Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Day of Surprises

Tuesday didn't start out very well. I spent 2 1/2 hours shoveling snow between Monday night and Tuesday morning! My back was killing me...not soreness in the muscles, just joint pain. I digress. So Tuesday evening, before going home to clear the driveway for the 5th time in 18 hrs, I got a call informing me that 2 of my neighbors were clearing my driveway with their snowblowers! I was elated & relieved, especially my lower back :-) Thank you my kind neighbors! I should take them some cookies or something for their unsolicited kindness. Add to my appreciative back the fact that I also found out that 6 more of my Regent University credits will be transferred into my degree at Beacon, so I just have 6 credits left to complete it by May! HALLELUJAH!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ice Sk8ing

Last night we went Ice skating with some of the students Radiate Student Ministries. There were only a handful in town, but we had a blast. It was also my first time ice skating. Fortunately I didn't fall or run into anybody. Probably because it felt a lot like rollerblading. My wife Sarah wrote more about it on her blog.
Afterwards we went over to the Russell's house for some hot chocolate and witnessed the biggest hot chocolate domino spill I've ever seen. One person bumped something that spilled chocolate on the coffee table which led to another person jerking their arm because they were startled and spilling it on another person who knocked over another drink (so on and so forth) until half of the students their had been affected by the spill. Unfortunate...memorable...but unfortunate. Thank God for carpet cleaner and towels...oh, and microfiber furniture!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Communicating for a Change

There are certain things in life that when I do them I feel as though I come alive...as if God called me to do them. One of those things is preaching or speaking. I love being able to communicate truth that results in transformation! In an effort to grow in that calling, I recently begin reading Andy Stanley's book, Communicating for a Change with my friend Chris. In it Andy proposes a plan for communicating that makes so much sense it's ridiculous. I won't summarize the book here, you'll just have to get it and read it. All I can say is that this Sunday I am going to preach my first message using what I learned in the book to guide my preparation and presentation. This Sunday I'll be talking about Giving More...and no, it's not a message about giving money :-)

What Andy suggests seems very simple, but I would DEFINITELY suggest this book to anyone doing public speaking. I did Ken Davis' Dynamic Communicators Workshop, and that was very helpful, but this gives you a strategy for becoming that better communicator from preparation through presentation.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sledding

This Christmas some of our good friends from Valley Christian, Chuck & Laurie Bigwood, gave my nephew a sled. I can't say that it brings back Christmas memories of sledding down hills, but it kind of reminded me of those warm Christmas days at the BEACH body boarding waves...happy thoughts. Well, I just got in from sledding, so I'm gonna go get warm and think of my warm happy memories of WARM Christmases of long ago.

Merry Christmas!

I'm still sick so I'm awake waiting for my cough medicine to knock me out. I figured, since I'm still up, I'd be one of the first to officially wish my two or three readers a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! I know others may have already said that to you, but they probably wished that to you THE DAY BEFORE! Not me, no, I waited until it really was Christmas so I could be hacking my lungs out while I wished you happiness and merriment! :-)

This Christmas I will be spending some quality time with my family...a little bit of sledding, snow shoveling (what, you don't do that for fun with your family?), hanging out with Mocha, FOOD, The Nutcracker Story...then a good NAP, and finally some games with some friends from Valley Christian and probably more FOOD.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

ONE24 Progress & Video!

Recently ONE24 hosted a funraising concert with Marcoux Corner that was sponsored by our local Bremer Bank. That night was a huge success, we aimed to raise $10,000 because of the concert, but we ended up raising $13,669.23 by the end of the week because of the concert!!! That was a huge help in getting us one step closer to completing this coffee house that will help connect our community relationally and spiritually.

At that concert we showed a video that a friend from Fargo helped us put together! We are very thankful for his expertise!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even...
...a Bassett Hound wearing a funny sweater???

Last night when we were doing our, very late, last minute Christmas shopping we saw this dog sweater and decided it was time for Mocha to start celebrating the holidays in style. It doesn't seem to faze her and we all think she looks cute in it, so she may be wearing it the whole Christmas season!

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Let's Pack Up & Move to California...

...she's got lot's of friends out there. We'll never get bored 'cause we can go boarding! We'll let the sunshine take us there!" So go the lyrics to Hawk Nelson's "California" which was going through my head at 6:30 this morning as I shoveled out one side of the driveway that varied from 3 to 4 feet deep (the other driveway was only 2 feet at its deepest)! Oh, and it was -15* and the windhill was almost -40*. All to get Sarah to work on time, only to show up and see that none of the 5 a.m. employees were even there yet! Later on I got some help finishing the other side when Pastor Dean came over with a riding snowblower we had borrowed to clear the other driveway. A driveway and a half in less time then it took me to do half a driveway with a shovel!

(notice the mailbox)
It's at times like these that I wonder why we willfully put ourselves through this weather. I mean, what exactly were the first settlers of this area thinking? The first settlers in Breckenridge settled here in the WINTER! Now that is good planning right there! And they managed to settle on a small ISLAND in between where two rivers meet...that must have been an interesting discovery when the snow melted in the spring! So what exactly WERE they thinking?
..."let's pack up and move to California..." :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kick

Last night was a pretty significant day for me! For the first time I was able to feel the baby moving. Every time the baby would be moving and I'd go to feel Sarah's stomach the baby would stop moving! So yesterday she finally decided to cooperate. It was pretty cool because it helped to make it more real. I'm looking forward to her growing more in there and being able to see her move more, and then in February finally being able to meet our cute little girl!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tagged

I came up with some random facts about Sarah, so I thought it was only fair for her to reciprocate when she tagged me. So here you have some random facts that she came up with about me.

Sam:
  1. Is bilingual.
  2. Doesn't like popcorn.
  3. Doesn't like trimming the (Sam inserted "evil") hedge in our backyard.
  4. Likes to wear a dress shirt/sweater, dress shoes, and JEANS on Sundays.
  5. Reads a lot: to fall asleep, to do schoolwork, to learn, for pleasure...he reads a lot.
  6. Makes me drive on long trips so that he can do his schoolwork and read in the car.
  7. Is very rhythmic...he always has a beat in his head or his feet, hands, fingers, toes, etc.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Green Eggs & Ham

I DO like Green Eggs & Ham! Sarah & I just ate @ the Vanilla Bean in Two Harbors, MN. I thought the oven baked "Green Eggs and Ham" omelet sounded good, but it was beyond good, it was delicious! It had pesto in it which gave it a very unique flavor. Besides that, it was HUGE! The size of my plate! I could only finish like half of it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Good Day

See You At The Pole this morning was great! I got up before 6 a.m. to make hot chocolate for everyone and then picked up the freshly made donuts. I met half of the crew at the W. Middle School and then drove over to the B. Middle School where I met John who was taking care of getting the goodies to the BHS students. Between the 5 campuses there were around 70 students plus some adults that came with their kids...my numbers for the BMS were kind of shaky because there were well over 26 students there (about half of them were from the Elementary school!), so I just basically stopped counting when I realized I would definitely not have enough to go around...miraculously there was enough for everyone to get a cup of hot cocoa and a snack!

ONE, the inter-church High School and Middle School gathering was tonight. It was great to see the students from other churches I had not seen in a long time!

It's great to be part of a team ministry that crosses denominational lines! Jesus' prayer is that "they will know we are Christians by our love!" and that we would "be one" as the Father and He are one. What a privilege to be part of unifying the Body of Christ to more effectively connect this generation to God by working together!
Will I be able to sleep?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pandora

Last week Justin M. introduced me to Pandora...my life is forever changed. I have had it playing out of our laptop into the radios around the house whenever I'm at home...it's great. You put in a couple of artists you like and it will make a "radio station" of those and similar artists...how cool is that? I'm hooked.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Concert



Last night Sarah and I took my grandparents out to a Wintley Phipps concert that was AMAZING! I was able to hear Wintley at Catalyst last year, so when I got the invitation in the mail I knew right away that it would be an awesome concert. The power of God is very evident when he sings. The youtube video doesn't do it justice, but it will give you an idea of what it's like.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Making of a Leader

The topic of leadership is very popular today. There are many books that trumpet the latest leadership principles that are sure to make a business succeed, but in “The Making of a Leader” Frank Damazio writes about what we can learn from Biblical history about the formation of a leader. Frank Damazio pastors City Bible Church in Portland, Oregon. He has been teaching and pastoring since 1976. He wrote his book as a textbook for a class on leadership when he was teaching at Portland Bible College and therefore the format of the book is very much like a textbook. Because it was written for a leadership class its intended audience is young and aspiring leaders that need help discovering their God-given callings and identifying the shaping processes that they are or will be going through as God molds them into leaders. Damazio challenges some popular leadership notions with Biblical principles and shows how God desires leaders to be called, formed, and live. He does a very good job of identifying the shaping processes that different leaders in the Bible went through and relating them to the formation of every godly leader. It is a very good book for any leader to read, no matter what stage of development they are in.
If you haven't read it yet and you think you might be going through a shaping time, or if you are planning on being in ministry leadership of some kind: read it. If nothing else you'll walk out with some other incredible nuggets hidden in the pages.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Painful Preparation

If you've ever been around Pastors you know that they like to make up phrases or sermon points that start with the same letter. Sometimes I wonder how much time they spend thinking about it. This last week I came up with one as I was preparing the message for last Sunday, but it wasn't on purpose (just so you know). I was talking about the Problem of Preparation, Pain, and the Purpose it can have in our lives. Sarah and I have gone through some painful times in the last couple of years, so I felt it fitting to share a little bit of what God has done in us and also just some insight into the process that we all go through.

2 Corinthians 4:7- But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us (Paul), but life is at work in you.

13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Painful Preparation Produces: Purity, Productivity, Passion, Power, and New Perspectives.

I've seen it in my life and I would encourage you no matter where you're at in this process: "...that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus!" Don't give up!






Friday, July 11, 2008

New Leadership

Have you ever noticed how they keep writing books on leadership? If you've read more then 10 good ones you'll know that they have a lot of the same things to say. Here and there you see a creative approach, but in a lot of ways they're using different phraseology or simply have a different emphasis. Have you ever noticed how it seems that the newest leadership books are the ones that finally have it all figured out? Or, how each book seems to offer THE solution?
I'm finding, like the author of Ecclesiastes, that “nothing changes under the sun.” People are still people and God is still God. He set the perfect example of TRUE leadership in His Son and that is the first place we should look when wanting to define what good leadership is. Lately I have been studying His word with an eye for leadership and I keep seeing that people are writing and rewriting the same principles in the new books that get released, but they've been in the Bible for thousands of years!
Another really cool thing is that the Bible doesn't just show us the life of the perfect leader, but also gives us glimpses of good leaders who made mistakes and of bad leaders who were redeemed in the end (as well as bad leaders that just stayed bad) and we can learn about leadership FROM THEM TOO! Isn't it great when we can learn from those that have gone before us? That's one reason I am really liking Frank Damazio's book "The Making of a Leader." In it he examines the lives of Jesus, Joshua, Samuel, Paul, Elisha, David, Timothy, etc. to find out what God has to tell us about leadership from their lives...very interesting...could it really be that there is nothing new under the sun, but that old principles are simply applied to new contexts?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ice

Today Sarah and I went with our friends Matt and Zach Bigwood to See Wall-E. The movie was alright, but before going in Sarah decided to buy some snacks. As she's paying for her stuff she decides to ask for some water and found out that apparently Cinema 6 can't give away a cup of water...here's the funny part, their response was: "but I can give you a cup of ice." Seriously, what am I going to do with a cup FULL of ice? Am I going to shake it until it melts and then slurp it in very small increments as I watch the movie? Or am I going to crunch on it in between handfuls of popcorn? Anyway, I decided those were bad ideas and I took the cup of ice and went and filled it with water from the faucet. Not realizing what I had done Sarah thought she would be nice and pour some of her pop into my cup. As soon as she started pouring she started spilling and thought to herself, "wow, he really did fill this cup with ice" and proceeded to take a sip. The whole time I was watching the screen and didn't notice what she was doing. As I reach for my cup she whispers "It's really watery" and I'm thinking "that's cuz it's water!" :-) Then I took a drink of this disgusting tasting 95% water/5% coke combination and realized what had happened and subsequently had to finish my cup of nasty flavored ICE water. :-) All this because they couldn't give away WATER! :-)

Friday, June 27, 2008

For Frequent Flyers

Thoughts on Leadership and Management

It's been a while since I've posted anything, and unlike my wife I got no phone calls asking me if I was ok, so it must be fine with everybody that I focused on my schooling in my free time. Anyway, here are some thoughts on leadership versus management: It is possible to be a leader without being a manager and, unfortunately, it is possible to be a manager without being a leader. The difference between leadership and management lies in what they do.
  • Leadership is about taking people or organizations places and management is about handling things (literally mana = hand, anyway). Management is necessary for good leadership because it is what makes possible the execution of the things that move the people or organization forward. In other words, leaders create vision and managers apply it. It could be said that leadership is the process of pointing the direction and management is the process of taking care of the details to arrive at the destination. Jesus challenged His followers to be leaders and not simply administrators with the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:21-30). He expected leadership (vision to see the possibilities of what to do with the talent) and management (the ability to carry the vision out successfully) to be combined from those given the Talents in His story, but one of the servants thought that he could be safe by simply managing or maintaining the asset he was given and was called wicked for doing so.

  • Management many times requires a title, but leadership can be done without titles. Leadership can be exerted whether or not there is a title or a managerial position, like David: Even when he was out in the wilderness escaping from Saul and without any earthly authority or title, people came and followed him (1 Samuel 22:1-2). He didn't get the title of king until long after they began following him. On the other side of that there are people wanting the title, or management position, but are not leading people anywhere. Solomon's son Rehoboam, who was not much of a leader, had a title but was led by his group of friends (1 Kings 12:8-11).

So be encouraged and press on to be the leader that God has called you to be, in whatever area of life you are in! If that means learning to manage better then go for it! If it means being willing to lead without a title or formal recognition for the greater good then go for it!

We're all learning here! Let's not be like the wicked servant or like Rehoboam!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Appearances

It's been a great trip so far! Today we got to do all sorts of work around the campground and there are places that look totally different because of all the work that was done. There was a section we were working on today that looked like a nice big tree, so we were busy weeding and and removing vines from the fence next to it and not paying much attention to it. Upon closer inspection we realized that what we thought was a tree was really a support pole for the electrical wires that came into the campground that had gotten so filled with vines that it had the appearance of a tree, but in reality it was just a big dead pole with a bunch of flimsy, yet incredibly stubborn and annoying, vines wrapped all around it to make it look like a thriving tree!
Tonight we had an awesome time: 2 and a half hours of worship and teaching and then some more worship! God was really working in our hearts. Pat (our local contact), shared a word out of Isaiah 58 (the whole chapter) about appearances...just reading through it is pretty powerful (go ahead click on the link and read it for yourself...this will be here when you come back...you're still here!?! Go read it, it won't take that long...seriously, why are you still reading this and not clicking on the link? :-) ).
OK, now that you read it, you know that God is speaking to the people of Israel there telling them that there APPEARANCE of rightness was not what He was looking for (funny how fitting that is for us today, huh).

Here are 3 points from his message for us to move into the challenge at the end of the chapter (check out the IF'S at the end and the rewards for them!)

1. We need to move from knowing God with our head to also knowing Him with our heart.
2. We need to move from selfish to supernatural lives.
3. We need to go from the EXAMPLE of the Father to the EXPERIENCE of the Father.

Verses 6-14 really get me...hopefully it makes you think too.

On another note: God has already healed a couple of people physically and there have been some amazing conversations and "coincidences" (keep praying for God to move supernaturally through our team)!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Birthday

Our new helmets came today (the other ones were too tight...I couldn't close my mouth because the sides were so tight!)

Mine:Sarah's:


Great Birthday so far, thank you to all who called, sent cards, left messages on Facebook. or stopped by to say hi: God has really blessed me with some great friends!!!

Today the Community VBS ended and I tore down our sound system and instruments and put them back up at the church. It was an awesome VBS for the 350+ kids and 150+ volunteers! A lot of very creative people out there doing using all the senses to communicate God's POWER.
Tomorrow I leave for Kansas City with Chris K. and the Montevideo and Fosston churches. I will try to post some thoughts on Russ' message tomorrow before I leave for Kansas City.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Random Jots

It's been a bit crazy since the last post. So far I put new mirrors on the bike, delayed having to fix the muffler on the bike until the winter by making a little more noise (I won't rev it in the neighborhood...I promise), changed the spark plugs, and have been practicing technique for u-turns, cornering, swerving, and emergency stopping for the test I am planning on taking Tuesday...Oh and a guy gave me an extra riding jacket he had that has protective padding and breathes like a t-shirt!
We had a guys' lock-in on Thursday night that Chris planned and that went very well...I didn't sleep but and hour or so on Friday, so that was weird. Then I watched Lost with the Hardies on that little bit of sleep (that probably added to the confusion of the series)...Now we have to wait 'till January for the story to continue unfolding. Fortunately only 2 more seasons.
Today Russ gave his last message on the letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation. It was very good. I'll post some thoughts on that this week. After that we went to Alyssa's graduation ceremony and then I "practiced" on the bike a while, and then Sarah and I hung out...We played Scrabble and she beat me by 1 point! ONE POINT!!! AGH! Anyway, I got some school work done and now I'm getting ready for bed.
I have over 1300 pages to read for the 2 leadership classes I'm taking this summer (now that I think about it that's without the research for the papers...I think I might be leadershiped out by May next year! :-) ), which brings me to the comic that made me think of writing a post...

(click on the image to view larger)
Isn't this true? :-)

Tomorrow I'll be working at ONE24 getting ready for some windows to be put in, then I'll be setting up a sound system in a gym for our band to play at the Community VBS that night! Good times!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

So the cool thing that happened, that I was twittering about (the thing on the top left of this blog...above my profile) was that I got a motorcycle on Monday! It's a 1979 Suzuki GS750L. It was a sweet deal. I have a couple of things to touch up on it, like the brakes, tune up, replace mirrors, change the oil, speedometer, tighten the chain, muffler (the neighbors will appreciate that), new seat, and a paint job and it will be like new. So I'll start with the first six this weekend...the rest aren't a real hurry. Thanks to Don for selling it and to Tim and Kate for helping me do what was necessary to get it down here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Fun Blog

I just had a discussion with Sarah about why I write about what I'm thinking and reading as opposed to fun things. We concluded that hers is the fun blog.
As soon as I stop staying up late reading deep books on pain and suffering these blogs will stop...then I'll post about Human Resource Management and Leadership Principles :-) j/k (the 2 classes I'm taking this summer).

Tomorrow, or today I guess, I'll be having a worship practice at VCA, then tag-team preaching with Justin for a ONE24 vision service at Inspiration Church, then buzzing back to my church to lead worship at the end of our service. Catching lunch with the Doeblers and the Spooners, sans Dave :-( and then heading to a friend's Grad Party and off to Fosston, MN to spend Memorial Day with the Tim and Kate (and Grace and Jude)! I should go get some sleep so I can stay awake for it all!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pain, Perplexity & Promotion

I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of pain in our lives. When Sarah and I went on our East Coast trip we heard more then 7 sermons on testing, trials, and suffering. After that I was kind of wondering if God was trying to say something to us. God had really spoken to me from the book of James during our third miscarriage about faith and perseverance in trials. As some of you know that miscarriage happened around the time we faced a bunch of other problems in the ministry that we had never faced...things that hurt in more ways than there's time to write. So During the last month I've decided to see what might be happening here. I got a book from my Bro-In-Law, David G., called Pain, Perplexity and Promotion that examines the book of Job (I thought it fitting given the melee of sermons on the topic). So far I had heard about the Israelite's testing in the wilderness, Jesus' testing in the wilderness and on the cross, and the testing of the church in James and Revelation. After finishing PP&P last night I decided to read one of C.S. Lewis' books I'd been meaning to get around to: A Grief Observed (it chronicles his grief over the loss of his wife to cancer).
Here are some of the interesting things I've learned from both:
  • A different look at Suffering in the Bible:
    • The Bible begins with suffering (Job was the first book in the Bible to be written).
    • The New Testament begins with suffering (James was the first book in the NT to be written)
    • The Bible ends with suffering and then VICTORY in the book of Revelation.
    • ...this isn't the goosebumps kind of thing we all think of when we read "I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you not to harm you." Maybe He prospers us by making us better???
  • God tests us BECAUSE He loves us (Job had it going on, yet God wanted to take him deeper and there was a deep part of him that needed to change in the process of suffering.)
    • It said He was pleased with Job...it was God's idea!
      • Sounds sick unless you think of the example of a good doctor who wants to make you better through surgery...which is what happens when we persevere through testing.
  • A lot of times you don't realize you're grieving until you've been in it for a while (it took me several months to realize that I was grieving a family and ministry loss)
  • Grief clouds your understanding when you're in it.
  • Pain and Suffering are part of God's plan of promotion...We all want to be part of the five-fold ministry, but do we really want to go through the fire?
  • The test from God and temptation from the enemy are the same event (each of them has a different end in mind...the devil wants to make you BITTER, but God wants to make you BETTER).
    • Actually the devil wants to kill you, but if he can get you to give up or avoid the test then he's neutralized you and he won.
  • God does amazing things through suffering in our lives that wouldn't be possible without it...it's like a pressure cooker that speeds up the readiness process.
  • Until you've suffered, it's really easy to look at outward appearances and judge the cause of others' sufferings (like Jobs friends)
  • There's a supernatural release that happens when you bless those who judged or accused you in your testing (like Job at the end).
  • I experienced pain, but I have not experienced persecution...
It's too late for more, but I'd like to read C.S. Lewis' "The Problem of Pain" one of these days...I also read his Screwtape Proposes a Toast. I bought his greatest works in one book...cool way to get them all at a good price. He definitely makes you think.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Good to Great

One of the best books I read last semester was Good to Great by Jim Collins. They took a team and analyzed what made certain companies great while others remained mediocre with the same opportunities. They found that the type of leadership was key, a humble/servant leader (among other traits). They also found that one of the most important things was that those business got the right people on board and the wrong people off. They also took the time to move people around that might be the right people just doing the wrong job before figuring out where they were taking the company. These companies had disciplined people, with disciplined thought, that carried out disciplined action. In their disciplined thought, they were willing to be real about their strengths and their weaknesses and truly confront what they were best at and what they weren't the best at, what they were passionate about and where their companies financial survival came from. From that place they were able to make discipled decisions to guide the rest of their journey because they focused their energies on the intersection of their passion, ability, and what drove their economic engine. Once they discovered where those things intersected that's where they invested themselves. Great book that provides some "how to's" and questions to help discover what that is in your context.
I really enjoyed the book and I learned a ton. I would definitely recommend it if you're leading a business, ministry, or other organization.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Knowing More

I've been thinking about how the church approaches Christianity sometimes. It's like we think there's going to be some kind of quiz when we die (and we would probably fail that anyway). The more I think about it I realize that following Jesus isn't about knowing more about Jesus, but about knowing Jesus more. The difference lies in personally knowing and experiencing versus simply learning facts. I love to study about God, but the more time I spend doing what I do I realize that the basics of Christianity don't require years of learning information. I think the basic info you need to get going is pretty straight forward and shouldn't take that long...learning how to apply it take us longer.
How many years will people come to church or youth group and hear about how important it is to know God and then go home and not spend time getting to know God? It's like there's this system where you're graded based on how much you know about God and you could be winning in it without ever spending time with Him! That's MESSED UP! I just think of the story where Jesus told those who had even done miracles in His name: "depart from me I never knew you." Notice He didn't say you never went to enough Sunday schools or went to enough church services. He didn't even say you didn't know enough about me or do enough good things for me! Not only do we need to know Him, we need to be known BY Him! And that takes time in His presence. So you can't really say you're a Christ-Follower if you don't even know which direction He's going...That's HUGE!
Christianity is not about knowing more about God, but about knowing God MORE and being known by HIM MORE...a constant pursuit, like in a loving relationship, to ever be knowing that person more and being known more. I never think to myself: "I know everything there is to know about Sarah, so I don't need to spend time with her." Or, "I spent time with Sarah the other day, so I should be alright if we don't hang out for a couple of days." That's nonsense! When you love someone and you are aware of how much they love you, you want to be with them as much as possible!
How many of us will be shocked to find out that the lives we thought were Christian were merely religious (like the Pharisees) because we missed the WHOLE POINT!?! God bring us to a place to cry out like Paul: "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead!" Know him even to the point of suffering and death? I think we get to that place when we're into knowing him more and not simply knowing more about him.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Paintball

After church today one of the guys from Radiate, Adam, got a group together to go paintballing. It was lots of fun, but I'm definitely going to be feeling it tomorrow. I came home with a really nice shot right on my knee that is blistered and makes my whole knee hurt...but it was tons of fun. There were 7 of us, hopefully next time we can have even more people. I'd say the best game we played was an "every man for himself" paintball version of halo...yeah, you had to walk back to where the gear was to come back in after you got hit.
Spring is like the best time to PaintBall because it's cool and there aren't any mosquitoes :-) That's it for now.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Convention

The Fellowship of Christian Assemblies Convention is going great. God has really been confirming some stuff in my perspective on life and church that has been changing in the last years. Strangely Ephesians 4 and Revelation 1 have been central to the different messages so far...I've been ruminating on these verses for a long time because I would like to write a book that launches out of a universal and local understanding of the church from those passages...weird.
Joel Holm and Graham Fletcher have had great words about God's plan for each city. God has a word for each CITY...for the church of the CITY! It's an exciting time to be hearing what "God is saying to the church..." like we are reminded to do in Revelation.
God has also been challenging me on other perspectives of life and ministry that I have had or am changing and it has been a very confirming thing about areas that I am seeing need to change in my life and ministry.

I am eager to continue downloading what God is saying to Breck/Wahp AND dare I say...the nations?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Clothes

You thought I'd write about the cool shirts I got for like $5 each at Kohls? Well, I won't :-)

I'm doing a research project on the book of Ephesians and I just saw something I thought I'd share. Several years ago I had noticed the similarities between Colossians and Ephesians, but thought nothing of it and didn't realize there was a huge scholarly debate about them, I just thought Paul had similar things to say to a different church :-) (which seems to be the conclusion I've reached after reading a ton about the debate!)

I thought it was interesting that we are told in Colossians 3 to "put to death" and to "put off" our "old man" and then later it tells us to "put on" or "clothe" ourselves with the "new man" (also in Ephesians 4:24). I just thought it was interesting that in Romans Paul also uses a similar picture to tells us to "clothe" ourselves with "the Lord Jesus Christ." Each of those times there's an exhortation connected with the "new clothes" being different than the old and that we should "put on" the new and "remove" the old..."stop dressing like trash!" Just a reminder for us all, I guess, to stop living like we're wearing the old clothes (or take them off if we're still wearing them) and put on Christ and in so doing put on our new "man" which was created to be like God (Ephesians 4:24)!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Energy

I wish I had this much energy!

video

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Magazines

There are four magazine that I read Reader's Digest, Time, Plugged In, and Fast Company. For some reason I am driven to read them as soon as I can when I get them. I usually won't read every single article, but I'll familiarize myself with the articles I don't read.
Tonight I got back from Radiate and Reader's Digest was sitting on the counter...Well, I finished it, now I can go to bed...last night I read Time :-) I think 4 magazines is all I can keep up with with everything else going on, but it helps me gain from diversified streams of information. I've said it before, I'm not sure who was the first to state this, but "readers are leaders and leaders are readers"...so in working on a degree in leadership and ministry I'm also working on creating the habits necessary to being a lifelong learner...hopefully they stick ;-)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Two Down

Two classes down and only one to go! Well, at least in terms of having viewed all of the lectures :-) There's still homework to do, but it feels good to have tangible things like lectures finished! I have 10 more lectures in Principles of Management and then I'll be done with all of my lectures and can focus my energies on my research paper, leadership paper, forum discussions, and finals...I think that's it...Wow! There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Yeah, so remind me that 9 credits is a lot next time I consider doing this...which might be next January, so you can remind me in December if you want :-)

If I take 6 credits in the summer, 6 in the fall and 9 in January I'll be done by May 2009!!! ...now that I think of it, that's kind of depressing. I started in 2004 and took the 2005 school year off and I'll end up with about 49 credits for a 42 credit degree...well, I've learned a lot...and I've forgotten a lot too :-0 It's like the new information pushes the old out!

Productive

Tonight was a good night. I've gotten 3 video sessions for my New Testament class watched and I have 2 more I'd like to do before I go to bed to be done with the videos for that class!

I'm learning a lot, but more than that it's making me want to take classes where that professor taught the video series! There are so many nuggets in his teaching. It's great.

In the last several months I've read some books and I may post summaries later, but here they are in case you're curious to go to amazon and look them up for fun:
  1. The Craft of Research by Booth, Colomb, and Williams
  2. An Introduction to the New Testament by D.A. Carson and D.J. Moo (which interestingly enough is at least twice as long as the New Testament...Funny that an introduction would be longer than what it introduces)
  3. Good to Great by Jim Collins
  4. Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications by Robbins and DeCenzo
  5. An Introduction to Theological Research by Cyril Barber and Robert Krauss
I've also done some reading for a research paper on the fascinating book of Ephesians, but I'll spare you the details until the project is finished.

Now back to my classes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another thought

Here's another thought piggy-backing off of the previous that Pastor Russ has mentioned a couple of times:
"How can we say we're willing to die for Jesus (as most Christians do) if we're not even willing to be INCONVENIENCED for Him?"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Random Thought

I'm back from a frenzied several weeks of homework and all sorts of activity. Sarah kept you all up to date, so that's good.
I just wanted to post something I thought of a while back and you can mull over it, it's simply this: You won't find something worth living for until you find something worth dying for...or maybe it goes both ways...Just a thought.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cold!

I've come to the conclusion that cars weren't made for -30* F. My car has been acting funny and it takes forever to warm up and then when it does the windows fog up because the defrost can't keep up :-) It's kind of funny really. Maybe. Anyway, The windchill was down to -60* below last night. Again. IT'S ABOVE FREEZING IN ANCHORAGE ALASKA! And -60* below here, I find that kind of funny. Anyway, that was my blog about how cold it is here: The end.

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Post

Rachel this is for you: Thank you for reading my blog and commenting 3 times in one day! :-) Unfortunately I have no creative things to say, so here is the only other thing I could come up with :-)

Later, I hope y'all get a chuckle and don't ever do any of the things in the video.
Sam

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

MisSki Trip

This year we're combining fun and serving by adding a missions element to our annual ski trip. We will be skiing and snowboarding, but we will also be fulfilling the Great Commission and Great Commandment by serving at Feed My Starving Children in Eagan, MN. We will be filling portions of food for starving children that will be distributed by relief organizations and missionaries! Talk about being relevant, I bet the church feed the community that is starving physically is pretty relevant...sounds like something Jesus would do. It's a lot easier to hear the message of Christ from people that actually care enough to help you survive!

It's interesting that in Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus tells His followers to GO...so what we should be asking God is whether we are the exception and we're called to stay...Just a thought. Another way that can be translated is "as you are going..." which, still puts the responsibility on all of us to live missional lives and not just send money to missionaries...we're all called to live Great Commission lifestyles! How cool is that!?! We get to be part of God's plan for the redemption and restoration of His creation! Now that's a life I want to live...living for the eternal and not the temporary. God help me remember that.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Relevant

So, if you have to tell people you're relevant do you automatically cease being relevant?
:-) j/k...or am I?
One of my core values is relevance, I think it's very important to be culturally relevant (and relevant in other ways too). It may have something to do with my growing up in another cultural and studying cross-cultural ministry in school. It makes tons of sense to anyone for a missionary to be relevant to the culture they are ministering in, but the same applies to us wherever we are or else our message will not be understood.

Centered

So I've been getting more centered lately. Centered, as you most likely know, comes from the latin centro which finds its origins in the greek ausum-fone...



:-)
You've gotta love the fact that Sprint finally made it so that you're eligible to receive all of the discounts as a returning customer after 22 months with your old phone...I know I do...And Sarah got my Treo 700p, so now she won't need a pen and paper ever again either!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Disagreements

Have you ever stopped to think about how disagreements polarize and separate people? Or disagreements in general for that matter. When you take a step back from a discussion and observe it from the outside it's funny to watch: Each person could probably come up with a reason for why they believe what they do, and in theological discussion possibly even provide some "proof texts" that support it. I think it's funny because whenever I'm in a discussion with someone about anything I always think to myself: "they think they're right, and I think I'm right...one of us has to be wrong."

Just my thoughts about differences in opinion and how everyone thinks they're right and have reasons why the other person's view is wrong, but it's not possible for them both to be right...sometimes I think that it's more likely for them both to be wrong! :-) There are core truths that I will stand by and not budge, you can read them in Ephesians 4:1-16...if you look for it you can see some of the elements of the Apostles' Creed.

Now that you've taken the time to leave Sarah's more interesting blog and come over here, I might as well tell you that I finished reading God of the Possible, by Greg Boyd before school started. It was definitely an interesting look at Open Theism (as opposed to Calvinism or Arminianism). After reading it I realized that there were a lot of areas where I had caricatured and pigeon-holed the open view of God without hearing their side from one of their most renowned writers. Once again...they think they're right as do the calvinists and arminians! Chances are we're all wrong, so I'm going to go down in history as an Open Calvinian :-) j/k. It's unfair to say that I want to maintain a "Biblical" theology about this, because each one of those views is attempting to do that too. I DO think that God really is bigger than we can imagine and that as soon as anyone thinks they've got Him completely figured out, they're probably wrong because His ways are HIGHER than ours...He really is beyond our comprehension. C. S. Lewis wondered about the possibility and accuracy with which a creation could describe its creator...as created beings we only know what God has made, we can't even comprehend what existing eternally would mean because everything in our experience has had a beginning and an end...because we're created beings...
I wonder why we feel the need to be "right" about everything all the time...it's like it's built into us...could it be an effect of sin on the world? Is it pride? No answers, this time, just questions. I'm gonna go work on my school work :-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

School

As some of you know I have this crazy idea that I should get a Master's degree in Practical Ministry, with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership...basically a combination of an Organizational Leadership and a Practical Ministry degree. That way I could pursue further education in either field.
Anyway, I spent all of last night setting up my school schedule for the next 4 months and I actually think I can do it :-) I'm doing a full time Graduate load so that I could get a scholarship for this semester and the summer. I'm taking: Graduate Research, Intro to the New Testament, and Management Principles. This will put me up to 28 graduate credits that I've taken, but to finish this degree at this school (Beacon University) I will need about another 18 credits...I guess I'm about half-way there.
So, I counted how many pages I have to read for these classes: over 1850! Anybody want to come over and read me to sleep at night? Anyway, I'll be doing a lot of reading, hopefully I can get faster too.
So, Sarah was giving me a hard time about not posting, it's been because I've been focused on getting stuff out of the way and lined up so that I can use my free time wisely (like with these studies)...if for some reason you don't hear from me or see me as much as before please understand that it's nothing against you...of course if you're involved with VCA or ONE24 you will be seeing me a lot with those projects still.
Well, I'm heading over to Beacon to introduce myself to my fellow students.
See Ya (is chair in Spanish)