Farewell to the Youth Group…

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haunted hallwayFor the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19:10

I’ve been silent. I know I have been silent, not posting my brain droppings or reviews or such these past few weeks. There have been some paradigm shifts, the major of which was where I said goodbye to my youth group last night.

It was known that this was Shelli’s last year of doing the youth group, as she had been faithfully doing so in the Student Venture capacity for 25 years. Not counting the few years before when it was just a weekly Bible study in the late 1980s and early 1990s. While she had said she was retiring every two years or so, this time she meant it.

It just so happened that I had gotten involved with Student Venture when it was started back in February of 1992, and have been involved in some capacity for approximately 17 out of the 25 years. There was that wilderness period between 2000 and 2009 that I’m not going to go into right now. Sufficed to say, I needed that time. When the Lord saw fit, He drop-kicked me back with the youth group to serve the leaders. Then I moved up to one of the co-leaders. We kept the name Student Venture long after Campus Crusade decided to change their organization name to CRU, and then the last year it was decided to break off entirely with being associated with CRU, more because we were affiliated in name only. The break was very amicable, really. That was also the last year we would exist as a youth group as we know it.

The original plan was to pass on responsibility of the group to myself and another friend–Darla–who were helping co-lead (for lack of a better word, this early in the mourning as I write this). Then, a few weeks into the new season, Darla left to to focus on her family (I swear I didn’t mean to evoke Dr. James Dobson’s old ministry, sorry); I realized that I would be the one taking over the lessons and teaching the group after Shelli was gone. And, after the initial period of anxiety, I  fell back to what I knew best to do: leave it up to God to do what He does, and let the Holy Spirit guide me as I merely serve to the best of my ability. Remain faithful in presenting the Truth of the Bible and Who Jesus is, and let God do the heavy work in the kids’ hearts and minds.

You know, what I’ve always been doing. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, and all that.

Then, without getting bogged with the details, a chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes was started at the High School, and Shelli decided that the torch should be passed to those starting up FCA and dissolving Student Venture entirely. It’s logical, really, as there are so many more opportunities for the kids to grow and mature in their faith and interact with peers from other FCA groups, and it’s headed up by a couple of instructors from the high school. I would be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t a little bit upset at the sudden shift. Then again, the group wasn’t mine to begin with.

So, last night I said goodbye to probably the best bunch of kids I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with. To watch the Holy Spirit work in their lives, seeing them want to dive into what the Bible says, reading it chapter-by-chapter, and most importantly getting to introduce them to Jesus. It was the one day out of the week I looked forward to. It was…difficult, to understate the situation. Hugs and tears and laughter all around.

So, the torch has been passed for the kids in Hooper, Nebraska. And various surrounding communities. It’s difficult to imagine not being a part of their lives in the future, but I believe they’re in good hands. As for me, I foresee a bit more Wilderness Wandering. Or to put it another way: While it’s true that when God closes one door, He will open another, no one wants to talk about the period where you’re wandering around the hallway waiting for Him to open up the other door.

Can I praise Him in the hallway? Do I have a choice? Am I really going to end this with rhetorical questions? Sure, why not? Cheers, all…

::END TRANSMISSION::

Doctor Who Series 10 Brain Droppings

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Soon, in less than a couple of weeks (premiering between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, as a matter of fact), we Whovians will finally have a new series (referred to as a “season” here in the States) of Doctor Who. To say the wait was a long one may be exaggerating a bit; lest we forget the Wilderness Years between the original cancellation of the show and the 1996 television movie, followed by another nine years until it was officially brought back in 2005 (not counting the brilliant 1999 special “The Curse of the Fatal Death”). A year and a half really wasn’t that much of a slog; besides, we had the two Christmas Specials to provide a break in the waiting. Not to mention all the books and radio dramas being produced.

Anyway, we are finally near the 10th Series of Doctor Who. This one purports to be the final one for Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor. Which is a pity, as I thoroughly enjoyed his take on the Time Lord, bringing to mind the best of the First, Third and Fourth Doctors, with a smattering of the Eighth, all while making it his own whimsical beast. I dare say, Capaldi’s Doctor had replaced Eccleston as my second-favorite Doctor.*

There’s a new companion for the Doctor as well, and it looks like, according to reports**, that there’s going to be a refreshing lack of romantic tension between the Doctor and the companion this time around. I understand the logic of getting some forced romantic tension to bring in the younger demographic (which also favors making the Doctor younger every time he regenerates), but in my not-so-humble opinion, the Doctor works best as an asexual character, and not having to rebuff his companion (or companions) while trying to save the world from whatever threat is besotting us this week. That’s part of the reason why, since the relaunch of Doctor Who, the companion of Donna Noble is listed high up as one of my favorite companions: she never fell for the Doctor. If anything, she was a much-needed foil to the Doctor’s ego. But, I digress.

The previews and teasers show promise. There seems to be a return of the classic Cybermen from the First Doctor serial “The Tenth Planet” (creepy), an obligatory Dalek episode, Missy pops up, and some kind of Emoji-based robot, I think? There’s also seems to be more inclusion of the character Nardole, which is awesome, as I think he plays off of the Doctor perfectly. Why not make him the companion? Because we need a female companion every time? I don’t know.

Anyway, the wait is almost over, and I anxiously await April 15th to see where the final adventures of the 12th Doctor brings us. Cheers, all.

* – Tom Baker is my all-time favorite, in case you were wondering. You’re welcome.
** – source

Brain Droppings on Joy vs. Happiness

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cheesecakeHaving the Joy of the Lord does not equate Happiness. Happiness is an emotion. Emotions are fleeting. The dessert at the meal. Joy, on the other hand, is the nourishment that is gleaned from the meal itself–the proteins, the complex carbohydrates, the amino acids necessary for continued strength and endurance. The dessert is the brief allowance of empty calories that produces happy feelings, but overall doesn’t benefit the long-term goal.

To pursue Christianity as a means to secure happiness in this world will eventually leave you confused, bitter, angry, jaded, and finally disillusion.

Jesus does not offer happiness. He offers something better: Joy. And as the risen Redeemer-as the true source of joy, the more we rely and trust in Him and let go of the world we were once a part of, the more you come to understand that Joy is sustaining us. Nourishing us to continue on in Christ Jesus rather than give us a blast of happiness, only to have it fade.

March 25, 2017

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inside my headWhen it comes to the mental part of writing (which happens all the time; the physical writing part is maybe 10 percent of the process), one of the more effective ways of getting past writer’s block is to put some \,,/METAL\,,/ on and let my mind wander amidst the soundtrack drowning out the outside world. Sitting with big over-the-ears headphones, staring out to the distance is good, but the most effective use of this is driving around in the NEKRON-7, something cranking on the stereo, somehow the added busywork of driving combined with the music really brings out some fantastic brain droppings.

The trick is to translate what’s dancing around in my head onto the blank pages here in our dimension. And sometimes that translation process gets lost in the ether, resulting in something close to approximation of what I saw in my head, but not quite.

I am my own worst critic when it comes to my writing. I always have been, and always will be. Until the day I stop writing, I’ll keep trying. It’s the only way I can calm the voices, after all. That, and the \,,/METAL\,,/. Cheers.

AUGUST 15

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For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. – Romans 14:8

Monday. It happened, finally. Again. Wherein I absentmindedly thought at one point, to myself: “I should catch up with Grandma sometime this week.” Followed immediately by my brain reminding me that, in fact, I cannot. Because she’s gone. Forever from this world. No more catching up. No more chit-chat. No more Grandma.

Now, suddenly, my chest hurts, and my eyes are leaky.

Also feeling a bit of building anxiety about the meeting with Gary later next week. Don’t know how that’s going to play out, or what it is we’re all going to be discussing. After everything that’s happened this summer, if somehow things work out that I won’t be helping out with the youth group for whatever reason, then…so be it. I’m merely a humble servant, and if I am deemed unworthy to be a part of the kids’ spiritual lives, then I accept my fate. We shall see.

As you may have guessed, I have something of an inferiority complex. If you only knew…

Reading A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick. Rather heady, in a simple kind of way. Bit more of a potty mouth than I expected, though.

::END TRANSMISSION::

July 31, 2016

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I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have given me life. – Psalm 119:93

It’s been a while. A while since I’ve posted something substantial as far as brain droppings go. A while since I even posted some kind of general update to at least prove that I still exist on this plane of mortality. Did’ja miss me? I’m sure there’s at least a couple of you that did. Hi, Mom.

As it stands, I wish I had something positive to report. Even something as innocuous as “Doing fine, life is good, totally blessed,” and other similar posts I generally gloss over in my social media feed. Then again, even if I posted something like that and meant it, I’d have friends and acquaintances calling me to see if I’m feeling okay.

It’s not easy being the negative charge on the proverbial battery of life.

Boy howdy has 2016 been a trying year. I believe I began wishing for some kind of reset button around May or so. Here we are, the tail end of July, in the middle of the wicked season that is Summer, and there were two events in the past couple of months that have made me want to count this year as a wash. Just to give you an idea of what’s been happening to keep me from wanting to keep up with the content on this blog o’ mine:

My final grandmother passed away at the beginning of June. She was a week or so away from her 90th birthday. She passed away in her sleep; but it was the months leading up to her passing that took the most out of me and my family. It was tough, watching her fade away like she did. I’m still mourning her loss. I suppose I will for a while.

The second thing that hit me pretty hard this summer was something that I really did not see coming at all. Which is why, three weeks after it happened, I–and sever others as well–am  still feeling the whiplash. I can’t really get into the details at the moment; I’m still processing things, and I’d like to get as much information as possible to make a fair assessment of the situation. Let’s just say that, as of today many of us are finding ourselves without a church to call home. Like I said, I’ll probably go into more detail at a later post, I just want to be able to do so in a way that’s gracious and not falling into the realm of sensationalist muck-raking. Because we’re getting enough of that with this current election period, amirite?

Until next time, I hope to shake off the dark fog I’ve been in for the past few months to get back to posting my brain droppings, reviews and other fun stuff. It’s a struggle, buy by the grace of God I go. Cheers, all.

::END TRANSMISSION::

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So, here we are. The tail end of the month of May. Which means, we’re officially at the half-way mark of the year that is 2016. And since there hasn’t been much as far as “content” on this blog of mine, outside of the usual NSR post, I thought now would be a good time to bring anyone still reading this up to speed as far as the goings on in the life of your beloved Uncle NecRo.

Besides still doing NECRO SHOCK RADIO, I’m also recording and producing another podcast, called WILL CODE FOR BEER. Essentially a PUBcast, it’s more or less the recording of the various conversations the constantly mentioned (and alluded to) Coven of Exalted Geeks have on the night we converge at Sean O’Casey’s in Omaha. Then, I chop the entirety up into half-hour long bits and post them here on this blog that was recently set up. Things tend to get wacky. You should check ’em out, if you have nothing else better to do.

Once in a while, there’s a special Nerd Rage Episode, where we get together after watching a movie, and discuss our thoughts on the thing. So far, there’s one for Batman V Superman, and Captain America: Civil War. Coming soon: X-Men Apocalypse.

Earlier this month, at the beginning of May, the four seniors in the youth group graduated. The final night for the season was the last week in April, and there was hardly anyone there who didn’t find themselves verklempt. Proud of those kids, I am. The second week in May, though, my own nephew/godson Christopher graduated High School. Here’s the obligatory pic:

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Also having graduated on the same weekend as Chris (and thus necessitating having to miss out on it due to helping with the open house and all that) was my cousin’s eldest, Trevor Donahey. Here’s the obligatory pic:

TREVOR DONAHEY GRADUATION PIC 2016

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Gads, I’m still wrapping my head around how these two lads are now 18 and moving on to the next phase in life. Only six more years until my next nephew graduates. Better pace myself, here. Feel old, I do.

I didn’t help out with the annual pancake feed that my aunt and uncle does with their Volunteer Rescue team in Dunlap, Iowa this year. The idea was to bring along the two younger nephews to it, so they could gorge on breakfast stuff and have some fun hanging out with the cusins and riding on the fire trucks. Which I did. And they did. Only, I made the grave mistake of taking my blood pressure and diabetes medication without any food, which resulted in enough of a pain level that resulted in me having to leave after only an hour or so. Fortunately, my sister and brother-in-law decided to attend the feed also, so the boys just rode back with their parents. I felt awful having to leave so soon; but, I was feeling even more awful physically. I got back to the Haunted Victorian without further incident, and after an extended nap the pain was gone and I was back to my normal self. And by that, I mean the post-nap depression swing was in full-force.

I trust everyone managed to enjoy their Memorial Day. Everyone reading this in America, that is. If you’re not from America and have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s a day set aside to remember those who died in active military service, traditionally by drinking copious amounts of beer and eating obscene amounts of grilled meat.

Merely good-natured ribbing, my dear Alphonse. Cheers, all.

::END TRANSMISSION::

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