Saturday, January 27, 2007

weight loss battle 07-3 weeks in

I'll post this tonight, instead of Monday since Friday has been my official weigh in day. I went into the gym yesterday morning and jumped on the scale and it is official. I am in the 330's! The official weigh in was 338.6, which equates to two more pounds lost! Here's to never seeing 340 again!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

American Idol Memphis 6 Auditions - Jason Sundance Head

Okay, so here is my pic for American Idol 6. I know it is early, but I think he's got a great voice-PLUS I've been told we look alot alike (when I have my long goatee-which I am working on again). My phone was ringing off the hook after his audition. So here's to my twin-Sundance, you got my vote!

Monday, January 22, 2007

weight loss battle 07-2 weeks in

So I am now two weeks into this year's weight loss battle. I have officially been to the gym 9 times in the last two weeks (5 the first week and 4 last week). I am feeling better and seem to have more energy. I am still struggling with the motivation to go to the gym each day, but so far I have been consistent. I really need to do two things-make sure I eat breakfast, and make sure I don't go back to sleep after Meg goes to work. I think if I make myself go to the gym then I may be more motivated throughout the day.

As it relates to weight loss, I have only lost two pounds, but it is two pounds, which means I have not gained. I just need to figure out what I need to do. I have been trying to cut calories and eat healthier, but maybe I need to step it up even more.

So the battle continues, but for this time, a victory-more energy and two pounds down. I still have 3 weeks until the 14th of February to meet my first goal of 14 by the 14th, so I need to keep busy!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Urgent Prayer need!

If you are a graduate of the WU, you may or may not have heard about this yet. There is an urgent prayer need for one of our own, for someone who graduated around the same time Megan and I did. Some of you may remember Josh and Shelly (Syswerda) Buck. They are pastors in MI. I got word vial email tonight that he was in a swimming accident yesterday and is currently not doing well. He is not breathing on his own right now, but is alert and they are not sure if he will be able to walk again or not. If you want all of the latest information go to his church's website They are keeping people updated. Please pray for them, especially for Shelly. If you know them, you know this is not their first bout with tragedy. We all know God answers prayers and He can move in miraculous ways here as well. Please pray for them over these next few critical days!

Thursday, January 18, 2007


My wife and I love never seems to get old. It is one of the most original, random, and funny shows on television right now and I think tonight was perhaps the funniest episode I have ever seen. Many shows have tried to pull off a musical episode in the past (a la Buffy) and they have been mediocre at best, but tonight's Scrubs show was amazing. I don't think I have ever laughed so hard. As soon as I can get it, it will be on my ipod so I can laugh again. Anyone else see it? What did you think?

Never underestimate the power of an excited teenager...

I should have known, it's happened before, it'll hopefully happen again, but my how soon I forget.

I remember the first time it happened, we had planned to go to King's Island for a day in the fall. I had said we needed to have 10 to make the trip one signed up except for Josie. I told her we couldn't go because we didn't have enough people. She asked for one more day-the result was a need for additional drivers as it seemed we took half of the sixth grade class from Jackson Middle School.

It happened again on New Year's Eve. I said we needed to have five to make the trip worthwhile to go to the lock-in (secretly hoping we wouldn't have enough since I hate lock-ins and I wanted to be fully alert for the bowl games on New Year's Day). We had three-John asked for one more day-the result, eight of us going and one tired youth pastor the next day.

All of these things were worth it-after the fact, and didn't always revolve around something I really wanted to do.

Well, it happened again last night...

Let me give you the back story...two weeks ago I found out that the teens were inheriting the Sunday night service. We have mostly older folks coming, but a few young adults as well. Since we have been pushing small groups we have talked about (emphasis on talked about) making the Sunday evening service a teen service and allowing those who aren't in a small group to still come to the teen service (it's taking shape and I don't know exactly what the end product will look like-most likely some small group discussion after the service). I wanted to launch it in the fall, but was told it was starting last Sunday night (oh the joy of being a staff pastor sometimes). Well needless to say I wasn't really thrilled, we haven't really had the time to put together a teen praise band yet, but we gave it a go Sunday night. The result...missed cues and singing off key, but you know least some of the students really seemed into the worship. It wasn't bad for a first go around of it.

Fast forward to last night-we had our first official practice with the teen band (which right now consists of more young adults and adults than teens, but it is a start). I didn't know what to expect, but it all came together, and honestly it is working out great. There is excitement and I think in a few weeks, we may be ready to do an AM service as well.

So the moral of the story is this-Never underestimate the teenagers you work with. Sometimes they will surprise you, IF you'll let them.

Lord, please forgive me for my lack of trust and preconceived notions of failure. I need your help with this. Help me to see the potential in my young people's lives and be willing to trust them to try it even when I think it will flop. Forgive me for almost missing opportunities that have been life changing (for the teens AND me). Thanks for not giving up on us,and please let this new excitement be the fire I've been praying for! You're awesome and I'm not!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I can't tell you what to do, but if I were you, I would wait for awhile before upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer (I think it is IE7?). I downloaded it with my regular updates a week or so ago and I have had nothing but problems since. It locks up and I have to send the error report several times a day. I am guessing they are just trying to still work out bugs and stuff, but it is frustrating. I don't think there is anything on my part causing it, but I just want it fixed. I'm beginning to think I should have bought a mac...oh well, computers-can't live with em' can't live without em'.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It's back!

After months of waiting, American Idol has returned, and what a better way to return that to exploit the lack of talent. I know I shouldn't laugh at some of the people, but it is amazing what people will go to in order to try and make the show. It is hysterical. On a serious note, I don't think this year's winner is from Minneapolis. I didn't see anyone that really stood out. Anyone wanna disagree?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Robert E Lee Day...

No kidding! I would like to wish you all a happy Robert E Lee day. What am I talking about? Well of course we all know today is MLK day and we have that to thank for no mail, no banks, and no school-BUT down here, just a little west (8 miles to Alabama) they don't celebrate MLK day, they celebrate Robert E Lee day. I am definitely a Yankee living in a confederate world. It's funny because tonight on the news they will interview southern aficionados about how "similar" these two men were. It is funny to watch. Well I am off to celebrate a day off with Megan!

The south will rise again?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Eating my humble pie...

I'm eating my humble pie and it sure doesn't taste that good. This picture is for the Gator fans, and I suppose all the Michigan fans who I harassed when the Buckeyes beat them...Oh well, such is life. Note for the future-don't make a wager you don't want to keep. I have to wear this shirt on Sunday morning. Oh well, it's all in fun and it's just football. I still bleed Scarlett and Grey! Here ya go...

Go Bucks!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Body weight vs. Body mass

Well today was judgement day at 123fit. I made it through the whole circuit this time training at least at 80% of my target heart rate which is good in order to burn calories and lose weight. The hard part today was stepping on their scale and getting measurements and all of that. The good thing is I haven't gained anything. I am still at 342. The disturbing thing though was that my BMI was 47.1 and my body fat was 60% so I have a long way to go. My measurements were about what was expected, but the body fat part was a shocker. The best part though was that I know I'll never see those numbers again. When I get measured again next month I know I'll weigh less and my numbers will improve.

It's a long journey ahead, but I'll get there with the Lord's help!

Gator Bait it is...

Well I guess we all know the answer now, this year OSU is gator bait. They said that they key to beating the Buckeyes was going to be shutting down Troy Smith and the offense. They said the SEC was the toughest conference and the Buckeyes didn't stand a chance against an SEC team. Well I would say that the gators definitely shut down the Buckeye offense and this year the SEC gets the title of being the best conference...not to mention how good Chris Leak and the gator offense did as well. So I have to eat my humble pie now and admit that the team I have been bragging about all season got beat. The gators played the better game that is for sure and 41-14 is a pretty rough defeat. That's okay though if you are going to lose I guess the best place to lose is in the national championship game. I'll still wear my scarlet and grey with pride, sing Carmen Ohio at the top of my lungs and say GO BUCKEYES....and hey if nothing else, we beat Michigan-again this year. Great job gators you deserved it, and great job Buckeyes for an awesome season regardless!

What sucks is now all we have is the senior bowl and aloha bowl and then we have to wait until September for more college ball-I hate that! The cool part is the senior bowl is local (Mobile) and it'll be on TV here, but unfortunately I won't make it due to a district event which also hoovers as Troy Smith one of the QB's this year.

Well I'm off to sulk a bit-maybe even cry some (nah probably not that)...but again I say GO BUCKS!!!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Weight loss goals for the year...

So I have been doing some networking with some other people online who are trying to lose weight as well. One of the guys Lou came up with this plan for weight loss for the year. I think it is manageable and so I am jumping on board with these goals for the year as well. Anyone else interested? Here is the breakdown...

14 pounds by Valentine's day-5 weeks to do so
15 pounds by Easter (April 8th)-7 weeks to do so
10 pounds by Mother's day (may 13th)-5 weeks to do so
10 pounds by July 4th-7 weeks to do so
15 pounds by Halloween (October 31st)-15 weeks to do so
6 pounds by Thanksgiving (November 22nd)-3 weeks to do so
8 pounds by Christmas-4 weeks to do so
2 pounds by New Year's Day-1 week to do so
The pounds and dates are semi random due to holiday's, but it seems manageable. If I am able to do this I will finish 2007 having lost 80 pounds. That would put me close to my target weight of 250. Long term I am wanting to get as low as 200, but that will be for a later date. Anyone else interested? What do you think, are these manageable goals?

Book Review: Ministry Mutiny

Book Review: Ministry Mutiny by Greg Stier
Did you ever have one of those books where you felt like you were reading your own life story as if someone had been secretly watching you and chronicling your life as you live it? Well that was the case with this book. In Ministry Mutiny, we read the story of Ty-a veteran youth leader who has had enough of shallow youth ministry with what seems to be little to no results. With resignation letter in hand Ty heads off to what will be his last youth network meeting where he meets Tony, a youth leader that will change his life forever. Tony reintroduces Ty to timeless youth ministry principles that are too often overlooked in today's youth ministry. As the two meet throughout the week the reader is introduced (or reintroduced) to these Biblical principles that are still as relevant today as they were when they were modeled through Jesus' ministry. This book is a must read for all youth ministers of any tenure. It is a great book full of encouragement, and whether you're a rookie or a vet you'll find a lot of great things in this short book that is sure to be a quick read for you. Check it out if you haven't already. Honestly, this book really couldn't have come at a better time in my ministry. Most of you know I've been fighting discouragement and have thought several times about throwing in the towel, and this book really was like reading my own life story. There are six principles in the book and I don't want to give them away, but these principles really opened my eyes to some changes that I need to make and also encouraged me to stick it out for the long haul. I'm not a huge fan of Greg Stier and Dare 2 Share Ministry but this book was truly a Godsend. Check it out if you get the chance!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The new gym...

So Meg and I decided not to rejoin our gym from last year. I liked it, she didn't so much as she really didn't feel like they wanted to help us get in shape there. It was more like come work out and we'll help if you need us, but unless you pay extra you're on your own. So instead we found a new gym that is run by a Christian family here in town called It just opened up and is a circuit training facility similar to Curves, but it is for men and women. It's really cool-we really feel welcome there and there seems to be a genuine concern for the fitness of everyone there. They are going to set up a fitness tracker with us and we get weighed and measured every month to track our progress, and they are also there to answer all of our questions at no extra charge. So we gave it our first run today and needless to say, it kicked my hind quarters. The goal is to work around the circuit from machine to machine every thirty seconds keeping your target heart rate in the proper area. Let's just say I had no problem keeping mine where it needs to be and I realized just how out of shape I am. Even though I walked three 5k's last year I have a long way to go yet. I am excited about this new opportunity and I think it will be a valuable asset to my weight loss journey. If you are looking for a gym to join I would recommend looking into these facilities and see if they have one around you. The cost is reasonable and the benefits are awesome!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dear grandma...

Dear Grandma,
Meg and I went to see our movie tonight. I know you and I had originally planned on seeing it together since it was one of our favorites. You know which one I am talking about, Charlotte's Web. Of course we used to watch the cartoon version and this one was live action, but I remember those times well. I even remember you reading some of it to me at bed time whenever we would stay over at the house. I'll never forget those times. I always looked forward to coming over when Charlotte was on. It seemed like it was always close to Christmas and I remember we would come over in our pajamas ready to watch it. You'd pop some popcorn and we would sit there together watching it with the wood stove crackling in the background and the lava lamp bubbling which created just enough light. I still have the lava lamp and turn it on almost every night as it reminds me of you.
I really wish you could have been there with us tonight to see Charlotte's Web, I think you would have liked it. Although you weren't there to see it with us, know that as we watched it I was thinking of you and all the great times we had. I miss you grandma, Christmas wasn't the same without you this year, but I am glad you aren't suffering anymore. Well this has been long enough. I just wanted to let you know I miss you and was thinking of you tonight.
Love you,


So I guess I am officially an adult now. I opened the mail today and da da da...JURY DUTY! It looks like the last week of this month I have been selected for jury duty. I guess I must have finally grown up, that or my lucky number came up. So you must now refer to me as Juror #162. YES!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

#4b. What is a Buckeye? (OT)

Last one...we may not be able to describe what a Buckeye is, but we're still gonna eat some gator come Monday night! GO BUCKS!!!

OSU vs UF #3: The Gift...

Another one for the gator fans...GO BUCKS!!! Nice slap at Michigan in there too.

OSU vs UF #1: Heisman

For the Florida fans...Go Buckeyes!!! This one is honor of our great QB Troy Smith-Hesiman winner baby!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

National Champs or Gator Bait?

Well we are just five days out from the big game. Soon we will know if the Buckeyes are national champs or gator bait. You all know what my vote is and either way I am still pulling for a playoff system as win or lose there will still be one undefeated team in the form of Boise State who I think even though they were a Cinderella team deserved some type of shot. Oh well, the future will tell I guess. Well in honor of the big game I'm going to post a few thoughts throughout the week including this little pic I put together to promote the game. We are busy getting the house ready for the game...

Let me explain a little bit about the "gator bait" hat. It is obvious that my mom and dad's lab is not an Ohio State fan (that or she just got mad because we left her and Jackson alone for awhile) as she chewed up my good hat...thus the reason I have a brand new one, but I thought it made for a good picture. 5 days and counting, there will be more posts throughout the week promoting all things Buckeye...


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The 100th post!

Wow I can't believe it, post number 100 my first blog what to write about? How bout my final project for my master's degree. I opened up the syllabus today and found's a how to and sample I think I'm gonna be sick:

Overview of Workshop One
In this workshop you will draft a project proposal which you will submit to the facilitator by midnight Sunday (i.e., Sunday night). S/he will then review it and give you feedback by the beginning of the next workshop so that you can begin on good footing to plot your research method in greater detail next week. The goal is to have your proposal fully approved by the end of the second week of class.
The basic outline of a project proposal includes the following sections:
1. An Introduction
In the introduction you will give background to the problem you are going to address in the project.
2. Statement of Purpose
If you do not identify the problem you are going to address clearly, then you are not likely to solve it very well. In a paragraph or two, you will present the purpose of your project.
3. Review of the Literature
In this section you will identify the most important books, articles, and all around resources available on the topic you plan to address.
4. Research Method
In this section of your proposal you will set forth a synopsis of how you plan to go about addressing the problem at hand, including what the chapters of your project will be.

Statement of Purpose
Why Begin Here?
You might wonder why we would write the "Statement of Purpose" before we have written our introduction. Believe it or not, book writers of all kinds often write their introductions last or at least revise their first drafts significantly after they have finished the bulk of their writing. One reason for this procedure is that you do not always know where your research will take you when you start a project. Only when the project is done do you have a full sense of what you are actually introducing!
In the same way, while you will write your project proposal this week, you will not go back and turn it into the full "Introduction" of the project until near the end of our eight week pilgrimage, after you have written up the rest of the project.

What is a Project?
A project identifies a problem that it then goes on to solve. In contrast, a standard thesis asks a question that it then proceeds to answer on paper. Given the nature of this program, it seemed fitting to its designers to have you do a project rather than a thesis. So in these eight weeks you will 1) identify a problem and 2) solve it.
The way in which you solve a problem varies depending on the nature of the problem. If the problem is concrete, then solving it will involve doing real time things. If the problem is a lack of information on a topic or a need for a certain kind of curriculum, then the solution can be on paper. Since we are only together for these eight weeks, it will be key for you to pick a problem to solve that you can address sufficiently by the time the course ends.

Crafting a Project "Statement of Purpose"
"A problem well defined is a problem half-solved." I do not know who first said this dictum, but it is right on target. If you cannot identify the problem you wish to solve, then you are not very likely to solve it. If you do not know what is broken, you are not likely to get it fixed.
The first step in crafting your proposal is to be able to state your problem clearly and succinctly enough for it to pass. This portion of your proposal need not be long. You will have already provided the background to the problem in the introduction portion of your proposal. So what we are looking for here is one or two paragraphs in which you state the problem in its most basic terms.
Here are the main characteristics of a good problem to address:
1. It should be focused enough to address adequately in less than 100 pages and within the eight weeks of this course. "World Hunger" is thus far too broad a problem for a project of this scope.
2. It should not be so obscure that you will not be able to find any resources or so little a problem that it is not really a problem. In general, the narrower the topic the better. On the other hand, you would not want to write on "The Difficulties of Getting Food through Customs in Tibet" unless you actually have access to some resources you can bring to bear on such a subject: people to interview, online or hard documents to read, etc... Further, is hunger a big problem in Tibet and is it really hard to get food through customs?
3. It should be graduate level. For a masters degree, research work does not have to be completely original, but it should be insightful and challenging above the undergraduate level. If you are going to write on "Getting Essential Resources to Churches in Disaster Areas," you should address the issue with competence beyond that of a college student.
Here is a sample "Statement of Purpose" I have drafted myself:
"This project will address the problem of how to relate to openly gay teenagers who are attending a youth group. Should they be asked not to attend if they are practicing? What if they are not practicing? How should the issue be addressed with the rest of the group? What biblical teaching is relevant to the problem, and how do Christian principles best play themselves out in contemporary practice? The rest of the project will address these issues."

Draft a Statement of Purpose in Groups
Take a moment to think of a problem you might want to tackle for these next eight weeks. Be sure to pick one that interests you and is relevant to your ministry--it will be easier to stay motivated! When you have thought of one, post it in your Group Folder. Be sure to comment on your fellow group members' work.

The Introduction to the Proposal
What Goes in the Introduction?
Now that you have some clarity on the purpose of your project, go ahead and draft an introduction. The purpose of the introduction to the proposal is to give us some sense of why you are doing this project. Why is it significant and why is it significant to you? Lead us from having no sense of what you are doing to the statement of purpose that sets the course for the whole project.
A good introduction will be like any good piece of writing. It will be interesting and to the point. It should not ramble on and on. On the other hand, this part of the proposal can be the most personal part of the introduction--within reason. This is a public document, and there are things to say and things not to say... Or if you prefer, you can take the part of a "scientist" analyzing a situation.
After you have provided important background to the project and its problem, your introduction should end with a clear and succinct statement of the problem. The Statement of Purpose tells us what you plan to do in your project. The statement of the problem identifies clearly the problem that gives rise to that purpose. All in all, such an introduction may be 2-4 pages in length, give or take.

Some Sample Thoughts
Without writing a full sample introduction, let me suggest how I would go about introducing a project that aimed to help a segment of a church population enslaved to such debt that it was causing significant problems in every area of their life.
I might start off with a story, maybe a true one with the names changed or perhaps a hypothetical one. I introduce a couple that perhaps ends up divorced or has significant marital troubles because they are so strapped with credit card debt that they cannot function at all. Maybe he or she works two or three jobs. Far from being able to tithe, they cannot pay basic bills like electricity or gas. Problems spill over to the children not only because of the stress level in the home but because their parents are far too busy to give them any time.
I might then give some "starter statistics," some basic numbers on how many Americans are in similar situations. I might then generalize about how such problems quickly affect the spiritual domain of a family's life. Indeed, there are any number of consequences that are part of the spiritual domain to which the church should minister.
I would then end with a clear statement of the problem, something like, "Clearly the current economic state of so many Christians today is having an overwhelmingly negative effect not only on the spiritual lives of the individuals, but on marriages, children, and broader church families as well." The statement of purpose would then follow.

Write your Introduction!
Now try your hand at writing a sample introduction. Post it in your Group Folder. Read the introductions of the other group members and learn from all the feedback!

Plotting a Method for Your Research
Getting from A to B
You can often get from one place to another by more than one path. So it is with a project. There is often more than one way to get from A to B. Next week you will write an entire chapter to plot in detail the entire course of action you will take to solve your problem. In the meantime, your proposal needs to give us a good taste of your method.

The Two Basic Types of Research
There are two basic ways to do research: qualitative methods and quantitative methods. Quantitative methods, as the name suggests, deal with things that you can quantify. Accordingly, such methods are particularly useful in sciences of all kinds, fields like chemistry or medicine. But any minister who has ever quoted Barna realizes that you can do quantitative research of a sort in relation to ministry as well.
For example, a person can use surveys to generate data for quantitative research. If you want to know whether there is any correlation between a youth minister's marital status, the number of years in youth ministry, or any number of other factors with a struggle with Internet pornography, a person might survey a sufficient number of youth ministers in order to gather appropriate data.
WARNING: This last comment leads us to an important warning. Very few of those taking this class will have taken a course in statistics and will not be qualified to conduct this kind of research on a sufficient scale within the allotted time for your data to be valid.
For example, the smaller the "sample" surveyed, the less accurate your survey is likely to be. In addition to basic averages, you would need to be able to figure out things like "standard deviations" from the average. You would need to take into account the fact that not everyone returns surveys. You would need to have some expertise in crafting questions so that your questions do not bias the kinds of answers you get.
Because of the constraints of time and expertise, most of you in this course will want to conduct more qualitative research, research that is more anecdotal than quantifiable. Such research is especially relevant to things involving people. Thus surveys can provide information for qualitative as well as quantitative research. The interview is an even more impressionistic source of qualitative information.
Thus surveys and interviews can provide you with useful solutions to problems that are not conclusive, but are nevertheless persuasive. Let us say you are addressing the matter of how best to counsel someone who has lost a young child in a sudden tragedy. You might survey a number of pastors, youth pastors, etc. who have faced this experience. You might ask them what courses of action seem to have worked best with certain types of people and/or situations. The answers you get will not be conclusive, but they may point you in fruitful directions.
Let me suggest finally that these kinds of research tools can serve both to 1) clarify the problem and 2) point toward solutions. If you wish to use research tools of this sort, you should clarify in your mind exactly which your tools are meant to do, including the possibility that they might contribute to both.

Your write up of this part of your proposal should present the "staging" of your project. What steps are you going to take to solve the problem your project is addressing. Accordingly, this section will present 1) the steps you are going to take, with a brief description and 2) a timetable for their completion.
This timetable may or may not coincide exactly with the workshops of this course. For example, let us say that your project has to do with helping teens in your district (or some similar group) set physical boundaries when dating. Let us also say that you want to survey the teens of your district or interview selected teens for some qualitative sense of how far they are going and under what circumstances. It will take some time to collect and organize this data.
In the meantime, you will be writing chapters in accordance with the course schedule. For example, you will probably want a chapter on the biblical and theological foundations of Christian sexual boundaries. While you are waiting for your data to come in, you might spend Week 4 writing such a chapter as your chapter 4. In Week 5 you might then write chapter 5 to present your observations from your interviews and surveys along with the kinds of observations you might have found in books or other studies. Chapter 6 might then present lesson plans or guidelines for pastors or it might document actual events that took place in your local congregation (videos or tapes might even accompany your project).
Although in your final product, the research method chapter will follow your literature review, we will write that particular chapter next week so that you can get right to work implementing it. You will want to send out any surveys or arrange any interviews you plan to conduct as soon as possible so that you have the data back as soon as possible. In general, you will want that information available to process by the fifth week of the course or sixth week at the latest.
So the staging of your project might look something like the following:
Week 1: Write proposal and submit to facilitator for comments.
Week 2:
1. Send out surveys to all the district youth ministers
[You would also provide in your proposal some general sense of what those youth ministers will be told to do, whether you are going to contact them personally, etc...]
2. Arrange youth event at my church with all district invited for Week 6: "Setting Sexual Boundaries."
[In your proposal, give us some sense of what this event will be like, what will be involved, how it will relate to your research in these next few weeks, etc...]
3. Write Research Method chapter with actual survey, rationale, detailed instructions, etc... Submit to facilitator.
4. Submit edited proposal to facilitator for final approval.
Week 3:
1. Write Review of the Literature and submit to facilitator.
2. Make any necessary edits to Research Method chapter and resubmit to facilitator.
3. Conduct key interviews with person x, y, and z.
Week 4:
1. Write chapter 4: "Biblical and Theological Foundations of Sexual Boundaries." Submit to facilitator.
2. Make any necessary edits to Review of the Literature chapter and resubmit to facilitator.
3. Contact youth ministers to remind them that the surveys are due in the next two weeks.
Week 5:
1. Data is due. Collect and compile data.
2. Make any necessary edits to "Biblical and Theological Foundations of Sexual Boundaries" chapter and resubmit to facilitator.
3. Write chapter 5: "The State of Sexual Boundaries in the Indiana North District." Submit to facilitator.
Week 6:
1. Conduct district youth event: "Setting Sexual Boundaries" Videotape
2. Make any necessary edits to "The State of Sexual Boundaries in the Indiana North District" chapter and resubmit to facilitator.
3. Write chapter 6: "The Event: Setting Sexual Boundaries 2005" and submit to facilitator. The chapter will include documentation from the event, the agenda and any presentations. You will note that a DVD accompanies the project.
Week 7:
1. Make any necessary edits to "The Event: Setting Sexual Boundaries 2005" and resubmit to facilitator.
2. Write the Conclusion and submit entire first draft to facilitator.
Week 8:
1. Write the Abstract
2. Make any necessary final revisions and submit final draft to facilitator.

Potential Elements of a Project
There are countless problems to do a project on and countless ways to approach each one of them. The examples we have given so far give you just the barest tip of the iceberg in terms of problems you might tackle and how you might tackle them. The following is a list of a few different kinds of "solutions" toward which you might work. Remember that these kinds of things happen all the time in ministry and that your project needs to effect these kinds of things on a graduate level with an appropriate level of research and development.
An Event or Set of Events: The purpose of these events would be to address (and thus "solve") your problem. The example above involved an event in which district teens were led to consider appropriate sexual boundaries.
Set up a Structure, Organization, Mechanism: If you work in a rural church in which farm accidents are a regular feature, you might put "structure" or "mechanism" in place by which grieving families are immediately met at their needs.
Set up a Curriculum or Catechism: If your problem involves a deficiency of knowledge or skills in your congregation, you might set up a curriculum or catechism that will systematically and innovatively address that deficiency.
Create a Manual or Set of Resources: If your problem is a failure of ministers to know how to deal properly with grieving parents of young children, you might create a mini-manual to address this deficiency of knowledge.

Potential Chapters in your Project
The basic structure of an IWU project is:
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Review of Literature
Chapter 3: Research Method
Chapter 4: Content Chapter
Chapter 5: Content Chapter
Chapter 6: Content Chapter
Chapter 7: Conclusion
Depending on the specifics of your project, you may need to modify one or more of these elements. For example, if your project is to write a manual, set up a curriculum, etc..., you may or may not need to have a chapter on research method. Further, the number of "content" chapters--indeed whether they actually turn out to be content chapters--will depend on exactly what you are doing. It may be that you do not need as many content chapters as some others.
In general, you will want at least one of these chapters to address biblical issues. Then you may or may not want a separate chapter to cover additional theological issues, matters of Christian history, or matters of practical theory.
If you do surveys or interviews, I have suggested that the three content chapters follow some pattern like the following:
Chapter 4: Biblical and Theological Issues about x
Chapter 5: Presentation of the Data from my surveys, interviews, etc...
Chapter 6: Proposed Solutions on the basis of all my research.
As in my examples, chapter 6 may very well turn out to be documentation of an event, presentation of a curriculum, etc...

Now Write the Research Method Section of your Proposal
This is no doubt the hardest part of the proposal to write and at the same time the most crucial. Do your best to plot a course for yourself, giving the staging of your project with explanations and deadlines. Post it in your group folder and then give feedback to others and learn from their feedback to you.

The Literature Review Part of the Proposal
Review of the Literature
The last component of your proposal that you need to write is your review of the relevant literature. Here is where you need to put into practice all the things you learned from your very first course in this program. Use the resources at your disposal to gather a bibliography of resources into which you will dig deep in the weeks to come.
As you learned in your first course, these resources include things like:
1. Books/Journals from Libraries
2. Online Databases/Resources
3. Media of Various Type (tapes, videos, CD's, DVDs, etc...)

Review "Literature Review" Material from Proposal
From Workshop One
Your Review of the Literature will put into practice all the things you learned from your very first course in this program. Use the resources at your disposal to gather a bibliography of resources.
As you learned in your first course, these resources include things like:
1. Books/Journals from Libraries
2. Online Databases/Resources
3. Media of Various Type (tapes, videos, CD's, DVDs, etc...)

Finding and Assimilating Literature
One of the greatest skills of learning you will ever acquire is the ability to find and assimilate information quickly. It is both a discipline and an art and the best scholars know how to do it, many intuitively.
But you can also learn these skills, and the age of information technology has made it increasingly easier.

Scanning Library Shelves
In the olden days, you might have a subject card catalog in a library where some painstaking librarian had typed up cards individually with books in that library on a subject. With computer catalogs, the computer will not only do this work for you, it will do it for vast numbers of libraries within hours of the central library you are searching!
Nevertheless, there is still something to be said for finding just one book on your topic, going to that section of the library and just standing there flipping through the books in that section. If those who stock the library have done your homework, you will find the most recent and most important books on a particular subject there. At the library of a Christian college, you will often find the resources most particular to that college's Christian tradition (expect to find some Wesleyan-Arminian books at Indiana Wesleyan's library that you might not find at Calvin College!).

Skimming Books
The ability to "blow through" massive amounts of literature in a relatively short amount of time is an incredibly valuable skill. In the field of research, those who "read every word" in some ways has a vice of which they need to be able break themselves at least on occasion. There's no value in reading every word if you cannot summarize the book when you are done.
Read as much as you need to and for as long as you can. But you might be surprised how much you know about a book after 1) reading the introduction, 2) reading the first and last paragraphs of every chapter or every section in every chapter, 3) reading the first sentence of every paragraph--and going on if the paragraph seems particularly relevant, and 4) reading the conclusion.

Book Reviews
You will often find that experts have already reviewed and evaluated the key resources you are looking at. Find these as best you can. Libraries like Indiana Wesleyan pay large amounts of money to give you access to resources like the Religion Index or Epsco Host so that you can search them. Don't try to reinvent the wheel when someone who is an expert has already done it for you!

Google, Wikipedia, and Friends
Google has already become my primary venue for research. You might be amazed at how many Google searches I did in preparation of this course! And what I found was amazing and amazingly helpful. The more and more material that becomes available on the web, the more these kinds of search engines will become the way to do research.
Google arranges its material by frequency of use as well as by how close the hit relates to the way you entered the search request. What this means is that you will tend to see at the top of the results the material that the most people have found the most helpful. This is nothing short of amazingly helpful. Go with it!

Footnote Chasing
On the scholarly level, when I want to get "up to speed" on the highest level on a topic, I follow the following procedure in addition to searching Ebsco Host and Googling:
1. I find the most recent book or article I can find by an expert on a particular topic.
2. I look for what key books and articles the expert refers to. You find these in the footnotes.
3. I go to those books and articles and repeat the process.
4. Eventually, I will generate a sense of what the key resources are on that topic and get some sense of what the key issues and points of debate are in the process.
These are a few ways in which you can go about gathering information by the experts relevant to your particular project and its related topics.

Write the Review Part of the Proposal
You will do a full literature review the third week of the course. For your proposal, create an initial bibliography of about 20-30 resources. Come up with at least a sentence on most of these to describe how you think that particular resource might be of value to your project.
Of these, identify further about five that you think will play the most significant role in your project. Do an "annotated bibliography" on them, giving a summary of what that resource contributes to your project. To annotate them effectively, you will need to scan the book or resource.
You should create a reading/skimming plan for these next eight weeks, particularly the next three as you work toward your literature review. You will be glad you got a head start when we get to week 3.
Further, now is the time to order any resources you already realize you will need via interlibrary loan. Is there a major research institution within an hour or two of you? A seminary? A Christian college? Plan to visit it!
Now write the "Review of the Literature" part of your proposal. Post it to your group folder, give feedback to the others in your group, learn from their feedback to you.

Submit the Proposal
Congratulations--"A project begun is already half done."
If you have come this far, the worst is over. The rest of the capstone is simply playing out the game plan you have already set out.
Take the components of the proposal that you have been working on this week, incorporate any insights or edits from your further reflection or from your group feedback, and assemble the components in the following order:
Introduction with Statement of Problem
Statement of Purpose for the Project
Review of Literature
Research Method with Staging and Dates
Submit it to your facilitator by Sunday night, midnight, so that s/he can have feedback ready for you by the beginning of the next workshop.
Wonderful! You are on your way

Seem a little daunting to you? Am I bit overwhelmed-just a wee bit...but I suppose I'll get it done somehow. Can someone please put all of this in common English so it makes sense to a schlub like me?

I honestly am not even sure where to start. I am leaning towards one of two thoughts- "being the fat kid in a skinny world:a look at teens ans self-esteem" or "i'm a youth pastor now what?: A look at building a ministry from the ground up." I don't know if these are too general or where even to start so I could definitely use your prayers over the next eight weeks. The paper has to be 65-100 pages long. If I write 8 pages a week that isn't too much, but it just seems to be so much. Tell me this is worth it, I know I've come this far and can't quit, but I am just a wee bit scared of this.

Simply put...WOW!

I do believe I just watched the most amazing bowl game ever. I've been watching football all day and this year's Fiesta Bowl was perhaps the best game I have ever seen. It may even beat the 2002 Championship game when OSU beat Miami. Great game, great job Boise State.

The battle at one year...

Most of you know that last January I decided to do my best to get in better shape and lost the weight that has been plaguing me all of my life. For years I have fought with failed new year's resolutions as well as many failed attempts at dieting and exercise. I still have a long way to go but I am happy to say that I ended 2006 25 pounds lighter than when I started. I have included pics from last year and the latest taken. I still can't see much of a difference, but clothes are fitting better and I feel much better than I did last year at this time. These pics don't show much, but they give me something to work from. As I continue the battle this year I'll periodically post more pics as I continue to lose. This may be more of me than you wanted to see and if that is the case I am sorry. Please pray for me and feel free to help hold me accountable. I'll keep up with the journey on the blog along with everything else.

January 06:front view (367lbs)
January 07:front view (342)-I can't see much difference here though
January 06:side view
January 07:side view-this is where I can see the most difference
There's a long way to go, but God is good. I'm off tomorrow to re-up my gym membership!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Double Grrr...

So listening to sports talk radio yesterday to keep up with all things NFL- and of course everything that needed to happen to let the Bengals make the playoffs yesterday happened. Even though the Jets won if Kansas City won and the Broncos lost (which both happened) the Bengals would have been in had they not gotten beat by Pittsburgh. And this i the SECOND week in a row that this not just GRRR but double GRRR! Oh well, it's just a game and I'll get my football fill today with the bowl games and then THE bowl game next Monday night. Of course then there is the NFL playoffs and the Super bowl which is good but that means...FOOTBALL SEASON IS ALMOST OVER which I hate. Good thing NASCAR begins two weeks after the Super Bowl huh? Okay so I guess I just gave myself away and I officially scream redneck.