Thursday, December 23, 2004
A year ago today I disfigured my face while riding a dirt bike without a helmet. It made for really gross Christmas pictures. I just got a call from Michael to go ride today. I reminded him of the accident exactly 1 year ago and he said we all need to stay off the bikes today. BUT, if I get all my work done by lunch time and it stops raining, I AM THERE. I'll wear a helmet this time. I just signed up for an accident policy with AFLAC. Greg Bradley told me last year I needed one and I put it off. After the facial thing, a broke leg and Kim's mishap in KMart, we could have racked up some dough, but NOOOOOOO, I was too cheap. Not any more. For a few measley $'s, I can get hurt and make some $. Bad thing is it doesn't start til Jan. 1, and I am going skiing Dec. 27. Can't get hurt till next year. At least all the deductibles are paid this year. Today, I'm not prettier, but I got this cool gotee to cover the scar on my lip. Ain't I purdee
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
A first. I saw a little boy in the post office yesterday with the knee's torn and worn out of his jeans. I can't remember the last time I saw that. It's unusual because I don't think kids play outside anymore. I remember the big iron on patches my mom's would use to cover our holey knees. I use to try and wear them out just for the patches. Knees were great, but don't dare wear a hole in the seat. You DID NOT want a patch on the left cheek. Big fashion NO-NO. My attire as a kid: Rustler or Wrangler jeans, t-shirt, trax tennis shoes, ball cap with the mesh and big rope over the bill (Actually back in style). Later in the 80's people were wearing acid wash, stone wash, and pre-cut jeans. Come on. It's more fun to wear them out yourself instead of paying someone $50 extra to artificially wear them out. Next came the pre-worn-out over-alls. You only connected 1 strap. Remember? Maybe that was the 90's. Those were Arsenio Days. Today, you pay $50 for a tshirt that's 2 small. Pre-worn, pre-shrunk, made by some kid in cambodia making 3 cents a day and making someone ALOT of $. A&F, AE, Gap, so on and so forth. We use to actually buy cheap clothes, wear them out, and throw them away. Who'da thunk it. We could have bought cheap, worn out, and sold for a killin. Can you tell this is a random thought blog peiced together while attempting to multi-task. Not good for an adult ADDer. L8r.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
A little down today after some bad news. A lot of questions no one can answer. I need direction, but long term vision (yeah, I hate that word) remain the same. How to get there is the real delimma. If God's word is a lamp to our feet, I need to see the step by step stuff. I see down the road and the way I think things should be, but what about today? Does it have any bearing on the final destination. So many factors way beyond control and that's scary. I know it shouldn't be. Does all this sound vague? It's supposed to. Everybody can't know the situation that has arrived. No, I'm not leaving and no I don't need therapy. Pray for a big bald youth minister today. He can use it. Thanks.
Monday, December 13, 2004
1. Top Three favorite 80's song - Every Time You Go Away by Paul Young, Respect Yourself by Bruce Willis, Power of Love by Huey Lewis 2. Top Three favorite 80's movie - Top Gun, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Rocky 3. 3. Top Three favorite 80's TV show - Dukes of Hazzard, Three's Company, Remote Control 4. Favorite 80's sports figure - Jimmy Conners, Larry Byrd, Spud Webb 5. Favorite 80's historical moment - Berlin Wall comes down 6. Favorite 80's memory - Hangin out and stayin outta trouble at the farm 7. Favorite 80's fashion trend - MULLETS!!!!!! Skinny ties a distant 2nd. 8. Biggest regret of the 80's - A certain person who will remain nameless and the end of The Electric Company (Last episode taped in 77 but aired in reruns til 85)
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Been up since 4:30 so I decided to sit by the tree and watch some useless TV. I had to scan the gambit of channels just to find something that wasn't an info-mercial. I read a little A.W. Tozier and started getting ready early, so I have a few minutes to spare before starting the day. Our house in Mullins got an overhaul and has new paint and new carpet. At least on the inside. Duh, like you'd put carpet outside, I mean paint. NO NEW PAINT on the outside. Yeah, that's it. Shut-up, I've been up since 4:30. Perry, Michael and I (they did most of the work) went up Thursday night and finished most of it by Friday night. It looks a whole lot better. In the adventure, I found out a lot about myself. If someone is around who is better at something than me, I will naturaly pass it off to them without tryng to do it myself. It's like I'm afraid I'll mess up. Instead of learning from my mistakes, I was afraid of making one. Michael made a very small mistake in trimming some carpet and I didn't get mad. It was small. Everybody makes mistakes. But I know I would have been upset with myself if I had made the same mistake. Does that keep me from taking risks and trying new things? Hmmm. I think I'll ponder it in my brain. I know this is a me and God thing and probably doesn't mean anything else to those reading, but It just stretches me to look at ME sometimes. Oh well, outta time, gotta go don the Sunday apparel and go to church. l8r
Monday, December 6, 2004
Yesterday started out as the typocal Sunday. I got to church about 8 AM and suddenly realized I forgot about the 7AM Men's prayer breakfast. That started the rush, 2 sunday schools with worship service in the middle. Dinner @ mom's and back to it again. Here's where the path varied. We went to the Salvation Army in Columbia and served dinner. Our student choir performed a Christmas musical and I got a chance to share the gospel. I don't mean your run of the mill, don'tcha want to go to heaven gospel. I got to lay it out plain and simple and allow God's Spirit to do the rest. I prayed with a lady who's been clean from crack for 30 days. She wants a present for her 6 year old son who no longer lives with her. We prayed and I was encouraged by her determination to make it. Why do I do what I do? Calling I guess, but it sure does good for me to see teens leading out in serving, worship, prayer, accountability, and living Christ-like. They may have me completely fooled, but I really believe God is doing a huge work. I am Blessed.
Friday night, the hunt continued. We found the place by accident. Beautiful frasier furs. We got an 8 ft for $50. Pretty good around here and much prettier than anything we had seen thus far. The guy said he would trim the bottom, but after many bad experiences with bad trimming I opted to take it home and do it myself. 8:30 Friday night, in the front yard, I get all manly and pull out the chainsaw. I was the noise of the neighborhood for 10 minutes. I reved it real loud just to allow the neighbors to look out their windows to see my asperations as a lumberjack. In the stand, in the house, tilt and whirl and BINGO. Ready for the lights. Kim did most of the decorating and we had very little arguement. She's incredible when it comes to making a house a home. Furniture all arranged, tree all finished, porch beautifully decorated, it's Christmas time. I woke up this morning after a crazy day yesterday, sat beside the lighted tree in my chair and snoozed while feeling warm and cozy. Thanks sweetie. The house is beautiful.
Friday, December 3, 2004
We always put up a christmas tree. A REAL ONE! Frazier Fur from the hills of NC. We tried a virginia pine once, but ain't nothin like a NC Fur. Smells great and lives through the whole season. We usually have it up and decorated by the Saturday after thanksgiving. Kim and I have learned through the years how to do it. Either I or both of us go to pick the tree. It has to be close to perfect. Just the right height and fullness. Not to big, but just right. Straight trunk and straight top with very few bare spots. We've learned to look at the bottom branches to see if we lose fullness when we cut them off to put it in the stand. The best way to keep me from being a TERRIBLE person is for Kim to leave while I trim the bottom, put the tree in the stand, and get it straight in the house. She doesn't dare tell me it's crooked after I'm through. She puts on the lights (She's REAL good at it) while I stand there and pass them over the back and top. We then have our sweet argument about which of my old ornaments go on the tree and which stay in the box. You know all those homemade ornaments that have more meaning than taste. I love them, she does too, just not on the tree. When all is said and done, we will have a beautiful tree with Kim's touch. Rafia bows and gingerbread, A LOT of lights, non-blinking all over the tree and a few strands of blinking ones spead throughout. 4 weeks of a new atmosphere in the Stilwell House. I look forward to it. All of this started out as a rant over our pursuit of the perfect Christmas tree, but after writing all this, I'm not mad anymore. We looked yesterday, didn't find it, so we're back at it this evening. It's kinda fun.
Monday, November 29, 2004
After a successful stuffing of this turkey, I'm back in the grind. I would prefer the grind to be Starbucks Holiday blend, but work will have to do for now. So I'm sitting in the office catching up on paperwrok, trying to settle the week's schedule. I need to put a few things down. Yesterday was a day of ministry. Not just a normal Sunday, but a realization that a lot of people have a lot of problems. I think I'm a good listener. I try not to just fix things. I always want to be part of the solution though. From students and leaders, I can see God doing some great things, but as in most GREAT things God does in us, it starts off with a delimma, a time of trusting. I see several situations that have no other answer but "wait." I've been in that place so many times. Nobody can give a solution except "wait." I hated it when people told me that. What do you tell people who know all the answers? I knew them all. I never realized in the delimma wait times, there was no other answer. God was changing me, letting me see my frailties and shortfalls. Letting me see myself. I usually pull up the "I gotta wait and walk though it" perserverance card. After how everlong the waiting is, a month, a year, or more, I look back and God shows me a glimpse of who I was and who he's making me. I see a bigger peice of the puzzle. The "why?" may never get an answer, but that's ok.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Turkey. I'm thankful for turkey. Yeah, Family's great, Job, house, cars that don't suck, it's all good, but the only thing I am really thankful on Turkey day is TURKEY. I'm thankful all year long for everything else. Turkey day is a day for the turkey. It's all I think about. I'll dream about it tonight. DEEP fried turkey. I can see pulling it out of the fryer as the peanut oil glistens and slowly drips from the beautiful brown carcass. What an experience. I want to get stuffed, take a nap, then go over to the inlaws and do it all over again. By the time it's all over with I will be so sick of it. It'll take me at least 363 more days to get over it. Thanks God, Thanks Family, Thanks Work, Thanks world, but if you get between me and my Turkey, I'll gnaw your arm off!! It's all about the turkey!!!
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Who reads this? I'm just curious. I have tried to be creative, but to no avail. Every time I think I have something interesting to write, I'm nowhere near a computer. My ADD never let's me remember what I was thinking 17 1/2 seconds ago, so when I finally reach an outlet to share my treasure of newly thought of creativity, but it's gone. I am an "in the moment" kinda guy I guess. I partly want to use this to journal, but not only for myself. I also want my thought processes to be clear to the reader. My brother's the writer, I'm the talker. But I'm just curious. Take a moment and leave a comment. Tell me who you are and where you're from. Leave me a link and I'll visit your site. I'll also try to make things a little more clear and interesting. Have a nice day.
Monday, November 22, 2004
I've heard it said by numerous so called successful people, "To fail to plan is a plan to fail." To some point, I agree. But isn't it also true that if you plan to succeed, you may still fail. Let's look from God's perspective. Do you really think Job made plans for his future? He was more righteous than any other man on earth, so I'm sure he would have made plans. What about Solomon? Yeah, the richest, wisest man that ever lived, but didn't he ultimately fail? OK, Moses. Deliverer of God's chosen people. Did he plan to enter the promise land? Oops, didn't make it. What about Saul? Did he plan his kingdom? Did he fail? Here's my point. Planing is not the sure fire answer to the human condition. I can plan and still fail. Who do I blame? Myself? Sometimes. God? Sometimes. People in general? Sometimes. Planning is important but needs to have some understanding behind it. If we are planning for our plans, goals, measure of success and dreams, we can gaurentee something will most likely mess it up. Is planning important? Yes, but can I measure success by the lack of failure? I think not. Is failure always bad? When trying to choose which of the 3 backpacks have a parachute and which have sleeping bags while the plain is 5000 feet from plummiting to the earth, failure is bad. When leaving youth ministry to pastor just because God told you too (and being SURE of the call) then having to take on a second job, put your family through hell, and leave after a year and a half, is it failure? Is it bad? One more. Going to a church as YM where the kids can't stand you and don't even vote during the call, while your wife is crying, saying, "How can you take me there" all because of the call. It gets worse. Not selling your house in the previous town, your wife going through the most severe depressive state of her mental illness in years, living in a 10 by 10 bedroom at your parents house... Is this failure? Did we plan for this? I'm a sorry planner. I do listen to God's leading and prompting. I do things that may seem illogical to most and I may even do things without the full consent of my wife (even though she has awesome character by following me even when she didn't want to). They may seem bad, but God works it out. I planned all this stuff, and I believe in some instances, I was set up to fail. Why? So God could teach me. To some, this is heresy. I can assure you I know A LOT about pastoral authority. I learned it by being a pastor and having a staff member stab me in the back. I also learned it through scripture and God's leading in my life. I later learned the lesson of Jonah. I could NOT deny his call to my current church without repercussions. I came no matter what I wanted. Was it bad? You better believe it. Is it still bad? Sometimes. Is it getting better? I think so. I see kids learning and living Godliness. I see them accepting people different than themselves. I see them getting sickened by their own sin and repenting before God. I see them holding each other accoutable. I see them learning how to live worship instead of just raising their hands during songs. I see them asking questions about relationships and setting standards for dating, drinking and partying. I see my wife struggle but become more beautiful with God's love everyday. Bottom line. I planned and I failed. Failure was needed for me. I never knew how good "good" could be until I saw "BAD." Thanks, God, for letting me fail and forgive me for not being willing to let you change the plan.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Gotta clean up the house today. We're getting ready for a girls only night on dating and relationships. I'll be at the church with the guys discussing the deeper meaning of life over halo 2. My wife and I are the loving parents of 4 dogs, 2 cats, and a rabbit. We have a 3 bedroom home in a suburb of Columbia, SC. Since all the kids either sleep outside or in the same bed with us, we have 2 bedrooms that are not used. My wife and I have COMPLETELY different ideas on how these rooms should be occupied. She wants them to be ready for guests. I want them to be ready for the clothes i don't want to hang up and the shoes I take off at the end of the day. junk boxes i dont want to take to the storage room, boxes of winter clothes i dont want to throw away, christmas decorations left from last year, suitcases that wont fit in the closet, so on and so forth. My reasoning is I have a lot more clothes that we do visitors, and I hate hanging them up. All my shirts have to be ironed after I hang them up b/c they get those little horned hanger marks on the shoulders. I hate to iron too. I told her the best thing to do is leave the broom and vac by the door so when a guest does come by, you can say, "Oh, you caught me cleaning. Sorry the house is a mess." Well, with 20 girls coming over, I have to clean it up. One room is almost clean. the other at least has a walkway between the 5 foot pile of clothes and junk to the closet. When I clean it up, it's like a treasure hunt. I have serious ADD and get easily distracted by an old school cell phone stuck in a junk box from 1994. So' I'll take the rest of the day off, day dream of Halo 2, hunt through boxes of junk and hang up clothes i'll never wear again. OR I may just shove it all in a closet so I can pull it back out when they leave. Yeah, that's the ticket. If you come over to my house in the next few days, WAHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T OPEN THE CLOSET. l8r Congrats to Blake and Bev on the birth of a daughter outside the hospital in the car. You'll get 100's of good illustrations outta that. www.statedog.com
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Posted from my Xanga site this morning. www.xanga.com/jayuff Sometimes, writing from the heart behind the mask can be dangerous. I see a lot of blog entries that are screaming out for understanding, but when veiled through poetry, or random thoughts that just explains the emotions to the person writing it, a lot is left for interpretation from the reader. Many things can come from it that may or may not be good. A personal journal is just that. PERSONAL. When it goes on the world wide web, it's no longer private. It can be tracked down by friends, parents, relatives, complete strangers, child molesters, rapists, politicians, and enemies. That's not to scare anyone, it's just a fact. I want to leave a thought because I've seen a lot of what appears to be dirty laundry aired on xanga over the last month. It scares me. I want to understand the delimma from the minds and hearts of the parties involved with the issues. I don't want to "figure" it out through interpretation, gossip and inuendo. If we're going to be a community, let's act like it and tell it like it is. Encourage where engouragement is needed, confront where confrontaion is needed, rebuke where rebuke is needed and forgive where forgiveness is needed. Above all, let's do it in LOVE. I am not naive to the issues, but I am misinformed. I am available as a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. I understand first and second hand dispair, lonliness, sorrow, anxiety, and hurt. I'll be glad to help anyone crying out or find someone who can. But please, make sure your writing is according to Eph 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth (or keyboard), but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear (or read on xanga or another blog site). all ( )'s added by me. What are your words portraying? Is it grace to ALL who hear or read? I think you can share deepest thoughts, emotions, and hurts and still hold to the standard of God's word. I love you all, I MEAN IT! I see the great need for clarification and I will seek it. I ask that you all do the same, but go to the individual who posted it, not a second hand source. God bless you all and HAPPY blogging!!! OK, why did I post this? A lot has gone on with students and college leaders sharing themselves through blogs and comments. I have always had a delimma with email and writing because of the like of emotional input. You can't see my smile or scowl, or how hard I'm tapping out frustration on my keyboard. I know the whole "got to get my feelings out" thing is real and valid, and have even contemplated going to anonymous route, but in my desire to be transparent and authentic, I also long to be graceful in my words. Eph. 4:29. I'm sure I'll get comments about fredom of speech and feeling stuff, and I'm all for it. But if your going to say it, say it clear. Say it real and loud, not hidden behind vague thoughts that can't be clearly understood. OK, I hope I haven't broken any unwritten rules of blogging. I work with student followers of Christ and I have encouraged them to use their sites for fun, encouragement, and real issues they face. All who read them leave with something. The question is WHAT? We've all done it, stabbed in the dark to try and strike at an individual through our posts, only to make ourselves feel better because we got them. Did we? Not really. Talk it out, go to the person, be Godly and confront. Oh well, soapbox dismounted. Have a great day.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Top headlines of 2003. Thanks Debbie Smith Crack Found on Governor's Daughter Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges (better than duct tape?) New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group Kids Make Nutritious Snacks (taste just like chicken) Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half (ouch) the best: Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
Monday, November 15, 2004
I got this via email from a friend this morning. With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, itis worth reflecting on the death of a very important person which almostwent unnoticed last week. Larry La Prise, the man who wrote "The HokeyPoky", died peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his familywas getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then thetrouble started.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
This morning a parent of an 8th grade student came to find out how long someone would be at the church after Sunday School. I told him and it obviously wasn't late enough. The whole family had to go pick up the younger sibling at an event and that meant that Jonathon wouldn't get to stay. He had to leave early and miss Sunday School. BREAK Several years ago, I was ready to throw in the towel with Sunday Shool. We actually have 2. 8:30 AM on Sunday (I knew this was a joke) and 11:00 AM. Crunched in between was an hour and a half of "blended" worship music and a sermon altogether called a service. When I got to this church, I knew 8:30 SS would die within a few years. 11 AM had some serious work to do. The kids were so bored from the service, the only way to wake them up was to feed them KK donuts and mountain dew. 2.5 years later and I am amazed. 8:30 is our biggest group. These kids come awake and long to hear the word. I have a lot of core kids in that class. It also keeps growing every year. Some even stay for BOTH classes. Now back to the story, you know about Jonathon. He was very upset. I could see it in his face. He REALLY wanted to stay. We took out the XBOX a week ago, so it wasn't just for that. I also no his teacher really well. Brandon is a student at Columbia International University and is preparing for full time ministry. He has a heart for middle schoolers and teaches them more meat than I ever thought possible. Most of his kids are hungry for it. Now, he's got some help from Josh, also a CIU student, and things seem to really be bringing God glory. I can't remeber last time I saw a student visually upset because he couldn't go to Sunday School. God Rocks. Tonight, it's leadership calss with the highschoolers and accountability group. I'm looking forward to it.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
I offended a coworker. Not by something I did, but something I didn't do. Ignorance I guess but that's no excuse. Made me feel like poo on a shoe. We got it straight. All is forgiven but it's still tough. There's no question, I am the guilty party. It's disturbing, my first response. I actually wanted to defend myself or maybe pass the buck. Just shows me God's still workin on me. Kids were out of school today so I got to go to breakfast at the awful waffle and play a little halo 2. Yeah, I love my job. I liked spending time more than the games. That's what it's all about. To see I can still hang out is good since I'm old, fat, and bald. They were talking about an 80's theme for their prom and it made me remeber the 4 went to from 86-90. Good days spending too much $ on food she didnt eat, goin long enough for pictures and getting crazy afterwards. My first all night parties. Big hair, frills on the shirt and mom's mazda. Oh yeah. Oh well, Time to go home so I'll call it a blog. l8r.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
I got Halo 2 yesterday and was amazed at the number of 13-16 year old guys at ebgames with their parents at 10 am. playin hookie just for a game. I know, it's halo 2, but I don't know how I feel. Maybe I'm jealous b/c I couldn't take the day off and my parents never would have thought of letting me do that. But kids seem to run the show in most households, but that's another post. I like the game, but I haven't had enough time to get tired of the first Halo. I've had it about 3 months and I was just starting to get good. I did play for several hours last night with a break to watch nypdb. come on guys, is that the way you're going to make andy normal? give him the ghost of jimmy (former partner) to tell him about God. I don't think this will go down in the annuls of great last seasons. read a real funny blog this morning. check it out. http://lylemorgan.blogspot.com/2004/11/its-hard-to-be-humble-when-youre.html. This guy is great. Well, getting ready for student stuff tonight. more later.
Tuesday, November 9, 2004
6:45 AM - 6 hrs and 44 minutes after halo 2 was released and I still don't have it. This is not a complaint, but a personal victory. I have proven, I'm not an addict. I will wait at least til lunch to get my pre-ordered gift set, and it'll be late tonite before I actually play. I'm NOT addicted! I saw some groups from back-in-da-day on vh1 yesterday morning. First, I saw Duran-Duran. I remember the craze of big hair, "hungry Like the Wolf" and "Wild Boys." It was middle school days. Those were really tough times but the music gave me a way to lose myself. I remember all the popular people going to the concert. I didn't go because my dad called them sissies. I saw the tshirts for weeks. I was a teen age closet Duran-Duran fan. But seeing them now, I'm like (do you like how I just said "i'm like") dude, they're old and they sound the same. same electronic percussion 80's sounds, same chords and notes. Jus old people who're trying to look like they use too. Not impressed. I want the mullet to return as much as the next child of the 80's, but not duran duran. get a clue!!! You're OLD and IT's OVER. Then I thougth of bands that have weathered the time. Oh, then It happened. U2! Bono on a beach with a black jetlike trail of black smoke traveling from his back while he stands there, arms spread out, singing his heart out with well written lyrics and incredible guitar played by none ther than Edge. Now that's music. I didn't like the whole rattle and hum thing "I want to buy the world a condom" thing. The music was great but the jesture was not. either way, these guys have stood the test of time and have kept their integrity as musicians. OK, for those reading who have no clue what I'm talking about, i was just getting a little sentimental. Just remember the 80's had cheese just like the 00's have today. It'll all be laughed at later, but some things last. Good music, good mullets and good memories. oh yeah.
Monday, November 8, 2004
With a weekend full of yardwork and hauling off/selling junk from a house you own but don't live in, I'm glad it's behind me. We left Thursday after the rain while I was recovering from a migrane. Up early Friday to clean our storage building and get ready for an early saturday good ol' fashion yard sale. We set up by 2 AM Saturday and had our first customer by 6:30. A steady stream of junk treasure hunters got us a littl $ but after the gas, food and supplies, I think it would have been easier to light a match. If my house burns down tomorrow, I PROMISE I DID NOT DO IT!!! Change of Subject. My wife, Kim, suffers from Bipolar disorder. We have been in a battle for the last 12 years and have recently come to a place where medication and a great doctor has helped to control the swings. Within the last 6 months, we have been coping well with the disease and within the last month have been trying to wean off some of the meds. This has not been the best of ideas so far, but we are in close contact with her doctor. Please pray for us as we continue to pray for God's healing and coping. I have learned alot about myself, a lot about Christ ans His love for the church and can honestly say I wouldn't give up 1 minute with me incredible wife. She's my hero. Imagine your brain not being able to process "happy" or "content. No matter what the circumstance, your brain chemicals cause "lonely, "Anxious," or "extremely sad." I can't begin to fathom the turmoil. In working through TONS of prayer and TONS of meds, we have by no means found "NORMAL." We have found God's grace, mercy, and strength. That's all better than "normal" any day. So, as I put my thoughts out there for the world to see, I'm preparing for STAFF MEETING. We get to listen to a 70 something yr old man tell us about job discriptions and leadership. I'm not excited. But, I get to mentor this afternoon and share my vast array of knowlege and experience with a kid who's got a lot more to offer me, it seems, that I have to offer him. Whatever your day holds, I hope it's a memorable one. l8r
Wednesday, November 3, 2004
No surprises on the elections, and really no comments beyond only waiting in line for 45 minutes and being a part of the silent majority that did not have his civil rights violated by poll challengers and broken voting machine. My experience was quite nice, spending quality time with my wife shooshing me in line while talking on cell phone about crooked democrat union scare tactics. My biggest struggle today is with myself. I am my own worst enemy. Lead me not into temptation because I can find it just fine on my own. Over the last several days of fatigue and thinking, "that stupid extra hour sleep didn't work," I am finding myself relying MORE on God to sustain and keep me from myself. I have had times of the ungodly attitude, part of the old nature that use to never care if it was right. I'd just argue until somebody gave up. I guess God's allowing the tests to peel back the onion layer so I can see me. I stink. Thank God He's not through with me. My prayer has been, "Transform and Renew Me." I complain, but I've been at this long enough to know this is a good time. Testing and learning to not trust the selfness of me is a good thing. I'm looking forward to seeing all that HE is doing in me. In the mean time, I'll try not to rip heads off, show people they are #1 with the wrong finger (what, I use my pinky, but it still has the understood meaning of the real wrong finger in my head), nor sigh my world famous Jeff Stilwell sigh when asked to inconvenience myself. I'll stick it out, enjoy relying on God, kicking myself for the sin of my stupidity, and waiting for the sight of God's transformation. l8r
Monday, November 1, 2004
I've been married 10 1/2 years and here are 10 things I would do different if I had the chance. 1. Spend less $ trying to buy happiness 2. Spend more time learning contentment 3. Less talking 4. More listening 5. Less asking "why me?" 6. More asking, "How do You want us to deal with this, Lord?" 7. Fewer cars 8. More friends 9. Less time worrying. 10 More time Praying and Meditating. There are at least a hundred more things I'd do different, and it seems that SO much of our struggles are of our own making. Debt, broken relationships, lack of contentment and more. I would love to go back and fix these things. It may be easier to deal with the things you have NO control over if you have not piled on more burdens of your own making. Maybe one day, I'll find out.
I am having a hard time dealing with life in general over the past several days. First the road rage, then frustration and fatigue, now having problems just dealing with everyday things that plague us all like finances, schedules, plans made for us by others, so on and so forth. I feel like I need a day away to refocus. These are not the things I normally have trouble with. I live with distractions. I am calm and level headed most of the time, but for some reason, my reactions have changed. I don't like it. I would appreciate your prayer and accountability (lovingly, please or I might rip your head off and hock a loogee down your bloody carcass). I may have to break some plans to allow time. Eh, we'll see. It's one thing to know all the answers and another to do them. More l8r.
I am boycotting the major netwoks today. I am tired of bad politics. I agree with the John Boy from the John Boy and Billy Show. He said last week, "If you haven't decided who you're voting for yet, you're just stupid." I tend to agree. Take a look at Ricks blog. http://ramblingadventures.blogspot.com/2004/10/why-christians-should-vote-their.html I share in his opinion even though it leads me to a different action. That's all I'm saying about politics today.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
No, this is not a complaint about christmas decorations coming out before halloween. I actually got a little in the mood fo christmas when Kim and I went to see "Surviving Christmas w/ Ben Afleck and Christina Applegate. I would rate it very high on the date movie list. Great Flick. I enjoyed it. http://www.survivingchristmas-themovie.com/intro.html I had a great time playing paintball. I did pretty well considering I shot my own teammate. I didn't mean to , but he wasn't that good anyway. After a little ankle swelling and limping enough to get sympathy from my wife, we went to HELL, oh, I mean mom and dad's. It's not even close to being a terrible place, but it was HOT. Dad and I disagree on the comfort levels of modern HVAC equipped houses. A good 68-70 is prime for me and I remember complaining about the house being so hot while growing up in the old hood. Dad always said when I paid the bills, it could be as cold as I want it. I took him up on it. It was really NOT that bad. I got to watch my Gamecocks LOOSE AGAIN. Why do I torture myself year after year with this. I have to pull for my team, but why do they make it so hard. I hate to say it, and I don't think a band wagon has started, as far as I've heard, but I agree with dad. It's time for Lou to go. I hate it, and I know I can look forward to 4-5 more years in the crapper until the program builds status again, but that's it. Unless some real changes take place in the next few weeks, It's time. Oh well, I give no money, go to know games, and nobody really cares what I think, and you know, that's ok. Why? Because I'm special and I like me. Gotta get ready for Sunday Morning Stuff. l8r
Saturday, October 30, 2004
I thought I was on the way to jail today. I had a major case of road rage because of the road work in front of West Side Baptist on Platt Springs Road. I even had to call some friends just to see if they would bail me out in the event I could no longer control myself. I thought I was going to have to use the 5.7 liter V8 and my brand new rebuilt transmission in my suburban to push cars full of ignorant people OUT OF MY WAY!!!!!!! But I finally reached my destination. It took me 25 minutes to get from west columbia walmart to the church, which is normally 5-10 minutes tops. I controlled my anger (almost) and didn't commit any crimes. BUT I WAS TEMPTED!!! I bought 144 can drinks for FCA 5 th quarter and then settled down to some relaxing xbox. About 5, I left the house, went to springdale elementary to get our snow cone machine, iced down the drinks, ate dinner w/ Perry, and enjoyed the Friday Night Lights of my old high school rival. We had a poor turn out for FCA but we still had a blast. Thomas Yarbouro was the speaker and I haven't seen him in about 10 years. I finally got to meet Dean Howell face to face, and finished up the evening with a diet coke and some pnut m&m's. That's my day in a nutshell. I'll be at Ball Busters to play paintball in the morning @ 9 and I will attempt to NOT break anything. As for now, I'm going to cuddle up with my sweet wife and go to sleep. I hope your day was good and tomorrow will be even better. LIGHTS OUT night-night!
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I overslept this morning. That's really not so bad until I realized I didn't know I overslept. I thought it was 7:30 and instead it was 8:30. Time change isnt til Sunday so I have no excuse. It made for an interesting conversation with my wife about something I was supposed to do at 8:30. missed that one. Here's another cheesey church sign. Eat your beans. They're good for your heart. But Jesus is better. I got a million of them. I don't know how many youth pastors, workers or preachers look at this sight, so this may have nothing to do with most of you, but for those who are in my profession, you'll understand this. Last night, we continued into our 3rd week on Healthy Friendships. We are talking about developing a community of real, godly, loving, accountable friends to strengthen our walk with God. We are also talking about how to be influencial as a friend to a non-believer without being influenced to turn away from God. The best way for the 2nd to work is to have the 1st in place. Anyway, last night was just tough. We talked about spotting counterfeit friends and I just wasn't feelin it. I'm using some new material from Andy Stanley and Stuart Hall. Good stuff called 7 checkpoints (http://www.dashstudentleadership.com/site.html), but it's not using very much scripture right now. I spent the last 2 years throwing out cirriculum that was too shallow and so beneath the students ability to grasp, and spent a majority of the time on verse by verse expository preaching and teaching. It helped some, but the masses couldn't or wouldn't plug into it. SO, we changed directions, got hold of good cirriculum (am I the only one thinking good stuff is almost impossible to find?), and started to hash out life. But for some reason, I wasn't feeling it last night. I couldn't get the connection. I couldn't make the points. Just a tough night. We also had some distractions. I don't know, I'm trying to figure it out and I just hope it's a one time thing. Anyway, just wanted to get some thoughts out. Don't think it helped me much, just put me off schedule. l8r.
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Cheesey Church Sign of the day. Don't wait for the hearse to take you to church. Funny Tshirt: WWJD for a klondike bar This is your daily reminder to NOT get all of your knowlege of God from tshirts, bumper stickers and church signs. Spent some good time with Perry and Michael last night watching our red neck soap opera called wwe wrastil'. OK, hold your opinions and judgements. I always talk about FILTERING the culture and yes, I know it's fake. so SHUT UP!!! j/k. We had a great time drinkin coffee w/ Greg B. and talking trash about growin up in Cayce and Arkansas. I woke up this morning about 6 and played a little xbox. I am ticked b/c after lending my xbox to a halo tournament, I found out someone erased all my screen names including JRoophus. With this super hero alter ego, I finished the game on legendary. NOW IT'S GONE. YOU FREAK!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?? CURSES TO PERSON WHO COMMITTED THIS AWFUL INJUSTICE AND I HOPE YOUR DRAWERS RIDE YOUR CRACK FOR THE REST OF YOUR NATURAL BORN DAYS!!!! Ok, I'm over it. It's just a game. Yeah I said it. And anyway, Halo 2 will be out in 2 weeks. That'll be my new addiction. l8r.
Monday, October 25, 2004
i vegged this morning with a fast forwardf look at Saturday Night Live from this past weekend. It appears that another bublegum poppy star tried to pull a fast one. When the wrong song started playing and Ashley Simpson's pre-recorded voice came over the system without her lips moving, she responded with a hokey hoe-down dance and then left the stage causing the band to continue playing the wrong song and nbc to go to a quick commercial. She came on at the end a blamed it on her band and live television. ehh, not feeling it. One more reason to be discusted with the music industry. Not just secular, but christian as well. I have no problem giving opinions and I hate to see "Solid" christian families undergo decay. I remember going to a friends house when I was about 10. His parents gave the perfect example of christian home and I felt so good around them. After 10 years, family split up, mom and dad divorced b/c of debt and alcohol, oldest son so bitter he doesnt want anything to do with the family and younger son reaping the benefits of crap that everybody else put on him. My wife grew up in a loving christian home. mom and dad split up after 30 years over mental illness and financial struggles. Now, former youth pastor (Jessica Simpson's Dad) is living the high life on his daughters $ and big natural boobs (His reason for her not being in christian music). Now, little sister throws her profanity and lifestyle around without any known resemblance of a "christian" teen making it big. I'm not one who trashes people for making mistakes, but I am one to look at the results of certain behavior. Judgemental? maybe. Sucked into the world? Ya Think?! Making a positive influence for Christ? Not Yet. Good role model? NOPE!
Saturday, October 23, 2004
So we went to a luncheon in our honor today put on by the singles in our church. They washed my car and stuffed my gut. I had a great time talking to other staff members without agendas Just a short time, but well worth it. That's about all I did today. I watched Return of the King. Man, what a series. Talk about friendship. That's our topic for the next 2 weeks at church. No big plans, just resting up for a sabbath, trying not to let this saturday do to me what the past 2 have. Looks like I won. I'm actually going to bed early. No deep thoughts, no stupid lokes (ok maybe one), just rest. goodnight! ps last night I dreamed I was eating a HUGE marshmellow. When I woke up and my pillow was gone.
Friday, October 22, 2004
I was reading a great post from a college student who is earnestly seeking God. She wrote of the so called "waiting" or "silent" times with God and how those are candy coated terms. She calls it the JUNK of life and I tend to agree. Any attempt to use past experience and God's peace to make it through these times often fall short. I thought of this last time I was in the junk (sometimes I think I stay in the junk). So ponder this, stay awhile and get comfortable, or just click a link and go. I only hope you have as much fun reading it as do writing it. I love to travel, but I want to get there. I always pick "quickest" on mapquest. I guess it's the nature of the beast I call youth ministry. Get there as fast as possible without breaking too many laws. I am overjoyed when I reach my destination saving an extra 13.5 minutes, and I talk about it like I just got elected to congress or something (ok, congress election stuff on tv, A.D.D. moment). My dad, on the other hand, can't stand interstates. He likes back roads, small towns, stoplights on main street america. He plots out his trips by the scenery and the attractions. To him, the trip is not about the destination, it's about the whole trip. He and my mom always come back after a long trip with shirts, coffee mugs, toys for the grandkids and a lot of stories of beautiful places and interesting people. Oh yeah, they talk a little about the place they were going to. OK, what's the point. Dad taught me a lot in this without realizing it. We're always waiting for the destination of our journey. We want to get out of the junk, out of the struggle, avoid patience. Maybe we should enjoy the trip more. This morning I remembered going on family trips. To dad, it was about the journey. To me, it was about the destination. We were both together doing the same thing, riding in a car, goin to grandma's or where ever our plans took us. This added for an interesting dynamic. Dad, trying to enjoy the journey, me complaining and "are we there yet"n. I probably made his trip miserable at times, oh and he definatley made my trip a challenge by tanning my hide. I bet Dad would have rather me learned this lesson as a kid. It is about the journey, But it's also about the perspective. Dad loves travelling with mom. She enjoys his perspective. SO AGAIN what does this have to do with the JUNK of life? PERSPECTIVE. We're on a journy. maybe the silent times are nothing more than an opportunity to change perspective. To learn something about ourself and see what may need to change. My college friend wrote that she longs to fix everybody and she's learning she can't. that's a perspective change. Either way, we've all been there, will go there again and again and again. I hope I can simplify it that much when I'm there. God, help me change my perspective.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Post attempt # 2 b/c of blogger's spell check and its argument with my pop-up blocker. I woke up this morning @ 3:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. O, I tried. Nothing. When I could no longer stand bad infomercials and depressing news coverage, I showered and came to work. Here by 6:30. I was wide awake til now. I don't know why my body was working on the delayed gratification principle. I would have much rather slept this morning. Ah, but more to do have I, mentoring and planning. The woods are lovely, dark and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. POPPIES!!! They make you sleep! They also make you test positive for heroine on a drug test. l8r i have to give credit to Robert Frost and The Wizard of Oz. I would not want to plagiarise.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I'm workin from home this morning getting ready for tonight. My INCREDIBLE wife just brought me a grilled ham and cheese, cheetos, and a cold bottle of diet coke. She rocks. My brother http://ramblingadventures.blogspot.com/sent this to me but was too dignified to post it. I told him I'm a youth pastor, my grotesque and crude humor knows no bounds. Have fun. A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies. 1. "Take it easy Doc, you're boldly going where no man has gone before!" 2. "Find Amelia Earhart yet?" 3. :Can you hear me NOW?" 4. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" 5. "You know in Arkansas we're now legally married." 6. "Any sign of the trapped miners Chief?" 7. "You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out..." 8. "Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!" 9. "If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!" 10. "Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity." 11. "You used to be an executive at Enron didn't you?" 12. "God, Now I know why I am not gay." And the best one of them all... 13. "Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is in fact not up there."
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Late night b/c I finished Halo on legendary then spent an hour watching halo 2 promos. Not up too late but enough to make me drag this morning. I am struggling with helping teenagers cope with life. How much impact can 1 person have? How much unlearning must be unleashed before real learning can take place? Why is Clifford the big RED dog and not the big purple dog. Barny's purple, but Cliffard's been around a lot longer. Oh well, a million questions and life is a mystery. Coffee filters got the message from the wrath of yesterday, so I had a better prep time this morning. Staff meetings and mentoring today and tomorrow. Should make for some interesting blogging. When all else fails, this one truth remains. It's not what you know, It's what they THINK you know that counts. L8r
Monday, October 18, 2004
Monday, Monday. I overslept this morning and woke up panicking about what day is it and how late am I. Then I realized it's Monday and other than paperwork and planning, my schedule pretty clear til lunch. I have a lot to do, but nothing too pressing. The workaholic mentality kicks in, then the guilt of being a workaholic. I'll finish this, skin the head, hop in the shower and get to work by 10. Does anyone else ever have a problem separating coffee filters? I have the hardest time trying to figure out if there is one or two filters and if the thickness leads the brain to think there's actually two, I spend the next few caffeine withdrawal moments trying to separate them. Every time this happens, I think of the possibility of losing my mind, going postal, blasting my Bunn coffee maker with a shot gun only to turn it on myself. My wife awakes. She and the dog look over my mangled body and SCREAM in horror. I break the day dream as they finally come apart and my shaking hands scoop the grinds half in the filter and half on the counter and floor. Oh, Thank God my bun coffee maker only takes 3 minutes. Ahhhh, my addiction is fed. (I promise, this sounds much more dramatic in my head).
Sunday, October 17, 2004
It's Sunday afternoon between the chaos of 2 Sunday schools, accountability, band practice, and small groups. My wife told me I had horns. I'm almost bald, but when my hair grows out a little, I get these little wing things on either side of my bald spot that resemble horns. I told her i was working one an art garfunkle afro. I'm actually thinking about doing it. Hmmmm. We continued on friendships. We try so hard as leaders to separate our kids from the world that we stop making an impact. Our kids don't become more spiritual, they either become cocky and arrogant in their faith or they rebel against God all together. Oh yeah, or they just go through the motions to keep mom and dad happy. What sets us apart? What's the difference? How do students make an impact? How can God use them to draw others to him? I know the answers to these questions, but getting my kids to care about asking them is another story. Eh, we'll try again tonight. The bottom line is this. Sin nature is enough to keep us separated from God. We don't need the apathy, compromise, and cheesy church mentality to help.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Oops, I did it again. I stayed up til 3AM in a pursuit to finish the assault on the control room in legendary fashion. Halo is new to me. I've had my Xbox since the 1st of August and I have wasted way too many hours glued to the tv screen. It's a release, a break from reality, a test of skills, a tracking of improvement so to speak. It was worth it. I have 4 more levels to finish on the hardest setting. Yeah, I've already seen the alternate ending. The Maw was the second level I finished on Legendary.For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, just wait for Halo 2 and catch the bug. SWEET!I started a 4 week series on relationships last night at church. We have been developing "community" in our student ministry over the last 2 years and I am amazed at what God is doing. I guess it really hit me last night. We still have a long way to go , but we're making progress. Have you ever had a party that your friends didn't show up to? Or better yet, have you taken a friend to a party to meet someone and that person wasn't there. God is showing me about community in a neat way (Brian McLaren calls the word "community" an over used word in recent Christian vocabulary) . Homework, sporting events and the stinking SC state fair took a number of my students away from last night's bible study. I was concerned because they missed a good start to a series with real life issues. But more than that, I saw where their input was missed. Their smiles and encouragement was missed. Their love and devotion was missed. Their corporate worship was missed. I missed them. It's not about what they get from me, but what I get from them. Before you think I'm just selfish and don't understand the intricacies of the teenage schedule, homework load, and the need for greasy fair food, see my point. We had a visitor and a 2nd time visitor last night. I couldn't help but feel bad for them that they missed out on the incredible presence of the ones who were gone.Bottom line, I see an aspect of community that I hate, but I love. I love that I'm learning it. When one in our group is not in our group, the whole group suffers. The whole dynamic changes. We are actually starting to become a real community where all contribute to the stability of the whole. If a soccer team goes into a tournament and the goalie has another engagement, who suffers? That's what I mean.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Too much XBox last night lead to a rough wake up. Peppy always has to go outside in the morning, but I thought since I let him out @ 2:30, he'd sleep a little later. NOPE! Up and whining @ 5:30, leaving me very little sleep. I always have a hard time going back to sleep. So, I got up, ate 2 bowls of generic fruity pebbles, brewed the folgers and snoozed for about an hour and a half. I dredfully need to go to work. Oh, do I have to. I love my job and I can't think of any time I look forward to during the week more than Wednesday Night. Just the starting part is hard. I'll get to work about 10 and home about 12 hours later, wasted and useless just in time to MISS law and order thanks to the stinking Presidential debates. The news this morning said they are going to hit the same issues as the last debate. Tired of it all. I want to tell each of them, "You'll have a greater chance of getting my vote if you leave my Law and Order ALONE!!!! Isn't it enough you made me miss one episode of the LAST SEASON OF NYPD BLUE ??!!! I'm reading a book by Charlie Peacock called "A New Way To Be Human." I hope to post some thoughts on a book reading list I'm on. hopefully today. Well, we're off to the grind. Ooh, sounds like I need to go see Nick @ Starbucks to get a good fix sometime today.
Friday, October 8, 2004
I know all youth pastors have stories about students who are struggling with life, love, acceptance, and faith. They seem to multiply as you build community and see spiritual growth in the ministry. At times I think, "It may be better not knowing the reality of an individual story or issue in the life of a teen ager." It hurts to see them struggle. One has lost a mother to cancer, another lost a father to an affair. A "new" problem of Cutting or self mutilation has joined anorexia and bolemia. Poverty, over indulgence, soccer, track, school and relationships all seem to complicate life and distract from ABUNDANCE in Christ. I guess the difficult part is seperating the hurt for my students from the abundance God has for me. In abundance, I mean LIFE, PEACE, JOY, EXCITEMENT in who God is and what He has done. Not materially, but spiritually. All of this has nothing to do with circumstance. It is contentment with Christ in need and want. I know the answers, but I've been preaching that KNOWLEGE is not the end. Wisdom is better, a combination of knowlege, understanding and experience. I KNOW all of these issues are being used by God to teach and lead me into dependance. I am greatful for the knowlege, but the experience hurts the most. It affects my family, my cynicism and my desire to withdraw into the unknowing bliss of thinking all is right with the world. Throw into the mix the truth of church politics, parents thinking its your job to get their kids saved and excited about church, bills, integrity, unhappy leaders, demon possessed middle schoolers and WAY TOO HIGH gas prices. Whew, I am distracted!!! Lord, You show me in the midst of ALL this, you don't only give peace, You are PEACE. Be Peace in me. I can handle and endure all things, be all things, desire all things in YOU.
Thursday, October 7, 2004
I have been journaling on and off since I was 13. I have another blog through xanga mainly for my students and leaders (www.xanga.com/jayuff). I wanted something a little deeper, a place to post the things I experience. To log my personal journey. I look forward to the days ahead.