Monday, October 23, 2006

Boring Announcements

Hey everyone. Haven't much to say tonight. It's been a week since I've posted. Been busy again with life. Lot's of things have happened that I'd just bore you with, so I'll spare you...

Naaa... I'll bore you with an idea I implemented in youth group. I went to a Youth Leader's Conference last weekend and we were discussing how to creatively and effectively do announcements. Everyone seems to have the same issues as the next guy with students not really paying attention and flyers being left on the floor to be trashed. So, this guy throws out this thing he's done with video and shows us an example.

You take a clip from a movie that has lots of dialogue and interesting characters. You rip it and then bring it into a program that can edit video and sound. Then, you cut out voices and replace them with your own recorded one's telling about your events and activities in a funny or creative way. The results are hilarious and kids definitely pay attention while your announcement is being embedded into their brain.

I decided to put it to the test myself and so I used AoA DVD Ripper to get a clip from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It's the scene when the White Witch shows up in her sled with the dwarf and meets Edmund. I imported it into Adobe Premier and separated the video from the sound so that I could export the sound clip into a program called Goldwave. In Goldwave I took the sound clip and pressed a button that reduced all vocals. It worked like a charm. The program only left one actual word but cut out the rest leaving me with the original sound effects and music score. I saved it as an mp3 and continued.

Then, I watched the clip over and over again, scripting every word so that I could come up with a new script that was similar in word formation and length, but talked about my announcement, which was about Youth Convention.

After I finalized the script, I recorded each line on my C01U - USB Studio Condenser Microphone in Goldwave separately and saved them as mp3's. Then, I imported them into Adobe Premier and matched the recordings with the visual dialogue of the characters. When I finished editing, I applied some fades and additional slides before and after the clip along with music.

I showed the announcement in Youth Group and the students laughed and were paying attention. It must have gotten through because I collected almost every single registration yesterday... on the due date. Amazing.

Have you done anything creative lately?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

My Hardcore Softball Friend

This story has been sitting in my Palm Pilot for a long time now.

Back in the spring I was playing softball for our church team and I met a new guy that had recently started coming to our Sunday services. Believe me, he was new to Christianity. His old life was pretty shady. We were thrilled to have him on our "team." Okay, truth is I was scared of him just a little. The dude is pretty big, tattooed, and missing some teeth.

After our games one night, we met at his truck and started talking music. I found out he was a big hip hop fan, so I introduced him to Toby Mac's "Diverse City." He pumped up the music in his truck. Pretty sweet sound system.

Then, he asked me if I am offended at cuss words. He wanted me to hear some songs by a rap artist he used to work for here in Phoenix.

Now, some would testify that my friend saw Jesus in me and felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit so he was compelled to ask me first. I say, maybe he was being polite and genuinely didn't want to offend me. Could it be?

Which brings me to my question: "Why are Christians always offended?"

I asked this question to a group of teenagers and one girl spoke up and said, "Because Pat Robertson tells them to be!" Wow.

Being offensive is obviously a stumbling block to relationship. But isn't taking offense a stumbling block too?

I looked at my hardcore softball friend and said, "It's okay. Let me hear your songs." So, he played the music and when the parts came up with cussing, he nervously laughed and talked over the swearing. I just smiled with him and said, "Hey now." We were both on the same team.

We have a great relationship to this day. I just enjoyed his beaming smile in a conversation this morning.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Meet Olga

There are a few things that I'm scared of...this would be one of them. Be careful out there. Sometimes when I'm ready to post a disagreement with a blogger, I wonder if this is what they look like.

So, what are you scared of?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Feeling Good in Mexico

It's Sunday night and I'm finally sitting at my computer writing an update. I hope you are all doing well. There are so many things that have been happening in my life, as I'm sure there has been in yours too. So, tonight I'll tell you about one of them.

This past weekend I took a trip down into Mexico about 4 hours south of the Arizona border. Altogether, it was a 7 hour van ride. I was with our District Youth Director, a missionary to Mexico, a couple of pastors, and 5 other youth pastors like me. Our purpose was to meet 3 Mexican national pastors and discuss plans to have ministry teams of teenagers come down and help their churches on a basis of several times a year.

We had our meeting in a rectangular, unfinished, cinderblock building with a metal roof. Pigeons were nesting on the center steel support beam straight over our heads. We all pulled up a block and used it as a chair. Not bad.

Using the missionary and one of our pastors as translators, we managed a conversation between us about vision. We made it very clear that we wanted them to lead us and use us...that this was completely about strengthening their churches. They received us well and responded with very kind and loving remarks. They also expressed their desire to work with us, unified, and with "no wall" between us. The most important thing we could leave them would be a spiritual blessing.

My heart was touched.

At the close of the meeting, when the sun had gone down, we hugged and shook hands. One of the pastors spoke to me and said, "You are welcome here. Mexico is your home."

That made me feel good.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sorry, I've been busy lately.

I have been occupied with other things over this past week and I haven't had much time left for JimmyBob's Place. Part of it is that I started a MySpace account, a Xanga account, a Yahoo Groups account, and another Youth Pastor's Forum. The other parts of it are that Survivor started up again on TV, for my birthday I got "Rockstar Table Tennis" for my video game system, and I have been really tired. One night I even fell asleep at this computer.

Anyway, tonight I was thinking about a Scripture that I shared in a sermon I preached this past Sunday. It is found in 1 John 2 and it is verses 15-17. They say. . .

"Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever."

I never thought about the fact that this world is fading away. Like most people, I stop at the parts about eyes, flesh, and pride.

These verses tell us that there are two forces at work against each other. There is "this evil world" and there is "the will of God."

There are two offers that we must consider. We can choose to crave the things of this world or we can crave the will of God.

There are only two outcomes (we can assume according to these verses in particular and verified through others) of our choosing one craving over the other. If we choose to crave the things that the world has to offer, we will eventually suffer eternal death. If we crave the will of God and do it, we will live forever.

Now the part that stuck out at me was that this world and it's cravings are already fading away. They are soon going to be dissolved and vanish. God is already working His will and the end of the world (as we know it) is soon to come. It makes sense that if we crave doing the Father's will that we can go on living forever, because God's will is eternal. It also makes sense that if we choose to satisfy the cravings of this world that we will eventually perish along with those things that are even now fading away.

God allows us to identify ourselves with either one. It is up to us. I can't see any other way to interpret these verses. They make sense to me. More than anything else, they speak hope into me. That my God is moving and working things out. That I should stay in love with Him and trust Him over all other influences in this life. Even if I mess up bad, I should repent and draw close to Jesus, who loves me more than I can imagine, because it is my alignment with His side that leads to eternal life.

What do you think?