An Update

Because I think I need to.

It was fun at Martha’s this past weekend watching the Husker game.  Thanks to all the folks who brought wonderful food items.  It seems we’re never at a shortage of good food and laughs.  I want to update you, my reader, on what has been going on with me.  To do so, I have to lay a foundation of background for you. So here goes. 

Since I was fifteen, I’ve been involved in leading a church program called Royal Rangers.  It is a program much like Boy Scouts or Awanas that teaches boys from kindergarten to 5th grade about the Bible and handy skills such as how to build a campfire, tool safety, and tying a secure knot for just about every possible use.  When I went to college three years later, I was connected to the Navigators on campus where I attended and later led Bible studies.  From my junior year until the end of my fifth year in college, I led a group of younger college age men in the study of the Bible.  This type of thing is something that has been the most enjoyable experience of my life and the chance to disciple a younger believer was a responsibility I took very seriously.   I was, of course, still involved in Royal Rangers leading the 3rd-5th grade group.   As one who is very active at LCF, I was also a backup singer for Sunday worship and one of the lead ushers.

 At the beginning of 2009, with the intent to obtain a teaching degree and coach high school sports, I took some coaching courses that met at the same time that Royal Rangers met  and the worship team practiced. (Wednesday and Thursday nights)  So, I had to take a break from both.  Having been a Royal Ranger leader for 7 years, it was hard to step aside, if even for a semester.  Many of the kids I had taught from the beginning of their elementary school experience six years earlier.  By God’s grace, I was able to focus wholly on my studies at the university and when summer rolled around, there was an opening in the youth ministry at LCF (Z-360), sponsoring the junior and senior high youth.  Since this was dealing with the same age group that I anticipated my career being with (high school teacher), I volunteered. 

 The past year has been amazing in my new role.  I have bonded with the youth of Z-360 in ways similar to the bonds formed when I was leading a Navigator Bible study those three years.  In the process of time, our youth pastor felt the leading of the Lord to resign from youth pastoring at the end of this past summer.  As the sole remaining youth sponsor, I was thrust into a more prominent role within the ministry.  Our lead pastor is taking up as an interim youth pastor until a hire can be made, but a lot of the other things have been delegated to me.  We had a blog site running before that the former youth pastor posted on and I of course was a logical choice to continue that.  I envision it becoming a good resource for students to receive encouragement and discipleship tools as well as sermon notes and evangelism challenges for their school week.  Another thing that I’ve taken head on is the youth worship team.  My experiences as a backup singer on Sunday mornings have given me valuable insights for this role.   We have our first meeting on Saturday to discuss what we are doing. 

 Since school started three Wednesdays ago, we have had 9 first time visitors come and 3 accept Christ as their Savior.  I truly believe God is doing something mighty in the lives of the youth at LCF and am excited about what will happen next.  I see God’s hand in a lot of what has brought me to this position.  The coaching classes that caused me to take a break from Royal Rangers, the opportunity to be on the Sunday morning worship team, this past year making friendships with the youth, the experience leading Navigator Bible studies, the way in which I have always used my blog, which frankly is very similar to the direction the youth blog is set up.  

In the past year, I have failed to be accepted into the Teacher’s college twice.  It seems that open-mindedness is encouraged there only if your open mind doesn’t challenge the official position of the college.  I am now a history major with a geography minor, planning on that December 2010 graduation.  I have been working as a student painter at Burr/Fedde, the residence halls on East Campus, for three years and I enjoy that type of thing a lot.  I am starting a construction type business, doing things like roofing (thank you Martha and Kenny for that experience), drywalling, painting, and staining.  I have two jobs already lined up, so it’s coming along.  I guess it’s a third if you include the bookshelf I promised Rebekah I’d build for her.

 Another thing I get a lot of questions about is Joe and I’s book.  Though Joe is too busy now to work on it with me, I still find time to continue writing it.  It has over 380 pages so far and there is about 2 and a half chapters left before the first draft will be finished.  I see some places where I need to revise in a major way and some parts that were really skimmed over to go on to other parts of the book that I have to go back and finish.  My Spanish professor has offered to help me publish it when it is done, but that might be sometime in the distant future as revising, of course, takes a lot of time.  

JA Menter 3

Eight Week Course

Until recently, I didn’t know how to articulate this.  Thank you mom for unwittingly putting this concept into words for me about a month ago.  If one ever hangs out with my family much, especially over dinner, you will hear about an eight week course, specifically when we talk about prospective guys dating the Menter girls (My sisters).  The girls, of course, keep claiming that they have an equivalent for prospective sisters-in-law, no doubt postulating that it would take much less than eight weeks to cover everything that these women must know about the family (due to the inate inability of guys to multitask).   One sister voices anxt or even resentment over the prospect of such courses, but perhaps it is because she doesn’t quite understand the concept behind these courses.  It is not to prolong the dating process or an example of brothers not trusting their sisters to make healthy decisions or even merely a chance to get to know them, as would seem obvious.

So then, what is their purpose?   It is, in a word, protection.  I believe that a brother who has his sister’s best interests at heart can help in gauging a man’s intentions and do it in a much quicker fashion than his sister.  No, I’m not just being sexist, there is this thing called emotions that often cloud judgment and it is widely accepted that women are more succeptible to this than men.   Have you ever noticed that the more people are in on a secret the harder it is to keep?  Or the more people you lie to the easier it is to be caught in it?  (I only know this from observation, not experience. <~_~>  In just this way is genuineness and integrity discovered. 

My mom asked me one sunday morning what was the point behind the “eight week course” thing we talk about all the time.  it appeared to me that she thought it was a rhetorical question so I said my piece and waited for her response.  She said that guys learn this and how to treat a lady from the actions of their father towards their mother.  When a father protects his wife, even from his kids, and treats her like a queen, the sons emulate this and are shown how to treat women.  As the saying goes,  “you can tell how a man will treat his wife by looking at how he treats his mom”.  Furthermore, you might also be able to tell how a man treats his mom by looking at how his father treats his mother.

Needless to say, the eight week course is as much for the brothers’ benefit as it is the sister’s or her beau’s.  The idea is not that there is an eight week course with classroom and appointed time etc, as much as it is our way of articulating that we care about and want to take interest in who our sisters date.  As such, we want to get to know the prospective brother-in-law, whether it be in a crash course of varying lengths or simply living life with him alongside our sisters.  I find that a reciprocal eight week course misses the protection parameters of these courses.  However, I would expect all my siblings to befriend any woman that I become seriously attached to.  Also, I would expect to be forced to enroll in such a course taught by a brother of that woman.

JA Menter 3

I watched a good movie last night.

June 18th

Most of you know that I was the best man in my brother’s June 18th wedding.  You were probably also present at the reception for my toast.  I want to post it here with what I would have said in a perfect world where I wasn’t nervous, had a perfect memory, and the ability to say what I want to say when I want to say it.

“Tonight, I struggle to find the right words for this occasion.  I could tell you that I’ve been Daniel’s roommate for more than 90% of his life, as if that somehow qualifies me to stand up here and talk about the couple.  I could go on about how I’ve watched Daniel and Debbie’s relationship develop over many years and it would be true.  I could echo Lynette in mentioning that from as far back as 1998, when Dan and Joe and I would spend the night together, we would talk about “our girls”.   The subject of Daniel’s antecdotes was always the same- Debbie.  I could further add that I remember walking the curcuit twice to allow Daniel enough time to tell me of his most recent church experience with Debbie.  I could tell you that there was hardly a sentence that didn’t start with at least some variation of the phrase ‘And it was funny because…'”

“Though all this is true, it seems to be superficial, cliqued, and even snubbing what this celebration is really about.  It’s not about just Daniel, or just Debbie, or even just the two of them, but rather about God’s work of uniting them, of making two into one.  Genesis 2 verse 24 states, “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  In light of that truth, I can now think of one word that is appropriate.”

“Would you raise your glasses and join me in this toast?”

“To Danbie!!!”


I suppose now is as good a time as any to post again.  I’m so glad it is the weekend.  I have had a rough week of work.  We painted seven apartments this week and somehow that wasn’t fast enough.  Darn ‘stods!   Anyway, I am ready to just sit down to a book or something.  I’m working through a really interesting part of my book right now and it’s not flowing out of me like I thought it would when I started it on tuesday.  It seems the early morning at work is not a good time to have a brilliant book idea.  Oh well! 

In other news, the long awaited wedding is less than a week away.  Am I ready for it?  No! Does that really matter? No!  Will I invest some time into not making a fool of myself on the dance floor?  Heck yes!!   We went laser questing for Daniel’s bachelor party and John won the ironman game.  The prize was a free ironman game the next week.  Before that game, they had movie trivia for 2 for one passes.  Our group won all four of them.  Basically, we made out like bandits.

About a week ago, I got a bed.  My roommate, Jared, gave me his when he moved, so for the past week or so, I’ve been getting better sleep, or at least I’ve been sleeping in less bone-numbing positions.  At first, it felt weird because I’d been sleeping on the floor for so long.  It was almost too comfortable that first night. 

This is the crazy interesting thing I’m been thinking about in relation to my book.  I want to use previous experiences as a case study for answering the question:  “What do you think of destiny? Is it what you make of it or is it preplanned?” I mean that in terms of the major decisions or events in one’s life.  Do one’s decisions really influence or change an outcome, a destiny? Obviously no one can help me unlock the dialogue of this for my story but you can weigh in with thoughts and perspectives.

JA Menter 3

Once Upon A Time

…In Valentino’s…

About three weeks ago, I went to Valentino’s and ate a ton of pizza in the quiet of the North restaurant.  There was a softball team flirting with a waiter that talked like Fez of “That 70’s Show” that made the biggest racket I think is allowed in public.  Amid all the laughter and silver spoons jinkling, I sat and wrote this on a napkin:

“Life is like riding a unicycle. It is hard to keep your balance and there is nothing to steady you.  There is so much to keep in proper alignment and only the slightest shift can lead to your toppling.  I rode a unicycle once.  I was even good at it.  I could balance for as long as twenty feet, but in life, I don’t think I have that kind of balance.”

Eventually, the frucas died down and I continued to ponder things as I observed the restuarant around me.  I wrote on:

“Have you noticed the changes that occur at restuarants by couples?  You can tell the relationship status just by how they sit at the table.  Across from each other-> dating, Next to each other-> married/engaged.”

I trot these thoughts out because I am amused at the fact that I still have the napkin intact, yes three weeks removed, and I actually brought it home with me. Weird!  I’ll have some more stuff later, better stuff.

JA Menter 3

Man 1:  ‘Let’s go to brech’ 

Man 2:  ‘We’ve already had it.’ 

Man 1:  ‘We’ve had one, yes. what about second brech?’ 

Man 3:  ‘I don’t think he knows about second break’

Man 1:  ‘Huh,  what about after brech brech, smoke brech, after smoke brech brech, lunch break, after lunch wait for everyone else to get back from lunch brech brech, second smoking brech, second after smoking brech brech,  walking around aimlessly brech, talk on my cell phone brech? What about them?’

This and That

It seems kinda terrrible that I haven’t posted in two and a half weeks.  I have since written over 20 pages of papers for school and conceptualized on another pair of posts for later.  I should just tackle them one at a time until I’ve posted them all.  I am so glad that school is almost over for the semester.  I just have a portfolio, a verb book, a spanish final, 2-4 pages of a 8-10 page ethnography, and 10-15 pages to write about the youth organizations in World War Two Germany before I’m done with everything.  I am so frustrated about the fact that a week ago I spent less than a day writing papers that reached 14 pages, but in so doing, I have entirely neglected the one piece of writing I truly enjoy.  It has kinda grown into a resentment, a resentment that hinders my getting my school work done.  I want it to be over so I can jump back into my story, a story I believe is an inspired one.  I’ve been sleeping on my floor for the past couple months, well since the week before Dare 2 Share.  It is starting to hurt more and more when I wake up. Thankfully, I got a tax return this year after my savings was ravaged last year by the man.  sidenote: have you noticed that the man is a very bold pickpocket?  Anyway, I plan to buy a bed with the money.  I need to get on that, but I’m waiting for the deposit.  Also, at some point, I should make good on my promise to make Bekah a bookshelf.  A trip to the lumber store is in order.  It just seems like my life is full of unfinished projects right now.  anyway, it is late and the road is long.

JA Menter

“The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.  Now far ahead the road has gone and I must follow if I can.”

A Bowl of Stew

Last night at Z-360, we got into small groups and discussed a bible story and then made posters and a freeze frame about our story.  My group discussed Genesis 25:27-34 and the story in which Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of soup.  I saw this as a story of someone trading something of great importance to fulfill a petty need, a person caring more about the physical, temporal world than about what he had on a deeper level, that is a double portion from his father, etc. 

One of the questions that we have been applying to every story we read is “how does this connect to Jesus?”  I was reminded of Matthew 23:23 in which Jesus says “Woe to you…For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.  These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”  Jesus was talking about how the pharisees had neglected their “birthright” to pursue “a bowl of stew”.

The second question we ask is “How does this connect to us?”  This story causes me to examine my life and ask myself “are there things in my life that I am pursuing instead of Christ?”  Have I sold my birthright for a bowl of stew?  I found that it is so easy to get caught up in the trap of spending my freetime in a nonproductive manner. 

There is always a battle for control of my thoughts, my actions, my heart.  When faced with the choice to either read my bible or watch videos online, too often I choose the later.  Do I get up early to spend time with God or do I sleep in?  I am an heir with Christ of the kingdom of God. It is my birthright, given to me when I acknowledged Jesus’ demonstration on the cross of His love for me.  It seems that too often I trade my birthright for a bowl of stew.  Do you?

JA Menter 3

~Loving God and walking in His ways is life, but turning away is death.  (Deut 30:15-18)

I’m Back

Two weeks ago today, I was innocently doing my online homework, when out of the blue, my screen went gray.  The screen was frozen so I restarted my computer, only to discover that windows wouldn’t load up and the only thing I could get to was a black screen.  Amid diagnostic tests, I found out what the problem was (with the help of my computer savy brother Daniel, of course).  My hard drive was fried, a very expensive paperweight, a hunk of silicon and other metals with no viable purpose whatsoever.  I took my laptop to Best Buy where I got it nine months ago and, after about an hour of trying to prove that I did indeed buy it when I did (moral of the story, never throw receipts from large, expensive purchases away), I left it there to be fixed, resigning myself to the fact that the most recent stuff I’d done on my 380 page book was probably gone forever.

Enter prayer and the amazing folks at Geek Squad.   I got a CD with my book on it that they were able to get off the harddrive. Yet today, at 10am, two weeks to the hour after I had seemingly lost everything, the friendly automated caller from Geek Squad informed me that my computer was ready to be picked up. I walked. I signed. I came back.

So having spent the first half of March without a computer and not blogging since the third Sunday of February, I have “come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.”