My Love/Hate For Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures

I am on my 3rd copy of X-Wing.  I traded away my first copy, sold my second, and then bought it a third time.

I just can’t decide if I like the game or not.  There are things I love about it and things I hate about it:

LOVE – Ship Movement

Playing secret moves from a dial of differing possibilities is genius and I love trying to out-maneuver other pilots just by guessing.

HATE – All the Pieces

Seriously, though… there are so many tokens that if you have a big enough battle it looks like a galactic piñata burst on the table; and the more ships you add the more cards and pieces you add and that creates a space problem on the game table.

LOVE – Different Ships

Fantasy Flight has done a great job introducing a robust selection of ships from the Star Wars universe.  And they keep introducing more waves!

HATE – Different Ships

It would cost about $1,000 to own one of each ship.  And they keep introducing more waves!

LOVE – Quality

The detail is awesome for a pre-painted mini game.  And the scale, I think, is perfect for the game.

HATE – Tournaments

I lost my first match 100 to 0 to the previous store champ.  Then, in the loser’s bracket, I lost 100 to 0.  Then in the loser’s loser’s bracket, I lost 100 to 0.  I didn’t play my next two matches and went to Taco Bell instead.

All in all, it IS a fun game with unique game mechanics that puts others on notice.  But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to catch up with the production and build my game to play at the intended capacity.  I may have to be content playing the skirmish missions in the core set with a single X-Wing vs. 2 Tie Fighters.


Everyone Leaves


I’ve been at the Kirk since October 2009.

In that amount of time the interim Sr. High Pastor went to Arkansas, our first assistant got married, then our second one got married, then our third one went to Colorado to work in another ministry, then our Sr. High Pastor went to another part of Oklahoma, and our team leader got bumped up into a new role outside the youth ministry.

Since October 2009 I’ve seen one intern move to Colorado, another became a youth pastor in Tulsa, and our worship intern moved back to Costa Rica.

One pair of our volunteers took a youth ministry position in South Carolina, one volunteer moved to Louisiana, one moved to Chicago, one will be out of the country for 11 months, we had to “fire” two volunteers, one volunteer committed suicide, and five more “retired” from youth ministry after many years of service.

On top of all that, the sobering stat is that the average stay for a youth pastor at a church is 12-18 months, so it seems like every time I start to make new youth pastor friends in town, they move soon after.

Ministry is hard because it seems like everyone leaves.  It’s even more painful when we hear that our students have started attending somewhere else.  We do take it personally.  We do get frustrated.  We do get tired of the turnover.

But don’t let the turnover tame you.  It’s hard.  But it’s never boring.  Keep recruiting.  Keep doing contact work.  Keep making disciples.  Because despite the turnover, we still have a 16 person volunteer team with more combined years in youth ministry than the three pastors on our staff.  We have a support volunteer team of about 20 additional people, eager to serve and help us win.  We have a network of youth pastors that HAVE stayed in the area.  And we have a senior leadership at the church that is for us.

Everyone leaves.  But not everyone leaves a legacy.  Stay resolute.

Lacking Imagination

Every week our Senior Pastor does a Bible study with the staff.  We are using John Stott’s commentary on Acts.  This was one of my favorite passages today:

Something else I have learned about [Satan] is that he is peculiarly lacking in imagination.  Over the years he has changed neither his strategy, nor his tactics, nor his weapons; he is still in the same old rut.  So a study of his campaign against the early church should alert us to his probable strategy today [physical persecution, moral subversion, and professional distraction].  If we are taken by surprise, we shall have no excuse.

-Stott, John (1994).  The Message of the Acts.  IVP Academic.

Make Christmas FREE Next Year

First, if you’re not already using Swagbucks, click here and complete the free sign up

Second, I’ll give you the password to a step by step guide I created on what I did to make over $400 in gift cards this year so that Christmas was FREE!

And that’s all there is to it!

How Extroverts Die


Recently I read a great post from Tim Challies about how he (an introvert) learned to embrace the “stand and greet time” at church.  And it inspired this post, so allow me to paraphrase his for a second:

In Challies’ post, he posed the question of why do you go to church?  It’s either for yourself or for others.  If it’s for yourself, it’s easy to hide on the back rows and in the corners and justify that it’s because “I’m an introvert.”  But Challies challenges us in this way: we are called to die to ourselves as followers of Christ.  That means, from his post, introverts need to die to what makes them shy for the good of the church.


What about extroverts?  How do they die?  Probably from high blood pressure, but how do they die theologically?  How does someone that talks loud, moves fast, and always sweats die to themselves during the church “stand and greet time?”

Like this: stay with one person.  It is SO easy for us to try and shake as many hands as possible in the 150 seconds we’re given.  We blow right past people, look through people, strategize our “route” as soon as announcements start.  We do all the talking and rarely listen (and then say, “Oh, I’m just bad with names.”)  Spoiler alert – you won’t be bad with names if you stay with one person.  Slow down (seriously – I almost knocked over one of our oldest founding members last week because I was on a mission).  Talk.  Plan your “route” but make sure it’s just from point A to person A (and not B, C, D, E, e, F, F#, F#m, G, 11, squirrel, you know?)

Also: not everyone likes a bear-hug.  Remember, there are introverts in the room.  You can OVERWHELM them with your enthusiasm and this can be unloving.  Be aware that not everyone wants to be picked up and swung around.  Be aware that a hearty slap on the back could just as easily be a boot out the door.  Be aware that some people do have a hard time making eye-contact.  Die to yourself and tone it down a notch.  Greeting is not about you.  It’s about connection.

So if you’re an extrovert, I’m proud of you.  Love the church enough to be mellow for Jesus…but just for a moment.  If you’re an introvert, I’m proud of you.  Love the church enough to give extroverts someone to talk to; let them in so you can be known.

It’s not about handshakes, high-fives, or ha-ha’s!  It’s about connecting.  Who will you connect with this Sunday?  Who will you die for?

Making Threats on “Anonymous” Apps

I saw this in a post from Adam McClane and wanted to share a section of it:

Here’s What You Need to Know

All of the so-called anonymous and ephemeral apps point directly back to you. (Yik Yak, Snapchat, Whisper, Secret, etc) The only people that thinks things disappear or are anonymous are the users.

So if you are using these apps and thinking it’s all private or secure or anonymous, recognize that this is merely a perception.

There is no such thing as privacy or anonymity online, only the perception of privacy or anonymity.

Here’s Some Reasons Yik Yak Threats Are a Bad Idea

  • To create an account you need a valid email address. Oops.
  • Even if you use a fake or “anonymous” email address to create an account, the IP address associated with your account points back to you. (Learn about IPv6 — “Every device on the Internet is assigned an IP address for identification and location definition.”) Oops.
  • Most people are too lazy for that so they login with their Facebook account. Oops.
  • With Yik Yak specifically, the app simply won’t work if you don’t have the GPS on your phone activated for the app. (Location Services for Apple Users) So while a Yak posted my only show you a general area it’s posted from, the app recorded your exact location when you posted. Oops.
  • When you post an image to something like Whisper or Snapchat… the image itself has TONS of metadata that points directly to your device and location. Oops.
  • The data network on your phone is constantly pinging your location back to your service provider. Actually, the GPS on most phones actually works even if you have data turned off. In other words, if that phone is on, it’s logging your location within about 10 feet. Oops.
  • The cellular network on your phone connects to nearby towers each time you make or receive a call or send a text. While not as accurate as the GPS, it establishes that you are within a general area. Oops.
  • Let’s say you think you are slick and use a VPN. Wanna know what? Your phone logs that you used that VPN. So if a threat came through a VPN and your phone used the same VPN? Oops.

And do you know how hard it is to get all of that information? Not that hard if you are law enforcement. A court order, subpoena, or search warrant is all that’s needed. A little paperwork and the signature of a judge.

So, let’s say you make a threat about a school on an “anonymous” app. Within about two weeks you’ll discover that what you thought was anonymous was anything but that.

Far from putting on winter gloves and pulling the fire alarm in 1993, an online threat posted to Yik Yak or another so-called anonymous app leaves a digital footprint that easily establishes your guilt. All of this data is admissible in court. And all of this data will prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you did it.

Are Teenagers Spiritually Immature?

A former volunteer of ours recently got hired as a full-time youth pastor in another state.  We’ve been keeping up with him regularly during the transition to help him win, and I got a text from him that said this:

still struggling a bit more with the middle school than high school.  our students are very immature spiritually so i am trying to find out how to communicate to them and raise them up in a loving way

It seems like a legitimate concern.   But I think often times our perspective as youth workers is easily off course.  It really depends on what we mean by “immature spiritually.”  Maturity, after all, is simply acting appropriate to your age.

So if we have an expectation fresh out of Bible college that a 13 year old with ADD wants to know what eschatology means, then I understand why we think teenagers are  immature spiritually.

If we expect a 17 year old who’s life goal has been a D1 scholarship to suddenly skip practice for the youth pastor’s prayer meeting, then I understand why we think teenagers are immature spiritually.

What do we mean by “go deep?”  What do we expect a spiritually mature student to look like?  A college student?  An adult?  Ourselves?

See I think it frees us a LOT to remember how old our students are.  And with their age comes their cognitive, emotional, and spiritual development as well.  We can’t expect teenagers to be spiritually mature if what we mean by spiritually mature is having a college level education about inductive Bible study.  They’re still trying to love Jesus and not look like a dork.  So we can just show them why Jesus is better and not become frustrated when they don’t grasp the greek roots of a present active imperative verb.

They’re kids.  Let them be.

Many of them are just now figuring out abstract illustrations.  Tap the breaks on some of your stories.

Should we have high expectations of biblical literacy, spiritual understanding, and relational growth in Christ?  Yes.  But we should be equally ok with knowing that every single student is going to arrive at those milestones at different times and with different intensities.

Spiritually mature teenagers are the ones that have an appropriate understanding of God for their developmental stage.  If they’re not as intellectual as we’d like that’s ok.  That just means we need to be more intentional in recognizing our own expectations may actually be what’s hindering students from becoming spiritual mature.