelmingly white and disproportionately middle-aged and divorced men, according to federal death records.


Okay...so how are the lawmakers missing the facts? why aren't they taking action? Are those white, divorced, middle-aged men really that scary? Politicians should be looking to save lives. Ohio NEEDS helmet laws now!


Gen Y video

If video doesn't work go here:

or here:


thanks College Ministry thoughts for post!

Instant replay and baseball

So recently that has been a lot of talk about installing instant replay in baseball, the great American sport!

Are you kidding me? that is ridiculous! Baseball is already slow enough! If you add in instant replay then it will take longer. Instant replay will also be a negative because fans will take over the game....if you give the fans a chance to scrutinize every single call, the games will take days.

The reason NFL replay works is b/c the game is so fast, no one has time to complain about the small little mistakes that take place and are okay. The fans only want to see that one or maybe two plays per game that will make or break the game.

In baseball, the game is SO SLOW that fans will scrutinize and challenge/review/ replay EVERY single error, call, mistake. Was he safe? was that a strike? Is that REALLY a foul ball, how did the empire miss that call REPLAY! REPLAY! REPLAY!

It will be TOO MUCH. Don't do it! You will lose average fans like me.

weird culture ideas

Has anyone heard of the site Akatoo.com ? I am a member. It is a neat website. I am enjoying it so far. On this website, you can ask questions and answer them. It is awful like Yahoo answers, except this is a lot better for several reasons. Primarily because on Akatoo you can win prizes for answering questions and for inviting people to join. Also every time you answer a question, you are donating money to great causes. I have found that Akatoo is a more collegiate community than Y! answers.

Anyways for me, I have been able to practice "being ready" to share and defend my faith online through helping people on Akatoo by sharing Truth/ God's Word in my answers. On this quest to share the Truth, I have ran into a lot of strange beliefs that people have about God, faith and life.

On this site I am learning a lot about people in general but specifically how strange and weird some world views, values, and beliefs that these "educated" folks have. For example, the belief in a higher power who hit the start button for evolution. The belief that Jesus did not exist AT ALL. Some people who actually think truth is relative....other random junk...

It has been fun posting and soundly like i am smart....I actually won an Ipod shuffle already and am going for a Nano next time.



mountain dew's recent three

It is summer time which means pop companies use the hot days to experiment with new and unusual flavors:

The most recent (somewhat successful) one, that I recall (I might be behind in my times) is the Vanilla Dr Pepper Berries and Cream. I liked that, but have not seen anything since.

Mountain Dew has a history of summer time fun:
Code Red - was their extremely popular summer time drink, ever since Code Red they have continued production.

There is another Mountain Dew flavor I see go in and out of production, the orange flavored one, I can't remember the name, I think it has to do with "wire".

This summer Mountain Dew has kicked off a weird campaign:
At their website you can learn about their three summer flavors they have out right now.
I have tried all three:

Voltage - raspberry citrus and ginseng
Supernova - strawberry melon and ginseng
Revolution - wild berry and ginseng

A. they taste nothing like Mountain Dew, but they dew have the same outrageous amount of carbonation and caffeine.

B. My favorite is the Supernova.

postmodern sympathies

Michael Patton in his Reclaiming the Mind Ministries blog, Parchment and Pen, wrote a very intriguing blog recently called "My Heretical Postmodern Sympathies". I wanted to share with you. And as usual, I have added some of my own commentary below:

"I believe that the internet will be seen as the catalyst to postmodernism in the same way the printing press was to modernism."
"The age of communication has changed everything."
"The sheltered reality that prevented postmodernism is no longer a luxury of any community."
"My postmodern sympathies do not affect reality, but they may cause me to approach things differently. My postmodern sympathies do not change the Gospel, but they do affect the way I present it."

Even I, as young as I am can testify to the fact that our society and culture has changed a lot due to the power of communicating via the Internet. I grew up on a dial-up connection in a VERY small town of WV. The only people I really knew where at church and school I had a few friends that were neighbors, but most of them were too old for me. The dial-up connection was slow. I did not get on it much really. it was neat to look at Yahoo and play games or check email every once in a while.
But today I live in a suburban neighborhood with a high speed cable connection. I access Y! more than once a day. I check my email compulsively. And I like to blog, IM, and stay connected to my friends through a ton of means online whether email, messaging, blogging, instant messaging, twittering, or other ways. I feel like I know a lot of people pretty well simply through my online interactions with them. Not to mention how much these websites and interactions online increase and benefit my already existing real-life relationships. It is extremely different from my childhood dial-up connection before Facebook, MySpace, and all the other sites I visit regularly.

Culture is changing a lot. I have an interest in studying the changing culture. and I also have similar convictions that Michael speaks about in his blog. We are no longer naive and sheltered to "all of those people 'out there.' " We know that they exist and we all know and have relationships with them. I sympathize this way too.


more normal than I thought

We always hear about the great stuff big churches are doing. But what about the rest of us? Mel Walker addressed that question in the May/June issue of YouthWorker Journal.

Here's part of what he said:

We seem to glorify today's megachurches, with their impressive facilities, attendance records, growing budgets and programming abilities. Even many youth workers tend to be attracted to the trappings of what large churches have to offer.

Yet most of us youth workers serve in small churches. According to a 2003 report from The Barna Group, fewer than 2 percent of churches in the United States have 1,000 or more adult attendees. In fact, the typical Protestant church has fewer than 90 adults in attendance on an average weekend, according to Barna, a prominent research organization.

Statistics from my fellowship of churches, the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, substantiate Barna's numbers. A few years ago our denominational publishing office commissioned a survey of its customer base, which included more than 10,000 churches from several different denominations. Among the results was this note: The average church size was around 80 people, with approximately four teenagers.

Sure, the big churches get all the attention and may be able to attract more students through their programs and facilities. It's understandable for adult youth workers in smaller churches to feel frustrated at times about the lack of money, facilities, volunteers and even the overall lack of kids, but the truth is the vast majority of churches do not have impressive buildings, budgets or numbers to garner a interest from anyone other than the regular members or attendees.

Yet, a friend of mine has observed, "Every large church is doing its best to get smaller and every small church is trying to get larger."

Maybe he's on to something there. The current trend toward small groups in student ministry certainly is reflective of youth workers' observations that there are incredible strengths in small groups. Large church youth workers understand the value of dividing the larger group into smaller units to facilitate relationship-building, adult-to-student mentoring and the development of more effective lines of communication.

Perhaps it's time to rehearse the positive characteristics of what student ministry in smaller churches has to offer.

For more about this topic, see the May/June issue of YouthWorker Journal.

For me this is encouraging, as I lead a group of typically less than 10 students, sometimes more.

HomeWord Devotional that stuck out to me

Grief and Reconciliation
This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
Psalm 23:1-3

We buried my dad recently. After two weeks of battling complications from surgery, his body was tired, worn out and ready to rest. It is said that there are only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. I’d rather pay taxes today, tomorrow, and everyday than lose someone so near to my heart. If you’ve lost someone close to you, you understand this, too.

Grief and sorrow are painful links in the chain of life that bind us together. Even though we come from different generations, different ethnic groups, different socio-economic backgrounds, or different educational backgrounds, there are some things that bring us together. Sorrow and grief do just that. They are universal experiences, universal emotions. C. S. Lewis, one of the greatest theologians of modern time, penned A Grief Observed after the death of his wife. In it he says, “There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in….I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.”

Grief brings with it an unbearable pain, even to believers. In his most well-known Psalm (Psalm 23), David bares his soul and expresses his devotion to God even when things around him are dark, frightening and confusing. He hangs on to the promise of the Shepherd: to look after His sheep. This picture is continued in John 10:14-15 as Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me -- just as the Father knows me and I know the Father --and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

In times of grief, it is easy to feel lonely, isolated and misunderstood. We need to give ourselves permission to feel the fullness of these emotions. Even Jesus grieved over the deaths of close companions like John the Baptist and Lazarus. It’s the paradoxical truth that love is accompanied by pain. But what would life be like without the opportunity to love deeply? I was fortunate. I had many good years with my dad. Like many, we had some rough times to navigate through, but we took the time to heal some deep wounds and to renew a relationship that ended with no regrets.

Perhaps you are hurting today. Have sorrow and grief replaced the joy you shared in a relationship with someone? Why not make today a day of reconciliation? Yes, you may have to put aside your pride, admit your own wrongs and take responsibility. Or you may need to lovingly confront someone who has hurt you. Today is a new day and a new opportunity to begin again. Perhaps the person you need to forgive, or need forgiveness from, is already gone. Take some time and write a letter, granting forgiveness or asking for it. God has a way of transcending time and bringing healing even when the person is no longer present .

There is no better time than today. Live your life with no regrets. Love deeply. Forgive often.


Technology and teenagers (part 3)

Something really gross and concerning is that teenagers are taking nude pictures of themselves on cell phones and exchanging them with other teenagers'.

It is called "Sexting" it is gross, nasty, undignified, and just sinful. "I think the girls, they just want to get their attention and usually it works," said an eighth grader. Another student in the same grade said, "Sometimes they'll say, 'Send me a picture of your boobs' or 'Send me a picture of your butt.'"

It may seem wrong and inappropriate to us, - heed this warning- students today are saying it "is just a part of dating"

It is not just cell phones but also websites.

"A lot more girls are aggressive," said Ray, 18. "Some girls are crazy and they are putting themselves out there."

Candice Kelsey, a teacher from California, said some teenage girls think they have to be provocative to get boys' attention. As a result, they will send photos they hope their parents never see.

Parents Should Talk To Teens About Dangers of Sending Pictures of Themselves.

There is no limit to where those pictures could go next...you send a text message and it goes off to world wide web. This is dangerous.