Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Pine Cove Here We Come!

I am so looking forward to camp this weekend! Two full days of dodgeball, greasy, camp food, late night pillow fights, too much candy, loud music, dodgeball, no sleep and more dodgeball. Even though it wrecks me the next few days day, this is one of my favorite things we do all year. Pure hang out time.

Unfortunately, my first anniversary is this weekend. My wife is so gracious to let me go, heck she's coming too. Nothing more romantic than stinky middle school guys who don't shower. My wifey came in last night with a brand new shirt for "Commando" (a late night game). She is way cool!

I will probably write more on the anniversary. Have a great day!

Friday, September 26, 2003

The Great Experiential Debate

Yesterday we had a debate in class about experiential elements of today's church. Some people believe that having people experience God (through prayer exercises etc...) are diluting the Gospel and making experience more important than scripture. Some of you, I'm sure, didn't even know this debate existed. Reading the word of God is not the only way to take in the word of God. In our current world experience IS worldview. What a person experiences becomes what they believe. Why don't we use that to our advantage and use scripture to create experiences that point people to Christ. Thus, their experiences (of God through Biblical means) becomes their worldview.

Yes, scripture needs to be a guide, but Jesus' disciples didn't read Jesus' words, they heard them. They saw the illustrations and tasted when Jesus made water into wine. In fact, most Christians in History have NOT had a personal copy of the scriptures and they did just fine. I am not advocating throwing the Bible out, but I am saying that we can take in God's word through other means than reading it.

Try taking a passage of scripture and rewriting it without using written words.

Take a hike with a large rock to symbolize your sin. After carrying it with you for a while drop it and relate that experience with letting God have the weight of your sin.

There are plenty ways to take in God's word. Here is an experiential prayer website. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Just Chillin'

Just a brief check in for you all. Tonight we make chinese food (Wontons and Egg Rolls). I could live off pork dumplings.

Last night my wife, two friends, and I babysat for a two year old. The first order of business...change a diaper. I am so not ready for kids! Poop gives me a gag reflex!

Thanks for all your prayers. The difficult situation is dealt with and we are moving forward. There is still some pain on behalf of the families involved, but I have done what God requires of me. Once again, I really felt prayed for, so thanks.

Friday, September 19, 2003

Still Praying

I still have that tough decision to make so this morning I spent about 30 minutes in silence. I guess you could call it meditation. There was no incense or mantra's to speak of. I just opened my window blinds and listened to the wind and birds as I watched a tree. It was really peaceful. I realize that I need to spend more time like that...just me, God and my thoughts. Henri Nouwen says that in meditation we find out what is truly on our hearts and souls. I can see how that is true. Only when I stop to get silent before God do I become unsettlingly aware of the screams within my soul. Sometimes what is there is not pretty. Sometimes it is good. Today I realized that a situation I have been dealing with at the church (not the decision I mentioned earlier) was less about an issue of submission and more about me feeling valued. Basically, our church has let go of a few pastors recently. These were all men that I identified with most at the church. Now I feel alone and unvalued because the church has made it clear that it doesn't like to have people whom I love and respect (and see myself as very similar to) in leadership positions. I guess I fly under the radar because I am part time and supervised by someone who is "good enough". There is anger and hurt in my heart, but this morning God reminded me that about my value or worth does not come from coworkers, but from Him. As long as I am where God wants me to be, that is all that matters. I am ministering where He wants me. I am in His will and that's all that counts.

God quieted my soul this morning. Praise Him for the great things he has done!

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Please pray as I am having a difficult decision to make concerning a conflict between two familes in our youth group.

Monday, September 15, 2003


On Friday night I spoke on Postmodernism to our new small group leaders. I don't know if I made my point, but was just excited to try it to see if I could.

A cool thing was that I saw an Imax movie called "Pulse". The movie chronicles music around the world driven by percussion. Its amazing to see citizens of earth get so wrapped up in the movement and rhythm. American Christianity has failed in the area of passionate creativity. Some might argue that we have passion for God (though there is ample evidence to suggest otherwise), but where is passion blended with creativity. Most of American Christianity is a cheap parlor trick. Where are the Lewis', the Rembrandt's, and the Handel's? Yes, there is something to be said about the plain and simple Gospel, but isn't our king worthy of more than the three chord bubble gum pop, paint by numbers, simple rhyme and meter we've been offering him lately?

I feel like Clark Griswold on top of the Eiffel Tower in "European Vacation" bursting with a burden to create.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Tis a sad day

Johnny Cash died today. A few years ago I found Cash's music and became an instant fan. His sometimes silly, always emotional songs brought joy to my life. My wife and friends will tell you that whenever Johnny came on the radio or a CD was on I had to listen to it and most likely I sang along as well. One time on a mission trip I popped Johnny in the CD player in Alabama at 10:00 at night and let him play till Louisiana. That was a great road trip.

I love his testimony. The Man in Black grew up in Arkansas and had a rough start in life. He got saved after a long running drug problem and even sang consistently at Billy Graham Crusades with his wife June Carter Cash. Mostly, I will miss his ability to tell a painful story through music. He gave a voice to hurting people everywhere and at the same time gave light to those same people. Johnny, I'm gonna miss ya!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

God works

Last night we started our Wednesday night program for our middle school ministry. We did something we hadn't done before and it was awesome. See you at the Pole is a nationwide prayer movement that challenges students to meet at their school's flagpole to pray. They pray about the school, the country, their friends. It is awesome to see. See you at the Pole is on next wednesday. In anticipation of that event we spent last night in four prayer stations. At one station they prayed for their school campuses. At another station they prayed for their friends. At another station they prayed for their country and the world. Finally they prayed for the culture (media, internet...).

It was awesome to see the students take prayer seriously. Last night reminded me that middle school students CAN and WILL rise to the level of maturity you set for them. It is times like last night, where I see God move in the lives of students, that keep me going in ministry. Praise God for the great things He has done!

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Back from Denver

It was a great trip! We had so much fun. We did a lot of driving, hiking, and laughing. We went to a place called Garden of the gods. It is always amazing to see what cool things pop up in the most unusual places. Here, in the middle of a lush, green valley is a collection of deep red rock formations. I really got swept away at the beauty of it all. God really amazes me at His creativity.

In all I feel relaxed and refreshed. Normally you get so tired while traveling that you need a vacation when you get back from your vacation. I don't feel that way at all.

I am looking forward to getting started in our fall ministry and see what God will do in the lives of students.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Off to Denver!

Tomorrow, at the butt crack of dawn we leave for Denver. I am excited to have a chance to travel and rest. These past months have been a great time of ministry and growth, but they were also very busy. I've never been to Denver so I am looking forward to it. I'll be honest, have the pre-trip jitters. I'm not nervous, but very excited.

School went well this week. I actually ate lunch with a few guys from the youth ministry class on Tuesday! I know that sounds really dumb, but considering the fact that I usually eat alone, I was pretty stoked.

One of my prof's talked briefly about postmodernism in class. He said, "Postmodernism is nothing!" It stung pretty bad because I thought he would be someone who would be a little open on postmodernism and Christianity. It may seem that postmodernism stands for nothing, but I think that is mostly because it is still in the process of deconstructing the current situation.

Here are some things I know postmoderns are for:
1. Postmoderns are for community and relationships.
2. Postmoderns are for transcendence and mystery.
3. Postmoderns are for authenticity.
4. Postmoderns are for experience.

There are many more things postmoderns are for, but these are just a start. What are your thoughts?