Happy Easter!

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

“Seven Stanzas at Easter” by John Updike

2 Memory Tips So Teens Don’t Forget Your Talks

Computer Memory Hard Drive Disk HDD Storage Technology by epSos .de

I wrote an article over at the very cool projectym.com about applying the way our brain remembers things to the methods we use to give talks to teens, or teach anything for that matter. Two memory tips called the “Serial Positioning Effect” and the “Von Restorn Effect” we can use to help teens remember our talks based on the way their weird brains are wired.

I’m going to try to be more aware of these and experiment with it when I give my next couple talks. Let me know what you think, and if you have any success trying to structure your talk with this in mind.

Here’s an excerpt:

“You’re talking to teens five minutes after you just gave a rousing 20 minute talk. “What do you remember about the talk? What stood out to you?”

Blank stares.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Think about the best talk you’ve ever heard. What do you remember? Probably very little. For an even more sobering effect, try this experiment: listen to a talk (podcast, video, Sunday homily, etc) and the following day write down as much as you can remember about it.

There are two simple scientific facts about the way our brains memorize things that can help you help teens memorize what’s important in your talk.”

You can read the full article here. Continue reading

Youth Ministry Office Calendar

YM CalendarVisiting Good Shepherd Catholic Parish in Fort Worth, TX I found all three of the youth ministers (yes…three!) have these amazingly huge year calendars on their wall in their offices. Made out of a sheet of dry-erase material screwed into the wall (I’m guessing you can find this stuff at Lowes) they used some electrical tape and printed labels for the months and dates. I love this idea because it helps you see the entire year in context for planning youth group nights, a semester curriculum, large events, deadlines for paperwork, and meetings in a way that constantly reminds you of the bigger picture.

The summer is coming up and as I transition to a new youth ministry position at a different parish, I’m starting to think about how best to plan a year in a way that I will actually stick to. In the past I’ve sat down and planned out great youth nights, awesome events and activities, and goals that I want to accomplish, only to throw out the entire plan two months in.

How do you plan out your school year and make sure you stick to the plan? I’d love to hear from you and I reply to every email and comment.

Part of the Professional Youth Minister Series:

Grace builds on nature. So if you are paralyzed by 347 emails you haven’t read, find yourself despairingly browsing Facebook for most of the day, haven’t had a good idea in weeks, lack vision in your youth ministry, or just need some motivation to get back to work, welcome to the club. This series is about working on our nature and becoming a professional youth minister so all that grace has room to build. Check out all the posts in this series by clicking here.

These 5 Questions Help You Give Better Talks


This hour long workshop by Andy Stanley (author of Communicating for Change) is wrecking my world.

If you have ever been frustrated with feeling like a talk you gave at youth group fell on deaf and bored ears, this video will give you some simple shifts in preparing your talk that will get people to actually DO something, as opposed to just making people laugh and filling 15 minutes of the night with rambling and reading from the Bible.

His “One-Point Preaching” method could be applied to any of us who speak publicly with the intention that the audience would actually DO something after hearing something we say.

Key Take-Away’s: Continue reading

Criminals and Jesus

Judas-Doug Weaver

For Lent I’ve been trying to pray everyday with the Passion parts of the Gospels. Today was Luke 23:39-43. Jesus is crucified with two criminals. One who is repentant and one unrepentant.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43

Sometimes us Christians are plagued by the curse of familiarity. Its tempting with this part of the passion to just gloss over and simplify it because we’ve heard it so many times. One criminal is angry and one repents. Jesus rewards the repentant criminal with “today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Today in prayer I was wondering what the repentant criminal was thinking. His words seem odd. Continue reading

Coffee Interviews: Lay Evangelist Michael Gormley

Coffee Interviews is a series of video interviews I hope to bring back to this blog. Here’s a blast from the past to enjoy.

Today I got to speak with Michael Gormley (AKA Gomer) about his life as a “sort of” full time lay evangelist. This guy’s sharp and knows his stuff. He gives some great insights and this hour interview is jam packed. Click read more to see the show notes. Continue reading

things I’m scared of


being hit by an oncoming truck swerving out of its lane


my son dying

my dad dying

giving everything i’ve got and still failing


giving everything i’ve got and failing people who i love and respect

the things i do that aren’t who i want to be


the way i act when i’m on the phone with my bank’s automated system with speech recognition

being misunderstood

loving people too little

being loved too much


the sound my back makes sometimes

how much i care about appearances

being sappy


writing this list


not facing what im scared of

what are you scared of?