Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day Three (or 4) Youth Worker Convention

My day was not as fun as yesterday, but it was a blast too. It was fulfilling and challenging. It was a weird thing also my ring fell off today while I was clapping. It has really come to a point that I have lost a lot of weight. I did not lose the ring, so don't worry. No stupid remarks today, which is good, hehe.

What I did for the day I got up after falling asleep last night trying to watch a movie. I slept so well that I did not wake up until 8. Which is rare since my kids never have done that and my schedule won't allow it. We all got ready and went to the exhibit hall. Rode the unicorn, played some boat game and looked at all the cool wares and freebies people had. I even won a big pickle, which Sabrina and the kids would have loved. Then we went to the general session, which the comedy and worship were great but the speaker bombed. I'm not trying to be mean, but it was just like a lecture. We left early to lunch (a long with many others) and then went back to the exhibit hall. David and Amara bought a bunch of resources and stuff for their youth group. I just had fun getting all the freebies and chatting with people. Later we all went to separate seminars and then met up to got dinner. After dinner we went to the general sessions and stayed for the comedy night. It was awesome, I laughed so much my face hurt. One guy (Thor Ramsey) even changed his act and went on to tell jokes that people got bent out of shape about. None of them were bad, but I guess some people are rigid and can't take a joke. Equally funny of how he told of how people reacted to them. Then we came back to the hotel, hung out for a while and went to bed.
Who did I run into Lon and Carla Hanson. They have been helping with the youth in some capacity at Central Christian Church for 22 years! I remember Lon and this other guy Mark, the teacher sitting in on youth group boring us to death. It's not that they were bad, Mark's teaching was just over our heads at times. Lon and Carla have stepped in every time a youth pastor has left. They have basically kept the youth group a float during the time with no Youth Pastor. John Watts was just a parent of two kids that were in my youth group at Lemon Grove Christian Church. Now he is the Youth Pastor there! He seems to be doing well, and soaking up everything at the convention.
Where I ate Magnolia Grill, for lunch. I had a avocado and turkey sandwich, with a Henry Wienhard's cherry creme soda (yummy yummy),and for dinner we traveled to Elk Grove at Deahna's sister Cheantelle's house. We had BBQ chicken, rice and corn. The dessert was awesome, it was banana pudding, and some sort of cookies from Pepperidge farm and bananas. I had too much of it, it was hard to resist.
What I thought about the seminars and general sessionsMissed the first seminars, general session was a disaster of a history lesson. Again not to be mean, it ws a lecture that brought back the days of taking Western Civilizition in college (is this in the test?). Second was awesomely funny. Mike Pilavachi, a youth pastor from England. He had told hilarious stories from the Bible that were a little messed up humorously. He said it was the Greek, well what he got from it, which was equally funny. His accent added to it too. He used the stories to show how God can work in people no matter how. He also reminded us of the youth we have and how God can use us to reach even the most resistant. Amongst all the laughing It help me come to full circle in what I was already contemplating about how things are going at Easy Valley.
And what mood I am in Not satisfied. Why? From all the seminars, general session, conversations with people, I have come to a point about how I am doing things presently as a Youth pastor. I have been so content and have grown reluctant to push. I just do not want to do the things at East Valley that I had done to me in former ministries. So I resisted change and to move us as a group. But when you hear constantly what not to do or go beyond the basics in Youth Ministry. It's time to move. I don't want to be a hindrance, I want youth to be stretched and not so comfortable. So that's why I am not satisfied. I want more!

The Magic Unicorn!

Me in a moustache, getting ready to ride "The Magical Unicorn. " You gotta be macho!

Me riding the Unicorn.

David riding the unicorn.

Some boat balance game we played. David beat me three times.

Day 2 of the Youth Worker Convention - officially day one

Wow what a day it was! This was a packed and fun filled day. Very inspiring speakers and with wild and crazy thing to do.

Dumbest thing to say while in elevator: "Oh no, there goes the weight limit" - I said this as a joke but did not realize the lady coming in was not here for the youth convention. We were pretty packed when she came in.

What mood I am in I was in pain and anguish for a while there. My lips then burned of the feeling of them being on fire for a while. Why? I ate a nice tasty orange pepper called the habanero (which they use in pepper spray/mace!). It was yummy then bam it hurt, it burned, it tickled in a bad way (I can't explain what that means) I felt dizzy a bit, I could not talk, tears came out, my nose ran, I could not really function other than run around in pain. It was not like a jammed finger or stubbed toe pain but, like almost breaking a bone, but in your mouth pain. I know that's a weird way to describe it, but David just cracked up as I was in anguish. Amara was a trooper and ate a less hot one a serrano pepper. She was sweating and tears coming out of her eyes. I did not see her eat it because I was dying myself. David laughed at her too. We should have recorded it all on video. Why did I do it? I got $60 bones to use on Sermon spice, an illustration, and creative ideas for lessons web source. I am in a good/great mood now. It was a fun day and can't wait for tomorrow!
Here comes the pain & suffering. There is Amara about to eat hers too.

Suffering from pepper

Even more suffering. If you can see I was crying and my nose started to run.

What I did for the day: Well it all started with the early bird seminars. I went to one called Spiritual Sabotage (with an additional longer title. David went to the seminar: Rap it, Tag it, Speak it. Then we all met up and ate lunch and went to the general session. I was supposed to go to a seminar afterward but none of them seemed interesting or I already did not know. So I walked around the exhibit hall where everyone is advertising there organization ans selling their whatnot's. I later found David and Deahna hanging out at the pool, which was a tad cold, but the hot tub was, well hot. We all went to dinner and then to the next general session. After that David, Amara, and I went to the exhibit hall and then back to the hotel room. We were watching a movie but I fell asleep.
Who did I run into: Wow it was several today. First person was Ken Rawson. He was texting me trying to find where I was, he even left his seminar to see me first which was kind of funny and cool. He texted me "look for the fat guy". He's not fat though. It was cool to see him again. It's been over ten years since I have seen him, but we have talked over the phone, e-mailed and trash talked each other on Fantasy sport leagues. We later ate lunch together with his wife Jen, to catch up. Then I ran into a former youth Mike Collins who was there helping out. He is a youth pastor in Tracy. I did not remember his name at first, so I ashamedly asked him. It was cool that he remember me, but I am the type to be unforgettable (hehehe). I ran into another former youth who is a youth pastor at a church in Modesto, Russ Cantu. Then at one of the general sessions, I ran into Kevin Neuner, and his wife Danielle. We went to school and had many adventures together. He is a Youth pastor at Abundant Life in the Bay Area. Sadly there was even some people I did not remember who they were or even recognized their face. I just said hi and the normal hey how's it going stuff.
Where I ate We ate at the popular place everyone seems to go to at these conventions, Upper Crust Pizza. It's all you can eat Pizza and salad. Yummy ( A youth workers dream). For Dinner we went to a Sushi place. I had a Bento box (Teriyaki) and some soup, and everyone else had sushi. It was called Amakari. It was scrumdidlyumshish.
What I thought about the seminars and general sessions: The Seminar I went to was cool, it was about preparing youth beyond their years in Youth group and getting them ready to be in the world and not be of the world. A times we just have them do their time and as they leave they leave behind their faith. David and Amara's was about bringing the Hip-hop culture into view and just using it in a way for youth to express their faith. Which is a cool way to do things with youth.
Wow! The first general session was awesome. Sherwood Carthen was the speaker. He was so intense,uplifting, and very funny. "Amen by myself" - his favorite saying. He spoke on us being in the wilderness (Matthew 4)
The Next seminars I skipped (lazy I know). The next general session was a bit different. We had three speakers, who had about 18 minutes to speak and then we texted questions to be asked after we discussed the subject with people in the crowd. The first speaker was not really impressive, but the next two were cool. The second one talked about reaching out to the gay community (by Andrew Marin), which is probably the last subject you would think about hearing at a youth convention. It was good to hear since we don't even talk about it at our churches. Since we reach out to other sinners, why not all? It's those sexual sins that we seem to frown upon more in church than say gluttony or hypocrisy. Even so it is a hard subject matter, but I do think we must go at it with gusto and not reluctance. After the second speaker, Shane Clairbone came on stage. He is the cross between a hillbilly, a hippie and radical Christian. Which is not bad, just funny and quirkiness all together. He talked about how his ministry/community and some other stuff. His basic idea was we need to be more focused on our people than stuff to reach people. The three speakers and then discussion was unique and cool at the same time.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Day One of Youth Worker Convention - well sorta

The Convention technically did not start yet, but they did have some pre-convention things going on. So here goes:

What I did for the day: I got up early packed my stuff and headed to the airport. I flew from San Diego to San Jose. Met up with my mom who I had not seen in almost a year (she lived in Oregon). We then met up with my brother and his wife and went to a cool breakfast restaurant. Then we took off towards Sacramento with another of his youth leaders (Amara), and checked into the Hyatt. After hanging out a while we walked to get dinner. While we were walking we noticed some lady trying to push her car out of the street. It looked like she had been in some kind of accident and she was acting a bit strange. I As we helped he push her car to the side of the street, I asked if we should call for help and she said she did not want to get in trouble, so my brother and I seemed confused as to what to do. So reluctantly we left after trying to figure out ways to help her. Later walking back I noticed a wan parked in a dirt lot that had the door wide open, which was strange in the middle of the night. It was a Youth for Christ van but no one around. I sure hope it was not broken into. So I locked it and we went back to the hotel. Strange things happening in down town Sacramento.
Who did I run into: I ran into Les Christie in the hotel lobby. He was my old professor at SJCC. He is the Chairman of the Youth Ministry Department at William Jessup University (new name of my old school) If my brother, his wife, and his youth leader Amara count then I ran into them too.
Where I ate: For breakfast I ate at "Stacks" in Campbell (where my brother and his wife lives) with my mom. She wanted to take us out for our birthday. For Dinner We went to "the Melting Pot" in Sacramento. It's a Fondue restaurant. We were there from 6:15 to about 8. It always really fun and interesting to eat that way. It was very expensive though. But hey we deserve it was our birthday
What I thought about the seminars and general sessions: We did not have any yet. But there was a late night concert (Telecast). I did not go to it thought. Amara went and said there was about 15 people (yeeouch).
And what mood I am in: Tired, very full and excited for tomorrow. I hope I get a ride on the unicorn.

Me, My Brother, and my mom.

At the Melting Pot

This is how much dinner was for 4 adults and one child. It was well worth it.

The gang at dinner

Giving Fiona a shoulder ride

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Going to the Youth Worker Convention

Tomorrow very early, I am going to travel up to the bay area and meet up with my brother David and his wife. Then we are going to the Youth Worker Convention. It's put on by Youth Specialties. I agreed to blog about my happenings while I am there. My plan is this:

What I did for the day
Who did I run into (old friends, teachers, etc)
Where I ate
What I thought about the seminars and general sessions
And what mood I am in
If you are interested that's great. It will be surprising if more than three people read my blog. So I'll keep you posted.