Friday, October 24, 2008

It's A Beautiful Day

(Please Note: the following post is best read while listening to the above song. Hope you enjoy.)

So I had a lovely day today.

To preface that statement I must say it has been an interesting week. My wife has been extremely ill since Sunday night with what she calls the flu-of-a-lifetime. She has barely moved off of our couch-converted-into-a-hospital-bed, which, if you know my wife, is extremely unlike her. I mean she has babies and is up mowing the grass and rearranging furniture the next day. So I have been trying to help her and keep all of our kids alive, including one-month-old Isaac. And I'd be lying if I said I've kept it all together with a cool head.

But today, since all of the kids were off of school, I decided to get us out of the house so Shannon could rest. So we took a trip to Springfield. We ate at Imo's Pizza (which my kids loved!), did some shopping and hung out at McDonald's Playland.

With a 7 year-old, 5 year-old, & 3 year-old.

By myself.

And it was great.

No, really it was. It was just so wonderful to take some time with my kids and have no agenda other than enjoying the time together. To laugh and skip and climb on other people's furniture and sing songs together in the van loudly and off-key.

And on the way home, as I followed this truck with the "pee-on Obama" sticker on the back glass and the new Anberlin album playing in the background, the clouds parted and there was the most beautiful rainbow I remember seeing in a long time. I called for the kids to look so I could share this moment with someone, but I found they had all fallen asleep. And as I started feeling a little disappointment suddenly I realized I was sharing this moment with God. So I began talking to Him and found this extreme comfort in this beautiful moment amid a somewhat cloudy week.

He reminded me in that moment that even though it was somewhat of a tough week. Even though I am not strong enough to always respond in the right way. Even though this life is imperfect and messed up and broken, He still is in the business of making beauty out of our mess. Let's look for that beauty together this week. Let me know what you find.

God Bless. -Mark

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Rebel with a Cause

There is a part of me that is a rebel.

I don't like to conform to the norm. I don't want anyone to tell me what to do. I seeing injustice. I drink milk straight from the jug.

But then there's this other part of me that doesn't like to rock the boat.

I don't want to upset people when I disagree with them. I don't want to inconvenience people over the things they are doing that inconvenience me. I stand by silently when friends like country music.

So the other day I was talking with a friend about some struggles he is having at work. We were talking about our similarities in this whole rebel vs push-over personalities. He said that he is very loyal and compliant until he starts feeling taken advantage of. Then he says, "Down with the man!" (That's a loose paraphrase. He did listen to punk rock as a child. You know... I am !)

So I've been thinking about this whole scenario and what God would tell us to do. How are we supposed to respond when there are injustices in the world? What are we supposed to say when the norms of society are in opposition to God's teachings? How am I supposed to react when people don't treat me with love and respect and a servant's heart?

My wife told me this week that if we are going to rebel, we should rebel with joy. I thought that was interesting but then I read these verses this week: "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4 ESV)

If we want to be perfect then we are going to rebel against the struggles, the trials, the negative circumstances, the jerks, the ego-maniacs, the slimy politicians, the selfishness, the busy-ness, the materialism...with JOY!

So I am challenged this week to be full of joy despite my circumstances. To be a rebel by not letting the stresses of this life keep me from enjoying the breath of life I have today. To remember that God has blessed me beyond what I deserve and I have nothing to complain about.

And think..what could happen if we all started rebelling with joy? Let's start a revolution of joy this week. Will you join me? This week, if you have an opportunity to try this idea out, post a comment and let us know how it went.

God Bless,


Thursday, October 2, 2008


That's right, boys & girls! It's PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!

That is, it is time to share the love of PBJ with Buffalo, MO. PBJ=LOVE is a movement that started in the heart of one of our youth (Nathaniel Tirey) at the CIY summer conference this year. As our students were challenged to use something they love to share God's love with their world, Nathaniel felt called to share Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches with the people living in our town.

So this Saturday 180 Youth Ministries is helping Nathaniel start this movement. We are meeting at the church at 10am to make sandwiches. Then we will distribute the sandwiches. And then we will join back together to eat sandwiches and share about our experience.

And then we will do it again next month (the first Saturday of each month to be exact!).

So I hope you can join us for PBJ=LOVE!

God Bless -Mark

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Update on Marilyn

Hey everybody! Here is Marilyn Frye's Newsletter from the Honor Academy (you may want to click on the pics to enlarge them):