Saturday, March 31, 2007

Director of Youth Ministries Search goes "LIVE"

Our search for the person to join the gathering known as Eden Prairie Presbyterian Church as our new Director of Youth Ministries has just gone "live" this week.

Intrigued? You can find out more about the position here. (Go check it out and then come back)

We would love you to join us in prayer as part of the process - go with how you're led or use the frame below - a chorus of voices is so cool!

Dear Lord Jesus - Help us patiently persevere........remaining in your we listen, ponder, and respond to the plan you are weaving together in this place. May it all glorify you!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I love life...but do I live love?

Because of my recent experiences, I have been pondering life and death. This verse has been rolling around in my head....

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

I hate death

I hate death.

My sister in Christ, Amy, gently left this part of creation tonight to touch the face of God - a face that she reflected so brightly throughout the time that I have known her.

She and her family had persevered together for the past two years battling a cancer that slowly took over...and took away....her body.

But Christ remained in her as she abided in Him.....and could not be defeated.
A friend invited me to go along with her to see Amy today - a few hours before she died.

My memories will be of her smile....her hug....her whispers....her family gathered....the peaceful spirit that filled a sterile environment.

It reminded me of my Mom's struggle with lung cancer some years ago - and her last words to me being "I feel so loved". Amy felt that....and expressed that....and shared that as well in her own way.

I hate death.

But I love Christ.....and His victory over death....and know that He loves me.....and Amy......and those that now continue on.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Just for fun

Try this illusion - very cool.

(ht to gman)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Small groups vs. Small Service

Okay, I know it shouldn't be either/or and it should be both/and. But I am getting ahead of my question so let me back up.....

I serve a medium size church as the volunteer 7-12th grade youth guy - trying to discern Jesus' ministry to students in this place and provide the foundational practices, experiences, and relationships that will give their faith legs - so they can continue to grow into the likeness of Jesus until they take their last breath.

Two things have been on my mind lately -
  • 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 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 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

I so want one of these....

Jetting around the cool is that? Envy consumes me...

Clearing the temple update #2

Yep - I'm glad to say that I'm still working out and trying to watch what I eat. For a little background you can go here....

I've now lost just a smidge over 30 pounds. My clothes look pretty baggy on me. I'm sleeping better. My longest run has been 8 miles. I'm still generally working out by biking or running 3X/wk and trying to watch my portion size at meals....and cut down on "bad carbs and sugars".

All that being said - a few observations over the last month or so.....
  • 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....)