Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Kyrios and Small Group

Kyrios has been up and down so far. You can really tell how passionate the teens are, but sometimes they just need to be reined in. Most of the programs have been organized well, but sometimes we make some avoidable mistakes. Some of it comes with experience--e.g. Clinton and I served in Kyrios when we were in high school, so we're familiar with what works--but other situations might have been avoided altogether if we had simply consulted each other first. The teens have some amazing ideas that I would have never thought of, but there are times where it would have been prudent to think it through and 'filter' first. The challenging part is knowing when to step in as a counsellor/advisor and when to just give the teen leaders some autonomy and learn from their mistakes.

My small group has been really good though. I think I've been able to connect with Janice and Josh (the small group leaders) pretty well, so we're usually on the same page. :) Our small group got together last week to make some dinner and bake some cookies. We also tried to make some fondue, but I don't think we bought the right chocolate. Still, I'm hoping that our future small group nights are a little more organized. Although it was a fun night, I'd like to see us do some more things on the 'spiritual' side. (The teens wanted to do something more relaxing 'cause the last few Kyrios programs had been too 'intense'--bible study, prayer walk, workshop.) One thing that I learned from last year was that it's better to do something meaningful, at the sacrifice of some 'fun'. Cooking, eating out, playing games, watching movies last year were all good times, but at the end of the year, it seemed like some of the small group members wished they had gotten more out of our gatherings. Understandably, teens don't like to have things 'serious' all the time, but I think this is where I have to encourage the group a bit more to make sure there's a good balance. Recently, I've been looking for some material for us to study together. The difficult part though has been trying to find something that will satisfy the whole group. We seem to be pretty diverse and some are seekers too. Anybody have any suggestions?

Monday, November 28, 2005

We're not gonna take it...

Sigh. Another game, another loss for the Raptors. I went down to the game with Brian and his brother to watch my beloved Raptors play the Mavs. It was actually a really close game. The Raptors were up 6 points with less than 2 minutes to go, yet I wasn't excited at all. I knew somehow that they would blow it. :P Of course, they didn't let me down. This is getting too excruciating to take... Funny thing though... I think Brian and I have been to so many games in the past couple of years that some of the attendants are starting to recognize us. Sometimes we have a drink, so the bartender usually asks for our IDs. This time around, the lady looks at us and says, "You guys come here a lot, right? Don't worry about it." :D I guess it shows how pathetically die-hard we hard. HAHA... It's kinda funny how the Raptors have made their theme song unofficially Twisted Sister's "We're not gonna take it". They play this song whenever they're in a tight game, in hopes of another win. The lyrics describe the feeling of every fan precisely. I don't know how much more of the losing I can take myself.

The Leafs have been a better team, but just my luck the one game that I attend, they totally put up a stinker. I went to check out the game vs. the Bruins last week with Andy, Ryan and Thomas. It's incredible what a cash cow MLSE is. Our tickets were $35 each, but that only gets us upper bowl and partially obstructed--meaning we can't see one of the faceoff circles. Anyway, we were expecting an exciting game, especially in the new 'NHL'. Sadly, the game was an absolute bore as the Bruins totally dominated and took the crowd out of the game. The Leafs were so listless that they didn't get their first shot on goal until half of the first period was over. Final score: 5-1 Bruins. Andy and I were wondering if it was such a great idea to skip our ball hockey game, but it turns out that we didn't miss anything there either. Apparently, we were running circles around the other team and the game wasn't competitive at all.

Speaking of ball hockey and cash cows, we played another TCS&SC tournament this weekend. We played pretty well in the round robin and won all our games. We won the semis fairly easily and made it to the finals. I wouldn't say we dominated our competition, but we were undefeated and on a good roll. Of course, we played our worst game at the wrong time--shoddy D and not enough shots--and lost a nailbiter. Man, I think it's the 3rd or 4th time we've finished 2nd. We just can't get over the hump! Anyway, the tourneys are always fun, but I'm starting to wonder where our money goes. We have to pay $240 per team, but we're only guaranteed 4 30 min. games and they offer us some diluted Gatorade, fruits and some granola bars. Plus, I don't think it costs that much to rent the school gyms and the 1st place prizes are just t-shirts. The owners MUST be rakin' it in. I've been to their head office once and they've got some pretty nice digs.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Not a good start to the week... I'm learnin' a very expensive lesson...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Prayer Walk

Tonight's Kyrios program, we went out in small groups and walked around the church neighbourhood. We took in some of the sights and sounds in the area--Metro Square, the T&T plaza, and even the adjacent office buildings. It was fitting that we did it on Remembrance Day 'cause it was good to remember how many people around us we can pray for... Walking around with the other teens was refreshing as well 'cause we'd all observe something different and from a another perspective...

Some things that we prayed for (and you could pray for as well) included:

  • The success of new businesses at the plaza. Many owners, especially for small businesses, have invested their life savings into starting up the stores. We've already seen one of them close down.
  • That the businesses can operate them not only successfully, but honestly--serving fresh food, paying fair wages, selling 'real' items. OK, maybe that last one is a stretch with Chinese businesses. ;)
  • The people--whether retail or in the offices--who put in long hours in their work to support their family and put food on their table. Even around 9 PM, there were still quite a few people left in the office buildings. Pray that they will get enough time to spend with their family and friends, especially in the upcoming holiday season.
  • The continued integration of TCCC in its community, so that other businesses don't see the church as a threat, rather as a friend. Hopefully, we can continue to be good witnesses of the Christian faith to those around us.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lest We Forget

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- John McCrae

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Woo! I have tomorrow off 'cause it's Remembrance Day... One of the benefits of working for the government (or even the bank). It'll be good to rest 'cause I expect the next couple of weeks to be pretty busy. At work, there's gonna be some announcements, so we have to do a lot prep work leading up to it. Hopefully, I won't have to stay late too often. Plus, I'm helping to run a workshop at Kyrios next Friday, so I have to spend some time prepping with the leaders. And it just happens that I have tickets to a couple of Raptors and Leafs games over the the next two weeks. Man, I hope they don't go to waste! :P I think I'll sleep in tomorrow. :D

Monday, November 07, 2005

My Game Is Raptors Basketball

Wow. (Unfortunately) I went to my first Raptors game of the season tonight. Most U.S. prognosticators had predicted that they would be the worst team in the league, but, being the optimist, I actually had some hope for them. Although I didn't think they would make the playoffs, I still thought they could win about 30-35 games. Aftter seeing them live, I'm wondering if I was totally wrong.

The game itself was actually pretty close for the first 3 quarters. In the 4th quarter, the wheels completely fell off and they eventually lost 105-93. Their defense just couldn't stop anyone. My highlight of the night was Hoffa fouling Lebron HARD, but clean, and then getting a dunk and some cheers after. :) Good to see Donyell Marshall back too. The Raptors presented him with a game ball for his record-setting game last year--he hit a NBA record 12 3-pointers. A classy guy who's always taken the high road and avoided badmouthing the organization despite the circus atmosphere last year.

Here are a few other observations I had:

  • CB4 - Had his best game of the year so far. They should give him the ball every time down the floor.
  • Jose Calderon - I hope he's starting by December or January. Pass-first PG who doesn't take ridiculous shots. Jose! Jose! Jose! Jose!
  • Joey Graham - Didn't see much of him. I thought he played some pretty good D and he hit his open shots.
  • Mike James - Hopefully he's the anti-Rafer and not as crazy, but he's reminding me a lot like Milt Palacio... which is not good... there doesn't seem to be a layup that's not willing to try.
  • MoPete - Seems to have improved a lot. Good short jumper and our best defender.
  • Jalen Rose - He's absolutely killing the team with his ball hogging. Every time he touches the ball, he tries to post up against THREE guys and still jacks it up. No wonder CB4 can't get into the flow of the game. Everyone's just standing around watching to see what's gonna happen.
  • CV31 - After all the hype in the preseason, I expected a bit more. Given it's still early, I'll hold off for now.
  • Hoffa - Still isn't very good, but he made a couple of good plays out there. I'd rather see get more playing time and foul out. Sitting on the bench isn't doing him any good.
  • The Red Rocket - Bonner might have already worn out his welcome. He could hit his jump shots and his D was just terrible. Starting to really look like the next Big White Stiff.
  • Aaron Williams - He actually played pretty well for the few minutes he was out there. (And he just dislocated his fingers the previous game too!) I wonder why he's been in the doghouse...
  • Eric Williams - He played for about 5 minutes, but then we didn't see him again. Strange.
  • Loren Woods - I'm not sure why he's out there. For a guy who's 7'2", he does very little on the floor. I hope he's glued to the bench.
  • Sam Mitchell - I'm really starting to question his coaching strategies--if he really has any. He yanks players at strange times, benches others who seem to be shooting well, yet sticks with the vets and the fan favourites way too long. I hope he's just playing around to see what works best...
  • The Raptors Dance Pak - I had to mention them 'cause they are really starting to dress pretty SKANKY. I guess they have to try something to keep the fans coming. No wonder Bethany is worried about bringing Chris to the games... Entering the ACC, I felt like I was in the buffet line in Rush Hour 2. :)
Anyway, I know it's still early, so I'm still trying to stay optimistic. I need to 'cause I split Season Tickets with Marty, so I have another 5-6 games to attend. But if things don't come together soon, it's gonna be a long long season. I don't think I'll be able to give away my tickets even if I tried. Go Raptors! :)

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Kyrios... and more Kyrios...

Man, today was a long day. I've been out all day and only got home in the last hour.

After service and Sunday School, we had a meeting with the teens to plan some more for our Snow Camp. We got stuff done--got the theme worked out, hammered out the schedule for the week, and updated each other on our responsibilities--but it wasn't a very good meeting. First, a lot of us, including myself, got there late 'cause we took too long to get our lunch. Also, I've noticed that our first few meetings have really lacked focus. Often, people throw out too many random ideas and we get off-topic way too easily. It's a bit frustrating 'cause these meetings that take 2+ hours should be much more efficient. Still, I know I have to be patient 'cause I'm sure I used to be like that myself. One time, I asked Kinson if they had trouble keeping us in line, and he had a good laugh about it. :) Plus, there were some people who were just 'lost' during the meeting--Some were tired and had no energy, while others seemed to have other things, like school, on their mind. By the time we were finished, I think everyone was just glad to wrap up. :P

Later at night, the counsellors met up at Ken and Eva's place for dinner. It was the first time that all of us had gotten together to chat since the school year started. Eva made this awesome meal for us--butterut squash soup and shepherd's pie. Yummm. It was sooo good that I just wanted to sleep after. :) Over dinner and through the rest of the night, it was a good chance for us to catch up--to share about all the positives so far, talk about some of the challenges we're facing, and to see what direction and roles we want to play in the fellowship. We even spent some time praying for the fellowship and each other. It felt good to finally connect with everyone and build on what we wanted to do as a team.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Just for Laughs Comedy Tour 2005

Watched the Just for Laughs Comedy Tour at Massey Hall tonight with Andy, Des, Jenn, Jimmy & Tracy.

It was hosted by Shaun Majumder, who was pretty funny and made quite a few Indian jokes, but I think Russell Peters delivers it better. The show featured 5 acts:

  • Scott Faulconbridge - Decent start, but nothing too memorable.
  • Rocky Laporte - Best of the pack. Average Joe who had me laughing throughout with his everyday observations.
  • Ryan Belleville - I didn't find him very funny at all. His wackiness just wore thin after a couple of minutes.
  • Rod Thompson - The token 'African-American' :)
  • Carl Barron - Australian dude. Pretty funny with some Aussie-themed humour.
Most of the acts were filled with quite a bit of language and always resorted to sex jokes to try to get laughs. However, the one that everyone seemed to enjoy the most was actually pretty clean and just commented on normal things that just made you think, "That's true...". :D

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

TCCC Family Fun Night

With safety being more of a concern nowadays and since Halloween is something that Christians don't typically celebrate, the church hosted a carnival-style event for the kids on Monday night. They set up a bunch games for the kids to play so they could win tickets to redeem prizes and treats. I ran a 'shoot-the-target' booth, which I probably made too easy. :) Some the same kids kept coming back over and over 'cause they figured out that I was easy money. Still, I'm glad that I didn't have to help out at the candy table 'cause that was a madhouse. Sugar and kids are definitely not a good combination.

So, I got a taste of what it's like to be a 'carny'. Man, it was tiring, even if it was only 2 hours. It was so tedious picking up the darts, reloading the 'gun', and passing out the tickets--while trying to stay energized through the whole night. I would have hated to work at the CNE!

In any case, it was great to see so many kids out (>150) having lots of fun. Many thanks to Wes for organizing the whole thing and recruiting the 30+ volunteers. He was running around all night long and probably never got a chance to sit down. His passion to serve the kids in the church and our community is unmatched...

See a few more pics here.