My Photo

Probation Officer and Adult Volunteer Leader for the High School Ministry of Granger Community Church.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

2005 Innovative Church Conference - Day One

The Innovative Church Conference kicked off today at Granger Community Church. I'll be commenting on my favorite nuggets in each session. If you want more in-depth notes you can check out Tony Morgan's blog.

Session 1: What Do You Believe About Your Ministry

Favorite Nugget: Do you really believe that God is with us? God is not some mean old man who sits in Heaven disciplining us when we screw up. He doesn't just sit with His arms folded pointing out our mistakes as He looks down His nose at us. God cares for us and came down to hold our hand, put His arms around us and touch our hearts... because He loves us. God moved into our neighborhood to live with and in us. He is with us.

Session 2: Create, Compel, Convince

Favorite Nugget: When we innovate we aren't creating some new thing. We're not creating a new Savior. We're saying we need refreshment – we need Jesus – when we innovate. We're coming back to the same Gospel, same Savior and same Source. But we find new and different ways to communicate God's love and grace for people.

Session 3: Student Ministry Breakout

Favorite Nugget: Effective leaders need two things: To be able to cast a strong, compelling vision. And to be storytellers – to be able to pass on stories to others about their students, volunteer leaders and their families (I added families). Obviously they also need to possess integrity and a personal relationship with Jesus... those should be a given... should be.

Session 4: Communication Crossroads

Favorite Nugget: There are two things that every extraordinary church has: Ordinary people with a passion for the person of Jesus. And, a passion for the lost.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'm Mad...

I recently ran across this show for the first time in a long time last week at 1:00 in the morning while I was Fort Wayne. I probably shouldn't admit this, but it is one of my all-time favorite shows. The show started in 1992. I can remember asking my mom to record the show while I went off to work at Kroger. At the time I was 16 years old. What 16 year old records a show like Mad About You! And what 16 year old asks his mommy to record the show for him! Well... I did. I know... sad isn't it. At age 17 I worked at Finish Line and bought the same shoes that "Paul Buchman" wore... sad. At age 18, I bought the Mad About You CD soundtrack... not sad. Still have it. It's got some good music on there. At age 19, I convinced my college roommate to buy his own copy of the Mad About You CD soundtrack. And at age 23, two months and seven days before I got married, the show ended. I'm not sure why I feel the need to tell you this, but my favorite episodes were the ones that showed how he proposed and the three months leading up to their wedding... oh ya, it was a two-parter.
I hear seasons 1 & 2 are out on DVD. Those will be in my collection right next to Seinfeld. It's weird how seeing a tv show can bring back memories so vividly – like the theme song. So... if you know the Mad About You theme song, sing it with me... "Tell me why, I love you like I do? Tell me who can stop my heart as much as you..."

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Back Home Again

And... I'm back in South Bend. I actually got back yesterday around 4 p.m. I don't want to bore anyone with the specific details of the trip other than to let you know that John Maxwell's influence has even infiltrated the Indiana Juvenile Task Force and our training. And even though it sucked being away from Jami and Carter, it was good to have a mini, self-retreat and get away to spend some one-on-one time with God.

Glad to be home. Really, really glad to be back with Jami and Carter even though he has a double ear infection.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Chew on this:

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Why... Why!?

Ok, I know I didn't put why I am in Fort Wayne this week... I was typing on my phone at the time and by the end of that post I was ready to throw it across the parking lot. Any, now that I have a laptop (thanks dad... and for the dinner... oh, and for the latte... you're actually sitting across the table from me now and don't realize that I'm typing about you) I'll tell you why. Every full-time youth care worker has to do a 40-hour training that's required by the state, so I'm in Fort Wayne learning the ins and outs of juvenile detention. Our facility actually employs quality youth care workers and supervisors, so I've already learned a lot of what is being taught. But it's fun hearing stories from the different centers that are represented around the state. So, that's why I'm in Fort Wayne. Thanks for asking!


In case you ever want to come here, it's just outside Fort Wayne. Now you know where turtle town is.

Monday, September 19, 2005

On the Road Again

This week I'll be coming to you from Fort Wayne Indiana. I don't have a computer, so all of my entries will be typed out on my cell phone... including this one. I must be crazy!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Revolution Continues

The kick-off of the 2005 Lifeline High School ministry began tonight with over 200 high school students. Above is a photo of those revolutionaries rocking to worship led by Trace. This is gonna be an awesome year. I can't wait to see what God has in store.

Live the Revolution

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility
consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your
own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Encouraging words

We saw this message on a cash register at a store in the mall. Must be a great boss to work for.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm Dedicated Baby

Last night at Granger we celebrated baby dedication night. In a day where children are being found locked in cages, it was awesome to participate with hundreds of other families and a few of our close friends (McMullens, Verdines, Bryants) in dedicating our children and our homes to God. Literally hundreds of families brought their children up to say, "Yes, we will love on our children and provide them with a home that will raise them up to know Jesus." Both Jami and my parents, Jami's brother, my brother and his new wife, J.R., Chris and great grandma and grandpa Ruth, along with a thousand of our other church family were there and made a promise to partner up with us. And let's not forget Carter, he did awesome. He loves his baths, so when it came time to go up front to lay hands on him and pray, he almost went head first into the bowl of water! And that would have been more than ok with him.

Oh, what's that!? Water? I can almost reach it!

Ok, if I can just push Mark's should away I can
get to it.

Wait! Where are we going. I can't leave the water.
Oh and I have to apologize for my hair... Debbie,
hurry up and get back from Colorado!!!!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Overturning the Gospels: it's not just about other people's sex lives

As I was reading through other blogs and news feeds I have loaded into Firefox, I stumbled upon this article, Overturning the Gospels, by Melinda Henneberger of MSNBC online. Below are a few highlights of statements and questions that caught my eye:
Katrina has reminded us that Christian morality should be about responding to the wretched and loving the unlovable—not about other people’s sex lives.

Defending traditional marriage? A breeze. Living in one? Less so. Telling gay people what they can't do? Piece o' cake. But responding to the wretched? Loving the unlovable? Forgiving the ever-so-occasionally annoying people you actually know? Hard work, as our president would say, and rather more of a stretch.

So far, though, I'd love to be wrong, I see no reason to think the president's sinking poll numbers will persuade him that there's more to (pro-)life than opposing abortion.
So, as followers of Jesus, how are we doing? How am I doing? Because living a revolution isn't simply about defending and telling like the "Falwells" and "Robertsons" have done in the recent past. It's about living, responding, loving and forgiving – and that's hard. It's about building relationships rather than rambling on about what you're against on national TV or from the "pulpit". So in light of Katrina, it's time to overturn the Gospels of "traditional American christianity" and live the Jesus revolution where pro-life means more than it does today.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Have You Hugged Someone Today?

If you haven't, what are you waiting for!? It's Hug A Crabby Stranger Day. You still got time... go out and hug one today!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

He's Just A Skater Boy

Ya, I like Avril Lavigne... SO! Check out Carter, he's rockin his new skater hat.

Double Barrel Action

As Carter started to whine in his jumpy seat, I looked over and saw this and had to take a shot of it. Mmmm tasty. Oh ya, I did wipe his nose two seconds after I snapped this off. Is it wrong that I use a sick baby for a blog topic?

Monday, September 12, 2005


I'm taking a sick day off. I don't think snot and the keyboard go together well!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Live the Revolution

May you live all the days of your life.

Jonathan Swift

What does that mean for you?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Kanye West Defends Anti-Bush Comments

If you missed the live segment on NBC or haven't heard Kanye's quotes, here's what he said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people" and said America is set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible." In an article written in People, Kanye defended his comments saying it was the least he could do. In addition to the Rev. Al Sharpton coming to Kanye's defense, Jay Z said that he backs West 100 percent. Jay Z continued, "This is America. You should be able to say what you want to say. We have the freedom of speech." Kanye went on to say that he wanted to bullet point the things that disturb him so much. Unfortunately, that's exactly what Kanye did, shoot bullets in the form of words from his mouth. In a disaster like this, it's important to unite people with a vision to triumph and conquer the challenges that lay ahead. Were there mistakes? Yes? Was the president's administration part of those mistakes? Most certainly. Was, and is the mayor of New Orleans administration part of those mistakes? Most certainly. And these mistakes on both sides need to be addressed. But there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this process. Kanye chose the immature, hateful, antagonistic, uninformed way to handle HIS interpretation of the situation – in other words, the wrong way. While we do have freedom of speech, we don't have the right to purposefully try to cause hurt to individuals with that speech. We don't have the right to use riotous language. And we don't have the right to use slanderous language. George Bush is a big boy. He can defend himself. He doesn't need anyone to do that. And I'm not trying to here. It's just unfortunate that Kanye chose to use his influence to divide the nation rather than trying to unite it. And it's additionally unfortunate that there are individuals supporting Kanye's divisiveness. Kanye needs to grow up and choose his words with some wisdom. The revolution isn't about pointing fingers. It's about turning those fingers back to yourself and saying, "What's my part? What can I do to help?" That's the real revolution. If realized, Kanye is in a position where he can see "Jesus Walk" by using his influence in a positive way. The question is, will he?

Friday, September 09, 2005

He Said What!?

It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people's lives.
Clint Eastwood

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Splish Splash

The adventure of giving Cater a bath. Look ma, I can get water everywhere!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

House Invasion

Last night Jami, Carter and I had an invasion of our home. The perp was discovered around 7:14 p.m. in our living room. We got a quick glance of him from the corner of our eye. Then... he disappeared... behind our couch. We did hard battle. He played a good cat and mouse game. But I was patient – waiting for him to make just one mistake. He finally made his move. He faked left and up... you see, that was his one mistake... he should have faked right and down. This is where I made my move. I struck hard and fast knocking him against the wall and to the floor. With one shot it was over – or so I thought... You can see photos of our battle below.

The Enemy!

Come out come out wherever you are!

Don't mess with the Ruths!

Time to clean up the mess!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thanks Blogger

Blogger is really on top of their game. I received an email from Robin this afternoon stating that they had personally tested my page on a PC (the type of computer that I was having problems with). And not just on a PC, but on two separate Internet browsers. Blogger let me know that they didn't encounter any problems and if I was still having the same issues to take a screencapture and send it to them so they could check it out further. I wasn't expecting a response this quick especially after a holiday. And honestly, I was half expecting to receive just an automated response. Instead, I got an automated response followed up by an email from a real live person. Great customer service guys! Keep up the great work. Mark Waltz would be proud.

Thanks again!

The New Second Car?

An AOL article called, Scooters: The Perfect Second Car, talks about how scooters are rapidly gaining speed as American's new second vehicle. I think the whole article is a huge hype story. I don't know, I just can't see my friends Kevin and Corey, or any of my other friends that I roll with, strap on a helmet to speed to work on their new scooter.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Issues with Blogger

I want to open this post by letting everyone know that I am pleased to use Blogger for the most part. It accomplishes what I want to do with a blog and I'm grateful that it is free to the user. However, over the last week I've encountered some issues that I've noticed on my blog – links that show up twice when there should only be one, gaps and breaks in the blogger header, my profile and links don't show up in the proper spot rather they start way down the page on Explorer on a PC (they are in the correct spot on my Mac's Explorer, Firefox and Safari) and most recently I have to begin to use the "word verification" feature in order to cut the spam that I've encountered in my comments. The link and the comment issue is very frustrating for me. In addition, I think it's completely ridiculous that readers who wish to comment on my posts have to type in a word verification in order to post their comment. There has to be a better security feature that blogger can use rather than inconveniencing readers when they wish to comment. Again, I'm pleased overall, but this has been a frustrating week in my world of Blogging.


Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ok. Where are we going? I'm ready!

Glad I got my shades. It's bright at the Blueberry Festival!

Todd & Carter... Out.

He Said What!?

Leadership is not magnetic personality - that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not "making friends and influencing people" - that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
Peter F. Drucker

Saturday, September 03, 2005

This is what was calling my name Friday afternoon just after lunch... a glazed creme filled donut and a large smooth mild & mellow coffee. I normally go for a Starbucks latte, but they don't have Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

And speaking of Starbucks, here's what I've currently got brewing in my coffee maker at home... Cafe Verona. In fact - umm yep - it's done brewing now... gotta run.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Originally uploaded by toddruth.

This is me driving home from a staff meeting that was canceled. Everyone else knew it had been canceled... I didn't because I hadn't been into work since Wednesday at 3 p.m. and I couldn't get our online work notes to work from home. Ordinarily this wouldn't have been that costly, but gas is now $3.20 in our area and my drive consists of 47 miles... one way! Oh well, at least it got me up and out the door. Oh, and yes, that's me in the photo below passing the time singing to Jesse McCartney, Kelly Clarkston, Nelly and others... you got to do something while you're in the car that long!

Originally uploaded by toddruth.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Happy Feet

I've got the happy feet! Watch me walk.

Vacation Video

Here's my inagural video. This was taken back in early May. As you can tell, this was before Carter could sit up on his own... that's why he's just draped over the swing. He had fun anyway.