Monday, May 07, 2007
Friday, May 04, 2007
I can see God transforming him - and it is cool to see - through his relationships, his choices, his priorities. It is such a privilege to be a parent.....and to be entrusted to nurture, encourage, support, and guide along side a child.
I know that you read this at times....so I won't get too emotional here....but know that you are loved.
15 years. Great memories. Praise God for the blessing of my son Drew. Happy Birthday, Drew.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Today I discovered that the caulking job "Mr. Handyman" (the company...not me!) did has disintegrated in less than a week.
The corner of my yard near my driveway looks a lot like desert.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
"When I die, I want to die in my sleep. Yeah, that would be the best way to go."
"If you lived next door to me....that would be like heaven!"
Man, there is so much about those quotes - and about their relationship that is true and pure and simple.
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
Lots there to ponder.....enjoy!
Friday, April 20, 2007
At the 30 hour famine in February we got to hear Shane Claiborne speak and share his life experiences living as what he describes as an “ordinary radical”. (I highly recommend his book, The Irresistible Revolution, but be prepared to squirm as you read it!) One of the quotes in the book that made me squirm was, “the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.”
Yeah, I’ve tried to rationalize that statement with really great thoughts like – “I know the poor in spirit” or “I know those that are poor in relationships” or “I know those that are poor in joy” as well as REALLY great thoughts like – “But I’m very active serving in the life of my church”…..but ultimately these feel like excuses to me. Or at least attempts by me to distract myself from what God is really saying to me. (And since I’m wrestling with God it’s obvious that I’m not really distracted – I just don’t want to have this conversation!)
As I ponder this ultimately I think I’m afraid.
Afraid of how “knowing the poor” may change my heart.
…..may change my priorities.
…..may change my life.
…..may transform my relationship with God.
Well – I don’t know if I am brave enough to have this conversation by myself. I at least need someone to walk along with me and help me process my thoughts. (But my prayer is that I can go beyond “thinking” and enter into “living”.) So here is an invitation….
Would you like to explore ways that we can truly get to “know the poor” better? I don’t care what age you are, what stage of life you are in, or any of that. We are the church – and we need each other. Specifically, I need your help in moving from caring….to knowing. I don’t know what that will look like. So come – with no expectations…no plan of action…entering into the unknown.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I have read locally a story about a man who allegedly fabricated a story saying he found a child wandering and turned him over to police/social services....when it was actually his own child.
A teenage girl gives birth to a baby and stabs her over 100 times and throws the baby's body away.
I'm busy planning lessons, thinking up fun/messy games, feeling like I'm connected to God in many ways.....
Are they feeling less safe today in their schools? Are the graduating seniors a little less excited about going to college now?
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
It's been a little over 4 months since I was diagnosed with diabetes.
I've been exercising regulary - primarily running now - averaging about 20 miles a week over the past month.
I've lost about 35#. People are starting to comment on my weight loss - many of them not quite sure if it is good (because of exercise) or bad (may be related to a health problem - especially since our church family has been through that journey together recently....of course now that I think of it...it is related to a health problem!)
A few weeks ago I returned to my doctor for my three month check of my glucose levels and......
I'm officially "non-diabetic" again. Wow.
A few observations:
- Okay, I admit it....I actually like running now.
- I thank God for my kids every time I write in the journal they made for me.
- My body is finally starting to rebel a little...I am old.
- The spiritual blessings continue to exceed the physical. The conversations I have with God during my running....or just the "silence" are precious.
- I love running outside more than on the treadmill.
- I have to be careful not to become "prideful" in this experience and remember it was God that slapped me around to finally get me started on taking care of the temple He has provided for me.
God is good....and I'm a running nerd.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. John 10:9-11 (Msg)
It's made me think of the stages of my life....and my understanding of it. Here are some of my ponderings and random thoughts.
In the beginning....I tried to just get through "my life". As a kid growing up there were things about my family I wanted to hide - secrets I didn't want others to know about. Life was all about trying to "hide and survive"....and very lonely and scary.
During college...I got married! My life and understanding of it changed a lot. I had to learn to share my life - and share of myself. To begin to live those catchy Christian words - transparent and authentic. (Even though I wasn't a Christ follower yet.) Life was no longer lonely - but not "full" - and still scary!
As a twenty-somthingish adult, Jesus works through a small group to transform my understanding of life - living in community. Wow - I become a Christ follower - sort of dog paddle that for awhile (not really going anywhere) and then Kimpa signs us up for a small group. My life will never be the same. I start learning about Christ, God, the Holy Spirit. I start seeing outside of myself and have a chance to be a blessing to others and allow myself to be blessed. I am carried through times of crisis, chaos, and grief - and help carry and encourage others. My life is becoming "full" - I am no longer lonely and scared. I still have lots of questions but I can start to see those other catchy Christian words actually happening - spiritual growth / transformation.
Today - My perceptions continue to change. Yeah, I love life and it feels full (in a fabulously grand way) ...but now I ponder if I live love in my daily experiences. I know that the fullness of my life isn't reserved just for the future - but for the now. And I have discovered that I can experience that by trying to allow myself to act and react through the eyes, ears, and heart of Jesus. That I may experience fullness in sacrifice, messy relationships, and in the presence of God.
That is my prayer today - that I not only love life....but that I may live a life of love now, today, to the glory of God.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
- Small groups - a place for students to gather with adult leaders and go a little deeper in discussing their faith, reveal more about who they are and spend time working on being transparent and real with each other....as they ponder aspects of their faith together. The groups would be "stable" as much as possible.
- Small service - having an opportunity for 3-5 students go and serve a group of people or charitable organization in our local community (preferably outside of their normal interactions) with 2 adult volunteers 1-2X month. They would most likely be serving together for 2-4 hours. The adults and students wouldn't be the same each week....it would be a "sign-up" type of deal - for both the leaders and students.
Yes, I believe both are good things. But if you had to pick one to start with - which would you choose? What are the questions you would ask to help come to the most wise decision?
Monday, March 05, 2007
- Last week was tough. I just came off the 30 hour famine and I'm not sure if that is what put me totally out of whack or not....but I have been grumpy, moody, physically a little shaky, and generally depressed. The last couple of days...and today in particular are MUCH better and I'm glad that week is behind me.
- I've developed cravings for Girl Scout Cookies.....YIKES!
- I've never eaten so much broccoli, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce in my life....
- My family is so supportive it rocks.
- My running time remains a good spiritual "habit" and good conversation with God but I am recognizing that I need the stillness and silent time with God as much....or more.
- I really need to put something on the white wall in front of the treadmill - I have memorized every pattern of dots/dirt that are on it....and sometimes I see faces in them. another YIKES! (At least they aren't talking to me...yet)
Again - all in all the adventure of taking better care of my "temple" has resulted in spiritual growth and more quality time with God as the biggest benefit. The fact that I'm physically healthier is really a secondary bonus.
It hasn't been super easy - last week was a real struggle - but persevering through was a "good experience". Thanks to all of you that have been praying me through this adventure!
Now - time to go and buy some new clothes! (Too bad I'm a guy and I really don't have any joy shopping for clothes....)
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Normally we experience the famine at our own church and have about 30 kids participating. This year we combined with 12 other churches and gathered together with about 230 students. The line up included: Worship, conversations in small groups about hunger, prayer stations, Comedy Sportz, videos, Shane Claiborne, packing food for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), games with hunger themes, games just for fun, collecting food for PROP, raising money for villages in Zambia, sleeping a little and a spaghetti dinner.
After the famine I got to talk to the kids and hear their thoughts - personal reflections on what it was like for them to go without food for 30 hours, how it impacted their understanding of how others live and actions they can take, where they saw Jesus in those moments. We also talked about "the event" and what they thought about the experience being with 200+ youth rather than with our own gathering.
What impressed me most was, that as we talked with our students afterwards, what they "liked best" wasn't the guys from Comedy Sportz (they were hilarious by the way), or the videos (very engaging videos on hunger, 'invisible children', personal visits to villages in Zambia), or the games (intense games of pin guard) but rather:
- Shane Claiborne - "He was real! He wasn't just telling us to go and live differently...he was actually doing it himself."
- Prayer Stations (we had 18 'experiential' prayer stations for the students to wander through and discover)
- Serving - Packing food for FMSC.
It highlighted for me once again that ministry is NOT about entertainment. We can't outprogram the world. And in the context of packing food for Feed My Starving Children it brought to mind what our kids are "starving" for - they demonstrated spiritual cravings that were being satisfied during the 30 hours that they went without food. Cravings for:
- serving others (love your neighbor as yourself)
- closeness to God (Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength)
- authentic relationship...seeing what it looks like to live, imperfect as we are, as a disciple.
Yeah....the famine helped to 'feed my (God's) starving children' and hopefully give them a taste of grace that will linger and increase their desire to follow Him.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Wow. This year has really started off as a roller coaster ride for me. I've had some very high PEAKS and some pretty deep valleys in the past couple of weeks. Here's a glimpse at the journey....
PEAK - my run this past Saturday. I ran 40 minutes and felt great. Also felt very connected with God during that time - and landed on some good ideas for the SMYG lesson the next day.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
- The first 5-8 minutes of exercising are the worst. It takes me a while to find a groove.
- My weight has dropped about 10 pounds.
- I have better energy in the afternoons.
- My exercise time has become very prayerful. Especially in the "listening" phase of the conversations I have with God.
- After about 25 minutes the only prayers I can say are very simple - "Holy Spirit fall on me"; "Dear Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner", etc.
- I enjoy watching sermons while I exercise....and listening to Kelly Clarkson. *sigh*
- My family is very supportive of me. My kids even created a homemade exercise journal - complete with inspirational quotes - for me to track my progress.
It has been an amazingly positive experience - not just physically but spiritually. Praise God for blessing this adventure in clearing my temple so that there is more room for Him.