Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Steve Jobs on Christianity

I found this interesting and am wrestling through this quote by Steve Jobs.

Perhaps he's partially right but obviously doesn't understand faith.

"The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living like Jesus or seeing the world as Jesus saw it."

Yes, Christianity is following, living like and seeing the world as Jesus sees it. But isn't faith the fuel that gives us the potential to be like Jesus?

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Top 3 Horror Movies

I grew up in the 80's when slasher movies like Friday the 13th and Halloween were king. Even now I can hear the "che-che-che- / ha-ha-ha" playing as Jason closes slowly closes in on the stupid guy who can't get away. Why is it the car keys never fit into the ignition?

Scary movies aren't my favorite but every once in a while the suspense and euphoria of horror films is enjoyable. Now, gratuities violence of some horror films is ridiculous and unnecessary, but there's a lot to enjoy about a good psychological thriller.

Why do we love horror films? Psychologists say perhaps people are willing to endure the discomfort of fear to experience the euphoria of relief. In the theater or living room we're not really in danger, we simply experience some of the fear.

To be honest it's kind of difficult to list my top favorite scary movies.. I don't watch scary movies often but over the years I've enjoyed them from time to time. Here's my shot at listing my top 3.

3. The Ring

Ok, the girl is just simply spooky. It kind of makes your skin crawl when she crawls out of the television, but what I love about the movie is the tension it builds from the vhs. You see all kinds of random objects, a ladder, a circle of light, horses. As the film continues the mystery of the video begins to make sense.

The acting isn't great and the story has gaps BUT it builds great tension. After my oldest son saw this at the theater he took his tv out of his room for a few days. Enough said.

2. The Shining

One name says it all, Jack Nicholson. He has to be the greatest crazy person of all time. There's something really scary about being cut off from the world in a haunted hotel with someone you trust loosing it.

I can still see the look on his face when he breaks into the room and says "here's Johnny". If you want to be scared this Halloween this is a great place to start.

Here's a warning. The movie is rated R. I've only seen the tv version of the film but have been told there's some nudity in the unedited version. So, If it's on tv give it a shot.

1. Psycho

Here's the tagline for the movie.

"A young woman steals $40,000 from her employer's client, and subsequently encounters a young motel proprietor too long under the domination of his mother."

It's the classic horror movie. One of Alfred Hitcock's best movies which has been modeled over and over again by movie makers.

My favorite scene is the shower scene which still brings chills without showing everything. The tension and the music create an unbelievably scary experience.

And of course there's a great surprise ending.

What are your top 3?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reminders from "Friday Night Lights"

About a month ago I got hooked on the TV series "Friday Night Lights". I know I'm a little late to the party but...

With good acting and great writing it's well worth your time, especially if you're interested or involved in high school culture. And oh yes, I live in Texas where high school football and mums are king. (show is set in a small west Texas town)

I'm in season 2 and being reminded of many issues. Friday Night Lights isn't a "Christian" show and there are themes that should concern those of us who care about students. It does a descent job depicting the highs and lows of high school culture. The series explores deep issues on parenting, marriage, friendships and integrity. It also gives great reminders for those of us who care about high school students.

Here are a couple that have struck me.

1. There is always more going on underneath the surface.

When a student "acts out" and displays bad behavior they're probably doing what makes sense.

Matt Seracen is the senior QB 1 of the Dillon Panthers and a very responsible kid. Out of the blue he begins to drink heavily and become irresponsible. In an effort to "sober" him up and get his attention Coach Taylor gets in his face and chews him a new rear end.

As Matt breaks, it becomes obvious there is a lot going on underneath the surface. Matt's dad is in Iraq and has left Matt with the responsibility of his grandmother struggling with dementia. At least 4 people important in his life have left him. The scene ends in a climax of Matt saying,

"everybody leaves me, what's wrong with me"?

If I were 17 and dealing with the pressure Matt was dealing with I'd probably act out the same way and worse. It makes sense that he is angry, hurt and stressed. Why wouldn't he want to medicate that kind of pain?

When dealing with struggling students we must always be willing to take the time and energy to "drill down" and find out what's going on. When confronting students let's do it with a heart of compassion and a desire to understand issues of the heart driving behavior or attitude. Then and only then can we apply the truth and love of the gospel to the heart.

Are you relating to a student right now that is difficult to deal with? Look beneath the surface.

2. Sometimes you have to pursue the individual

I'm very impressed and challenged by the Dillon Panthers head coach Eric Taylor. Sure he's rough around the edges but he often takes time from his ridiculous schedule to support and help his players.

Brian "Smash" Williams was a highly recruited star tailback. After injuring his knee in the playoffs it seemed his football career and chance to go to college was over. Coach Taylor met with Smash one on one to help him get in shape. He called college coaches and finally got Smash a try out at Texas Tech. He went way above the call of duty. He cared.

I love one scene in particular when Coach Taylor drives to Smash's house late at night to tell him he got the tryout. Sometimes a phone call or facebook message isn't sufficient. Presence is important.

What amazes me is his interest in the individual and the desire to sacrifice time and energy to be there.

Student ministry is a ministry of presence. No, he's not a youth pastor but Coach Taylor understands the power of relating one on one with high school students. He is able to see potential they can't see and cast vision for what they can become.

I want to be more like that.

By the way, it seems the only way we can see what's happening beneath the surface is to pursue the individual. It's very difficult to know what's going on in a students life if we're not taking the time time to invest.

So for all of us who lead some kind of student ministry, is our focus and attention on getting as many students as possible in one place at one time? OR do we work, plan and pray in such a way that gives loving adults an opportunity to invest life on life? Depth and life change happens more often from across a table than from a stage.

Something to think about

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Does heaven exist and does God really send people to Hell?

Our weekly event for high school students is called SWAG. To find out more you can check this out.


We desperately want to create and nurture an environment where students can freely ask questions. And yes, even students who have been in our churches for years have questions. So our first series is called "Questions Christians don't want to be asked?"

So with that background I would love for YOU to help me think about heaven and hell. Yes, this is the topic I'm speaking about on Wednesday, October 12.

How would you handle the question?
What resources would you recommend?
Have you ever had conversations with high school students about this topic.

I thought it would be fun to have a conversation. Thanks in advance for engageing.