Saturday, April 24, 2010

We Will Not Be Silent...

Last weekend I saw a rare sight.

I saw a group of approximately 60 young people lay down their cell phones

their schedules

their food

and their selves

to seek God and look towards what He wants us to do with our lives.

All these things happened as a part of our annual 30 Hour Famine - an event where we fast for 30 hours in order to seek God and learn about the needs of others all over the world.

I continue to be amazed that this event is one of our most well attended during the year. Why would such a large group of teenagers make such sacrifice? I mean don't you have to have pizza and laser lights and a guy juggling chainsaws to attract kids these days?

But I grow more and more everyday to believe that young people attach to events like the 30 Hour Famine because they are looking for more.

They are looking for significance and meaning and purpose. They are looking for the things that fulfill.

And that is only found in Loving God and Loving your neighbor. Jesus knew this when He answered the religious leader in Matthew 22:

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

I find that young people today, as much as any generation, are trying to pursue those commandments. They want their generation to be one that turns some of the negative tide found in our society. They want to see God restore them and those around them that are hurting.

So join will you join me in nurturing and mentoring and challenging this generation to never be silent...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Living in a Dandelion Forest...

Nothing signals the true end of winter and beginning of new life than the appearance of the dandelion forest.

And it comes seemingly from nowhere. You can cut your grass, put the mower away and when you walk back to the front yard...there it is!

And then you have a choice to make:

Get angry. Grab the mower or the weed eater or a pair of scissors or a sharp rock or whatever element of destruction nearest by and attack this forest with a vengeance.

Or you can embrace the wonder of it all.

What did you choose today?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

...and never give up!

So tonight's 180 Youth Service was...

I don't even know what word to put there, so let me back up and tell you a little about my week.

-Four major events on Saturday.
-Up early Sunday for full day of Church events.
-Melt down with family on Monday.
-Melt down with friends on Tuesday.
-Incredible worship event with Mattie Montgomery from For Today on Tuesday night.
-Prayed Wednesday morning to expect God to do only He can do and surrendered my willingness to follow Him rather than my schedule.
-Got two days of work done in one day while taking genuine time to talk to at least five or six people.

...and that brings us to tonight's service. I don't know if I've ever felt God give me the words or the insight into people's lives like I did tonight. From what I prayed for people during worship to the connection of God's Word to their lives during the message to the responses I received after, I just felt God setting people free. It was indescribable. And so many responded to the final challenge to stop settling for less than what God designed us for.

...and then I settled. I blew it. I chose to get negative in a discussion with someone after church. And I hated it.

But I write this to encourage you, because Satan wants to steal our joy and our victory tonight. Of course He will attack after a day/week like we've had. And the temptation is to say, "Of course I settled. I always settle. Why do I even try. Maybe I didn't even mean it."


Proverbs 24:16 says, "for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity." So we seek forgiveness. We accept grace. And we get right back up and refuse to settle!

And then those mistakes will become less

and less

and less



So be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My New Best Friend...

So my family and I were at McDonald's tonight after an evening of picking up supplies for Saturday's Business Expo (at which Calvary Chapel will be hosting a come see us!), when I made a new friend.

I had just made my order and swiped my debit card through this beautiful little thing when it happened...

this message popped up on the screen telling me I was "APPROVED"!

I was in love.

I felt all special and warm inside.

I instantly knew I had a new best friend. And suddenly I realized how desperate so many of us are for love and acceptance.

Yesterday we started a new series on God's Plan for Good Sex. And I already know that many students have been struggling with this issue all because they are looking for someone to care about them. Someone to love them. Someone to accept them.

So they have sex...and then they feel guilty and dirty and alone.

But there's another way. I hope that these students and I and all of us hear God's message through this series: "I love you. I care about you. I accept you."

I think Psalm 139 says it best:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

If you know Christ, I hope you can rest in that truth today. If you don't know Christ, I pray that you will begin to realize He is the only place you will find true acceptance.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Addition(s)...

We had some new additions to our household this week...

a litter of praying mantises!!

See, about two months ago my children found this pod cocoon thing in our yard. So we decided to put it in a jar in the window and see what came out of it. It was like a little science experiment.

We all speculated what it would be. Spiders? A moth? A butterfly?

I suggested a mind-controlling alien spore creature (Seriously, the pod looked just like something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers!)

And then a couple days ago, we awoke to a swarm of little baby mantises hopping around inside our jar! Who would have guessed?

It just goes to show that life is unexpected. We never know what kind of strange turn things will take, but that is what keeps it interesting.

So what unexpected things have happened to you this week? And what was your reaction?

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Favorite Picture...

This is my favorite picture right now...

It evokes all kinds of emotions for me.

Mostly because it really captures my son, Isaac: playful, curious, pensive, daring, waiting for me to love him...

What is your favorite picture/thing/thought right now (& why)?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Great Egg-Off 2010...!

Today our family gathered for our annual egg-off!

This event is a time where we use dye, crayons and anything else handy to wildly decorate a mass quantity of boiled chicken embryos...

and of course fiercely compete for the title of "Greatest Egg Decorator"!

So who do you think won?

(Check out more photos on my Facebook profile)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday...How Thee Are Good! Let Me Count the Ways...

Today was Good Friday...

and it lived up to its name.

I had a meaningful morning with my family doing house & yard work, reading the Crucifixion story, drinking coffee and wrestling my children into some pretty great submission holds!

Then we had lunch with these great people...

and wound up spending most of the afternoon with them. It is such a blessing to be able to build into young couples' lives like so many built into Shannon & I's at that stage. You can check out more of Ryan & Brittany's story on Brittany's blog.

Then tonight I went to Community Good Friday service, sponsored by the Buffalo Ministerial Alliance. I love it that our community makes an effort to join together across denominations to worship during special times of the year. I was really moved/challenged tonight by Jeremy Barnard's message. He focused on Romans 5:6:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

He really hit home the fact that unless we recognize our helplessness then the cross doesn't really have meaning in our lives. I was really humbled by his statement that God is ultimately holy, and we are (as Jeremy put it) "so not...I don't even have words to describe how not like God I am."

And I was struck. How far do I fall short of the mark. With my thoughts. My actions. My attitudes. In every way.

It was very good to worship with fellow believers in the humility of embracing God's unbelievable act of grace.

So how was your Friday good?

Thursday, April 1, 2010


So I watched this video preview of Project Natal, the new user interface for XBox projected to hit the market for the 2010 Holiday Season.

...and it creeped me out!

As I watched the portrayal of how this device would bring the family back together and create better relationships and make us feel like we aren't all alone in this big world, I got this odd feeling of deja vu, as if I had heard this all before.

...And then it dawned on me where - Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451.

In this science fiction work set in the "future", we find a society where books have been banned and the television has taken over the home. One of the most profound scenes in the book is where the main character, whose job is to burn illegal books, starts questioning whether things are all right in the world. As he tries to discuss these thoughts with his wife, she tells him to stop bothering her with such trivial things as she has to get to her program. You see, tonight on her favorite show she has requested to be a part of act. So at the prescribed point, the actors look out of the screen, call her by name and ask her a question, and she must say her line.

Like I said, creepy.

So what is your take on virtual integration through gaming systems such as the XBox Natal?