Christian Retreat Horror Movie Locations

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Normally, I like to post something with a bit of humor on Friday. I always try to get up early and get something out before the start of the day, but failed to do so. But I can’t let the day slip away without a dose of humor. We had 10 teenagers leave for a conference in Chicago today. It should be a great experience. But it also made me think of the typical “retreats” and training opportunities that church teenagers have to deal with. The following post is like a stroll down memory lane for many of us. I’ve posted it in full here, but I hope you take a few minutes to drop by this blog and read the comments that follow the article and enjoy a wry sense of humor that the blog author offers in all of his posts. You can read his stuff by clicking here.

#137. Holding retreats at locations that could double as horror movies.

It’s possible that all your church retreats were held in lovely fields of flowers. After making friendship bracelets with your best friends you had a big tickle fight with baby deer and bunny rabbits before eating smores around the amber glow of a bonfire.

My retreats were different.

Especially the ones that were held at Cape Cod Sea Camps. During the fall this otherwise full camp, pressed hard against the ocean, was empty. And we must have received a good deal on it, because for a few years running that was where my youth group went. Until the whole “demon possession” thing.

Walt Mueller was the guest speaker and in typical Saturday night retreat fashion, he had told us to go off alone to think about what we had heard that night. I wasn’t thrilled. Cape Cod Sea Camps is a series of concrete bunker type buildings hidden in the dunes and sea scrubbed forests of New England. Steps from any door you are swallowed by darkness and ocean air and sand.

After a few minutes in solitary thought, we were supposed to return to the basement entrance of the building we were meeting in. When I came back there was a single candle lit in the middle of a circle of chairs. (I need to post about youth group “special effects.”) When we all finally came back we realized that someone was missing. That’s when we started hearing the screaming. It got louder and louder and louder, slowly circling the building. Youth leaders scattered like my grandma at the opening scene of the movie American Beauty.

In the only window in the basement I saw Karen, a dog groomer by day, lean back and slap a girl in the forehead. She passed out. They drove her home. We all went and had ice cream and pretended nothing had happened.

Turns out it was a nervous breakdown. She was fine. We talk about it to this day. And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you had the field of flowers experience, but I have to believe that somewhere down the road your youth minister saved the church some money by booking your retreat in the most terrifying place in your state.


Cutting the Cheese

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It’s Friday, and my weird sense of humor is surfacing. Another church planter who’s blog I read posted this on his blog and I almost hurt myself laughing.

WARNING – This is a beer commercial and it is guy humor. I’m not promoting the product, but I am promoting the laughter associated with it.

The Solution to D.S.T. Drowsiness

coffee-iv.jpgI posted this last week in my blog about Daylight Savings Time (which included some other helpful hints from USA Today), but some of you may have missed it.  So like all good things, here’s your second chance. 

By the way, you might want to keep an extra bag or two with you at all times for the next few weeks.  Which is advisable since there is a buy two, get one free special for this week only!

Caution:  May cause excessive hyperactivity.  But if that irritates your co-workers, so much the better. 

(Catheters are extra)

Dude, Somebody Stole My Hour!

clock.jpgThat annual “mess with your body-clock” day is upon us.  It’s a mysterious event that happens this weekend somewhere in the night between Saturday (3/8) and Sunday (3/9), which begs the question “does it happen on Saturday or Sunday.”  Somehow all the clocks that matter change by an hour except the one inside of me.  While I really enjoy the ultimate benefits of longer days in the summer, it messes me up for at least a week or two on the front end. 

And…each year, there are always the questions about why.  You can read about that here in the history of DST (which still does nothing to readjust by body clock).   

USA Today had an interesting article about the coming time-shift that you can read here.  For your convenience, I am posting some of their suggestions for helping you prepare for change: Continue reading

Valentine Confusion


Is it just me or does anyone else have mixed emotions about VD (that doesn’t look right) Valentine’s Day?  I mean, I really enjoy trying to make a special day for my wife and all, but there are times it just seems so contrived, so forced, so made up.  And heaven help the dude that forgets to do the VD (still doesn’t look right) thing for his girl.  Never mind if he’s done great things up to that point.  It’s all down the tubes if he forgets to do something special today. 

Anyway, I was pleased to see another ministry leader I admire from afar expressing similar thoughts this morning on his blog.  Perry Noble, pastor of New Spring in Anderson, SC (close to my old stomping grounds) posted this rant this morning:

Happy Valentines Day…I guess.

I know this is supposed to be a happy day…but there are about five things in regards to this day and romance in particular than get on my nerves.

#1 – Cupid

I don’t know who in the heck thought of the guy who wears a diaper and flies around shooting people in the butt with arrows…thus causing them to fall in love…BUT I do know one thing-WHOEVER it was did not live in the South.  Seriously…a dude in a diaper with a bow and arrow just would not be very popular in these here parts!

#2 – Passive Men

I once heard a guy say, “I don’t see anything wrong with a girl asking a guy out.”  I told him, “That is because you are pathetic!”

Call me “old fashioned,” BUT…the Bible says in Proverbs 18:22, “He who FINDS a wife FINDS what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”  Key word-FIND!!!

Dudes, trust me-women desire to be pursued…and if they have to pursue you then they will one day resent you because of your passivity.

By the way guys…pursuing a girl IS NOT sending her a text asking her on a date…nor is it having a friend speak to her (unless you are in the first grade.)  It is you BEING the MAN and asking her out…and if she says no then handling it with class!

#3 – Desperate women

Too many women in today’s world (especially Christian women) think that something is wrong with them if there is not a man by their side…so, often times they are willing to take whatever comes along.

Continue reading this really good post here:

I hope you clicked over to finish his post.  How ’bout it?  Dudes… you feel the same way?  Gals….do you?  Are there any disagreements?  How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?  Like it?  Love it?  Can’t stand it?  This space can be your therapy to finally speak your peace on this subject. 

Oh….and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Super Ads


In my previous post about the Super Bowl, I touched on the game and lessons learned (I am after a all a football nut and a spiritual leader).  However, I still love to watch the commercials during the game.  USA Today came out with their annual listing of the top commercials from the game this morning.  I think they gather viewers together and they score the commercials and then they average them all out to come up with the list.  Here’s my list:

  • Favorite(came in 3rd on the USA list) – The Bridgestone ad where the squirrel ran out into the road and screamed when it was about to get hit by a car.  I thought it was a hoot
  • Weirdest (24th USA list) – AMP Drink commercial where the tow truck driver stuck the jumper cables on himself.  Very strange
  • Loudest Response by viewers in our house(9th USA) – Unibrow woman using peanuts as perfume
  • What the heck was that? (38th USA) – Career Builder’s commercial where a woman’s heart jumps out of her chest
  • Worst(bottom 5 USA) – tie; Audi ad of guy waking up in bed with a car grill under the sheets…I know it was a take-off of the Godfather, but it still made no sense to me; GMC Yukon, total waste of ad money
  • Movie I’m most anxious to see (based on SB commercials) – tie between “Wall-E” and “Leathernecks”

To view the whole list, click here.  After you’ve reviewed it, add your own list in the comments below. 

Snow Days


Well, we awoke this morning to sounds of joy within the Doebler household.  The words of hope and joy that dance in every child’s mind during the winter months of the school year came true today…”NO SCHOOL“.  Before we moved here from South Carolina, Zach & Brandon were so excited about coming to a place where it snows frequently.  Their enthusiasm was based on the fact that in SC, if snow is even PREDICTED, school is cancelled.  In other words, there doesn’t even have to be snow on the ground for school to get cancelled.  So coming to a “winter wonderland” like Peoria (did anyone just spew coffee on your computer screen after reading that last comment?), seemed like a dream come true for them.  Sadly, they were unaware of a horrible invention called the snow plow.  Until last year, they had not gotten a single day cancelled due to snow.  Their excitement for snow has turned into something more like dread…..until you get a snow day.  Then all is right in the world again. 

We have readers on this blog not only here in Peoria, but in many places around the country as well.  It would be fun to have some of you share where you are (Peoria included) and let us know the weather where you are, and if you have any favorite snow day memories.  What do you do with a snow day?    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go shovel the driveway.  I hate snow days!