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Today’s Cultural Theologians

pop-cultureI had the honor of teaching a breakout session at the National Youth Workers Convention this past Sunday (10/6/13) for youth pastors all over North America.  At the end of the session, I promised that I would make the Keynote (PowerPoint for all you non-Mac users) available.  It took a while to upload (lots of media).

As promised, here is the PowerPoint of the presentation.  It was exported from Keynote (Apple) to PPT (PC) so it’s format is a little off, but the content is there and should be usable still.

Todayscultheo

Here are the teaching notes, if you don’t understand the content feel free to ask and I will be happy to walk you through it.

Today’s Cultural Theologians

I completely enjoyed my experience and if can help in your learning process please contact me at:

jbachman@rockharbor.org-email

drbackpack-twitter

Or comment on this blog.  Thanks again NYWC.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in birthday

 

Happy Birthday Charlotte!

It’s always good to look back on life and reflect.  Today is one of those days for us.  We celebrate the life of our 3rd child, Charlotte Monroe Bachman.  She is a gift and a treasure to us every day.  I hope you enjoy how she came into the world in the video we made when she was born.

charlotte blog023

 

Happy Birthday little girl.  You are loved!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in birthday

 

Why I didn’t post on vacation

I just got back from vacation.  It was amazing.  You should have seen it, you would have been quite jealous.  Beach house.  Coffee shops.  Bonfires.  Parks with the family.  Amazing meals. I even got a date with my wife.  I have very little photographic evidence of it, and if you and I were friends on social media sites you would have no reason to believe that my life was any different than the other 51 weeks of the year.  Why in the world would I not post this memorable week to share with some of my most distant friends?  I wanted this one to be for my family and those I talk to.

If your life is anything like mine, then the world of what is ministry and what is not becomes very grey.  And beyond that, I can’t say I really want there to be lines.  God has redeemed all of me, and I don’t want to live public and private lives.  However, as calls come in whenever, emails are answered always, and my family is my best sermon illustration I often feel that those who follow me on instagram know as much if not more about me than my own family.

So I made a decision that I would go radio silent for the week.  I did pretty good at it too! I liked a few photos.  Made a few snarky comments.  Responded to a few emails from those people that either wouldn’t leave me alone or had the power to fire me. For the most part, I disappeared.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I post like a bad Mama Jamma.  If I have something Facebook-worthy it goes up.  Kids sleeping on the floor, it is there.  Awesome youth group night; I’m your man.  And frankly there are many vacations where I want to show others my version of a family enjoying themselves.  So I do live loudly when I can on social media sites.  To that end, my wife continued to post this past week, in fact she became louder on vacation.  That doesn’t mean I am a better Christian (for the most part).  It was a personal decision and a gift that I wanted to give to my family.  They may not have even noticed.  That is fine with me.  I just wanted to be present.  To enjoy all of them and capture the event, not the event so it could be communicated to others.

I think you should do the same.  Not always, and for me this is the exception and not the rule.  For some it may be that you take a break on dates, on Mondays, or when the sun goes down.  I don’t think there is one version that is better than another, however I would strongly encourage you to find those moments in your life that are only for those you call family and for those who are dear friends.  Not to be selfish or exclusive.  Rather to silently say to those around you that they are your “circle”.  They are your “friends”.  They are true “followers” of you and your life.  Without saying no to others, it slowly communicates that you are more than a public figure to your church body and the students you minister to.  You are a dad, a wife, or friend.  All of which you need to do well if you hope to be called a youth worker in five years.

To finish this post it would be fitting to show you a vacation picture, but I didn’t really take any.  I promise to show you my next youth event, latte art, or when my kid puts their clothes on backwards.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2012 in birthday

 

We have to Pray just to make it Today

I just got back from the a youth ministry conference and as always I had an amazing time.  I was encouraged, convicted, inspired, met new people and reconnected to old friends.  One of the things I have learned at most events is that if I don’t quickly narrow down my trip to be about a few things I will become overwhelmed and not really gain anything from it.  I have described it to others like drinking from a fire hose.

This year I decided to gravitate towards two things.  One was student leadership.  Too much of my ministry is about myself, my efforts, and my personality.  The second, and truthfully how I am going to get to the first, is on prayer.  If there is ever a subject that most believers can resonate with is that their prayer life is going poorly.  Or at the very least it could get better.

With that conviction, I attended a seminar on both student leadership and implementing prayer within your ministry.  Timothy Eldred, the seminar speaker and author of Pray21 pushed his audience to hand off ministry but do it by starting with a 21-day challenge.  Partner up every willing student with a willing (and screened) adult.  Then have them pray together for 21 days through a simple (his words, not mine) daily, devotional.

Call it coincidence or God’s timing, but we were already teaching on prayer the next three weeks.  So we decided to toss it out there as an offer.  At the end of the first week we asked if any one would be willing to take the challenge to join us in prayer for 21 days with a partner. We got thirty students and thirty adults to jump into this together.  We challenged them to pray for a few reasons:

  • Prayer works
  • It is a time to realign our heart to God’s
  • Through prayer, God will reveal things about ourselves that we would have never seen without that time and sacrifice.

We made it as simple as possible for a few reasons.  I don’t need one more thing to micromanage, and if you make it too complicated people won’t do it.  So we said that if you sign up you are:

  • Agreeing to pray for 21 days with an assigned partner.  You are praying WITH that person, not for them.
  • You will contact your partner through phone calls, email, Facebook, text, face-to-face interaction.
  • If you miss a few days keep praying.  You are better off doing Pray17  than Pray0.

We email out daily reminders that have been written by an intern and myself .  It has been so fun to hear the stories and we are only one week in!  I can’t believe it took a book to partner up every willing student with every willing adult.

I encourage you to check out Timothy Eldred’s web site and get some details.  (www.pray21.com)  He is a wise man, good teacher, and generous with resources and suggestions.  For us and our ministry, I am optimistically hopeful for what God is doing in the lives of 60 people individually and collectively.

 

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2012 in birthday

 

Walking Dead or Walking Worthy

ImageI recognize that by addressing zombies in a youth ministry blog, it’s like pouring honey on my head and using a short stick to poke a bear.  However, on Oct. 14th, the Walking Dead had its season 3 premier with 11 million viewers.  Never before has a basic cable channel seen these types of numbers.  In addition, the Fall Harvest Season is upon us.  In our area there are billboards for haunted houses, zombie mazes, and all sort of stuff to scare you.  This might be a good opportunity to talk with our students.  They are watching it and many of them love to be scared. 

 

The premise of the show is not that unlike other zombie apocalyptic stories.  Some disease/illness has broken out and caused a flu-like virus to travel quickly through people.  It takes their life, and when they come back from the dead, they look like a dead version of human being, however walking around.  I know, Walking Dead…who would have thought.  They then have the ability to infect others with the same disease that took their life.  They are not only dead, but reproducing death.

 

As absurd as that may sound, are any of us any different sometimes?  Every day we get out of bed, get ready for our day, interact with our family and people in our lives (maybe), do our daily jobs (occupation or school), come home, shove another meal into our face, watch a little TV, complete our obligations, maybe pray (if we are super spiritual), and then go to bed.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  The next day comes and we do it all over again.  That isn’t living.  We too, are walking dead.

 

If left unchecked, I can go through an entire day, or sadly an entire week, and not have much to show for it.  I haven’t taken myself out of my comfort zone or done anything new.  My relationship with my God, my family, and my friends are all totally stagnant.  These were all by my choice.  I am recognizing that if something is not done about it, I am going to slowly slip from life to death.  I will never even get a proper funeral for people to mourn the loss of my life, because it looks like I am still alive and kicking.

 

Eph. 4:1 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,”(ESV)

 

I am not suggesting we start a “Walking Worthy” campaign.  (However, if anyone does, and they make Christian t-shrits and sell a lot of stuff I have © on “Walking Worthy”.  I think I get a nickel every time someone uses it.)

 

Let us never forget the calling that God has placed on our lives.  As I speak to other youth pastors, it is good to remind each other that we have a high calling.  One that not many should aspire to, as it says in James 3:1, because it is such a high calling.  A calling where God, in His mercy, sees fit to use me to help change the spiritual trajectory of a child of God.  That is a high calling.  I forget that when I have to return too many emails.  I forget that when I am told I am not doing my job well.  I forget that, though I am fortunately paid for what I do, my church and elder board is ultimately not my boss.  I answer to a Holy God who I will have to stand before some day.   I desperately pray, He will tell me “well done good and faithful servant.”  (Matt 25:23)

 

So then, if we are actually living worthy, we need to instill that into our students as well.  To help them see past SAT testing, school sports, family troubles, church troubles, friend troubles, work, social calendar, and then find time for a church event or two.  It’s almost enough to kill us, or at least take away a desire to walk worthy of our calling.

 

Ephesians goes on to say that we do this by living in humility, gentleness, patience, supporting one another in love, and in unity with the Spirit.  So again, it all comes back to our own spiritual health and the relationship that we have with the Creator of the Universe dwelling richly in us. 

 

I pray for us, that we don’t become infected with this disease called day-to-day living.  There is more for us, but if we become infected with the “daily grind”, our spiritual deadness and apathy will only reproduce spiritual deadness and apathy.  Don’t allow your life to take away your desire to live as God has called us.

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in birthday

 

Join me in the fight with B.M.P.P.S. won’t you?

I didn’t plan it…

I caught me by surprise…

I have become increasingly passionate about eradicating this horrible epidemic and got the privilege of shooting a PSA for it during our TRU Gathering last week.

…Together we can stop it.  One at a time.

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in birthday

 

Who’s in Your Corner?

There is something totally entrancing about boxers and MMA fighters.  I watch them do something that I don’t think that I am equipped to do…physically or mentally.  Even more amazing than watching the actual fight is talking to them afterward.  I have had the privilege of serving with a leader who is getting his MMA carrer back on track after a surgery.  To hear him talk about fighting, you would be astonished.  It isn’t a street fight for him.  It is a chess match.  “If the other guy does this, I will do this, but if he turns and uses his left hand then I am going to change and do this with my upper body to block his attack.”  I could sit and listen to him talk about it all day long.

Another thing that makes him successful is the team that he surrounds himself with.  In the sport of fighting, there are timed rounds and a short break in between.  During that time the fighter sits in his corner with his team who has a totally different view of what is going on.  They bring another perspective.  Bandage him up.  Tell him to start doing things and stop doing other things.  They boost his confidence and tell him where he is performing well or poorly.  In this guys last fight, he was gracious in attributing his quick win to the collaborative effort of all those who invested in him.  It wasn’t just about his own amazing ability and fighting skill, he recognized that without those around him it would not have been a successful or victorious fight.

It is highly likely that I will never step into a ring to fight.  That doesn’t mean that we don’t have a battle of our own in the world of ministry.  What I know to be true is that in our success and failure, in our effort and our gifting we still have our own battle.  Part of it is physical in nature.  Some of it is spiritual.  All of it is about God.  In that, there will be times that we feel excited about our calling and ready to head out in the fight.  Even when we are “winning” we will take on some amount of “battle damage”.  Even the best fighters have a black eye or cauliflower ear from time to time.

Recently I had one of those days.  I was taking hits and they were beginning to have their effect on me.  I will neither confirm or deny that I may or may not have thrown a chair(s) in frustration.  My prayer time after this was less holy and controlled and more screams and accusations.  God and I worked through that, and I left that time confessing that I felt alone.  I told Him I wasn’t sure how long I could hold on if I was doing this thing by myself.  In the span of 24 hours God placed (or reminded me of) four different people in my life to sit and listen, encourage, and help me get perspective and get back out there…which was so necessary.

Being in a new city doing ministry I am still in the process of finding those people who are “in my corner”.  Not everyone is going to be your best friend or know all about you.  But what I found from all of my conversations is that these were people who had different roles in my life and different skill sets.  They are able to speak into different parts of my life.  The structure, the spirituality, the craft, and even to the nature of my own heart.  What they had in common was some level of care and affection for me.  They want me to “win,” if you will.

I would suspect these people don’t even fully know that they did what they did.  They were just being themselves and being generous with who God made them to be.

People in your corner come in different forms.  I have those I seek out and ask to join in my fight.  I have those who are in my life, regardless of what I am doing.  I have those who are fighting their own fight, but I can learn by watching them.  And then those people that God has brought into my life, and I have no good reason as to why I deserve them.

The great thing is, those people can change roles, evolve, and deepen in relationship over time.  So I try to not write anyone off.  I have also found that as I begin to establish who support me, I have become better at being in other people’s corner as well.  I wipe their sweat.  I bandage them up.  And then send them out into their own fight.  It’s not always just about my fight, but helping others in their own battles.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in birthday

 
 
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