Youth Ministry in the Facebook Age

 

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” Ignorance is bliss” was a term first coined by Thomas Gray in his Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.  I may be the only one who feels this way, but as a veteran church youth worker sometimes I miss the blissful ignorance I was able to experience previous to social media.  I do not say this as a technology hater, but as a person who loves social media and has an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even maintain my Myspace for a rainy day.  I miss the days of ignorantly believing that every one of the students in my ministry was latching on to the things they were being taught and learning to live them out.  I am such an optimist in most cases, I want to believe the best about people and believe that all of them are truly opening their heart to God.  The world of social media sometimes robs me of my optimistic dream world as students so openly and truthful share who they really are on the world wide web.

Maybe this is just me, but my heart hurts sometimes when I read the words of those I shepherd online.  It hurts so much because every part of me knows that the answers and joy that they are seeking in other places is found in allowing their head knowledge about Jesus to become a heart devotion that consumes their life.  It hurts so much because many of them sit week by week and learn more head knowledge about Jesus, but never let him completely lead their lives.  I wonder what it may have been for my youth leaders to have to sit and read the filth, doubts and soul searching I spewed from my mouth as a teenager.

None of these feelings I have come from a spirit of judgement, at least it does not feel like judgement in my heart.  Every student means the world to me, whether they realize it, or I show it poorly.  The passion of my life is helping people truly know Jesus, and I want that for every student that has ever been under my care.  My heart breaks anytime a student walks away from church.  My heart breaks anytime I see a student post things that dishonor Jesus.  My heart breaks when a student can sit through service after service at my church and still miss Jesus.  I used to be able to lie to myself and believe they were all getting it, but social media gives me a taste of reality.  A hard reality.  A reality I do not like to acknowledge.

I definitely see the great things that social media brings to my ministry.  It provides so many great tools for communicating, relationship building, and getting a window into the students world.  Maybe I am ignorant for saying this, but sometimes I wish the window was not so clear.  Satan uses it often to whisper to me of my ineffectiveness.  While many times my methods are ineffective, I know I serve a God who can change any life and that is what keeps me going.  My calling will always be to show people Jesus and hear me clear that is exactly what I want to do.  If you sometimes feel like I do cling to Jesus and your calling even when what is before you may not seem to be bearing fruit; those who you shepherd need you to keep going.

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Darrell Day Reflections

* from 2011

Well as many of you already realize, yesterday was a new national holiday called Darrell day, August 31st, the day I entered the world.  This was the 34th annual Darrell day celebration and tons of rootbeer, burritos and celebrations were had by all.  I had a great day filled with things that characterize the joys that are a part of my everyday life: My girls (Tiffany, Rylie, Macee), friends, Chuy’s Mexican food, rootbeer(thanks for the rootbeer Sterling and Brittney), the students of Southmont Baptist Church and preaching.  All of these are things I love dearly, not to mention being humbled by the 250 plus people who took the time to say happy birthday to me via text and Facebook.  I feel very blessed to be  a part of the life that God has given me.

It is milestones like birthdays that cause us to reflect, and cause us to count our blessings.  As I look back over this last year of my life I realize I have experienced so many incredible blessings.  There have been ups and downs, but God has been faithful to teach me the lesson of contentment.

Philippians 4:11-13 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

I wanted to end this post with ten photos that speak to God’s faithfulness to bless me this year.

TOP TEN HIGHLIGHTS OF MY 33RD YEAR (No Particular Order)

1.) The Birth of my daughter Macee- We were told that it was a great possibility that we could not have any other children, but on January 13,2011, this beautiful little girl entered the world.

2.) God opened the door for one of the greatest dreams of my life to be fulfilled when my first book “No One Really Knows” was published by Lucid Books in February 2011. www.norkbook.com

3.) Southmont Youth Group- I have seen God do amazing things in the lives of these kids this year and I feel so blessed to be their youth pastor and call them my kids.

4.) Met one of my childhood heroes and got to sit down and hang out with him for 30 minutes: Spud Webb5.) Got asked by my friend, former Major League Baseball All-Star, Glenn Wilson, to co-author his biography with him.

6.) Got to watch my daughter Rylie cheer at Upward basketball games

7.) Splurged on the most expensive meal of my life on an awesome date with my wife Tiffany to Pappas Borthers Steakhouse for our anniversary.  We try to go to really nice restaurants in Dallas twice a year for her birthday and our anniversary.

8.) Got the opportunity to join the program staff of Camp 220 and speak at both weeks as a Team Bible Study Leader.  I love this ministry and I am glad I get to be a part of the behind the scenes of all that God is doing. www.twotwenty.org

9.) Got to coach Rylie’s softball team

10.) Saw the Texas Rangers go to the World Series and the Dallas Mavericks win the NBA Championship.  Okay, this does not directly involve me, but it brought me lots of joy to see both of these events happen.

*Honorable Mention: Launched one of the worst webshows in the history of YouTube- Darandumb Moments: http://www.youtube.com/user/durkel777

Suicide in Sports

The news of former Cy Young award winner Mike Flanagan’s death by suicide is still fresh on my mind as the story was released today. He becomes another on the list of athletes from my childhood years who has taken his own life over the last five years. I will post a list at the bottom of this message of those players.

From all reports Flanagan took his life due to being upset about financial concerns.It breaks my heart to see so many who see death as the only option to rid them of their pain. If only we could go back and tell them that there was hope. If only we could go back and tell them that they were loved by their families, friends and fans.

If you are reading this and feel life is hitting nothing but deadends please talk to someone. Seek out help from a trained counselor or local pastor. There is hope, God has placed you here on Earth for a purpose. Jesus came and died to set the captives free and he came that we might have a full and abundant life. He loves you, and His love for you never wavers or changes, no matter how many times you fail.

I have helped a family walk through suicide in the past and I know how tough it can be on families. Pray for the families of those listed below, especially the Flanagan’s as this is so fresh.

Suicides

NBA
Mel Turpin 2010

NFL
Dave Duerson 2011
Kenny McKinley 2010
Shane Dronett 2009
Andre Waters 2006

MLB
Keith Drumright 2010
Brian Powell 2009
Mike Flanagan 2011
Hideki Irabu 2011

National Suicide Hotline 1(800)273-TALK

5 Reasons Why I Love Chuy’s-Denton

Not hard to believe for people that know me that I am here talking about mexican food, but I had to share my new affection for Chuy’s.  So far I have made two trips to this fine establishment since it’s opening on August 2nd.

1.) They Allow Bald Men to Live Their Dream of Having Hair

One “Dare” led to me wearing this wig to my first visit to Chuy’s on their opening day.  The hostess could not bear to look at me without giggling.  I realized this day the extent of discrimination against guys with flowing black hair.

2.) Queso Compuesto


This plus chips= Heaven in a bowl

3.) More Tasty Sauces than Should be Allowed in a Single Restaurant


Boom Boom Sauce, Deluxe Tomatillo, Tomatillo, Jalapeno Cool Ranch, Queso, Salsa… Need I go on?

4.) Tasty Chimichangas and Burritos= 5 Star Restaurant

* Best Chimichanga I have ever had, and I have had quite a few in my time.

5.) They built their Denton location right down the road from my work.

With this restaurant being so close to my church job, I am sure it is going to bad news for the pocket book and the waist line.

All this said…If you have not ever given Chuy’s a chance, stop being dumb.

Asking the Right Question

In the last few weeks I have had more than one person approach me about feeling a lack of passion or dryness in their pursuit of Christ. Many seem to associate Christ with feelings of shame and guilt, so they want to avoid Him all together. So many of us have become so accustomed to living a legalistic, rule based Christianity that when our performance fails we cannot escape the guilt of our failures. Many of the thoughts below came from what God has helped me learn in my journey, what God taught me this Summer in studying to teach Bible Studies for Camp 220, and hearing others teach this summer.

First thing I need to remind you, IF you belong to God, meaning you have a relationship with Him, then Romans 8:1 tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. This verse has meant so much to me, because it promises that in the midst of our failures God in his grace and mercy forgets our trespasses against Him. It is almost as if God is telling us I do not condemn you, QUIT CONDEMNING YOURSELF. Quit living a powerless Christianity swallowed up with guilt. When God looks at you as a Christian, he does not see your failures; He sees Christ’s righteousness that has covered you.

Zephaniah 3:12-19 is a beautiful picture of the joy that God finds in who we are. God sees someone worth singing over, he has taken away his judgments over you, he fights for you and he is near to you. God says you are so worth all Jesus did.

So first we must see ourselves in the way that God sees us, but second we must ask the right questions about how to get back the passion and zeal that seems absent. Many times we begin with the question how can I pray more, how can I read the Bible more, or what can I DO to draw closer to God? I believe this is the wrong question to begin our thought process.

1.) The question is not how much am I doing to draw close to Him, it is how much am I letting Him do in me?

Does he have my whole heart?

What things in my life steal my affection for Him?

Am I living out Philippians 3:7 that everything compared to Christ seems like dung, poop, or rubbish? It is not an obedience problem as much as it is a love problem. When Jesus has all of our affections no one has to tell us to pray, or read our Bible, we just desire to do it. The prayer is not God help me increase my Bible study time, but help increase my love for you, help remove the things that steal my affections from you… Come and have my whole heart.

Many of us are like the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2, we are checking off all the duties of a Christian, but we have lost our passion and love for him in the midst of doing things for Him. The question must come what am I letting him do in me?

Have I surrendered my spiritual gifts and passions to be used by him? These gifts are not accidents, but are intended to be used by him for his church. Some of the most excited students in my youth ministry right now are those who have realized their spiritual gifts, asked God to take those gifts and use them and seen God begin to work in them and through them. It is in giving God complete control that our passion and desire to be in word and pray increases.

2.) The next question we must ask is by whose power am I living in? 1 Corinthians 4:20 says the kingdom of God is not in Word but in power. Paul tells the people if he comes he will not judge their closeness to God by what they say, but by the power which they live by.

What are you living in that takes God’s power to complete? Are you living by his power or living in what is comfortable and manageable for you? The reason most Christians never move forward in their walk with Christ is they spend their whole life walking in and praying for things they can accomplish without God.

What are you letting him do in you? Have you been just a follower in words or are you living each breath, each step by his power?

3.) How big is your view of God? What God is able to do in and through us is relative to what we believe he is able to do. So many Christians spend so much time arguing what God can’t or doesn’t do anymore. I am persuaded that if we worship a small God who has a list of things he can’t do and we have a holy spirit who is mute and serves as just a glorified conscience then we limit what God is able to do in us and through us. Check out Mark 9, part of our drawing into a powerful life changing relationship with Christ is admitting the areas of unbelief and saying God help me believe in the depth of your power.

Is your God manageable, understandable and full of things he can’t do or doesn’t do anymore or is he the powerful God of the Bible? Part of letting him do what he wants in us is having an accurate view of Him.

4.) Lastly, we will all spend time in the desert or times of dryness; it is how we navigate through that time that tells if we fully belong to Him. It was in Jesus’ time in the desert (Matt 4) that he was tempted, he responds by clinging to Scripture. In dryness we must cling to the Word, not as a duty but because we need it.

What are you allowing God to do in you?

Calvinism: Idea that is changing our world?

Time magazine has just labeled Calvinism as one of the top ten ideas that is changing the context of our world.  I too have noticed that so many ministers are going back to this doctrine that was embraced by so many of the early reformers like John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine and more recent leaders such as Al Moehler, John Piper. Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler and Francis Schaeffer.

Thought it was interesting that Time picked up on this shift happening in Christendom.  Check it out!!
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1884779_1884782_1884760,00.html?imw=Y

A New Me

 pesky

I have never been much for the idea of New Years resolutions because rarely do I end up keeping them.  So I am hesitant to call these New Years resolutions, but I had made a few promises to myself and Tiffany about things that I want to do now that I have finally finished seminary.  These are things I have thought about for a long time and have already begun working on since my graduation on December 14.  For so long Seminary has taken a lot of my spare time that normally would be filled with recreation and hobbies.  My desires  not for just 2008, but for the rest of my life here on Earth are:

1.) Memorize more Scripture

2.) Read more for enjoyment

3.) Eat Better

4.) Make working out a part of my life

5.) Do more spontaneous and romantic things for Tiffany

6.) Start collecting autographs again

7.) Attend more events that my students are involved in

Some of these may seem trivial and some if you know me may make you laugh, but I have never felt so free and driven in my entire life. I am already working hard at 2,3,4 and 6 and plan to get on the others starting today.

Small Victories

– I have not had a Soda in 6 days

– I have not had fast food in 6 days

– I have already completed a book this year

– I joined 24 Hour Fitness on December 27 and have been working out hard

– I have been watching my calories and writing down everything I eat since Dec 27

– I have already lost 4 pounds

More updates will come as I go, please help hold me accountable

Politics and Education

The Bald Man is back!!! And now the world shall call me educated.  Friday December 14, 2007, I received my Masters Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  It is exciting that I am finally done with school and now able to completely focus on youth ministry.

My intention is not to be too political on this blog but I saw this clip of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and immediately gained a deep respect for his courage to stand up for what he believes.

What Dreams May Come

Have you ever had a really weird dream and wondered where the inspiration for the dream came from?  About a month and a half ago I had a dream that has been intriguing me and if I am honest given me more than one chuckle.  I figured it was time to come clean before all of the world about this amazing journey of dreams.

The dream starts with me riding down the highway in a computer chair.  The computer chair is going at a high rate of speed, like that of a nice sedan or a swift truck.  As the chair rolls down the highway I am shifting gears, as you would in any computer chair, when all of a sudden a squirrel runs out in front of my chair.  If you are not aware, computer chairs do not have breaks, so I ran over the squirrel and decapitated him.  In horror I somehow bring the chair to a stop and go back to check on the squirrel.  As I approach the squirrel, the headless animal rises from the ground and begins to viciously attack my feet.  In protection I begin to furiously kick my feet to fend off the headless monster.  I awake from my dream and I am kicking the snot out of my bed and my heart was beating like no other.  Man it was so real, and so scary, to be honest it is surprising I did not wet myself.

What does it mean???

Romo better than Aikman?

I know living here in Dallas that the assumption that anyone is better than the golden boy Aikman is a cardinal sin but as a lifelong Cowboys fan I am going to make this statement. It could be the greatest overreaction of all-time, but I believe when all is said and done Romo will be regarded as a better quarterback than Troy. This all hinging on longevity and if he can stay healthly through out his career.

 

I never remember feeling so confident in the quarterbacking situation in Dallas than I do now, even during the 90’s. I know the arguments for Aikman: a stronger NFC in the 90’s, more running plays, and less weapons but I still think if you look at the stats you will be amazed at the quality of Romo’s numbers.

 

Romo: 22 Starts: 470 completions 717 Attempts 6220 yards 51 tds 27 int

 

Aikman: 26 Starts (1989-1990) 381 completions 692 attempts 4328 yards 20 tds and 36 interceptions

 

Even if you look at career stats most of Romo’s outweigh Troy’s

 

Highest QB Rating for a Season: Aikman- 99.0 ; Romo- 107.1

 

Highest TD Count- Season: Romo- 33 and counting; Aikman- 23

 

Highest Completion percentage for season: Romo- 66.0; Aikman- 69.1(in his 5th Season)

 

Anyone agree? Disagree? I know some must be left up to history to see if Romo can win SuperBowls like Aikman but I think Romo is amazing.