Sunday, April 30, 2006

30 Hour Famine

First of all, allow me to say that I did not puke this year. I consider that to be a big success, since last year involved copious amounts of fluid being, shall we say, expelled from my body. OK, now on to more impotrant things.

Our Famine this year involved many less students than it did last year. I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but I think it was about half as many. Not to mention the fact that there were half the students there than THAT SIGNED UP! I'm not sure what happened. I know life gets in the way sometimes, but for HALF the kids to call and cancel, or simply not show up, was a little discouraging. It doesn't discourage me personally or for the ministry - OK, it does - but it discourages me more for them. They missed out on what I thought was a very good event and an incredible ministry opportunity.

The students that did show up were amazing! They actually raised more money than the group did last year. Despite the reduced numbers, they brought in over $3,000.00! Not bad at all. Plus, they had such great attitudes throughout the event. I heard no whining - except for Jory when I tried to wake him up on Saturday morning. Maybe that was because we gave them pictures of World Vision kids to pray for when they wanted to whine. Maybe it was because I threatened to laugh at them if they did whine. Not sure. And, they served hard at the various service projects we lined up for them, at the grocery store scavenger hunt, and stuffing envelopes for our mission trip fundraiser. Well done, Faminers!

The highlight for me for the Famine was our worship service. Our church's worship leader, Chris Nall, came in and led us in worship songs for about a half hour. Great! And then we had a special guest speaker from Cameroon (he actually lives in Atlanta, now) who is with an organization called Bread for Life. He gave his personal testimony and spoke and answered questions about the living conditions in Cameroon. It was great for me and the students to hear about stuff outside of Cape Girardeau, MO.

If you are a youth pastor and are not doing the Famine, or if you are a student that doesn't participate in it, I would encourage you to reconsider. You won't be sorry...unless maybe you puke...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Miss USA

Let me start by saying that yes, I spent my Friday night watching the Miss USA pageant on TV. Sad, I know. Marcy's family was in town and her niece wanted to watch it since she knew - sort of - Miss Ohio and Miss West Virginia. So we indulged her. It was fine, even though Drew Lachey, one of the co-hosts, was about 4 1/2 feet tall and sounded about as dumb as a box of rocks (rocks are dumb, trust me). We watched as they trimmed the contestants from 51, down to 15, and then down to the final five. The last competition was <dramatic music> The Final Question. Each contestant would be given one question to impress the judges with their poise and intelligence. First of all, I was expecting a little more out of the questions. Instead of questions about what to do about world hunger and how to fix the economy, we got questions about whether or not they felt that pop musicians were role models or not. Silly. But sillier yet were their answers. The only one that didn't sound ridiculous was Miss Ohio, and she finished in 4th place! Some of the highlights - or lowlights - that literally made me laugh out loud were these:
  • Miss Kentucky, when asked whether pop musicians were good role models said that she thought that a lot of music was "too much edgy." Interesting grammar, to say the least.
  • Miss California, when asked what advice she would give to strengthen families spoke about spending time with each other. Good advice, but then she kept going on and on about how this was so important whether you came from a family of two or a family of 15. Now seriously, how many families of 15 do you know of?
  • Miss Florida, when asked if we were too politically-correct as a society, said that yes, we were too PC, especially in "the Department of Religion." Is that a new Cabinet post that I am not aware of? Department of Transportation, Education, and now Religion.
  • Miss Georgia, when asked what she would want to teach men about women, said that they were strong creatures. I thought, "This might be good. She can talk about how women can do anything that men can do." Instead, she continued on to say that women wear high-heels, which proves just how strong they are. Come on! Is high-heels the best you can come up with to discuss just how strong women are?!? Sad.
All this further goes to show that Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)" Physical beauty is fine, female or male, but shouldn't our emphasis be on our inner lives instead?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Reflections on Daddyhood, Part 1

Wow, what a ride it has been! Colin Samuel is now a mere 16 days old, but it feels like a whole new world has opened up to me. That has happened a few times in my life. Events happen that make me feel like life has really started. First, when I was 12 years old, I met and began to follow Jesus for the first time, and I thought, "Now, life has begun." Then, many years later, I met and married Marcy and thought the same thing. And now, with Colin in my life, I feel like life has begun all over again. It is an amazing life, with so much joy, so many highs and lows. I have discovered one of the truly great simple pleasures in life, that being sitting in my recliner with my boy asleep on my chest. It just doesn't get any better than that! And my priorities have been all shaken up yet again. I have been reminded that it is not aout me at all. Any time that I might be disillusioned that it is, I am awakened by Colin's cries and I realize that it is about him. It really is a good life. More reflections to come, I'm sure...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Church Signs - Annoying!

If you are like me, you get really annoyed by churches that use cheesy slogans on their church sign. For example:

"CH__CH - What missing? UR"

That is so what it takes to draw people to church (sarcasm). The Wittenburg Door, a Christian satire web magazine, apparently is also annnoyed, as evidenced by these rejected church slogans. Enjoy...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Colin Samuel Fitzpatrick is here!

Our boy has finally arrived! He was born yesterday, 4/5/06, at 2:23 in the afternoon, after a 20-hour labor by Marcy (She's a a girly kind of way). He was 8 lbs. 8 oz. and measured in at 20" long. He was a little anxious to enter the world, so he stuck his hand out with his head, tearing Marcy quite a bit. She had surgery to get sewn up and is recovering nicely. The boy is a looker, despite the fact that he has the Fitzpatrick nose. All are doing well, and we are so excited to have our boy finally be here!!!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


What a boring NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game it was last night. As exciting as the tourney had been up until the Final Four, I had great hopes that this would be one of the best, if not the best, tournament of all time (at least all of my time). But the Final Four was a big dud. Neither of the semifinal games was close, nor was the championship. And the tourney had such promise, too. We had upsets, like Northwestern State over Iowa on a last-second shot; like Montana over Nevada; like Bradley over Kansas (yes, Kansas choked in the first round - again!). We had amazing finishes like UCLA over Gonzaga and Texas over West Virginia (Cursed Texas!). And we had the Cinderella #11 seed George Mason make it all the way to the Final Four, the first time in history that a team seeded that low ever made it that far. It had all the makings for the best tourney ever, but at the end, it laid a great big egg.

It makes me think about what we discussed at youth group the last couple of weeks. Sometimes, Christianity is the same way. In our eyes, it can lay a great big egg, too. But it's not because it's bad. I'm sure Florida doesn't think that the tournament was bad in any way. It is because we have the wrong expectations for it. We expect to be happy all of the time. Or we expect it to be about living a moral life. Or we expect God to show up in some big, dramatic burning bush experience for us daily. Whatever it is, we often expect the wrong things about what it means to follow Jesus, and it ends up being a drag to us. Has this ever happened to you?