Monday, December 15, 2008

Highs and Lows

Not long ago I had one of the highest highs in my ministry. Everything went well, a plan was envisioned, put into play, an executed well. We had a service that I had been dreaming about for about seven months, and it went awesome! Better than could have been expected. I went home that night on cloud nine, expecting things to continue going well. The next day, Sunday, was one of the worst days in ministry I had ever had. Things didn't go well, not at all. Along with that I found myself strugelling with sin more than normal (and giving in at an alarming rate). "What happened?!!!!" I went from a high of all highs, to a low, and it was a bad low.

Even this past Sunday, everything went well, it was the best Sunday of our Advent season, but then something came up in the afternoon that brought me down. It seems like it always happens.


I think this is the way it works. When we are on top of the mountain, it seems like the logical time for the devil to come after us. And come after us he does, he comes hard, and for some reason we are not ready because of the success we just had. We get tempted, and we fall. Heck, sometimes I think I don't want to succeed, if this is what happens next.

I don't think that is the only thing going on. On some level the Lord also keeps his servants humble, he wants us to do great things for him, but he wants us to do them for his glory not ours.

Am I the only one, or has this been your experience as well?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stingy Christians


Stingy Christians was the name first considered for this book, and probably a better name. Passing the Plate analyzes the giving patterns of American Christians and finds some very shocking (or maybe not so shocking) statistics. Did you know that 20% of Christians give nearly 90% of the total given to the church and other charitable institutions? On top of that the top 5% gives more than half of the total given. The authors show all the possibilities for Christians if only the ones that call themselves committed Christians would give: The number is a staggering 46 billion.
As I write about giving, many would say: "How can you talk about giving during an economic crisis?" Well, because if we as Christians would change our giving habits in times of turmoil, that would make it a lot easier for when the economy gets better. I was listening to Johnny Hunt (the president of the Southern Baptist Convention) speak to his church the other day, and he, and his deacons, made a commitment to his church to double tithe until the economy turned around. I thought that was a great example of Christian leadership, Pastor Johnny and the leaders of the Woodstock Baptist church have stepped out and stood in the gap giving an example to their people not only to hold strong in their giving, but also to go above and beyond showing that God is in control.
What should we as pastors and laymen do? Well, we should first of all take the opportunity to make sure we are giving as we should. Then we should do all we can to push those around us to be the stewards that God wants them to be. This is no easy task, but we must challenged those around us even though our culture tells us that we should never talk about finances because that is a sensitive topic. We have a responsibility because giving is important to God, and it is his means of doing his work around this world.
The information about this book came from an article published by Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2008/006/5.11.html

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm a Butler?

I just found this article by Gerrit Gustafon about the job of ministers during the worship service. I think it will be enlightening to ministers and lay people alike.

Worship leaders and musicians (...and really all ministers) are like butlers
whose job it is to bring the congregation before the King. But many people
on their way home from the service find themselves with a nagging
dissatisfaction... they didn't get to see the King

For the rest of the article follow this link:

http://www.ccli.com/usa/Community/Articles/Article.aspx

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Launch of ChurchMetrics.com

I am pumped about the launch of churchmetrics.com. This web based application is provided free of charge from Life Church and claims to be "Built by a church, for churches...for free!!!" I have spent a little time poking around on the site and am so excited about the possibilities of keeping up with church attendance as well as giving. You can even set it up to keep up with the youth group seperately than the main church by using the seperate campus tool. Nevertheless, check it out, I think you will find it very useful to your ministry. http://www.churchmetrics.com/

By the way, read Josh Griffin's post about this on his blog: http://www.morethandodgeball.com/?p=4426



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday Night's video

We have been in a five week study in Youth Group answering the question "Who is Jesus?" Last week was the final week so we used this great video to bring it all home for the students. They say today's students learn more through a narrative rather than a three point outline, so I am attempting to do more using narratives rather than just a logical progression.


Enjoy!!

video

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Heck, Even You Could Do IT!!!!

Just finished a great book today. Radically Unchurched by Alvin Reid is a great read for anyone who wants to learn more about reaching the lost around them, especially a good read for pastors or people training to be in the ministry.
One of the many practical ideas found in this book seemed so simple that I nearly didn't even try it. The idea is this: whenever you go to a restaurant ask your waiter or waitress if they have any prayer requests for you to pray for when you pray over your meal. The idea is that this will begin good conversations with people about the Lord. Well today I went out to eat for lunch with two of the members of the church. I did not have this in mind when I showed up, but when I sat down I realized that I had to ask. Just like any wimpy Christian, I tried to make excuses to get out of it, but I knew that I had to do it. When our waitress served us our food I called her by name and said "We are about to pray for our food, do you have anything that we could pray about?" She was shocked at first but asked us to pray for her as she makes a decision about having sugery or not. We prayed for her, but the amazing thing was that when she came back to our table she had a huge smile on her face and thanked me for praying for her. She thanked me at least one other time before I left. I didn't know that it would be anything like this, but now I see. People need to hear about hope, when Christians talk about prayer, they hear hope. I am planning on doing this every time I go out to eat from now on. Will you join me? Will you take the challenge, will you be a conduit for God to show hope and love to be the post-modern people around you? Hey, just try it, I think you will be hooked after one time.



New Song from Everclear - Talk about a wake up Call

I just ran into this website while doing my regular blog reading this afternoon. Everclear has a free download of their new song, you can listen to it and read the words at the site below. The song is an indictment against Christians for the choices and stances they make. I found myself agreeing with the song a lot, and I realized that these are the areas where American Evangelicals do not communicate the true meaning of Christianity. Everclear is not a Christian band by any means, but one thing that can clearly be seen in this song is that Everclear is rejecting American Christianity not Jesus. They may have a somewhat naive or even twisted view of Jesus, but Jesus is not the problem for them, I am (Christians are). We need to learn something here, and realize that the world is begging for answers and even open to Jesus, but they are not open to Christianity.


NOTE: This music is not for the faint of heart. There is cussing, and a wholly irreverent attitude. Just a warning, I don't want any comments about how this song is inappropriate.




Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Great Blog Post

This is probably the best article, blog, or book on the subject of worship styles I have ever read. Jacob gives a great perspective on it, and will be helpful for all of you. He reminds us that worship is our responsibility as individuals and should not be dictated by worship styles. It is an awesome article, a must read!!! Check it out http://www.rhblogs.com/jr/?p=419

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trip to Frankenmuth

Recently, Jill and I were able to get away for a few days for our anniversary. It was nice to be able to rest for a few days to enjoy each other. It was also nice being in Frankenmuth, a German town here. The food was great, and the view was great as well, but I kept forgeting that we wern't really in Germany so I wouldn't be able to see the Bavarian Alps. What a bummer. (In Michigan we only have a few hills. Anyway, enjoy some pictures.




Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Resurrection Clip

Tonight we are talking about the Resurrection of Christ. This is the video we are using to introduce it. I think it is going to be great. Enjoy.
video

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wishing for a little more time in a day

My wife and I are sitting on the couch wishing for a few more hours in the day. I am currently working on my grad school stuff (specifically, I am studying about the Gospel of Luke), but also on my mind: my big paper due by next Sunday, this Sunday's test, paper, and Worship Service, as well as other ministry concerns, and neither Jill or I are feeling well. Well, I guess this is what I get for having a full time job (about 50-60 hours per week) and full time graduate school (I don't really want to know how many hours, but I read about 350 pages per week). I am not sure how I get it all done (sometimes it gets close), but then again I am sure we all are wishing for a few more hours in the day. In the end, I guess if I had more hours in the day, I would fill it up with more stuff. Here's to sleep!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11/01

As I look out of my hotel room window I see on the other side of the interstate a large American flag flying half-mast. The site brings back memories every time I see it, but nothing like it does today. Today as I look at the flag, a myriad of thoughts and images run through my mind, as they probably do yours. Do you remember where you were on that late summer day in September of 2001? Or did you actually remember that it was seven years ago today that this second Day of Infamy occurred?
Trying to think of my emotions as I walked into the dormitory, during my Freshman year in college, and saw a group of usually rowdy and irreverent students guys huddled around the television in silence. We all sat there stunned, and wondered what that meant for the rest of our lives. We knew something would change, but the question was WHAT!
Think about that day for you, did you hear the news in your car or at your desk, as your were getting ready for work, or as you sat in your classroom at school? Did you find out because of the gridlock around the break room TV set, or because of the gridlock on the highways and airports of Boston and New York? What did you do? Who did you hug? Did you cry, or were you just mad?
I was mad, I was also scared. I was scared at the potential of military service in my future (a fear that dissolved into resolve within hours, but was never needed) but also scared because for the first time in my life I lived in a city. I had only lived there for weeks, and was wishing for the comfort and security of rural Alabama again. Could my city be next. For many of us the emotions were the same, that is not to mention those of us who lost someone on that day, we were angry, we were scared, we wanted to do something about it.
As I look back on the last seven years I think about what has happened in America, what has changed. Many things are different, though not to the proportion that we envisioned that day.
We wait in line longer at airports (and pay more for our tickets at that), we have to have passports to go on cruises and to visit Canada, and Mexico, we have a color coded pattern we hear about describing the threat level, and we know of countries and governments that we barely knew existed 10 years ago. But despite the many changes things seem very similar today as they did 9/10/01.

In the last seven years I have lived all over the eastern part of the US, and traveled to even more of it; I have traveled and also lived in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Northern Africa. I have seen the world from a different perspective through these years. The threat of terrorist attacks have been real around me (and sometimes very close), and yet because of 9/11 I know that terrorist do not have to win.

9/11 a day of much death and destruction. But the fact that I can look out my window seven years later and still see an American Flag flying means that the terrorist did not win! In all that I think on today, I will thank God that the terrorist have not won!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back To School!!!






And nope this is not a blog about the students here in our church, this is about me. Patrick McDaniel is going back to school. I am in my first semester of my MAR (Master of Arts in Religion) at Liberty University. Kudos to Liberty for making this available to pastors in such an accessible way (pastors if you would like to know how accessible let me know). Notice I said accessible, not easy: some people have taken knocks at online education, and in the past I was one of them. There are still some courses and subjects that cannot be done well online (like preaching practicum, and foreign languages), but other than that online is right on par with on campus. Liberty does its best to give you the best educational experience ever.

I do remember in my undergrad in Nashville (Free Will Baptist Bible College) that a class with more than three books was considered a killer, in fact any class with more than one text book was complained about. But here in Seminary everything is a little different, 300 pages per week of reading not to mention discussion forums, tests and papers. Its a good thing I like to read! Just for info, one of my classes has eight books for reading, yes 8! Once again, good thing I like to read.

Jill and I are excited, and just think in about two and a half years I will be done with my MAR and my MDIV and looking for that ever elusive PHD. Busy, busy, busy. I gotta get back to my reading now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

PGA Championship at Okland Hills

Well, maybe you can already guess, I was able to spend a day athe the 90th PGA Championship just up the road in Bloomfield Township. Just about the first thing we did was go to the pro shop and buy this flag. When I bought it I was thinking it will be worth it for four signatures, but little did I know that I had many in store for me. We spent the whole day between the 7th and 8th holes and asked for autographs as the players came through. It was awesome!!! What is funny, is that most of these guys I had never heard of, and the ones that I had heard of didn't even make it past the cut this week. What's tough is that one of the guys that held the lead for a while and ended up finishing 3rd gave us the stiff arm when we asked for his autograph.

If you haven't been to an event, even if just to watch the practice rounds you have to get out to watch these guys play, because as the commercials say: "These Guys Are GOOOD!!!"

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Living it up at the Tigers Game




Every job has its up side, one of mine is that sometimes church members take me to local sporting events to encourage Jill and I. I have been to two Pistons games and two Tigers games in this way since I moved here 10 months ago. Once for the Pistons and now once for the Tigers I have gotten to sit in a luxury suite. For the Tigers game, not only did we get to sit in the nice area, we got to have all the food we wanted. It was awesome. The only problem is that it seemed like something besides baseball. Jill and I went downstairs to check out batting practice, and experienced all the sights, sounds, and SMELLS of baseball: when we got back up to the suite for the game it just wasn't the same. Something about the hot dogs, nuts, and pop corn that just say baseball. I am not knocking the ribs, chicken, and shrimp that we had in our suite, but it seemed more like a company Christmas party than a baseball game. So for the record, living it up in the suite is awesome, but you still have to sneak downstairs for a good ole hot dog! Enjoy the pics. (Yes I know that one of them is the Pistons, I had to throw it in two).
P.S. To the wonderful people that gave us these wonderful seats, do not be offended, we had a great time, and would love to do it again anytime.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

National Association of Free Will Baptist Convention

Well, it has been a long time since I have written, and the main reason is because I have either been out of town, or been recouping from being out of town. This past week was the National Convention in Charleston, West Virginia. We were glad to be there with 5000 other Free Will Baptist, but were also glad to leave. It was not a long trip down, but the inconveniences were many upon arriving.

The town, though nice, could not handle all of us. We were packed into the convention center like never before...and this was no where near the amount of people that normally come. Also, it has become tradition over the last couple of years to have people from the host state speak during the services, well, the first couple of services did not give a good showing. It improved much as the week progressed, which leaves the only complaint being the size of the city and the amount of space provided in Hotels, and in the Convention area. Well, we are glad to be back, and below you will find my ratings for this years event. (I would have posted pictures, but I have this thing with taking my camera with me but never taking it out of my pocket).


City: Charleston, WV - C- Just too small for us. Could have been worse if not for the nice words from the mayor. Also I am used to southern accents (I did grow up in Alabama), but the Charleston accent was difficult for me to follow at times.
Hotels - D+ The combination of 5 within a mile still did not equal what is needed. Also none of them had valet or full service bell staff.
Restaurants - A For sheer quantity. There was a nice food court, and probably 7 sit down restaurants within a block. Not to mention the fast food places 2 blocks away. Heck, even the Shriner's next door cooked out to feed us.
Convention Center - C Once again size was an issue, but on the bright side everything was easy to find.
Music - B+ Not as memorable as some years, but solid. Without the technical problems of Sunday night may have been an A
Speakers - C I thought this one would be a lot worse when the week started off. It got continually better, and this is a fluke. The Executive committee usually does a great job with this.
Seminars - A+ I was helped out a lot by the different seminars I went to, and every one that I have heard about went great. Of course this is leaving off the "Gathering of Youth Pastors" which fell flat, and was basically a waste of time.
Youth Services - B Was not present, but asked around. Heard good things about the music, but not so much about the speakers. Once again this is a fluke and will be remedied next year I am sure.
Youth Competition - A The amount of competitors was up, and it seemed to be a very enjoyable experience for all involved (although if someone will make the Bible Millionaire questions tougher it would be nice).

Overall - C+

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Drummond Island - Last Day

Well, we are on the road.  We have had a great week, and we are safely on the road.  We are attempting to catch the 1:10 ferry, so that should put us home around 8:30 or so.  See you soon.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Drummond Island: Day 5 and 6





The week is nearly over.  I think every student and every adult have mixed feelings about that fact.  On Thursday we spent an interesting day out of the lake.  I guess you have to have one day that doesn't work out perfectly.  The students were gracious, and enjoyed coming home and watching a movie.  Today was shopping and rest day.  We have one more service, please pray that all will go well in this last service of the week.  We will see you soon.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Drummond Island Day 4





WOW!!! What a day!! Another hike, another great view! The ledges was our destination today, a beautiful coastline, with a very deep drop off. The students loved the beauty, though I think the cold water and wind made them not enjoy it as much as they might have otherwise. The spiritual parts of our trip are going well, all the students are spending a half an hour in "God and I time" every morning, having a time of devotion with their small group every afternoon, and of course a evening service of praise and preaching. It is a great feeling for me to look out and see the students reading their Bibles and learning for themselves (Don't forget to ask them about their new Bibles). I am off, I have to go an help prepare the evening meal of BBQ Chicken, I cannot wait!!! Enjoy the Pictures

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 2 and 3 - Drummond Island






Yesterday was a great day of hiking and beauty. We had a wonderful trip to Marble Head Cliffs, of about 3 miles in, and three miles out (of course the students thought it was more like 10 miles). The beauty here is amazing, the teens are enjoying the nature all around us.
Today we are spending some time playing softball, then a good trip to the beach. The water is cold, but that hasn't stopped them yet! And whatever they tell you the mosquitoes are not bad! Please enjoy the pictures from our hike yesterday!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Drummond Island: Day One





We have safely made it to Drummond Island.  Upon arrival we ate dinner, had our first service, and played some team building games (That was when it started raining).  Everyone is excited, and looking forward to the week.  Hopefully the mosquitoes do not carry us away before the week is up.  Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure.

WE ARE OFF!!!!!

It is ten till 9 and we are loading the bus, about to hit the road for Drummond Island. All the students are eager, and excited (though a little bummed by the whole no MP3 player thing). We should arrive at Drummond Island before 5pm tonight. Thanks for everything!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Theology Podcast



Teen Retreat!!!

It is nearly time for our Teen Retreat! That means I am incredibly busy. I have been involved in camps all of my life, I have done a lot with missions trips as well: but this is my first retreat to plan. It may sound like I have all the experience necessary, but the difference between being a Youth pastor taking your group to camp and a Youth pastor taking a group on a retreat is the amount of work that is involved. If you go to camp, all you have to do is get your kids there, then have a couple of devotions, or something like that. If you are going to do a retreat, it is all on you!!! I either have to do it all or find someone else to do it. We have a great group of Volunteers going that are helping out a lot, but even with great volunteers you have to have a great leader to get things done. I am still looking for that great leader. I know I am supposed to be that great leader, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

So nevertheless, here we are 60 hours from when we leave and I have about 70 hours left of work to do!!! I love teen retreats! The first time is always the best right, or at least the most interesting. I haven't pulled an all nighter since my Junior year of college, but Saturday night may have that in store for me. We will see how it goes. I look forward to giving an update. I am sure it will go well, and I know for sure there will be lots of great stories!!!

Summer Outreach

To be honest I am horrible with outreaches. That is horrible to say for a pastor, but what's worse is that I was a missionary as well. So, we are now in the season of Summer Outreach, in fact our first event is tonight. This one is easy because we get to piggy back off of the fireworks at Red Run Country Club across the street. We are expecting around 150 non church members to be on our lawn spending time with family and watching fireworks. It is a great opportunity for us to meet the community, get to know them, and hopefully let them know we are not crazy.

Anyway, it is an exciting time, but for some reason my all is not in it. It could be because I have a lot on my plate this week, or who knows what else. All that being said, I am looking forward to the Lord stretching me, I am going to play basketball with teens, hang out with college students, shake hands with parents, and play silly games with the kids. Hey, just cause I am bad at this kind of stuff doesn't mean I can't get better. Here it goes! Hey why don't you put yourself into something that is not your forte! Maybe God will stretch us together!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Graduation Sunday

This past Sunday was our Graduation Sunday. I was able to speak and challenge the students that have just graduated and will be going into the world. I recieved a lot of positive response for this message, in fact the most positive response that I have ever recieved for one of my sermons (which is funny because it was not one of my best). God must have just used it to meet some needs in people's lives. With that in mind, I thought I would post it here so as many people as possible could gain from it. The sermon was in the form of a top ten list (not in any particular order of course), below you will find the outline that I gave to the students with their other gifts. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions or would like an audio copy, if there is enough intrest I could post the audio.


Graduation Sunday 2008
6/22/08
Top Ten Pieces of Advice
from the New Youth Pastor

1. Remember where you came from (2 Timothy 3:14)
2. Love what you do, or do what you love
3. Be Lifetime Learners (Proverbs)
4. It’s not too late (for anything)
5. Invest in People (Matthew 6:19-21)
6. Always be a part of a church family
7. Help people that can’t help themselves (James 1:27)
8. Do something on Purpose
9. Push those around you toward God (Hebrews 10:24)
10. Run the Race! (Hebrews 12:1-2)