sushi bar

last night shanna and i 'broadened our horizons' and stepped out into new territory...we ate sushi. a couple days ago we were invited to join 2 other couples at a place called arigato japanese steakhouse. it's the real deal...we were sitting around this super hot surface under a giant kitchen hood...the chef comes out and cooks it all in front of you (but only after flinging the knives and utensils through the air)...flying flames in front of your face...it was amazing. he even built a volcano out of an onion. aside from the sushi...we had mushroom soup (neither of us are big fungus people), and fried rice and chicken which tasted amazing. i'm definitely more 'american' in what i choose to eat if it was just me...but this place had the most incredible atmosphere!

in other news, shan and i leave for pittsburgh tomorrow morning at 6am (ouch) with 4 other adult leaders from ISM for the national youth workers convention. i'm looking forward to the sessions, seeing the skit guys, david crowder band, connecting with other youth pastors from the greece area, etc....DEFINITELY looking forward to the hotel hotel...

...but more than anything i can't wait to spend 4 days chilling with our leaders that make such a big impact on our students' lives. they are great people, and the prayer is that they especially can come back refreshed, renewed, and recharged to go at it all again.

tonight at ISM we wrap up the welcome to the planet series, hoping and praying that God does some incredible things among the students that have been coming since week 1. next week we begin a brand new series called Extreme Makeover: Youth Room Edition as we try to get on board with the capital campaign that's happening church-wide right now to raise funds for Lakeshore to expand its current facilities. should be a fun series.


i love this song

humbling moment

today shanna and i were very thankful for a day off together - it seemed at first that shanna was going to be working today, but that changed and was a huge blessing for us. it's been a few weeks since we've really had a day with just the two of us and the pace of life lately has been a little psychotic.

one of the things we checked off our list today was grocery shopping. we've slowly eaten what seems like everything in the house and haven't had a chance to go to the store lately. for some reason, and i still don't get this one, shanna loves it when i go with her. i have tried to convince her since we got married that it'd be a great time for her to connect with God alone and be out with the people in the community apart from me...but she doesn't quite see it that way. at any rate, when we got home i was overwhelmed with how much food we now have and how full our cupboards are. we've been making statements a little too flippantly lately, such as "i'm starving" and "there's nothing to eat in this house" and tonight was a reminder of what a pathetic lie those statements represent. i don't understand what it's like to starve...or what it's like to literally have NOTHING to eat.

we were just at a conference with our church's district - it was this past weekend near pittsburgh and it was on mission trips to the ukraine. i don't know if that's where we'll end up taking the students, but i do know that there's lots of needs there. as we watched a video of the orphans, poor, and needy there in the ukraine, it rocked my world. i don't know if those images ever get old. i hope they don't to me. and i hope it continues to spur me onto greater action, and less thoughtless statements.


nice quote

so shanna's been trying to get me to grow a gotee for awhile now, and i've finally given in...for now. in the process, there's been a number of interesting comments about this "thing" on my face...but so far the best comment was this:

"nice, less real estate to mow"


my desktop image

christian schizophrenia

i remember a message preached a couple years ago at bbc...so powerful it still challenges shanna and i today. the guy was talking about the difference between 'listening' to yourself and 'talking' to yourself...how many times we go through our days and just simply do whatever our bodies and minds 'tell' us to do...when in reality, the bible is clear that for christians, WE are in charge and WE ought to be the ones telling our bodies what to do and our minds what to think.

was reminded of this truth this morning - because it was similar to the preacher's illustration - as i laid in bed, REALLY not wanting to get up. thursdays are always exciting days because we get the incredible privilege of breathing life into students tonight...but before that happens tonight the plate is full for today and this afternoon...and honestly i wished i could just stay in bed through it all. part of my day is going to a luncheon thing that has nothing to do with student ministry - i said yes to it knowing that i was saying no to something else...and this morning i was wishing my answer was different. as i'm laying there listening to myself as the alarm incessantly nags, it occured to me that i was...listening to myself, rather than talking to myself. the scary thing...is that most of the time my voice sounds way more convincing than the voice of the very Spirit of God...so easy to listen to ourselves.


this week...

This weekend we're heading to Somerset, PA to attend a missions conference for our district. We're driving down with some other people with church and we'll be there Friday and Saturday. (Won't have our own car, so probably won't be able to visit with any friends/family. To be soooo close and yet unable to get home... rrrrrggggg its so frustrating!) I have no idea what to expect. Hopefully, Cory knows more. :)

At youth group on Thursday, I received a compliment from one of our teen girls that made my week. She said I, Shanna Hunneyman, was kinda edgy! WOWEE! Why was that a compliment??? Well, I've always felt pretty "uncool" - the dorky band-geek. :) So, maybe she was just being nice, maybe it was the new haircut, maybe the definition of edgy has recently changed, but maybe I just am a little edgy! Whatever the reason - it was still euphoria for awhile. I realize this is totally vain, but its still makes me happy. I love working with teens. (Yes, I still say that when they tell me I'm old or don't want me to hang out with them. lol.)


mtv's top 10

found a very informative and helpful article here today by Jonathan McKee that helps us as youth workers get caught up on what our teens are listening to. definitely worth the read. here's an excerpt that is especially helpful in our approach...

Ask Questions, Don’t Preach:
I have witnessed many a small group where an adult lectures on and on… basically saying, “Trust me, this music is bad! Burn those CD’s and just listen to Christian Music!” Not a bad message, but the delivery is usually met with a brick wall. Learn to ask questions instead of lecturing. Kids love to talk, more than that, they love to be heard. Feel free to ask them questions about their music. If you are tempted to lecture, search for a question you can ask that might lead them to the conclusion themselves.


been a long time

it seems as if i took a major blogging break during the past week...in fact i think i took a major break from virtually everything in life...and it was wonderful. it was a great vacation, very refreshing, and hard to come back from. it started like most do...with a huge list of things i wanted to check off the list with my new abundance of time. but this vacation proved a little different. very few things actually got crossed off, and yet this time, i'm not feeling bad at all about it.

one of the highlights no doubt was our trip to the adirondacks with my parents and the climb to the top of the mountain. it's amazing the perspective you can get when you're on top of a mountain. absolutely amazing. the colors were vibrant, the views breathtaking, and the air exhilerating. here's some shots i took at the top of a tower at the summit. shanna started snapping some pics but before long got freaked out from the heights and handed me the camera.

not sure where this one came from...


Old Forge

We went to Old Forge in the Adirondacks with Cory's parents as part of our vacation this week. We had a great time and the leaves were beautiful! We hiked up Blue Lake Mountain and then climbed a fire tower at the top. The view was AMAZING! Here are some pics...
This deer just stood there eating and looking at us as we walked closer and closer...
Cory & Dad as we started out. The trail continued to get harder and harder and .... crazy hard!
Finally - AT THE TOP!!!


the 5 stages of emailing friends unintentionally funny christian videos

1. Denial and Isolation"
That can't be real. There is no way a church is doing that. That has to be fake. Maybe that is something the parody website, The Onion, did. That's got to be a joke. Am I the only Christian that thinks that is ridiculous? Is it bad that I think that is ridiculous? Is it wrong to mock something a church did? I am so alone."

2. Anger"
This is why God gets such a bad rap. When my friends say Christianity is corny or cheesy, this is the kind of stuff they're talking about. I hope the guys at work don’t see this and email it to me since I’m the ‘Christian guy’ in the office."

3. Bargaining"
I shouldn't send this to friends, but it’s so funny. Look at that moonwalk. I have to share this with the world. But if I email it out, am I just perpetuating the idea that Christians are cheesy? Or is it a good thing to send it to my friends? Maybe it will let them know, 'hey, I get it, this kind of stuff is silly, but we're not all like that. I promise.' I'll just send it to a few people. I won’t send it to my entire contact list."

4. Depression"
All hope is lost. That video was viewed 20 million times on youtube. It was even on "The Soup" with Joel McHale, whom I love and think is hilarious, but that's beside the point. It's everywhere. Now, millions of people have had their misconceptions about Christianity confirmed. And I emailed it to the guys at work. All hope is lost."

5. Acceptance"
OK God, you're in control. I don’t get to define what you are pleased with. Maybe that breakdancing was exactly what you wanted and there were people that were deeply moved by that. But between you and me, I hope that when I get to heaven you'll do a little pop and lock, pull me aside and whisper, 'hey, even I thought that video was funny.' But we'll just have to wait and see."

(written by prodigal jon at stuffchristianslike)


Who Am I?

Who Am I
by Casting Crowns

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt
Who am I, that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever wandering heart

Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am a flower quickly fading
Here today and gone tomorrow
A wave tossed in the ocean
Vapor in the wind
Still You hear me when I'm calling
Lord, You catch me when I'm falling
And You've told me who I am
I am Yours, I am Yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and watch me rise again
Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me
Not because of who I am
But because of what You've done
Not because of what I've done
But because of who You are

I am Yours
Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear
'Cause I am Yours
I am Yours

I've heard this song a million times and yet this week, I was struck by the lyrics again. I've lost sight of WHO God is and WHAT He's done for me... again... Instead of seeing HIM - all I can see is me, me, me... my frustration, my hurt, my confusion, my comfort, my fatigue, my life, my schedule, my dreams, my ...

As I was driving to work complaining to myself about the early hour, the traffic, the inconvenience, etc. This song came on and my heart broke.

The Lord of all the earth - knows me personally and loves me, failures and all. It doesn't matter who I am or what I can do or have done... but because of HIM. He chose me. I am His. And that is enough.

an axiom

an "axiom" i've heard others say a lot lately is this: 'hurt people hurt people'. they don't intend to, they regret it when they become healed...but out of the depths of their hurt, they respond...and it's ugly. i've done it many times to others and i never look favorably at those experiences. we've been observing some of this hurt throughout this week in some fairly new friends of ours, and my heart aches for the pain they're going through. we pray for healing and restoration, and for God's design to return to this picture...