Friday, December 22, 2006

Favorite Christmas Carol

Marko had a cool post about his favorite Christmas carol on his blog today. So I thought I'd do the same... What's Yours? Let me know and leave a comment!

O Holy Night...

"O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."

"Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!"

"Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend!"

"Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!"

"Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!"

"Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!"

A few lines that really stand out and hit me are "Long lay the world in sin and error pining. Til He appeared and the soul felt it's worth. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices." - How true that we all lay in our own sin and error, and feel worthless, downcast, unloved...Yet Christ comes into the middle of our worthlessness and sick, and makes our soul feel it's worth. To spark hope and rejoicing within us!

"Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace." - Love God love others. All the law and all the commandments hang on this.

"Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother, and in His name all opression shall cease." - I can't even begin to describe how deeply this hits me. The call of Christ to seek justice, to love mercy, to look after orphans, widows, the poor, the sick... Not only did Chist come to free us from those things, but to invite you and I into the work of that. When can we as Christians stop judging the sinner, and focus on showing them the one who can free them from the chains and opressions that hold them back from living the full, abundant life that Christ came to give us...


In the light of his love, mercy, grace, freedom, how could we do anything less....

Monday, December 18, 2006

Politics of Joy. . .

Sorry about the little lay-off. Either nothing exciting has been happening, or there has been some really private stuff, that has stayed in my physical journal. Probably both.

Anyway, here's a thought that impacted me today. Brian McLaren (a guy that I may not always agree with) has an excellent post on the impact some words from popular christmas carols have had on him.

"...when I sang "let every heart prepare him room." If the carol is right, the way earth receives God's "prince of peace" is through individual hearts like ours. By making space, by opening our hearts to Christ, by letting our lives be the stable and manger into which good news quietly comes, by rendering the vacuum and vacancy within us vulnerable to the incoming of the Spirit ... we become, like Mary, "theotokos" - God-bearers."

"The way "earth receives her king" (and the blessings he brings) is not by bombs and guns and wiretaps and coups; not by aggressive blog postings or passionate media pronouncements by pundits. Rather, the king (and the kingdom) come first to the quiet hearts of humble people who "prepare him room," and the joy flows to the world through them."

Here's a link to the entire post - God's Politics: Brian McLaren

Great thoughts, that hit me, I hope you will carry them with you as well.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ahhhh Ice...

So I discovered that there is a small Ice Rink located just off the freeway, conveniently, on my way home from speaking at Flood The Desert on Sunday nights. And it so happens on said Sunday nights at 10pm they have pick up hockey...nice. So I unpacked my gear, loaded it up in my car, and stopped.

Yup, I laced them up for the first time in 3 years. I had a great time, it's great to get on the ice agian, but...

I learned a few things.

2.) I Need to start working out again.
3.) Your feet will hate you 20 minutes into the game after not being inside skates for 3 years.
4.) Did I mention that I am outta shape?
5.) I still got it.


Now off to bed, and tomorrow, oh tomorrow, Ill be sore. G' Night.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Take a day off...

Take a day off. That's what God did, and that's what He wants us to do.
The problem is, I never seem to honor this. I use the excuse of "Ministry" not really stopping.
Really? If I don't stop, then ministry will fall apart? Pretty egocentric. Not very honoring.

I've been reading alot about this lately, and God has been using some pretty incredible authors and speakers to work my heart over. Thought I'd share with you some of the stuff that has been challenging me.

"Sabbath is not dependent upon our readiness to stop. We do not stop [because] we are finished. We do not stop [because] we [have] complete[d] our phone calls, finish[ed] our project, [gotten] through this stack of messages, or [sent] out this report that is due tomorrow. We stop because it is time to stop.... Sabbath liberates us from the need to be finished. The old wise sabbath says: Stop now." - Wayne Muller

"Sabbath is a Gift of the restful God to His restless people. It is a statutory holiday, a King's birthday, bestowed on us weekly. That ever we should have come to resent it - to see it as a burden God laid on us rather than a way He eases our burden, to see it as a day He stole from us rather than one He lavishes on us - is bizarre beyond reckoning. 'Take a day off!' is the message of Sabbath. Relax. Sleep in. Take a midday nap. Play. Party. Eat. Dance. Be like children." ....
"Sabbath is God holding you long enough for you to remember who you are: not God, but one whose life is in His hands, the hands of the One who wants to give you good gifts." - Mark Buchanan from "The Holy Wild"

Im off to enjoy my Sabbath.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Had a great time in Anaheim at the Youth Specialties convention with, what I would consider, my core volunteer team members. It was really good to hang out with them, relax, have a great time, get challenged, encouraged, etc...

I got home Monday night, and was right back into the swing of things on Tuesday. We had TNL, our High School group on Tuesday night. I got home, hung out with Robin some, and then 11pm rolled around. I started ejecting all manners of food, liquid, and waste, from what seemed every available opening on my body. I puked, among other things to vile to describe here, from 11pm till about 6am. Fun. I spent all day Wednesday in chills, wrapped up in blankets with a 102 temp. Needless to say, not fun.

Im feeling much better today and the Doc said it is just an intestinal virus, and I just have to let it work it's course. Im still slightly dizzy and light headed and I still have a 100 degree temp. I've had no solid foods since Tuesday evening, and I have to keep it simple for the next few days (BRAT - Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast). Yeah.

Not a very exciting post, but I thought I'd share.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Y.S. Convention - Anaheim #2

In terms of humility, Shane Claiborne has been the epitome of it here at the conference. By far the most self-giving and challenging person that I have met in quite awhile. Not to brag on him or about him, but this is a man that so believes in giving away (not some but all) of what God has given him. He took the money paid by Y.S. to speak, prayed over it, and then just gave it away... He laid it all out in one dollar bills and gave it to everyone who would come take one, with just one stipulation... Use it to love someone. Sponsor a child, use it to buy a meal, whatever. I went up, just crushed in the way God used Shane, and his life, to break/mold/sculpt, my life to reflect more of Himself.

What am I doing with my dollar? Im keeping it... Yup it's all mine. I have it in the front window of my wallet, with the word Love in big black letters staring back at me. Challenging me, mocking my wasteful habits of spending on needless and worthless things. I pray that God uses that dollar, the sign of America's wealth and greed, to break my heart when I buy garbage. May that dollar be a constant burning reminder of Shane, his challenge, his life, but even more may it constantly drive me to give more and more of myself away in an effort to gain more and more of Christ.

So for those of you that are there, let's use this space as a place to share...

"What are you doing with your dollar?"

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Y.S. Convention - Anaheim #1

So much for being a frequent blogger at Y.S.
I decided to detach and leave my laptop at home and focus on relaxing, focusing, and growing. So if that makes me a slacker, so be it... So I am grabbing some time in the Digital Lounge, here for a moment. Doing a quick update.

Thoughts so far:

- God keeps hammering this idea of humility and grace into my thick skull. One of my favorite quotes from Matthew Barnett of The Dreamcenter in downtown L.A. "Seek the welfare of the people". In my case, the students.

- One thing I particularly like about Y.S. is their ability to encourage me to be who I am, find my uniqueness and operate from there, but at the same time, to challenge me to be more of the person that God created me to be.

- I also love that the leaders of Y.S. (Marko, Tic, etc...) lead by being real. They're trasparent to us...

Great things:

- Why does Crowder kill me with the worship sets? It seems that I've done more crying and heart searching when I should be shouting and singing. Could it be that this is the true purpose of worship?>

- I love my staff team. I enjoy being with them. They've let me be myself, they've let me relax and have fun. I truly enjoy them.

Well there's a line, and I want to be polite. More later...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

World Champs...

Congrats to the 2006 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
But lets travel back 2 years, same city, same field, differet team.
Much happier times. Here's a quick recap of the 2004 Red Sox that someone put together.
I found it on a fellow Pastor/Sox Fan/Blogger's site.
Thanks go out to Bob Franquiz for bringing some joy to my day.

Posted By:Michael

Get this video and more at

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In the time we have...

I have, for the better part of a week, had the lyrics to the song "On Your Wings" by Iron and Wine stuck inside of me. They make me think about the things that lead me farther from Him, away from his flame, away from the light that should guide my path. It also makes me think about the short time I have, and how I should spend it, and how I make the most of it...

"God, there is gold hidden deep in the ground
God, there's a hangman that wants to come around

How we rise when we're born
like the ravens in the corn
on their wings, on our knees
crawling careless from the sea

God, give us love in the time that we have

God, there are guns growing out of our bones
God, every road takes us farther from home

All these men that you made
how we wither in the shade
of your trees, on your wings
we are carried to the sea

God give us love in the time that we have"

Do you Google?

I read a quote today that hit me pretty hard. I forget where I saw it, I think it was on a blog, and I forget who said it, but it's been gnawing at me all day... "If people around you have to use Google to find out about God, what does this say about you?". Ouch. I wonder how many people I've sent to google because of my actions, attitude, words, fear, or lack of effort in sharing God's love for them. I don't know where I am being led with this, probably to a life more deliberately open to sharing the love of Christ, all I know is that I got my butt kicked today.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Games for the Ghetto...

In his book Roaring Lambs, Bob Briner describes the Christian subculture as the "Christian Ghetto". Why? Because a ghetto is an isolated segment of a society that is difficult to escape due to factors such as limited opportunities, self imposed or culturally imposed restrictions, etc... Miriam Webster dictionary actually defines ghetto as: "an isolated group b : a situation that resembles a ghetto especially in conferring inferior status or limiting opportunity."

There are things within each ghetto that keep people focused on being segmented and separated from the rest of society. These things are also seen by the surrounding communities, and the surrounding communities can't understand them, cause they are only relevant to those stuck in the ghetto. And if you've ever really been through a ghetto, you know that there is not much beauty to be found there, they are littered with trash and junk.

I am a firm believer that we as Christians have created our own "isolated group" or ghetto, complete with our own trash, I mean games, to keep us entertained. Here are a few of my own personal favorites...

Your Best Life Now Board Game

It's described as "an entertaining and educational way to take inventory of yourself and accountability of your actions." Really? Through a board game?

Or how about Left Behind The Board Game ?

"This unique game can give players a heightened awareness of the "end times."" Fantastic. Now I can defeat the antichrist with a roll of the dice and the move of my plastic marker. Who knew it could be this easy?

Or even take the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised land. Yes, you too can make it to where Moses never did when you play Exodus: The Game of Passover

I know that I sound cynical and jaded here, and I haven't even touched on the various candies (Testa-Mints, Scripture Chocolates, God's Gum, etc...), clothing, wireless phone services, T.V. stations, movies, etc... But I really think that we are abdicating our call as salt and light in this world. What good does it do us to lock ourselves away from this world, instead of engaging in it and being an agent of change in it? God wants to redeem this world and the lives of the people in it, through his people. The church is to be focused outward, not inward.

Some might argue that these "good" things battle against the evil in this world. I do believe that there is evil in this world, but rather than run from it, we should be trying to penetrate it. Rob Bell says in his book Velvet Elvis "
Why blame the darkness for being dark, it's far more helpful to ask why the light isn't as bright as it should be."

So what are we doing about that? Are we penetrating the darkness? Are games like these bringing light to dark places, or simply helping barricade the doors of our ghetto? What do you think?


The junk just keeps a comin! I just recieved this little bit of info... Left Behind the Video Game.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I have to say that I am really honored and excited to be able to review a new book coming out. I've been looking forward to reading Mark Batterson's book "In a pit with a lion on a snowy day" for sometime now. I actually get to read and advance copy of the book, and will be posting a review here on Monday Oct. 2nd. Stay tuned. So far, I have enjoyed it, and it has delivered on it's goals that are laid out in the descrpition.

"Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn't chase. You will regret the risks not taken, the opportunities not seized, and the dreams not pursued. Stopping running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is inspired by one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture: Benaiah chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it (II Samuel 23:20-21).

Unleash the lion chaser within!"

Tune in on Monday for my review, and do yourself a favor and get it. I will also post a link to buy it here as well.

Grace and Peace.


Monday, September 25, 2006

NBC's Heroes...

I just finished watching the premiere episode of "Heroes" on NBC, and I must say, what a show. I know that I have always been a comic book fan, and my favorite was always X-Men. Something about ordinary people, discovering extraordinary abilities that have been hidden within themselves, laying just beneath the surface. It's a theme that resonates with me as a Christian. It think that as humans it is a longing that we all experience. The desire to know that life is more than just passing time. That our lives could be something greater, that we could leave a mark or have an impact on this world.

I think that the show is built around this premise. There were two points in the show tonight that really reflected this longing for life to be something more. The first moment, Hiro (the Japanese "hero" and my personal favorite) is trying to explain to his friend what his special powers are, and why he wants to have them. He says "You don't understand, I want to be special." His friend tells him that they are not special, that they are like everyone else, and Hiro replies "Fine stay here, and be just like everyone else." The second point was towards the end when Peter is trying to prove to his brother Nathan (who is running for congress) that he can fly. He says "It's my turn to be somebody now Nathan."

Isn't that the longing of the human heart? To be regarded as special. To be different, to be identified as "somebody"? But our identity will never truly come from what we can do, who we are, what we wear, what we drive, what our job is, or what we accomplish. Our identity is based on Christ. On what He has done, is doing, and wants to do through us. Identity based on anything less than that will be an identity crisis.

I think this is why a lot of people in third world countries, and in poverty stricken areas of this world seem to be more joyful than most Americans. Because they have less stuff to base their personal worth on. The more you have, the more opportunity there will be for an identity crisis. They don't define their identity by their possessions, what they do, or what others think of them. Their identity is based on something else entirely.

I hope this show succeeds. I think it will, because it taps into that desire of our human nature that longs for something more. How do we as Christians who have a hope, who know that God has prepared in advance good works for us to do, show this world that there is something more. That our lives were purposed for something greater than we could ever imagine? That we can be more than heroes, that we can be more than conquerors. Not because we are embedded with some super powers. But simply because He has loved us.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

TMX Elmo...

Yup, that's right a post on the new tickle me Elmo. I never thought that I would be even remotely entertained by one of these things, but this is pretty funny. I gotta say, by the third tickle, when he falls to the ground face down and starts smacking the floor, I was laughing pretty hard myself.

Anyone want to buy me one?

Friday, September 22, 2006

My Photography...

Yeah, that is some of my work at the top of the page. I've been doing more of my own stuff over the past couple years, and am working at putting up a web page just for the photos. Stay tuned.

A LARGE Call To Be small.

So many times, as a youth pastor, you can get kind of a big head. Some of those who know me, might say "Snyder has a huge head, it's like an orange on a toothpick." But I don't mean a big head physically, even though I do carry a gargantuan noggin about. But I'm talking about ego wise. Not that I think I'm the greatest, as a matter of fact, I would rank myself pretty low. I look at others creativity and gifts and think, "I wish I had that." The constant comparison to someone else, what a battle. Enough of the rant. What I mean by my opening statement is that it's easy to look at a group that is growing rapidly and pretty large and think you've done something great. It's easy to listen to people tell you how great the message you delivered was, and on the outside say "It's wasn't mine, it was God's", but inside be thinking. "Yeah, it was. Thanks". It's pretty easy to begin to think that you are doing some great things for God.

But there is an enormous problem here. We can do nothing on our own. It's only by the grace of God that we can do anything at all. John 15:5 says "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." We can do nothing, we are nothing. Yet we see ourselves as important, integral to God's plan, and necessary. But the goal of a Christian should be to fade away into obscurity. I know that sounds harsh , but it's true. If we take John's words to heart when he said "He must become greater; I must become less."

Become less. That goes against everything that my flesh cries out for. I want to be known, I want to be in front, to be noticed, to be identified as important, to stand in the spot light and be applauded for my efforts and my accomplishments. But it's the desire of my heart to be less, so much more less. That so much of me fades away, that all that remains is Christ. That my desire to accomplish so much pales in comparison to the actual smallness of my efforts. As Helen Keller said, "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble."

But how will I know when I am beginning to fade away? When people stop saying "thank you" and start saying, "That could only be God."

The return of the blog...

Here it is again, another attempt at the blog. A way to keep in touch, a place to read any strange thoughts, reflections, ponderings, wonderings, that may cross my mind and spill out digitally onto this page.

Ill also be getting to review books, other blogs, music, etc... So stay tuned.

And please, when you drop by, leave a comment, or shoot me an email (found in the tab at the top of the page).

So I've already been asked about the title, check this out..

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
1 Cor. 13:12

Someday, I'll fully know my creator, as he fully knows me. But until then I can only desire to know that which cannot be fully known, and be happy to remain unknown to everyone else. Understand? Cool. On with the blog.