Monday, December 29, 2008

Daze of Christmas

Wow, what a whirlwind week. From losing power to freezing, then bursting, pipes. From wrapping gifts to unwrapping gifts. From wondering about secrets to knowing all that has been done in December. From being tired to remaining tired. I'm positive more could have been fit in, but my new Wii tells me quite a bit of time was spent playing with my family. I suppose that's good.

Now, about this New Year. I plan on spending it the exact same way I have for the previous 6 years. Up all night at my church with crazy young people. If you're planning on coming, please remind me to stretch. It makes a difference for me the next day. And just quite possibly, it won't leave me in a daze to start the New Year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Not a Manic Monday

I normally love Mondays. Where many people dread Mondays, I love them. No, it's not because of Monday Night Football, although I like that aspect of Mondays. I take Mondays off. So while most of the world is stepping back into the world of work-related woes, I sleep in, exercise, and hang out with children, my children. But not today...

Today I work, in order to make up for the time I'll be off later this week. It's not being at work that bothers me. I love my job, my ministry. But because of this past weekend's ice and wind, my home is left without water. What is it about a lack of power and water that makes us feel less human? I get that I'm used to having what we refer to as essentials in life. I get that this is an inconvenience. But I'm not less human. I'm not even dirty, as I used a shower over in our church parsonage.

Have I somehow equated certain activities, like being able to flush a toilet, with my being human. A brief reminder of history will show that most people have never showered, flushed, or run tap water like we do today. So why do I allow little things to affect me so?

Disclaimer; if this makes no sense at all, don't comment. I may be fighting a fever and thus, not functioning properly. This will be a good time to write a sermon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Day for More

It's something about this time of year, with a New Year coming and this one in the midst of a very reflective holiday season. My thoughts turn to purposes and passions. I want more.

Philosophically speaking, the desire proves the existence of 'more' out there. Whenever there is a need, there is something there to fill that need. I hunger, there is food. I thirst, there is water. I was made to worship, and what do you know, God is there to be worshiped.

So there must be more to match my desires. It strikes me that this could sound very U2 or that my current location is not satisfactory. Let's do away with silly thoughts like that right now. There is plenty more to be done right here and I want to move forward towards accomplishing it.

I want more.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Today's Feelings, Yesterday's News

I'm supposed to be writing an article for our church newsletter right now. That's not typically hard as I like to write. This article will be for January. It'll be a new year and so I know my thoughts should be encouraging and uplifting. The problem is that I do not feel that way right now. I need to write feelings I do not yet feel for a time I have not yet seen. That's not always easy.

This blog is a bit easier. I feel crummy, therefore I write crummy feelings. It's an instant deal. But even as I sit here typing, I know that one of the greatest things about God is the hope He gives. It is not simply for today that we live. It's not even for a New Year that we live. January may find better things, but let's be honest, it may not.

But check this out. Towards the end of all that scary, apocalyptic stuff in Revelation, you can find this. 1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:1-4.

Therefore I have hope.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Way a Day Begins

If you read people who are supposedly in the know, they'll tell you that key to success is how we begin our day. I've even listened to pastors talk about how important starting the day with Jesus is. I've probably even mentioned it a time or two.

Yet here's the thing. I started today out talking to Jesus. That part was good. Then I had to see the rest of the world. I personally think this whole starting-the-day-out-right thing would be a lot easier if we had like 3 hours of buffer before we ever had to deal with people. But maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Day I Saw an Accident

Today I saw an accident. It involved 3 semi trucks and a van. It didn't look pretty. Amongst the 3 dozen squad cars, firetrucks, and tow trucks, they had some guys holding a sheet up to block the view of the passersby. Now I've seen accidents before, and I've seen worse than this. But it struck me that someone was not getting home tonight to their family. It makes me thankful for mine.

Now I am neither young nor naive enough to assume that this will mean some life change for me where I live every moment in thankful expectation of the next one. But it is a good reminder to me to stop...and be thankful. I made it home tonight to my family. Thank you Jesus.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some Day


Have you ever tried to get 3 energetic children to all smile at the same time, while in the same area, while looking the same direction? I have. This picture shows my best effort.

It makes me think of church unity. Have you ever tried to get 150 people to all focus on One thing, while all at the same place? It's a crazy adventure. Do you ever wonder what that picture would look like?

I guess for now, I'll be satisfied with the picture I have...and keep striving for the picture that God wants.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Video Game Daze

Recently my 5-year old son has become quite proficient at Crash Team Racing. This is a bit surprising as his hands are not yet big enough to hold down all the buttons, thus limiting what he can do in the game. And though I have helped him in several levels, he has beaten a few levels that I've yet to beat.

This took another turn yesterday, when he was asked by his older sister to help her defeat a level. There will be no living with him now.

This has no other purpose than for me to say that my son rocks. Never mind that eating and sleeping now get in the way of his gaming. He is actually taking time to learn the insides of this game. He's in a serious video game daze right now, one that'll only be slowed down by kids of his own. I know, because they are the single biggest factor keeping me from my video games.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Day of Chunks


So, for 6 years now, I have hosted a night at youth group that I call Blo Chunx. It was originally based on Revelation 3:16, where Jesus told the Church in Laodicea that because they were neither hot nor cold, He was about to spit them out of His mouth. In other words, Jesus was going to blow chunks.

So I basically brought Fear Factor to youth group and then talked to them about why we do what we do. Games included guessing the flavor of jelly bean, bobbing for spam, and removing banana from your mouth through pantyhose. I love youth ministry!

This year we focused on Romans 12, where Paul encourages us to transform our minds, so we can discern God's will. I think it went well. People spewed. I laughed. And God's Word was taught. What else can you ask for?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Busy Days Ahead

It happens every year around this time. It's almost crazier than Christmas. But I am resolved that my schedule will not get in the way of my relationships. The list is not more important than the love. The to-do list is not as eternal as the people I run into along the way. I want to be careful to not run over people on my way to getting things done.

And yet, I know myself. The pressure of a moment can be overwhelming. The needs of the fleeting can cry out very loud in my ears. The grind of the temporary will screech in my head this week.

But the eternal cries out. The significant will rule the day. And I will survive these busy days. Even more, I will thrive during these busy days.

God is good. He won't put me in deeper than His grace can pull me out. Thank you, Father.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Day is Coming

I don't think it's chance when scripture comes to my mind. So I'm going to be listening and watching to see what God begins to do over the next days and weeks. Philippians 3:13-14 came to my mind this morning. "13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Until just recently, I had a great group of students. I still have a great group of students...I just don't know them all as well just yet. Random and various things have kept me from looking forward with optimism. Now I find myself learning all over again how to connect with the group of students before me.

So am I going to forget what is behind, the graduated classes that have gone before? Not exactly. In Philippians, Paul was discussing forgetting sin from the past. But I will be focused on what is ahead. I know this group has promise and potential. And I believe the day is coming when I will see what it is and help them to strain forward with me.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Random things in My Day

3 crazy kids means triple the craziness in my life. Here's just a random sampling from each one.

Jacie (she's 7) - She decides she wants to stay the night. Her mom and I reluctantly agree. She goes over around 7pm. It's attempt number 1 at some independence, I guess. The attempt lasts until about 9:50pm, when we get a call from a girl 3 blocks away saying she wants to come home. I'd tell her to walk, but her mom is listening to the phone conversation...

Luke (he's 5) - Every time we go to McDonald's (which is less than the kids would like but more than I want to go), the boy wants a cheeseburger. He usually scrafs it and a small fry down and then helps his sisters finish their chicken nuggets. So I suggest to Jen that maybe it's time the boy has a double cheeseburger. This last Friday we do just that. He scarfs it down along with a small fry and STILL helps his sisters finish their chicken nuggets. I take note and start thinking about part-time jobs I can get to help feed him once he turns 13.

Jerica (she's 2,...2!) - Okay, I'll admit it, I am sarcastic. So is my wife. And Jacie and Luke have learned at tender ages. But Jerica was my innocent little baby, or so I thought. It's a regular day, which around here includes Jerica filling her diaper with surprises for me. I smell her and tell her, "oh, you're stinky." She turns to me (I'm not making this up) and retorts, "no, you are." I'm gonna have to knock the sarcasm out of her.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

All These Early Days

I didn't choose to get older. I know this will sound like an old man rant, but I can remember when I used to get to sleep in until 2pm. Nevermind that those were also the days when I stayed up until 7am. The fact now is that if I get to sleep in until 8am, I feel like I just won a prize.

I don't wish to be a bum. Sometimes I just want more sleep. Unfortunately, too many people keep coming into my office to allow that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

One Day at a Time

I'm procrastinating on reading a little church history. And for some strange reason this old song came into my head. (Disclaimer: I am not advocating finding this song and listening to it.)

Before I get to the song, let me give you some history. My mom was born in Denver, Colorado. I don't know much about Denver, but I assume there are two different parts. I also assume that my mom was not born in the cool part. She's got a little cowgirl in her. Again, not the cool kind. She likes country music...the old country. In case you've never heard old country, it's less sad but twice as twangy.

So, growing up, I heard a lot of bad country music. Worse yet was Christian Country. There was this artist by the name of Christi Lane. (Disclaimer #2: I'm sure that she was serving God and He would be pleased to be honored by her music.) She had this song titled One Day at a Time. She sang about 'sweet Jesus' helping her take on each day. She concluded that this was all we had to do.

I guess it's wonderful how diverse people are and how awesome it is that God can be blessed by music that i don't even like. And no matter how horrible it is that the song is now stuck in my head, the truth remains that God watches over me...one day at a time.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

This Day

God has given me this day. And don't think I don't appreciate it, but.... I could've said the same thing about yesterday, or the day before that. But alas, I did not.

I am sitting here updating my blog. (For one, I just connected this blog to my church web-site, and I'm pretty pleased with myself for learning how to do that. For two, I don't think anyone's been to my blog since it's directly connected to Facebook notes. For three, I finished other important work and now I'm trying to appear web-savvy.)

As I update, and that includes reading several other blogs, mainly so I could steal some ideas, I am wondering if this is the most connected I am going to feel to everyone who reads this. Is this the extent of my hello to most people. Haven't I preached against this kind of thing? I suppose it can be justified if I reach a large enough web-audience, right?

Anyways, back to the point. God gave me this day. I hope I can squeeze enough time in to spend some real time with some real people. And I hope I don't feel guilty for saying that I'd squeeze that time in.

Hey, if you're out there, know that I'm thinking about you. Yes, whatever your name is, whoever you are, I'm thinking about you. Kinda creepy, eh? Yeah, maybe, but I'm all about relationships. I hope you are too.

Thank you God, for this day.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Two Wet Days

Wow! What a weekend! I got away for a couple of days with the family. We went up to Amish country and found, of all things, a hotel with a water park inside of it. I guess no one told the Amish what they were gonna do with that old pole barn once it was up.

For one night's stay, we took the kids into the water park twice. Slides and hoses and a lazy river. The kids loved it. We loved it. Here were the highlights.

1. There was this giant bucket that dumped when it filled with about 150 gallons of water. There was a bell that would signal it was about to dump. Luke became like one of Pavlov's dogs. Every time he heard the bell he ran for cover.


2. I was videotaping Jacie cross a small pool that had several lily pads for kids to hop across on. When she saw me taping her, she stopped, posed, and the proceeded to miss the next jump. Watching her hit the padded edge of the pool and go backwards made me laugh. Later, when I showed Jen, we watched it several times, laughing each time.

3. Eating a 32oz Hot Fudge Sundae and bringing home the moster glass to remember it.

4. Watching Jerica slide down a water slide 32 times in a row. Oh, the things that entertain children.

5. We took a horse and buggy ride and I spent my time wondering if we could get Amish people to pay money to ride in our vehicles.

Now it's all done and I guess it's back to work. But it was fun while it lasted.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just a Day

I gotta tell you, it's been quite a weekend. I wasn't aware that weekends should be that late, or that full of stuff. Let's see how succinct I can put it.
setting up an internet site
finsishing prep for youth group on Sunday night
lunch with two way cool college freshmen
handing out root beer floats
3 hours of church on Sunday morning, another 5 that night
That doesn't even count bouncing children on a trampoline and catching some football games and a late night episode of House.

But it's not like I get a cape or anything like that. I just call it a day. Just a day.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Perhaps on Another Day

Busyness is not next to godliness. I've never believed it. Yet somehow, I find myself saying, 'perhaps on another day' to things that I desire to do. Playing tennis, taking days off, reading a novel....

It is an interesting dichotomy when you find yourself knowing how to manage a life and yet finding oneself unable to actually apply the knowledge.

Oh well, I've got more thoughts to describe, but no time now....perhaps on another day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Day of Princesses

Yesterday was Jen and Jacie's birthdays, so on Friday, Jacie invited over 5 friends for a princess slumber party.
3 stayed the night. We figured we'd let them stay up until 9pm, then put in a movie, and they'd fall asleep during the movie. (We're so very foolish.)

That didn't happen. So, after the movie, they talked and they giggled and Jen and I took turns hushing them and explaining it was late. As if they didn't know. They informed us of their plan to stay up until midnight. (Why did we teach them to tell time?)
we told them no
(dramatic pause)
So, at midnight, we decide to put in another movie. At least they'll close their mouths, right?

The house was finally quiet by 1am...and then they woke up at 7:30am! What do these princesses live on?

Oh well, the weekend is over and we now have peace once again. Peace should not be taken literally since this is still my house with 3 crazy children.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today is the Day

Lately, I cannot seem to get Psalm 118:24 out of my mind.

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

I've had some long days recently. Who hasn't, right? But each day is a new gift from God. I think it helps that Lincoln Brewster has a high-speed song out right now that uses this verse for a hook. But whatever, it has served as a good reminder to me.

Here's to today! Thanks, Jesus, for this gift.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Remembering the Day

Yesterday we celebrated the past year at our church. I have lots of weird memories, of which stripping in church has to top the list. But overall, the memories are good. This is despite certain disappointments and things not moving as quickly as I think they can. I think Robert Benchley was right when he wrote “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.” But I also think it’s more than that. I look back and I can see where we’ve come from. So I look forward with hope, knowing that all is possible with God. But here’s what I said I will remember most from this past year;

Most of all, I remember a senior class from this past year. The first class that I saw from the start of their youth group career, to the end. I remember late nights spent talking and listening to them. I remember early mornings at Prayer Breakfast. I remember praying that they wouldn’t make certain choices, and then helping them fix it when they did. I remember seeing the light bulbs click on when they were finally figuring out how to apply truth. I remember hearing their voices filled with hope as they strived towards the goal.

The fact is that we, as a church family, have built into many children and teens. Just in my time here, we have seen about 40 teens graduate and move on past their youth group years. I guess, for me, a lot of the past 6 years becomes a haze of one long trip in the church van while eating pizza.

I pray that we never forget why we do what we do.
When the sleep has been lost, the mistakes have been made, the relationships broken and then mended, the church van has been fixed (again), the fundraisers done, the calendars and the e-mails and the reminders have all been sent, when the stories have been listened to and the tears have all dried, I pray we remember our purpose.

Psalm 45:17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

As I said yesterday, I see us making even greater memories ahead.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Long Day

Have you ever thought about the phrase, 'I had a long day'? Aren't all our days 24 hours long? It's really all about how we feel about how much we've stuffed into them. But the length of day doesn't change. I have days that I fill from top to bottom...it lasts 24 hours. I have days when I do nothing productive...for 24 hours.
I think much wind pours from our mouths without us thinking much about what we are actually saying. Having said all that...I've had some really long days lately. I hope I can make it to the light at the end of this tunnel.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Day Off

I don't know who came up with Labor Day. I don't need to know. But here's to you. There is something about not actually accomplishing anything tangible. Yes, I played with my children. That's a great blessing. Yes, I beat a couple of teams on NBA Live '06. All in a day's non-work.

But, now what am I supposed to do with tomorrow?

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Day After

Most of the time, the day after may bring dissappointment. What seemed like fun pales in the light of day. What seemed smart turns out to be dumb. But then there are times when the day after leaves you wishing you could do it again. Today is one of thsoe days. But it's not just because of last night. Don't get me wrong, last night was incredible. But it was great because of the last 6 years building up to it.

We ended our summer of youth group meetings last night. Playing the best games from this year's graduating class, sharing memories from the past 4 years, and just being together was awesome.

We ended the night by baptizing one of our guys who has been part of the glue that has held this group together. The best part is that holding all of the games and the awkward moments and memories together was God. I really believe that this group gets it and that they will be amazing people in this world. I really believe it.

And as much as it hurts to let them go, it doesn't make the glory of it all fade away. Here's to the day after...knowing it has all been worth it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Day

If no one hears you drowning in all of your paperwork, does it still get done? Don't worry, I don't feel all that bad. There is a lot to do, but just as it seems to overwhelm, the relief of night comes. And each new day brings with it new hope. You might think you'd wake up where you left off, but I find my God to be a lot more gracious than that. I can't explain it, but I know that He is a big God with all the supply in the world.

And since I am a firm believer in giving and receiving grace, stop by and talk to me if you're in need of some. The paperwork may cry out, but it'll get done...perhaps on a new day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hello

I don't know why I've done this. I don't have the time to blog regularly and you don't have the time to read it at all. But, I guess, I feel like I have something to say.

We'll see....